EOY Randomnesses

  • If you give a kitty a toy mouse that looks an awful lot like a real mouse, at some point you will wake up to said mousie on the bed next to your face, and it will not be a pleasant Good Morning.
  • 50 mph winds can remove 90% of the Christmas decorations from your front lawn.
  • They can be shoved in the garage, but eventually someone is going to have to put them away.
  • I still love French Fries. In fact, I think I want to take myself to lunch somewhere I can have some French Fries.
  • I am still a milestone kind of person; I think I always will be.
  • Friday was the 5th anniversary of my friend Moe's death. A big milestone.
  • I've spent several nights thinking about death; too many people that have touched my life in one way or another have gone.
  • 4th grade, the music teacher, decapitated in a wreck on the Autobahn in Munich. Our class was too young to be told that much detail, but told we were.
  • 6th grade, Kyle, leukemia.
  • 7th grade, Chris, Hodgkin's Disease.
  • 10th grade, Glen, hit by a car.
  • 11th grade, Rita, leukemia.
  • 11th grade, Alan, drunk driver plowed into him. On the sidewalk.
  • 11th grade, David, a heart attack at age 16
  • So many others since then...and then Moe 5 years ago.
  • And my father in law this year.
  • Grief never really leaves, it just settles for a while and then rises in these little wisps of choked back tears and half finished dreams.
  • It comes at you in the middle of the night, the sound of a clock chiming.
  • Or the way your own husband walks, reminding you of his dad.
  • It just comes at you, sometimes quielty, sometimes a slap in the face, but it's never really gone.
  • I miss Moe
  • I miss my father in law
  • I seriously, seriously miss my father in law.


If you braved the mall're insane, and I hope you survived.

We braved Costco, where there was tons of parking and very short lines, even at the gas pump. But, sadly, there were not enough really good free samples, which is always the real reason for going to Costco. On really good free sample days, you can go around two or three times and get a free lunch!

Christmas with the Wabbits was nice, quiet, and fun...We got a late start (Spouse Thingy worked the night shift Christmas Eve, so he kind of needed to sleep a few hours once he got home) so we opened gifts around noon, then putzed around for a bit before heading out for a movie...which turned out to not be playing at the time the newspaper said it was, so we headed for Sharky's and played pool (verrrrrry badly) instead. Later we went to dinner at Denny's--which was packed, unlike last year--and then headed home.

It was nice to just spend some time tgether. Getting presents was a bonus :)


I woke up at 5:30 this morning to Max sitting by my pillow, petting my cheek. He's been playing the cute card all day, talking to me and sitting in my lap and rubbing his face against mine. Every time I had to get up to do something, he waited in the chair for me, and curled back up on my ap (keeping me warm, as I asked him to) when I sat down.

He's either planning something, or he knows Santa comes tomorrow night.

I hope my cat believes in Santa...


Whoa...soooooo many people out and about today. Sooooo many people crowded into WalMart wearing 32 tons of cheap perfume that I had to hand over my box of benedryl to the Spouse Thingy and go outside to wait in the car.

Peoples...please...when you put on perfume or cologne, think of others who will have to inhale your scent of choice. And those with asthma who will feel like dying right there beside the feminine hygeine products aisle.

Tomorrow is supposed to be the busiest shopping day of the year. Tomorrow I will putz around the house, very grateful that I'm done shopping and that I don't have to throw myself into the center of the masses. The heavily perfumed and cologned masses.

Well, I might have to go gas up the car.*

And I might have to run to the grocery store.**

But other than that...I'm staying home and annoying the kitties, who are now all hopped up on kitty crack, couresty of their Secret Paws.

*Want a convertible? We're thinking about selling it or trading it in to get something we both like, now that we're sharing a car...I figured I'd ask, seeing as how the Mazda went so fast...

**Mebbe I'll get stuff to make cookies. Mmmmmmm...cooooookies...


Now see, you missed your chance.
You could have had this spiffy car, but no.
Someone else beat you to it.
I hope he and BooBooKittyPhk* will be very happy.

Don't ask me, my son named the car...



Screw getting any work done. I'm shooting for 20 million now...


Here ya go.
Just what you want to buy that special someone in your life.
Go ahead, I know you want to.
It's fun to drive, you'll love it.


Well now, nothing says You'll Sleep So Well than finding out there's a serial rapist terrorizing the part of town you live in...


File This Under 'Oh Holy...'

Cute kid, eh?
And she just got her red belt in karate.
She's two years old.

Two years old.
She got it by proving she could do a front kick, a punch, two turns and four defensive blocks.

Mollie got her passion for martial arts from her parents, both black belts and full-time karate instructors.

Ok. I used to train in a martial art; in the system in which I trained a red belt is just 2 steps away from black belt. It takes a couple of years at least to get to red belt, and you have to show considerably more skill than doing a front kick, a punch, two turns, and four defensive blocks. Those skills won't get anyone from white to gold belt (or yellow or orange, take your pick based on your own school's colors.) In some schools, red is the last belt before black.

Yes, different schools in different martial arts styles and systems use different colored belts. A green belt in Jhoon Rhee TKD is not the same as a green belt in a Goju Ryu school which is not the same as a green belt in, say, Kung Fu, if that Kung Fu school used belt or sash colors at all. So her red belt might not be any different than a beginner in another school.


But but but.

Red is generally recognized as having at least a modicum of proficiency in the styles I am even minutely familiar with. There is no way that a 2 year old has even a basic understanding of martial arts and fighting concepts. A 2 year old shouldn't even be taught fighting concepts.

I'm not one of those people who thinks 10 year old kids shouldn't test for black belt; I don't think a black belt indicates the ability to kick ass, nor is it proof that the student can take on any potential attacker. It simply means the student has shown a grasp of the fundamental concepts of their art and can physically demonstrate those concepts, and is ready to become a Student. Before that, you're really just dabbling in the art.

So I don't have a problem with kids in martial arts. I do have a problem with this. There's no possible way that kid knows enough nor understands enough to have earned a red belt. Or even a white belt.

It should be duly noted that her parents are karate instructors.

Wanna guess who tested her and awarded the belt?

Um, yeah...that was my guess, too.


Why is it, when watching The Biggest Loser I get the worst case of the munchies?


In my blog hopping this morning, I landed at Carmi's blog, as I am wont to do many mornings a week (and often evenings, too, as I check to see if he's posted more than once in a day) and his "About Me" blurb caught my eye. I've looked at it a dozen times, yet this morning something clicked in my brain, a memory that I tend to dig out of the recesses of my mind several times a year.

I believe strongly in random acts of kindness, and know we can all do a better job making our planet a happier place to live.

(Go on. Go over there and peek, read his post for today. I'll be here when you get back.)

So, hey! My brain still works.

This time of year people all over are engaged in random acts of kindness; one person empties his pocket change into a red kettle; one person buys a bag of groceries and places it in the Food Donation bin by the door; someone else buys a cart load of toys and hands it over to the Marines standing next to the Toys For Tots bin outside the WalMart entrance.

It occurs to us to do simple things for others this time of year; sometimes the act occurs without a lot of thought. We see the red kettle, we automatically reach for the change. That it's often a remote act doesn't lessen the impact--those simple gestures add up and make a difference in someone else's life.

Like last year--heck, almost exactly last year, on Dec 11--when I was standing in front of a vending machine, fishing for nonexistent quarters in my pocket, this guy that just bought himself a soda, gave me 2 quarters so I could get one, too. That made a difference to me. It might not be up there with curing cancer or bringing about world peace, but it was a kind gesture that stuck with me.

But when I was at Carmi's blog this morning, reading his blurb, I remembered something that made a huge impact in our lives. A very simple gesture, a random act of kindness that has likely been long forgotten by the person who touched our lives, but provided us with a jaw dropping moment that kept on giving.

The Spouse Thingy and I--very newly married, living on 10 cent boxes of generic mac and cheese and boxes of blueberry muffins sent in care packages put together by my mother in law (ha! Be jealous. She's my MIL and not yours, so nyah nyah nyah, :::sticking out my tongue:::)--were standing in line at a Safeway in Provo, Utah. We normally didn't shop there, because the generic mac and cheese was 12 cents instead of 10, but they had this thing where you got a stamp for every $5 you spent, and if you saved enough of the stickers, you could get a dinner plate for free.

These were nice plates, too. Yes, we owned plates, but only a couple of them, and when you have to choose between food and dinner plates, you buy food. But we really wanted those plates.

So there were were, counting out what was essentially small change to buy a few boxes of mac and cheese, and some vegetables, a woman walked up and asked us if we were collecting those stamps. And when we said yes, she reached into her purse and handed us several sheets of them.

Enough stamps to get an entire set of plates, 8 of them.

She handed us the stamps, saying she wasn't going to use them, and walked away. She essentially gave us an entire set of dinner ware, and walked away with only a suprised thank you.

This woman never knew what that simple random act of kindness meant for us.

Sure, we would have done just fine eating off the same couple of (very cheap) plates for the next few years. We eventually would have collected enough stamps to get one or two plates, and we would have been happy with that. But instead, two almost-starving college students were able to go home with this gift...more than stamps, more than plates.

In the thumbnail version of this picture it's just a couple of sheets of stamps that got us some free plates. But in the full sized image, the progressive JPG scanned at 1200 dpi... That I've never forgotten it says alot. Those extra pennies we were spending to get those stamps added up; when you're living on $2.25 an hour and only working part time because school is the Main Job, pennies matter.

Pennies add up to extra boxes of macaroni and cheese that come in plain white boxes with black lettering. Pennies mean you can actually put the right amount of milk in the mix. Over time, pennies mean you can buy a pound of hamburger, even if it is 25% fat.

When the Boy moved into his own apartment, just before we moved to Ohio, we still had those plates to give to him. Having those meant he didn't have to scrape together anything to buy his own. When he and his roomates parted ways, he passed them on to someone else.

And thusly did that one simple act live on.

One tiny never know where, or if, it will end.


Not For The Kiddies To Read...

Or "WHAT Was He Thinking???"

Or "File This Under WTF? & OMG!"

I tried to find an article online that wasn't locked behind a You Must Register To Read link, but the only one I could find was at The Daily Republic Online which not only requires signing up to read, but a paid subscription. So, in order to not violate copyright, I've snipped a small portion of the article regarding a Santa at the mall near us:

Vallejo resident Kelley Johnson said her 7-year-old son had just gotten his picture taken when Santa beckoned her over.

"He whispered 'Would you be offended if I called you a picaninny' and I said I would," Johnson recalled. "He said 'What about a coon,' and at that point I told my son to get up.

"I had tears in my eyes. The young ladies running the booth asked what he said. I said 'Young ladies, you may be too young to understand,' " Johnson said.

The Santa, who was not identified, was fired on the spot

I read it once in the paper yesterday and had a major WTF? moment, read it again and had another. Seriously, what was this guy thinking? Is he some young jerk who thought he was being funny? Some old fart who has slipped a gear and lost all ability to use his inner filter? Did someone whack him over the head with a giant hammer 10 minutes before taking his Santa Seat?

The article goes on to explain that the photo company who hired him fired him on the spot and the mall fully supports the decision. I would certainly hope so. And the Santa in question wrote to his managers and explained he "didn't intend the questions to be offensive."

How could anyone not realize how offensive that would be? And how could anyone even have that pop into their head?

Johnson said her son didn't hear the comments, but "got the sense that mommy was very upset."

Nevertheless, she said she was very happy with how the incident was handled.

"No one said it was no big deal or we'll deal with it later," she said. "If he would have said that to the wrong person, there are so many other things that could have taken place."

Oooh yeah, Like bloodshed. She showed remarkable restraint. I think I would have bitch slapped Santa right there in front of all the kidlets.

:::wanders off, still wondering WTF?:::


Today's possibilities:

  • Clean house
  • Go to the library and write
  • Go shopping for that one last gift
  • Go buy cat food for the little piglets
  • Sit here and play online all day

So many things to do, so little desire to do any of them...Or rather, I hate cleaning house; I'm not insane and don't really want to get caught up in the weekend holiday shopping insanity; the cats could eat the Other Dry Food (aka so calorie laden they love it and want to roll their bodies in it until they become One with the Fancy Feast); and I would feel a little bit guilty just sitting here all day.

That leaves the library.

Dammit, that means I have to think.

:::looks out window::: Stupid rain. I could bo out on my bike ignoring everything, but nooooo, it had to cloud over and get all rainy and chit.

I'm not sure I'm prepared to engage my brain. Maybe I'll do one load of laundry, and maybe the dishes.

Oh gawd...I'm choosing hosuework over writing.

Maybe I'll go to the ER instead. Obviously, there's something wrong with me...


Because I'm still in the letter writing mood...

Dear Panhandler,

It might not be a good idea to sit there on that corner of the Walmart parking lot, with a sign begging for change because you're homeless and starving, with your $1300 Trek bike right there for the whole world to see.

Just sayin'...

Dear Max and Buddah,

Look, the store didn't have your regular dry food and we had this free sample bag in the obviously love it, but don't get used to it. And cripes, stop making those grunting and snorting sounds while you eat. It's very disturbing.

Dear Holiday Shoppers,

Slow down. Enjoy it. The world will not stop if you don't find that PS3 for junior. But your heart might, if you don't take a deep breath and a step back.



Dear Companies That Send Gift cards Instead Of Rebate Checks,

Look. I appreciate a rebate, even a small one. Heck, I would have purchased said item even without a rebate; odds are I intended to buy it without knowing there was a rebate offered, but was quite pleased to learn that my new toy came with one.


Stop with the gift cards as rebates. It's a ripoff. No one ever uses the last 5 cents or dollar or even two dollars on gift cards, so that money winds up in the pockets of either you or the issuer of the card, and that's not right. How many millions billions of dollars a year does VISA rack up in expired, unused card values?

Oh yeah...expirations. I also don't appreciate that my rebate-as-gift-card expires in just a couple of months. WTF? If the offer of a rebate had been the deciding factor in my purchase, I would be more than the little bit miffed that I am right now. It's my money now, shouldn't I be able to spend it six months from now if I want or need to? Or twelve months from now? Shouldn't I be able to stick that money into savings instead of being forced to spend it?

Yeah, I know. It's on the books as debt owed and you want to be able to clear that debt as soon as possible. But that's not my problem. It's your problem, and one you created when you decided to create debt in lieu of sending a check. Remember checks? That's how rebates used to be issued. We'd get this spiffy check in the mail for $20, take it to the bank, cash it, and buy a pizza. It worked quite well and we got every penny to which we were entitled.

Gift cards, as shiny as they are, are a ripoff. So stop sending my rebates in that form. I want a computer generated, signature stamped check that will require me to stand in line at the credit union, behind Joe Blow who hasn't bathed in 6 weeks. Because even though that's a pain in the butt, at least I get my entire rebate.


Annoyed Wabbit Who Has $1.27 left on a rebate card that will never be used because NO ONE WILL TAKE IT.



Last night I printed out what I'd written for my NaNo novel, and began to read, thinking I would start re-writing, and adding to each far-too-short chapter, with editing to follow in 4-6 months.

You know the old saying about train wrecks that you can't help but slow down to look at?

That's my NaNo novel. It's a giant trainwreck, horrible and awful and bloody and gross, but I could not stop looking at it. I cringed when reading the opening, I groaned and snorted and rolled my eyes at my own literary prowess, and I laughed at places that were not supposed to be funny. It's a what the hell is this??? piece of Junque, so bad that one has to keep reading.

It's a repairable train wreck, so once I pick away the blood and guts and assorted pieces of broken Amtrak, I think I'll be able to read it without laughing at the horror of it.


I get to a certain point in all my work where I absolutely hate it. Face it, you can only read something so many times before it seems like the author committed a literary mortal sin. It does matter if it's something I wrote. In the rewrites for Finding Father Rabbit--probably the book I'm most satisfied with and that has garnered the best reviews--I wound up reading that sucker over 20 times, and by the 13th or 14th I wanted to barf all over it.

I have a few manuscripts tucked away that are still awful after several rewrites, and they'll never see the warmth of print, their fictitious glory nestled between a spiffy 4 color paperback cover. I pull them out once in a while, just to laugh at myself.

So. I think I'll take my print-out over to the library, where I will sit and begin to pick away at the scabs already forming on my bloodied literary trainwreck. I might see Library Bob, I'll probably see Krinkle Kris (lady who sits there and pays her bills the first Sunday of every month, it seems...she brings everything in a giant paper bag, and between the bag and the little cellophane windows on the envelopes, she creates quite a bit of irritating and annoying noise) and I might even get something accomplished before becoming distracted by something shiny.

No, I don't know what might be shiny in the library.

Maybe someone will have dropped a quarter, and I'll find it.

That would be spiffy.


WooHoo, it's December.
Christmas is coming.
New Year is coming.
NaNoWriMo is over.

I didn't hit 50K. I will not get the spiffy PDF certificate. In NaNo terms, I am not a winner, but I'm not a loser, either. I like how that works out.

In the last few days I had to make a concentrated choice: finish NaNo, or work on the layout of a book, the royalties from which will be donated to an animal charity. Get a PDF certificate or get the book to print in time for people to order it for the holidays. And there was the whole sit down and write, or go for a ride mentality working on me.

I opted to finish laying out the book (which might still get to print in time, I'm still waiting on a couple of publishing agreements; even though people submitted work specifically for this book I can't go to print without their John Hancocks) and to take a few bike rides. The thought occurred to me that I could cheat and just type nonsense for 10,000 words and "win," because GOSH DARN IT that's one spiffy PDF certificate (or it was when I did NaNo year before last) but my initial goal was to get this story out of my head, and in that I succeeded.

Before November, it had been tumbling around in my head for well over a year, but I didn't have a clear enough vision of it to do more than take copious notes. I had no idea how it would end; now I do, and it's ending in a way I honestly did not expect.

While I was pounding the story out, once in a while I worried that some people would eventually read it and think I had written them into the story, and not in a favorable light. I had to keep writing, because if it didn't get out of my head I wouldn't be able to move onto the next project; and two, it's fiction. Pure fiction, albeit wrapped around familiar truths.

So when I finish, if it becomes a you-can-buy-it book...No, it's not about you. It's not about me. It's not even about the dead guy walking around in Goth makeup.

There ya go, something to look forward to, and to discuss amongst yourselves.

Who's the dead guy in Thumper's failed NaNo...?


In the interest of settling a debate that really wasn't:

What makes more sense, and will do the greater a bunch of random toys to place in a local toy drive bin or Toys For Tots bin, or pick names off a Gift Tree and buy specifically requested items for kids in need?

Charlie (wife of He Who Never Blogged, and hence he lost his blog address to someone else, but that's neither here nor there) and I have been discussing this in email and we really aren't sure. For both our families, Christmas isn't Christmas without toy shopping, and tradition is to go out and buy stuff to donate.

But which is better? Just buy random things and let someone else match toy to kid? Perhaps spend a little less and get a few things someone has specifically asked for? Does it even matter?

Discuss amongst yourselves. Just do it in my comments :)


Dear Santa,

I've been pretty good this year. I mean, I didn't beat the living crap out of anyone and I'm pretty sure I can get through December 25th without going apeshit on anyone. I didn't throw any major temper tantrums, and for the most part I played well with others. I didn't even run over any old people in the grocery store with my cart when they turned theirs sideways and blocked the aisles, even though I wanted to.

So, since I've been so good, I'm hoping you can get this for me for Christmas.

Isn't it pretty? It's so freaking's not a sport bike, but it's not a cruiser either. It's a 680cc wonder, and it's automatic! It's my dream bike. If I get this I'll never ask you for another thing. Really, I promise.

Oh, I know that so far Honda has only shown it as a concept bike, and they aren't planning on rolling it out until next year, and then only in Europe, but you're so good I know you can get your hands on one. I have faith in you, Santa. You want me to be the only one in the U.S. with this beautiful little toy, don't you? I will love you forever.


P.S. If you bring me this, I'll make cookies and vodka slush for you. If you don't, you're only getting cookies.

Saturday're all supposed to be out power shopping, not in the library with your crinkly papers and hacking coughs. Go on. Get up and take your wallet to WalMart, so I can get back to concentrating*.

*If I pound out 2200 words a day for the next 4 days, I'll actually hit 50K. Yay me.


It's already November 22, only 8 days left in the month. I'm only 30,000 words into my NaNoWriMo entry...I don't think I'm going to hit 50K by the 30th (unless I cheat by typing one word 20,000 times, and no one but me would be the wiser...) While I am terribly, terribly sad (crushing! I cry daily!) that I won't win that nifty PDF certificate download for hitting fifty thousand words, I did get out of it what I wanted going into it. I finally fleshed out the story that's been rolling around in my head for well over a year.

I have thirty thousand words of what is essentially Really, Seriously, Completely Horrible material, but it's Really Seriously Completely Horrible in a reedemable kind of way; it's the bones that, if I keep at it, should become 80-100 thousand words with a little meat on those bones, and if I'm lucky, some savory fat, too. Maybe even with gravy and a side of mashed potatoes.

(Um, yeah, food on the brain right now.)

So, I'm an utter failure. I doubt I'll hit 50 thousand words. But it's been fun, and I'm not going to stop writing this month, just in case...


5:30 a.m.
28 collective pounds of kitty pounding up and down the hallway outside the bedroom.
In spite of threats to the fur on their little butts.
I was not amused.



I'm not sure where I got this picture, but substitute that cat for a chubby black and white tux kitty, and you'd have Max. He does not like going to the vet and has become so good at expressing his displeasure that he's earned a reputation.

Last month we took Buddah in for his shots and checkup; we took him in Max's blue plastic tomb, because it's nicer than the average pet carrier, and we figured Buddah would like to be able to stand and look out the car window on the way there. The thing about that tomb is that it's quite distinctive, and as we pulled it out of the car the people in the vet's office were watching out the window; as soon as we were through the door they took a closer look and sighed in unison "Thank God, it's not Max."

Yesterday Buddah had to go back for a booster shot; he was terrified and trembled horribly, but he purred for the vet and even rubbed against him, but again, as we walked into the waiting area, the two people up front expressed relief that the kitty in the carrier was not Max.

They haven't seen Max since May, and it had been a good 6 months before that, but as the king of pooping at will, he's hard to forget.

Not only did Max poop all over me during at least one of his visits while he was so sick, all over the exam table, and the cage in the back, it seems that in a frenzy of You Will NOT Touch Me! Max pooped mightily and was able to smear it all over the wall.

Oddly, I'm a little proud of that.

They have six months to brace themselves, because he's going back. And I imagine he'll have saved up an awful lot of poop by then...


Anyone out there who uses Blogger and Haloscan for comments, and has migrated to beta the comments work with the enw setup? I'm hesitant to make the switch...


What's The Frequency, Kenneth?

I have tinnitus. It's not bad, at least I don't think it is. I always have some ringing in my ears but it's not distracting unless I think about it, or unless the room I'm in is very quiet. Hell, I think I was 14 before it occured to me that not everyone has a persistent background noise that follows them around like a lost little puppy.

When it's incredibly quiet, it manifests itself as more than just a ringing; late at night, when everything is silent, I often think I'm hearing a TV on in another room. It's convincing enough that I sometimes have to get up to check to make sure no one left one on, which is a little bit odd since the sound rides on the air like a muffled auction or horse race announcing, and I don't think anyone in this house watches auctions or horse racing on TV.

I can ignore it for the most part. I hear it, have to think, and once I've pinned it on those odd sounds that my brain just makes up to annoy me, I can roll over and go back to sleep.

Four thirty this morning I woke up, (and surprisingly my first thought wasn't I'm alive!) and as I stirred awake and thought I heard a TV on in another room, but a peek out the door suggested everyone was still asleep, so unless a cat sat on a remote, it wasn't likely.

But... What I was hearing was Dan Rather.

Dan Rather, voice muffled.

Dan Rather, sounding rather drunk, repeating the same phrase over and over, though I could not tell exactly what that phrase was. It wasn't for lack of effort; I strained to hear, thinking that maybe one of the cats really did sit on a remote and turn on a TV. It's not implausible; they've stepped on them and changed channels before.

So I slid out of bed and went into the hallway; nothing. It was quiet and every light in the house was off. There was no tell-tale flicker of a TV to be seen, and no Dan Rather muttering from the living room.

Five minutes later, back in bed and trying to drift off, there he was, muttering from the ether, that authoritative deep rumble bouncing off the walls.

This is annoying.

I can deal with the auctions at night. I can deal with the horse race announcer. I can deal with the persistent ringing.

But Dan Rather talking to me at night?

There's just something wrong with that.


I had just pulled out of my driveway and was headed down the street, destination library, when a lady in a minivan blew the stop sign at the corner near our house; she missed me by about an inch--no exaggeration--and stopped only long enough to look at me like "Why are you there? No one is supposed to be there."

I pointed to the stop sign and yelled "There's a freaking STOP SIGN!"

She went on, looking confused. I don't know why; the stop sign is always there. It's not exactly a suggestion; you're supposed to come to a complete stop behind the limit line where a stop sign exists. It's one of the first things you learn in driver's ed. It's not even a difficult concept: see the red octagon, and stop. You don't even have to be able to read.

But she looked confused, and I wondered if she was having a bad day. Maybe she just lost her job. Maybe someone died. Maybe life was just so overwhelming at that moment that she just didn't see the stop sign.


But I don't care. Her right to have a bad day and drive ends where my personal safety begins. If I'd been a little quicker on the gas coming out of the driveway, she would have slammed into the passenger side of my car. And while the car is just a thing and can be repaired or replaced, the person inside might not be so lucky. And if I'd been on the bike, I would have been a little quicker on the gas. And that would have ruined MY day.

And we all know my day is more important.

It's all about me.

Yes, I'm now having an All About Me Day; I'm at the library and there are kids over in the corner laughing, and it's irritating the crap out of me. Normally I don't care. Some guy just answered his cell phone, and usually that doesn't bother me if they speak in a soft voice. He's dang near whispering, and I want to grab the phone and shove it up his left nostril. (You thought I was going to say ass, didn't you? Ha! But that would not be nearly as painful as a nostril, I don't think. People shove things up their buttockal region all the time, but I've never heard of anyone going to the ER because they tried to wedge a hamster up their nose.) There's a Library Lady shelving DVDs and the tick of the plastic on the metal shelf kind of makes me want to get up and scream This is a farking library! It's for BOOKS not some freaking movie rental place!

Yeah, not a good day now, though it was when I got up, even though I was woken by an odd dream about alien invasion and not being able to find the cats to get them to safety at the Little House On The Prairie. When I left the house I was in a good mood.

Some lady blows through a stop sign and now I want to chew nails and spit them out at little children.

So. I am going to shut the computer down. Stick it in my backpack, leave without saying a word to anyone lest I really offend, and I'm taking myself out to lunch, because we all know a burger and fries cures all.

And maybe this afternoon won't be all about me. Well, it should be all about me, but not in a I-want-to-rip-your-face-off kind of way.

My battery is dying anyway.

That's as good an excuse as any to stop working. A dying battery, and a desire to say mean things to small children.

Yes, I should definitely go.

Maybe a chocolate shake is in order.



Wandom Wabbit Dwoppings

  • I voted. Thus, I get to complain until the next election.
  • Voting required me to go someplace brand new all by myself.
  • AND I had to TALK to strangers, because I had no clue what precinct I live in.
  • I didn't even think twice about this until I was done.
  • Pat me on the back and give me chocolate. Trust me, it's a big deal.
  • Spouse Thingy had to work a day shift, so he had the car. So I rode my bike.
  • After I voted I took myself on a nice 2 hour tour of the town.
  • I said bad words at a stop light when it wouldn't change for me. I waited 4 cycles, then turned right because I didn't want to turn left that badly.
  • I have done no writing today, though I may stop playing online in a few minutes and try to cough up a good 2,000 words.
  • Or not.
  • Remember how we had to move? Because the owners wanted to sell?
  • They took the house off the market.
  • So their son could live in it.
  • That annoyed me for about 10 minutes, even though they had every right to not renew the lease and honestly intended to sell it. The kid really needed a place to live.
  • I know this because our kids know each other.
  • Even though it cost us a chitload of money to move, we at least got to move into a better house.
  • Yes, we are still loving this house.
  • If you did not vote, no chocolate for you. Give it all to me.

And now, for some total cuteness, sent to me in email today by my mother-in-law... The real Bambi and Thumper, as captured by photographer Tanja Askani


Nothing says Good Morning like waking up to a cat-spit-covered furry toy mouse being dropped onto your face by a hopeful kitty...


Dear Maniac Driving The Car Behind Me,

This may come as news to you, but in the state of California, bicycles are considered vehicles and they have every right to share the road with cars and motorcycles (so do wheelchairs and those nifty little scooters you see old people tooting around on, but we're talking about bicycles here and I don't want to confuse you any more than you already seem to be.)

Now, when I am on my motorcycle and there is a group of bicyclists ahead of me at a stop light, I am not going to crowd them. I am not going to rev my engine to make them take off at the light as fast as they can, and I am certainly not going to try to blow around them. They have every right to be there, too.

What I will do is protect their lane space by staying a little bit behind them at the stop. When the light goes green, I am not going to engage in a jackrabbit start, and neither will I blow past them, even though I have enough room. I am going ride safely behind them until they have crossed the intersection, and then I am going to ride slowy and give them time to get past the cars parked at the side of the road, so that they can get into the bike lane. Then, and only then, will I speed up and pass them.

So...get off my freaking back tire and quit trying to press me into pressing them to get out of the way. If you won't protect their right to be on the road, then I will.


The Rider Of The White Rebel That Went 15 Miles Under The Speed Limit A Lot Longer Than She Needed To Because You Were Pissing Her Off.


Music Of The Night

I doubt I'm alone in that I have these moments where I ponder life, both its meaning and its end. Dying is my greatest fear; it's not just that I've got this deep feeling that I'm not going to measure up to the standards that could get me past the Pearly Gates, or even that I'll be spending eternity wishing I hadn't bitched and moaned about spending my Living Years shivering through the 3 layers of goose bumps that seemed to crawl across my skin like fungus. A part of it is this niggling feeling that I've got it all wrong and there's nothing after this. We're born, we live, we die, and that's it.

I can't stand that thought. So I live on the idea that we're so hardwired to believe in something that comes after--whether you think there's a hell or not, how many levels of heaven there might be--that it has to be true. We can try to use logic to dismiss the notion of afterlife, but it's been a part of the human condition for as long as humans have been able to communicate; I can't fathom anything that long lived not being true.

(I'm not seeking debate on the matter. This is my gut feeling; you're free to listen to whatever gut feelings you have. We have gut feelings for a reason, for both good and bad.)

Most nights I wake up at some point, and I almost always wake with the same thought--I'm alive--as if it's a total surprise. Usually I fall right back asleep, and come morning that middle of the night waking feels like a distant memory, something stupid that I'd done years before that was mildly amusing to no one but myself.

But the last couple of months I've woken up, and while I'm not 100% awake, I haven't fallen back into those deepest places of slumber. I'm half awake, curled around a body pillow, sometimes with a cat pressed up against my chest, and I wait.

I haven't been entirely sure what I've been waiting for. I simply hold onto the pillow and breathe, or reach out and rub a furry little kitty head, and wait. I'm not waiting to fall back asleep, I'm just waiting.

And then last night I realized what I was waiting for; as Max stretched beside me, his paw sliding across my cheek in a most un-Max-like caress, I heard a soft bong...bong...bong... coming from the living room.

The clock. It was going through the machinations of announcing 3 a.m., and I realized that was what I was waiting for, the gentle bonging of the clock my father-in-law gave us last year, the clock he made by hand, each and every amazing, delicate cut of it.

And I realized it's the same time every night that I wake up; just before three a.m. I hold myself in that twilight of not quite asleep and not quite awake, and wait for that sound to drift up the stairs.

I'm alive...

...I'm alive...

...I'm alive.

Max stretched and jumped off the bed, and I felt myself slipping back into sleep, chasing after fragments of a dream abandoned, wrapped in the comfort of having the music of the clock to cling to when I inevitably wake in the middle of the night.


Last year I did not Nano. I wanted to, but we were smack dab in the middle of moving and I had neither the time nor the energy to st down and mentally barf out 2000 words a day. I had an idea for what I thought would be a good story, but decided I would just work on it over the following months instead of trying to cram it all into 30 days.

That idea is still banging around in my head. I've got copious notes, a rough outline, and idea of where I want to go with it, but I haven't gotten around to the actual writing of it.

Wednesday (Happy Birthday to my Mommy that day!) is Day One of the 2006 NaNoWriMo competition.

I signed up for it this year; it's time for The Story to get out of my head and onto paper. Ok, into the computer. Virtual paper. I have no illusions about writing The Great American Novel in 30 days, but I'm confident I can get a really good rough draft in one month.

Fifty thousand words sounds like a lot, but it's not.

It's 1,667 words a day.

A couple hours, if you sit down and actually write without allowing your brain to begin pondering the deeper meanings of life, such as "Do fried Snickers Bars really taste good?" and "Whose idea was it to fund a study on whether or not eating boogers boosts one's immune system?"

Somewhere around November 7th, there will be a mass of frustrated writers who will sit back, mutter a string of expletives, toss something across the room, and declare that they are quitting. It's too hard. Too many words per day. What they're writing sucks.

That's ok. 50,000 words in one month probably does bear a certain amount of suckage, but that doesn't matter. Go ahead and keep writing, and revel in your massive suckitude. It doesn't have to be good. It just has to be.

You can go back later and edit.

You can go back later and rewrite and rewrite and rewrite.

But don't quit. If that manuscript doesn't have 50,000 words at the end of the month, oh well. At least you'll have written something, and you can keep working on it.

Join me in Potential Literary Suckitude.

It'll be fun!



It's noon.

Buddah has been curled up by that door since 8:45 (or maybe earlier; that's when I first noticed him) and he's barely moved. The Spouse Thingy is behind that door, sound asleep (he's not lazy, he's working tonight), and all Buddah wants is to get in there with him.

I have a feeling he'll wait as long as it takes.

Poor baby ;)


Thumpa Goes To The Base Hospital...

  • Doc did not yell because I was only 6 months late seeing him.
  • Doc is obviously very overworked and getting a bit scattered; it only took him 3 tries, a specific reqeuest from the pharmacy, and 90 minutes to get my scrip into the computer. He had to be reminded twice who I was.
  • He is a very good doc, very good, but is so stretched out being the only endocrinologist, that I think he's feeling it.
  • I think for my next routine endo appointment, I am going to see a civilian.
  • Big, brave Army guys can be very scared of a little blood test.
  • I did not laugh at the big brave army guy. He was about 6'7" and looked like one of those guys who if he said "Jump" you would do it and not ask how high.
  • He looked like he wanted to cry when he got stuck, but he did not whine.
  • Older lady in chair next to me whined more than a 6 year old, and after asking a dozen times "Will it hurt?" she left without letting them poke her even once.
  • When you go into the lab they ask you to tell them your first name and birthdate; they compare it to the lab slip. As I sat there an old guy shuffled in and the tech asked his name and when he was born: "Sam. And I'm 90, son, you do the math..."
  • I love spunky old people.
  • It took them 30 minutes to find a vein they could use in me. It was deep and lying on a tendon, and it hurt. I am not used to it hurting.
  • I am used to it taking a very long time to find a vein.
  • Tomorrow is Buddah's turn to have a heckup. I hope he's more brave than Max is. I don't need another Power Pooper Feline...


The Fortune I Got With My Lunch Today (Ok, it's a facsimilie...I am currently without a scanner)

I just hope it's not the dream about the kitty...


Because My Friends Send Me The Weirdest Chit In Email, I Present To You:
Things I Will Not Do On My Bike...

click picture to biggify...



[ loud announcer voice ] PEOPLE OF THE BLOGOSPHERE! [ /loud announcer voice ]

A few days ago, perhaps a week, I was blog surfing and landed at The Last Girl On Earth. You should visit, her blog is a fun place.

She mentioned that her CD popped up on iTunes, and being a music whore, I had to go see for myself and then give it a listen.

Oh man.

You should, too. It's my new favorite.

Go visit her blog and then go buy her CDs. Her music is fun, has a great beat, and you can dance to it, Bob!


From the What The Heck Does That MEAN??? Files

Let me preface this by stating This was only a dream. This did not really happen.

Alrighty then.

It's a beautiful day, and I'm out riding my little baby motorcycle, the one that wants to be a Harley when it grows up. I've done a few laps around the neighborgood streets and have headed out to where I can pick up a little more speed because fast, after all, is the whole point.

Fast being all of 40 mph.

As I lean into a curve I spot something in the road up ahead, so I right the bike up and slow down, because alarms are going off in my head. What is that and why is it in the road? Will it bite?

It's a kitten, looking quite like a tiny little PsychoKitty clone, and it's sitting dead center between the two opposing lanes of traffic.

It's mewing its tiny little head off; I can hear it even over the sound of my engine and with my helmet on. It's not that annoying "Oh stop already!" mewing, but "I want my mommy!" mewing.

So I stop. I cut the engine and get off, wonering why the kitty is not running away.

I take my helmet and gloves off, set them on the ground, and walk carefully towards the terrified kitty, but it's still not running away. My heart is pounding in my chest, because this kitty should have taken off ike a shot, and I don't understand why it didn't.

When I reach out to pet its little head, it stops crying and looks up at me with these huge eyes that, if it were a little kid, would be filled with tears. So I think it wants someone, and try to pick it up.

But it's stuck to the pavement.

Its little feet and backside are stuck flat to the pavement.

I lie down and pry a finger under one of its back feet and realize, with horror, that someone has Superglued this kitty to the street.

Superglued. A kitty. To the street.

And then I woke up. I have no idea if I got the kitty off the street or not, but there was no going back to sleep after that. No idea where that dream came from, or what it means. But dammit, in the back of my head, I'm worried about a tiny little kitty that doesn't even exist...


Seeing as how both cancer and diabetes has touched the lives of many people I've loved and cared for, this woman is my new hero.

Link was found at FARK, where submitter appropriately noted: Woman lived below her means, so that she could leave $35.6 million to charity. St Peter seen opening velvet rope so she can cut line.

I think I have an actual lump in my wabbity little throat...


Am I the only one who doesn't give a flying fig about Oprah and Gail's cross country adventure...?


Don’t laugh, but truly I am filled with a weird sort of excitement right now. I felt pulled to the library again today, intent upon working, so I loaded up my backpack, tossed it in the trunk of the car, and to the library I went.

The usual tables were already filled with students studying (or pretending to study as thoughts of "Oh! He's so cute, I wonder if he likes me..." or "Did Han really shoot first?" tiptoe through their brains) so I wandered past the shelves loaded with books to see if there were any of the individual someone-should-be-taking-a-test-here tables were open.

And there he was.

Library Bob.

He was lounging in a chair by a window, thick tome resting comfortably on his lap. It occurred to me that I may have walked right by him many times lately, but I just didn't recognize him without his black leather wanna-be-a-cowboy hat. And since he wasn't in his usual chair...well, I have trouble sometimes recognizing people when they aren't where they're supposed to be. I could walk right by the Spouse Thingy in a grocery store if I wasn't expecting him to be standing in front of the yogurt display.

So now all is right with my little library world, and to work I must go. Well, I'm not really GOING anywhere, I'm still going to sit here looking like I'm ready to take my final exam in post modern English literature, what with the little barriers between my work space and the empty works space next to me, but I'm still going to work. So to speak.

Bah. I understand me.


Sharing Of The Email

Hey Thumper, my mom said if I write a lot my typing will get a whole lot better. Is that true?

I think that if you type alot your typing gets better; if you write alot hopefully your writing gets better. I am a horrible typist and to rpove my point I'm not even going to to correct the typos I'm sure to make in my reply. And they're all real typos, not created for effect. Sometimes my fingers st goe where they want and I have to go back later and see if I can figure out what I intedned to say...and trust me, sometimes it's like trying to decipher an ancinet lanugage. I have a lot of "what the f...? what did I MEAN?" moments, on a pretty much daily basis.

Your cat still won't reply to my cat's email...

Your cat still freaks my cat out. He's neutered, for God's sake. Don't torment him with all those suggestions!

I want to get a motorcycle, too, but my parents freak out every time I mention it. I'm 17. I'm a safe driver and I don't want a crotch rocket, I just want a cruiser to learn on. Help me convince them it's safe.

But it's not safe. It's risky. Granted, so is driving a car and so is getting out of bed every day, but riding a motorcycle is inherently risky. You can be the safest driver in the world, but when you're behind the wheel of a car you have lots of metal protecting you. When you're riding a motorcycle, the only thing between you and asphalt is whatever clothing you're wearing.

I can't convince your parents. That's up to you. But if it's something you really want, prove you're serious about approaching it as safely as you can. Take the MSF Basic Rider's Course--and pay for it yourself. Read everything you can about motorcycles, smart riding, and safety. Proficient Motorcycling by David Hough. Get the MSF Guide To Motorcycling Excellence. Pat Hahn's book How To Ride A Motorcycle. Demonstrate a willingness to wear all the proper gear, even if it's hot: full face helmet, leather or mesh armored jacket, chaps, boots, gloves...

Do all that, and then be very patient about it. Motorcycles will still be there when you're old enough to buy your own, insure it on your own, and maintain it on your own. If you just can't wait until then...then I agree with your parents. It's not safe for you to ride.

So how's Library Bob?

I think he read all their books...I haven't seen him there in a while. Maybe it's the nice weather; hopfully he's doing outside stuff and having fun. Or maybe he got tired of seeing me there and found a new place to hang out. If you want, I'll go riding around town to look...

Can I send Max a present?

Only if you send Buddah one, too...


Picture me going 55 mph.

On my bike.

Imagine a guy tailgating me, wayyyy too close. If I sneeze, he's going to bump my back wheel, and that would be a bad thing.

Visualize a pickup truck ahead, its bed loaded with 52 tons of crap.

A little voice in the back of my head said, "That truck doesn't look like its crap is tied down very well..." so I created a bit of distance between it and me. Car driver behind me was not amused and obviously wanted me to go faster; I thought 55 was fast enough.

We all approach a slight curve in the road...halfway through it a big blue wooden case of some sort flew off the back of the pickup. I swerved (yay for the motorcycle safety class where I learned a nifty quick swerve) and the case hit the ground; its pieces bounced to the side of the road.

No Wabbits were injured in the development of this scenario.

I think the guy behind me, though, wet himself...and for some reason thereafter he gave me a whole lot of space...

3 months ago that would have freaked me out. I would have been a hyperventilating mass of quivering fur.

Today, it was like "eh, I expected it. No harm, no foul."

Yay me :)

This should be filed under No Big Deal, other than I'm kinda proud of myself... Hopefully in this case pride does not goeth before a fall, because I might ride again tomorrow, and I have no desire to become a splotch on the landscape of life road.


While I waited in the Get Yer Refill Here line at the base pharmacy today, an older woman went up to the New Scrips Here window, presumably to drop off a prescription. She was told (politely, I would assume) that she needed to take a number (just like everyone else has done from the moment Military Medicine Time began) and the ticket dispenser was just outside the door.

She exited...and then pulled the fire alarm.

From time to time I've wondered what happens when the fire alarm is pulled; now I know, at least I know what happens in the base mini-mall, where the refill pharmacy is located. What happens is that bright lights flash, a bleating horn goes off, repeating itself ever 1.25 seconds, and everyone working in an official capacity--from the pharmacy techs to the guys working at the GNC and the Post Office--closes their windows, push people out the doors, which they then lock. Someone also wanders around urging, in a tired voice, Please Leave Using The Nearest Exit.

Then everyone congregates outside, some bemoaning the fact that they were next up at the pharmacy window, some muttering about not having time for this shit, others gossiping about what had just happened. "Can you believe it? She just pulled the damn thing! I wonder of she did it on purpose, or if she was confused?"

Thumper, in her infinite wisdom, knowing there's no fire, perches on the curb, thinking to herself, "If I get to that door fast enough when they give the all-clear, I can be at the front of the line!"

Momentarily, she is distracted by the guy who runs the candy shoppe, who is passing out free samples to everyone. Free chocolate!

Then everyone waits for the fire department to show up, then for the firemen to wander through the building, and 15 minutes later they pronounce You Can Come Back In, and Thumper bounces to the door, thinking "Yay! I'm not at the back! I can outpace all these old people!" Just barely...

But then...then as she turns the corner Thumper realizes there was another door, and dammit those people were let back in first. And now the line is longer than before. And it's filled with people wearing perfume and cologne, in amounts that make Thumper think they bathed in the damned stuff, and leave her wanting for air.

I have no idea what happened to the Woman who pulled the alarm lever, whether she disappeared into the crowd or was arrested. I'd like to think she made a mistake and thought she was tugging on some magical lever that would dispense the required number ticket, but there's always the possibility that she did it thinking that if she couldn't just drop her prescription off, then everyone else would be screwed, too.

But at least now I know what happens when the fire alarm is pulled. You get free chocolate, and then damn near have an asthma attack.


Mad Skillz

Seriously...this kid plays Pachebel's Canon on the guitar, and it's amazing...

My fingers hurt just watching it...


One of the things I like about where we live is that it's a growing, thriving community with a small-town feeling about it. It's not so small that everyone knows everyone else, but not so big that you can get lost trying to find the grocery store. It has terrific shopping, nice places to go out to eat, but when giving directions you can tell someone, "well, turn right at the next high school you see, and you'll be there."

And what amuses me about this thriving, small town attitude city?

This place is just small enough that the newspaper warns parents when report cards are coming out.


Kids, you can run to the Factory Outlet Stores, but ya can't hide...


It didn't take long for Buddah to find these cutouts in the wall.

He found them the first night here, after he stopped being so scared and was pulled out of the recliner.

Since then, he spends quite a bt of time hovering above the rest of the room, watching, planning. It was also evident that what he wanted most was to figure out a way to get to that highest part of the wall, where it divides the family room from the living room, with no annoying stops along the way.

Buddah is a fairly smart kitty. Scary smart most of the time; you can see his little brain work as he looks at something and puzzles out how to manage what he wants to do.

He found a way up there. It occured to him that he could walk between the rails by the stairs, balance there, and jump up to that uppermost place he coveted.

The only problem was there was no safeway down that he could see. Balancing on that delicate 2 inch rail was one thing, jumping onto it was another.

On one side of the wall there were bookcases, but they were too far away to feel safe. On the other side there's the entertainment center, but that was a more distant jump than the bookcases.

He paced, and finally walked to the spot he had first landed on, and pretty much asked for help. One short little meow? and the Spouse Thingy reached over the bannister and lifted him to sure footing.

We knew, without a doubt, he would jump back up there, and he would need a way down. So we placed an 8-foot tall bookcase by the stairs, thinking he would just jump onto it, then onto the next bookcase, then the next, and down to the floor.

However...the top of the bookcase is the same color as the floor. So Buddah peered down from his high perch, and could not tell that the bookcase was at a level he could manage. He paced back and forth--and I waited a full hour before helping him, thinking he was just being stubborn--and in the end he had to be rescued.

But this...this shows how much we cater to the kitties:

We covered the top with a nonskid black piece of rubber.

Now Buddah can jump down.'s still a longer jump than looks safe, and he's not terribly comfortable with it. I might even hurt a bit.

Logic says let him deal with it. If he wants up there that bad, he can handle the jump down.

But no...We have several kitty perches we no longer need for windows, so one will go up between the bookcase and the beam, attached right there at the top of the stairs.

We are so owned...


Dear Lady In The Hometown Buffet Restroom,

When at a buffet place, or any other place for that matter, do not take your crying 3 year old into the bathroom and seethe "Stop crying or I'll spank you."

Really, don't. All it does is make your kid cry harder. And then if that 3 year old chokes out, "But I just wanted bread," don't compound things by snapping "I said you couldn't have stop crying or I'll spank you!"

And then if your kid says she has to use the bathroom, don't be a bitch and tell her she can't pee until she stops crying.

Don't tell your kid over and over that you're going to hit her if she doesn't stop crying.

Because if you do all that, the Thumper on the other side of the stall door will say "Oh holy shit," and then she'll mutter something unintelligible under her breath, but it will be enough to make you understand that there is someone else in that room, and that someone else finds your behavior unacceptable.

And no, I don't care what kind of day you had. If you want to be a bitch, be a bitch with someone old enough to take it, mature enough to understand the why of it. But your kid? She doesn't deserve that. She doesn't understand it. All she knows is that she wanted bread, couldn't have it, and when she expressed her upset in the way all 3 year olds do, the one person who should be the caretaker of her emotional safety zone threatened to hit her if she couldn't stop crying.

How special.

How very, very special.



Remember this?

and this?

The surface nastiness of those appliances hid the real shame...they didn't work. The Boy tried to heat up pizza in the oven, and it never even got warm. Then just to see if it worked I tried the microwave, and it zapped and sparked at me.

But now, behold:

I did not have to clean them. House Owner Guy bought new appliances for us. Property Manager Guy told him they needed to be repaired (they weren't just icky, they didn't work) ASAP and the next day Owner Guy showed up with new stuff. No talk of waiting to see if they could be repaired, he just bought new ones, and was very apologetic about the condition that the former tenant (a relative) had left them in.

So, yay!

Now I have to cook...


For some reason I cannot fathom, it disturbs me that there is no word in the English language that rhymes with "month."


Houston, We Have Broadband...

I can now irritate you on an almost daily basis. You're thrilled, I know you are.

I bet you're as thrilled as Buddah is, now that he's found places to play that make me dizzy by merely contemplating being up there. What he really wants is to figure out a way to the highest part of that wall...sooner or later the how of it will occur to him, but he might not figure out how to get down, leaving us to wonder whether we go out and buy a long ladder, or leave him there forever...



Tired...very tired.

Old house is empty and clean. Very clean. Who knew I could clean like that?

New house is packed to the rafters and untidy and not clean at all. But once we put all our stuff away, it'll be very spiffy.

The cats are settling in; Buddah had an entire afternoon of OHMYGAWD but Max just explored. Buddah crawled up inside a recliner--way up in the back where he was determined to stay forever, until the Spouse Thingy reached in and pulled him out after a couple of hours--while Max sauntered through the place like an old pro, looking for the fun stuff, probably knowing there was no going back. I worried about Buddah being as freaked out as he was (I took him upstairs to show him some familiar stuff, and he trembled so hard it damn near broke my heart) but after several hours he took a good look around and discovered there are places high up, places that with a little creativity he can get to. Places that make me take a deep breath and mutter "please don't fall, please dont fall..."

And thusly did the new house become one giant toy for Buddah, calming him down more than a good dose of Prozac could have. If I can find my camera, I'll take photographic proof of him giving me a heart attack.

Comcast was supposed to come on Monday between 3-5 to connect the cable and give me much needed Internet access. At 5:15 the Spouse Thingy--remembering the fiasco of the last move, when they went to the wrong house and we waited until after 10 p.m. for someone to show (and they didn't. not until 5 the next day...)--to inquire about whether or not they stll planned on showing up. Tech person on the phone radioed cable guy, who claimed he had been at the house at 4:40 but no one was home. Ah, no, we were home at 4:40. He described the house as "white with a brown door." Ah, no, that doesn't describe any house on this street. Tech person offered a huge discount and rescheduled for Wednesday between 3-5.

Need I say that no one showed up then, either? Supposedly they'll be here Friday between 3-5.

I should be putting stuff away right now, but I'm exhausted and am taking most of the day off from lifting and sweating and wondering how long my back will hold out (no complaints, it could be worse; I could be the Spouse Thingy, who has hauled and lifted and hauled some more, and who now has to work 5 ten and twelve hour nights in a row) so I'm sitting in the Vacaville library, leeching off their wireless signal.

Keep your fingers crossed we don't have to do this again for a very long time. I dont wanna move again.


The movement of large pieces of furniture and the Ticking Off The Kitties begins tomorrow...and since we won't have Internet access until Tuesday, it's not likely that I'll post or be blog surfing until then.

Don't cry. I will be back. I promise.

Or is that a threat...?



I am tired.

We moved quite a bit of stuff today, enought that's I'm sure that when Saturday rolls around--UHaul truck day--we'll have all the little things out of here and over there.

I uploaded some pictures to Flickr...You can see how nice it'll be--and we have a *really* nice back yard, complete with a swingset for the Boy. He's only 23, he might still use it... Just a few pix of the Ick Factor. Like, the oven. IckIck.

Peek at da house, if ya want... (and I hope that link works...)


Not quite a year ago we moved into this house, and were underwhelmed by how clean it was. I mean, I had to surgically remove boogers from one wall, the owner's dog had peed copiously on the carpet, the kitchen was only so-so... It just wasn't clean.

Or so I thought.

Today we got the keys to the new place. New Place makes This Place look like it had been scrubbed raw. The carpets are a mess. None of the bathrooms had been cleaned, not even close. The kitchen is, well, ick. And not just your garden variety ick, but ICK OHMYGAWD how could someone leave the grease traps so loaded that they're oozing, the inside of the microwave encrusted with last months' meals, and the oven coated in ack. Yes ack. Because that's what I said when I opened it. ACK.

So now we move, truckload by truckload, and between now and the end of the month I need to scrub two houses from top to bottom, and I'm tired just thinking about it.

Ya know, I am not the best housekeeper. I frankly suck at it. But I would be mortified to leave a place in that condition. When we hand over the keys to this house it will be as clean as I can get it (which even at my standards is a lot cleaner than when we moved in) because I'm not going to inflict my every day sloth onto other people.

Am I just expecting too much...? Is an ick free house one of those pipe dreams?

Inquiring minds want to know.

(My mood is not improved by the realization that the bedrooms are much smaller than we originally thought, and our stuff must might not fit...)

((Once clean, it will be a very nice place, no matter how much I'm whining now...))


Ya Don't Say...

As I went into the grocery store this afternoon I made note of a table off the to side of the entryway, far enough to not be obtrusive, but close enough that the wares the girl scouts were peddling could be noticed. I made a mental note of "maybe" (because I had bought some earlier in the day at another location, I am a sucker for those little girls all excited and willing to ask people to buy stuff, but really, how many cans of cashews does one need?), went inside and got my box of au gratin potatoes, and trailed behind a tall guy about 30 years old as I headed for the door.

The door swung open, he stepped out, and a little blonde about seven years old smiled and said "Hey, mister, you look like you need some nuts!"

Oh yeah, I bought more nuts.

And I made sure I didn't wet myself laughing until I was safely in my car...


I'm Already Tired, And We Haven't Even Moved Yet...

  • We get the keys to the house on Monday.
  • We rode by it today; current tenants are still moving out.
  • Property Management Guy's person says the carpets will be cleaned this weekend, no problem.
  • I did not notice there were any carpets...
  • We have packed up at least 70% of our chit.
  • We want to move yesterday.
  • No one has come to see the current house...heh.
  • Max seems to know what's going on, but I don't think he cares.
  • Buddah sees all the boxes and thinks "toys!"
  • I see all the boxes and think all I wanna do is go for a ride.
  • I rode today in my spiffy new bright orange armored shirt and bright orange vest.
  • Can ya see me now?
  • It's Thump-o-ween!
  • I am considering taking some classes next semester.
  • Online applications aren't being accepted yet.
  • I have no idea when they'll start taking them for next semester.
  • I'm not sure what classes I'll take.
  • Maybe real estate...I like snooping in peoples' houses.
  • Well, I think I do. I like to watch HGTV alot and snoop virtually.
  • I can ride my bike to school!
  • Buy me some saddlebags. Go on, you know you want to.
  • If you live nearby and want a pool table, lemme know. we don't want to take it with us to the new place.
  • It's in good shape, we just won't have room for it.
  • It's not a GOOD pool table, just one you can get from Sears.
  • But this one is free.
  • Fall is coming.
  • I love fall 'cause I can wear sweatshirts, but I hate that it's getting dark so early.
  • I don't wanna be night blind anymore.
  • Mebbe I should have eaten more carrots as a child...?
  • But I'm pretty sure I ate a lot of carrots.
  • Still reading?
  • Take a cookie on your way out. They're really BIG chocolate chip cookies. Really!


The One Where Thumper Nearly Wet Herself With Joy...'s squealable-nice. Thousands of brand new books, new chairs to sit in, bright lights and pretty colors on the walls. AND a Seattle's Best coffee shop where I can sit and write if I'm so incined. I'm sure I will be so inclined many, many times.

I bought 3 books (then got home and realized I already had one of them, but it was free [buy 2, get the 3rd for free], so I'll just pass it on to a friend...) and wandered up and down the aisles, dazzled by all the pretty colors while the Spouse Thingy tried in vain to find one particular book.

I would have stayed and admired it some more, but I didn't think he'd be very happy about that.


Because I am really nosy, I poked around and found the real estate listing for this house. I'm not terribly happy that they took a picture with my car in the driveway and then posted it online, but you can't see the license plate, so it's all right.

They want $499,000 for it. They might get $475,00, if they can get anyone to come over and look at it. After we're out...I can't see anyone wanting it with all our boxes piled up all over the place, hiding the things that really are good about this place.

But dang, real estat listings can stretch the truth...

fully landscaped...sure, except for that huge patch of nothing but dirt right out by the front door.

all laminated floor downstairs...the cheapest laminate available, installed by someone that had no clue what they were doing, hence all the odd little "finishing" pieces that look pretty crappy.

formal dining area is raised...and you will trip over that rise at least 22 times in the first six months you live in the house.

backyard overhang for privacy...created and installed by the same guy that did the flooring. Ignore the fact that the wood wasn't treated and is now brittle and warping. Or that the upper slats are an inch apart each, so there's no shade.

Fireplace, wood burning...jammed into the corner in the family room, pretty much unusable if you intend on having any furniture in the room.

It really is a good house, and someone out there is absolutely going to love it. But there's a lot to overlook, especially for half a million bucks.

And there are at least 6 other houses within sight of it for sale.


Good luck to the owners.


I am excited.
Why am I excited?
Because there's a new bookstore opening up nearby this week.


:::runs around like tail is on fire:::

You wouldn't be this excited?
Well Phffffft on you.

On the day it opens I am going to go there and buy a book even if I don't need a new one, and I am going to stand there in the middle of the store with my mouth hanging open as I drink in all the sights and smells of brand new books just waiting for someone to open them and read. Oh, and I hope there's a cafe thingy in it where I can go and sit and write and watch people...

It doesn't take much to make me happy. Books and internet access and a bike to ride and dinner out 5 times a week the occassional Jack In the Box chocolate milkshake.

Oh man.

Now I want a milkshake.

But...books! The bookstore opens this week!


Chances are, if you don't ride a motorcycle, one of the first things that pops out of your mouth when one of your friends decides to learn to ride is "there was this guy I knew, and he rode a Harley, and he was hit by 5 different cars ALL AT THE SAME TIME and now he's a vegetable."

Or something like that.

A little probing generally reveals that the rider was on his bike without a helmet, or he was wearing a t-shirt and shorts, sometimes even flip flops; nothing to protect his body from a crash. Or he was a self-taught rider, never took a safety class. Or there was alcohol involved.

Riding is risky, but there are things a person can do to minimize the risk. Dress for the crash, not for the ride. Take a basic rider's class, don't learn from Crazy Uncle Larry. Wear a helmet. Start on a reasonable bike, not a 1300cc sportsbike.

The majority of motorcycle accidents involve untrained (whether they have years of experience or not) riders, riders not geared up, and riders who "just had one beer."

There are exceptions, though.

Sometimes the stars just don't align right, and something Really Bad happens.

The day my father-in-law died, the boyfriend of my closest friend's daughter was on a motorcycle; one car hit another car that hit him. He was fully geared up, he knew how to ride, and had years of well trained experience. But it happened anyway.

At first it sounded promising; he had a few broken bones and some brain swelling, but it was survivable. The pressure in his skull was reduced, some internal bleeding was resolved, and it seemed like it was just a matter of letting him heal.

But then things went horribly wrong. He developed pneumonia. One lung collapsed. He became septic. When all those things were resolved his blood stopped holding onto oxygen. His family and girlfriend watched helplessly and waited, holding hope against hope, and praying ferverently for the outcome they wanted.

His funeral was 2 days ago.

He was 24 years old.

I know the risks of riding; he knew the risks of riding. I know that even though I do everything I can to protect myself that something might happen. You can do everything right and something might still happen. A rear tire might blow at 50 miles an hour. Someone in a car might blow through an intersection. Someone turning left from a center lane might not be looking past the van headed their way and might turn as soon as it passes, not realizing there's a motorcycle behind it.

I'm still going to ride.

I don't know if I have a point. Maybe it's just that bad things happen even when we do everything we can to prevent them. It doesn't seem fair, but there ya go.

Life isn't always fair. We suck it up and go on.

If you do ride, do me a favor and put your passenger pegs down and take a ride around your neighborhood in memory of a 24 year old named Justin, a kid who did it as right as he knew how.


Wherein I Verbally Regurgitate Onto Virtual Paper =or= A Little Something For The Insomniacs...

It hit me earlier today.

I'm 45.

Yeah, I know I had a birthday and did grasp the fact that I'd hit 45 years old, but today the little lightbulb went off over my head.


My life is probably more than half over. Well, I might make it to 90; my grandmother almost made it to 100, but I'm not counting on it. I'd like to, seeing as how dying is my #1 fear, but I know the odds probably aren't in my favor.

So it's likely more than half over. It's at this point a lot of people sit back and panic because they haven't done what they wanted to to. My problem is that I sat back and panicked because it occured to me that I have already done the things I wanted to do.

I wrote a book. Heck, I wrote more than one. Feedback on them has been favorable, including Most High Praise from my father-in-law, who said to me not 2 months ago that Finding Father Rabbit was his favorite. Since it's my favorite, too, that meant a lot. Getting rich off them was never a part of the picture, so not hitting the New York Times Bestseller list has not been a disappointment. It would have been nice, but... I never wrote for money. I still don't. Although I would accept payment, for sure.

I raised a kid and didn't screw him up too badly. And the Spouse Thingy and I are still together, and so far I don't think either of us has harbored thoughts of spousal homicide.

Ok, I haven't. I shouldn't speak for him.

I've had a really good life...but I've done what I wanted to do, I've hit the high points that you dream about when you're too young to have a full grasp on what Real Life can do to a person.

There should still be a whole lot left to want at 45, right?

(Aside from material stuff. I have a long list of crap that y'all can chip in to buy me. Heck yes I can be materialistic, and I'm not ashamed. I like toys. Big toys.)

But in the grand scheme of things, there should still be things I want to be. But I'll be damned if I can think of any.

That should make me happy, right?

It does...but since I'm not done, I don't want to be done.

I'm still writing, fighting the same story I've been fighting for at least a year (it's slowly worming its way out) but I think I want something different.

Like a job.

That's not exactly being something or reaching for IT, but it's something. The problem with getting a job is that requires asking for a job, getting through an interview, and I completely, totally, overwhelmingly suck at those things.

Beside, what could I do?

I have no skills, really.

I'm 45 and I've done all I really wanted to do, and I have no skills to show for it.

Unless someone out there wants to hire someone who is obviously verbose, which obviously I am, because this is going on and on and on... This is what happens when I think out loud.

I talk in circles, and put others to sleep.

You're welcome.

Ever Had A Day When You Felt Like This?


While I drove towards the store this evening--life is not complete without milk, hot dogs, and Cheetos (Mmmm, nutrition...)--I noticed a squirrel on the other side of the road.

And then I noticed several nuts in the road.

That, I surmised, is going to be one dead squirrel in about 3 minutes.

I went on, got my milk and hot dogs and Cheetos, and headed home. As I approached the intersection, I remembered the squirrel, and hoped I wouldn't see what I was pretty sure I would see.

The light went red, so I stopped.

Then I looked.

Mr. Squirrel was alive and well, and hauling bits and pieces of nuts off the road. He'd made himself a nice little pile about 2 feet into the dirt.

A nice little pile of freshly cracked nuts.

The light went green, and I slowly--because I did not want to be the one to run over Mr. Squirrel--began to move forward. He stayed safely off the road, munching on his deliberate roadkill.

That has to be the Smartest Squirrel Ever.

1 pile of nuts
10 cars rolling over them
1 pile of cracked nuts with no major effort

He knew exactly what he was doing.

We should worry I think.

If the squirrels unite, they might try to take over the world...


September already.

Time flies, eh...?

Last night I surfed into email, and off in the sidebar I noticed a little green dot, the one that tells me a friend--or just someone I email occasionally--is online. I'm not one to initiate IMs, because hell, why would anyone want me to interrupt their reading and writing of email, but I felt an impulse to click on their name and just say "Hey."

Before I could, an IM window popped up. "Heyya," she said. "Your month just sucked, didn't it?"

It was not the best month in the history of months, no.

"You still have to move? Did your landlord give you a reprieve under the circumstances?"

Hell, we didn't even ask. His realtor was extremely understanding and didn't even call back until a few days ago about letting someone in to see the house. And after losing the Spouse Thingy's dad, having to move seemed like a nothing kind of thing. Ok, so we intended to stay in this house for at least one more year and hadn't entertained the notion of moving, but the owner has the right to sell it. And he gave us more than the 30 days notice he needed to.

The looking for a new place to live, the packing and the clearing doesn't seem like much of anything at this point. After taking such a hard blow--and it still hurts, sometimes like a hot poker coming out of the blue--moving is just a detail. We'll take care of it, and quite literally move on.

We're looking at it as opportunity now. We get to move. We get to leave one really nice house for one that's probably even better. One with space that makes a little more sense for us. And we found it so quickly, like it was meant to be.

"I remember how all this feels," she tells me. Then I recall her own pain, just a few years old, when she lost her father to his 5th stroke. "All the sudden you feel like a grown up."

And you do. Death is such an adult thing to deal with, all the things that have to be taken care of. I stood on the periphery and watched others take care of the hard things: funeral arrangements, getting death certificates, and now the maze of life insurance and social security payments and What Has To Be Done Next. And I noticed the hard lines of sorrow and fatigue drawn on the Spouse Thingy's face, a weariness that could be measured in definite volumes of weight, clinging to him and pressing him down.

Then today I read this at Blogs Are Stupid: I would realize over the next couple days that grief paints time on peopleÂ?s faces; the canvas of our skin becoming a stark portrait of our mortality. It strips us of our pretenses and lays bare the awful truthÂ?that every hour of every day, we are getting older. It denies us the illusion of forever.

The weight of grief just wraps itself around you and strangles grownupness into you.

But gets better. "Give it a few weeks," she said. "You'll feel immature and stupid all over again. Inappropriate farting will make you laugh."

Don't fret Those Moments, she advised. The thoughts you'll have when you move into the new house. The crushing sadness of He'll never see this place. He won't see how wonderful his clock looks there. The kitties peeking at him through the rails on the stairway. Cry if you want to and don't apologize for it. And for God's sake, don't let anyone heap that "but he wasn't your father" crap on you. You were lucky. Not everyone gets to have inlaws that don't feel like outlaws.

We talked about heaven and hell; I believe in the former and have my doubts about the latter. There has to be a purpose to the lives we're given, and I don't think that our eternities are punished for the human mistakes we make. We get here, we grow, we learn; we either become good people or we don't. We get it or we don't. For the same reason you wouldn't ground your kid for 10 years for his teen stupidities, I can't see burning in hell for our all too human and very mortal idiocies. Maybe there's a celestial time out, maybe not.

It's just that in the grand scheme of things, getting kicked out of a house seems kind of trivial. It might not if we had no where else to go, I know this. But in the face of that strangulating grownupness, the murky watercolor gray that grief paints on every horizon, it doesn't really matter. We'll dangle pizza and beer in front of the Boy and his friends, and we'll take our stuff from one place to the next, and we'll deal with it all.

We'll just do it. Simple as that.


Well...that turned out to be relatively painless. We got in to see the house today, liked it, and have a verbal agreement to rent. We'll go in tomorrow or the next day to sign the lease and hand over our life savings.

Go ahead, guess which house it is...

The cats will be happy; they'll still have stairs to run up and down (without carpet, so it will be extra noisy) and lots of windows to look out. I'm happy because there's an extra bedroom that will become my office. And I think we'll all be happy because the interior layout just makes more sense than the house we're in now.

We don't take the keys until the middle of September, so at least we won't be paying two rents all through the month.

So...after we plunk down the downpayment and the rent, I can make the Spouse Thingy buy me a really god post-birthday present.

What should he buy?

Come on, tell him. Think $$$.

I'll sit back and make a list... :)