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.