240 - Toys!

Went to Toys R Us at lunch to grab some games. There are quite a few on sale, and you can combine the sale price with printable coupons, and a Toys R Us / Hasbro rebate to get some pretty inexpensive board games. Awesome.

I get in the checkout lane behind this lady who is telling the clerk she didn't get her 50% off. He asks if she got the Star Wars version of the Legos, she said yes, he consults a sign that says Star Wars is excluded from the sale. He asks if she needs a refund. She gets huffy and says yes but she doesn't have the time right now, and then stomps away, scowling.

Now... when I was perusing the games aisle, there were signs everywhere, and they told you what was on sale, what was excluded, and any associated rebates. If you pay attention to the signs, you don't buy the wrong thing. Pretty sure there would have been a sign by the Legos too. But I didn't much care. She was out of my way and I was moving through the line. I paid $21 for Clue, Twister and Battleship, I will get $6 in rebates from Hasbro, and I got a $5 gift card. So basically $3.33 a game. Me likey.

Also, if you like Crocs, you can get 25% off and free shipping. I've always wanted to try them out, so I grabbed a pair for $11. Worst case scenario I have gardening shoes, but everyone seems to love them so maybe I will too.

Also, I hate Walmart, but they are having a pretty cool beauty sale. I got some fancy schmancy Neutrogena Clinical stuff ($35.97), and some fancy schmancy Aveeno Ageless Vitality ($39.95), both together cost me about $15 (and free shipping, sometimes Walmart doesn't suck).

Southernsavers.com is really posting some great deals this week!

Random thing of the day: I was half-listening to a conversation between two of my co-workers and I heard the following sentence fragment... make of it what you will... "you’re my customer, and I’m going to service you." Bwahahaha


239 - Spread 'em

Your cheeks that is.

That's what I did today.

In front of three people.

At the orthodontist's office.
I endured another round of torture in the chair, with my mouth being contorted in ways it was never meant to contort. I told the ladies there that I have so much fun when I'm with them. I look so sexy... I feel so sexy... they'd better not post those sexy pictures on the internet or I will be mortally embarassed...

In other news, none of my plants have died, and my sycamore tree is FULL of leaves just ready to burst out. I love my sycamore... Imma be (that was for you Sarah) so sad when I move on and have to leave it behind... but, I have a couple more years before that happens, so maybe it will get big enough to give me some shade before I go. And wherever I go, I shall plant another... yeah... I'm like Johnny Appleseed... whom I've seen naked (anyone else love Tommy Flanagan the pathological liar?).

And... AND... Survivors seasons 1 & 2 is available for pre-order! SQUEE! I ordered mine already. Yeppers... oh hell, once more with feeling -- SQUEE! And... AND... it's on tonight on BBC America (they moved nights)... Double SQUEE!!! My fave character lives... but Abby has found herself in a world of trouble...

P.S. Breakin'... 'tis a silly movie... but, as Lisa Marie said, the broom dance was indeed cool

P.P.S. Is it P.P.S. or P.S.S.?

P.P.P.S. On the cover of The Road is a sticker that says 'Read the book - Now a major motion picture - See the film'  Is there such a thing as a minor motion picture?

P.P.P.P.S. I'm going to exercise now


238 - The troll cave

Today one of my co-workers came to my office and told me, 'they're giving away tomato plants downstairs.' My ears perk up. I like tomatoes -- nay -- I love tomatoes. I must have them! Who cares if I already have 5 tomato plants -- give me more -- I can handle it.

So I hopped up and scurried dashed downstairs, looking for the room number I was given. As I walked, I grew ever closer to the office I want to avoid more than any place on earth... the office where my ex, the troll (you may remember my 'fuck you' letter from last year) resides. Sighing a breath of relief, I note that the office next door is the one I'm seeking.

What's this?

There are no tomato plants here. They must all be gone. Damn.

But there's a person. And he asks if he can help me find something. I say tomato plants (this is starting to sound vaguely reminescent of my experience at the nursery isn't it?). He points next door. Damn. "Never mind," I tell him. He say, "No, no, come on, they're just over here," as he leads me over to the troll cave. "There are tomato plants and pepper plants, take what you want. However many you want."

The joy of the moment is gone.

I grab two tomato plants and a pepper plant and practically sprint out the door, all the while thinking, 'please don't let the troll turn around, please don't let the troll turn around...' It's like a fight or flight response where adrenaline starts pumping and my heart beats faster. Instead of pounding his face in, I just want to run away from him. It almost feels like fear, and I hate it, I am not a coward -- I killed a frickin' snake dammit! Killed it dead! Chopped it into pieces! And found out it might have been a copperhead! (slight twinge of guilt is now gone)

When I got back to my desk I noticed that I had grabbed a cherry tomato and a Roma tomato and a cayenne pepper plant. In my rush, I hadn't noticed there were different varieties. Damn.

So... I told Greg about them, and my predicament. He wanted to get some plants for his son, so I asked if he would look through them to see if there was something I missed. Greg is so nice... he faced the troll to bring me a banana pepper plant. Thank you Greg!  =)

Started reading The Road by Cormac McCarthy last night. Didn't know if I would like it. Realized he also wrote All the Pretty Horses, which I tried to slog through but couldn't, so my expectation were low. And he writes in a different style than I'm used to. Sentence fragments. Lots of sentence fragments. No apostrophes when theres a contract. No quote marks around a quote. No identifiers to tell you who spoke. And yet... At page 89 I made myself get out of the tub. It's good. Bleak. Scary. Good. Mostly mood, very little dialogue. I may finish this one in 3 days.


237 - Beyotch

I was shopping at the grocer's yesterday and as I began to turn onto an aisle, I encountered an old lady. She was coming toward me on the left side of the aisle. Now... I believe that walking is like driving... you go forward on the righthand side so traffic keeps moving. In the grocery store, if you are looking at something on the left hand side, I get that, but she wasn't, she was just walking. I kind of waited for her to move over (she had plenty of room to do so as she wasn't at the end of the aisle yet)... but she didn't. She said, "Excuse me!" in a self-important 'I'm a cranky old lady so I can do whatever the hell I want to' voice, expecting me to move out of her way. In my head I said all kinds of nasty things to the bitch, but in reality I felt it wasn't worth a confrontation, so I moved over and mumbled under my breath, "Can't, cuz you're fucking rude." BTW, I'm passive-aggressive... Stupid old biddy either didn't hear or didn't care. I opt for the latter.

The rest of the day was spent clipping coupons and matching them to this week's deals. Didn't accomplish much beyond that.

Later that night I was moving stuff around in the garage, finally getting started on that NY resolution of mine to get it organized this year. I picked up an empty box and moved it toward the door so it will be easier to put on the curb on trashday. I heard something rustling around in the newspaper on the bottom of the box. 'Roach!' I thought, begging the thing not to crawl out until after I put the box down. Then I thought, it could also be a mouse... but I didn't feel it scrabbling around trying to get out, so I didn't panic. Actually mice don't panic me (rats like the ones Darla heard above her head would have!), mice are cute in their way... don't want them in my house, but if I can, I will evict them peaceful-like and let them live. Having one crawl on me... that would be another matter, I'd probably freak out... yeah... I'd definitely freak out.

I walked away to grab something else. I turn around to add it to the box and notice my cats are intensely interested in something. That never bodes well, but I'm still thinking roach.

It was a snake...

The snake's death came about through a series of three progressive thoughts:

1) 'Snake!' At this point I might have assessed the situation and realized it was probably just a garden snake (small, greyish), but I didn't have time because by this point, Gracie was batting at it, and Daphne was eager to get in on the action.

2) 'Snake! Potentially poisonous! Copperhead? Might bite Gracie! Shit!' meant the snake was in trouble. Then Gracie picks it up in her mouth and starts walking.

3) 'Snake! Potentially pisonous! Copperhead? Might bite Gracie! Shit! Cat door!' sealed its fate and signed its death warrant. If she brought that thing into the house and didn't kill it, who knows where it would end up. That sent me running to the cat door to block her, where my eye happened upon the shovel. I grabbed it and began to stalk Gracie, waiting for the inevitable moment that she would drop the snake, hopefully not underneath the car. When that moment came I chopped that poor sucker in half... well, not completely in half, the shovel kept the snake pinned so it probably didn't go all the way through, and it was trying to bite the head of the shovel (hell, I would too). So I made sure the next blow would sever its head. That poor thing ended up in about five pieces because it was in an s-shape when I chopped... there's blood on my garage floor... I feel bad... I think it was just a garden snake... if I hadn't thought my cat might get bitten it probably could have lived.

So this proves one thing to me... under the right circumstances, I can kill a living creature (roaches don't count, they're always meant to die). If something is a threat to my life, or the life of my loved ones, I can do what needs to be done. And I feel okay about it. I only feel a smidge of guilt over the brutality of the death... it wasn't a good way to die... but it was clumsiness, not my intentions, that made it so... I was aiming for the head.

*shaking it off*

I'm DVR'ing Breakin'. Anyone remember the first break dancing craze? Breakin', and Breakin' 2: Electric Bugaloo? I'm going to be all nostalgic and relive the fifth grade later tonight. I expect it will be nothing like I remember. I do remember that one of the guys was wearing pants so tight that you could see what he was packing, and I mentioned that fact to my mom, which made her do that mom gaspy thing she does. Guess I would too if my fifth grader said, 'Mom, you can see what he's got in his pants!'

Didn't want to exercise last night... but I have given myself Friday nights off because I think it's actually beneficial to my muscles to have a day of downtimes, so I didn't want to miss two days in a row. It was almost 10 pm before it even occurred to me to exercise, not optimal, and if it was a weekday I would have written it off. But it was a Saturday, so I did it... Pushing through the excuses... I haven't measured myself this weekend, but my weight is down to 170 lbs, so 2-3 lbs from the last time? Slowly making progress toward the poundage decreasing. Sllllllooooooooooooowwwwwwwwwwwwlllllllly.


236 - Tagged by Kato

I was recently tagged by Kato. In this game, the rules are:

1. Go into your first photo file and pick the 10th photo in it.

2. Tell the story behind the photo.

3. Tag five other people to do likewise.

Well, my photo files are mostly on another hard drive, to save space... but I do have a few meager photos on the computer, so here goes:

This is a stream that flows through the Birnam woods, and I took this photo the first time I went to Scotland. I love water and I love trees, so a place like this is nirvana to me. The special Celtic green of the moss is simply amazing, especially when contrasted with a background dark water stained rocks.

The closest thing I can give you for comparison (and I loathe myself for this, but I'm trying to give you a broader image) is the scene in Twilight where Edward gets Bella to admit that she thinks he's a vampire (sorry if I spoiled the surprise for you)... the woods that surround them are pretty close to how beautiful and green this place is.

I loved it so much that I based the scenery in my novel on a cross between Dunkeld, Birnam and Stirling, because between them, they form a perfect place where I would want to live if I could live anywhere in the world... some people like beaches... I'm a forest nymph at heart, who could literally ooh and aah over the varied shape of a tree for hours. Another reason I love this place so much is that there's a similar place in Ireland that I fell in love with called Torc, both are beautiful and both feature gorgeous waterfalls (and if you want to know more about Ireland, check out my friend Dave's blog, he's the one who showed me the sights, he started out as a guide and quickly became a friend).

Not sure who has or hasn't been tagged, so I'm throwing caution to the wind and tagging:

1) TS
3) Jerry
4) Powdered Toast Man
5) Gina


235 - Cleaning out my drawers

I'm getting a new computer at work. Last time they 'refreshed' me I had a ton of music on my computer and it took about six hours for them to copy and move all of my files -- I don't want to be yelled at again... So this time I'm cleaning up my hard drive a bit (drawers sounded cheekier... like a cheek-ky mon-key... would you like to see my drar-rings?... sorry, old SNL bit). In my defense, if I had known it was going to cause problems I would have gladly scrapped all the music and reloaded it myself later...

Sorry, I'm babbling. It's been known to happen. Perhaps my mother should have named me Brooke... and there I go again (on my own... travelling down the only road I've ever known... yeah, that random song thing happens a lot, too... I'm done now).

So while I was going through my personal files and transferring photos onto a thumb drive, I found some other files...

This is one such file.

It seems that a crazy woman was stalking one of my guy friends and I decided to help him out with some highly believable excuses that would get her off his back without her knowing it's what he wanted all along... Reading it might bring to mind a recent blog by Robyn... but I wrote it about five years ago and it's not at all the same... okay, I just wanted to give props to Robyn for making me laugh so hard. Without further adieu (adieu, to you and you and you):

1. I can’t go out with you right now… but in a couple of weeks my outbreak will have subsided and the doctor said it’ll be okay.

2. I shouldn’t have led you on, it’s just that my sister and I were fighting and I seriously thought it was over between us...

3. My mom said she went to high school with you.

4. I’m doing a drag show this weekend, would you like to come?

5. I’ve given myself to the church, specifically to Father O’Hara of the church.

6. I’d love to hang out with you, but since I’m returning to my home planet soon, it wouldn’t be fair to you.

7. I can probably schedule you sometime next month. I’m pretty booked, but I think I can sandwich you in between Debbie and Diane…

8. I’m a perfectionist with OCD, and you screwed everything up when you put the chocolate Tootsie Roll pop in the middle of two cherry Tootsie Roll pops, they should have all been red, lined up evenly, and facing the same way.

P.S. You might be asking yourself, "Self? I wonder how it is that Kristy has all these random songs and quotes and innuendos and such running through her head all the time and it doesn't just drive her crazy?" Well, dear reader, it does drive me crazy. For instance, I've had the Operation Repo theme song, the short one just before they go to commercial, running through my head for about two days now. Most any time there is silence in the room, I hear it -- especially when I'm trying to sleep. Over and over. Like right now? I hear it. AND in some bizzarro fashion, I'm not singing it, but my throat acts like I'm singing, the throat muscles constrict as if I'm singing it, so it makes my throat sore. Freaky, yes? It's really very annoying. So count yourself lucky if you don't have to contend with it. Oh and, whatever you do, don't think about elephants.


234 - Visine, it takes the red out

So, there I was, putting drops in my eyes, which I rarely do, but I had touched the cat and sometime in the middle of the night (half-asleep), rubbed my eye. It was red and itchy... itchy and red... and I had just bought some Visine, so I decided to use it rather than scare people with my evil red demonic eye.

Then I felt something trickle down the back of my throat... and I wondered about that old urban legend... the one that says if you put Visine in someone's drink, you'll give them diarrhea (you give it to them... like a gift... from you... to them). Nothing happened so maybe it's just my sinuses... I constantly have sinus drainage... that's what makes me so sexsay. But I digress.

I decided to consult Snopes.com, because now that I was thinking about it, I have always wondered if it was true.

It's not.


Apparently Visine can fucking KILL YOU.

It does something to your central nervous system when you ingest it. I guess going into your eye a drop at a time is okay, but swallowing it is bad, bad news. Really bad. It makes me wonder if putting it in your eye is such a great idea...

So now you know... if you absolutely have to get back at someone, and you are determined to do it via their bowels... bake the chocolate laxative brownies instead (or instead of doing any of that, just make a voodoo doll and smash it over the head with a giant hammer).


233 - Better Living Through Chemistry

As we get older we sometimes begin to doubt our ability to "make a difference" in the world. It is at these times that our hopes are boosted by the remarkable achievements of other "seniors" who have found the courage to take on challenges. Harold Sclumberg is such a person.


I've often been asked, 'What do you old folks do now that you're retired'?"Well. I'm fortunate to have a chemical engineering background, and one of the things I enjoy most is turning beer, wine, Scotch, and margaritas into urine."


232 - Too funked up to blog

My grandma always has different dogs every time I visit. Strays wander into her yard, or people dump them there, and she feeds them. I must have inherited my empathy toward animals from her. Unfortunately, she doesn't do anything more than feed these animals... no vaccinations... no medical care... no spaying or neutering... Usually the dogs live there for a couple of years and either wander off, get hit by cars or whatever... something happens to them, because they're usually not around the next time I visit. It's sad.

But these last two dogs were a serious problem for me. They have really depressed me.

They were both dumped at her house, and they have red mange. One of them was either curled into a tight ball, spending all day either sleeping or wandering aimlessly about the yard in a daze. The other had large patches of fur missing (and it was really cold outside while we were there), and green stuff oozing from one eye, but it was cognizant and wanted someone to pet it sooooooooooo bad... it would come up to us and whine for attention, but it kept its distance and didn't jump on us... it broke my damn heart. You can tell it's a good dog, but no one, including me, would pet it because of the mange. The plumber who came out to fix grandma's pipes wanted to shoot it to put it out of its misery...

Today I got curious, and I looked mange up on the internet. I don't know if this works or not, but it sounds like it might, and in a harmless way versus all the chemicals and treatments the dog would otherwise be subjected to... slather mayo on the dog. It supposedly suffocates the mites that have taken up residence in the hair follicles. They try to climb out, and they get trapped in the mayo... I guess you leave it on for 20 minutes or so? Then you wash the dog with Head and Shoulders, and rinse it off with vinegar and water. I would probably let the dog's coat dry and then also spritz it with lavendar oil and water, because lavendar oil has anti-microbial properties and it's soothing. So I told my cousin about it. Hopefully she'll do it, or get her boyfriend to do it (she lives next door to grandma). Thinking about those dogs has really got me down... It might be too late for one of them, but the other seems healthy. Seeing animals suffer kills me...

I can't think of much to blog about, so I'll keep it about pests...

Another thing I learned, because Gracie can not handle flea medication (she drooled and acted lethargic and even shit on the floor)... lavendar oil repels fleas. I spritz it on the bedding and anywhere the cats hang out... smells good and has a function. For something stronger, cedar oil kills fleas and mosquitos and mites and bed bugs, etc. You can apparently apply it directly to yourself, animals (even young ones), children, what have you... it smells like a bad smoky bar for a little while, but the smell fades quickly. I bought some Nature's Defender last year and was pleasantly surprised at how quickly it eradicated my problem. At $35 it may seem expensive, but it's about the same as buying flea meds from the vet and lasts a lot longer. I also heard that feeding garlic to dogs or cats will repel fleas, but didn't think my cats would eat it. In the case of those dogs, I would probably toss a couple of cloves in with their food, because aside from repelling fleas, enough raw garlic works like an anti-biotic.

So there's all I know about getting rid of critters on your animals without using harsh chemicals. I didn't realize that flea medication was so harsh, but my vet said he's had cats die from it... I am so glad that Gracie didn't, and I vowed I'd never do that to her again. I really hope those dogs get better... it would cheer me up immensely to hear that they were making a recovery.


231 - Home again

Twelve hours is a long damn time to be in a car.

The funeral was Tuesday. It was a military funeral with airforce cadets carrying the coffin (young skinny little cadets who were really struggling... I felt bad for them... but honored that they were there), folding the flag, doing the 21 gun salute (or in actuality, seven people firing three times directly at us with blanks), and playing Taps. Last time I saw a Mason's funeral, now I've seen a military funeral. For some reason it's the rituals of a funeral that get to me and make me cry... seeing the cops stopped on the corner to let the procession pass through a light... the cadets saluting the coffin... handing the flag to the widow... At my grandpa's funeral it was passing over the railroad tracks and seeing the railmen with their hats over their hearts and the lights flashing that did it (he worked for the railroad).

The whole time I kept thinking, 'I'm the only one with a dad that's still living.' My first uncle was only 55. This uncle was only 62. My dad is almost 65... he's older than both of them. It just hit me that my mom is almost 70. It wasn't just the death of my uncle, it was my parent's mortality staring me in the face. I hope they live another 20-30 years... but even though as I grow older, 50 and 60 don't sound as old as they used to... 70 still sounds old... Grandma is 84 now. I think she's only two years younger than my great-grandmother was when she passed on. It was all staring me in the face.

There were good moments though. Grandpa, when he knew he was dying, put together a photo album that chronicled his life and detailed some of our family tree. I decided to take pictures of the pictures because I want to know about my past. You want irony? The hero of the novel I wrote was named Hagan. My great-great-great grandmother's last name was Hagan. I didn't know it at the time... I picked that name out about seven years ago when I used it in a screenplay I still haven't finished. Spooky, huh? Anyway, I videotaped mom and grandma flipping through the album and talking about it... it's good stuff. Now I know something about our past. I'm more Cherokee than I thought. Let's see... if my great-grandfather's father was half Cherokee, then I'm... carry the one... hmmm... not much of a Cherokee.

I also got to see my little cousin Eli. He is such a cute kid. He drug a huge photo album over and sat next to me on the couch, then for about an hour we looked at the album and he told me what he did and didn't like (Likes: little slides, trampolines, being called 'little Eli', toys... Dislikes: swings, water, long hair (on him), being big, big slides, merry-go-rounds, being in his momma's belly, and my nose piercing). He's three'ish, and hyper, so mom was astounded that he focused on something for that long. I was just astounded that I haven't seem him since he was two, and he likes me!

Random thought: If someone (I'm thinking Native American Indian way back when) kills a wolf, skins it, and wears the hide... and then he encounters a pack of wolves... would he be better off or worse off because he's wearing the hide?

And here are some random pics I snapped:

This is the loooooooooooooooooooooong bridge over the Atchafalaya swamp (pronounced chuf-uh-lie-uh... it doesn't have to make sense). That water just goes on and on and on... I wonder how long (and how much money) it took them to build the bridge, and why they didn't just find an easier spot.

I should also remark that in Lousiana there is a decided lack of roadkill... every other road in America has roadkill. Hmmm.

Tupelo, Mississippi is where Elvis was born. Tiny little shotgun shack. Didn't go there this time, we were on our way to the mall (Barnes & Noble!), but here's a sign for you... ooh... aah...:

My grandma has always washed plastic dishes and cutlery. We blame it on the fact that she lived through The Great Depression. It irritates the peeyoodle out of mom (yes, peeyoodle) because it misses the whole point of using disposable dinnerware. But now, it seems she's going one step further and now she's starting to wash styrofoam cups, tops, and straws as well. I offer you photographic evidence that I don't make this shit up.


This is boudin (boo-dan). I know it looks like a turd, but it's boudin. Trust me. I ate it. It's boudin. I'm not exactly sure what's in it, but I think it's where Louisiana roadkill goes to die. It reminds me of haggis, actually, but spicy, and mushy. I think it's chicken, rice, spices, and... um... secret ingredients... Not sure it's the best travel food, but it's what mom wanted, so we stopped in Breau Bridge, where (incidentally) one of my best friends grew up, and bought some at Rees Market... Maybe that's what's upsetting my stomach today...

A dirigible.

Or a giant bomb.


Storm clouds a brewin'. (stop looking at the sun... you'll burn your retinas!)

Sometimes... when you're in a car for an extended period of time... 'you' meaning 'me'... you find things amusing that ordinarily would not amuse you... This is one such thing...

This is a small sampling of the view from the Atchafalaya bridge, but you won't get the full effect unless you loop it for about 45 minutes... then you'll start to see what I mean when I say the bridge seems like the complicated way to do it...


230 - The garden is in the house

I'm back, but I'm still tired and getting back into the groove of things. I had written this blog just before I got the call, so that makes this easy...


I woke up around 7:30 this morning and I was ready to go... go figure that I'd finally adjust to mornings as we are about to spring forward with daylight savings time. I'll say it again -- we should never spring forward... we should always fall back... fall back an hour in the fall... fall back 23 hours in the spring... same difference, much easier to stomach. Kristy for president.

Back to the garden... I got all my stuff together, stashed Gracie in my bedroom so I wouldn't have to run out the back door with one foot out (to keep her back), and headed out to play in the dirt.

The challenge

The contender

No, I'm not wearing a white t-shirt, that's the sun reflecting off of my pale skin. Ignore the glitter. You never saw that. It's the skin of a killer, Bella! (Where is my top lip? I never have a frickin' top lip... I'm going to get a complex...)

Round 1

I have a helper! Hello Mr. Earthworm! Glad I didn't kill you with my garden trowel... I am a killer after all. With amazing eyes and glittery alabaster skin. Who gets things for free. See that skyscraper above you Mr. Earthworm? I got that for free. With my amazing eyes. (still gloating)

The loser... Thyme.

The thyme I transplated yesterday doesn't look so good. See how small they little planties are?... They never stood a chance. So I sprinkled some seeds in the pot tonight after I watered, or sprinkled, or whatever you want to call it. Fingers crossed... thyme is good to have.


Yeah... you may need to zoom in on that...

I even bagged the weeds and finally got rid of the old landscaping lights that didn't work anymore. So proud of me! All that's left is to figure out how to stand a trellis behind one of the pots, plant some beans, a few turnip seeds, and some spinach seeds. Then I think I'm done.

Poor fence... it looks bad, but it didn't fall down when Ike hit, so it'll have to hold on just a little while longer... I don't like the lady behind me anyway, and I know it probably eats her up inside. Not enough for her to approach me about splitting the cost... cranky old bitch...

And this is so pretty... I enhanced the color a little... but not much.

It even froze... totally encased in ice the day it snowed... what a trooper! Should my sycamore be leafing out now? I'm worried that I don't see buds yet... Does my sycamore know something I don't? (update: I do see buds... lots of buds... I love my sycamore...)

In the middle of all this I had to come inside and yell at Gracie because she was pawing at the windows, which wasn't a problem, but then I heard the screen rip... I get very angry when holes get put in my screens... so I stormed into the bedroom and shut the windows while I cursed at her. Ha! Try it now beyotch...

Sometimes I should pay better attention... I assumed she wanted to come outside... I came back in after I was done gardening, opened the door, and she raced out. Poor thing pooped in the bathroom... she tried to tell me... I felt so bad... and she even tried to cover it with the bathroom rug... gross but impressive, but I can wash that. So I let her know we were cool, and I apologized.

So... once, when Gracie was still a kitten, I accidentally shut her in my bedroom when I left for work (she ran under the bed and I didn't know it). I used to close the door so I could have one cat-free room in the house... futile... I don't like closed doors, they block the light and make me feel claustrophobic, and it's a pain in the ass to try to outrun a cat -- they have four legs, I only have two. Anyway... I came home, opened my bedroom door and realized she had been trapped in there all day...  and... she pooped in the sink. She had to do it somewhere... The genius part is that I had a washcloth on the countertop, and she drug that over and covered her poop with it. Even though she wasn't in the litter box she still tried to cover her poop. I threw the washcloth away... but I was kinda proud of her ingenuity... she's a cool kitty...

Finished up by about 9:30 am, so I vacuumed, then I went to the grocery store, and also stopped by CVS because I'd seen some batteries in that clearance section last night -- I got three 4-packs of AA Energizer batteries for $5.00 (didn't buy 'em last night cuz I had a coupon). So far, so good... beautiful day, I got my garden in, the windows are open, and all my chores are done.


229B - A moment of silence

My uncle passed away this afternoon. My phone rang and it was my cousin. Since she's been texting me, so I figured it wasn't good news.

I don't know when the funeral is yet... but I do know that my company's bereavement doesn't extend to uncles. Mississippi is a 12 hour drive. I don't know how I'm going to manage it if it happens in the middle of the week... I can't afford to take unpaid time and I have no sick time. Even though I get 3 weeks of vacation a year, it's accrued, and right now I have 16 hours. Two days. I'm not sure I can go. If I don't, it's going to eat me up inside. I thought I could fly in and ride back with mom and dad, or vice versa, but if they leave a day before the funeral I'll be riding up and flying back right after the funeral. I'd be there for half a day at most, and cutting it very, very close.

Anyway, I won't be blogging for the next couple of days. It's my moment of silence out of respect for my uncle.

Rest in peace uncle Harry.

229 - Poundage Update

Weight and inches update:
                 Jan 1                   4 weeks ago              Today               Lost/Gained
Weight -   172.0                  171.6                          173.0               +1.0 lbs (this frustrates me)

Bust -       39-1/2"               39"                             38-1/2"             -1" (bugger, I wanted to keep them)

Chest -     34-1/2"               34-1/2"                       34"                   -1/2"

Waist -    36-1/2"                34-1/2"                       34"                   -2-1/2"

Hips -     43-1/2"                42-1/2"                       43"                    -1/2"

Thighs -  24"                      23-1/2"                       23-1/4                -3/4" (x2)

Biceps - 14"                      12"                              12"                     -2" (x2, flexed)

So an overall loss of 10", but I've managed to gain a pound (really 2 since I'd gotten down to 171.x). The weight part is frustrating... I can't keep believing that 'muscle weighs more than fat' so this is okay... I'm working out every single night for 30 mins, occassionally an hour, but I'm putting a lot of effort into this, and to still not lose pounds or go down a pant size is disheartening.
Oh well. I'm going to go plant my garden now...


228 - Single Best Shopping Night... Ever...

I treated myself to a steak dinner tonight. I was just going to cook a potato and be done with it, but then I remembered that I had steak in the freezer, and I need to remember to use the stuff in my freezer. I also got off work a little early so I thought, 'What the hell, let's do it. Celebrate good times and all.' Fired up the grill, made some compound butter, tossed the potato in my convection oven and voila. I mean... voila! (you pretty much have to say that word with a flourish don't you?)

Was going to go to the nursery on the way home, but decided to put it off until tomorrow. It's a hobby of mine... putting things off. Even things I want to do. Figured I'd have all day Saturday to toss plants into the ground, why hurry it? I did transplant my thyme and sage. Pretty sure they're going to die. The plants were too small, very hard to handle... but fingers crossed.

So... you know me... (or at least you might have picked up on it from my posts by now)... I don't leave the house much. Nope... I'm not a house leaver. Somehow I've even avoided going out after dark for a few months now and just didn't realize it until I got in the car tonight... and that bright thing in the sky... it wasn't there... Anyway, if I bought Crest Whitestrips at CVS I'd get $10 in extra care bucks, and I just got a coupon for $10 off in the mail today so I figured, strike while the iron is hot, because the flyer changes sometime tomorrow, and I want to do this before I get my braces. This year I'm a butterfly, but right now I'm in the chrysalis stage... I'm changing... losing weight, straightening my teeth, eating healthy... (that was just mind vomit that probably confused you... sorry... it comes out with a wet wipe). And while I was out... if the nursery was open... why not go get my plants? It would give me a head start on tomorrow. So I checked the times, and yipee skippy, I still had an hour.

Drove to the nursery, semi-painlessly after taking the roundabout way to avoid traffic backups and since there were a lot of pallets being moved around and trucks being unloaded, thought I had gotten the times wrong and they were closed. The guy at the front reassured me that they were open.

I'd gotten a call while I was driving, but since I have a 6-speed I can't talk on the phone and drive even if I wanted to (which I don't) so when I saw the number I worried a little... this person never calls me... was something wrong? Nope. He saw a show that reminded him of me... it was called After Armeggedon... when he thinks of the Apocalypse he thinks of me... isn't that sweet? Well, it kind of is, lol. The Apocalypse occupies more of my daydreams than I care to admit, and he knows it. Even this garden is in some small way Apocalypse related. It's a sickness, it really is.

I headed for the tomato cages. They come in colors now... if I had my druthers I'd have gone with an unobtrusive green, but my color choices were bright yellow, bright pink, bright purple, bright orange and a nice tomatoey red, no surprise I chose red and since I couldn't get to another one easily, orange... like a traffic cone. Then I picked up some tomato food and sevin dust. Then I began my hunt for tomatoes. Where or where were the tomatoes? Not in the back... not on the left side... gads this place is huge... So the guy from the front asked if he could help me find anything. Probably pointless to tell you that I asked for tomatoes. He led me toward the front... when he got me to the aisle he pointed out the deals and then... randomly... as he walked away said I had beautiful eyes... amazing eyes.

Hmm. This doesn't happen often. Oh well *shrug* there are tomatoes to be bought!

So I shopped. I got five different kinds of tomatoes... big ones, little ones, yellow ones, orange ones... an eggplant... strawberries... two kinds of lettuce... brussels sprouts (shut up, I like them)... broccoli (shut up, I like it too)... jalapenos... chives... oregano... sage... Italian parsley... and maybe a couple of other things... I'm not really sure... I went a little vegetable crazy. Then I went to the front and got some soil.

When I checked out, I had my $5 off $30 and my $10 off $60 coupons at the ready. Figured I'd need the latter, but you never know. So the guys rings everything up, and it's $40-something. Seems low, but I hadn't added everything up in my head. As I'm paying he says, "Since you're pretty, I'm giving you the strawberries for free." I smile, unsure what to do except say, 'wow, thank you.' Then he adds that he's also giving me two other plants free, because I'm really pretty. Okay, wow again, this never happens to me. I hand over the credit card and the coupon. Then he adds that if the guys up front ask why those other two things aren't on the receipt, tell them he must not have seen them.


The other two things were the tomato cages. They were $10 apiece... but I'm really pretty.

So I walked out with about $25 worth of stuff that he didn't charge me for. Because I'm pretty. Really pretty. With amazing eyes. And ONCE AGAIN I'm in my ponytail and baggy assed jeans with this morning's untouched makeup. What. The. Fuck? Not that I'm complaining, mind you, the compliments were flattering, and the free stuff was even better... but again with the grungy look and the male attention. It's mind boggling. (and hey, I'm a cougar! he was probably in his early to mid-20's)

So I head over to CVS. There's a bunch of (mostly crap) on some tables with a sign that says 50-90% off. Hmmm.... I'll check that out later. Right now I have some whitestrips to procure. They were $31.99 - $10 coupon and I get $10 ECB. That effectively makes them $11.99. Score. Then I check out the tables up front. Frustrating because there are no prices... I'm taking this on faith and probably about to get screwed over royally. But I got some lipgloss, two kinds of moisturizer (one of them Roc so I know it was expensive), some eyeglass cleaning wipes, and when I handed over my coupons and ECB's from the last trip, I walked out paying $0. That's right... zero, nada, zilch, nothing... I still had $3 ECB and earned $10. So...

I FINALLY WALKED OUT OF CVS AND MADE MONEY! I set a goal and I more than met that goal.

*dance of joy*

*second dance of joy*

*dance of joy for the tomato cages and free plants*

*dancing just for the hell of it*

So I'm all happy, and I come home and realize that I have text messages from my cousin (and this will answer your question Joe... and thank you for asking... thank all of you for asking and praying and caring, it means a lot).

After two days of his swelling going down and other good news, my uncle is having blood pressure and heart rate issues, plus the swelling seems to have come back to some extent. They've also decreased his sedatives and he should be alert, but he's not as alert as they would have expected. The doctors have told my cousin that he's in the process of dying, which as you would expect, does not make her happy and it's not what she wants to hear. Frankly, I'm not going to get upset about it just yet. Like I told mom when I heard her start to stress out, every day is different. Three days ago they thought he was dying, for the past two days he was doing great. Oh, and apparently he had pneumonia and a staph infection to deal with on top of everything else... pretty amazing... So I hope that tomorrow he pulls another trick out of his sleeve and starts to improve for good. If I seem like it doesn't bother me today -- it does -- but I can't let myself ride that emotional roller coaster. Until they call it, he's not dead. Therefore he's still alive and there's hope.

I'm so looking forward to tomorrow... it's grocery shopping day (more importantly, I get my coupons)... it's Survivors day... it's Legend of the Seeker day... and I'll be out in the garden for a while. It's going to be a great day.


227 - Clash of the Titans

When I was in the second grade, we moved to Mississippi to be closer to mom's side of the family. At school, the playground was full of pine trees and pine needles and the boys would chase after us with weird looking bugs. *shaking it off*

During that time, Clash of the Titans came out. It was the first big movie premiere I can remember, there was so much hype... trading cards, sheets of pictures with each of the characters... it was a big deal. We talked about it on the playground for days. We each picked a character and pretended to be a god or goddess. I honestly can't remember if I saw CotT in the theater or not... I kind of doubt it, it was a little adult for a second grader. Then again, I do remember seeing it, and VHS didn't happen along until a few years later... so maybe I did.

All I know is that Medusa scared the crap out of me. Not only did she have snakes for hair... not only was she ugly as sin... but she rattled... sort of a half rattle, half cicada hum. I knew she could turn people to stone, so I was almost afraid to look at her. *shaking that off too*

Now they've remade it. Quietly. I didn't even hear about it until a couple of weeks ago... definitely didn't get the hype the first one got... I'm not at all sure about this... I see Liam Neeson in it and I'm still not sure. As hokey as the original was, it's part of a fond memory and just because this is newer doesn't mean it's going to be better. Sometimes I wish Hollywood would leave well enough alone...

Kinda looks good though.

Before you get all bedazzled by that fancy hocus pocus... remember how cutting edge this was at the time...

Good times...

P.S. I didn't know Krakens looked like giant turtle headed creatures with sharp pointy teeth... I thought they were a giant octopus that mated with dragons, and made more dragons.

P.P.S. I love dragons. They always get a bad rap...

226B - This gives me ideas...

My version of Wordless Wednesdays... me not blogging, but instead, sharing a joke with you! I'll warn you now, don't drink anything when you read this that you don't want coming out of your nose... (why does this make me think of you, Joe?)


After I retired, my wife insisted that I accompany her on her trips to Target. Unfortunately, like most men, I found shopping boring and preferred TO get in and get out. Equally unfortunate, my wife is like most women - she loves to browse. yesterday my dear wife received the following letter from the local Target.

Dear Mrs. Samuel,

Over the past six months, your husband has caused quite a commotion in our store. We cannot tolerate this behavior and have been forced to ban both of you from the store. Our complaints against your husband, Mr. Samuel, are listed below and are documented by our video surveillance cameras.

1. June 15: Took 24 boxes of condoms and randomly put them in other people's carts when they weren't looking.

2. July 2: Set all the alarm clocks in Housewares to go off at 5-minute intervals.

3. July 7: He made a trail of tomato juice on the floor leading to the women's restroom.

4. July 19: Walked up to an employee and told her in an official voice, 'Code 3 in Housewares. Get on it right away'. This caused the employee to leave her assigned station and receive a reprimand from her Supervisor that in turn resulted with a union grievance, causing management to lose time and costing the company money.

5. August 4: Went to the Service Desk and tried to put a bag of M&Ms on layaway.

6. August 14: Moved a 'CAUTION - WET FLOOR' sign to a carpeted area.

7. August 15: Set up a tent in the camping department and told the children shoppers he'd invite them in if they would bring pillows and blankets from the bedding department to which twenty children obliged.

8. August 23: When a clerk asked if they could help him he began crying and screamed, 'Why can't you people just leave me alone?' EMTs were called.

9. September 4: Looked right into the security camera and used it as a mirror while he picked his nose.

10. September 10: While handling guns in the hunting department, he asked the clerk where the antidepressants were.

11. October 3: Darted around the store suspiciously while loudly humming the 'Mission Impossible' theme.

12. October 6: In the auto department, he practiced his 'Madonna look' by using different sizes of funnels.

13. October 18: Hid in a clothing rack and when people browsed through, yelled 'PICK ME! PICK ME!'

14. October 21: When an announcement came over the loud speaker, he assumed a fetal position and screamed 'OH NO! IT'S THOSE VOICES AGAIN!'

And last, but not least:

15. October 23: Went into a fitting room, shut the door, waited awhile, and then yelled very loudly, 'Hey! There's no toilet paper in here.' One of the clerks passed out.

226 - Busy Day

Busy day... Today is Chuck Norris' 70th birthday... and Corey Haim had the nerve to OD. I'm sad, but at the same time, I watched (briefly) the reality show with the two Corey's in it, and he was an asshole. So I'm torn. But happy birthday Chuck!

Will post more tonight, but wanted to get those birthday wishes out there before Chuck kicks my ass.

Oh... and parts of my mouth hurt. Bugger.


225 - The orthodontist isn't your friend.

I've never been to an orthodontist before. I don't know if my parents just never thought about it, if my teeth were straight enough, or if my dentist never recommended it, but until I went for my consulation a couple of months ago, I was virginal and naive in the ways of orthodontia.

So naive.

When they said they were going to make impressions of my teeth I thought easy peasy. I envisioned biting into wax or some semi-solid block of something. Ideally I would have opened my mouth and a laser would have scanned it, but I guess that's too high tech and costly. And painless.

As I said, I was naive.

First they took a picture of me from the front. With my mouth closed. Then they took a picture of me from the side. With my mouth closed.

Huh? Shouldn't my mouth be... open? Ah well. Didn't hurt. I don't care, except that because it was rainy, my hair was a little frizzy. Didn't know we were taking photos.

Then they tricked me... the next part was easy. Disgusting, but easy. They filled a tray with some sort of wax and shoved it in my mouth. It set up pretty quickly. It wasn't fun, but it wasn't bad. They said I was handling it very well. Flattery. Sometimes it works. Then they repeated the procedure for my top teeth. As I spat out little bits of wax I thought, "Hey... not so bad except that these little bits of wax remind me of that dream I have where my teeth shatter and I can't stop spitting out little bits of teeth..."

Then they tripped me up. They began shoving random trays into my mouth (I really hope they have a dishwasher or something that they toss them into) to see which fit my mouth best. I present a slight challenge since I have all my wisdom teeth and they're waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay far back there. And apparently I also have a 'high palate'. Mm-kay, apparently I'm a freak.

Suddenly there was a new goop in town. It came in a double-barreled syringe like you make epoxy with. They squirted a yellow layer into the tray. Then they squirted a fuschia layer into the tray. It smelled like varnish. They shoved it into my mouth without giving me time to swallow one last time. If I thought the wax was disgusting... this was worse. It oozed out of the tray and sort of hung there like a ball sack (sorry, that's how I picture it...). Guess I could have said a uvula (not a vulva... a uvula) (sorry Ms. Anthropy... I did it again... oops). With that varnish smell inside your mouth, there's no escaping it, even if you breathe through your nose. The feel is repulsive. It set up more slowly, probably took a minute and a half to two minutes... Blech! But other than that, the bottom tray wasn't so bad.

The top tray was a different kind of beast. The part that went up against my palate went further back than the first tray they'd used. It went right up to the point that it activated my gag reflex. So I started gagging. They told me to tilt my head down and that might help, and they held a bowl under my mouth to catch the drool.

I'm feeling super sexy at this point.

It lasted for eternity.

Then I hear them say that they're going to have to redo the bottom impression because there's a gap or something where the impression didn't take. Fucking great.

Worse, after they remove the top tray, they immediately say they're going to have to redo it, too. Double fuck.

They redo the bottom. They squirt some of the yellow shit directly on my teeth before they shove the tray in. They proclaim it better, but not good enough. Awesome. I'm stoked.

They redo the top. They squirt more of the yellow shit onto my teeth and gums, which by the way are starting to feel a little numb because of the chemicals... I liken the feeling to... if you've ever painted your nails, gotten a boo-boo while they're still went, and tried to smooth it out with your tongue... it feels and tastes a little like that.

Take two: another epic fail.

As they prepare for round three I ask what happens if this impression is worthless, too. They say they'll keep doing it until they get it right. I think, 'the hell you will!' Then they add, "If you're alright with that." To which I reply, "But... I'm not." I mean, enough is enough... I'm a realist. If you can't get it in three tries, a fourth try is probably not going to have a significantly different outcome. The ortho pops his head in. I say, "They're torturing me." He laughs.

So for the third attempt, the ortho takes charge. He starts squirting the yellow crap onto my gums and teeth, I feel a tingling sensation. He shoves the tray in and pushes up on it. I point down. I can't talk, but I need to tilt my head down or I'm going to gag. The nurse gets it, but the ortho is pushing up on my teeth and I can't move my head. I point down again. She says, "If you need to tilt your head down, go ahead." I say, "I can't" but of course it sounds like "ha hahnk." Nobody moves. I point down more urgently. She finally says, "She can't move her head." He repositions himself so that I'm not gagging on my own spit -- he literally has me in a headlock. Don't underestimate the ability to communicate. Without it, life sucks.

Now it's time for my bottom tray. He pulls my lower lip out and brutally shoves his finger between my gum and my lip. Hurts like hell. He shoves the tray in and pushes down. You should know that my bottom wisdom teeth aren't out all the way. At the very back, the tooth is still covered by a layer of gum tissue. He was pushing down on that with the tray, determined to get a good impression this time. It hurt and I winced several times, but without the ability to speak, I can't say anything. I felt like I was mouth raped.

This set still doesn't make them happy, but they think that if they send the second and third sets to the lab, they'll be able to get an accurate computerized image of my mouth. Thank God. Except that if the lab rejects them, they'll request another impression. I don't see that happening... if it comes to that I'll just get regular braces. Seriously, a gal can only take so much of a good time.

After that I got to bite down on a piece of wax and take two x-rays. It was hella fun.

So... if the lab accepts the impressions, they'll give the ortho a date when my trays will be ready, and then the real fun begins. Depending on how quickly my teeth move, and how faithfully I wear my trays, I'll probably get new ones every three to four weeks. She said I'll know it's time for a new tray when the tray starts to feel loose. At our consultation he estimated that I'd be wearing them for two years. I'm usually pretty stringent about things, so I'm hoping it goes a little quicker. I'm an overachiever. =)

When I got back to work I was talking to a friend on the phone, telling him about my lovely day at the spa... As I said the following, a co-worker walked into the room, squeezed his eyes shut like he'd seen his parents having sex, turned red, starting guffawing, and walked out: "Then he shoved it in my mouth without any warning and didn't even give me a chance to swallow!" ... sigh...


224 - Joints

Knee joints that is.

My knees have been bothering me for the past several months. One day I was walking, put my foot down, and there was pain. I didn't do anything weird to cause it, but for the next three days my knee yelped at me any time I put weight on it unless I put one of those rubbery knee supports on it. Those things are magic. Luckily I had two of them already, because whenever I went hiking and walked down a hill for any length of time, one of my knees (they took turns), would always cause me problems. I hate going down hill more than most people hate going up (Brian...). But it always went away. And it was always from going down a steep hill for an extended period of time. Never from just walking.

When I went to Scotland, knowing that it was hilly, I pre-emptively packed one of my supports and was very glad for it. Pretty much right after we landed (probably due to the legroom, or lack thereof, on the plane) one of my knees started hurting.

It's one of the many reasons I started working out. I figured that if I exercised, maybe the joints would strengthen and/or the weight loss would help take some of the strain off my knees. I'm overweight, I need to lose about 30 lbs, but I'm not big enough that I thought my knees would suffer for it. But they are... lucky me. Unfortunately, as you may have supposed might happen, exercise also put stress on my joints... squats, knee bends, jogging, pretending to jump rope... all bad... My knees constantly feel tight, but they haven't reverted back to that almost grinding feel from several months ago. I haven't been to the doctor. I'm one of those people who suspects that I might have a problem, but doesn't want to hear it from a professional, because then I might have to do something about it... which is completely illogical, because if I do have a problem, it's just going to continue to get worse... How can I know I'm doing something ridiculous and still do it anyway? Guess I'm human after all...

Anyway, as I was scanning the ads this weekend I noticed that Walgreens has Osteo Bi-Flex on sale, buy one, get one free ($29.99 less a $5 coupon, so about $12.50 each when you get both). Hadn't considered it before, but it says it helps lubricate joints and rebuild cartlidge, and that sounds like a good thing. I read the user reviews, and everyone rated it at 4 and 5 stars, like it was a Godsend... usually there's a negative review thrown in somewhere. What the hell. I'll try it, but I was skeptical. Took two pills yesterday before lunch (supposed to take four), and this morning I could already feel a difference. All the tightness, gone, even when I do a knee bend. I'm astounded. Was it really this simple all along??? I'm going back tomorrow to get two more bottles (with my $5 off coupon *smile*), and I've already convinced one of my co-workers to try it out.

So I solved one of my problems. Bully for me. It will make exercise easier, and life less painful all around (well... I wouldn't call it pain... more like a dull ache... but a nagging dull ache).

Tomorrow I get to go to the orthodontist to have impressions of my teeth made. That's step one in the 'clear correct' process (my braces apparently aren't InvisAlign). Then once my trays come in, I'll be wearing a new set every two weeks for about two years. From the front my teeth don't look that crooked, but when you look at them from underneath, they're pretty bad. I know it's not going to be the most pleasant process, but I'm looking forward to having straight teeth, and even more forward to having my jaw properly aligned. I wonder what that's like...


223 - Stuff and Such

As I was checking out at Walgreens this morning, a guy walked up behind me, and suddenly I smelled a fart. Well... at first I thought it was a fart... but then... he asked the cashier if he could use the bathroom... and he said, "I thought I could hold it, but I guess I couldn't"... and he giggled... which leads me to believe that perhaps it wasn't a just a fart. Ew. Did I really stand next to a grown man who shit his pants? In a Walgreens?

At CVS I bought $116, paid $46 and got $33 in extra care bucks. I think they screwed me over... I calculated it all ahead of time and I don't think they applied my 20% off coupon. Still, $13 for $116 worth of stuff is a good haul... I saved 89%... but I'm aiming for the day that I walk out with more money than I paid. Honestly I can't wrap my mind around how this system works... it's too good to be true.

So, at Sarah's request, it's time for me to gaze into my crystal ball and tell you where I see myself in ten years...


In ten years from now I will be 46... almost 47... approaching the summit of the hill, but not quite ready to head down the other side. Since I'll have been working out with Gilad almost every day for the past ten years, I will have a better body than I had in high school, and since I look about ten years younger than I really am, hopefully I'll be one hot cougar, highly sought after by all virile, handsome, straight, unmarried males of age (who can read).

Unfortunately I'll have to break their wittle hearts because I'll be married to a wonderful man, raising our 2.5 children (okay, one child) (maybe), and gardening in my spare time. Gracie and Daphne will be approaching their senior years, but will still be spry. Well... Gracie will... Daphne's just not a spry kitty unless there's food involved.

I won't have to work for a living, because the novel I wrote, though rejected by a slew of misguided agents in 2009, will blow everyone away sometime in the year 2013, and it will be a sleeper hit that makes the success of Twilight pale in comparison. Or... not... but at least I will have paid off my all debts and saved wisely so that, while I must still toil to feather the nest egg, I can retire in a mere nine more years. Yes. Early.

I will have saved over $41k from couponing alone, which we can put down on a nice home in a semi-rural area, surrounded by trees, trees, trees! And a greenhouse. And a well. And a screened in wrap around porch (to keep the skeeters out). And a couple of chickens. And a moo cow. And a goat. And a couple of dogs. Hell, if I have room, I wouldn't mind a Shetland pony. But no coons and no squirrels and no coyotes. Wolves are okay as long as we all respect each other's space. My garden will be a thing of beauty... no more trips to the supermarket to get lettuce, and mmmmm... vine ripe tomatoes... drool... oh -- and my very own lemon tree, because life should always give you lemons... I'll cook to my heart's content, and we'll have bbq's with our friends and family, at least once a month. I love my future life...

I will also have crossed off quite a few things on my bucket list. Skydiving... Alaska... Zip-lining... Shuttle launch (coming up soon!)... Harley Quinn tattoo... Sleigh ride... Dude Ranch... Grand Canyon... Greece... Make my own Limoncello (this I might do sooner than later).

I will have retired Trixie, but since I will be in the middle of my mid-life crisis, I might get another 8 to zoom around in (semi-rural area = less traffic = more zoom!). Hell, 8's might be even cooler in ten years. But I'll probably have a more practical car with trunk space to haul things around in, like soil and bulk rolls of paper towels and toilet paper.

All in all, I think I'll be in a better place than I am now... even though I'm pretty happy where I am there could be some improvements.

So hmmm... I can't tag 10 people, I waited too long and most of you have already been tagged. In fact, I'm probably going to accidentally tag someone who's already been tagged... mortifyingly embarassing if you already answered (especially if I read it... which I probably did... I'm just very scatterbrained...):

Ms. Anthropy
and because even though it's primarily a photo blog, I am also enthralled by her writing, Flora

Well, I made it to nine anyway.


222 - The Pause Button

I'm going to postpone the 10-year post one more time... at this rate you'll get to see it as it happens...

My uncle is not doing well. Have been getting text messages from my cousin throughout the day, now she's calling the family in. They transferred him to a different hospital on Friday, put in a trach, and his lung collapsed. Apparently there's a hole in it now, so the gases they're giving him to level out his O2, are causing him to swell.

On my mom's side of the family, he's my favorite uncle. He's the reason I'm alive, because he's the one who introduced my parents. He and my dad were in the Air Force together.

The way mom tells it, she once joked that he was on a base with hundreds of men and never introduced her to any of them (she's all huffy when she says this). She never thought he'd actually do it. Knowing Uncle Harry, I don't see how she couldn't know... he's a prankster and he loves to watch people squirm. I would have totally expected it. =)

So one summer when my mom was on break from nursing school, my uncle Harry invited my dad over to play cards... poor schmuck never knew what hit him. Nine months later they were married. A year later I came along. Or as dad likes to say, they found me under a rock on Galveston beach (really I was born at the University of Texas Medical Branch Hospital in Galveston, where I later attended college and got my degree in healthcare administration... fat lot of good that did me). It kind of surprises me... my mom isn't a risk taker, but she had a long-distance relationship with my dad, and moved to a different state, away from her family and everything she knew, to be with him. Totally unlike her. They've been married 37 years now. I'm guessing aunt Brenda and Uncle Harry have been married for 40. They have three kids, and seven grandchildren. He's got a lot of love in his life.

I hope Uncle Harry gets better... he's a stubborn man and I'm sure he isn't ready to leave just yet. But I'm worried that he's not going to leave that hospital. All I can do is hope and pray that he beats the odds.


221 - A Look Ahead

Yesterday I was tagged by the lovely Miss Sarah. I'm supposed to tell you where I see myself in ten years. To be honest, at the moment I can barely see the next ten minutes. I'm dead tired and my eyes are googly. I promise I will do this tomorrow though, because I want to do justice to it.

I also realize that I failed to acknowledge my Zombie Rabbit award from Kato. I've been scatterbrained lately... I did at least thank her in a comment... Thank you again, I didn't mean to forget... I will do better next time -- don't leave me alone with the zombies!!!

And now, a post I pretty much put together at lunch, before my brain stopped functioning:

As I was eating my Jello, someone said it was a healthy dessert. I asked, ‘How so? Isn’t gelatin made from horse hooves? What nutritional value does it really have?’ They said it was good for the nails... I think it is... if you soak them in it. Then it got me curious. What is gelatin really made of?

Princeton defines it thusly: a colorless water-soluble glutinous protein obtained from animal tissues such as bone and skin

Doesn’t that sound tasty? No wonder I usually only eat it when I’m sick or there’s a significant amount of alcohol mixed in.

Know what I really want to do with this information? I want to go up to the people who told me, "EW! Blood Pudding... that's disgusting..." and "Haggis... gross! Do you know what's in that???" and ask them, "Hey there! Have you ever eaten Jello?" Yep. "Did you like it?" Love it. *giggle* "Do you know what's in that???" Paybacks. Love 'em.


220 - Yikes!

After yesterday’s rather wordy blog I thought I’d post something simple. Thank you to Greg for forwarding this to me.

Pretty cool but I doubt it will catch on where I live… it’s too dangerous to ride a bike on our streets except where there are bike lanes (and that may not even keep you safe!). It's also taking something healthy and making it kinda lazy... I don't know that I understand the logic.

Also don't get the name... I mean... do you feel like you're going to fall off so they decided to call it a Yikes bike? Hmph.


219 - Living next door to a pervert

I mentioned this in answer to TS' comment on my previous post and thought I would elaborate on it. At NASA when something goes wrong we have something we call "Lessons Learned" (maybe it's even a universal phrase)... this is my Lessons Learned moment.

Shortly after my ex-husband moved out of our house, a windstorm blew through town and knocked down the fence between our house and our neighbor's. A day or two afterward, I happened to be in my back yard, and since there was no longer a fence, the neighbor saw me and came to talk about it. He said he didn't want to pry, but it looked like my husband and I were separated and I could probably use some help with the fence. I told him yeah, we were getting divorced. He said if we split the materials, he'd put the fence up.


A few days later he saw me in the front yard and offered to edge my yard whenever he edged his... 'it's just a couple of extra steps down the sidewalk... it's no trouble.' Double score.

After the fence went up, I baked the nice man a cheesecake.

Mom and dad had been bugging me, 'You're living alone, you really should have a gun. We can get you one if you want one.' I said, 'Bah. Gun, schmun, I don't need it, that's silly.' My mindset was 'nothing ever happens to me... it all happens to other people... you can't live your life in fear.'

Fast forward to a couple of months later.

The neighbors across the street were having a garage sale. My friend Debra, who was going to move in with me so I could afford to keep the house, and I mosied over to see what they had, and to introduce ourselves... I don't linger outside the house so I rarely meet my neighbors... When we got there they immediately said, 'We need to talk to you about something.' I thought, 'Crap. I know I need to mow my lawn but I don't have a lawnmower at the moment...' So I started to apologize and they said no... that's not what they needed to tell me. They asked me how much I knew about the history of my house. I said I didn't know anything. They said, "We've noticed that Don has been spending a lot of time around the fence, and there are a few things we think you should know..."


They proceeded to tell me that the woman who owned the house previous to the people I bought it from was a woman about my age, recently divorced, attractive. She used to come home and find muddy footprints inside the house, by the back window. Once she went on vacation and came home to find her underwear all over her bed. There were a couple more scenarios. Eventually somehow she figured out that it was the nice man who repaired my fence.

It was hard to know if this was true, or if they just didn't like this guy. I think the police were involved at some point, but I never found the records.

My ex was good enough to, after hearing the story, come over and investigate the fence. I hadn't told my parent's yet. Part of the old fence had remained standing so we only replaced the part that had fallen... sure enough... on that old part was this little wooden mechanism that, when turned, allowed him to pop two of the boards off and come through into my yard... He knocked the mechanism off and loudly nailed the board into place. After my ex pounded those nails in, Don never looked me in the eye again. He'd been caught and he knew it... My ex actually paid for one of the storm doors because he wanted me to be safe. My ex is a good man, we just weren't right for each other...

I got storm doors for the front and back doors. I replaced the blinds in my bedroom. Up until that point, the blinds in my bedroom were two smaller blinds with a gap in the middle, rather than one long blind that actually fit the window. That's what was there when we moved in... we never changed them... until after all this came to light... no one's supposed to be in your backyard looking in at you... This is when I started going into debt. I hadn't yet decided to get the gun or the alarm system because I didn't want to seem paranoid... the guy knew that I knew, and that was enough.

At this point in my life I was working 10 am to 7 pm. I got home around 8 pm. It was dark. Any bumps or weird noises were attributed to my cat. Not more than a week later, me and the cat are snuggled up in bed and I hear something fall. I shut and lock the bedroom door, I grab a screwdriver and the phone and pull the covers up to my chin and trembled. Next day I look around to see what fell. I had a few decorative bottles lined up on the kitchen windowsill. Perfectly flat windowsill with a window that slid from right to left. Only way I can figure that a bottle would fall (since my cat was with me) is that someone jacked with the window. That's when I called mom and dad and told them I wanted the gun. They brought a temporary one over until they could get me one of my own... it scared the crap out of me... it was my grandpa's, it had no safety... it's the kind you could drop and it would go off. I was glad when I got the replacement. I also decided it was time to get an alarm system.

Debra almost didn't move in with me -- ironically it wasn't because of the weirdo living next door -- it was because I was going to have a gun. I had to convince her that I knew how to use a gun (no lie) and that if it came down to it, I would make sure I knew where she was before I shot... I wasn't going to shoot her because she got up to have a midnight snack. Apparently she believed me because she moved in. (and one night I got to prove it... after the alarm system was installed, one of my cats rammed into the window hard enough to set the alarm off in the middle of the night (trying to get at a cat on the other side of the glass...)... I grabbed the gun, made sure Debra was behind me, and then investigated... think she was glad for the gun when she thought someone was breaking in).

A couple of years after I sold the house, Don ended up on the local news. A family member had accused him of molesting them... a nephew I think, and they had found kiddie porn on his computer. It doesn't surprise me... he had a meek Asian wife who was probably a mailorder bride, we hardly ever saw her outside the house... no telling how he treated her behind closed doors. And I knew about the fence...

I baked that bastard a cheesecake...

The point of all this is to say, don't be complacent and assume everyone is who they seem to be. When I first met Don, he went out of his way to be nice to me at a vulnerable time in my life. I would never have suspected him of anything sinister. Don't be arrogant and assume nothing bad can happen to you, don't assume that everyone has your best interests at heart (but don't be paranoid either)... I managed to avoid the worst of what the previous woman endured, but I wonder if the neighbors across the street had kept their mouths shut, if I would have come home to muddy footprints and my underwear on the bed.

I'm glad I never found out.


218 - If life were a horror movie, Kristy'd be dead

Was in the bath last night when I heard some ripping sounds. Chastised myself for not having trimmed the hedges outside my bedroom because it sounded like a tree limb had bested the screen and was ripping the hell out of it... This is why in a horror movie... I'd be dead. I don't investigate things I should... I investigate things I shouldn't...

Once I got dressed, I peeked out the blinds and it didn't look like there was a rip. Odd. But lucky... It did cross my mind that someone was ripping my screens trying to get to the window but I dismissed the idea. They were being too loud... unless they wanted me to hear them.

Then as I'm sitting in the living room I begin to hear more odd noises. They come from the front door... I grab the gun (just in case), turn the porch light on, and look through the peep hole... nothing... scratching outside the guest bath... must be the bushes scraping against the window... it's windy out there... but this is getting weird... again by the front door... glad I didn't watch Paranormal State or I Survived... And finally... a familiar scuffling and scratching above my head... (look away Ms. Anthropy) bastard fuckers... raccoon in my damn attic again.

I hate raccoons.

Tonight dad came over, stuck a radio in the attic, and put some vent covers on the side of the house where the 'coon got in. We're hoping it's outside hunting and will come back tonight, encounter the screens and go 'WTF?... Evicted...' and move on.


Am trying my best to blow off working out tonight... it's 8 o'clock... it's a slippery slope... can't do it... gonna get off the computer and sweat a little... but I'm sooooooooooooooo tiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiired...

Oh, one last thing, made an appointment with the orthodontist for next Tuesday. They're going to take impressions of my teeth, send them off to the lab and then I guess in a month (?) I'll have my braces! Woot!


217B - Part two

Okay, so I've caught up and answered comments from the past couple of days...

So this week's CVS and Walgreens runs were even more profitable than last week's. I almost made money at CVS... my bill started out at $75.49, ended up at $23.38, then I got $20.50 in extra care bucks. So I basically paid $1.88 and got: (2) Colgate Toothpastes, (1) box of L'oreal Excellence Hair Color, (2) bottles of EverPure Shampoo, (1) bottle of L'oreal facial cleanser, (1) can of Campbell's Chunky chili, (3) cans of Campbell's soup, (1) box of Kashi cereal, (1) bottle of Soft Soap body wash, (1) box of Schick Quattro razor refills, (1) bag of Powerbar Energy Gels, and a box of envelopes... and I may have forgotten a thing or two... Now that I know the secret, I'm a beast. But I'm fully stocked on facial cleansers, toothpaste, razors and shampoo, lol.

Didn't get to go to the gospel brunch... (car problems). According to the birthday girl I didn't miss much... the music was too loud to have a conversation, it was more like jazz or R&B, and the food was mediocore. I managed to catch mom and dad in time, and ended up having a hamburger and watching Journey to the Center of the Earth. If my friend is free this weekend I'll take her to dinner to make up for it.

Not much to blog about today... I'm lusting after a house I'm not ready to buy... it's on an acre of land, surrounded by oak trees, they have their own well, wrap around porch, sun room... but the city it's in can be iffy, it's a little south of here which puts me more at risk during a hurricane, and there are some ratty storage buildings that need to be torn down (big ones)... and... I don't have a downpayment (even though it's attractively priced)... my home buying plan isn't set to come to fruition until October of next year. So it'd be best if I stop cyber-stalking it.

217 - NASA Again

This is an excellent article that forwarded to me by a friend. I was sayin' AMEN! =)