Thursday, December 27, 2007

Friday Cemetery Blogging

I'm a week late, I suppose, but you'll just have to deal with it. ha! ha!
Here is this year's Christmas card:

In case you can't "bigger up" the photo, the text says 'Have a Weirdly Wonderful Christmas, Proverbs 23:33.' That verse is funny enough in the New International Version - Your eyes will see strange sights and your mind imagine confusing things.

It's even more perfect in good ol' King James English - Thine eyes shall behold strange women, and thine heart shall utter perverse things.

Perfect or perverse, here's hoping your Christmas was stangely sublime.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Happy Friggin' Holidays

I learned something tonight. Something that I didn’t know about Jackson, even after 8 years of legally sanctioned co-habitation.

He wraps gifts just like my dad. And that drives me nuts.

I’m not much of a perfectionist when it comes to wrapping the Christmas presents, but I do have some standards.

1. The wrapping paper should not be used.
2. Items in gift bags should be concealed with tissue paper.
3. Gift bags should not be stapled or taped closed.
4. Designation of the giftee is generally not best accomplished by writing their initials

on the front of the bag in black ball point pen.

Jackson and my father do not seem to be burdened with any standards at all when it comes to gift wrapping. “Just cover it” is their motto.

Jackson claims I’m making fun of his madd skillz as a gift wrapper because I’m ticked off at myself for missing a chance to ogle my presents. We were both sitting on the bed, doing the wrapping and he claims to have wrapped several of my presents, right under my nose; even opening boxes to remove receipts right in front of me. I contend I was merely focused on the job at hand and concentrating on making the gifts that I wrapped look somewhat presentable, rather than constantly looking over his shoulder trying to see what he was doing.

He’s probably lying, anyway.

We don’t have any gifts under the tree. Zoe, the Toothy Wonder Dog, would be only too thrilled to critique our wrapping styles. Unfortunately, she has no thumbs, so she has to chew things in order to evaluate them. That presents a bit of a problem. So, we spread the tree skirt on the dining room table and piled up all the gifts in the middle. Jackson is whining about the non-traditionalism of this arrangement . I don’t really care and Evil Steve is thrilled. She’s excited about lounging on the tree skirt while remaining out of reach of Zoe, the Dog Who Wasn’t Supposed to be a Terrier.

Jackson says I should tell you that I’m just jealous because I am the only person in the immediate family who doesn’t get 2 weeks off for Christmas. I most certainly am not jealous, so I see no need to bore you with that. Can I help it that my glamour job doesn’t just stop for the 12 days of rampant consumerism and culinary over-indulgence? Bah.

My sister-in-law is an elementary school teacher and Jackson and Jonboy both work in the same mortuary of an office building at Fake Cow Ecumenical University. Somebody at the university did the math a few years ago and discovered it cost the school more money to heat and light the buildings for a skeleton crew of staff over the two week period than it would cost them if they just closed down completely. So now they get two weeks off, too. Bah.

Fortunately, Jackson promises to do lots of stuff like carpet cleaning and deck staining while he’s off work. That curbs my non-existent jealousy rather nicely.

That’s what I keep telling myself, anyway…

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Friday Cemetery Blogging

This stony chick has probably had a quiet week, but it's been a busy week for me. It's generally been good busy, though. (Click on the angel to 'bigger her up'. She looks more cool that way.) My desk looks slightly less desperate, which makes it easier for me to tackle other projects. Last week we spent a couple of nights attending the Christmas program at church to watch Katie, as documented by little david. Tonight we went to Kaite's old elementary school (she's a second year alum) and watched their Christmas program because my niece, Luna Lovejoy, was in it. Here's a shot of her in 'costume' with her wretched and teeth-grindingly worthless father, Jonboy.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Random Stuffs of Madness

* It rained yesterday and we had a thunderstorm that lasted all night long! Everything is wet, wet, wet! For the first time in what feels like weeks and weeks, my head does. not. hurt. Not even a little!

* I should move to the Pacific Northwest. Or maybe Great Britian. My head would be happier there.

* Last night I dug out the ol' woodburner and scorched myself a lovely little wooden sign for Christmas. It's the first handmade Christmas decoration that I've done since grade school. It says "Peace On Earth" and depicts a gnarly dead tree, tombstones and a cemetery fence. It's hanging up on the six inch bit of wall seperating my office from Princess Mindy's.

* This year's Christmas card has been completed and is careening through space on the way to my rain-soaked mailbox. It's pretty decent. Not breath-taking or award-winning, but decent. I'll post it here once I've had a chance to mail out the originals. If you would like an original, email me (see sidebar) and I'll send 'em out first come, first serve, as long as they last.

* I've done 90% of my Christmas shoping online. Score!

* I wish I could skip out on work today and go somewhere to take cemetery pictures. Work is so freakin' inconvenient these days. Why can't they just pay me to show up a couple of times a week to provide some comic relief? Wouldn't we all be happier? They wouldn't have to put up with me when I'm in a crappy, obscenity-laced, small-object-throwing mood and I could be free to go do whatever I want, whenever the urge strikes. Which would result in fewer of the C,O-L, S-O-T moods, overall. Life would be good.

* An email pal from Denmark told me that we Americans don't know crap about tea. To prove it she sent me a whole box of various bags of loose tea she bought at a tea house. (A TEA HOUSE!!) She is so right, we don't know crap about tea. This stuff is goooood!

* I'm in a reading mood, but I don't know what I want to read. Anybody have any suggestions? I refuse to read self-help (*spits*) and most of the time non-fiction smacks too much of obligation rather than recreation. Mysteries are my favorites, especially English country house murders. What do you recommend?

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Because Babygator asked...

Babygator tagged me to do 10 things a week or so ago. I've not had a chance to do it, even though there has been lots of stuff careening around in my head that I intended to use. Of course, now I can't remember the ones I didn't write down and I don't like the ones I did!

So, here we go -10 things off the top of my head:

1. I hate coffee. In all its many forms and permutations. It's just nasty and it makes you old.

2. I went to bed at 8:30 p.m. last night. Slept all freakin' night long. I had a really bad headache and it was either sleep or throw up. I chose sleep. Rumor has it that there was a prodigious amount of snoring, too, but I'm sure that is a lie from the pit of hell.

3. Jackson keeps asking me what I want for Christmas. I have no idea. I think I am going to be a total Scrooge about Christmas this year.

4. We started doing yoga at work again last week. It is a pale substitute for riding my bike, but I'm getting lazy and it is cold and dark at 7:15 in the morning these days. However, I have to admit, nothing makes me feel as good as yoga and nothing I've ever done has made more of a visible difference in my body than yoga. I don't lose any weight, but it seems to redistribute the lumps in a more pleasing manner.

5. Speaking of yoga, while I was waiting for someone this afternoon, I tested things out. I discovered I could put my foot on top of the filing cabinet without standing on my tip-toes. Flexibility returns!

6. I want to be a tattoo artist. But I want to paint tattoos on canvas instead of people, although, I'd agree to do them on people if I had to. If I ever get sent to prison, I plan to barter with tattoos. Ester's youngest son used to stop by my office for a Sharpie tattoo whenever he came to see his mom. He was my first customer....sigh.... the memories...

7. I'm re-reading Stephen King's Rose Madder. It not one of his better known books, but I really like it. Something to do with the way the painting speaks to the main character, I think.

8. Evil Steve has come out from under the bed. She still does not like Zoe the Poo Machine, but she finally realized that she can smack the hell out of the dog and make her run away crying. Steve it enough of a bully to think that is a good thing. Doofus Archie just ignores her, unless she gets too close.

9. Is it a crime not to take college courses if I can do so for free? Probably so. I should start. But I've had it up to my eyeballs with psychology. Same with sociology. The local U doesn't seem to offer many night courses in Art. Nor do they offer a master's degree in that subject. Maybe I will work on a Master's in English. But I think I will try to do shoddy work and crappy papers. I just want to go and learn, but I don't want to really work at it. I could just audit the courses, but then I wouldn't be working towards a degree and what's the point of that?

10. Am I the only one who gets sort of hypnotized by the action of pen on paper? I love the feel of it, the scratchy sound of it and the way a page full of carefully drawn script looks. I don't do nearly enough pen and paper stuff anymore. I write much, much faster on the computer, but it just isn't the same. And I miss writing letters.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Since you asked...

We had sort of been kicking around the idea of getting a dog. Vaguely. Non-commitally. Uninspiredly.

Then, Jackson had to go and rebuild all our gates last weekend. Dog-proofed 'em while he was at it. Put springs on 'em so the kid with zero short term memory that lives at our house would not let an animal out every time she went through the gate and forgot to close it behind her.

Naturally, the yard was screaming for occupancy at this point.

As for Jackson, he is a semi-reformed pet rescuer. When he worked in Big Flat City he often spent his lunch hour hanging out at the humane society and he always adopted the sick, infirm or socially challenged animals because he felt soooo sorry for them. He's such a marshmallow!

We had sort of planned on adopting a puppy from someone he knows at work, as soon as the puppies were weaned. But on Sunday, Jackson had a relapse. He noticed cars at the local Humane Society when he drove past on his way to the grocery store. They were closed, but he stopped anyway and gave 'em his own puppy dog eyes. They let him in to look at the animals.

He came home empty handed, believe it or not. But he convinced Katie and I we needed to go look at the puppies on Monday after work. Granted, he didn't have to work very hard to convince us. Trust me when I tell you there was no way on God's green earth that Jackson was coming home empty handed a second time.

Katie named her Zoe. She's a some kind of a German Shepard mix. She likes cat food, rawhide and ankle biting. Her talent is crossing the living room floor without falling on her face more than once and she feels like global warming is the most significant challenge facing the next generation.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Friday Cemetery Blogging

Isn't this a great tomb? I didn't take this photo, my friend Liz in Budapest did. She knew I like mourner statues. Don't you love the cracked stones and the ivy growing out of it? I thought this was really cool. She sent me another gravestone with a mourner. When I saw this one, I thought about something interesting...

In the United States, we have lots of statues in cemeteries, but they are nearly always angels. (With a few snobbishly aloof Jesuses thrown in for good measure.) They are mourning angels that try to look vaguely upset by the absence of the loved one, but they generally succeed only in looking a bit surly or perhaps intestinally disturbed. I can't remember seeing a headstone here that conveys this level of hopelessness or despair. I think it's because generally we Americans don't really believe in death - not really - so we don't want some stone chick perpetually wailing over Aunt Eunice's mouldering remains. It makes us...uncomfortable.

I know there are also characteristics of Hungarian culture that account for the difference as well, but I can't really speak to that. What do you think?

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Two Blissfully Unrelated Photos

This is what happens when you spend the evening playing with the photo software. You end up with some crazy-weird photo of a partially dead tree in a cemetery. (Which is a good place for any partially dead thing, I'm thinking. Like zombies and stuff.)

Friday night we went to watch the Coach-in-law's football game. Again. Even though I have been officially banned. (They tend to lose every time I attend a game. They also tend to win every time I'm not there.)

In fact, prior to the game, I was standing next to Jackson along the fence at the edge of the field. As the team came out on to the field, the assistance coach looked over at us. He left the team and ran over to where we were standing. I thought he recognized Jackson and was coming over to say hi. I was partly right. He did recognize Jackson, which means he figured out who I was. As he drew closer, he pointed a long, skinny finger at me and said "You're not supposed to be here!"


They won.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Random Wednesday Stuffs of Madness

Guess what? My Sunday school teacher wants us to memorize a verse. We all suck at it. I have it memorized well enough that I can finish it if someone starts it. Sad, isn't it? What he doesn't know is that last month when we were studying some stuff in Matthew, I memorized one of the verses from that: Matthew 24:28 "Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather." I think that will come in handy at some point, don't you?

Evidently, prohibition has finally been repealed in Fake Cow County. The resolution passed by 36 votes yesterday. Next year we may consider whether or not to recognize Hawaii as the 50th state.

Really and truly, I love living here. Seriously. It's flat and dry and often ugly, but it is so fabulously weird. The people here are wonderful and deranged and outrageously uptight while being explosively unrepressed. If you've never spent any time here, you are really missing out. In a lot of cases, the wheel is still spinning, but the gerbil is dead. So many of the local gentry are true salt of the earth types, but once you get to know them, you realize how nutty we really are. And what makes us even more fun is that we have no idea that the rest of the world doesn't think exactly the same way we do.

Been a bit tired lately. Winter always cuts down a lot on what I get accomplished. I tend to follow the rhythms of the light. When it's dark outside, it's dark in my house and when it's dark, I sit and read or watch TV or go to bed. When it's light, I work and create and occasionally clean. If I have something really pressing that simply must get done on winter evenings, I have to turn on every light in the house as soon as I get home, so that it never gets dark until I'm finished.

Illumination, when it's artificial, generally makes me crazy. I hate, hate, hate overhead lighting. Despise it. Makes my skin crawl. I have no idea why. Lamps are the way to go. Even it if takes 15 of them to light up your project.

Last night I started to entertain the notion that Doofus Archie had finally met his untimely demise. I assumed he had succumbed to Death-By-Coyote. This morning I went outside to see if my backyard was still there. (It is, despite long neglect.) I heard yowling from the alley and looked up to see Archie threading his way through the gap in the fence. He wallered and yowled all the way across the yard and into the house. Seriously, from the look on his face, I think he'd been lost and forgotten where we live. What a doofus.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Friday Cemetery Blogging

This is what happens when you don't pay the undertaker, I guess.

And before you ask, Jonboy - no, I didn't take this one home with me.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Reason No. 428 Why I'm on the Short Bus To Perdition:

Katie and I were driving home after church on Sunday morning. Since Jackson was out of town, she was happy to get to sit in the front seat. It was a longer drive than usual because I'd let a friend talk me into going to an itty bitty church in a neighboring town.

This has nothing to do with anything, but: I grew up in itty bitty churches. I love 'em. But, damn! I don't miss 'em. I like being one of a crowd.

As we drove, Katie was perusing her Bible.

"I got this for my first communion," she said. "My mom gave it to me."

"I remember," I replied.

"Look at this - I marked my favorite verse."

"Nice! What is your favorite verse?"

She read me the story of Jesus blessing the children. "That's my favorite story. At least, it's my favorite that I've read so far." she told me.

"Very cool!"

I drove on for a few minutes. She continued to page through her Bible. I looked over at her and didn't even think twice before completely giving in to temptation.

"You wanna know what my favorite verse is?" I asked her. "Look up Judges 4:21."

Jael, Heber's wife, picked up a tent peg and a hammer and went quietly to him while he lay fast asleep, exhausted. She drove the peg through his temple into the ground, and he died.

Katie read it out loud and then just stared at me, open-mouthed.

"That...that's just....really harsh!" she finally said. "I can't believe that's in the Bible!"

"Believe it, girlfriend!"

"Oh. my. gosh. That's really, really bad...."

"Yep. Pretty much. So, you better be good, or I'll have to do like they did in the Bible and nail yer temples to the floor."

"Noo!" she yelled and grabbed her head. "My temples are sacred!"

I really like this kid. (Why yes, I am working on my acceptance speech for the Parent of the Year Award. Why do you ask?)

Sunday, October 28, 2007

How I Spend My Nights...

Friday nights, anyway.

I was born in Texas. In fact, I was actually born in Fake Cow County and since returning here to go to college, I've now lived here longer than anywhere else in my life. Naturally, I was born with the prerequisite football appreciation gene. I like football, I really do.

I understand the difference between the I formation and the shotgun. I know where the tight ends line up and why certain receivers are ineligible down field. I even kind of like the vague, witless, palm-reader style of the college playoff system. I'm cool with that.

But I still think football fanaticism is pretty stupid.

Unfortunately, I married a damn pigskin freak. Jackson's family is all about the sports. He had a try-out with the Cincinnati Reds and had 'em real interested until they learned he lied about his age and he was only 17. He was all sorts of good at football and played one year in college before he got irreversibly injured.

So, I spend my Friday nights huddled in various low-rent sports venues watching whatever game has caught his attention for the week. A lot of times those are 6-man football games.

Jackson's brother is the head coach and athletic director at a tiny school about 40 miles from Fake Cow. There are so few students that they don't have enough kids to play regular football; not even if they recruited a girl to kick the field goals.

6-man football is like basketball played in cleats. It's actually a lot of fun to watch. My favorite part is the mercy rule - as soon as one team gets 45 points ahead of the other, the game ends and we all get to go home early.

Anyway, I told you all that to tell you this: this past Friday we went to see Coach-in-law's game with their number one rival. I took my camera, just for the heck of it. Here is a shot of the entire team and coaching staff watching the play from the sidelines:

See what I mean by small? Naturally, the school doesn't have a lot of money to spend on stuff like trainers and medics and such. Coach-in-law was a medic in the navy before being discharged for a knee injury. (It happened while playing football. Who wouldda guessed?) So, when something happens to one of his players, he doctors them on the sidelines. Friday night one of the guys dislocated a finger. Might have broken it. I managed to get a shot of CIL fixing the finger while keeping an eye on the action happening downfield. You should've heard the horrible crack it made when it popped back into place. Everyone in the stands said "Ooh!" and shuddered in unison. And I snapped a photo! Doesn't this make you cringe?

I'll be sort of glad when football season ends...

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

How Will I Die?

Oh, ha ha. Real funny.

I'm choking on the irony.

How will I die?
Your Result: You will die while having sex.

Your last moments in this life will be enjoyable indeed...hopefully. Do not fear sex. Try not to become celibate as a way of escaping death. You cannot run from destiny.

You will die in your sleep.
You will die while saving someone's life.
You will die of boredom.
You will be murdered.
You will die in a nuclear holocaust.
You will die in a car accident.
You will die from a terminal illness.
How will I die?
Create a Quiz

Here's the link:

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Friday Cemetery Blogging

Check it out!

Snoopy's grave!


Ok, fine. Maybe it wasn't that funny. But it made me laugh.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

I received an email this morning....


1. Guess what you have not done yet?
2. Guess who took notice this morning?
3. Guess what was not in your truck?

1. Expired inspection sticker
2. Our friendly local Fake Cow City Police Officers
3. A new/current insurance card

After dropping Katie off for school, a nice police officer pulled me over and pointed out to me that the inspection sticker on the 2001 Ford F-150 was expired and I was asked for my license and insurance verification. But a current insurance card was not located in said truck, only expired ones. So then the nice policeman lectures me for 5 minutes on the state law which requires a vehicle receive an annual inspection which must be kept current at all times and the law requiring that current proof of automobile insurance be made available at all times while operating a motor vehicle on a public highway or street in the State of Texas. I was then questioned as to why I was driving a vehicle registered to another person and when I informed the nice policeman that the registered owner of the said vehicle was my spouse, I then had to go into the explanation as to why the registered owner of said vehicle which I claimed to be my spouse had a different last name.

I do not know what gods were shining down upon me but they had to have been since I only received a warning and not a ticket. Long story short, you need to get the said vehicle (2001 Ford F-150) inspected and the registration expires at the end of this month.


Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Four Things Meme

Zorra and Mid-Life Rookie tagged me for to come up with four things…

Four Jobs I’ve Held:

Grocery Store Flunky (We had four aisles and a meat market!)
Secretary/Office Jester
Probation Officer

Four Films I Could Watch Over and Over:

Much Ado About Nothing
THE Star Wars Trilogy (you know, the real ones, the ones that don’t suck.)
Manhattan Murder Mystery (I really like most of Woody Allen’s movies, but I have to watch them a minimum of four times before I really, really get them.)
The Blues Brothers

Four TV Shows I Watch:

The Shield (Jackson watches this religiously and I have sort of gotten hooked by osmosis.)
Pretty much any/all mystery shows on BBC America
The Simpsons
Whatever’s showing on the Discovery/History/Learning channel. It’s much less effort than watching drama and I hate sitcoms and reality/game shows.

Four Places I’ve Lived:

Welch, TX
Post, TX
Roby, TX
Whitehall, Montana
(You could put the entire populations of all of these places together and still probably have less people than in this year’s graduating class at Fake Cow High School. Home of the Fake Fighting Canines.)

Four Favorite Foods:

Sincronizada (a hyped-up quesadilla from my favorite Mexican food place.)
Jackson’s ribs (they’re like candy, I tell ya!)
Chicken Milano from Johnny Carinos (because I just don’t get enough cholesterol in my daily diet)
Tator Tots

Four Websites I Visit Daily

The Institute of Official Cheer
Read Print

All your blogs, of course!

Four Favorite Colors

Deep, Dark Purple
Cobalt Blue

Four Places I Would Love to be Right Now

Great Britain
Transylvania (I keep trying to convince Jackson we should go there. I can’t tell you how unimpressed he is with that idea!)
Snuggled up in bed in an ice-cold room, under a ton of blankets, listening to the rain outside.

Four Names You Love, But Could/Would Not Use for Your Children:
(Aw, hell. That’s all I could come up with. I’ve been thinking about it for two days! I think I have some sort of mental block when it comes to considering having children, with or without names. So, I’m giving up and posting this as is.)

Here are the next four tagees:
Jonboy, Jeff, David, Annie

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Smokey is Dead. Long Live the Bear!

Every morning that I rode my bike to work this summer, I passed this helpful public service announcement billboard:

And every morning I thought, "Yeah..."

"...I'll get right on that."

Thanks Smokey.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Friday Cemetery Blogging

Guess what I forgot? I for-freakin'-got that today was Friday! Why? Because I have to go to court today, which means not casual Friday for me! Whine, whine, whine!

So, in haste, here is a stone for a guy who must have been really, really cool. (And he probably got to wear jeans EVERY day. Dang it.)

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Random Stuffs of Tuesday

Guess what I heard last week? Somebody told me "My taxes pay your salary!" I should have been ready with a snappy comeback, but all my tired little mind could think was, "Huh. Fourteen years and this is the first time anyone's actually said that to me." The lady was way upset because (a.) Mindy put out a warrant for her husband's arrest and (b.) she didn't do it six months ago. Don't ask me why, I never did figure it out. But I'm pleased to know she's got my back on the salary thing.

My parents survived me for fourish days. My dad made some smart-alecky remark regarding the "hand of providence" when people started bringing in casseroles two hours after I arrived. Ha ha!

Last night was open house/PTA meeting hell at Katie's school. Oops, we went to buy groceries and were late. Awww. Accidentally missed the PTA portion. Darn, darn, darn.

I am really ready for fall. We turned off the A/C and opened the windows a week ago. It hasn't been entirely pleasant, but we refuse to give in and close the windows. I gotta admit there are many hot, hot, hot afternoons that make me love my refrigerated air. But if Jackson and Katie weren't such wusses, I would take an axe to the central heat. There are few things on this planet I hate as much as that. Give me an old-fashioned floor furnace or even just a cord of wood and I would be happy. Unfortunately Jackson and Katie don't want to have to take precautions against frostbite inside their own home. So inconsiderate!

Evil Steve has just informed me that it is past my normal bedtime and I am more than just a few minutes late providing her with her nightly drink from the bathroom faucet. Evidently this is a situation that shall not be tolerated. She's such a witch!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Wednesday Adventures

So, I talked to my Dad this afternoon.

He is home from the hospital and seems to be doing well. The big problem now is arranging care for my mom and making some modifications that will allow her to do some things that had previously been handled by my dad.

My wretched sibling has been down there with them since I left on Sunday.

Dad said he is feeling pretty good. He goes until he gets tired, then stops. Sounds like a pretty good plan to me. He told me all about Jonboy building a new ramp for the front door which will let mom get her motorized chair in and out of the house, unaided. He mentioned that they'd enjoyed his company immensely. Then he said it:

"We've really been having some great gourmet cooking while he's been here. Even his presentation is spectacular! He puts just the right portion on the plate and arranges it artstically and it looks so good that even tasteless meals taste good! His cooking has been just wonderful! Last night he made some stuffed squash and sauteed some vegetables in olive oil... and..."

It was at that point that he realized that starting tomorrow he will be stuck with me for the next four days at least. It was a sobering thought. He started to back pedal.

"Ahem, well, you know, Jonboy's always had to follow his diabetic diet and he has learned how to cook healthy food as pleasingly as possible..." he said.

"uh-huh." I said.

"And, uh, well..." he floundered.

"yep," I said.

"I guess we could have turkey sandwiches and baked chips once you get here?"

I hate Jonboy.

But he's not the only one. When I got back to work this week, one of the first things my friends wanted to know was what my mom had been eating. They were concerned that I was responsible for arranging meals. They wanted to know if they needed to send casseroles. I told 'em their worries were entirely unfounded. In addition to multiple daily forays into the hospital cafeteria, I had done a spectacular bit of frozen pizza preparation followed by stellar exhibition of sandwich assembly.

HA! Be quashed, you doubters!

I think they're just jealous because none of them married a Jackson who cooks dinner for them every night. And if I learned to cook, then what would happen to that spasm of self-preservation that motivates Jackson to keep doing the food prep? Hmm?

Somethings just aren't worth learning.

Most Recent Camping Trip...the one with the kid...

No spookiness in this one. Unless you count that one photo of Katie...

Make a PhotoShow Full Size

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Nothing Particularly Adventurous

Save this post. One of these days when I am either sick, afflicted or infirm, you're going to need it. (Did you ever have that guy in your church? The one who prayed in the sing-song voice for the sick, the afflicted aaaaand the infirm? We did. He also threw in something about filthy luker, but I can't quite remember how that went.) Anyway. One of these days, I'll be sitting in a hospital bed grumbling and grousing and generally being an ass. Feel free to throw this in my face at that point.

Dad has never really been sick before. Oh sure, he has diabetes, but he's all health-nut-extreme-o and it's not really been much of a problem. He doesn't do being in the hospital very well. I'm about to kick his ass.

I've become a bit grouchy myself, so he's about to try and kick mine. I think this may be the only time in my life that I could beat him in a fair fight. I'll let ya know how it turns out. My mom is also a bit cabin-crazy and may run over the both of us with her wheelchair. However, she's in the old manual-transmission type chair, since there is precious little room for her motorized one, and I don't think she can catch either one of us.

Dad is currently planning some sort of tall-people class action addendum to the Americans with Disabilities Act. Everything is too short - the gowns, the bed, the toilet, his temper, the time the doctor spends with him, the amount of time he spends sleeping, the chairs and my patience. He has waxed eloquent lengthy on the subject this morning.

Have I mentioned that my worthless sibling is making the 3 hour drive to get here tomorrow? I will make the three hour drive back and go to work on Monday. I think three hours of adventure movie soundtracks tuned to brain-liquefying decibel levels while driving down solitudinous blacktop will be a good thing.

On a less whiny note, my aunt and some of her kids will be here tomorrow. I haven't seen any of them in a hundred and twelve years. We do an exceptionally horrible job of keeping up with each other in my family. We all seem to agree that if ya ain't dead, ain't no need to come see ya. I'm looking forward to visiting them and meeting a few 9-12 year old second cousins that I've never met before, without having to waste part of the visit at a funeral service.

You may remember my family reunion, which I attended this summer. It was the first one I'd been to in years - since before I got married. It was good I went. Helped me remember a few names and a couple of voices, which saved me from being totally lost while fielding phone calls from some assorted great-uncles and cousins this week. Even with their side-showish eyebrows, they are really nice people. I don't know why we don't keep in touch. (Note to self: pluck eyebrows. I'm starting to get a few of those bearded lady lookin' hairs up there, myself.)

Oh, and just so you won't think the funeral home folks are too creepy: Dad used to work there part-time. Sort of their Lurch-In-Residence. (Although, actually, he more generally resembles Herman Munster.) So, they're buddies and sent him get well flowers out of the goodness of their frigid little death-mongering hearts.

Well, I must go - he's sending me out in search of a lot of old guy paraphernalia. However, he's also requested I get him a comic book to read. There may be hope for him, yet!

Friday, September 07, 2007

More Adventures and a Couple of Faker Bullets

I haven't spent much time in the waiting room so far today. Mom and I have been hanging out in Dad's luxury ICU cube. Ah, the joy. He is feeling better and is only still there because he has a slight fever. Feeling well enough to be a total grouch. I suppose he has good reason.

But he's skeered the poor little nurses.

Dad's always been one of those people who wakens from a deep sleep slinging punches. My brother and I used to like to stand just out of reach and then yell, just to watch the show. This tendency apparently carries over into anesthesia as well.

When they tried to awaken him following surgery, he decided he needed to get out of bed.

That's ok, nurses can handle it, right? Well...

My father is 6 feet, 7 inches tall and weighs probably close to 300 pounds. His nurse was a nice little oriental lady. You do the math. They eventually had three nurses in his room and ended up tying him to the bed. He was. not. pleased. *snicker*

The nurses kept coming out of there, wiping the sweat off their brows and muttering "he's so strong!" Now he has a male nurse in a Harley Davidson do-rag. *more snickering*

* I can also tell he's feeling better because I had to listen to most of last Sunday's sermon yesterday afternoon. I think he was peeved that he hadn't gotten to preach it. Jonboy owes me because he wasn't here for it. Owes. me. big.

* Oh, you'll be pleased to know Mr. Couth just walked in. White t-shirt today. He brought food. Wonder if it's possum? His father is in the lavish, dee-lux ICU bed next door to Dad's. Poor man is still hooked up to a breathing machine, still comatose. But I noticed he is wearing his glasses...

* Stop the presses and call the president! Mr. Couth has solved the crisis in Iraq! It seems we should pull "our boys" back home (ladies stay behind, I suppose) and tell those towel wearers they got six months to work it out for themselves or we're coming back to bomb them off the face of the earth. Hmm, why didn't George think of that? I'm sure history will come to call this the "Don't Make Me Stop This Car" doctrine of diplomacy.

* In a bit of a role reversal, the local funeral home sent flowers to my dad.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Adventures in Waiting Roomland

I am bored spitless and about to pass out from inactivity. Finished my book, dammit. Nothing is worse than finishing the book hours before you are finished waiting. Wonder if the gift shop has any books that I could stomach?

And Mr. Couth the Caveman is grating on my last. fricken'. nerve.

Up until now I have been highly entertained by Mr. Couth the Caveman. He's loud. He's proud. And he's an idiot. His father is in ICU for some as-yet undiagnosed disease/infection. Mr. CtC and 12 to 57 of his immediate family members are here around the clock, taking turns infecting the ICU with red-necked germs. Right at the moment, there is a rousing roundtable discourse on the subject of who the hell thought it was a good idea to bring Daddy's glasses. There is the "it's good to be prepared/he might need them" camp versus the "what the hell is he gonna be reading/he ain't even conscious" camp.

Mr. CtC was wearing a faded read t-shirt emblazoned with a cartoon caveman when I saw him yesterday. It was highly fitting, I thought. While we, and several members of my parent's church, were here waiting on the surgery yesterday morning, a debate raged over what could be the cause of the patriarch's mysterious illness.

Jane, a nice, quiet, church lady who shares my love of one-liners and eavesdropping, and I were both almost injured by this debate. It seems we were both eavesdropping when someone mentioned something akin to Oedipus. Our eyes locked over the table and we tried not to gape open-mouthed at their group. See, Mr. CtC is one of those people who has had or knows all about any disease known to man or beast. I thought I would pass out from suppressed mirth when he said:

"Oedipus syndrome! Oh yeah, I had that once!"

I am not making this up, people. I swear to God his next statement was:

"It was such a violent case, the doctor's couldn't do a thing with me. Hell, I thought I'd never get over that. That Oedipus syndrome is some kind of bad, let me tell ya whut!"

I thought I was gonna hurt myself bad, trying not to roll on the floor. Jane seemed to be similarly affected.

This morning when we arrived, Mr. CtC was here again, sporting another faded red t-shirt, sans caveman. I side stepped him, no small feat requiring more walking than you might think, as I headed for the stairwell. I smiled as I went past. He needed no more encouragement and started speaking.

"Tired of waiting on these elevators are ya? Me too. They're too damn slow. They got six of 'em and only twos of 'em are workin', I tell ya whut." He was now following me down the stairwell. I was saved from replying by the ringing of his cell phone. He said:

(You know this isn't going to be good. Why are you still reading?)

(Look away, I tell ya! Look away!)

"Howdy! Yeah, he's doin' a little better this mornin'. He ain't ate nuthin' but he still managed to drop a deuce on 'em!"

Yup. How long did it take YOU to figure out what he meant by that?

This is why I'm in the waiting room. Thanks for all your prayers.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Friday Cemetery Blogging

I went on a blogger blind date last Saturday! My first one ever! Dogblogger came to Big Flat City to teach a couple of workshops at a big church there. I drove down from Fake Cow County and we got to meet for lunch.

I picked her up at the big ol' church, where I got to engage in a few minutes of my favorite spectator sport - people watching. Then we went down the street to 2 Story Restaurant and ate healthy, life-sustaining food. We ordered based only on fulfilling our calculated nutritional needs, taking no heed of taste or desirability. Yeah. Cause that's the kind of people we are.

*koff, koff*


Dogblogger is gregarious and hugely entertaining. I learned about her dogchildren and their sordid pasts -they've come a long way! And then she told me about her church and the band she performs with. They play real music - no two-chord choruses for them! I also learned that she works with an interesting group of people, which is always a good thing.

When we finished eating, we had about an hour before Dogblogger had to catch her plane back home. Big Flat City doesn't have a lot to offer in the way of mid-day scenery. So we did the only logical thing.

We went to the cemetery.

She was a really good sport about it. On the way back to the airport, we stopped off in the parking lot of a really seedy motel on the sad side of town and watched a dvd of a short film that the Alpha was in. He was a zombie! It was hilarious and I am deeply jealous of his Zombie experience.

We didn't have a lot of time, but it was certainly worth it. If you ever get the chance to hang out with Dogblogger, go for it!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Interview Questions from Little David

1. Let's say that you have 24 hours to absolutely do whatever you want: family and friends, co-workers and telephone solicitors have all agreed to leave you alone for the day. What are some of the activities you would do? Yum! This is cool. I can tell you for starters I would spend the entire day in silence. (Yeah, I know, it’s hard to believe.)

Before I got married I used to love to travel on my own. My idea of a perfect trip was a week spent speaking to no one other than waitresses. So, on this day, I would do some of the things I used to do on my own. I’d drive to Caprock Canyon, pack a little bag with my camera, some water, maybe pretzels and a sketch book or maybe a journal. Then I would take my shoes off and hike barefoot down the mostly dry stream bed. There is just enough of a trickle of water to make the sand softer so it doesn’t hurt too much to hike barefoot.

When it gets too hot for that to be fun, I’d pack up and drive to a hole in the wall Mexican restaurant somewhere and order enchiladas. I’d drink a lot of cold iced tea and eat tons of chips and hot sauce, while kicked back with my feet on the seat and a good book to keep me company. Finally I would end the day seated in the middle of a darkened theater, enjoying a great movie, which brings me to question number two…

Of course, I enjoy spending time doing these things with Jackson and Katie. But one of the best things about Jackson is that he lets me be free to be alone. He doesn’t seem to mind if I viciously desert him at times. I think that’s really cool.

2. Sometimes after leaving a movie you are still "in the movie" for a while. What is the most memorable such instance? If the movie has faded by the time I make it back to the truck, it’s not much of a movie, in my opinion. I am terribly willing to suspend my disbelief – it doesn’t take much. Movies have always been a huge escape for me. I enjoy watching them at home, but nothing compares to the theater experience. Nothing even comes close. I want the total sensory deprivation that locks your attention into the larger than life story. I want big adventure, thrilling suspense, and ingenious characterization.

But sometimes I get hooked into really crappy movies, too. There is something – maybe a cool character or even just an idea - in some stories that really captures my imagination. Case in point: have any of you seen Condorman? I freakin’ OWN Condorman. I bet not one of you reading this blog right now can say that. If so, please comment, because we so need to be friends.

Have you seen Don Juan DeMarco? I’m not in that sort of Oedipal meltdown or anything, but I really identify with the way that character makes a simple choice to alter his reality. We all do that – believing our own bullshit. And if you’re going to do it, why not do it big? Don’t mess with the small stuff. Have you read the subtitle of this blog? I was thinking of that character when I put that there.

3. Your blog persona of SpookyRach gleefully incorporates dark and weird elements. To what extent do you think this is a reaction to being a pastor's daughter? About 100%. I had a morbid childhood, in some ways – lots of death. That accounted for part of it, perhaps. On top of that, small town churches have some very ingrained, preconceived notions of who the preacher and his family should be. (“His” because y’all know that female preachers are nothin’ but whores of the antichrist, right?) An attorney I know, who is also a Baptist preacher’s daughter once told me, “Hell, I rebelled by getting drunk and having sex. You just got weird!”

Couldn’t have said it better myself.

4. When do you think that you felt most failed by the church? I have really low expectations for the church, so I can’t really think of anytime I have ever felt like it’s failed to meet them. At least not as an adult. (I have many, many posts to write about the special loathing I have for youth groups, but that is for another time.)

There are plenty of times where I have discounted the church and the good it can do. I’ve always believed that you get out of something what you put into it. I often don’t put a lot into church. You probably know that it is all I can do to drag myself out of the house on Sunday mornings. I never want to go. But once I get there, I never regret it.

With our weekly trips to Big Flat City to visit Jackson’s ailing mom, we’ve stopped attending the Sunday morning service, and have used that time for other things. But I still get a lot out of our Sunday School class. Jackson and I always joke that your teaching has saved us from “the bonds of Godless Catholicism” because the class meets at the same time as mass over at St. Alice, and we had to choose between the two. Also, thanks to Katie, we’ve been attending on Wednesday nights pretty regularly, which is something I haven’t done since high school. I always hate going, but once I get there, I love it. The simple congregational songs – two is plenty – and the short and to the point bible study are really good. I get a lot out of that.

5. Besides the physical exercise, what have been some of the benefits of riding your bike to and from work? I haven’t been able to get the oatmeal eaters to make eye contact. I tried waving, but it didn’t work. I have renewed my acquaintance with a former neighbor whom I pass most mornings while she’s walking her dog. I usually have a quick conversation with one of the bailiffs first thing each morning and last thing each afternoon. He rides his motorcycle to work and he likes to ride past me really slowly and make smart-alecky remarks. I have an unobstructed view – if you don’t count the corn stalks – of the sunrise each morning. As the days are getting shorter, I get both moonset and sunrise. Riding a bike is a slow enough operation that I get to enjoy the full show, virtually uninterrupted. Today I saw this. And, I’m filling up my truck with gas only once every couple of weeks, now!

Those are my answers and here are the rules if you want to play too:

1. If you are interested in being interviewed, leave me a comment saying “Interview me.”
2. I will respond by posting five questions for you. I get to pick the questions.
3. You will update your blog with a post containing your answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Random Monday Stuff

The wind was blowing too hard this afternoon, so I called for a pick-up. I tried riding my bike, but I had trouble riding DOWN the hill against the wind, so I knew UP the hill was a waste of effort. I assumed Jackson would pick up Katie first, since she was at day camp on his side of town, then pick me up on the way home. He picked me up first. He said he knew Katie was safe and sound where she was and I was just sitting on a curb on the side of the road. He thought he better get me first. Wonder what kind of trouble he thought I was going to get into, just sitting on the curb?

After we loaded my bike, we went back across town to get Katie at the YMCA. I went in to collect her. She saw me at the door and her face went a little pale. She ran up and asked "Am I going to have to ride on your bike?" I told her yes, but not to worry about it. I'd let her do the pedaling.

We hung out at the cemetery in Earth,Tx on Saturday. They have some interesting dead people.

I signed up for art lessons last week. Painting class will start the week after Labor Day. I'm way all excited.

Speaking of Labor Day, we're going camping that weekend. We told Katie she could bring a friend. She immediately called her little softball buddy. Softball buddy is a likable kid, but she's, well, a kid. I don't like kids. SB is a year younger than Katie and she's a short, sparky little thing. She is friendly to a fault. She's never met a stranger and for some reason she's decided she loves us. She's a good kid. But she's a kid - loud, energetic, demanding constant interaction. Her parents are nice, hard working people. And I discovered, at the end of season pizza party, that SB's grandmother and I had a long-standing professional relationship. (Welfare fraud. Mostly unintentional. Heh.) I completely dread spending two days in the confines of a state park with a kid. But I'm gonna suck it up. I'm working on the whole 'what would be the most Christian thing to do in this situation?' thing. I'm working on it. (Two nights, three days. I doubt the kid has ever been anywhere without a TV. Or a playstation. Sigh...)

Katie is a kid, too. But she's an only child, used to entertaining herself. I've always had a problem with kids in general, especially those that run in packs. Mindy once said I like kids who were raised by adults - sort of like being raised by wolves. That's pretty close to accurate. I'm not really a Scrooge about it, not really, but kids in packs sort of unnerve me. They're so...frenetic!

"Suck it up" is my new mantra.

I'm currently engaged in a battle of wills with a housefly. I would be winning, but Jackson won't let me smack his head with the flyswatter.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Check it out!

Look what they planted in the field just down the road from my house! It was a corn maze last year.
Corn makes me sneeze. A lot.

Didn't have time to hunt up a cemetery picture. Hope this will do instead!

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Friday Cemetery Blogging

We went to the Wheel of Misfortune Cemetery. While we were there I bought a:

This picture is just for grins. Katie and Auntie "M" are searching the shore line for signs of intellient life. Luna is keeping a sharp eye out for Nargols.

Monday, August 06, 2007

'Cause all the cool kids are doing it.

Click to view my Personality Profile page
I saw this on little david's blog. I'm freakishly alarmed by how high it is on the feeling end versus the thinking end. It's not necessarily wrong, I just don't like it. I'd much rather be Spock than Oprah. Perhaps I've spent too much time listening to people and trying to decipher what they really mean about what they don't say that I get really tuned in to feelings. Maybe?

Of course, Spock wasn't without feelings, he was just very much in control of them. Maybe I could claim the same?

Maybe not.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

No really. It's the music. I really like the, uh... the music!

A friend in Hungary sent me this video clip. I thought it would be darned selfish of me not to share.

(Oh, and the group is Texas and the song is In Demand.)

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Malicious Blasphemy of the Lowest Order

The 412th sign of the apocalypse occurs this weekend.

Of course you know what that is - the release of the Underdog movie.

Yes, this loathsome bit of celluloid trumpery is being "unleashed" on an otherwise unsuspecting public. If Walt Disney weren't already dead, I would so have his head for this. Why? WHY??

Because there are some things in life that you just shouldn't mess with. Things like the formula for Coke, Jackson's rib recipe, and rattlesnakes, for example. Underdog is one of those things. How did they mess with it, you may ask?

1. Underdog is a cartoon. He is not a live action mutt. He doesn't live in the real world. Get it? He is not a REAL DOG, people! That's just silly.

2. No one is surprised that Underdog can talk. Because it's a cartoon. They are anthropomorphic talking animals. No one is surprised by this.

3. There are no real people in Underdog's world. Just a few troglodytes like Simon Bar Sinister and the like. There are NO irritatingly plucky 12 year old boys. No, not one!

4. Polly Purebread is not some dippy cocker spaniel. Please! That is like casting Jessica Simpson to play Lois Lane. It's just stupid.

5. Underdog is not a dog with a hip attitude. Underdog is anti-hip. He's not smart. He's not resourceful. His clothes don't even fit him right. Hence the name, ya jerks!

6. Underdog is not some sad-ass family pet. Please! He's a mild-mannered shoeshine boy, on the lookout for danger and assorted villainy. He is not supposed to bring you your paper or fetch some poorly thrown stick. He is supposed to remain ever vigilant at his shoe shine stand, ready to do battle against the forces of evil and bad sportsmanship. He fights for truth and justice and the purity of Polly Purebred. Fetch yer own damn slippers, people!

7. And the song? Don't even get me started on what you've done to that song. It's just too embarrassing. I got no problem with covers of the song. The Butthole Surfers did a rather respectable version of it in the late 90's. It was different, but good. Too bad the same can't be said for your lame-o version.

So, even if you are unable to resist the urge to make a total cinematic fool of yourself and peddle a rotten live action version of a cartoon classic, at least watch the cartoon first. Seriously, it only takes like half an hour. Didn't you have the time to spare? Had you done that, you would've realized that Underdog isn't edgy or cool. He's Bob Newhart, not Ben Stiler.