The One Where Thumper Gets Escorted Out Of Border's...

One of the things the Spouse Thingy gave me for Christmas is this real cool long sleeved t-shirt with a white tiger on it. I have a thing for tigers, so the shirt was pretty much the ideal gift. I wore it yesterday, and because I DON'T SWEAT OR STINK, I decided it was good for another wear today.

And if I do stink, eh...just don't breathe around me.


There I was in Border's, waiting in line to buy a Way Too Expensive Large Ice Tea, and this guy walking by sees my shirt, and gets a little too excited.


Um...yeah, I did (Please stop yelling at me...)


(sigh) I don't think they had time to do that. (Here tiger, tiger...stop chewing on the people while we run and get a special gun just for you...)


I shrugged, paid for my tea, and went to sit down, ready to scratch out some notes (maunscript is finally starting to seriously gel, thankeweveddymuch.) Surely this guy--even though his mental age seemed to be around 7 or 8, and I don't mean that unkindly; it is what it is--would take a hint.

But no. I hadn't heard enough. Before I could blink, he was there beside the table.


Really? I wouldn't have done that.




I hadn't heard that.


The girl at the counter, in a pretense of coming over to clean off a table, asked him to leave me alone; I was there to get a little work done and I didn't have a lot of time. With a loud OKAY he wandered off, but I could see him walking back and forth between the aisles, and he kept pointing me out to people. SEE HER SHIRT IT'S REALLY COOL AND IT HAS TIGERS ON IT. I LIKE THAT SHIRT.

Instead of looking at me, most people turned around and walked the other way.

I wasn't getting anything done, and I was seriously starting to get a little freaked out; I flipped my notebook closed, took a long sip off my tea and tossed the rest of it in the trash. I shrugged towards the girl at the counter--she knows my name now, I've been there enough--and thanked her, and as I started to turn she nodded to a male employee who was off to one side.

Apparently Tiger Boy freaked them out a little, too.

"I'm just going to walk you to the door," he said, "and make sure he doesn't follow you."

He stopped at the door and said he would make sure my new little friend didn't get close enough to see where I had parked.

Trust me, I couldn't thank the guy enough. Chances are Tiger Boy was harmless and really only wanted to talk about tigeers, but I really didn't want to find out. And while he looked like someone I could have defended myself against, you never know. I'd rather not have to find out, and I'd rather not be known as the old lady who beat the snot out of some poor mentally challenged guy.


I got escorted out of Border's.

That's how bad ass I am.
3 column templates
(for Chaz, don'tcha know...)

When I throw up a new look for my blog, chances are I took an existing template and tweaked it. My current one (really a simple 3 column table) has been tweaked so many times I couldn't tell you what it originally looked like. The Spouse Thingy's blog was originally a simple 3 column template by Thur Broeder; I just played with it, adding in the background and stuff until it looked like what I wanted. Same with Buddah's. I found his original template at and just tweaked it. Max's skin was originally a 2 column; I just added in the 3rd.

Thor 1, ST's blog based on it
Thor 2, similar to 1
Thor 3 similar to 1 and 2
Buddah's basic skin
My blog template

Take 'em if you want, play with them, see if they're what you need.


You know how kids can get too much of Christmas, then they start squabbling?


Same goes for cats...


In browsing the local paper this morning, I read an article that says that according to the 2007-08 American Pet Products Manufacturers Association National Pet Owners Survey (try saying that three times fast) 56% of dog owners and almost half of all cat owners will buy their pets a gift for Christmas this year. The article also says that dog owners are likely to buy 7 gifts per year, and other pet owners about 4 gifts. Regardless of the pet species, the average price of each of those gifts is $10.

It's nice to know we're not as nuts as we thought; at least half you you people are nuts right along with us. And it's also nice to know that we are so above average...

What I really want to know, though, is how many people actually wrap their pets' presents, and how many have stockings for the little four legged wonders.

Not that we would ever go overboard on our cats.

Oh, no.

And it's not like we're planning on taking pictures of them getting their gifts.



There's still time if you haven't gotten your furry friend something. I have it on good authority that for cats, all it takes is a bag of crunchy treats, some kitty crack, and a feathered toy or two.

And spend more than ten bucks, so that you, too, can be above average.

Because truly, how can it be a Merry Christmas if Fido and Fluffy don't get anything?

stop looking at me like that...


Dear Lady In the Target Snack Bar,

Really, would it have killed you to pull the cell phone away from your face for 2 seconds to really acknowledge the elderly guy who approached to ask if he and his wife (who was slowly walking towards you, her walker moving one inch at a time) could share your table? Would it have cost you anything to politely say, "of course" instead of rolling your eyes and sighing snottily, "I suppose"? Did you care whether or not you made them uncomfortable with your deliberate act of ignoring them while they sipped at their coffee? Did you even notice that you were alone at a table for four and had the only available chairs in the whole place? Do you realize you could have made their day simply by being nice, appearing happy to have them at your table, by saying hello and then wishing them Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays or even just Goodbye when they got up to leave? Would you have noticed if I'd ripped that freaking phone from your hand and shove it up your left nostril? Because I wanted to. That makes me as rude as you, I suppose, but I wanted to.

Someday you're going to be old. And someday you might need to sit down and the only available seat will be at an occupied table. And I hope that whomever is there was raised a little better than you seem to have been.

Someone Whose Momma Did A Few Things Right...

Cross posted to Dear So And So...


Glares at screen...

By definition, you should be able to use a laptop computer on your lap, right?

So who was the genius that designed mine in a way that causes it to overheat and turn itself off when used on a lap?

I'd like to punch him in the nipples, I really would.

::cries a little over losing those 3 AWESOME, WONDERFULLY WRITTEN, PULITZER WORTHY pages:::


Attention Holiday Shoppers...
These are not suggestions:

I saw at least 4 cars blow stop signs and 5 more run red lights today.
Do some people really think stopping is optional?

If you're going to walk behind someone and pop the back of their head--even gently--and laugh "Heyya loser!" make dang sure it's who you think it is, lest you wind up with an angry middle aged woman jumping out of her chair who aims her laser death ray eyes at you.

On Sundays, leave a table for the Wabbit in the Border's cafe, otherwise she has to go to the library where there are rude young men running around slapping people in the back of the head.

No Wabbits were harmed during the experiences that lead to today's post. One young man, however, was extremely embarrassed.



Owner Lady called today; she was able to refinance her mortgage on this house, so she's not going to have to sell. We can stay put, at least for now.

:::happy dance:::


A few nights ago the Spouse Thingy and I went to Burger King, because I truly hate to cook and...well, I hate to cook. It was a little cool out so I grabbed my uber spiffy red, white and blue leather jacket--the one people keep asking to buy from me--and off we went in search of grease-laden, over cooked burgers.

There were several teens in the parking lot, and inside there was a group crowding a bunch of table near the door. Typical kids, clothes a little too big, baseball caps on sideways. No big deal.

But as we walked in one of the boys looked at me and said "What a fat ass !"

I ignored him, as I am wont to do when faced with stupid people. It stung a bit, but the truth tends to do that.

But when we were up near the counter, the Spouse Thingy was laughing and said, "He wants it."


He pointed at my jacket. "He obviously likes it."

That's a bad ass jacket!

I totally need to clean my ears out.


Ya know, 55 degrees (F) isn't all that cold...unless you're going 45 mph and are not bundled up enough for the wind chill.

Who'da thunk that I'd need to wear more clothes???

Lesson learned.


You would think, that after six years of living with Max, we would know better than to leave the kitchen for even 3 minutes with pizza still on the counter.


Dear Lottery Gawds,

Please let me win. Well, first remind me to buy a ticket, and then let me win. The house I lived in as a teenager and have always thought of as home is for sale at a really good price, and it would be super spiffy to be able to live in it again. But yeah, I need to buy that ticket first...Then I'll win, right???


The owner of this house, the one we've only been in since late August...she wants to sell. This is the 3rd time this has happened to us in less than 3 years. I am beyond pissed off. Way, way beyond.


Overheard in Walmart yesterday, as a little boy, obviously embracing his inner Dean Martin, wandered past singing to himself: When the moon hits your eye with a big piece of pie, that's annoying...

100_1350We haven't had a fire in any of the places we've lived since we got Max (so, thusly, neither have we had one since we got Buddah...) and decided in this house, we'd use the fire place.

They were both curious; the Spouse Thingy lit the little log but it fizzled out as both cats got close for inspection.

100_1380After the Spouse Thingy got it going again, Max was the only one who wanted to get close and watch the flames flicker.

I'm just hoping neither one decides to stick a little nose against the glass...


If I were a more mature person, I could safely say that tomorrow, when it's going to be 60 degrees and mostly sunny outside, that I'd be sitting at my computer, working.

Maturity is over rated.

I go zoooooom instead?



found-kitty-1We could not find her owners.

We put notices up all over the neighborhood, an ad on Craig's List and a bunch of other lost Pet websites, scoured the papers for any sign of her in the lost & found section...and the more I observed her the more certain I was that she didn't have any people.

She couldn't live in our garage forever (well she could but that would be less than ideal) and while I was sorely tempted to just keep her (and I mean *seriously* tempted) it just wasn't the best situation, given Max's problems with stress.

But...The Spouse Thingy's friend from work had neighbors who have been looking for a kitty to add to their family. They met our little garage kitty yesterday and took the evening to think it over, and today she went to live with her new family, complete with an older brother kitty who apparently didn't seem to mind having a little sister.

I will miss her (her new name is Snowball, which fits just right) but I get my garage back, and I was starting to go into bike withdrawal. And not too far away there's a little girl who is overjoyed to have a new kitty, and a little boy who thinks it's pretty spiffy, too.

So it all worked out.


There were no Lost Kitty signs anywhere in the neighborhood, so I put up several Found Kitty notices, and when the SPCA opens this afternoon I'll call to see if I can bring her over so they can scan for a microchip. I know this cat belongs to someone; she's far too well cared for, and is too affectionate to be a stray. We think she's been loose for a couple of days and hadn't eaten based on how much she inhaled when we fed her--but she's obviously a normally well fed little girl.

I feel bad she's stuck in the garage, but we figured that was better than being outside all night where it was in the 30s. If we had a logical place inside to house a kitty away from Max and Buddah, we'd put her there, but this house lacks a good kitty hideout.

She's a good example of why even indoor kitties need collars and tags. This would be so much easier if we knew who she belonged to...


How to disappoint your former neighbors:

Call them to ask if they ever found their lost kitty.
When they say no, tell them you have a little girl kitty in your garage, and it *might* match the description of theirs.
Have them come over, only to find out it's not theirs.

So now we have disappointed former neighbors, and someone's little kitty in our garage. She's a very pretty and very friendly kitty, too...I'll scour the neighborhood in the morning for lost kitty signs, but if I don't find any, I suppose I'll take her to the SPCA. A third kitty would be fun, but Max would eat her for breakfast first chance he got.


OddzNEndz #9,432,123.6

  • Last night I had a dream that one of my best friends came to visit. During her stay the Spouse Thingy determined there was something wrong with one of her eyes, and declared that she must have it removed so that he could figure out what was wrong, because it could be eye cancer and if it was left in, the cells would migrate and become brain cancer. So she allowed this; she checked into the OR and he removed her eye, filling the socket with gauze and Strawberry Shortcake Bandaids. After the surgery he took her eye to the lab where he would analyze it...but she left before he could come back and tell her it was all right, it was just an infection. So I out the eye in an empty yogurt cup, got on my bike, and rode all the way to Wisconsin, where I put it back in her head for her. I'm pretty sure the Spouse Thingy cured the infection before I took off...

  • Apparently, I should just give up anything computer related. My desktop as refusing to play nicely--rebooting on a whim, not running most of the software I needed--so I wiped it back to factory specs. And ya know what? You should really make sure you have the software to re-install a wireless card before it can't play with the Internet. If you were a CD-ROM, where would you be hiding?

  • If the short lines in all the stores I went into this weekend are indicative of the season, it doesn't bode well for retailers. While I enjoyed getting in and out quickly, it kind of bothered me, ya know?

  • This is my new craving. This is going to either pull off one more more caps or just pull a tooth right out of my gums, and it's all the Younger Niece's fault, because she let me taste a piece of hers on Thanksgiving:

nom nom nom nom nom nom...


If you manage to get in and out of Walmart in about 15 minutes on Black Friday, is that a sign that the end is near...?


"Asking a guy if you can ride his bike is like asking him if you can ride his wife. It's just not done." ~hundreds of bikers, as read online~

As I left Borders today--got a ton of work done, was a happy productive day in spite of the noise level inside the cafe today--there were a couple of teenage boys standing near my bike, apparently admiring it.

One of them lifted an arm, stopped by the other when he said "You can't touch it. That's like touching someone's girlfriend!"

The kid very lightly poked the headlight with his index finger.

"Does that mean I just touched her boob?"

"I think it means now you have to buy it dinner."

I should have demanded gas money...


If, upon waking, you hear your Spouse Thingy on the phone saying, "I'll grab Donna...she's twenty six or twenty seven," it's probably not what it sounds like.

In fact, he might not even be on the phone. He might be playing City of Heroes, talking to a game buddy on Team Speak, and he might be talking about his 26 or 27 level character Donna daDead.

If you would go to bed before 2:30 in the morning, you might be clear headed enough to figure that out right off the bat, instead of wondering who the hell Donna is...


Dear Lady in the Jack In The Box parking lot who picked the bees off my sweatshirt and didn't laugh at my near panic attack when I realized I had BEES on me and WAS GOING TO DIE,

Thank you!

I'm only a wuss where those little suckers are concerned..


"Every morning I'm surprised when I wake up."

There were at least six unoccupied tables in the Border's cafe, but Mr. Miller asked if he could sit with me for a few minutes; his grandson had to "make use of the facilities" and didn't want him to sit somewhere alone. I was in the middle of trying to figure out where the hell chapter 16 went to--I couldn't find it on my hard drive or the jump drive to which I routinely save my work--and I was in need of a distraction before I picked up the laptop and flung it across the room.

(very old laptop; if it breaks I shall not cry...too hard.)

He asked nicely and I had no reason to say no, even though I could have kept an eye on him if he'd sat at another table. And it's not like I could really do anything if he clutched his chest and face-planted onto the floor; it made his grandson feel better, and it wasn't a problem, so what the heck. He introduced himself as his grandson (whom I later learned was actually his great great grandson) scurried off to the men's room.

I said the only intelligent thing that popped into my head. "My grandmother was a Miller. Well, really, she was a Mueller."


Mr. Miller--I did not get his first name, nor did I ask; if a man old enough to be my grandfather introduces himself as Mister, then Mister it is--informed me he was going to celebrate his one hundred second birthday in a week. That's when he mused about the surprise of waking up every morning.

It's a happy surprise, he says.

I asked how many grandkids he's got, and he laughed. He had five kids of his own, but lost track of how many grandchildren and great grandchildren and great great grandchildren they've given him. The grandson escorting him today was seventeen year old Brian, who has lived two streets over since he was born. Or he did until Mr. Miller realized he needed to move into a facility, where there would be cute nurses to keep an eye on him.

"Some of those nurses," he muses, "aren't very cute. If I had known half of them were men, I might have moved in with my daughter."

His grandson returned, and offered to buy him a coffee. Mr. Miller nodded, and said to me, "There are six of my great grandkids that live here. They take turns driving me to the places I want to go."

Brian added with a laugh, "We fight over who gets to take him."

"So they say," Mr. Miller said.

"Mark is going to drive you tomorrow, Grandpa. I asked him if we could all go see that movie together."

"Why don't you just take me?"

"It's Mark's turn. He'd be mad as hell if I took his turn."

Mr. Miller tapped the table with his fingers. "Now you know why it's a happy surprise."

Brian helped his grandfather up from his chair, and picked up the coffee cup. I watched them as they walked away, Brian with one hand at his great-great-grandfather's back, Mr. Miller nudging him with his shoulder. As they moved beyond where I could see them, I could still hear them laughing.


Eh, I can jump laterDear Buddah Pest,

Why, please tell me, are you suddenly opposed to my reading a book? Why is it that I can't curl up in bed with a book at night without you launching onto the bed, pushing it away, and then dropping your 12.5 pounds onto my chest, your face a mere 2.2mm away from mine? Why can I not sit in a recliner in the living room with a book in hand without you tearing across the room to pounce up my lap, where you head butt the book so that I cannot see the page.

You have no problem with me watching TV or sitting here with the laptop open as I blog surf and laugh at the kitties on I Can Has Cheezburger? It doesn't seem to bother you if I st at my desk and work. In fact, you pretty much ignore me unless it's either time for a crunchy treat--and I do admire your ability to know when it's 11:15 p.m.--or until I decide to read something for fun.

You're a cute little chit and I enjoy your episodes of Commando Cuddling, and I comply upon request...but why does this need strike you when I have a book in hand? What do you have against books? It's not like we ever beat you half to death with one.

Please let me finish at least one chapter tonight. I swear, I'll give you all the head and chin skritches you want after that.


Let us all place our hands together and applaud, for the optometrist did not have bad breath today, which made for a fairly enjoyable round of "One or two? Three or four?" Well, except for writing the check for new glasses for both the Spouse Thingy and I. That kind of sucked.

All hail good insurance, though, or else that $360 would have been $1400...


The dead guy has been speaking to me again. I can hear him mumbling in my backpack, wanting out, wanting me to get off the procrastination wagon and finish writing is story.

He's a little egotistical, since it's not really his story, but what the hell, at least I hear him again.

I pulled out the 150 pages I've written and took the manuscript to the library today; I haven't looked at it in s long it was like seeing it all new (other than the bloody red scribblings on every page) and surprisingly, I didn't hate it. I didn't hate it enough that I suspect this year's NaNoWriMo will be a total bust, because I want to get back to the dead guy.

I also plugged in my very old, very cranky Gateway laptop. The battery no longer holds a charge and it has a fairly slow processor, little RAM, and a small hard drive, but I wanted to see if it would still boot up. After a year or more of not being powered up, it still booted up...and I found a battery for it on eBay for cheap.

Yes, I have another laptop...but I want something I don't really care about to shove into the tail bag on my bike, something that if the vibrations destroy I won't cry buckets over. I can take the old laptop with me and still ride my bike to the library or to Border's where I will finish writing the Best Book With A Dead Guy Ever. And then I'll get all rich and famous, but I'll still talk to y'all, so no worries there.

I know you've been worried about that.


Wherein Age and Cunning Overcome Youth and Strength

Three nights ago, Max was running through the house like his ass was on fire; every 20 minutes or so he thundered into the bedroom and meowed at the top of his little lungs, then turned around and ran back out.

I was pretty sure this was a deliberate attempt to keep me from sleeping, and it worked. Either that or he was trying to sucker Buddah into a rousing game of Thundering Herd Of Elephants, which apparently can only be played after all the People have gone to bed, because Thundering Herd Of Elephants is only enjoyable if it wakes and annoys at least one human being. So perhaps his behavior was dual-purpose: keep the Woman from sleeping, and get Buddah to play.

Buddah didn't seem interested; while he likes it when Max wants to play, lately he hasn't bent to Max's will very often, and there have been a few overtures of I Want To Be The Big Kitty Now on his part.

After the 4th or 5th time of Max's Mouth pulling me from sleep, I was ready to get up and take his furry little butt downstairs, where I would duct tape all of his considerable mass to a chair. It was after five in the morning, and I was tired. All I wanted was to sleep uninterrupted for at least 3 hours, but he showed no signs of stopping.

At 5:15 I heard him in the hall just outside the bedroom door, meowing in a pathetic little voice; I lifted my head and squinted, but all I could make out was a mass of black against the light carpet. Given the change in his tone--from HEY HERE I AM! to Hey, I need help--I reached for my glasses, now concerned that he'd hurt himself.

The mass of kitty turned out to be both of them: Max was on his back, his belly exposed to Buddah, who was standing there like an Authoritative Feline, willing the elder cat to do his bidding. Max wiggled and squirmed, using his back paws to push off the wall to get closer to Buddah, all the while offering that tender, exposed kitty tummy.

I sat on the bed, trying to be very quiet, wondering if I was seeing the final push in Buddah becoming the Alpha Cat, thinking that maybe Max had finally realized that Buddah was younger, stronger, and not willing to take any more crap.

Max wiggled a bit more, meowing in a tiny voice, and as Buddah stepped closer, I was sure I was seeing the tide turn.

That's when Max reached out with his front paws, grabbed Buddah under his furry little armpits, and launched him down the stairs.

Max then sat up and began grooming himself.

There have been no more overtures on Buddah's part. Last night he even sat still while Max gave his head a thorough licking.

Part of me feels bad for Buddah, but another part of me totally appreciates Max's cunning and guile.

But mostly, I was glad I could finally get some sleep, and they've left me alone at night since then.


It's the first 30 seconds you wanna see...

Local morning news team, Halloween, ... 'nuff said.


Two days into NaNoWriMo 2007, and I've written a grand total of 0 words.
Ohyeah, I'm gonna win...


'Tis that time of year again.

Starting tomorrow thousands of writers embark on the journey to 50,000 words in 31 days.

I did it in '04. I tried last year and missed the mark by =this= much. This year, when I have editing in front of me and an unfinished manuscript that has suddenly begun to whisper to me once again, I'm tempted.

Heck, I signed up.

I have an idea I can work on. NaNo or not NaNo, that is the question.


Ooohyeah...this weekend was the library's quarterly Friends Of The Library book sale, where one can purchase as many book as one desires for the grand price of 50 cents an inch. In July I bought 12 inches of books and was happy as could be. Yesterday I bought 15 inches of books as was happy as could be...and as I was placing my bounty in a grocery bag offered by the sale volunteer, she said something to me that nearly made me wet myself with glee.

"Tomorrow books will be two dollars for whatever you can fit into a bag."

A grocery bag can hold quite a few books.

I managed to get my 15 inches into a grocery bag.

So today after the Spouse Thingy got up, we headed as a family to the library; the Boy knows a bargain when he hears about it and wanted to see what wonders he, too, could find amongst the remnants of the sale. It wasn't just books; VS tapes, DVDs, CDs...Two bucks a bag.

The choices had been fairly well picked over during the weekend, but the Spouse Thingy and I still filled 3 bags. The Boy stumbled upon a entire set of books--50 of them--that easily could have filled four or five bags, but the sign taped upon the boxes in which they sat said "$2/set."

The books are copyrighted for 1909; the print style and trim style hint at a print date no later than 1945. They're in excellent condition. Another set containing the likes of Hugo was also $2/set.

I think between all of us we walked out with over 100 books.

We paid $12.

We need more bookshelves...


Make yourself feel really stupid and do a good deed.

Go to Free Rice and play their word game; it's very simple: you get a word and click on its definition. For every word you get correct, they donate 10 grains of rice to the United Nations World Food Program.

People get fed, and you learn new words, some of which you might be able to use in conversation someday!


Ya know, running a furnace that has sat unused for 2 years kinda stinks?

Who'da thunk?

It may now get cold...or hot. Problem was the thermostat, which means the a/c won't run for 5 hours straight anymore...


Remember Dear So And So...? It's been broken...very broken. After much banging of my head on the desk, I gave up trying to fix it and poked around for a new template. So now it's fixed, and hopefully isn't dead...

Go on, go write a letter. Surely there's someone to whom you want to write. But if it's me, don't be mean, or I shall surely cry.


The One Where We Take A Day Off

We were sore by the time we stopped, but it was fun...

I learned that my bike likes twisty kind of roads, that I'm NOT a speed demon, and that I really need a better seat. And that as you approach Napa, you see a lot of grapes.

Tomorrow the Spouse Thingy goes to work, and I'll wander over to Border's or the library to work; Thursday we get to wait for the furnace repair person who failed to show for the appointment on Monday.

Good thing it's not cold here...


The Thin Red Line(s)

Redlining (for TK, he asked in comments on the last post...he's a sweet boy1 but is often confused about life, women, and winter weight motor oil) is simply the act of making one's manuscript look as if it were bleeding profusely.

Writers do this in hopes that it will result in a better story. Editors do this in hopes of making a writer cry. Writer-editors...well, they're just so deep into sado-masochist behaviors that they both love it and hate it.

This one is a page from my current work in progress. The one that has been my work in progress for over two years. It has quite a bit more bleeding left to endure, and I have quite a bit more crying left, before it becomes worthy of moving onto draft #642.

I took my trusty red pen back to Border's today, and was thrilled that the cafe was empty, save the two employees who were trying to figure out how they could have run out of water. ("Who runs out of water? It's WATER!"..."I guess we do...") I bought an iced tea (apparently made before the run on water) and plopped my stuff on top of my preferred table, sat down, and got right to work.

Then Old Guy wandered in. He bought a froo-froo coffee (WTF is a chocolate caramel mochafrappajavachino?) and sat in one of the comfy chairs...right in front of me. And for the next hour, he sat there and stared at me. He could have sat at a table and looked out into the bookstore, watching people shop, but no...he sat there and stared at me.

I was --this-- close to sticking my finger up my nose, digging around a bit, and then licking it clean, when I was saved by an influx of people with their children2; the volume went up in a wave of I WANT CHOCOLATE MILK requests, and Old Guy sighed heavily, got up, tossed his cup into the trash3, and left.

No idea why he was staring; I am not exceptionally ugly cause my mother says so! nor did I have bed-head. I was not dressed in tie-dye mixed with plaid. I was not sitting there with my nice bright white helmet on. At first I thought he was just seeing nothing, in that daydream kind of way, but every time I looked up, it was obvious.

Maybe he loves me.


1He's, like, 50...but going on 17...

2Not to imply that children are not people. Most of them are.

3He could have left it there on a side table, so +1 for throwing the cup away...


There aren't as many regulars at the Border's cafe as there are the library (there used to be...maybe they got tired of seeing me); there are always two or three people sitting at tables, their faces bathed in the glow of a laptop computer screen, but I rarely see the same people on any given day. Perhaps because there's no free wireless connection, unlike the library. Or perhaps because people simply don't consider it a place to hang out several times a week.

But there is Alex. The last few weeks he's been there every day that I have; he sits at the same table, a lightweight laptop computer in front of him, with either email open or Yahoo there for the world to see.

No, I don't know how he's connecting. My wireless card detects several networks, but they're all secure. Which is a good thing, because I'm there avoiding the lure of the Internet, not to engage in it.

But Alex. I know his name is Alex because, in the span of an hour and a half, he will make a call or three or four on his cell phone, and says quite loudly, "This is Alex!"

I also know these things about Alex:

  1. He is a very honest person. He says so, just about every day; to whomever he's speaking, he feels compelled to point out, "I'm very honest, I expect you to be honest, too," and he makes this declaration several times during each call. Apparently, the people with whom he is dealing aren't as honest as he.
  2. He is quite educated. This is obvious, because no matter what other people say to him, he has also done that, been there, seen it, and created the T-shirt before he burned it. Alex apparently knows everything, and I'm guessing he derived this knowledge from Yahoo.
  3. The employees like him very much, and do his bidding. This I know because he gets up from his special table at least once every time I'm there, and says to whomever is working the counter, "Watch my stuff." He knows they like him that much, because he doesn't even have to wait for an answer, he just wanders off because he knows they will guard his possessions as their own.
  4. He is opening his own business. This is evidenced by the How To Open A Business books he brings into the cafe, "borrowed" from the stacks on the other side of the store. I'm sure he puts them back in perfect condition. And because he is so honest, I'm sure he asks before he uses the store as his own personal library.
  5. Alex is an immigrant. At least, he sounds Russian.
  6. I do like Alex's accent.

I spent over three hours there to day, three wonderfully Alexless hours. I redlined a manuscript (not mine) and formatted submissions for a new We Are The Kitties book. I was about to open my own work when he arrived, laptop bag in hand, and I sighed as he sat at the table next to me. His special place.

I miss Library Bob. I'd go back there, but I haven't seen him the last few times I tried to work there; I'm sure he's read all the books by now and has moved on to better things.

I need new regulars.


Ya know, the night it gets cold enough to need the heat on is not the night you want to find out the furnace doesn't work...




Um, if you think it's perfectly acceptable to hock not just one but six or seven loogies into the shower stall at the YMCA, and then follow that up by peeing in said stall, you probably shouldn't be out in public.

I'm just sayin'...


It's no secret; I spend far too much time at Walmart; ours has a McDonald's near the front, and I can sit there with a never-ending supply of Diet Coke and either watch people or try to write. Mostly I watch people, because there in the Land of Low Low prices they're most like themselves, not realizing they're being watched.

A perk to being there is hearing Bill, the World's Friendliest Walmart Greeter do his magic; always happy, always gregarious, even the little kids light up when they see Bill, because he's always been unfailingly kind to them, and they feel like Bill is one person who is always happy to see them. And he gives them stickers for no reason other than to see them smile.

Hell, I walk into Walmart and see Bill, and I grin. He's just that infectious sort of nice.

But tonight...tonight the Spouse Thingy and I walked into Walmart in search of bathroom storage and crunchy kitty treats, and instead of Bill and his happy "Hiya!! How ya doin'?" there was a memorial wreath with his picture in the center. Hanging off to one side was his blue vest and name tag.

I didn't know Bill; I couldn't tell you a thing about him, other than those simple facts: he was a Walmart greeter, and he was so good at it that I liked sitting there in McD's, where I could hear him call the little girls "darlin'" and the little boys "Parder" or "Big guy." I don't know what he did on his off time, who the people in his real life are, what he liked to do for fun. But I wanted to cry when I saw that wreath; I had to blink back a tear or two at the simple idea that Bill won't ever be there to say hello to me when I come in for a Diet Coke and a people watching fix.

It's hard to fathom that you can miss someone you never really knew, but I think I'm going to miss Bill.


If dreams really do come true, then sometime in the near future I am going to take a bike ride across the country, and my riding companion will be a three year old little girl who will be right beside me on a souped up, battery operated toy motorcycle, and I'm such a good role model that I'm going to get her riding up to 90 mph on the Interstate.

On the plus side, I make her wear a helmet...


Dear Other Person With My Name Who Lives In My Area Code,

Please pay your bills. Or at least give your creditors your own phone number, because I'm getting really tired of them calling me and expecting me to pay them what you owe. I am tired of hearing how far behind I am on my payments, and having to explain that they've go the wrong person. I am tired of the disbelief. I'm even tired of the profuse apologies when they finally believe they have the wrong person because--thank God--we do have different middle names. And if you won't pay your bills and won't give them your own phone number, will you at least cover any fees associated with me making my number unlisted? By now you owe me, you really do.

Disgruntled Wabbit


The Weather Channel said it was only going to be cloudy today, and I believed it. Because we all know TWC does not lie, and is never, ever wrong. However, as I was coming out a fast food establishment wherein I purchased a small-never-ending-Diet-Coke because riding is thirsty work, some bald guy says to me, "Think it's gonna rain?" to which I replied, "I hope not."


Now I'm sitting here, waiting to dry off before I get into the car to finish running errands.

On the plus side, Thumper's ride-in-the-rain cherry has been popped, and it wasn't so scary after all.


I don't care if the house still looks like it threw up, don't care that I have work-work waiting...that 80 mile ride today was totally worth blowing off everything else...


Letting My Inner Snark Come Out And Play...

To the guy I saw riding his big-a$$ed Harley down Leisure Town Road today at about 55 mph, right hand on the throttle, left hand holding a cell phone to his right ear, here's your shirt.

G'head, take it, you deserve it.

You can even go register yourself.

Seriously...WTF? I see guys riding with one hand frequently, usually sport bike riders trying to rest a sore hand, but they keep that hand close to grip. A cell phone is bad enough in a car, but on a bike...?

Dude's gonna kill himself like that someday, and that's sad.


All right, the kitties have been on nothing but dry food for a month now, and there's always 2 filled dishes for them to graze in, 24 hours a day. So why are they still demanding I get out of bed in the morning to come downstairs--where instead of running to the kitchen where they expect me to open cans, they run to their dishes--and watch them eat?

Is it really that important that I witness the consumption of the Iams MultiCat crunchy wonder? They manage to do this all by themselves several times a day...why won't the kitties let me sleep until noon?


The Spouse Thingy has been off for about a week, so instead of putting this house together (it still looks like a bomb went off in here...I am just not motivated to get it done) we made a effort to do a few things. Like a movie (3:10 To was ok) but we went to the theater with the crappy popcorn, which really should be a crime, because a theater is supposed to have popcorn that's at least edible...

On Saturday we took a trip to Denio's, a huge flea market/farmer's market up near Sacramento. I made it halfway through before the Spouse Thingy had to go to the car and get the wheelchair. Then I got enjoy shopping other people junk at everyone else's butt height. It was wonderful. I did find a nice hi-viz yellow sweatshirt, that was worth the trip. The Spouse Thingy found some really, really, really cheap tools. They'll break with the second use, but who can pass up really, really, really cheap tools?

Yesterday we braved the traffic and went into San Francisco to go through the Museum of Modern Art. There were a few really cool things, like the light spectrum wall pictured here. It was really trippy to get up close, until my entire field of vision was just this wall, watching it cycle through the full color spectrum. I imagine it would be quite a bit more fun if one was a little, um, high... We also discovered that we're not big fans of modern art. Half of what we saw looked like it had been done by a six year old hopped up on sugar and caffeine, and half of the other half was like "why is that art? Why is stringing a bunch of light bulbs together and hanging them from the ceiling considered art?"

Long Ramp DownAcross from the museum was a nice park...with a really long ramp where the Spouse Thingy threatened to let go of the chair (again, long walk, hard surfaces, it was needed...) I shouldn't have been, but I was surprised by how many people hit us up for money in a 2 block radius.

ThumpaZuki 6Today we took a bike ride, and stopped to take a picture of my shiny toy, with its new handlebar risers and mirror extenders. You're impressed, I know you are.


You know that weird little thrill you got as a kid when you were the first to plunge a knife into a brand new jar of peanut butter, the first to disturb that smooth layer of peanutty wonder?

Being the first to get into the pool, with the surface unrippled, the feeling is pretty much the same.


Friday Foto Essay
sv-5 sv-6

Left foot goes here...............and I go zoom!

sv-7 sv-8

9 mph speed demon...............bug skwishin

sv-16 Spouse Thingy Self Portrait

Look! No Feet!...............The Photographer


I deliberately did not post anything yesterday. Everyone knew what day it was. Tons of blogs had moments of silence or tributes posted. I had nothing to add to it, other than possible reflection. I didn't want to go on about what I was doing that day, how I found out. I've probably posted about it before and it's a pretty boring thing to post about how you were woken up by a phone call.

But I didn't avoid posting because the tributes and rememberances are boring. They're not. They're important and speak volumes about not forgetting, and how deep the wounds still are.

I spent the day doing the things I usually do; we took a bike ride, going by the YMCA to sign up for a few months (turns out an unheated pool gets very cold when it's not especially hot out, and I need the pool...) and other assorted places. We ran to the mall, had horrible, horrible Chinese food which we wound up throwing away.

Everyday things. But it was there in my head, not even in the back of my mind, because as I zoomed along on my bike I kept thinking that all along I've pretty much felt that I was so lucky because I didn't lose anyone in any of the attacks...but it's not true. I felt the weight of that yesterday, the reality that I did lose someone.

I lost a friend. Her brother was on the 95th floor of the first WTC building hit. We'd been friends for several years, emailed almost daily, but the pain of losing her brother and the horror...she faded away, and neither I nor our common friends have heard from her since early 2002. We don't know if she's even alive anymore--she'd had two small heart attacks before 9/11--and we don't know if she's ever escaped the darkness that swooped down over her when she realized she'd lost her brother.

I miss her friendship. I miss her wisdom. I miss her constant misuse of "whom;" it made me smile.

I hope she's still out there, and happy, and has just moved along to other things. I hope she's had grandkids--I think that would make her incredibly happy--and that she's finally living where she always wanted to.

My loss doesn't measure on any scale comparable to those families who lost people in the attacks, which is why I didn't post. But still...I miss my friend, and I spent most of yesterday wishing I knew she was okay, and knowing that I'll probably never find out.


This is very pretty...

Unless it's headed right for your face shield
Then it's wicked scary
And you'll be glad you peed before you left the house...

It zoomed over my head...but I think I squealed a little...


The base refill pharmacy is staffed mostly by volunteers; all they do is look at your ID card and get the last four numbers of the SSN needed, go to the shelf and find your medication, and then hand it over. Once in a while they ask for your Yellow Card, a non-issue sort of thing that identifies whether or not you have other insurance.

Most of these volunteers are retirees, and they approach their duties seriously, but they're friendly enough. At the very least if you say "Hi" you get a hello in return.

But there's this one guy...he's about as old as Methuselah and moves with the speed of an arthritic snail. He's on oxygen and carries the cannister in a sling on his back, and he's a bit of a grump. But he's entitled; I'd be grumpy if I was that old, trying to read teeny tiny print, handing out pills to all those Get Off My Lawn people.

It was just my luck that he was at the window I wound up at today. I said "Hello," not expecting an answer, he called me "sir." I blew it off, no big deal. It happens. He shuffled off to find my meds, and I waited. And waited. And waited a bit more. I was wearing a mesh motorcycle jacket and was more than a little warm and was sweating, but that was all right. I should have taken it off.

When he came back he asked to check my yellow card. Fine, no problem; I pulled it out of my wallet and showed it to him, realizing as I handed it over that it had expired in March. That's not a problem; they'll still give you your meds, but they want you to get a current card for No Obvious Reason.

He pulled the forms from behind the desk, and asked "Do you have a wife?"

"Um, no," said I, trying not to sound snotty, "but I have a husband."

He paused, holding onto the papers. "But you ride a motorcycle."

"Yes." I clicked my fingernails on the top of my helmet, which was resting on the counter.

"You're a woman."


"But you ride a motorcycle!"

Clearly, he could not comprehend that it does not require testicles to maneuver two wheels. And apparently, my lacking them meant that I could not have the forms required to obtain a new Yellow Card, as he pulled them back and put them away.

I shrugged it off, grabbed my meds, and walked away before I made his head explode.


I was invited to join this rather bizarre email ring yesterday. Sibling Slam. Remember the Slam Books in high school, those vicious tomes wherein one would scribble something horrible and cruel about someone else in the class? This was basically a high school slam book wrapped up in a giant mass email ring, wherein one writes something horrible and cruel about a sibling, apparently for the sheer joy of spite.

Because of the nature of my siblings, I decided to play along, and sent in this:

OMG y'all would not BELIEVE my sisters! SERIOUSLY. One time, when we were dead broke and had a baby to feed and clothe, I had this horrible, raging, unbearable toothache, and you know what one of my sisters did? DO YOU?

She gave me a blank check so that I could go to the dentist. A BLANK CHECK! I could fill in any amount needed!

Really, who needs a sister like that?

For some reason I cannot fathom, I was quickly disinvited to participate in Sibling Slam. I'm so ashamed, and hurt.



Dear Old People At The Commissary,

Granted, while you have earned the right to shop with your cart turned sideways in the aisles, and you have earned the right to be a little bit slow, please remember there are other people grocery shopping around you, and if one of them acts as if she MUST get past you and SOON, please shuffle to one side or the other of your cart and let her get by, lest very nasty things happen, things which no poor commissary clerk should have to clean up.

I Almost Exploded Right There By The Kool Aid


It's what, Tuesday? Since we turned in the keys to the other house, I have done absolutely nothing of worth. For the most part I have kept my ample ass in a chair and played with my computer or watched TV; I did empty a couple of boxes in an attempt to find pots and pans, but I didn't find what I was looking for, and I didn't feel like doing anything else.

Until today, I just didn't have the energy to put things away. A week of hauling stuff, boxes upon boxes, and furniture and utter crapola left me pretty much exhausted (and a few pounds lighter, w00t!) The Spouse Thingy was pretty freaking tired, too, but he had to go to work regardless (where he watched Heroes on DVD and spent time gabbing with his student, so don't feel too sorry for him.)

Today, I had energy, but our poor bikes had not been out for a ride in over a week and they missed us, so we felt obligated to take advantage of this odd cool day and take them out. And then we had shopping to do--damn thing about moving into new places is that the curtains rarely fit from one place to the next--and there was a lengthy visit to the bank... so nothing got put away today, either.

I have high hopes for tomorrow. Surely I will have energy again, and will dive into all those boxes in the garage with gusto.

And monkeys will fly out of my butt, too.

Chances are, I'll putter around, get distracted by the pool or the hot tub (we are NEVER living without a hot tub again) or even go shopping for lamps, because for whatever reason, this house has no overhead lights in any room.

I wonder if I can carry floor lamps home on the bike...


I am surrounded by boxes and assorted piles of barely identifiable stuff, but I haven't made much effort to put anything away. My feet hurt--it's like walking on bruises--and my back hurts more than usual, so I'm pretty much just sitting on my butt today. The Spouse Thingy had to go to work; me, I'm just playing online.

We turned in the keys to the other house yesterday and had our suspicions confirmed: the owner is in over his head and the house will be foreclosed on. I suppose the only one trying to sell it will be the bank, but who knows when. The lawn will die, the landscaping will go to pot, and it will eventually just look like crap, which is a shame because it's an awesome house.

I rarely miss places once we've moved out, but I'll miss that house. We're already finding things we like about this one: it seems to be better insulated, and the upstairs is not brutally hot even with the a/c running; the hot tub and the pool; the special nook in the garage where 2 of the 3 bike fit nicely. It's nice enough and has enough going for it that I won't mourn having moved out of the house next door, but I will miss it.

Now, if only the moving fairy would wave her magic wand and put everything away for me...


Thumper's Lessons Learned This Week...

  • Moving sucks
  • It is possible to go from heartbreak to ecstatic relief in just three words
  • Cats learn to whine when the temperature inside the house reaches 98 degrees
  • Moving sucks
  • Especially when it's wicked hot
  • A hot tub is a wonderful thing
  • Moving sucks so hard that next time we're hiring someone to do it for us
  • A kitty who feels ignored will try to push the laptop computer off your lap in order to make room for himself
  • He will not be reprimanded, because moving sucks for cats, too, and he deserves a lap
  • I need new feet, and a new back
  • Our landlady is very nice...she not only made sure the a/c got fixed, but she also inquired about the kitties and whether or not we'd figure out a way for them to reach the highest wall cut-out places, and does not mind if odd looking ledges are bolted to the wall to get the kitties up as high as they want to be
  • An unheated pool is very cold, even when it's very hot out, but the hot tub makes up for that
  • And moving sucks.


Ya know, when you're in the middle of a move, lifting and carrying heavy objects, already sweating, and it's 95 outside, that's not a good time for the air conditioner to punk out.


The One With Snot Running Down My Face And I Don't Care Who Sees...

Waiting ceased at 9 p.m. last night when the home owner knocked on our door; she had the keys and was ready to walk through the house with us. By 9:30 we were moving garage things, reveling in the nifty space off to one wise where two motorcycles fit nicely, along with other major garage type items. We moved stuff for an hour, happy with what we managed to get over there.

I Can Has Boxes?At 9 this morning we took the kitties over there and let them explore for a bit, which was mostly Max exploring while Buddah hid in a closet. After awhile we shut them in a room upstairs with food and water, a bed, Max's plastic tomb, and a cat tree so they'd be able to look out the window.

And then moving commenced. We opened the garage door to make it easier, and we began desk, boxes and boxes of books, whatever we could grab. At 9:45 the Spouse Thingy and I were putting some odd things in the new living room, when we heard Max meow, and I laughed, thinking the sound was coming through the air vent and he didn't sound too unhappy.

But then Max poked his head out of the downstairs closet.

We'd locked them in a room upstairs.

The panic began.

Buddah was no where to be found. We checked every room, more than once. Every closet, even in closed cabinets, because he does sometimes pry them open. He wasn't in a closet, he wasn't in Max's plastic tomb...he was just gone.

I lost it. The thought of what could happen to Buddah outside hit me with the pain of a fresh wound rubbed raw with salt. He has never been outside off a leash, he's skittish around people but very curious to explore, and it was going to get very hot. As we walked the neighborhood looking for him and calling to him, I kept thinking of a little black kitty out in that baking heat. And I noticed just how many cars there were, how fast they were going. He would have no idea of knowing how to react around them, and he would have no idea how to get home. I searched, crying, knowing the neighbors were seeing this woman walking around looking like crap, with tears and snot running down her face, but I didn't care. I just wanted to find him before something bad happened.

We looked as long as seemed sane, and everywhere we could. I went back into the house several times to look again, just in case. I went back to the old house and looked in there, hoping he'd just been so scared that he scrambled from the new place back to the old. The Boy got in his car to search in a wider range. The Spouse Thingy talked to neighbors.

When it seemed fruitless, when we had no idea where to keep looking, where he might be hiding or playing, I went inside and made up fliers to put on the community mailboxes, and we brought Max back to the old house where he could stay in a familiar room, one with a door we knew would stay closed. And we got back to moving, somberly, sadly. I couldn't stop crying, but we moved what we could.

After he'd been missing for three hours, I plopped down on the front lawn in the shade to take a break, but I scanned up and down the street, hoping for movement. I kept wishing someone would run up with the news they'd found a black kitty. I kept thinking I'd pay just about anything if someone would find him and he was safe.

The Spouse Thingy kept moving things; the alternative was static worrying, and things needed be be moved anyway.

I sat there under the tree for at least ten minutes, long enough to feel guilt that I wasn't doing anything layered over the pain of being fairly sure I'd never see Buddah again.

Then the Spouse Thingy yelled I found him!!! from the upstairs window next door. I got my fat ass off the ground and went running into the house; he was at the top of the stairs holding a very confused little black kitty--Buddah had never left the house. He'd never even left the room. He was there while we searched for him, there while we went room to room calling his name. He simply chose to not answer.

He was hiding under Max's plastic tomb.

Both cats are back at the old house, where they will stay until there's no other option but to take them over. Buddah will probably find a place to hide, because he is fearful of change, but at least we'll make sure there's no way for him to get out of the house.

So...we got the keys, we're moving, we had major panic and tears, but it's much better now...


While I wait...and wait...and wait... I bring you this cute kitty...

Still waiting...


Well now...instead of taking several days to move all their stuff out of the house as originally intended, the People Next Door rented a truck to get it all out tomorrow. They didn't have to, but they were worried about us not getting enough time to move. Tell ya what, they have been a class act all the way through, and it's too bad we won't have them for neighbors for a long time. They're the nicest people we've met since we moved back here.


Surfing around on various motorcycle forums, I often see people touting the line that Loud Pipes Save Lives. The idea being, I suppose, that the louder they are, the better chance people in cars will hear you coming. Without getting into the physics or sound engineering or whatever of that, let me just say that Loud Pipes Piss Off The Neighbors.

Seriously, if your bike is setting off car alarms up and down the street, your pipes are too loud. It's bad enough at three in the afternoon. Three in the morning...dude, you're asking for a smackdown. Your neighbors won't lay a hand on you; they're liable to beat the crap out of your bike with baseball bats and tire irons.

:::stares out the window:::

Such a pretty bike, too...


I happened upon a garage sale this afternoon, which isn't unusual to find on a Sunday; this one, however, was being held in the Walmart parking lot, one neat little corner of asphalt covered with piles of clothing, books, toys, and odd assorted glassware. I presume that I missed all the good stuff, as the good stuff tends to vanish from the typical garage sale by noon, but it was still worth wandering around.

This wasn't your typical garage sale. Walmart donated the space, the tables upon which items for sale were displayed, a dining fly to provide shade for those manning the sale, and food for them to sell (gone by the time I got there, and I could have used a cold drink at this point.) Yep, the Evilness of Retail ponied up the goods that allowed a neighborhood full of people to host a sale of donated goods.

All those people stood in the hot sun--except for the lucky ones who only sweated under the dining fly--to raise money for 10 year old Ashley Sullivan, who is in a bed at Children's Hospital and Research Center in Oakland, where she's undergoing treatment for a rare type of brain tumor. She's facing surgery to place a shunt in her brain, 53 weeks of chemo, and only has a 70% chance of survival.

I picked through the toys and clothes, looking for books, and found a few I might pick up and read someday. As I paid for them I had the blip of a thought speed through my head that if I still lived near all the Evil People, I could pick through the toys as well, looking for the noisiest ones, to gift the children of the neighborhood with. Oh, there were lots of kids' books for sale, too, but there's a certain joy in giving loud toys to other people's children.

I need to make friends in this neighborhood. Surely someone has small children in need of noisy things.

And +1 to Walmart. Perhaps they're not as Evil as everyone makes them out to be...


See now, panicking helps*. While we were busy getting all OHMYGODWHATDOWEDO the neighbors reamed their lender, got their paperwork, and they close on their new house on Tuesday. So we may wind up getting into the house 2-3 days later than expected, but if we have a good 4 days, we can get everything moved and this house cleaned in time.

We would have preferred an entire week, but we'll take what we can get...

*OK, no it doesn't, but it makes me feel better to cough up an excuse for being a whiny little wussy...


The people currently living in the house next door, the house we have signed a lease on, were supposed to close on their new house yesterday.

Their lender, who shall remain nameless =b of a= couldn't handle the overwhelming task of making a follow-up call to verify employment, hence the closing has not yet happened. So who knows when they're going to close. Which means who knows when they'll actually be able to vacate the property?

Don't ask me what the hell we'll do. We have to be out of this house by the 31st. We could get all Move Out Because We Have A Lease and point legal fingers, but then we'd have to deal with a potentially pissed of landlord for 2 years. Not to mention it takes about 90 days to invoke tenancy laws, and we're still out of this house in two weeks.

This is not the fault of the people next door; they're scrambling to get the closing done, including turning to the builder for a potential new lender. It's not the fault of the lady who owns the house. It's not our fault. Yet we're the ones who could potentially get screwed if this goes to the last minute.

:::bangs head on desk:::


But it's only a flesh wound...!

Somehow, I think if I severed a leg while riding, I'd notice it pretty darned quick...


Stupid Things I Heard Today...(and what went through my brain...)

  • I can't be friends with her. She's nice but she's too fat. I get creeped out just looking at her. (Well, aren't you the sweetest thing...?)
  • Mixing diet Coke with regular Coke causes a chemical reaction that can make your stomach split open. (Better living through science?)
  • He's six years old. He can be home alone for a few hours. (Long enough for someone to call CPS?)
  • I don't know why he's trying so hard, he's just not smart enough even for a community college. (Gunning for Parent Of The Year, aren't you?)
  • A Mormon for President? I hate Mormons. They worship Joseph Smith. (No, they do not. He was the founder and first president of the LDS church, and that's it.)
  • If it were my kid, I'd beat the gay out of him. (If it were your kid, he'd never tell you, he'd leave home as soon as he could, and you'd probably never see him again.)


WANTED: Feline-grade Ritalin in mass quantities.

Failing that, a roll of really strong duct tape, and a kitty friendly chair.

I'm getting exhausted just watching the little furball tear around the house as if his ass was on fire...


My legs hurt, my wrists hurt, my neck and shoulders hurt, and my butt REALLY hurts.

Playing with my new toy is a lot more physical than the little Rebel I've played with for the last year (no, not for sale, the Boy is buying it from me; yes I would like to get pictures of his 6'2" self on that little bike but I'm not sure he'd allow it...) I woke up today feeling like I'd had a hard workout yesterday (which is a good thing) and if I sit on anything other than a soft chair, I want to squeal ouchie.

My new toy is an incentive to be very considerate of where we put stuff in the next house, so that the Bowflex is more accessible, and it will make me get in the pool and work out just about every day until it gets too cold to swim.

I big pink puffy heart my new toy, even though I ache...

:::wanders off to find a heating pad to sit on:::



I was up until 2 a.m. this morning, reading. The odd thing is, I was reading my own stuff*

The sad thing... I had to keep reading because I didn't remember what would happen next.

I'm halfway through. I hope it has a happy ending...


*(I'm having a little trouble figuring out how I used to weave things together, and hoped taking a few steps back would help; I'm most happy with FFR so that's the one I grabbed.)


You know, a baby that has just discovered that the voice he keeps hearing is actually coming from himself is awfully cute...for the first five minutes. Forty five minutes of an infant's imitation of a dental drill, not so cute. Trying to concentrate past that sound, just about impossible. I think today's pretentions of writing will be done at Border's instead of the library, where noisy people seem to bother me less.


I has a bed!

Purchased well over 2 years ago, he sniffed at it and walked away.
Max used it; Max bounced between beds, happy as hell he apparently had two where Buddah had none.
This week: Buddah discovered it's mighty comfy after all.
I may need a crow bar to pry him out of it.
Two freakin' years...


We get to move into the house next door.
The house with the pool and hot tub.
With pool service and lawn service.
And paid garbage.
And that's $200/month less rent than what we're paying now.

We don't get the keys until the 24th so we'll only have about a week to move everything and get this place cleaned up (which really shouldn't take long; for once I've kept the science projects on the bathroom walls and kitchen floor to a reasonable level) before the final inspection. And...and...and...Owner Lady gave us a 2 year lease, so we won't have this problem again in a year. She'll let us out of the lease if we're ready to buy a house, but she gave us 2 years of knowing we can stay put.

That's a big relief, actually. Two years of not worrying, and knowing the rent won't skyrocket. Yay.


Several nights ago I had a dream, but only remember fragments of the end of it; I was in a 3rd or 4th story room with no windows, and I had to get out. I knew the only way out was through the wall, but if I jumped through it my body would turn to sand...whatever the reason I needed to get out must have been a good one, because I ran and threw myself into that wall, and exploded into millions of pieces of myself.

But on the other side of that wall--body or not, sand and dust or not, I made it through--was not the daylight I expected. It was space, a gradient purple littered with stars. I immediately began looking for someone and was about to call out... and then Buddah jumped on me and woke me up.

But it stayed with me. I've had that vision of the stars imbedded into that vastness of differing shades of purple stuck in my head since then. It felt important; it feels important.

And then Friday Miz posted this picture. And that was it, that's what I saw, just substitute the water droplets for stars. Even those bright spots towards the middle feel familiar.

Kinda cool, kinda freaky.


I filled with excitement and joy when I heard the man in the library parking lot brag to his Significant Other, "I got eight and a half inches."

Oh yes, I too wanted at least eight and a half inches. And it's not every day you can get that at the library. It's only possible every 3-4 months, and I look forward to it with a joy that appeals to my inner dork which can only be matched by hearing the Spouse Thingy say, "Let’s go look at motorcycles."

Oh yeah. I walked up to the door all atwitter, and almost squealed when I saw the BOOK SALE TODAY banner.

I walked out of there with 12 inches of books.
Fifty cents an inch.
You just can't beat that.

I was so distracted by the idea that there was a room full of fifty-cents-an-inch books that I couldn’t focus on what I had gone to the library for--to work--so I packed it up and headed to Border's, where I could sip iced tea while I pretended to spew forth my literary brilliance. I got halfway there and Mother Naturereally wanted to talk to me, so I pulled into the parking lot of a fast food place and headed in for a quick conversation with Momma N.

Just outside the door, there was a woman and her son, maybe 11 years old. They were standing by a trash can, hands full, trying to figure out how to get the trash into the can without touching the push-in lid.

"Use your elbow, Mom."

"It's FILTHY."

So I pushed the lid open, the kid looked at me like I'd committed the utmost grievous sin by touching The Filth.

"They have soap and water inside," I said.

They thanked me, but the Mom stared daggers at me.

Apparently touching a dirty trash can means you'll curl up and die before you can get to the restroom. Who knew?

As I'm paying for my iced tea at the Border's cafe, the clerk asks, "Aren't you hot in that sweatshirt?"

"Um, no..."

"It's hot as hell outside!"

"But it's cool inside."

She didn't know how to respond to that...


Apparently, the thingies that make my bike stop on demand were pretty well worn through...

At least they look worn. And I presume these are the actual brake pads that were on my bike; I have to take the shop's word that they didn't just hand over some random worn pieces of metal to justify calling and saying the front pads on my bike were worn.

Now, the bike only has 4,000 miles on it, and that seemed a little suspect, so I got online and asked Those Who Know, and across the board they told me to get the old pads back, because that just didn't sound right. People with the same bike have 15-20-30,000 miles on their pads.

Apparently, I must ride the brake more than I thought I did. Or perhaps I did last year when I was learning to ride, hanging on during those ohmygodohmygodohmygod moments but no longer do (say it with me: "lead wrist?")

I've had mixed feelings about this shop before, like they would have no problem concocting a problem just for the money. But I did notice a huge difference on the ride home, and last year when I thought I was dangerously low on brake fluid they didn't laugh when they had to show me I was checking it in completely the wrong way. Perhaps I expect too much? Or perhaps I'm inventing these feelings to justify getting my next bike at a different place, where they have a bike that makes my inner teenager squeal with delight?

Whatever, I have new brakes, they squeak, and the bike is now all serviced and inspected, and I can go zoooom this weekend.


We won't know if we're getting the house for sure until next week. We have the renter's application in hand and she'll pick it up Monday, run our credit, and then we'll see. I don't anticipate any problems, but I know better than to count on anything until it's a done deal. If she changes her mind, there are other houses out there. Not that I want to go looking for them, but we'll find something.

And because it became a very minor issue in comments from the last post...the wishlish link started out as a joke. It's been there for 4 years and until now no one, other than the chosen few, has noticed it. Those few people knew it was there because they asked for it. Initially it was littered with obvious eye-rolling things: a 42" plasma TV, mega-expensive computer systems, a Segway scooter...and toothpicks. Cinnamon flavored toothpicks. When the joke was over and friends wanted something different, it morphed. It's no more realistic because the crap on there is pricey,

Thing is, I've had links like that for years and no one noticed. To me, that was funny. But to have it called disgusting...that's not funny. The commenter didn't ask why the links were there, just called it disgusting. She didn't bother to find out that the Bike Fund link was there for one specific person, who pledged 52 cents if there was only a way to get it to me. She didn't bother to find out that when he coughs his 52 cents up the link will disappear. She never asked for why the wishlist was there or knew about its million-dollar-list origin. She just assumed.

Look, a lot of people have links for donations, links for wishlists, links for porn, whatever. Some people have tons of text ads--click on those and they make money. It all ads up to a big fat shrug of the shoulders and a hearty"So?"

If Murf ever coughs up his 52 cents, the bike fund link will go. The wishlist link is there for friends. It stays. No one says you have to click on it anymore than you have to click on the text ads on other peoples' blogs. I expect nothing, other than email from those friends who want to know when I'm pulling my head out of my ass.


Whoever keeps shoving firecrackers up Buddah's butt in the middle of the night can stop now. The 45 minute holy tears through the house, thundering up and down the stairs over and over and over again--especially when he runs into the bedroom to bounce off my chest--is getting old. Really. I appreciate that he's getting some exercise, but I'd really like some uninterrupted sleep...


First we were not going to move.

Then we found out we were. 'Cause the owner is totally a liar-liar-pants on fire.

Then there was the chance that we could just move to the house next door.

Then a few days ago we met with the lady who owns said house, and who was oh-so-apologetic, because she had promised it to her nephew. But she did have another property around the corner we could rent...which sounded good until we got to the part of "the garage has been converted into a bonus room." We kinda need a garage. The bikes need someplace to sleep.

She really was apologetic, and very nice.

So today we went to look at a house; it was very nice and the bedrooms were big, but the living room was so small that our furniture would not fit. There wouldn't be enough room for even the spiffy chair upon which my Christmas-present-pillow sits.

We passed it up. We figured what the heck, we've been with this property management company for a couple of years and they'll find us a house. Upon talking to the lady showing the house, however, we learned that the rental market is super tight, what with all the foreclosures, and they're taking names and having waiting lists, and whoever has the best credit rating gets the house. We could spend the next 4 weeks just trying to get a house we don't even like.

Screw that.

We went somewhere else. They let you take the keys and go see their houses all by your lonesome. All they ask is a copy of your ID and $20, which you get back.

'Course, we got the wrong key and couldn't get into the house we wanted to look at, but we got to peek through the windows. It was doable, even though the appliances were about a hundred years old. And the grass was dead and knee high. Well, the weeds were knee high. But I can regrow grass, and I can make an ugly house presentable. Those are things I can look past.

We had another address; no key was needed, the lady said there were workers there, they would let us in. And we figured if that didn't pan out, fine, they had a house coming up that was right around the corner from where we used to live and it's a very nice neighborhood.

Just as we pulled up to the house, before we knocked on the door and disturbed the workers, the Boy called.

Lady that owns the house next door left a message on the answering machine.

Her nephew will take the other property instead, if we're still interested in that house.

Hell, yes we are.

So. Keep your fingers crossed. We meet with her again Thursday; hopefully she's ready to take deposits and the like. She might want to run a credit check. And get rental referrals. Which means we might not know for a few days after that.

I want my house with the pool.

And the hot tub.

I don't like that all the bedrooms are upstairs, but the guys can haul my laundry up and down for me, and if I need something from upstairs, well, someone else is going to have to go get it for me.

'Cause the house has a pool.

Did I mention the hot tub?

Thumpa wants.


=blink= =blink= =blink=

Normally I would not endorse the planting of one's butt in a chair all freaking day long, but that's exactly what I did today. Well, it's what I did after I hopped on the bike for a quick run to Costco in order to procure a copy of that book.

My eyes are all fuzzy and I need a little blood to move into the lower half of my body, but I am done and I thoroughly enjoyed my wasted day.

I am sure I was not alone in my literary endeavor today.

Real life may resume tomorrow.


Apparently, I have not updated my archives page in 5 months.
Thusly have I deprived you of going back to read my incredible dronings for 5 months.
I fixed it; you may now go admire all over again the Wonder that is Me.

I think 2007 is in reverse order every some point I'll fix that, too.


A rare moment of togetherness

No hissing at each other.
No paws swiping at each others' face.
No growling.
They never get this close quietly.
I think they're plotting something...


My editor seems to have issues.

He has spent a considerable amount of time this weekend sitting by the front door, not five feet from my desk, where he faces a wall and meows his little fool head off. Every time I stop and ask what the problem is he turns his head to look at me, and the look on his face suggests that I have interrupted something very important.

He's either having a two way conversation with the wall, and I am not fortunate enough to be included on one side of it, he's confused and means to be talking to the front door, trying to convince it to open up and let him out, or he hears mice in the walls.

I'm not sure they have kitty anti-psychotics, he knows he's not allowed outside, and if it's the latter, I may be glad we're going to move soon.

Buddah has been so insistent in his conversations with the wall that my harshest critic finally wandered over to him, hissed, and then popped him upside the head with a mighty swipe of his paw.

It worked for about ten minutes.

He's back talking in a stream of kitty chatter, and I am getting nothing worthwhile accomplished.

That's not a complaint.

I think I'll go bake a cake.


Border's Books apparently hosts a book club. And, apparently, you need to be 60 years or older to take part, and you need not have read the book of the month. Apparently, too, it meets on Friday afternoons, a time when I evidently had not yet hogged a table while I sip iced tea and pretend to write.

I didn’t find out what book they were there to discuss; I don't believe that the entire time I was there anyone mentioned it. I did, however, get to hear that Irene's bladder infection has cleared up nicely--they were worried to would spread to her kidneys--and that she would join them the next time. I also learned about Michael Jackson (but not that sissy boy singer!), son of Sumner Jackson (Why, I’d known him my entire life), who died last year at 76 years of age while on vacation in Italy. He had cancer and wanted to see the world before he died, and that was the last place on his itinerary.

They agreed, it was a lovely way to pass on, doing those last few things that you want to do. We should all be so lucky.

I also heard snickers and titters over the young man with waist long hair and a wiry beard who left the cafe with a flourish; he was wearing a long dark linen dress with a gold paisley-type pattern, pearls around his neck, several costume jewelry bracelets, and he carried a vibrantly sequined purse. I waited for the ugly edge of it, but they were merely amused.

"Honey, if I looked that good in a dress like that, you bet I'd wear it no matter what!"…"Good for him. If I can wear dungarees, he can wear that pretty thing."…"I want to know where he got the bag..."

They laughed at stories of each other's grandkids--three year old Jimmy has learned the word "booger" and says it at every inopportune moment, including quite loudly during a church service--and of the horrible way several of them golfed this week. "I got a 92!" one woman proclaimed, only to be met with "Well, yes, but that was on the first four holes and I don't think I'd be bragging about it."

There was a belch. I’m too old to need an excuse for that.

There was a spill. Get a napkin for me…Eh, get your own napkin…Don’t make that poor girl behind the counter clean up after you…Why not, I’d give her a nickel…

I was a little sad to see them go, but they noted the time and realized they only had half an hour before the Harry Potter movie started.

I love spunky old people.


I've been sitting in the cafe at Border's bookstore for a couple of hours, struggling with this manuscript, trying to figure out why I can't seem to make it come to life. It has the elements a story requires, but it’s missing that spark, the thing that would draw you in and keep you reading.

Right now I think if someone picked it up, they'd shrug it off by page 10 with a "meh" as they tossed it aside.

It works, but it doesn’t work.

Then this couple walked in. He looks like he's 90 years old, walking in microshuffles, his hands clenched tightly in front of his stomach; he takes a few steps, and pauses, as if he's trying to remember where he is and why. She seems to close to the same age, but she has that youthful bounce that says life has not yet swung its mighty sword at her. She's clear about where she is and why, and when he pauses with uncertainty she places her hand on his arm and waits, patiently.

I watch them out of the corner of my eye, not wanting to stare but wanting to drink them in. He stands by the counter, staring at the menu board, and she rubs his arm, as if to let him know she's right there, and it's okay. After a moment she tells him in a strong voice that he really enjoys their muffins, and some cold tea would be nice. He brightens a bit, nods, and she leads him to a table just off to my right, making sure he's safely in a chair before placing their order.

When she brings their food and drinks to the table he asks, quite loudly, "Is it cold outside?"

She reaches over to pat his hand and says no, it's very nice outside, but if he needs his sweater she'll go out to the car and get it.

No, he replies, I thought it was cold because of the coffee.

She reminds him it's ice tea as she unfolds a napkin to lay across the table. She breaks up the muffin into several pieces, and tells him not to worry about getting burned, because it's a cold muffin.

There are only a few other people in the cafe; no one seems to mind the volume at which they have to communicate. He tells her repeatedly that the coffee is cold, but it's good anyway. She reminds him that it's iced tea. He asks again if it's cold outside. Three times he mentions wanting to buy a new book by "that bald fellow." Three times she promises they'll look for it as soon as they're done with their muffin.

"It's the biggest fucking muffin I've ever seen," he declares once. I know I'm not the only one biting back laughter; she simply agrees that it was very big and that's why she only bought one for them to share.

"Is it cold outside?"

She never lost patience with him. When the muffin was nothing but crumbs, she reached over with another napkin and brushed it gently across his face. He smiled and in a moment of clarity thanked her, and asked if they could look for his book now. His eyes sparkled: I know who you are, I know that you love me.

I watched them leave; he walked in the same microshuffles with which he arrived, pausing to look around, seemingly unsure of where he was. She kept a hand on his arm, rubbing gently, assuringly. I watched decades of love and devotion inch across the carpet, and then disappear in between book stands.

They are the spark I don't have in this book. I'm trying to write about people who are patently unkind to one another, who are clueless about how to find the rhythm to dance with each other through life. I'm having a hard time writing about it because my life has been more like this old couple who shuffled into my periphery for 20 minutes. Even when bad things happen, my life has been peppered with these sparks of kindness, the unspoken understanding that even when we don't like each other very much, we will always love each other and treat each other with respect.

I'm having a hard time creating these people because I don't really know them.

That old couple, I know them. I was raised by them. I married into a family with people like them. I'm not enough like them to satisfy myself, but I know them well enough.

That's a good thing. It's not helping me whittle away at the words I’ve already committed to virtual paper well enough to finish the story--sooner or later it will get done--but at least I think I now know why.

It's not true that writers should write what they know; sometimes they need to write what they need to know...sometimes that brings their own reality into focus.


Buddah The EditorMeet my new editor.

Buddah Pest.

Apparently, he's not satisfied with the level of my work lately, as he's taken to shielding the world from it with his 13 pounds of shiny black wonder.

And he talks to me. Normally he's a quiet little guy, but as he splays himself across the first draft, he meows repeatedly, which roughly translates into "You should stop now. Save yourself incredible literary embarrassment and just come play with the kitties."

Or he might be saying "Crunchy treats. I want them. Right now."

Either way, I'm not getting much done.


:::waits for lottery numbers to be drawn:::

Well, it is supposed to be a lucky day. I figured this was as good a day as any to finally remember to actually buy a ticket.

::crosses fingers:::