Sunday, December 31, 2006
This is not exactly how we'd planned to spend New Year's Eve. But it's emblematic of 2006, which has vaguely sucked.
Jackson and I had planned to have a New Year's Eve party, but we never had the chance to make any plans or get anyone invited. Katie was with her "other" family so we decided to get a room in the Cool Little City to the North and go find a jazz combo or pub band to ring in the New Year with. Hinder was playing in town, too. There were lots of possibilities.
We packed our little bags and drove away in the bright, cold sunshine. The wind was howling straight out of the North and chapping the roadways, drying them off from the rain and ice we'd had a couple of days earlier.
When we arrived at the hotel, the lobby was packed. And the people were grumbling. We had no idea what was going on. A harried desk clerk was yelling out to anyone who came in the door.
"If you don't have a reservation, we're sold out!"
The loud-mouthed lady about halfway back in the line explained all. I-40 was closed starting a quarter of a mile to the west. She said the next over-pass past the hotel was a solid sheet of ice and that continued all the way into Colorado. Another interstate, running through Oklahoma, was closed as well. A lot of people had come south to take I-40, hoping it would be open sooner. No such luck.
Of course, the hotel lost our reservation. Naturally there was no way to get a room anywhere in town. But, what the hell, we could go sleep in our own bed after nothing more than an hour's drive south. These folks couldn't say that. Jackson said he thought this 'no room at the inn' bit was a Christmas thing, not New Year's.
So, we went shopping, ate BBQ and went home to another lovely Netflix New Year's. (After watching the IFC movie, we watched Sin City. Which was pretty darn good, but then I nearly always like Robert Rodriquez movies.)
Before we left CLCttN, we went to the mall for a bit. Jackson sat out in the hallway while I spent the Hot Topic gift card Katie gave me for Christmas. I had my bag that's made out of this material with me.
The girl with the green hair and huge tattoo across her naked back and the multiple facial piercings said she really liked it. I felt so proud. This may be the first time they didn't think I was a narc.
And since we are at home, we can have my favorite Trailer Trash New Year's Meal: Jackson's Super-Sweet Cornbread, black-eyed peas from my own garden and a whole can of fried Spam. Yessireebob - we are such gourmands. We'll save you some left-overs!
Friday, December 29, 2006
Wednesday, December 27, 2006
I have nothing of any real value to tell you, except to share my one memory of Gerald Ford. When I was just a wee little 4 year old kid, I remember sitting down in front of the TV during the evening news. My mom was in the kitchen cooking supper. I watched TV for a while and they kept showing some tall, bald man and talking about what the president did and what the president said and many, many other things about the president. I yelled to my mom in the kitchen.
"Who is the president?"
Mom evidently thought I asked 'who is the first president' because she said
It was years - YEARS - later before I learned that George Washington and Gerald Ford were two different people.
Tuesday, December 26, 2006
Monday, December 25, 2006
Thursday, December 21, 2006
I got to work today and discovered everyone else is in the same craptacular mood as I am. We are generally pissed off and wildly stressed. We decided screw it - we ain't comin' to work tomorrow. And hell, we may not even come back till the middle of next week. The boss, or Firestarter Bill as I like to call him, pointed out that 2006 has generally sucked. And not just for us or for probation or for Fake Cow County in general. 2006 has been a predominantly crappy year for pretty much the vast majority of the human race. We all agree that 2007 will be better. But we still aren't coming to work tomorrow. (Thank god for county holidays!)
This my first post on the new fangled blogger.
I am totally in the mood to paint (while wearing my nifty new day o' the dead suit of not-quite-armour that Mindy made for me) but I have no ideas for subject matter. Anybody got any ideas?
Last week Jackson asked if I could paint him a replica of the part of the Sistine chapel where God reaches out to Adam. HA! As if! (It was pretty cool that he actually thought I might could do that, though. I think he may be tired of the fedora paintings that are all I seem to be doing lately. Who the hell paints fe-freakin'-doras?)
...and everything I paint is purple.
There is probably some sort of Freudian sense that could be made out of that, but I'm not going to try to do it.
We have a fraidy cat at home. Evil Steve has scared the holee hell out of Madeline (formerly known as Mathias) to the point that the cat will not come out from under my great-grandmother's chair. She lives there, day and night, slipping out now and again for sustenance and an attempt to make it all the way to the litter box before Evil Steve catches her again and makes the litter box unnecessary.
My friend C. Wright sent me the coolest book EVER. Check it out. You should also buy many, many books from this store. The owner is a member of C. Wright's Collection of Weird People. C. Wright has a pretty extensive collection of odd and assorted people and she lurks on all your blogs. You may be a member of her collection and not even know it.
Dr. McCoy is the patron saint of the C. Wright Collection. Someday when I have more time I will tell you why.
Monday, December 18, 2006
That phrase has become the official ending to all stories told at work. Its like some sort of benediction. It is an expression of the understanding that things have gone too far and none of us are fit for polite company any longer.
My neck is killing me.
I'm watching the Biography Channel profile on Tim LaHaye while I'm typing. I think its sort of interesting that his son-in-law calls him "Dr. LaHaye".
I wonder if my neck would feel better if I changed the channel?
I finally got most of my Christmas cards addressed. They are going in the mail tomorrow - I swear! I'm am so ready for Christmas to get here. We're not 'ready', but damn, I am sooo ready. Know what I mean? Did I mention my neck hurts?
Its rainy and cold outside. I think I'll make a fire. And maybe some hot tea...
Yesterday Jackson did all the laundry and helped Katie with her homework while I slept through an afternoon of Midsomer Murder reruns. Tonight he is taking her to photography class after braving the horror that is Wal-Mart in search of cat food. Isn't he cool?
That's what I know tonight. What do you know?
Friday, December 15, 2006
(In addition to the boring and plebian computer and phone.)
Box of Kleenex
Wonder Woman notepad
A wind up nun that walks and spews sparks from her mouth.
A set of gargoyle pens
A desktop dart game that I use as a letter holder
A veritable bucket o' pens and highlighters (one of which is a skull pen that lights up when you use it)
Business Cards that make me sound like a grown up
Stickies (i.e. post it notes and flags)
Steno pad full of phone notes
A Vanilla Bean candle by Henri Rendel from Bath and Body works. (Smells like Carmex.)
A Route 44 Sonic cup full of cherry diet dr. pepper
1 legal pad and portfolio
A stack of papers over three inches high
A note attached to a mangaled, rumpled and partially missing sheet of paper documenting some sort of community service. The note says: "My mother's dog got my paper I swear on my mother's grave I'm not making this up but the number job where I did it and the nurse I did it with I'm sure can call her and she will tell you and fax another copy please don't send me to jail!"
Thursday, December 14, 2006
I couldn't figure out how to take a picture of this highly polished stone without my white tennis shoes showing up in it. I finally gave up and made it a self-portrait.
So, I have been a totally boring blogger for the last couple of weeks. I decided to take Mindy up on her offer of a letter. She gave me H. I have to come up with 10 things a I love that start with H.
1. Hell - Its one of my favorite words. Depending on tone and inflection, it can mean anything, both good and bad.
2. Hats - I love fedoras and berrets and baseball caps. I don't get to wear them much anymore, except for spending my weekends in a baseball cap. If I could write my own corporate dress code, it would consist of boots, jeans, t-shirt, suit jacket and a hat. (Maybe that's why they don't let me do the dress code...)
3. Heroes - sandwiches and comic book characters. Love 'em both.
4. Home - I love to be at home. My house isn't perfect, but its comfortable, quiet and peaceful. Most of the time no one yells. Most of the time no one argues. Most of the time the cats don't puke. Its not fancy, its not trendy, its not stylish. But its fun and I love the peace and quiet. Home is bright and sunny in the daytime; dark and cozy in the evening.
5. Hominy - I don't love hominy. But I like it. It starts with H.
6. Highways - Road trips, exploring, site seeing. One of the best things about exploring cemeteries is that every place has one. We take off in search of dead people. We see towns, farms, coyotes, tarantulas, snakes, deer, playa lakes, grain elevatores, circle systems, churches, Dairy Queens, football fields, cotton, corn, maize, pheasant, skunks, draws, and the occassional tree. We have good highways in Texas. I try to get my money's worth out of them.
7. Horns - I played the French Horn in school. Not particularly well. I played it much like one would play a kazoo. If I couldn't hum the song, I couldn't play the song. I got a scholarship from the world's most desperate music professor to play French Horn for the band in college. All the other horn players had graduated the year before. I only stuck with it for one semester - they expected us to meet everyday for rehersal and then to *gasp* practice outside of class. (The theme songs from Star Trek the Next Generation and Star Trek Voyager have some really great horn parts.)
8. Halloween - Duh.
9. Honeysuckle - Nothing - nothing! - on this planet smells better.
10. Hash browns - Heh. Had a bit of trouble coming up with a tenth one. (But shredded potatoes are really, really good.)
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? Um, I guess he just puts them under the tree. I haven't ever really noticed.
3. Colored lights on tree/house or white? White or maybe solid blue.
4. Do you hang mistletoe? Nah.
5. When do you put your decorations up? Whenever we can get to it. Never before the Friday after Thanksgiving and they come the hell down the day after Christmas - no ifs, ands or buts. Take 'em down and pack 'em up. Put the balls in the closet and the tree back in the coffin.
6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)? Hot rolls, mashed potatoes and the sweet potato casserole with the pecans and brown sugar on top. (Hi. My name is spookyrach and I'm a carboholic.)
7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child? All those great meals, crowed around my grandparents big, square dining table.
8. When or how did you learn the truth about Santa? I didn't ever actually believe in Santa.
9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? Yep. Sometimes all of 'em. Then we spend Christmas with Jackson's family and my family gets together for Christmas on New Year's. Dad always has to work on Christmas anyway.
10. How do you decorate your Christmas Tree? We have the coolest Christmas tree around. For years and years, my friend Janet has been buying me an ornament for my birthday in January. The first one she gave me was Wonder Woman. Now I have Superman, Catwoman, Batman, the Incrrdible Hulk, Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman from Casablanca, Captain Picard (cause every tree needs a sexy bald guy), Princess Leia, R2D2, Darth Vader's ship, the Tasmanian Devil, the Flash, the Wicked Step Mother from Snow White (I thought that one was especially appropriate), Krusty the Clown, Scooby Doo and a few others I'm probably forgetting. I get to open my ornament present on my birthday and get all excited about it. Then I pack it up with the others and forget about it until Christmas when I get to open it and get all excited all over again. It's a double duty gift!
11. Snow! Love it or Dread it? I love it. I don't mind driving in the snow as long as their aren't a lot of other idiots out on the road, mucking things up.
12. Can you ice skate? I don't know, I've never tried.
13.Have you ever fallen on the ice? Oh yeah. Repeatedly.
14. Do you remember your favorite gift? Jackson gave me three snazzy gargoyles the first year we were married. That was cool. When I was a kid I got a frisbee with a hole in the center. That sucker flew farther and faster than any plastic disc before or since. I still have it. I hoard it in a box in the closet and don't let anyone else play with it. Heh.
15. What's the most important thing about the Holidays for you? Finding a good Christmas card picture.
16. What is your favorite Holiday Dessert? Lemon Chess Pie.
17. What is your favorite holiday tradition? I guess it would be the Christmas on New Year's thing. Saves us from trying to determine who's going where when.
18. What tops your tree? A sparkly star.
19. Which do you prefer giving or receiving? I like 'em both. I really love it when I can find the exact, perfect, most coolest gift ever for someone. That is a lot of fun.
20. What is your favorite Christmas Song? I love O Holy Night when it's done well. Any of the old songs in minor keys are good. I really enjoy congregational singing of Christmas music in church. I pretty much despise most other Christmas music. I don't want to hear it on the radio. I don't want to hear it from the soprano soloist or the impressive ensemble in church. I don't want to hear it in the grocery store or the doctor's office. If I am elected president, I will ban Away in a Manger, Silent Night and Sleigh Ride. Absolutely. Christmas music is best when sung by a group of untrained amateurs. It is a participatory sport. Otherwise, it sucks. (Well, except for the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Went to see them a couple of weeks ago and that was totally incredible. But, even with them, my favorite part of the show was after the sappy Christmas story, when they just starting playing kick-ass music. I wish they would do a Halloeen CD...)
21. CANDY CANES!! YUCK OR YUM?? Vast ambivalence on this issue.
22.What is your favorite Christmas movie? ~steps back up on the soap box~ I hate Christmas moves. I really, really do. I am such a scrooge about it. Yes some of them are funny. And some of them are touching. But, damn, I don't like to be touched. For the most part, they are stitled, affected and heavily cheezed.
23. Rudolph, Frosty the Snowman or Charlie Brown? Charlie Brown. That is the one Christmas show I will sit down and watch. I do love me some scrawny Christmas tree and some rich jazz.
Monday, December 04, 2006
|What Kind of Reader Are You? |
Your Result: Dedicated Reader
You are always trying to find the time to get back to your book. You are convinced that the world would be a much better place if only everyone read more.
|Literate Good Citizen|
|What Kind of Reader Are You?|
Create Your Own Quiz
Thursday, November 30, 2006
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Lo these many years ago, Fake Cow County officials started giving employees a day off on their birthday. Pretty cool, eh? Only one problem - it didn't apply retroactively to those of us who'd already had a birthday that year. That meant Rose and I missed out. Not being people who would willingly pass up a chance to be loud and obnoxious about something, she and I decided to form a union and submit a formal list of demands as a means of rectifying the injustice.
It turned into a yearly tradition that continued until our boss retired. Every year we submitted a lengthy and verbose letter detailing our dissatisfaction with the lack of activity by management on the previous year's demands. We requested simple things like like recliners for our offices, free massage service, windows, personal secretaries, a sizeable wardrobe budget and an office chef. Stuff like that.
After a while, we decided our union needed some good karma, so we started a yearly community service project. Every year,Rose and I ring bells for the Salavation Army at Wal-Mart the Friday night before pheasant season opens.
Back when this started, we were both single, thinner and a decade younger. The night before pheasant season is when every drunken hunter in the country heads to Wal-Mart to buy shells, socks and assorted camoflauged crap. We were loud and sorta brassy, so we made tons of money from the drunken hunters.
That was then.
Now its a chore. It always seems to be a lot colder on our bell night these days. We used to do this for 4 hours. Now we complain and whine about sore feet and knees after just a couple of hours. We don't even sign up for more than 3 hours these days. And the drunken hunters? They are harder to fleece. But we still have a ton of fun!
This year Rose is sick, so we have to postpone for a week and will miss the hunters altogether. But we'll be there next Friday, doing our civic duty. Even though we still don't have recliners.
Friday, November 24, 2006
Seattle: "I'm so mad at him! But I'm gonna have my revenge!"
Me: "Oh really? How so?"
Seattle: "Just wait 'till March 17th rolls around. Just wait!"
Me: "Um, why? What happens on March 17th?"
Seattle: "Its St. Patrick's Day. And he probably won't remember to wear green. And THEN I'll get him! I'm gonna pinch him hard!"
Me: "You are truly a diabolical mastermind, dude. I bow before your evil genius."
Seattle: "Yeah. I know."
...and he ran off to play some more.
Friday, November 17, 2006
Monday, November 13, 2006
Official Thomas Kinkade Fan Club Member
Wouldn't you like to be a cracker, too?
Born to be White
Vanilla is my favorite flavor
My mom loves me enough to stay home.
Jesus Wants You! (But not in that way.)
Hellman's - Its more than just a sandwich spread.
I heart Toby Keith
Virgins for Christ
Jesus was White
Old Skool? No, Home-Schooled!
Hot for Preacher
Red? Yes! Yellow? Yes! Black? Yes! White? Yes! Rainbow? NO!
And my personal favorite: W is my co-pilot.
Friday, November 10, 2006
Thursday, November 09, 2006
Monday, November 06, 2006
Don't you love Michael Palin? Seriously. His Himalayan show is really gorgeous.
You know what freaks me out? Yuppies at home improvement stores.
A man sat across the desk from me this morning and told me very matter of factly that he is losing controll of the darkness inside him. The darkness is the loathing and self-hate that is eating him up - literally eating him up. He told me who he is going to kill and why. And I agreed that he a darn good reason for murder. The man he hates has stolen over 20 years of his life already, why give him the rest of it in exchange for a moment's satisfaction?
I really like that guy. But he has planned out the violent death of another human being and is physically struggling with himslef to keep from following through with his plan. Its a very old testament thing to see. Like watching Jacob wrestle the angel. People are absolutley fascinating.
Did anyone check out the moon tonight? Its full, of course.
I'm hungry for meat loaf.
Christmas is coming up. Anybody got any suggestions on what I should give Jackson? He is one of those irritating people who always gives really good gifts, but never asks for anything for himself. Bastard.
I start another drug offender class next week. I'm trying a different schedule and breaking it up into once a week for five weeks, instead of five times in two weeks. I am hoping that will keep me a little more sane.
Matthias the cat loves nothing more than a plastic egg, halved. It entertains him for days on end.
Thursday, November 02, 2006
This is a foot stone. Pearl had a headstone as well, but the footstone really caught my eye. In the early evening sun this stone was impossible not to touch. Once I saw it, I couldn't just stand over it and admire it through a camera lens. I had to get down on the ground and run my fingers over the rounded letters. (Avoiding the bird poo, of course.) It was simple, cool marble. I don't know what the text is made from - perhaps just another color of marble - but I love the look of the letters. Its an interesting name, too.
The whole thing had a special luster for me.
Pearl rocks her footstone. I'm trying to rock along with life. Life is pretty stressful right now, but things will change. Some of the change will be for the better. Some will not. But change is good.
However, I'm beginning to wonder if I've angered the gods. Or maybe I'm just not living right. I could tell you how my day went, but you really wouldn't believe me. I had all kinds of problems and tasks and even a good deed or two to juggle. I managed to keep all the knives in the air, but I think I've got a few cuts.
After much delay this evening, we got supper done and the table cleared. I sat down with my pictures to search for a cemetery view to post, when the phone rang. It was my grandmother.
She has "a stack of papers from the government" that she doesn't understand. "Some of them have deadlines. They're due in November, I think." No other family members are in town for the next few days and could I come help her with them?
Well of course I can.
And then maybe I'll go hang out with Pearl.
Thursday, October 26, 2006
Katies is learning how to differentiate fact from opinion in her reading class. On the way to school Monday I showed her the nifty cool socks I was wearing. They were orange and black and white striped with googly-eyed bats on the sides. I told her everyone loves them and everybody wishes they had some.
She told me that was just an opinion.
I told her heck, no! It is a fact that everyone in the world loves my socks and wants a pair of their own. A fact, I tell ya!
She told me facts can be proven.
I told her I could prove it.
You see where this is going, don't you? If you would be so kind as to send a note, a postcard, a letter or a scrap of oily paper to Katie and tell her how much you love my socks and how much you wish you had a pair just like them, it would be verrry helpful. Heh heh. There is a link in the sidebar you can click to send me an email and I will provide you with the address for your "Dear Katie" cards and letters. Thank you in advance for helping me to maintain the precarious balance of power in the spooky household.
Monday, October 23, 2006
1. List two things that are true of you that are not stereotypically true of members of some group that you belong to.
a. I get out of bed at 5:25 a.m. during the week.
b. I am a flamin' liberal.
2. List two unusual talents that you have.
a. I have entered the Ironman Triathlon for the past 7 years. I hold three state championships and set two national records in the swimming portion of the competition.
b. I am a liar.
3. List two unusual weaknesses that you have.
a. I keep buying chocolate brown shirts. I don't know why. (I'm wearing one now!)
b. I hate to read good, thought-provoking books that will lead to personal growth and self-improvement. I have very shallow reading tastes. (Not "romance" shallow, but definitely dead-body-on-the-lawn shallow.)
4. List two unusual things that you aspire to.
a. I want to publish a coffee table book of entertaining cemetery photography.
b. Early retirement followed by a lucrative career as a globetrotting heiress who solves English country house murders. (Dear Mom & Dad: Please win the lottery, so as to help me with that heiress part.)
5. List two words that you use more than most people do.
6. List two foods that you dislike and most other people like.
a. chocolate without nuts.
b. white or yellow cake.
7. List two strange habits that you have.
a. I rearrange the furniture in the house about once a month. (I can't do this with my office because I only have outlets on one wall and the sameness of the place makes me a little nuts sometimes.)
b. I never iron the back of a shirt. What's the point?
Friday, October 20, 2006
These are pictures I got from little david. They were taken at a cemtery in Australia on a visit to see their son and daughter-in-law. I really love the angel, so you get three pictures of that!
Um, maybe I should add that the son and daughter aren't, you know, dead or anything. They just enjoyed visiting the cemetery too!
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
God, I hate going to church on Wednesday nights. Seriously. But Katie still loves it. And its pretty short. Its not so much that church is disagreeable. Home is just so much more agreeable.
Katie shut her finger in a desk drawer and made it bleed rather respectably. She has decided that an episode of Full House will make it all better. I am considering breaking a toe so her daddy will let me change the channel.
Maybe I will just blog instead.
Jackson just told me Annie Potts was his favorite Designing Woman. Mary Jo? Mary JO?! That's so wrong. Everyone knows Julia was the best. I don't know how I managed to marry him not knowing his heretical views in this area. When I asked him to redeem himself by telling me his favorite Golden Girl, he just rolled his eyes. (Dorothy is the correct answer here, people.)
Good lord, he just named all the characters on Beverly Hills 90210. Our marriage is in serious trouble here.
Katie and Jackson are leaving me alone to my own devices this weekend. I think I will go explore a cemetery. I'm about to get desperate about searching for a Christmas card photo.
I want some feety pajamas.
This has been a crazy week at work. All my people are crazy. Full-moon crazy. I am ready for the weekend.
Have I told you we have a new cat? Omar Jones has left the building. So, we adopted a new kitty. His name is Mathias and he's very scruffy. And skittish.
Got us some tickets to see the Transiberian Orchestra the day after Thanksgiving. Yessireebob.
My new rubber band ball is a measly half inch. Sigh...
Jackson wants to know how it is that the kids in his classes can clandestinely text on a tiny illicit cell phone at incredible speeds, yet the pound around on the key board one lousy key at a time. "Little peckers..." he said. (He may well be ready for the weekend too.)
Got a phone call today from a counselor at our local out-patient treatment program. She was doing follow up on a woman I'd referred to their program a few months ago. Bad timing. The woman went to court yesterday on a motion to revoke her probation. She told the judge that of course she kept using drugs - after all everyone knows "relapse is a part of recovery". But the Judge could trust her to stay clean now. She will "never do drugs again" and since she's never said that before, that makes it true.
Did I mention that all my people are crazy this week?
Thursday, October 12, 2006
Well, ok. Maybe not really. But I was certainly upset.
Maria has been cleaning my house for lo, these many years. Long before there was a Jackson, or a Katie, or a house outside of town, or an Earl or a motorcycle or wrinkles or tired feet, there was Maria. The only prenuptual agreement that Jackson and I have is that if we split up, Maria comes with me. However, I have been informed that certain parties fully plan to violate said prenup at such time as there is a parting of the ways. The thought of that battle alone may keep our household intact.
I was single and living on my own when Maria and I first hooked up. I was complaining to Rose one day about my house. I am generally a neat person. Clutter and disorder get on my nerves after a while. But I am also a packrat. I told Rose that I was going to have to go through the nice, neat piles that occupied all corners of my house and garage and get rid of stuff. I claim fame as an excellent surface cleaner, but seldom ever think about doing the deep cleaning until it is fairly atrocious.
Rose suggested I get someone to clean my house. I immediately scoffed at that idea. After all, I was single. And middle class. And perfectly capable of cleaning my own damn house. And there were starving children in Africa.
Rose listened to all my excuses and told me to do whatever I wanted. But she was single and she had someone clean her house and the sky hadn't fallen nor the moon turned to blood.
So, after a few days of mulling it over, I started looking for someone. That was about 12 years ago and Maria has been visiting me weekly ever since.
She is from Mexico and barely spoke English when we met. She is married and has twin sons who are now grown. She now has her GED and has been taking some continuing education classes at the junior college. She worked at a loan company and other full-time jobs, but still comes to my house every week. I only actually see her once or twice a year, but I feel like we are growing old together.
I had no idea how to go about hiring a cleaning lady, so the first time we talked she asked me what I wanted her to do. I can't remember what I actually told her, but it was along the lines of "do whatever you want". So, some days when I come home, the house smells clean, everything is shiny and nothing has changed. Other days, the house smells clean, everything is shiny and she has rearranged all the pots and pans in the cabinet. Or she has cleaned out the refrigerator. Or she has organized my closet. Or whatever else takes her fancy.
I love her.
However, like any relationship, we do have our problems. Maria is old school. She has never, ever questioned how my house is decorated. But she tends to break a gargoyle or a skull about once a year. She hasn't broken any of my madonnas or icons. Just skulls and gargoyles. I don't complain. I figure it is a small price to pay and I feel certain she lights a candle for me each week at mass and I can use all the help I can get in that area.
But, then there is the rubber band ball.
I recently started subscribing to the newspaper again. (Like some sort of real adult, which is very depressing.) In addition to the sudoku, my greatest pleasure as a subscriber is rubber band storage. My first rubber band ball reached about an inch and a half in diameter. I bounced it on the side table during boring TV shows. I rubbed it and molded it and painstakingly arranged the bands to optimize the orbital shape.
Then one day after Maria came, it was gone. I was crushed.
I started a new ball - determined that this would be even more impressive than the last. I would hide it before I left for work on Wednesdays so I knew it would be safe when I returned home. It grew and grew. Then one day I forgot.
When I arrived home from work to the sparkly, lemony-fresh house, I remembered. I ran to the end table and there it was! Still in place. I added to it. It got bigger and bigger. It was bigger and better than the first ball. And for the past month it has set on the table, undisturbed by the ministrations of Maria.
Last night I had to teach a class. I got home a little after 8:00. Jackson left the paper and the rubber band for me so I could enjoy my puzzle and play with my ball. I sat down to relax.
I couldn't find the ball. No ball! I searched high and low, but no luck. It is gone.
I am crushed.
Monday, October 09, 2006
Being child-free this weekend, Jackson and I spent some time roaming around the record store. I bought Rod Stewart's Great American Songbook cd. I've always loved Rod Stewart. But what the heck is the deal with him selling his last two albums on TV commericals? Its like he's Floyd Cramer or something. Makes me feel old.
Also, his hair. In the 80's I thought he had the best damn hair ever. That was 20 years ago. It is so time for him to comb it.
And maybe wash it.
Ok, enough about the hair.
Also, since it was a child-free weekend, we had decided to go to a play in Big Flat City after we visted Jackson's mom in the hospital. We went to the record store and to dinner. Later, while the highway patrolman was running Jackson's license, checking for warrants, we remembered that we'd forgotten the play!
(The light on my license plate was out.)
I went to the university bookstore this afternoon since it is the only place in town that sells art supplies. I paid waaay too much for some gesso to cover up a really horrible painting. I hope to salvage the canvass for something way less third-graderish. As a painter I am a darn good draw-er.
I just learned that Katie didn't know a vampire can't come into your house unless invited. Tsk, tsk. Her education is sadly lacking.
I'm in the mood to see Nightmare Before Christmas again.
If I were to ever go back to school, which is not something I have any intention of doing, I would do a thesis over the Old Testament morality of horror movies. Wonder what kind of Phd. I could get with that?
Today it finally felt like fall. Fall lasts for about 36 hours total around here. I am ready for some cold weather. I love nothing better than sleeping in a freezing cold room with lots of heavy blankets.
Wonder if I can convince anyone to go camping with me in November...?
Thursday, October 05, 2006
Some stupid turd took a gun to our high school this morning. It discharged, possibly accidentally, but no one was hurt. (This turned out later to be totally untrue. No gun, no nothing. Just goes to show how on edge people are.)
One of my guys came in this morning and reported he’d lost his job as a cook. Why? He was supposed to be at work at 9:15. His alarm didn’t go off until 9:30. He called when he woke up. The manager told him he was fired. They held his job while he was in jail on this charge and that was his last chance. They don’t need him anymore. My guy is all “righteous anger” about it and plans to take it up with the general manager. Because This. Is. Unfair.
Told him not to waste their time. They will just laugh at him. Hell, I was laughing at him. (He’s now working at Sonic, which is also funny, because my other two Sonic employees will chew him up and spit him out, then grind him under their grimy heels. He’ll really think that’s unfair.)
David asked if I still have my motorcycle. I do. But it’s broke. I haven’t had it fixed all summer because I am tired of it breaking down and standing me all over the countryside. Therefore, we are selling both motorcycles and buying newer ones. Anybody wanna buy a persnickety motorcycle?
One of my women, who’s been out of work for an eternity and had an extremely tough time getting a job due to a felony theft conviction, got hired! She will make $7.25 at a gas station, which is pretty dang good! There may be hope for her yet.
Finally got our house painted this week. It is still grey and black and white, which makes me very happy. I had no idea it would be so hard to get people to come out and give you an estimate. I even told one company that I would pay a fee for the estimate. Still nothing. We finally found somebody who was hungry for work. He did a good job. He painted more parts grey and fewer parts white. That also made me happy.
The books in my “to be read” pile are mocking me. I think I will kick them out and start over.
I have misplaced my Bill Bryson book, “The Mother Tongue: English and How it Got That Way.” Color me distressed. It is a book I read bits and pieces from over and over again. Bryson is on my list of people I want to be when I grow up.
We are having lunch at Mi Mexico. That will make everything all better.
Sunday, October 01, 2006
Friday, September 29, 2006
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
I am so not good at that, let me tell ya.
A month or so back, we noticed an ad in the newspaper for an after school art class at the university for kids Katie's age. T, who is one of the wackos from work, has kids about Katie's age and they saw the ad too. We worked out a plan whereby we take turns picking up the kids after school each Thursday and dropping them off at the class. That way neither of us has to miss too much work.
The first week, we both had to go so we could register the kids. I picked up Katie from school and we headed to the class where we met T and her kids. The classroom was crowed with rowdy little kids and their mothers.
T and I directed our entourage to park their cheeks in the plastic chairs while we filled out the forms and wrote the checks. We were being all task-orientated and taking care of business. We didn't know we were supposed to ask questions.
We were surrounded by a flurrying gaggle of outfitted mothers who were very concerned that their jewlery matched their capri and cardigan sets. They were also very concerned that their children get the best possible art instruction.
"What sort of mediums will you be working in?"
"How hands on will this be? Allison really prefers to hands on."
"Miss! MISS! Are we just gonna draw in here? Is that all??"
"Brendon wants to know if you will be doing any thing besides drawing. He's not yet sure whether or not he wants to stay."
On and on and on. I wrote my check and tried to back away as quickly as possible. I finally got to the door and made a run for it. I stopped outside the building and sucked in some sunshiny, mother-free air. T was standing beside me. We looked warily back towards the classroom, which was still full of fussy women and bratty kids.
T looked at me and said "I feel so white."
We went back to work and washed the cotillion dust off our hands.
Sunday, September 24, 2006
|You Are Superman|
And pretty cute too. No wonder you're the most popular superhero ever!
Thursday, September 21, 2006
Those die-hards are definitely in the minority. The majority of my people are passively manipulative and say whatever they think you want to hear. A lot of the time they are genuinely sorry, but they are sorry they got caught, not because they did something wrong. Most people expect that if they say they are sorry, that makes everything ok. Their lives cycle through a process of committing evils of various sorts, getting caught and punished, apologizing and going right back to the same behavior. The apology is a magical incantation that cleanses the karmic record and frees them to start the whole process over again.
Then I have a few contritionists who have truely repented.
In the last thirteen years I have had three sex offenders whom I think fell into this category. I talked to one of them this week, before I made that seal. I'll call him Harry.
Harry committed a sexual assault almost 10 years ago. His victim was an adult and drugs and alcohol played a big part in the offense. He was given probation and he completed it about 9 months ago. He is still on probation for a hit and run that happened a year or two after the sex offense. Harry has been through lots of counseling and made some significant changes in his life.
Harry is married with several teenage and grown kids/stepkids. He has a high school diploma and is fairly personable and articulate. He has some construction skills, but nothing particularly special. He has always worked low paying jobs and struggled to get by.
About six months ago, he got a job as a delivery driver for a high-end furniture company. Within a month he'd been promoted to manager of their warehouse. Harry was making more money than he'd ever made. He worked hard and was noticed and rewarded for it. Customers regularly called and thanked the owners for how well they were treated by the Harry and his drivers. They always went the extra mile. The store owners did the right thing and told the employees how much they appreciated them and paid them more money. Harry has been excited and animated everytime I've seen him in the last few months. He had a real future with the company and he was proud of his job and his progress.
Until someone called the boss.
An anonymous caller alerted the owners that Harry is a registered sex offender, complete with a photo on the state sex offender database website. Before the owners even talked to Harry about it, they consulted their attorney and asked what kind of liability they had in the situation and what could be done to keep Harry.
The attorney's answer was that nothing could be done for Harry and they had to drop him like a hot potato. The boss then called Harry in and apologized profusely before firing him. They gave him a month's severance pay (which is unheard of here) and promised him glowing recommendations for all his future endeavors.
Harry came to see me in tears. He is genuinely repentant about his offenses. He has changed his behavior. He is a different person now. He is sincere and wants to live a better life as a better person.
But he can't escape the consequences.
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
Sometimes they get phrases wrong as well.
Rose told me about a lady who came in to report this week. She is having a tough time dealing with her son. She's at her wits end. He has discovered the temper tantrum and likes to throw himself on the floor and "scream bloody mary".
Sometimes I scream "margarita!"
Friday, September 15, 2006
My phone rang yesterday afternoon. When I answered, I heard Larry's voice. I've been working with Larry for a long, long time. Up until about a year ago, I was being pretty well snowed by this guy. Not anymore. Not for a while.
Larry had an appointment to see me yesterday.
He called to tell me that he couldn't make it. He had a job interview and they were going to do a physical and he really thought he had a shot at it and of course, he really needed this job. Nooo problem, Larry. I could certainly reschedule that appointment for such a good reason as this. Why didn't he just plan to come see me Friday afternoon?
He agreed and hung up the phone.
Larry, Larry, Larry... This is the 21st Century! Welcome to the wonderful world of caller ID!
Admittedly, caller ID has made my job harder in a lot of ways. But this time it did me good. I waited a few seconds and redialed the number Larry called from.
"Crossroads," the bartender answered the phone. Crossroads is the new name of the Elbow Bend which is a crummy little bar a couple of blocks from my office. Elbow Bend was a much better name, don't you think?
I gave her my best blonde voice: "Hey, hun. Can I talk to Larry again? This is Rachel."
"Sure, sweetie," she said and hollered for Larry.
When he answered I asked him what the hell he was doing there. He was a bit flustered and said "Uh, where?"
"At the bar, Larry. Why are you at a bar?"
"Uh, who is this?"
When that didn't work, he finally blurted out "I just came in here to use the phone!"
I told Larry he could head straight out the door and walk the two blocks to my office. He was going to have to give me a urine specimen for a drug test. That was at 2:00 p.m. yesterday. As of this morning, Larry hasn't shown up. Evidently he got lost in those two blocks from there to here. I need to get his face on a milk carton, ASAP. Either that or have him arrested.
Guess which one I'm going to do?
Thursday, September 14, 2006
Take, for example, this conversation I heard last week between Rose and ChevyPickup:
CP: Are you bringing that snot-nosed kid in here again? Ever?
Translation: I haven't yet made the acquaintance of your granddaughter. Will I have an opportunity anytime in the near future?
Rose: Well hell, she's been up here TWICE already! Is it my fault you never come to work anymore?
Translation: I'm sorry you missed her on her previous visits. I know you had to be abscent from work quite a bit lately due to your on-going cancer treatment.
CP: Oh yeah? Well at least I have a good excuse! What's your problem?
Translation: Yes, the cancer treatment has been a long process. I'm certainly glad its completed.
Rose: Don't get smart with me, shorty! I can't help it that you don't have any hair!
Translation: I know you must be relieved to have that behind you. You seem to be recovering nicely, and you haven't had any untoward increases in your physical stature.
CP: Bite me!
Translation: Thank you!
Monday, September 11, 2006
While sitting at the picnic table, enjoying the cool breeze and the cloudy weather, I started watching the older couple in the space next to mine. They weren't old, just older. I stared shamelessly through my sunglasses and out from under the brim of my hat.
They were scared.
I noticed them first because of how they were dressed. They left for a walk not long after we arrived. He was wearing slacks and a three-button, short sleeve knit shirt. For camping. Slacks! Trousers! Dress pants. She was similarly and constrictively clothed.
When they returned from their walk, I studied their RV. It was a small motorhome, pulled directly into the space - not backed in. This meant the door and the un-deployed awning all faced away from their campsite. Away from the picnic table and fire ring. Away from the path down to the creek. That's nothing too unusual. I can't back a vehicle very well either. But...
When the got to their door, the man pulled out a jangly key ring and unlocked the door. They went inside and shut both doors behind them. Nothing stirred, not even a mouse, for a long while.
When they finally did open the door and came out, both were carrying covered dishes. Supper had been cooked inside. On a stove. In an oven. Not outside on an open flame or even a gas grill. That's not a big deal, I understand that's one reason people buy RVs - fire cooking isn't for everyone. But...
The man held the door for his wife. She stepped out and walked around to the other side of the RV to get to the picnic table. He tarried a second or two longer. He took out the jangly keyring and locked the door.
They never cautioned a glance in my direction, that I know of. My nosiness was not returned or possibly not even noticed. They walked with their heads down, eyes low. I considered going over and speaking to them. Perhaps it would ease their mind, knowing that the scruffy tent dwellers next door were generally law-abiding and good natured. But...
The can of chili I had opened for supper (Frito Pie!) spewed all over the front of my shirt. My legs and feet were speckled with mud from a short walk down what is usually a dry stream bed. My eyes were bloodshot and watery from wearing my contacts too long. My hair was shooting out from under my hat in every conceivable direction. I decided I wouldn't do much to quiesce their fears at that point. Immediately after supper they entombed themselves again. I didn't see them the rest of the evening.
The next morning I walked past their campsite. There was no sign of human habitation. I guess maybe they deeply subscribe to the "leave only footprints" admonition. The RV was there, but nothing else. No hiking stick, no bag of charcoal, no firewood, no lawn chairs, no hat, not even a string of lights or a dog leash. No dog, either. Nothing.
I kept watching. It was surely as much fun as daytime TV. About 10:00 a.m. the door opened and they emerged with cereal bowls in hand. They scurried over to the picnic table, having first locked their door. They ate in what I suppose was silence, staring at the table, barely noticing their surroundings. A short while later I sat watching as they unplugged the motorhome and drove skittishly away.
I sighed, and got up off of my lounge chair. I grabbed a coke out of the cooler and made sure the kids weren't around. Then I poured the leftover bacon grease on the fire and watched it leap and sputter. Fear is sad. Play with fire instead.
Katie and Monique enjoy (?) some ice cream on the way home.
Friday, September 08, 2006
Thursday, September 07, 2006
They're real purdy, blah, blah, blah. The lesson today, boys and girls, is to take close up photos on cloudy days because the colors are way all spectacularish. Yadda, yadda, yadda, enough of that.
I've spent the last two days painting my shoes! Aren't they neat?! They started out as $3.50 all-white Wal-Mart crap-shoes. Now they are all better. I'm gonna wear 'em to work on Friday. Do you think anyone will notice?
Monday, September 04, 2006
My own last name lends itself to being made sport of. It is a word meaning small. (My grandfather was 6'5" or so. My grandmother was 6'1" and both of my aunts were 6' tall, even though one of them liked to describe herself as "five feet, eleven and one half inches". My dad is 6'7" tall.) I share this name with a famous musician. Remember Tom _____ and the Heartbreakers? And also with a family of Nascar drivers - Richard and Kyle and Adam and... Have you figured it out yet?
Even though I didn't change my name when I got married, there is one time I always use my husband's name. I always use it when I go out to eat. One of my favorite pastimes is eating alone (apologies to Milton) with a good book. I like to go to good restaurants, order a good meal and enjoy my book.
The problem is the hostesses never get my last name right. Or even if they do, the p.a. system garbles it when they announce my table. I can't tell you how many times I've sat in a crowded foyer of a restaurant only to hear "Pity, party of one."
Stick a book under your arm and walk through a crowd alone after that. Ha!
One evening last week, the dinner table conversation turned to names. Katie was curious about where names come from. We told her what little we know about it and that seemed to suffice. Then she asked if we were related to any famous people. Jackson told her what little he knows about his family and I told her what little I know about mine. We reeled off a rather unimpressive list of semi-famous kinfolk. Jackson told her about Sir Roger somebody or other who was a big muckle-de-muck in Wales. I mentioned a few semi-notable folks including my great-grandmother's uncle, James Steven Hogg. (He had a daughter named Ima. Remember them?)
After listening to all that, Katie sat thoughtfully for a few moments then said, "Well, some of my friends are cheerleaders."
Friday, September 01, 2006
Monday, August 28, 2006
The Church of the Firstborn of the Holy Flaming Fedora
Church leaders will wear robes and sometimes capes. Capes may be substituted for robes if desired. The idea is to wear something that flows out behind you in a Supermanish manner as you stride purposefully about the church. Or the library. Or Wal-Mart.
We shall revert back to the original plan for communion. No more crackers and grape juice. We’re gonna eat good – chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes, hot rolls, salad and chocolate cake.
Fasting is not encouraged and may be ridiculed. If you feel the need to abstain from something, stop watching the news for a while.
No Name-It-and-Claim-It bullshit.
No magic miracle-cure bullshit. Fairy tale-type magic is considered highly desirable, but shall be plainly labeled as magic. Faith healing and seed giving shall be plainly labeled as excrement and will be scoffed. Vociferously.
Toenails must be painted as a gerneral rule, since most church members will be wearing bling-encrusted flip flops or sandals. Pedicures for all on Maundy Thursday.
The cast and crew of What Not to Wear are officially excommunicated and banned from communion.
No binding or constrictive undergarments.
Church service will be on Friday nights, right before suppertime, so as not to muck up a prime chunk of the weekend.
All church holidays will fall on Mondays.
OPI nail polish and comic books will be donated to the less fortunate on a regular basis.
We firmly eschew all record keeping in favor of frequent business meeting updates on the latest and greatest thrift store finds.
Edward Gorey is our patron saint.
The photo directory will be done by Glamour Shots. Costumes will be encouraged. Creepy corpse-like Olan Mills Family Photos will be banned.
Mindy will be allowed to sing choruses as long as spookyrach is allowed to make faces and armpit music during singing of same.
Members will be encouraged to carry swords. Wands may be substituted.
VBS is strictly outlawed. An Adults-Only Craft Night will be considered as a replacement. Childcare not provided.
Church leadership will have veto authority as regards any unruly children. If your child is deemed an annoyance, you must make alternate provisions for the future of its immortal soul and not bring the little snot-monkey within 200 yards of any church function. Please note: Your Little Entitlement Twits Do Not Impress Us.
No committees will be permitted. If something needs doing, do it. If no one does it, it wasn’t really that important anyway. Ask for help if you need it.
No mid-week service. If you can’t keep the faith for an entire week without a booster shot, then you’ve got more problems than can be cured by a Wednesday night service. If, however, y’all want to meet up at a good restaurant and eat dinner together sometime during the week, then that’s all good.
spookyrach will provide a weekly rant and rave session at each service. (We will have to recruit someone to perform actual meaningful teaching. Perhaps little david will apply.) Mindy will be in charge of the music, even though spookyrach is highly suspicious that this will make for a touchy-feely service. ~gives Mindy the evil eye~
All official church documents shall be produced with Sharpies. Scratch-outs permitted. No Smileys. No LOL.
The church will not have a marquee. The temptation to crumminess is often too great to resist. If thy sign offends thee, pluck it out.
Evangelistic revivals are allowed, but only during only during the week following the first freeze, when a plethora of otherwise unusable tomatoes are available. There will be a celebratory bar-be-que following the revival in any year in which the traveling evangelist and/or musician retires from active ministry following the CFHFF revival.
Church leadership will reference the book of Leviticus frequently. This allows the leadership to basically rewrite the book as suits their purpose, as long as it is used for good and not for evil. It’s not like anybody was reading that book anyway. For example: “And the anti-Christ shall rise in the East of the State, somewhere in the vicinity of Houston, and he shall be called Joel Osteen.” Lev. 21:13. Stuff like that.
Thursday, August 24, 2006
Thursday, August 17, 2006
Monday, August 14, 2006
To be accurate I walked from my office to the new courts building. The county finally finished renovation of an old Sears store and made it a new district courts building. Its about three blocks from my office.
I'm used to hopping across the street to the courthouse a few minutes before I'm supposed to be in court, saying hi to the squirrels and getting into an ancient elevator to make the life-risking trip to the top. Why take the elevator? Because the courthouse was built at a time when ceilings were higher and stairs were steeper. Even the most physically fit among us are breathing heavy by the time they reach the third floor. The least fit among us are beet red and having palpitations by the time they get to the top.
You can imagine the type of impression it makes when you take the stairs and are then the first witness called to testify.
"State your name for the record, please," the lawyer says, then you have to speak into a microphone. "Spo-wheeze-oky wheeze Rach wheeze-gasp."
But that doesn't really have anything to do with my point. Which is, that I walked down the street to the courts building. And not for the first time, either! We never walk any where here. Never. This is a small town, but it sprawls all over everywhere. One of our only natural resources is roominess and we make good use of it. Nothing is within walking distance of anything else and we scoff at the idea of public transportation. Only the most derelict among us don't have access to a vehicle. People don't trust you if you don't have your own ride.
A few years ago, Fake Cow City/County got a grant from the federal government for Rural Public Transportation. They bought a couple of trolley car-shaped buses and published routes for free public transportation. No one would ride them. No one. The trolleys disappeared quietly one day, never to be seen or heard from again.
We did manage to hang on to a subsidized bus service of sorts. You have to call a day in advance to book a ride, but for a couple of dollars they'll take you where you need to go around town. Its like pulling teeth to get people to use it. Basically the service ferrys clientele between social service agencies.
Maybe we have an aversion to riding around in anonymous groups because it reminds us of cattle in trucks on the way to the slaughterhouse. I don't know. But I do know I am jealous of those of you with public transportation. I love to read about Mimi Smartypants' encounters with the drunken masses. It seems so amusing from afar. And the thought of being able to read on the ride to work makes me especially envious.
I guess there's no hope for me. I live a couple of miles out of town and I suppose I will have to continue to endure that eight minute commute. (Nine if I have to stop at the traffic light.)
But I will keep walking to court!