Monday, December 29, 2008


OK so Merry Christmas and Happy New Year blah blah blah. I haven't been around. I traveled to the great north country to spend Christmas with my parents and one cancelled flight and a night in a stuffy loud motel later I am home and getting the house spiffed up for the New Year.

But what I have to tell you about is my fucking SOCK y'all!!!! I am the one hit wonder of the knitting world. Since I started knitting I have done 13 baby blankets - 12 in one pattern and one in another. Baby blankets are easy and the one pattern I have done over and over has become a no brainer that I can do while on conference calls. Two years ago I did an easy bulky sweater and I love it but I don't wear it outside of my house. I have a stack of hand knit dish cloths in my laundry room. My dishcloths taught me some simple stitches. That is the extent of my knitting. Nice, easy flat things.

I decided this time last year that 2008 would be my year to begin branching out in the knitting department. (also I decided to quit smoking and lose weight but let's not go there) In July I even purchased sock yarn. Then I knit two more baby blankets. Knowing I was going home and that my father had knit all four of his grandchildren Christmas stockings I decided this was my opportunity to knit a sock with tutors present and so I struggled through getting it started on the double pointed needles and then packed it.

Suffice it to say that neither of my knitting parents were much help although God love them they tried. I ended up Christmas Day sitting on the sofa with my laptop pulling up youtube videos of how to knit a sock and yelling at them to shut up so I could concentrate.

And I finally figured the damned thing out! Look at this!


It isn't pretty or fashionable but I KNIT A FUCKING SOCK Y'ALL!!!!

When I landed yesterday I came home and unpacked and started a load of laundry and loved on the cats and then I went to Walmart for another skein to make the mate. And lo and behold it seems I learned a whole lot from doing the first one because the second is much tighter and the stitches are more even. Look at them side by side (second one I have done the heel flap and turned the heel about to start on the body of the foot):

Here is sock 1 with sock 2 (in progress) on top to give you an idea of how much I have improved in only one sock:

I have a few friends who think knitting is for old ladies and that I have fallen into drooling and eating pureed food. Not true. Knitting is cool. Knitting is hip. When I have gone into my local knit shop to beg for help I get it from 20-somethings. Who have cool tattoos and piercings. You can not imagine the sense of accomplishment. I think by completing my first sock I have accomplished more personally than I did all year professionally.

The pattern I used for my first sock was incredibly easy (although it could have been easier) and can be found here:

I did need some help after turning the heel and I found it here - which is hands down the ONLY reason I have a completed sock today and the courage to go on:

I am now rabid about doing socks. I want to do maybe one more pair of the basic pattern to make sure I am comfortable with it and then I plan to begin branching out into real patterns. I am so excited!

OK that's all for now. Got to get back to my second sock and get it finished!

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Cutting Costs

It has been a challenging year financially. When the year started I was riding a very small, very manageable amount of credit card debt.

And then the rat problem. When one leaves a very old house sitting empty as long as my house sat empty (with only a few weeks of exception that was October 1 2007 - June 1 2008) critters tend to move in as squatters and I did have some critters in the attic and crawl space and this had to be taken care of. To the tune of almost $3000.00. Which went on credit card.

Then came the dental problems. I had a root canal/crown. Then another root canal. Then I found out I had met my maximum dental coverage but I needed to have the first root canal tooth pulled and have a bridge. Which had to all be paid out of pocket. To the tune of almost $3000. Which went on credit card.

So now I'm carrying about 4 times the debt I feel comfortable carrying. I can and do make payments in excess of the minimum and I haven't touched my emergency savings which, at this point, amounts to about 4 - 5 months of living expenses but I just simply don't feel comfortable. So I am working on ways of cutting back, even if it is only a few bucks here and there.

Last month I negotiated a deal with my landline/DSL carrier and cut my monthly bill by $30. This morning I cut back my personal cell phone, which I rarely use but don't want to give up entirely. I shaved another $20 from that monthly bill. I have weather stripped every window and door in the house but got my gas bill this week and in a month where the weather was warm enough several days to have the windows open it was still too high. So I got out the socks and sweaters and turned the heat down about 8 degrees. In the past I would regularly throw away spoled veggies and left overs but now I make a huge effort to make sure I do not waste anything. I've been clipping coupons and printing them off the internet. Christmas will be scaled back a little this year. Normally I go all out but this year I'm cutting back just a bit and I took advantage of deep discounts and free shipping on Cyber Monday to do a lot of my shopping. I'm looking for an online work from home part time job that I can work nights and weekends.

I'm not complaining mind you. I have a great job and a roof over my head and my bills are paid and there is food on my table. I'm just saying that I've come a long way. Instead of pulling a pillow over my head I'm very realistic about things. I've educated myself and opened up my ears. It makes all the difference in the world.

Life is good.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving to my US Friends

My turkey is brining in the fridge. Before I get in bed tonight I will rinse it and set it to dry uncovered in the fridge for the optimum crispy and delicious skin. I do hope this works - it is the first time I have attempted this method.

I made the tomato aspic salad this afternoon and it is congealing in the fridge now, soon to be garnished with a bit of caviar and consumed without mercy.

I will wake up in the morning and prepare the oyster stuffing. I unintentionally purchased too many oysters and I look forward to enjoying them while I cook along with the cocktail sauce I also unintentionally purchased. I will unintentionally eat them for breakfast I think.

I love preparing this meal. I missed out on it last year due to the fact that I was stuck in Mexico City. It will only make this year that much more enjoyable.

There is so much I am thankful for and although I do try to remember these things every day it is truly wonderful to have one day out of 365 where the entire focus of the day is remembering and being grateful for all I have. My life is modest but I have all I need and that is more than many can say. I try to never forget this.

So Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Putting Things Off Is So Stupid

So in early summer 2007 I got a wireless router and I got it set up so that I could work from home from anywhere. On good weather days I would sit on the porch for a couple of hours and I could choose to sit in the kitchen or living room or at my desk. Very important to have variety when you work from home. I was happy and all was well.

Last March I came home from Chile for 3 freaking days to find that my Bellsouth modem had blown out during my absence. They got me a replacement before I headed back out but I didn't set it up right. I came home twice after that but the wireless always worked even if the hard-wired PC didn't so I let it slide.

This has pissed me off for the past 6 months and today I tackled it. I didn't want to but I was tired of being pissed off. I wanted to put the work laptop away on the weekends and use this PC.

DONE! The actual work to get it online took about 15 minutes. I have no idea what I did but finally it worked. Then I tackled the wad of knots of line under my desk and get them all un-knotted and wrapped all the slack with velcro wire wrappie thingies.

Also I watered the plants, went to the store and bought my turkey, made an eye doctor appointment, and did a full pattern round on my knitting project. And got my Chicken Satay dinner for tomorrow night marinating.

I still have vacation time which must be burned before 12/31 or it will be lost so I am taking Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday off so I have a full week with the 2 day Thanksgiving holiday. I think I have made MAJOR progress already.

I am feeling quite proud of myself.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Google Translator for Skype - the great equalizer

In high school I had a shitload of French and I was close to being low level fluent. I also had 3 years of German but it mixed up with the french and I failed everything in fluent frerman. It seriously screwed me up and I wish I had not added another language.

Flip to me 28 years later. I lived in Japan for a year and learned a lot of the 3 alphabets but not a lot of that crazy language. Then to South America to live in Spanish which I learned a shitload of thanks to French but never felt comfortable speaking let alone writing.

Then Sam turns me on to google translator for skype. And now I can type in English and immediately have a translation into Spanish. Or any other language. My Spanish contacts assure me this device is at leat 98%accurate.

Totally recommend this add in for skype.

This has already made my daily business life so much easier!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Could We Just Get Something Straight Here?

One of my pet peeves is the widespread misuse of the verb "utilize." I hear it used incorrectly every day and thought I would take this opportunity to clear up some confusion.

"Use" and "utilize" are two verbs with distinct meanings. Don't confuse them.

"Use" is to employ objects for the purposes they were designed for.

"Utilize," on the other hand, is to employ objects for unintended purposes.

Authoritative proof:

The Oxford English Dictionary defines the verb use as "to make use of (some immaterial thing) as a means or instrument; to employ for a certain end or purpose."

But utilize is defined as "to make or render useful; to convert to use, turn to account."

MSN Encarta Dictionary defines to utilize as “to make use of something, or find a practical or effective use for something.”

And here is the logical proof of the crucial distinction between these two verbs: the logical extreme of "use" is "abuse," referring to the act of using something in ways that is contradictory to its original "mission statement" or designed function.

But there is no corresponding logical extreme for "utilize" like, let's say, "disutilize" or "abutilize" since by its very definition, to utilize something means to use it in ways that is different than the purpose for which it was originally designed or created. "Abuse," so to speak, is a built-in semantic component of "utilize."

WRONG: "The TV set utilizes coaxial cable to connect to the antenna." (A TV unit and a coaxial cable were meant to be used together, by definition.)

CORRECT: "The TV set uses coaxial cable to connect to the antenna.

CORRECT: "The TV set utilizes paper clips to connect to the antenna." (A TV set is not designed to use paper clips to connect to the antenna. That's a highly unusual improvisation and -- in the stretched sense of the word -- an "abuse" of paper clips.)


Thursday, November 06, 2008

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

I Can Not Believe

I just can not believe that I have lived to see this day. And I am so proud to be an American today.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


We DID IT!!!!!!!!!! It happened!!!!!!!


The Numbers Are Coming In Now

Finally. Last night I tossed and turned. The last time I remember looking at the clock it was 1 am. at 4:50 the alarm went off and with fewer than 4 hours of sleep I woke up and I WAS FUCKING EXCITED!!!!!!!!!!

I got up to my polling place at 5:50 am and was #35 in line. I met some neighbors and a load of first time voters and we talked and laughed and the 70 minutes passed quickly. When the doors opened there was a visible surge and the line tightened up.

When I actually cast my vote in my 8th presidential election I was more excited than I was in 1980 (my first time). I took my time because I wanted to go back through the screens several times to just see my electronic mark beside Obama/Biden before I let it go. I wanted to dance and cry at the same time.

This is why - if this doesn't show why he WILL be President I don't know what will. A President doesn't need to stomp people down - that is a dictatorship. A President needs to FIRE PEOPLE UP!

If you have a leaking pipe you do not hire a piano tuner you hire an experienced plumber because a piano tuner, no matter his or her experience, will NOT WORK and you will be left with leaks.


(PS If you did not vote you do not get to answer. Ever. Because you have chosen to have no voice. My one voice might be very small compared to the full picture but I voiced it and so I get to have a say.)

Friday, October 31, 2008

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Early Voting/AdvanceVoting

I never considered this option until this year. But several things came into play for me in my decision to wait until Tuesday.

1. The last time I cast a vote in a Presidential election was 2004. I told Miss Jessie I would drive her up to the library and we got there at 6:45 at which time there was already a line around the building. Because she was 92 at the time everyone in line passed her up to the front and since I was her driver we were voting by 7:10 am and out of there. I do not anticipate this kind of kindness. In fact in 2004 I did not anticipate it but it was a nice thing and if you don't want to stand in line for hours I strongly suggest you drive an extremely old person to your polling place.

2. There was a problem with the earlyvoting in another county. The little ovals you were supposed to fill in for your candidate were too small and the lines around them were too thick for the electronic reader to read them and so 19,000 absentee ballots had to be recreated by hand by government workers. I want my fucking ballot to be fucking read the way I fill it out.

3. Every night on the evening news it has been reported that the lines for the early/advance Voting locations are experiencing lines from 2 - 6 hours in length. If I am going to wait I will wait on election day.

3. There is just something about election day. There is an excitement and if part of that day means I have to stand in line for 5 or 6 or 9 hours so be it. I want to cast my vote and come home and turn on the TV and rejoice in the fact that this country has finally seen the light. I will wake up extremely early, I will drive up with only the minimum of face washing and tooth-brushing, and I will stand in line as long as it takes.

My worry for Tuesday - that many people will decide not to stand in line. PLEASE DO NOT BE ONE OF THESE PEOPLE. Most employers allow 2 - 3 hours on Election Day for employees to vote. You can go early before work and wake up just a couple of hours early to be there when the polls open of you can go late and get there after work and be in line in which case your vote MUST be cast. Neither will be pleasant but I suppose it was not pleasant for the women who fought for the right to vote and were jailed back at the turn of the last century. I suppose it was not pleasant for the African-Americans who fought for the right to be heard in the middle of the last century. Once every 4 years we can certainly give up far less to be heard.

Fewer than 550 votes determined the outcome of the last election. In 2008 do you actually want to be one of the people who could not be bothered?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

John McCain is scary old, scary stupid and scary out of touch

Not that I have anything against old people - or even stupid people. There is a place on this green earth for everyone. I just do not want to elect them President.

I have an acquaintance who has confessed that she is so non-racist that she thinks although she is totally behind Obama she will vote for McCain because she is certain Obama will be assisinated and she does not want that on her karmic plate. Because she is not racist (which comes up so fucking often I could vomit because methinks the lady doth protest too fucking much). I told her she was an idiot and an asshole. Which she is.

I can not wait until this election is over. I am so tired of it all.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Phoebe Had A Hard Day

So every year there is the dance of the vet visits. Most of the family birthdays are on the first side of the year and so the annual vet visit dance usually takes place on the second side of the year. Needless to say I have been steppin.

In June, as soon as I returned from Santiago, I took 18 year old Sonny in. He is the oldest and despite a clean bill of health last fall (his bloodwork was like that of a 2 year old kitten according to my vet). He passed with flying colors.

Then in August it was Camille. Camille is 6 (I just can not believe how time flies) and she also checked out in perfect health although she is slightly pudgy in my vet's opinion.

A side effect of taking Camille in was Mac. When Cmaille went in they had kitten available for adoption and Mac just needed to become a part of my family. So then September became all about Mac getting his final shots and his neuter.

Today Phoebe had her annual exam. I love and cherish my cats but Phoebe is hands down the beauty of the family. She is a long hair grey cat with white bib and socks and her tail is an absolute flag. She is sweet and quiet and I rarely have heard her vocalize. She keeps herself groomed and she never gets into "situations" with her brothers and sisters. When Mac came into the house she adopted him and they spend their time running around the house playing. She is a diva but she is the sweetest dearest diva ever.

And then we went to the vet today. I put her up on the exam table and the tech came in and took her temperature and my little darling turned into a WITCH! I have never seen such a display of drama queen. There was hissing and fang-showing and snarling and at one time the vet (who was the one who found her at a dumpster when Phoebe was only a couple of weeks old) tried to give her a benign exam and I had to hold my little girl down because she was such a terror. Dr. A at one point mentioned that maybe we needed to get a towel to put over her head but I knew that would only piss her off more and I promised I would restrain her.

We've been home now for about 5 hours and I think I am forgiven but this was not a good day for my girl. I think it was the flight almost 4 years ago to Tokyo with the 3 (at that time) that finally put me in their shoes in a very real way. I sat in my seat and pictured them down below in their carriers and imagined how they must feel with this totally new sensation of flying and the new noises. At that point if there had been a choice I likely would have gotten off the plane, demanded that they be unloaded, and taken us all home. It must be very scary to experience things outside of one's own world. Poor baby.

Friday, October 17, 2008

My favorite news sentence of the day

Reference is Andy Dick's recent arrest on a misdemeanor charge of drunken assault on a girl:

(Courtesy of E! Online)

When officers arrived, an unidentified teen claimed a drunken Dick accosted her, grabbed her tank top and pulled it down to ogle her breasts.

Seriously. I hate drunken dicks.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Story of Sonny - No - He's OK I just want to tell his story tonight!

Sonny is my old boy and often when I tell people he is 18 I get "No way!" or "Not possible!" Cats don't live that long! And in fact I have cremated more cats than I would like before age 18. Back in March Dylan was only 10 but he wanted to go and as bad as I hated to do it I let him.

Sonny has remained a mystery to me even as he has been a blessing. Tonight while waiting for the pasta to be al dente I decided to pull out his file. Because I do indeed keep complete files on all my pets.

Sonny's file begins on January 12, 1993. The day I walked through the Dekalb Animal Shelter wondering how on earth I could ever decide on one cat who needed me and a loving home. The cages went to the ceiling and all I could do was walk down the line. I walked by Sonny's cage and he stuck a paw out and his claws caught my sweatshirt and wouldn't let go and I was sure that was my sign. So I took him home.

For the first few years he was a mean SOB. Actually not mean per se but he was not afraid to use his claws when something did not please him. Eventually we came to an understanding. He knew he would get unconditional love but claws were not permitted.

Sonny lived in Tokyo in 2005. There are not a lot of humans who can claim a year in Tokyo! With me, over the years he has learned to live with the various psychic punches - bad roomates, the various boyfriends, one really crap husband who thought he could run a dog kennel out of our house (as long as I did all the clean up) , many moves, many siblings. And he has taken it all in stride. Mostly.

Sonny is now I suspect completely deaf and we have worked this out and we are fine with it. In the day he goes out in the backyard and sleeps in the weeds and at dusk I bring him in and he hisses at me for doing so and when I go to bed he gets up and sleeps on my chest while I read and talk to him so he can feel the vibrations in my chest and then gets off the bed when I turn out the light.

All in all the past almost 18 years has been just the best and he shows no signs of slowing down. I look at my original adoption papers from January 1993 and I see that at that time he was guessed to be 2. I see that he was found and brought to the shelter by a lady by the name of Jean W. House of Nashville TN. I remember when I first adopted Sonny I wrote her a letter to tell her how much I thanked her for taking Sonny to the shelter where I could find him. She is likely not still at the same address but I think I want to write her again to let her know how much her act of kindness and humanity has improved my life.

I think I will do that.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Cutting Expenses

Today I cut $35 out of my monthly expenses.

I have had my landline forever and before it was mine it was my ex's forever. Two years ago I got a cellphone (yeah I am a late bloomer). 9 months ago I got a company Blackberry. I have no earthly need for my landline and in fact the ringer has been off since I returned from South America June 1. I have kept it only because it is the only number Miss Jessie knew and would call. I gave her my cell number several times but she refused to use it.

Today I called to cancel my landline. Because I also have my DSL through AT&T the guy (very nice - very unusual for AT&T) told me that since I would not have a phone line an additional $5 would be added to my monthly DSL bill. Because they can. No biggie - $5 still would save me a good amount. Then he looked at my history (PERFECT PAYMENTS) and offered me a deal for the next six months. For only $3.00 more than it would cost to carry the DSL with no landline he would cut my costs for both and I could have 6 months to make my final decision. So my monthly AT&T bill has dropped from $72 to $41. All it took was a phone call.

Then I got rid of usenet at $5.00/month. When I was in SCL and totally bored and looking for distraction I bought into it to download movies and TV shows in English to amuse me on the weekends. Not terribly user friendly and I managed to download one thing and then never was able to download anything else and yet I never cancelled. Now it's gone.

$35 a month might not seem like a lot but it would buy a week's worth of groceries if I was very careful. Or $420 in savings in a year.

I'm on a roll. I've made a firm decision to begin using coupons as much as possible (the stuff I buy rarely has coupons). I am going to make calls and cut my expenses as much as possible. I do this about once a year and missed it last spring when I was away. High time I get back to it.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Change of Seasons

It's a wonderful thing. I used to be a summer person. I think that ended when I moved to Atlanta although I held onto it for many years and in fact this is the first time I have admitted I am a spring/autumn person.

I have so much energy and am totally involved in nesting for the cold weather.For most of the summer on the weekends I could do no more than the basics - clean when I absolutely had to, go to the grocery store, put a load of laundry in the washer. For the past two weekends I have worked in the yard and house and I even baked BREAD!

This morning I woke up early but it was cold and windy and I snuggled down and read for a while before I got up and got to work. It was so nice.

I have been in dentla hell for the past 4 months. 2 root canals and 1 very bad dentist and several consultations and last week I had a tooth pulled because it could not be saved. My gums are tender and sore and I have some painkillers but they make my itch and so I am avoiding them as much as possible. I hit the max on my annual dental coverage and so this pulling and brige work is all coming out of my pocket and that really hurts but hey - whatever. I'll get it paid off as fast as I can.

Hope you are all having a great weekend!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Pondering Life and Death

When it came to Miss Jessie I was a pitbull in the ring. I had several bad exchanges with her niece over the past 2 years when I contacted her about my concerns and our last exchange about 6 weeks ago was not at all nice. Usually I am a really nice person but when it came to Miss Jessie's welfare I was willing always to kick ass and take names and I will be the first to admit that I was not at all nice after 3 years of calling and emailing and begging. Not at all nice. As Miss Jessie would say I got her told and told good. For the record I was not out of line but also for the record I was not at all nice in the end.

I was shocked when Mary called me Friday to tell me about Miss Jessie and even more shocked that she was so nice to me. Today she stopped by. I heard someone calling my name from outside and I went to the door and there she stood. I about fell out. She just wanted to tell me that she had taken a nice dress to the funeral home and Miss Jessie looks "beautiful." She also wanted to let me know about the visitation tomorrow. She hugged me. Twice. She told me Miss Jessie talked about me all the time and I was a good neighbor and friend to her aunt. I was truly floored. I gave her plenty of reason to despise me and yet she doesn't.

There is no doubt now. I have to go. I have to go tomorrow to the funeral home and I have to go to the funeral. I'm going to have to firm up my memories of Miss Jessie out in her yard so I can look at her in her casket and tell Mary how beautiful she looks. I have to do this for her family.

The funeral is at 11 am. I am supposed to have a tooth pulled at 2 pm. I think tomorrow I will try to change my tooth appointment so I can go to the cemetary and see her all the way through. I think this is the very least I can do for the 10 years of friendship - see her all the way. Also I want to make sure I know where she is. I always promised her I would do a tango on her grave. Now I just need to learn how to do a tango.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Miss Jessie 3/17/1912 - 10/3/2008

My dear friend and neighbor Miss Jessie went to sleep Thursday night and did not wake up. I am sure this must be the best way to go.

A week ago today a church lady came by her house to help her with a little cleaning and while the lady was there Miss Jessie fell in the house. Not a big deal and Miss Jessie got up and laughed it off but finally, FINALLY someone with cred was freaked out enough to call the niece and tell her out and Tuesday Miss Jessie called me to tell me niece Mary was coming to take her to her house about 2 hours drive from here. The plan was to have her stay a few days and bring her home over the weekend. I don't know but suspect this was a "trial" to see how Miss Jessie did in her house. I promised her I would pick up her mail and newspapers and as of today I am still doing this.

Friday morning I got a call from Mary telling me that Miss Jessie had died peacefully in her sleep. I am so grateful that she was at Mary's house and not alone next door where it might have been hours and hours before anyone found her. I am grateful that she went peacefully in her sleep. Miss Jessie had gone way downhill in the past three years. Only 2 years ago she was still mowing her own yard wearing her signature umbrella hat to protect her from the sun. She always wore dresses, even doing yard work because it isn't proper for a woman to wear slacks. Over the past year but especially the past 6 months the deterioration was obvious. I spoke with her every day - sometimes more than that since she couldn't remember if she had called me. In a 30 minute conversation she would ask me 5 or more times what day it was. She became very frustrated that she couldn't "rememberize" things and I always told her she remembered what was truly important. She could talk to me at length about things that happened in 1926 but could not for her life remember what day it was.

I will never forget this woman - truly one of my best friends ever. She grew up in my house (her aunt's house) after her mother died when Miss Jessie was 7. That would have been 1919. Stone Mountain is the birthplace of the KKK and as a black woman growing up here I can only imagine the challenges. She told me stories about the outhouse behind my house and the pigs in the yard and how the town drunk used to come to the fence and talk to the pigs for hours. She remembers sitting in the front yard and watching a horse-drawn cart pull the first refrigerator down then-unpaved Fourth Street. She was history itself and I mined her without mercy for information to better appreciate my home, my town, and the people who live and lived here. And she loved to tell me about it.

I talked with her so much about her history here and even took notes at times. I am so sad to lose this very wonderful friend and teacher. She lived a huge full life of 96 years and she went so peacefully and I am happy for that and for all the good she gave while on this earth. My sadness is selfish. I would like another 10 years of her stories about Stone Mountain when she was young.

My house was Aunt Elsie's house. So many older people in this town have told me they grew up eating collards and cornbread in my kitchen. This is a house of love and not a day goes by that I do not think about Miss Jessie as a small child in this house, living in a family that took everyone in and welcomed them and fed them. Honestly you can't get much more love than collards and cornbread. Also you could not possibly get more love than Miss Jessie. As she always said - "Everybody is somebody. God did not have to put us here on this good green earth. White or black they are all my children and we all have to love each other."

The other thing she always said when I would call and ask her how she was doing - "I'm still a-kickin' and I ain't dead yet!" Miss Jessie as long as I live on this earth you never will be!

Her funeral is Thursday at 11 am. I do not want to go. It will be an open casket funeral and I have been to a few of those and my only memory of those people is of them in the casket. They do NOT look "peaceful." They look DEAD. They look FAKE and MADE UP. And I want to remember Miss Jessie alive in her umbrella hat. I have no choice. I have to go. I have to go find something appropriate to wear and then show up and live through it.

I CAN do this.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Not Feeling Gassy

Y'all this might be old news for you. Sam is in the Middle East with family right now and he says the Atlanta gas situation is on the news there. Simply put: WE HAVE NO FREAKING GAS!!!!

Thank goodness I telecommute. I am one of those really lucky people who, if she doesn't go anywhere out of the ordinary, can get by on one fill up per month. IF I am careful and I consolidate my trips. I am lucky. I am fortunate. It almost make sup for the fact that I have not gotten a raise in 5 years of very hard work and personal sacrifice. I have just under half a tank right now and have started looking. But metro Atlanta has no gas. We do have some diesel but no unleaded. You drive by 10 or 12 gas stations and all the prices on their signs are blank. This is the major sign there is no gas. Although you can't be sure unless you drive in and see the bags over the nozzles. Because sometimes they get some gas in and don't have time to get the prices up before they are sold out again. You can really only be sure when you see a block and a half of cars lined up to get what they have. People are getting nasty. People are unable to get to work.

On the upside - my yard is knee high with grass and no I have not mowed and have no intention of doing so in the near future. Because I might have 1 mower tank worth in the mower and damned if I'm going to use it until the last possible moment. I might need it to put in my vehicle to get me to a station once the supply starts flowing again.

This has been a bad 2 weeks with the stock market and the bailout thing (I still don't know exactly how I feel about that and think there are good arguments for both sides but I think it's another instance of media manipulation. Whether we like it or not this country will slow to a standstill if we don't do it and yet it isn't right and it should not be up to the government and the taxpayers to fix the faults of a few. Also I think Barney Frank said it best.) I am really concerned about my 401(k) which is so small it is hardly worth mentioning but it is what I have and what I have accomplished. Thank goodness what goes down will eventually go up. I only wish I had a shitload of money sitting around to buy buy buy right now because this might be the lowest the stock market will go in my lifetime. At least I hope so.

The really funny thing to me is in the past 2 weeks I have had an increase in credit line on two of my credit cards!!! One is entirely paid off and one I should be able to pay off in 4 months. Yeah. Like I'm totally going to go buy new living room furniture right now. I am happy to have a lot of unused credit "just in case" and even happier when it sits unused as I pay off what I do carry because it increases my FICA score but I laugh at this blatant crap from the sharks.

Y'all, it took me 37 years to learn this. Credit is good. Lots of available credit is good. Using it is not good. Using it means having to use stupid math to figure out plans and all and that gets in the way of life. Using it is good if you can pay it off in a month. Or two. Without using more.

And if the US school system does not begin TEACHING this shit at age 10 with an emphasis on it in math classes through high school graduation we are all screwed. I read the classics in school. I studied the physics of light and sound. I studied nutrition for chrissakes. I can to this day break down a recipe to its individual components and give a basic synopsis of nutritional and caloric content. But until I hit financial bottom at age 36 I could not have told you how credit could negatively affect my future. This is so wrong. I would give Jane Eyre and Moby Dick and all of Margaret Atwood and Yeats and Donne to have known about credit when I graduated high school.

At age 44 I learned that if I had worked and saved $2000 per year beginning at age 14 I could do this for 5 years and retire without saving another fucking dollar the rest of my life. To put it in religious terms which is all I can come up with right now this is kind of like being a devout Christian all your life. You are an acolyte. You show up every week. You volunteer. You bring cans to the holiday drive. And then 44 years into it you find out you are fucked if you didn't dance naked in the backyard every equinox. HUH? WTF??

I am not a mother basically beacuse I married two very screwed up men but that's another story. If you are reading this and you are a parent you really need to educate about this because our schools will not because they think Moby fucking Dick is more "educational."

If it were up to me I would have all high schools teach nothing but finanace.

And this is from a girl who begged her way through passing most math classes she ever took.

Wish those buzz cut horn-rimmed glasses wearing teachers could see me now. They might have hope for me. I certainly see the value now of what they were trying to teach me then.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Introducing McLovin

About 5 weeks ago I added the newest member of my family. I took Camille in for her annual exam and vaccinations and my vet had abandoned kittens needing adoption. I had no desire to have a kitten. Sonny is just as old as Jesus's mom and he doesn't need that kind of hassle. But the vet techs (who know me and the cats so well) wanted me to see them. The first one they brought in was a little grey boy about 4 1/2 months. Camille is the head bitch of the family and rules the house but when she goes to the vet she is terrified. This little kitten got up against her and licked her face and pressed up against her to comfort her. That much was obvious to me. Then they brought in his sister, much smaller - a little black and white spotted kitten. Then the vet came in and the visit with the kittens was cut short. Camille checked out just fine and we went home.

And the grey kitten stayed on my mind despite my best intentions. And 6 days later I called my vet to ask if the Grey kitten had found a home. He had not and neither had the other one. I told them I would come the next day to bring him home. I only did this because he was such a wonderful personality and I knew (when you own cats for a while you know) that he would fit in to my family. I also know that I have a max feline pax load of 5 and so I have room in my home and my heart for a fourth.

I decided even before I got him that his name would be McLovin (a bow to Superbad) and that I would call him Mac. I knew that from his 5 minutes comforting Camille. And after 5 weeks it fits.

Mac came home and made himself at home and Sonny thought he was OK and the girls spent 2 weeks acting like pure assholes. Slowly the girls accepted him and started playing with him and now Phoebe cannot be without him. He went in for his neuter Wednesday and had to stay overnight and all day and that night she stalked the house looking for him and calling for him. She slept beside me for the first time in a year.

Mac is a personality and a half. He sleeps in the bed with me and loves to crawl under the covers and play "fort." He gets a special kitten dish of food every morning and evening so when I wake up in the morning he is ecstatic and runs ahead of me into the kitchen to wait for his dish. When I sit and knit he plops down beside me and presses up against my leg.

When a kitten or cat is abandoned and then finds a good loving home they know. Mac knows and he is such a joy in my life.

Monday, September 15, 2008

A Break From Politics

Recently I have become addicted to Animal Planet. I think this is because all my HGTV shows seem to be repeats these days and I've gotten back into addictive knitting again and need something going on besides knit and purl. You can only watch so much Curb Appeal before you feel entirely unworthy of owning a little shitty home with no curb appeal whatsoever.

My internet and couch-surfing bud Harvey and his wife Chika have recently moved to the US and contacted me last week because they were adopting a cat from a shelter in Boston and wanted advice. I basically told them to get a few enpty boxes and some food and be prepared to enjoy. I think they will be very good parents because they keep asking me questions to be assured their little "Red" is not acting abnornmally. Cat virgins are so much fun.

When you "get" any animal it is a lifetime comittment. My oldest cat Sonny is now 18 - going on 19, and he is now deaf - I suspect 90-100%. This presents new challenges but when he was 2 I adopted him and in doing so gave him a home for the duration of his natural life. I have been through moves where it was difficult. I have lived in apartments where he was "invisible" due to unbelieveable pet deposits (due I am sure to irresponsible pet owners in the past). I have been through unemployment where I thought I might possibly have to find the cats another home so they would have regular and proper care at a time when I could barely afford to pay my electric bill and would not have been able to make it through this time without a loan from my parents. At age freaking 41. Somehow everything fell into place and my little feline family survived intact and with no ill effects but the point is that they are my primary concern. I have now built a savings that equals about 5 months of extremely cut back expenses and have one credit card that I keep open with no balance in case of loss of job and veterinary expense. Actually I have two zero balance cards but only one is earmarked for vet expenses in an emergency. The other is for job loss and groceries. I am sure I will never need this but I keep it all set just in case. I am also sure I will never need my other safety nets but I will keep building them until one day when I am 93 I finally realize I can quit my job and retire.

Anyway the point of this is these Animal Planet shows. I especially am intrigued by the SPCA shows where neglected, abused and abandoned animals are rescued and the motherfuckers who did the deed are charged criminally. I battle with myself all the time about my (so far two) extended absences for business. Both times I have returned home as often as possible and have paid a professional bonded certified person to come to my house in my absence to make sure all the needs are taken care of. It is not at all ideal but my cats are indeed well cared for by people who will get them to the vet if necessary. Their litter is clean. Their water is clean. They have food. But what I see on these shows are people who buy exotic snakes and then move out of the house and leave them behind to be found weeks later. Cats tied to trees on 2 foot ropes with no food or water. Horses emaciated. Who the hell DOES this???? Most of the time I sit here and think my real calling is to work as an SPCA officer or a foster Mom for these animals but then I realize I would KILL these people with my bare hands.

Please DO NOT take an animal into your home unless you realize you are responsible. EVERY DAY. FOR EVERY NEED. Dogs and cats live 10 - 15 years on average but up to 20 or 22 years. Large birds can live 30 - 50 years. Exotics should NOT be kept. If you have an animal that you need to rehome REQUIRE an adoption fee and have all veterninary records ready to turn over. And if you cannot do this contact the SPCA and do not abandon the poor helpless thing. The SPCA accepts any animal and if they are healthy they will do everything to make sure they are adopted to a good and loving and responsible home.

Sorry for this lecture but it is something I feel so strongly about. I have four cats, all of whom have distinct personalities.

Also good lord people - if you have a dog or cat that is not spayed or neutered what the FUCK? If you are concerned about the emasculation of your pet I think you probably have sexual identity issues yourself. I assure you your animal will not notice. Unless you have a freaking DOLPHIN. Dolphins and HUMANS are the only mammals that have sex for pleasure. The rest probably don't know why on earth they do it but it isn't for pleasure (although they might get pleasure from it). If this is due to cost (in which case maybe you should rethink your choice to have a pet) do an internet search for low cost clinics or places providing certificates for the full procedure at a $15 or $20 donation. I had 3 cats altered with certificates when I was a poor waitress/actress. I've had 3 more altered at full cost so other waitresses/actresses could take advantage of the certificates. Just find a way to do it so more puppies and kittens will not come into this world unwanted and abandoned. My 4 were all unwanted and abandoned - one wandering on the roadside (Sonny the 18 year old) and 3 others found by dumpsters in shopping centers. You could not imagine four more beautiful loving cats. Their lives really are worth so much. They give me so much love and amusement watching them play.

I promise to write soon about Mac (McLovin) who is a little grey boy I adopted about 3 weeks ago. He has now fully become a member of our house and plays with the others and is gentle and loving with Sonny. I think I have a capacity of 5 since 5 is the most I have ever homed. I think I am waiting for that next one who really needs us and seems to be a good match.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Tina Fey!

Yeah I pinched myself to stay up. And Tina Fey does Sarah Palin much better than Sarah Palin does Sarah Palin. Can I please go to bed now?

Friday, September 12, 2008

A Letter From Mike Sharley, Attorney

The following was xeroxed from my hometown newspaper by my mother and sent via snail mail. I have typed it out word for word here. This letter was written by Mike Sharley, an attorney in my hometown. I contacted him when the letter arrived and asked for his permission to post it here and I told him I use the "f" bomb liberally and would understand if he did not want to be associated. This morning I woke up to his full permission and he also sent a couple of youtube links. Mike is disabled but not really since I consider him more abled than I will ever be. He was not my contemporary but both of my sisters knew him well as children and adolescents. Mike has never been personally held back by his disability and in fact has achieved more than I in my supposedly able body ever did and ever will. The school system wanted to tag him as "retarded" but Mike is and never has been retarded. Mike has a great mind and a great heart and soul and ranks on my list as one of the most intelligent people I have known. Mike is an Attorney in Morgantown WV and based on my google searches he works every day for the rights of the disabled and the rights of those otherwise invisible.

Community organizers big part of American history

Vice-presidential nominee Gov. Sarah Palin gave an acceptance speech that was very effective to anyone who considers themselves a community organizer. She mocked Sen. Barack Obama for being a community organizer and not having real responsibilities. However, community organizers have been a very important piece in the history of the United States of America.

During the period of the American Revolution, community organizers such as Samuel Adams, Thomas Paine and Abigail Adams promoted and advocated the patriotic spirit which led to the independence of the United States. During the Civil War, community organizers such as Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman fought to free thousands of African Americans from the bonds of slavery. And community organizers such as Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks fought against segregation in the 1950s and 1960s. In fact, a community organizer named Nelson Mandela became the first black president of South Africa after being housed in prison for 27 years for his community organizing activities.

If it wasn’t for community organizers in American history, there may not have been an end to slavery or segregation. There may have not even been a patriotic movement that led to the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Ironically Palin began her political career as a community organizer. She was a member of the PTA and fought for better schools in her community.

Palin seems to gloss over her community organizer past in order to mock the experience of Obama. If she really understood the history of America she would celebrate Obama’s and her own community organizing and not mock the patriots of the past for her own political benefit.

Mike's Totally Great Video about Medical Coverage for the Disabled

Mike on voting for Obama in a Red State

I Stand Corrected

And in the interest of spreading truth and not lies (like SOME people we all know) I post here the official word from and vow in the future to check carefully before posting . . .

Not a Book Burner

One accusation claims then-Mayor Palin threatened to fire Wasilla’s librarian for refusing to ban books from the town library. Some versions of the rumor come complete with a list of the books that Palin allegedly attempted to ban. Actually, Palin never asked that books be banned; no books were actually banned; and many of the books on the list that Palin supposedly wanted to censor weren't even in print at the time, proving that the list is a fabrication. The librarian was fired, but was told only that Palin felt she didn’t support her. She was re-hired the next day. The librarian never claimed that Palin threatened outright to fire her for refusing to ban books.

It’s true that Palin did raise the issue with Mary Ellen Emmons, Wasilla’s librarian, on at least two occasions, three in some versions. Emmons flatly stated her opposition each time. But, as the Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman (Wasilla’s local paper) reported at the time, Palin asked general questions about what Emmons would say if Palin requested that a book be banned. According to Emmons, Palin "was asking me how I would deal with her saying a book can't be in the library." Emmons reported that Palin pressed the issue, asking whether Emmons' position would change if residents were picketing the library. Wasilla resident Anne Kilkenny, who was at the meeting, corroborates Emmons' story, telling the Chicago Tribune that "Sarah said to Mary Ellen, 'What would your response be if I asked you to remove some books from the collection?' "

Palin characterized the exchange differently, initially volunteering the episode as an example of discussions with city employees about following her administration's agenda. Palin described her questions to Emmons as “rhetorical,” noting that her questions "were asked in the context of professionalism regarding the library policy that is in place in our city." Actually, true rhetorical questions have implied answers (e.g., “Who do you think you are?”), so Palin probably meant to describe her questions as hypothetical or theoretical. We can't read minds, so it is impossible for us to know whether or not Palin may actually have wanted to ban books from the library or whether she simply wanted to know how her new employees would respond to an instruction from their boss. It is worth noting that, in an update, the Frontiersman points out that no book was ever banned from the library’s shelves.

Palin initially requested Emmons’ resignation, along with those of Wasilla’s other department heads, in October 1996. Palin described the requests as a loyalty test and allowed all of them (except one, whose department she was eliminating) to retain their positions. But in January 1997, Palin fired Emmons, along with the police chief. According to the Chicago Tribune, Palin did not list censorship as a reason for Emmons’ firing, but said she didn’t feel she had Emmons’ support. The decision caused “a stir” in the small town, according to a newspaper account at the time. According to a widely circulated e-mail from Kilkenny, “city residents rallied to the defense of the City Librarian and against Palin’s attempt at out-and-out censorship, so Palin backed down and withdrew her termination letter.”

As we’ve noted, Palin did not attempt to ban any library books. We don’t know if Emmons’ resistance to Palin’s questions about possible censorship had anything to do with Emmons’ firing. And we have no idea if the protests had any impact on Palin at all. There simply isn’t any evidence that we can find either way. Palin did re-hire Emmons the following day, saying that she now felt she had the librarian’s backing. Emmons continued to serve as librarian until August 1999, when the Chicago Tribune reports that she resigned.

So what about that list of books targeted for banning, which according to one widely e-mailed version was taken “from the official minutes of the Wasilla Library Board”? If it was, the library board should take up fortune telling. The list includes the first four Harry Potter books, none of which had been published at the time of the Palin-Emmons conversations. The first wasn't published until 1998. In fact, the list is a simple cut-and-paste job, snatched (complete with typos and the occasional incorrect title) from the Florida Institute of Technology library Web page, which presents the list as “Books banned at one time or another in the United States.”

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

WWGSS? (What Would Gloria Steinem Say?)

I have recently read several really insightful commentaries on the McSame/Palin ticket and my next several posts will feature these because this election is not only historical for the fact that either a woman will end up vice president (and eventually president since McSame will not survive even half his first term - this is a prediction and I would welcome small cash bets on this) OR an african-american will be president - it is likely the most important election in history since we have never had 8 years of a more incompetent president and more things that need to be reversed.

I know I've said this before but back in July I was in Mexico City on business. Mexico City has some good sections but is basically a destitute crime-ridden, poverty-stricken area where the buildings are falling down and graffiti covers every surface and people make their complete livings selling crap at stop lights. Sam and I were in a taxi one day - not really talking much. Sam turned to me and said something about how dirty and crumbling and depressing Mexico City is and I told him it is exactly how I picture the US if we have another Republican term. And I am serious. $35,000 per year is the new $20,000 per year. And this will only get worse.

First from Gloria Steinem with many thanks to sister Susannah the new age nun for forwarding. This is one I had actually not yet read. I don't always agree with Gloria but I did read Revolution From Within about 12 years ago and it is one of the few books I will always keep as a personal bible.

Apologies for the lack of paragraphs - formatting did not copy and I am far too tired and hungry right now to correct it. The message is still very very clear.

Palin: wrong woman, wrong message
Sarah Palin shares nothing but a chromosome with Hillary Clinton.
She is Phyllis Schlafly, only younger.
By Gloria Steinem
September 4, 2008

Here's the good news: Women have become so politically powerful that even the anti-feminist right wing -- the folks with a headlock on the Republican Party -- are trying to appease the gender gap with a first-ever female vice president. We owe this to women -- and to many men too -- who have picketed, gone on hunger strikes or confronted violence at the polls so women can vote. We owe it to Shirley Chisholm, who first took the "white-male-only" sign off the White House, and to Hillary Rodham Clinton, who hung in there through ridicule and misogyny to win 18 million votes.But here is even better news: It won't work. This isn't the first time a boss has picked an unqualified woman just because she agrees with him and opposes everything most other women want and need. Feminism has never been about getting a job for one woman. It's about making life more fair for women everywhere. It's not about a piece of the existing pie; there are too many of us for that. It's about baking a new pie. Selecting Sarah Palin, who was touted all summer by Rush Limbaugh, is no way to attract most women, including die-hard Clinton supporters. Palin shares nothing but a chromosome with Clinton. Her down-home, divisive and deceptive speech did nothing to cosmeticize a Republican convention that has more than twice as many male delegates as female, a presidential candidate who is owned and operated by the right wing and a platform that opposes pretty much everything Clinton's candidacy stood for -- and that Barack Obama's still does. To vote in protest for McCain/Palin would be like saying, "Somebody stole my shoes, so I'll amputate my legs."This is not to beat up on Palin. I defend her right to be wrong, even on issues that matter most to me. I regret that people say she can't do the job because she has children in need of care, especially if they wouldn't say the same about a father. I get no pleasure from imagining her in the spotlight on national and foreign policy issues about which she has zero background, with one month to learn to compete with Sen. Joe Biden's 37 years' experience. Palin has been honest about what she doesn't know. When asked last month about the vice presidency, she said, "I still can't answer that question until someone answers for me: What is it exactly that the VP does every day?" When asked about Iraq, she said, "I haven't really focused much on the war in Iraq." She was elected governor largely because the incumbent was unpopular, and she's won over Alaskans mostly by using unprecedented oil wealth to give a $1,200 rebate to every resident. Now she is being praised by McCain's campaign as a tax cutter, despite the fact that Alaska has no state income or sales tax. Perhaps McCain has opposed affirmative action for so long tha the doesn't know it's about inviting more people to meet standards, not lowering them. Or perhaps McCain is following the Bush administration habit, as in the Justice Department, of putting a job candidate's views on "God, guns and gays" ahead of competence. The difference is that McCain is filling a job one 72-year-old heartbeat away from the presidency.So let's be clear: The culprit is John McCain. He may have chosen Palin out of change-envy, or a belief that women can't tell the difference between form and content, but the main motive was to please right-wing ideologues; the same ones who nixed anyone who is now or ever has been a supporter of reproductive freedom. If that were not the case, McCain could have chosen a woman who knows what a vice president does and who has thought about Iraq;someone like Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison or Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine. McCain could have taken a baby step away from right-wing patriarchs who determine his actions, right down to opposing the Violence Against Women Act. Palin's value to those patriarchs is clear: She opposes just about every issue that women support by a majority or plurality. She believes that creationism should be taught in public schools but disbelieves global warming; she opposes gun control but supports government control of women's wombs; she opposes stem cell research but approves "abstinence-only" programs, which increase unwanted births, sexually transmitted diseases and abortions; she tried to use taxpayers' millions for a state program to shoot wolves from the air but didn't spend enough money to fix a state school system with the lowest high-school graduation rate in the nation; she runs with a candidate who opposes the Fair Pay Act but supports $500 million in subsidies for a natural gas pipeline across Alaska; she supports drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve, though even McCain has opted for the lesser evil of offshore drilling. She is Phyllis Schlafly, only younger. I don't doubt her sincerity. As a lifetime member of the National Rifle Assn., she doesn't just support killing animals from helicopters, she does it herself. She doesn't just talk about increasing the use of fossil fuels but puts a coal-burning power plant in her own small town. She doesn't just echo McCain's pledge to criminalize abortion by overturning Roe vs. Wade, she says that if one of her daughters were impregnated by rape or incest, she should bear the child. She not only opposes reproductive freedom as a human right but implies that it dictates abortion, without saying that it also protects the right to have a child.So far, the major new McCain supporter that Palin has attracted is James Dobson of Focus on the Family. Of course, for Dobson, "women are merely waiting for their husbands to assume leadership," so he may be voting for Palin's husband.Being a hope-a-holic, however, I can see two long-term bipartisan gains from this contest. Republicans may learn they can't appeal to right-wing patriarchs and most women at the same time. A loss in November could cause the centrist majority of Republicans to take back their party, which was the first to support the Equal Rights Amendment and should be the last to want to invite government into the wombs of women. And American women, who suffer more because of having two full-time jobs than from any other single injustice, finally have support on a national stage from male leaders who know that women can't be equal outside the home until men are equal in it. Barack Obama and Joe Biden are campaigning on their belief that men should be, can be and want to be at home for their children. This could be huge.

Gloria Steinem is an author, feminist organizer and co-founder of the Women's Media Center. She supported Hillary Clinton and is now supporting Barack Obama.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Sarah Palin, Politics and Miss Jessie Conversation

Yeah I've been watching. I watched almost all of the Dems and as much as I could take of the assh . . . errghhum . . . Pubes. For some reason I have had many requests to write about The Sarah and I will. I swear I will. But I'm not ready yet. Right now what I'm thinking is this: I love that McSame chose a woman. I hate that he is using her like a cheap whore. I love that she is strong and aggressive and a bitch (from time to time I am a bitch on the job and so far it has worked fairly well for me when I choose to let the flag fly). I hate that her entire platform is about being a hockey mom (and by the way her timing on the "lipstick" punchline sucked for air - she should have given it at least one and preferably two more beats). A VP is 24/7 which means her special needs child will not have the time he needs with her. I don't want a hockey mom for a VP. I want a VP who is on the job 24/7 and ignores family. And Bristol is pregnant. Which means she kinda needs to be around her family right now. Family fucking values my big fat white ass. And don't get me started on McSame the adulterer.

But I will do a post on Sarah and both conventions eventually. Right now I am still reeling from all of it. And my Obama sign has been proudly posted in my yard for the last 6 weeks.

Wednesday morning Miss Jessie called. Usually she does her monthly grocery shopping the first Wednesday of the month just after her SS check comes in (Wednesday for the senior citizen's discount at Kroger) but the Labor Day holiday messed up the mail and her check did not come in. I asked her if there was anything she needed to tide her over until next Wednesday and she gave me a list of a few items and I went out and got them at lunch and took them over. When I walked in I smelled something burning. She had put a pot of collards on the stove for lunch and then fell asleep in her chair. I took the pan off the stove and turned it off and helped her clean it. Last night (Thursday) she called to ask me what day it was. I told her "Thursday." We had a 20 minute conversation during which she asked me 4 times what day it was. She also asked me if she had told me she needed turkey sausage and margarine and I told her no but I was going out today and would pick them up for her. 10 minutes after we hung up the phone rang and it was Miss Jessie telling me she hated to be a worry to me but if I was going out tomorrow would I please pick up some turkey sausage and margarine for her? I just want to cry. I will call the social worker for the state of GA Monday and let her know the latest. It is obvious to me that this is a situation out of control.

Monday, August 25, 2008

New DVD Player

The old one died about a year ago and yesterday I finally got out and spent $50 on a new one.

Now running Chocolat. Please do rent/buy and watch. One of my favorites.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Already I am So Sick of This Presidential Race

What the fuck ever happened with that whole silly separation of church and state thing? We have regressed about 500 years in our thinking.

It now seems that "faith" means only "Christian faith." More accurately christian faith based on on the rightest of the right and the most closed minded of the ignorants. Because other religions (OH yes the do exist) do not actually HAVE faith.

What the fuck has happened to this country? Does anyone out there know what the inscription around the Statue of Liberty says? Does anyone remember why the first people sacrificed to come to this country and suffer death and disease to remain here?

Ummm. As I recall from a long time ago (and I do think this is written down somewhere) it was for RELIGIOUS FREEDOM.


And I have to say I am extremely disappointed in both candidates for agreeing to show up to the church thing. Talk about a time to band together and say no I refuse. And I am certain both would have preferred to do that. They are both less in my eyes for pandering to the continuing bullshit.

Give me (finally after 8 years) a leader who can LEAD. A leader with intelligence. A leader who considers the needs of the people and also the world (since we are such the power). I don't give a big shit if his faith consists of running around in the Rose Garden naked as long as he can finally lead this country and bring it out of the past 8 years.

When we were in Mexico last month looking at all the poverty and trash and graffiti and the constant sewer smells, even in the upscale hotel. and did I mention poverty Sam turned to me and asked how does this kind of thing happen to a country. I told him given 8 more years of a Republican administration this country would look the same. It is already far too similar.

And might I point out that Catholics have always been in charge in Mexico. And Catholics are almost like Christians. (That is a joke - as me and I will refer you to the original post on this - I have no desire to do HTML tonight).

Saturday, August 16, 2008

My Boy

That's all. My boy. He totally did it.

Miss Jessie update

For those unfamiliar with her, Miss Jessie is my next door neighbor. In March she turned 96. She still lives alone - a widow these past 20 some odd years - no children. Her sole living relative is actually not a blood relative, it is the niece of her late husband.

This niece is a piece of work. She visits MAYBE twice a year for an hour or less. To make things easier when Miss Jessie passes away she has been added to both the checking account and the deed of the house and will inherit any assets Miss Jessie may have at the time of her death. This will not be a lot. Miss Jessie lives on about $600/month social security and the tiny bit she has scraped together as savings is intended for her death and burial costs so as not to be a burden on her niece. I have kept this niece in the loop when I think she needs to be (rats, bugs, missing checks, inch thick grease on every surface of the kitchen) and she is totally not interested. Oh I am sure she will take a day off and show up for the funeral and cry big crocodile tears and wail and moan but up until that day she has no interest.

Up until a few years ago Miss Jessie still mowed her own yard and did all the trimming and upkeep but she is no longer able to do this. She always talked about people she knew who had "gone into a home" and vowed she would never do that. In the past several months she has begun to ask me about how it works when you go into a home. I have not a clue. Her niece has told her that to do this you have to sign over all your social security benefits and it costs a lot and she should just come move in with her. But she also has spent the past 10 years doing nothing but telling Miss Jessie she can't come visit because she is working 2 jobs and caring for her own invalid mother and has a child in college and that is why she doesn't even have the time to come visit, even though she passes within 5 miles of Miss Jessie's house every day on her daily commute. She is just now burdened beyond belief and just doesn't have the time because she has her own things to take care of. So Miss Jessie refuses to be a burden on this niece by moving in and yet the niece will do nothing about looking into retirement homes.

Miss Jessie's legs have been bothering her but she will not see a doctor because she doesn't want to be a bother to anyone. I tell her she has paid for her medicare coverage long ago and seeing a doctor is not a burden on anyone. I have told her I will drive her. She refuses and the other day admitted her legs are "coming along" because she has been taking some kind of pill that was left over from her husband (who has been dead at least 20 years, possibly closer to 30). I will certainly take an aspiring up until about 6 months after the expiration date but I think after 20 - 30 years things break down and change and possibly become toxic.

Yesterday she called in a panic because she received notices from both the newspaper and the electric company that they had not received her payment last month. She is certain that the checks were stolen out of her mailbox. I have told her over and over to call me when she has outgoing mail and I will take it to the post office for her - that it is not safe to put these things in her mailbox - but she doesn't want to bother me. I am certain that the bills are stamped and ready for mailing and lost in the clutter of her house. She can not remember 30 seconds ago so there is no reason for me to think anything other than that she dutifuly wrote out the checks, put them in the envelope, stamped them, and then they got lost in the multiple piles of paper in her house because she refuses to throw away any junk mail. Because they all have her address on them. I bought her a shredder a few years ago so she would not have to cut out her address and name prior to throwing them away but she does not get that particular bit of technology and will not use it. I paid most of her electric bill last month because last year another friend and I purchased 2 window AC units (she has never had central air) and the increase on her bill is a burden to her. The other friends is making a payment on it this month. So I went next door to talk to her - she does not hear well over the phone (or in person for that matter). I mentioned to her that she needed to call her bank on Monday and tell them the check numbers of the two checks that went missing so they could stop payment and after she did this she needed to add the amount of those checks back into the balance in her checkbook. This made her extremely confused and I told her I would write it all down for her and I would even call the bank for her but I have no business asking her to turn over her private checkbook so I can do it for her. Do I? I walked back next door to my house and when I walked in the phone was ringing and it was Miss Jessie asking if I would write this all down for her because she just can't "rememberize" the way she used to. I promised her I would.

It is so clear to me that this is a situation I can not possibly handle on my own. I don't know what to do. Her house is truly a junk pile because she can no longer keep up with it. If you touch any surface in her kitchen it is sticky with grease and filthy and not fit for a human. The bugs live on it and she is infested with them. Her niece sends out a dubious exterminator for the bugs about once a year but it does no good. I am fairly certain that if the health department inspected they would condemn the house. Last year I found a dead, dried up rat in a corner of her kitchen.

I have contacted the niece before and told her the situation and what others have been trying to do for Miss Jessie to pick up the slack and her niece started talking about reimbursing me and all the others for the time and money we have put in to help this wonderful woman. I told her I was not interested a fucking bit in any money and could care less about it but that Miss Jessie now needed more help than any of us is able to give by trimming her hedges or bringing her groceries or installing a couple of window AC units so she doesn't die from heat stroke. She didn't get it and will not get it.

So now a dilemma. Do I call a government agency and ask them to intervene? This house should be demolished upon her death if not before - at the very least it will have to be gutted and entirely rebuilt if it is to be sold and I can't stand the thought of her living in it especially since she can't keep up with it. I have tried to get her church to band together for a thorough cleaning and purging but they seem to only be interested in her on Sundays when she brings a check to church with her.

She simply can no longer function on her own and this is so clear to me and to a handful of other people who regularly try to check in on her but it seems our hands are tied. I guess I should not be so upset about this but I am 46, single, no children and no plans to be anything other than this and if I am lucky I will get to be 96 one day and need to rely on others for some things. I want to take care of her as best I can but I can't do everything and I am honestly at a loss here.

I don't get many comments and that is fine because mainly I write this blog to work it out in my own head and I would rather key than write in a longhand journal but if anyone has input I would greatly appreciate it. I need guidance here folks.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Massive Hangover

Thanks to the Olympics. I have an Olympics hangover so bad I can't stand it. I have been staying up far too late and yet my body clock still wakes me up at 6:30 or 7 and I have been suffering. Today about 2 I decided I would take a nap. I set my alarm for one hour but after 10 minutes I was far too excited about Michael Phelps and so sat back up and got back to work. Now it is just after 7 pm and all I want to do is get in bed but my boy - THE WORLD'S BOY - is swimming again tonight and I have no choice but to sit and watch him.

The human body is an amazing thing and this guy is the embodiment of that. How utterly amazing that human bodies are capable of feats that we are seeing every night for a few weeks. What an amazing machine we all inhabit. I for one promise to treat mine better.

I think I will sleep until 9 tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


I am so serious. Synchronized diving make my nipples hard. I could watch this stuff all day long.

Monday, August 11, 2008


I've always loved the Winter Olympics. Funny, because I just despise cold weather and snow is fun for about 24 hours but then it needs to go away. Skiing and skating and all the snow stuff rocks my boat. I've never really been a fan (at all) of the Summer Olympics. I think between Athens and Sydney I watched exactly zero hours of coverage.

I had lived in Atlanta for 4 years before the Summer Olympics were here in 1996. It was an exciting time and I did so many events in the Cultural Olympiad prior to the sports events but I did not see a single one of the sports events. Let's just say they were cost prohibitive. I did go down to Centennial Olympic Park several times and it was a sea of people that even Shibuya in Tokyo did not match. You could walk for hours and never see anything but backs and shoulders. I would climb up on benches just to get some air because I am just slightly claustrophobic. I saw Ray Charles perform live (and many others) and it was a very exciting time to be in Atlanta and I will never forget it but even though I did not see any live events I also did not watch any of it on TV.

Today I had a lot of energy and that is unusual and I did not feel like getting in bed and reading so I have stayed up and nothing on TV seemed at all interesting so I put it on the Olympics and sat back to knit and ignore it and just have the company of sound. I thought about 9 or 9:30 I would turn off and get in bed and read but . . .

I am so totally hooked now.

Michael Phelps is a fucking MACHINE!!!! And those US women's beach volleyball players - What? Misty and Kerri? They are MACHINES!!!!! I watched frigging SYNCHRONIZED DIVING PEOPLE! I had no idea anything like that even existed! I was sitting here yelling for them!!!!

This stuff is AMAZING! It's like seeing Springsteen. It's like the Braves in the early 90s!!!!

For the past miserable 8 years I have not been much of a patriot at heart but to hear our national anthem played over and over . . . Priceless.

And the interest stories. I now for the first time really want to go to China and see China. Maybe I could walk the entire length of the Great Wall!

I think tonight Olympics = believing in the possibilities. I think I was raised in a strange juxtiposition. On the one hand I was born in the 60's and raised in the 70's and the talk I got was that it was possible for a woman to do and be anything "even a doctor!". On the other hand I am a child of parents raised in the 40's and 50's and I also heard that I could "not possibly do that" or it was not possible for "a young lady." A few years ago I finally realized that anything really IS possible. I am a late bloomer. As might be any woman born before the NOW was born and all those bras were burned (bad decision as I think a bra will always be a necessity outside my house unless I am taking trash to the street under cover of darkness).

So I would like to now announce my intention of qualifying for the next summer Olympics in the field of archery. Or maybe swimming. That Dara lady inspires me with her abs. I could so totally do that.

If you are like I was prior to about 8:15 tonight just turn on these games and give it a chance. Give it 30 minutes and see if you don't get pulled in the way I was.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Dear Ones We Are Now At War

We here in Georgia are now at war with Russia. I really knew nothing about this so it came as a great surprise to me this morning.

I have taped the family silver to myself and think I can make a dress from my mini blinds if need be.

Do pray for us.

Friday, August 08, 2008

The Rat Situation is NOT GOOD

Y'all. I keep a clean house. Seriously. I keep a very clean house. Sometimes I do not vacuum the cat hair every two days and let it go 4 days or 7 but I keep my house vacuumed and dusted and I keep the toilets clean and I put baking soda and vinegar in the drains on then pour in hot water and the litter boxes are cleaned every two days at a minimum and my house is CLEAN. I am not anal retentive or obsessive about this but I have a FUCKING CLEAN HOUSE. And yet it seems I have rats. Rats in the attic (I have pull down stairs since 2003 which allows me only to store suitcases, Christmas ornaments and cat carriers up there). Rats in the crawl space (I go under every couple of months to change out the whole house water filter and furnace filter).

Rat guy came today and went up in the attic and told me he was kind of surprised because he has only seen this kind of rat activity in houses that have sat empty on the bad housing market for many months. I mentioned (sheepishly) the year in TYO and the past 5 months in Santiago and he kind of nodded and said that would do it. So yet another "invisible"cost of international travel.

$2753.00. On my fucking Visa card which even though it is a very low percentage rate I will pay about $22,000 for this problem by the time I pay it off in 2048.

Needless to say there will be no totally cool renovation projects around here to bring to you for at least 18 months and likely longer. But this is a part of home ownership and when I go to bed tonight I know I own my own home and I have taken care of a problem.

I am so fucking depressed.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Rat Appointment Tomorrow

So I googled "Rat Control" for my location and came up with "Trapper John." They have locations in Florida, Georgia and Alabama. Which means they must have lots of experience with rats. I talked with a nice man who asked a few questions and then explained the process of evaluation and fixing the entry points and trapping the existing rats. They do not use poison which I like because that must be a very painful death and trapping them is a quick death.

A "rat technician" called me back about 40 minutes later to set the appointment for tomorrow. He asked why I thought I might have a problem and I told him about seeing the rat on the feeder yesterday. He ACTUALLY ASKED ME IF I WAS SURE IT WAS A RAT!!!! "Ma'am (I hate it when people call me ma'am) are you sure it wasn't a squirrel?" I told him maybe I wasn't entirely sure because I am blonde and quite stupid but that I had taken a photo and would be happy to show him so with his superior testosterone-induced intelligence he could maybe confirm for me. OK I didn't actually say that last part after having the photo but it was what I was thinking.

Seriously. Squirrel = 7-8" big fluffy tail. Rat - 17 foot scaly bare tail. Duh.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Fun Shit

The view out my kitchen window when I went for my 2nd cup of coffee this morning.

I am so grossed out. I yelled at it and pounded on the window and it got off the feeder but I know it is still there. Waiting to eat me.

Guess I need to make a call now. To Doctor rodent death.

Monday, August 04, 2008

My Sonny is Deaf I Think

My old Sonny. He is my ROCK. He is the cat who just will not end. At 18 he is an old boy. He flew to Japan with me! He lived in Japan and was my ROCK there! Honestly there are days when I am sure he will live to 25 and others when I am sure he will not survive the night.

To be clear here he is NOT in pain or discomfort. He is happy and content and well fed and well hydrated and certainly well loved. It's just that some nights he seems to be more away from me than he is with me.

When I am away from home for work it is the worst. Sonny's very favorite thing IN THE ENTIRE WORLD is to be let out in the backyard to sleep under the shed or in the weeds or in the pinestraw and when it starts to get dark and I go out to coax him in he hisses at me and then goes into an old man coughing attack and it's so sweet and funny and upsetting because I talk to him and calm him down and it passes and I just wonder what on earth he does when I am not here. The back yard is loosely fenced in and now Sonny is far too old and apathetic to try to jump over the fence so he is the only one with outside privileges. Because it is what he loves. I want him to leave this world in my arms giving him the love he has given me for 16 years but even more I would like for him to walk out into the backyard, lie down, watch the squirrels and birds for a while and just go on. It is the way I know he would want it.

I am sure as of today that Sonny is completely deaf. For a couple of years I blamed it on him being an old man who would absolutely not under any circumstances answer to me. In the past 2 months I have thought maybe it was hearing loss. Today I set off a Japanese holiday firecracker (the kind where you pull a string and there is great noise and confetti - not the kind where there are actual explosives) and there was no reaction at all.

Lately Sonny's favorite thing is to get in bed with me and while I read he slowly moves until he is halfway on my chest and I talk to him and he gets so relaxed. If he is deaf as I think he is I am sure he is going for the vibration in my chest as I talk to him. I think certainly he is not after my boobs as I am sure he is more discriminating than that. If I stop talking and he is still awake after a couple of minutes he will pat my face with his paw until I pay attention and start talking again. Over and over I say "Sonny is a good boy.. Sonny is SUCH a good boy. Mommy LOVES Sonny. And he is lulled into his very aged sleep and is content and I am content and it is a good night.

Sonny got a flea treatment last night and a bath today. I haven't given him a bath for 3 years due to his age but he got one tonight and despite his irritation I know he feels better. We sat for a long time with him wrapped up in a towel and me holding him close and talking to him. He is truly a mess. When cats get old they decide grooming isn't worthwhile and they get dirty and their ears need constant cleaning and all sorts of stuff.

Y'all I would want every one of you to adopt one or two or three shelter cats. If I lived in a bigger house I swear I would have 8. They love the best because I swear to you they remember where they came from and they will love you until the end with all their hearts. But it is a long term committment - a lifetime committment. That kitten eventually gets old and needs special care. It is 100% WORTH IT but you have to make sure that first you are ready. Please DO NOT do it if you are not 100% willing and able to make every accommodation. To pass an animal around to various homes is as confusing to an animal as it is to a human. It is truly very bad that I travel a lot and my cats must depend on a catsitter but I am thankful that I can at least make sure they have the very best veterinary care and the very best catsitter I can find. I am thankful that I have a sister and brother in law who are vets and a vet here in Atlanta who trusts in me enough to train me to suck out Sonny's old man bump with a hypodermic needle every 2 weeks and give fluids if necessary.

Sonny is deaf and certainly senile now and I suspect cataracts but his quality of life is great. He does what he wants and can go in the backyard and at night he gets on the bed and sleeps on Mommy. He has been a constant companion for 16 years and has seen me through multiple roomates and one very bad husband and many changes in home including a long trip to Japan and back and he is just a ROCK.

Boo was my animal soul mate for the 3 years he was with me but Sonny is coming in at least a very close second. And if you had known Boo you would know this is a huge thing.

I want to come back as a cat owned by me.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Oh Yes I Did!!

Weekend project complete! The old faucet assembly came off pretty easily but there was a LOT of grunge underneath.

The new assembly went on just fine and I got the hot water connection hooked back up and then had one heck of a time with the cold water connection. I was on my back under the sink for a couple of hours trying to get it right and no go. So I finally pulled the whole connection hose out and went off to Lowe's where I found exactly what I needed. Got home, hooked it up in 5 minutes, and

Just to prove it's all hooked up correctly:

I did make one small boo boo. When I purchased the faucet I bought one WITHOUT sprayer because I have a perfectly good sprayer. What I now realize is that this means the faucet will not ACCOMMODATE a sprayer. So until I get around to doing a new sink and countertops I will have a completely useless sprayer on my sink. But that's not a big deal - I mainly used it to fill big pots and watering cans and my Brita pitcher because they would not fit under the old, low faucet. That is no longer an issue!!

Friday, August 01, 2008

My Weeked Project

The weekend before I left for Mexico somethig very ufortunate happened in my otherwise totally great kitchen:
Yep. Bummer. I've always despised this faucet ayway. The sink is shallow and there is not a lot of clearance between the sink and the faucet which makes washing pots difficult. When I re-did the kitchen in early spring 2007 I really wanted to replace the countertop. I have about 2 feet of countertop on either side of the sink so even granite is not out of the question. I also wanted a deeper, white porcelain sink. And of course I would have gotten a new faucet. But I wanted to pay off the flooring first and then Santiago came up for 5 months and this has been put off.

Here is how I have been turning the hot water on and off:

Yep. I have tools and they come in handy from time to time.
Today I went out to Lowe's. Do any of you out there know how much faucets cost? Blew my mind. Does anyone seriously need a $250 faucet in their kitchen? I knew what I wanted and I knew what I was willing to spend and darned if I didn't find it AND on sale for $44:
Simple. Polished chrome. High curved spout. I am psyched!!!
I love it I tell you! LOVE IT!! And evidently Phoebe is going to help me install it:

Yep. I probably won't have to lift a finger.

Thank goodness my choice got approval from the feline peanut gallery.