Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Check this out:

My brother has started blogging. He goes by the pseudonym "Jonboy" instead of his real name, which is Opie Capone. Check it out at www.vacantstares.blogspot.com.

And yes, I will be posting the Opie Capone picture unless there is some significant fiduciary incentive applied to keep me from doing so.

It may be Tuesday.

But it feels like Monday. Posted by Hello

Friday, May 20, 2005

Luke, I am your father...

We went to see Star Wars Episode III last night. Opening night. Sure did.

I really loved Star Wars as a kid. I was pretty traumatized by the whole Jar Jar Binks thing, though. Episode III was certainly the best of the three "new" movies.

Movies have always been a big part of my life, but for the last few years I have seen tons of kid flicks and extremely few grown-up movies. I can rent 'em, I know, but don't get me started on that. Certainly you can enjoy a movie in the comfort of your own home, but you will never recreate the collective solitude of the theatre experience. If it is a movie worth seeing, its worth seeing right.

Anyway, a couple of weeks ago, Jackson and I discovered that we are real grown-ups and if we want to go see a movie on a school night, then by-God, we can! So we now have a weekly appointment (sans kid) with the local cinema.

It was a small crowd, although anything more than three is an above average mid-week crowd. There were a couple of families with their kids, but it was mostly people my parent's age. I found that odd. Where are all the people my age - the kids who grew up on this mythology? Didn't it become an ingrained part of their moral development? Didn't they accept that there is a connectivity to the entire universe and everything in it? Didn't they understand that your sixth grade English teach who used to complain because they didn't use any capital letters in the credits on Matlock was just an unwitting pawn of the dark side? Didn't their dad's preach sermons about the theology of Star Wars when they were kids? Or was that just me?

Oh, well. The movie was good. Not great, but good. Good enough that when we left, in the dark, and I shifted the truck into gear and pulled out on the highway, I could pretend that it was my own X-wing fighter.

And I flew it all the way home.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Its not a millstone, Its a milestone!

I don't like to staple things, much. It seems as soon as I wed a couple of sheets of paper together, I just have to break them up again. Perhaps that's not the best analogy, but you get the idea. I hate paperclips even more. That kind of indecisiveness gets on my nerves. I like my papers to be free-flowing and open to change. This is really just a lot of bull - and helps explain why my desk is in a mess most of the time.

Anyway, I have had the same box of staples for the entirety of my current employment. It was a big, new box handed to me the day I started. It held 5,000 staples. Every time I moved to another office, or got a new desk, or was hit with a fit of spring cleaning, the box of staples went with me. I began to think it was like the hourglass in the Wizard of Oz - the staples were counting down my existence and when I ran out of staples I would have to leave, a la Shane or Mary Poppins.

Today I have completed 12 years at my job. And I ran out of staples.

What are the chances? Not only the chances of these two events occurring simultaneously, but that the first occurred at all. Not many Generation Xers can say that. (Or would want to!) I just happened to stumble into the perfect job for me and I have stayed here. When I have tried to leave, I couldn't get any other employer to even acknowledge my existence, much less give me an interview.

I got my annual retirement benefit statement in the mail a couple of months ago. Right in the middle, in big black letters it says: First Retirement Eligibility - Age 48.

That means there's no getting rid of me now! That means that at age 48 I can shove this job and become the weird lady at the fair who draws charicatures on the cheap.

That means I can quit my 8-5 and open a photography studio where you could get bridal pictures done, but not wedding pictures. And when you come in to sit for the portraits, your mother has to sit in the car. With no keys. With the windows rolled up. Especially if it is August. And did I mention I ain't gonna take pictures of yer family, especially yer mother of the bride, at the church?

That means I can open a bookstore on the square like the lady in Sweetwater - remember her, Kincaid? - who was always interested in whatever you were into and had just been reading a book about it and it was freaky but in a good way.

I've got 14 years to go. Gonna have to make this new box of staples stretch a little bit farther.

This is where I wish I was today.

Posted by Hello

And I wish I still had those legs.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Awash in liberal-ly goodness.

I am:
"You're a complete liberal, utterly without a trace of Republicanism. Your strength is as the strength of ten because your heart is pure. (You hope.)"

Are You A Republican?

Monday, May 09, 2005

Interview Game: "If you were a tree..."

I have been tagged by Mindy with the interview questions. These are her questions and my answers. If you want to play, read the directions at the end and I will be more than happy to spread the germs.

1) What are you truly afraid of since it is not ghosts, cemeteries or things that go bump in the night? Oh geeze, I dunno. I work really hard to conquer fear. It is not always 100% successful, but I find that if you are willing to do what you fear then it lessens that fear exponentially each time you do it. HOWEVER, as I write this, I am confronted by my own raging hypocrisy because I realize I do have a fear which I have had an opportunity to confront and I wussed. The opportunity may come around again and damn, now I'll have to do it or be branded a lying wussie. The Horror! By the way, Janet just gave me a way cool journal with an even more way more cool quote from Eleanor Roosevelt on it: "Do something every day that scares you." Words to live by, if ya ask me!

2) What is the most trashiest book you have ever read? Hmm... I guess it was probably Hotel by Arthur Haley. How horribly nerdy is that?

3) In camping, what is the #1 rule to remember? Duh! Always have tortilla chips on hand for starting fires! We shall be putting this rule to good use this weekend, I hope.

4) Just what DID you tell the Postal Inspector? I said: "Is this a joke?" followed by a whole lot of "Yes ma'am." and "No ma'am." and a promise not to mail anything else with such amusing labels as 'Letter Bomb Enclosed - Please Do Not X-Ray.'

5) What is your biggest pet peeve? Today it is snot and the lack of attention afforded it by the whole industrial/energy community in this country. If we could find a way to utilize it as an alternative fuel source, my production alone could rid Nebraska of its dependence on foreign oil. If nothing else, there ought to be a market for it somewhere as an industrial lubricant.

The Official Interview Game Rules If you want to participate, leave a comment below saying "interview me."I will respond by asking you five questions - each person's will be different. You will update your journal/blog with the answers to the questions. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview others in the same post. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Nothing to see here. Keep moving.

Some pictures from East Texas. (Happiness is
friends who don't mind that you stop at all the

Note: I see that the names on the stones are not very readable.
They are: 1. Lively, 2. Hill/Bush, & 3. Shotwell. Sorry!

Not likely.

Or maybe Tree?

If a job is worth doing, its worth doing well.

Posted by Hello

Maybe it was because we saw this on the way home
from the sex offender trainging, but we found this
sign to be somewhat disconcerting.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

M is for "Mutha"

I live in a dry county. Sale of alcohol is prohibited except in private clubs. How does one establish a private club, you may ask? In most cases you put a spiral notebook by the door. Membership is conferred by signing a name in the book on your way in. Not necessarily your own name, you understand.

A condition of probation is that thou shalt not drink. Another is thou shalt not hang out at the clubs. So, myself and the other officers would make the rounds of the bars on the occasional Saturday night to see which of our people were there. And which of them had been dumb enough to sign their real name in the book. Generally, this was bad for business at the clubs.

One particularly sleazy bar is the laughably named Social and Charity Club. Its been around for as long as I can remember. Its a dark, smoky, violent place - one of those building that looks as if a good stiff wind would flatten it. But it perseveres. Even when they lost their liquor license for two years a while back their business didn't seem to suffer much. Given its location on just outside the city limits on the north side of town, it was usually the last stop on our tour of the local nightlife.

My most memorable visit to the Social and Charity happened one Saturday night right before mother's day. It went as usual - we walked the rooms squinting through the smoke, trying to hear over the pounding music, hoping to recognize faces in the near total darkness. Truth be known, we probably would never have caught anyone if they didn't get so nervous. Luckily for us, most people with a drunk and guilty conscience would try to hide behind their girlfriends, or behind a hat or turn their face to the wall. It got to be pretty funny at times.

It was almost midnight when the six of us, including our boss at that time, decided to leave. We headed to the entrance.

Just as we got to the door, which was in a pretty cramped space, a group of about equal size came inside. We stood across from each other for a long moment.

The other group had us way out-classed. They were dressed to kill - hats, boas, sequins and bright silk suits. The man in the center, who had a woman hanging on each arm, was the owner of the club.

The moment drew out uncomfortably as we silently debated who would step aside to let the others pass. Then, the owner doffed his fedora and looked my boss in the eye.

"Why Ms. Barton," he drawled. "Its always such a pleh-sure to see you and your friends."

He smiled broadly, his teeth glowing in the blacklights, and eyed us all.

"I would just like to wish you all a happy Mother's Day." He bowed deeply and gave us a wicked grin. "Cuz you all's a bunch of muthas!"

They let us pass.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Would you like a ribbon with that corsage?

Last week Mindy and I went to a small town about 80 miles north of Houston for training. We arrived the afternoon before the the conference began, so we explored the town. It was a decent little east Texas town - pretty, but not too exciting.

Being the thrifty (cheap)people that we are, we found a consignment shop on the courthouse square. Being the friendly (nosy) people that we are, we struck up a conversation with the proprietress and her assistant.

It didn't take her long to discover - "Y'all aren't from around here, are you?" We confirmed this and asked a few questions about the area.

She assured us repeatedly that she did not live in this town. Oh, no. She was from the Woodlands, yet another Houston bedroom community. She also pointed out, on more than one occasion, that the houses in the Woodlands started at $350,000 and went up from there. We tried real hard to look impressed. She lives in the Woodlands and merely runs the business in this town.

This was followed by the pivotal question: "Well, did y'all come down for the flower show?"

I looked at Mindy. She looked at me. We were both obviously thinking the same thing, "Just say yes." We could've said yes and told her delphiniums are really not our specialty and no, we don't know how to cure rust on roses. We could have told her that and waltzed on out the door. But, nooooo. We told her why we were in town. Stupid, stupid us.

"We're here for to attend training for probation officers on the risk assessment of sex offenders."

If she'd been a Pekinese, her ears would have pricked up and she would have tilted her head to the left and let her tongue hang out. She immediately launched into every story she ever knew about sex offenders and any kind of maybe, possible, sort-of encounters she or her family had experienced with anyone who might have been a sex offender or been just a little creepy. She even told us that this county has the fastest growing population of sex offenders and incest cases in the state. Did I mention she lives in the Woodlands and the houses there start at $350,000?

Mindy and I edged towards the door. "That's nice." "Oh, really?" "You don't say?" We got as close as two counters and a clothing rack from freedom when she stopped in mid-sentence and whirled on her assistant. She crinkled her nose and said, "Well! I am just going to be nosy and ask!"

We could have skipped out right then. We could have made a run for it. We knew better. But we stayed.

She leaned over the counter and winked. "So, do y'all talk real mean to these people when they get out of prison?"

That's what she said. What she meant was: "Do they talk dirty to you?"

We could have tried to explain that we work with people who hopefully will not go to prison. We could have told her that yes, sometimes things get a bit graphic - in a health class kind of a way, but there is a fine line between being honest about an offense and retelling it for fun and we try not to go anywhere near that line. We could have explained that sex offenders are the most compliant group we encounter. (The idea being to cooperate so the authorities will not take a closer look at what you are doing.)

We could have told her all of that. But she didn't want to hear it and we pretty much bolted for the door. Finally. Next time I will listen to that little voice in my head and say, "Yes. I am a florist."

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Four years later...

Posted by Hello

I planted a couple of Calla Lily bulbs four years ago. The don't grow real well here, evidently. Every year one or two brave leaves would push through the mulch and hang out for a couple of weeks. Then they crumple like a kleenex at a June wedding and die. This year! Finally! I have a flower!