I've tortured the Spouse Thingy for the past year over our car's air vents. It's been either run the car on Max A/C, or turn it off entirely, because the smell that leeched out was unbearable. Well, for me. It didn't seem to bother him. But I'm delicate that way.

He took the car in for the 30K service, and the car has a cabin air filter.

Who knew?

It smells much better now...You'd think we would have inquired about that a year ago, eh?


Max and I have waged a morning Battle of the Glasses for years. When he thinks it's time for me to get out of bed--after he's punched me in the eye, meowed loudly right in my ear, stuck his entire nose up one of my nostrils, or dropped 16 pounds of Max Wonder right onto my face to wake me up--he goes for my glasses.

He sits on the edge of the bed and leans over towards the night stand, and whacks them to the floor. All along I've been pretty sure this was his "Now get your ass out of bed already!" temper tantrum, knowing I'd have to get up to get them.

But recently I got this nifty headboard, which also serves as a bookcase. And I've been putting my glasses there.

This was a puzzle to Max, who would wake me up and then go for the glasses that were no longer on the nightstand where he expected.


Max is an observant kitty. At some point he realized that as I rolled over I reached to this particular spot in the headboard, and voila--glasses.

Yesterday morning when it was time for me to get up--I don't need an alarm clock; I have Max--he meowed over and over until I finally sighed and said "All right, I'm awake!" and then he went for the glasses.


Instead of knocking them to the floor with a mighty swipe of his paw, he pulled them out from the back of the bookcase until he could get a grip on them, picked them up in his mouth, and then dropped them on my pillow.

Now I wonder...all these years when he's been knocking my glasses to the floor, has he been trying to get them for me? Has this been a one sided battle, with the Furry Wonder simply trying to be helpful? He is a smart kitty after all--I know better than to put anything he can get onto near the light switch, or he'll be flipping it on and off in the middle of the night. I think I feel a little bad, what with snapping at him most mornings for the last 6 and a half years to leave my freaking glasses alone.

Yes, my cat impresses me sometimes.

Yes, you can point and laugh.

:::wanders off to give the kitty a crunchy treat:::


Well now.

I went to Border's today, and no one in the coffee shop had my iced tea waiting for me just the way I like it, with lots of ice. Buncha newbies, didn't even know to start pouring the tea as soon as I walk through the door. I had to actually order my tea, and specify lots of ice.

Harumph. Don't they know who I am?

I am totally not giving any of them my autograph now.



Wherein Murf Learns A Lesson (and allows me to share it...)

"We just wanted an hour without someone's eyes rolling, someone stomping their feet, someone asking 'why?' for the 50th time. An hour of just grownup time, even if it meant we'd spend it talking about the three creatures that had just about driven us over the edge for the third time that day.

"Then I remembered something my dad had done. I had to up the stakes a bit, given that kids roll their eyes at pennies these days, but I figured it was worth a shot. I dug into the change jar on the dresser, fished out exactly how many quarters I needed, and then called the kids into the bedroom.

"As I opened the window and pushed the screen out of the way, I told them that I had ten dollars in quarters. Then I tossed the entire handful out, scattering the coins across the lawn. When the youngest gasped, I turned to the little monsters and added that if they could find all ten dollars worth, I'd give each of them ten bucks, and then we'd go out for pizza for dinner, and they could play the video games there.

"Man, they scrambled. The wife and I sat down at the kitchen table with cold drinks and watched through the patio door. All three were on their hands and knees, although the 12 year old mostly sat there and directly his brother and sister to shiny spots he was sure he'd just noticed.

"Still, an hour and a half later they came back in, and the youngest had tears in his eyes. They only found nine dollars and seventy five cents. They dropped the coins onto the table. Oldest Boy had his tongue planted firmly in his cheek and I knew he was trying hard to not laugh, but he put a hand on his little brother's shoulder, jammed one into his pocket, and sighed YEAH DAD, we only found THIRTY NINE quarters.

"Now, I waited for the IT'S NOT FAIR crying to start, but the girl and the younger boy both started apologizing for losing one of Dad's quarters. Before the tears started--and before I could tell them that $9.75 was close enough--Almost A Teenager bent over, his hand coming out of his pocket, and he said to the younger boy. 'Look! It was stuck to the side of your shoe!' as he magically produced one last quarter.

"The younger two ran off to wash up, and the 12 year old--God help us, he's already almost 6 feet tall--watched them leave, then said, 'You know, Grandpa told me that he used to throw ninety nine pennies out the window and tell you not to come back inside until you found one hundred of them. And you fell for it every. single. time.'

"He hasn't threatened to let his siblings in on it, but I did notice the thirty bucks I intended to let them spend on video games inched up to over sixty. And he ate an entire medium pizza by himself. The little shit HAS something on me!"

Thumper hops, off, laughing at her old friend...


I'm sitting here waiting for home value appraisers. I am not happy. They were supposed to be here at 10 a.m., which was fine; they could get in, do their thing, get out, and we could get on with our day.

Then we got a call saying they wouldn't be here until 11:30. That starts cutting into our day. We have plans. Massive plans! Like...um, well, we have a few errands to run. But that's beside the point.

The real point is that the lady that owns this house is trying to sell it. Again. Last time she said she needed to sell she managed to refinance, but it let us know that she's probably in over her head, and now she's serious about shedding the house and the (likely) $24,000 annual loss she's incurring with it. Last we heard she had a potential buyer and we let him in so he could look at it. I'm guessing that the appraisers are coming as part of the mortgage process; he needs it done so he can get the loan.

Or she might need the appraisal to further the sales process. Whatever...we just want the whole thing done so that we know what's going to happen to us. Are we staying here? We signed a 2 year lease, do we get to stick it out? If this guy doesn't buy the house, is she going to wind up foreclosing?

I really don't like this house*, but we were hoping to stick it out at least another 9-10 months, with the idea that by then we might be able to buy our own. If we have to move soon, that costs money, and puts us back another year or so. We're not getting any younger...who wants to take out a 30 year mortgage when they're 50?


I'm just whining. I don't have much else to do while I wait.

*It's a perfectly fine house...but it's 2 story and stairs don't like me very much. In fact, I think the stairs are secretly plotting my demise. I hear them laughing at me when I head upstairs to go to bed every night...


Dear Buddah,

I am not mad at you. I am not thrilled that you spent most of yesterday chasing and pouncing upon and biting Max, and I spent a good deal of my time saying things like "Stop it! and "Get off him!" and "Will you just go upstairs?" but I am not angry with you. Max is a big boy and can take care of himself. I just don't like listening to the howling and growling.

So please, stop being Velcro Kitty today. You don't have to suck up to me and make sure I'm not mad and that I still love you. I do still love you but I really don't want to pick you up again for at least an hour, and if I pet you any more you won't have much fur left.

Go eat some crunchies and stay away from Max for a while, and all will be right in your little world.


:::Puts on big girl pants:::

I did not cry. My bike zoomed off on the back of some guy's Jeep, and I didn't even get choked up.

Oh, I'm bummed, but sooner or later I will have my spiffy scooter, and all will be right with my world.

Now, the guy that bought it...he did not tell his wife he as buying a bike. In fact, she told him when he sold his old one "No more bikes!" She does not know about his coffee can stash of Future Bike Moola. Dang, is she gonna be surprised when she gets home and sees that sweet, sweet SV in her garage...

Until the scooter gets here, I am going to console myself over my lack of Fun Wheels with massive amounts of chocolate. So it better get here sooner rather than later, or else I'm going to weigh 600 pounds...
Overheard at Border's:

She hasn't changed her socks in a week because she doesn't think she deserves clean socks. How sad it is that her self esteem is that low?


Okay...I added Max's books and the We Are The Kitties books to the books available in PDF. I'm pretty sure the four people who wanted mine in PDF will get his instead, because everyone likes Max best. I'm wounded. Truly.

(edited later to add: it has come to may attention that I need to make it clear that these are not automatic downloads; I have to send them manually. I check my email several times a day, so it shouldn't take too long for the PDF files to arrive in your email. I apologize for the confusion.)

There's a link in the sidebar too. It's fairly ugly...hopefully I'll come up with something better.

Oh, and keep your fingers crossed. Someone's coming to look at my bike on Saturday, and she seems really serious about it. I hope she buys it, and that no one will point and laugh at me when I cry as it zips off down the street.


I've been asked a few times over the last couple of years to do this, so for the four people who wanted it...I'm making PDF versions of my first 3 books available. I would have done it sooner. but when only three people asked, it seemed like effort. But four. Four is the magic number. If four people each buy 1 copy, I can take the Spouse Thingy to Round Table Pizza, and let him watch me eat.

Available on the Inkblot Books website; ordered copies will be delivered via email. And eventually I'd stick something up on the sidebar. Because person #5 might come along someday.


=sigh= Ok, it's officially for sale.

sv650-left sidesv650-right side

2007 SV650, low miles, awesome condition. I'll even leave on the extras--Sargent seat, handlebar risers, mirror extenders, frame and swingarm sliders, and TechSpec snakeskin tank grips.

If you know someone in the No. CA area that wants one, point them my way. I kinda need to sell if before my scooter gets here.

:::cries a little:::
Paraphrased from several emails:
Mormons are not Christian.

Hmmm...I suppose that's why it's the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Because no Christian church would actually name themselves after him...


This afternoon I sat in the coffee shop at Border's bookstore, trying to read (and understand) a Great Big Book on Real Estate Practices. I was slightly distracted by a little girl who was skipping back and forth between her parents, who were a good 20 feet apart, singing to the rubber ducky in her hands "lucky duck, lucky duck lucky duck..." for good 20 minutes.

It was cute for the first 3 minutes.

Right about the time she wandered off with Dad and peace was restored to my little bubble, a woman and her little boy wandered up to the counter and he asked the girl at the cash register, "Do you have any fruit?"

"No, I'm sorry."

"Do you have any begetables?"

"No, I'm sorry, we don't."

"Well thank God!!!"

I don't know what he wound up getting, but I sure know what he didn't want.

And now my head hurts, because I'm only 250 pages into this massive book, and I don't know how the real estate professionals keep it all straight without cranial implosions.


Apparently, I pushed a few buttons. Apparently, too, a few who felt their buttons had been pushed did not feel comfortable enough to reply in the comments section of a previously published post. It would have been nice if all those who emailed had done so from legitimate email accounts and not anonymously, but what's a person to do?

I tried to reply, but they bounced back.

A few who emailed did so quite openly, and were willing to engage in real conversation; they weren't just taking pot shots and screaming at me behind the anonymity of a computer.

This isn't for them. This is for the bouncees.

You'd understand if you were a Christian. Anyone who is knows that civil matters don't matter. You fight for your Christian principles even when it's unpopular.

Who says I'm not a Christian? Is it because I don't subscribe to your particular version of Christianity? Look, I honestly feel there is no conflict in believing both in a particular religion and also in the separation of church and state.

If you're Catholic, then you live that life; you go to Mass, you observe the High Holy Days, and you fight to keep your life as righteously Catholic as you can. If you're Mormon, you get yourself clean enough to be allowed a Temple Recommend. Serve a mission. Proselytize gently. If you're a generic, don't-need-a-label Protestant bent on digging through religion and finding the parts that work for you and jive with what you believe in, discarding what doesn't, that's terrific. I don't have a problem with Cafeteria Religion. As long as you work at keeping your beliefs on tune with how you live and aren't engaged in ritual sacrifice or the beating of small children and animals.

While you're living your life according to your principles--Christian or otherwise--do you want the government to step in and tell you to stop doing this and replace it with that? Is it all right for some government body to tell you that your church head is wrong; you have to prescribe to the wisdom of the Pope, or the Dali, or George Bush?

In terms of Christianity, I believe that if you accept Christ as your savior, you admit that you're a sinner, and you're working on that...you're a Christian. The state needs to stay out of it so that it can't define how you have to approach your religion.

I bet you're one of those who wants to keep prayer out of schools.

Do I believe in prayer in school? In a public school, with organized prayer--absolutely not. Why? Because how do you choose whose prayer the school says? Rote Catholic prayer? Formal-language LDS peppered with thees and thous? Informal, off the top of your head protestant have-a-conversation-with-the-Big-Guy prayer? Do the kids have to pray in the name of Christ? What about Buddha? What about the Jewish students?

Kids who want to pray in school, quietly, for the sake of their own souls...definitely. Let them. Don't stop some kid from bowing his head in the cafeteria and praying before his lunch. Never berate a kid for asking God for a little wisdom right before a test. But if you want organized, enforced, group prayer, send your kids to a parochial school where your values will be enforced and where your belief system will be fostered.

You're going to hell and when you do I'm going to cheer.

That's not very Christian of you.

This country was built on the principles of Christianity. Our forefathers are probably spinning in their graves, seeing what a mockery the atheists and agnostics are making out of their hard work. It doesn't matter if you like it or not, the USA is a Christian nation and homosexuality is known to be abnormal based on the Bible. You're not going to get a good argument against gay marriage that doesn't have religion in it because all the reasonable arguments are naturally religion based.

If my house was built on a foundation of dirt and straw, does that then mean I can't find something that is better suited to my environment? Something that weds itself to that foundation and makes it stronger?

I don't think the USA is a Christian nation. It's a diverse nation, a true melting pot of every belief a person can possibly hold. We have freedom of religion, and that is a truly beautiful thing. But the flipside of that is that we also (should) have freedom from religion. I shouldn't be able to demand you follow the tenets of my religion any more than you should be able to say I have to follow yours. Those who find organized religion a waste of their time shouldn't be pigeon holed into worshiping in a way for which they have no use.

If you believe that marriage between two men or two women is abnormal, I'm not going to try to talk you out of that. It's a part of your belief system and a fundamental right to hold onto that. I don't have to agree with you to respect your right to believe in it.

Where I draw the line is accepting that because you believe it, that has to be enforced onto large groups of people that don't share your point of view.

Why won't gay groups accept a compromise? Why not settle for a Civil Union? It gets them what they want.

Simply because it still says that their relationships aren't worth as much as the union between a man and a woman. You have two people who are telling the world that they want to commit to each other, for better or for worse, ‘til death do they part. It might be simple semantics to the unaffected, but to the people involved it carries a significant weight of meaning and intent.

Marriage goes beyond being able to point to someone and say "this is my legal partner, this is who I file joint income tax with, and who I can finally get on my insurance policy." Marriage is being able to say "this is the person that holds my heart in their hands. This is the person I want to sometimes take for granted, and for whom I always want to be there. This is the person for whom I would swallow molten lead, if it meant they would get to dance on the edge of forever and feel nothing but happiness."

A civil union is legal; a marriage is emotional, and anyone who wants to make that level of commitment... Marriage is certainly more than a piece of paper. It's intent. It's a promise.

As far as civil unions go, I really think there ought to be a legal mechanism in place that allows two people to form a legal commitment to each other so that they can make legal decisions on behalf of each other. One that doesn't mean they're "together" it in love and want to share forever; just something that would be more concrete than even a Power of Attorney. Face it, everyone has heard the horror story of the person lying in an ICU somewhere with no hope of recovery, and family members who haven't been heard from or spoken to in 30 years swooping in and making all the decisions about care and whether or not a DNR is valid, and what happens to their estate after. And sitting in chair in the hallway is their other half, the person they spent a lifetime with, shut out of being able to enforce what they know their partner wanted.

It doesn't matter if they were a straight couple who chose to live together without marriage, lifelong roommates of the same or even opposite gender with no romantic association; they're shuffled off to the side, without a legal leg to stand on.

In the end, no matter what you think, trying to use logic, it's still a sin. You can love your gay friends and want everything for them, but it's still a sin.

And if it is...? I do believe in the principle of hating the sin but loving the sinner. But you know what? That doesn't mean blocking someone from doing what they honestly believe is right. We’re all sinners, and God will sort us all out in the end.


Annoying: when you go out to dinner and one person gets their meal, while the other is told theirs will be "right up." And "right up" turns out to be 10 minutes later, and it's totally the wrong order. One person sits there and waits for the right meal to be fixed while the other finishes eating.

Less annoying: when you're the person who gets to eat. Hehe.

Un-annoying: when your bill is comp'd to the tune of about $25, more than the cost of the screwed up order.

Sweet: When the free dinner turns out to be really, really good.



Here's a helpful hint...unless you want a special taste treat, move your toothbrush off the bathroom vanity before spraying the mirror with Windex...

You're welcome.


I noticed the car ahead of me first. It was a slick red convertible, though I couldn't tell what model it was. It looked like an older Camaro ragtop, in cherry condition. Convertibles still catch my eye, long after I sold mine in favor of riding the bike. They're still what I notice more than other cars on the road, probably what I'll always notice.

It stopped short of the limit line leading out of the parking lot, which annoyed me a little when I realized the driver was jumping out of the car. He held up his hand in a "this will take just a second" motion, and it was then I noticed the Woman sitting by the bushes near the parking lot exit. She was holding the standard "I'm homeless please help" cardboard sign, the one that's always stashed in those bushes for whomever to use for their panhandling needs. Someone even leaves a milk crate for people who are looking for handouts to sit on, and it's apparently a first come first serve kind of thing.

Convertible Boy was opening his trunk, shouting to the Woman "I don't have any cash, but if you're hungry I just bought some food."

She jumped up, dropping the sign to the ground. He pulled a box of granola bars out of a plastic bag, and pulled two soft drink cans out of a cooler, and she accepted them eagerly. He was rooting around for something else, and I watched.

No hurry. I didn't have anywhere I had to be right that minute.

I looked at the bike she had stashed by the bushes. There's a guy who regularly begs in that location who has an expensive, well maintained Trek bike; I'm not sure he realizes it likely costs him business, because anyone who sees that bike knows it's not cheap, and why give hard earned cash to someone who could sell that very expensive bike, and use that money for food first?

I digress.

Her bike was a rusted POS with a dry, sagging chain, bent bars, and ripped up seat. As the guy closed his trunk, after handing over a filled and apologizing that he couldn't offer more, my gaze moved to her.

She was holding the food tight to her chest, smiling. Gratitude oozed off her in palpable waves. Convertible Boy was climbing into his car, and she sat back down, dirty hands ripping open the top of the granola bar box. From where I sat I could see the dirt caked under her nails, the grime in hair that poked out from under a faded blue kerchief. Her face lined in misery; I'd guess she was younger than 40 but sat with the weariness of someone who's just about done with everything.

Her jeans were worn thin at the knees, her shoes mis-matched. No socks.

Convertible Boy pulled away, as she was taking a huge bite of a hastily opened granola bar, her eyes fluttered closed for just a second, and for that briefest moment I could feel a hunger I know I'll never have to experience.

They're not all Trek-Bike boy, looking for a handout for the hell of it. They're not all drug addicts looking for cash for their next fix.

Sometimes they're just hungry.


Fireworks, even the Sane-n-Sane kind, are illegal in our county. We're in a drought, and living in a veritable tinder box. We're barely over the choking smoke from last week. Still, I wasn't surprised to hear firecrackers going off up and down our street at 9:45 last night. I'm not one of those neighbors who gets on the phone and complains to the police about the little delinquents doing bad, bad things to celebrate the 4th of July. The cats weren't freaking out (though Max really wanted to look out the window to see what was going on) and the popping sounds ended around 10:15.


12:45 a.m., I'm drifting off to sleep, and all the sudden there's BANG! BANG! BANG! going on in the street. Not just the little lady finger fire crackers, but the giant, blow-your-fingers-off variety. No, I didn't rat them out by calling the cops, but I was annoyed beyond reason, especially when the Harley with the car-alarm-tripping pipes fired up.

With that bike starting up, I can be fairly sure who was setting off the big booms at nearly one in the morning.

Not that I'm gonna do anything about it, but there's still that evil voice in the back of my head urging me to set off flaming bags of dog poop on their front porch.

If only we weren't in a drought...


The world has definitely jumped on the scooter bandwagon, and they all want my scooter. Every place the Spouse Thingy called yesterday was sold out of the MP3 scooter; the dealer closest to us, however, was willing to take a deposit on one of 4 they expect to get in 4-6 weeks.

So yep, we went over and put a deposit down. That gives me a month or so to sell my SV650. My pretty, pretty SV650. My mobile awesomeness. You want, right? It gets over 50 mpg...!

Happy 4th!


A while back, Alby posted about his discovery that if you hold the CTRL key down, and run your finger down the right side of a laptop touchpad, you can make the screen bigger. You can change the screen resolution without really changing the screen resolution (it only works with Firefox, at least for me...) This is a boon to my aging eyes, and I frequently surf now with the type on the screen THIS BIG.

9-12-06Remember this little bike?
My first.
I sold it not to long ago to someone who will love it and care for it and treat it like the zippy little bike it deserves to be. And I wasn't riding it, because I bought the Suzuki. sv-5

For a rider my height and inseam with a a year or two experience, the SV650 is a good fit. I can flat foot it, it's fun, it's flickable...but I shouldn't have bought it. Hindsight is a wonderful thing. Sure, I'm tall enough for it, but apparently I'm no longer bendy enough for it.

I keep getting stuck. It's hard for me to get onto with my non-cooperative back and hips, and sometimes impossible to get off of without any help. Picture me in the Taco Bell parking lot, dying of thirst, trying to figure out how the hell I get my freaking leg over the bike without falling down.

It's not pretty.

I'm going to start looking for one of these.

A scooter.

A tres spiffy scooter, but a scooter nonetheless. I figure I'm going to wind up on one eventually, I might as well get the spiffy one. The problem is going to be finding one, as the rest of the world has jumped on the Scooter Bandwagon and are buying them up before they even hit the dealer floor.

It's a scooter. =sobsalittle= I always figured a scooter was the end of the riding line for me, so to speak. When I was too OLD to ride a motorcycle. I just don't see the point in buying another bike and then a year or two from now having to go through the whole sell-one-bike-buy-something-else thing.

And did I mention it's spiffy? Two wheels up front, leans like a motorcycle, but all around is probably safer.

It's all about the spiffy.

Max was asked to test Febreze Pet Odor Eliminator...it was free stuff, of course he said yes. The stuff works! We always kept a bottle of Febreze Air Effect on hand because the cats...let's just say they can be odoriffic. The Pet Odor version works a little better than the other (I think...I could be imagining it, but let's say it does because I say it does...) and it doesn't throw me into an Oh God I Can't Breathe spasm. Smells nice, too.