Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Random Thoughts for Wednesday

This morning's local news show included a story about a day care in Big Flat City that stages a mock wedding for pre-schoolers each year after reading the kids several Bible stories about "husbands and wives". We're talking WEDDING here. In the church, with a minister. Gowns, tuxedos, flowers, candles, music and idiot, doe-eyed parents. Verrry creepy.

When I got home from my trip last week, Jackson was sick. He finally gave in and went to an urgent care clinic on Sunday. He has pneumonia. Not a cold. Not allergies. Pneumonia.

He's such a show off.

Speaking of ill - I had not one headache all of last week. The minute I walked back into my office, my head started to pound. I've now had this headache for 3 long damn days. I think I need to chuck it all and move to East Texas. How am I going to convince all my homies to come with me? And then we'll all be whining and wanting to move back when summer gets here. So much for that idea!

Does Forrest Whitaker creep you out? Or is it just me?

Evil Steve has abandoned my chair in favor of Jackson's. Evidently my blanket-free legs are not to her liking this evening. I have been most officiously snubbed.

Remember Mr. Hyhun on "Hey, Arnold!"? "Its very creepy!"

Yesterday Katie came calling at the bedroom door. She was creeped out because one of the cats had brought a rat into her bedroom. She found it when she dropped her watch behind the bed. The watch had landed on the "smushy, furry thing" and she didn't want to touch it. I cinched up my bathrobe and grabbed the necessary tools (broom and dustpan) and pulled out the bed so I could rescue the contaminated time-piece. I swiped at the furry carcass to maneuver it into the dustpan. The brown, hairy mass rolled over and grinned at me.

It was a dis-embodied Barbie head. Very creepy!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Friday Cemetery Blogging

Band camp is almost over. Its been really good. I've especially enjoyed learning about the difference in management styles between Gen X and the Baby Boomers. Lord, no wonder we can't just all get along!This is the sixth or seventh time I've been to Sam Houston State last 13+ years. I've only dealt with the Criminal Justice School and it is some kind of different. There is a constant cloud of artificial testosterone in the air. Its like smog

Those afflicted with artificial testosterone are pretty easy to spot. They always, always, always back into a parking space. Their shirts are heavily starched and cut so as to give the appearance of broad shoulders and a narrowish waist. They wear many bits of shiny metal - key fobs, over sized, function-stuffed wrist watches, bulky rings and metal-rimmed sunglasses. Their hair is very, very short. And stiff. The aren't able to wear their "side-arms" but they do make it a point to wear belts that exhibit visible wear points where the holster would normally hang. The opposite side of the belt supports the phone holster. The cell phone substitutes for the other substitute that they aren't able to wear inside the school. There is some sort of weird anti-correlation that results in the phones being quite tiny.

Plenty of women around here are just as bad as the smoggy guys. They can be kind of frightening, too.

If you look closely, there are lots of other men and women without the smog cloud. They're usually sort of scruffy.

I like scruffy people.

I like mossy tree branches, too.

This is one of my photos from the cemetery here in Huntsville. This is the statue I was trying to get a good shot of. I like this one, but its still not exactly right.

And this is a bit of the rainy cemetery.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Escape from Alcatraining

I sneaked (snuck?) out! Yup. Skipped the institutional-b-b-q dinner and went to the cemetery. And do you want to know how perfect it was? Do you really?

It. was. raining.

I get a little weird about rain. A slow drizzly rain lasting for days and days is my very favorite weather. When it rains, I want to be outside soaking it in. When I lived in town, if rain woke me in the middle of the night, I would go out for a walk. (No street lights in the country. And there's coyotes. heh.) I've been stopped by the police a couple of times when I was out walking in the rain at 2:00 a.m. They always assumed I'd been drinking. Hmm....

Anyway, the rain is also great for gorgeous color in your photographs, as long as you can keep your camera dry. This evening I went to the Oakwood Cemetery, which is where Sam Houston is buried. I've been there before and there is a statue there that I've never been able to satisfactorily photograph. There was not a lot of time before the light gave out, but I think I got some good shots.

And now, I should be doing my homework. Something about assessing my strengths as a manager. I guess I'll quit writing and do something im.por.tant. Is there any way to frame procrastination as a strength?

Monday, January 22, 2007

At Band Camp

So far so good. The trainer is a lady I've heard before who is way cool. She's energetic and funny and she refuses to use power-point because it is usually a cover for lack of quality information. A woman after my own heart!

She talks a lot about Generation X. I like to think I am my own person - original, unique, and unexpected. Hell, no, I'm just the poster child for my generation. Sigh...

This is one of those trainings that embraces the concept of networking. We eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner together. We spend the day in a classroom together. And last night we were all at Wal-Mart together picking up those gels, aerosols and liquids that we didn't bother to bring on the plane. They want us to bond.

I'm not into bondage.

I want to run back to my hotel room as soon as they will let us out the door, so I can grab my camera and go to the cemetery before the light is gone. All these damn trees get in the way of the sun and it gets dark way before supper is over.

But I'm going along for dinner. (Partly because I'm trying to do the right thing, but mostly because its too much trouble to explain why I want to go to the cemetery.) I'm even making an effort to speak to my fellow trainees. Y'all'd be proud of me. Normally, when I'm with people I don't know, I sit down, break out the pencils and sketch book and draw and doodle my way through the day. I focus on the speaker and eavesdrop like crazy, but generally don't hook up with anyone else.

I converse for a living and at times like this I enjoy the opportunity to spend an entire week without speaking to anyone other than waiters.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

It snowed.

It snowed 4 inches today. Most of y'all are gonna laugh, but that pretty much closes stuff down around here. It doesn't happen very often, but it does happen every 2 or 3 years. What was really embarrassing was the reaction that people had even before anything happened. There was a run on bottled water at the grocery stores. Wal-Mart was packed with worried people throwing fits over energy bars and pretzles like they were the last Tickle Me Elmo to be found in creation the weekend before Christmas. Some schools chose, on Thursday, to close on Friday. Even though there was no snow until late Friday afternoon, and the roadways stayed clear until late in the evening. It was like we were facing our own private Katrina. Embarrassing.

Of course, I may experience my own little freak-out tomorrow. I have to leave at o'dark-thirty to catch a plane. I have never flown in the snow before. Lucky me.

I'm going to Huntsville again. For an entire week of middle management training. An entire week. Of middle management training. Its so boring that they couldn't even think of anything snappy to call it. Just Middle Management Training.

And the hotel? The first thing listed on its website under amenities is "Elevator: yes." This is followed by Public Phones and Ice on Every Floor.

Y'all are all jealous. I can feel it.

Saturday, January 13, 2007


Tomorrow we don't have to leave the house.
That's a good thing!
And just for laughs, here's more Maddie:

Attack of the Killer Kitty!

Friday, January 12, 2007

Friday Cemetery Blogging

Today its all about the names. I found some interesting ones last week.

Phoebe P. Mick just makes me smile.

Richie Rippy. Doesn't he sound like a character in a 1940's war movie? He'd be the shiny, happy, slightly naive guy who was one of the first to die at the hands of the bad guys. And then at the end of the movie, all the heroes would gather around his grave and have some sort of deeply meaningful denouement and Richie's girlfriend would marry the main character or something like that.

And then there's Hazel. Her name is interesting, but I'm more interested in the stone's style. I love anything that's even remotely Art Deco. And the shiny nameplate on this concrete stone is actually a mirror. Never seen that before!

Hope you have a good day. I am taking a day off for my birthday. I didn't plan to, but if I don't do it today, I'll lose it. And that would be stupid. So, enjoy your Friday and I'll enjoy mine.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Community Supervision and Corrections Department

Diesel asked where I work that I was able to get a day off for Ford's dignified demise. I work for Fake Cow County Adult Probation. Except that Adult Probation is entirely too self explanatory, so they changed our name to something long and convoluted and completely affected.

Generally I love my job, but not all the time. Right now it is being a teensy bit stressful. Stressful like oral surgery stressful.

The upside is that when the going gets tough, the weirdos get busy.

Mindy: "I think we should play with Nunzilla. Do you think she could spark a fire?"
Rach: "Nah, I've tried it before."
Mindy: "Maybe we need some sort of fuel. Like hairspray or something?"
Rach: "Oh, good idea!"

I sent an instant message to ChevyPickup: "Do you have any hairspray? Preferably aerosol?"

CP: "Yes. Why?"

Rach: "Just bring it down to my office."

She did.

I wound up the nun and was about to set it loose on my desk, when the Boss stopped in my doorway.

Boss: "What are y'all doing?"
Mindy: "We're going to spray the nun with hair spray to see if we can get it to flame up when the she sparks."
Boss doesn't say anything for a moment. Then: "I think I'm going to leave now. And not come back."
Mindy: "Bye."

So, I sat the nun down and she did her spark-ly best while CP sprayed her in the face with flammable styling product.

Absolutely nothing happened. And now my desk is sticky.
But I feel better.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Friday Cemetery Blogging

We actually got the day off on Tuesday for the Ford funeral. It seemed only fitting to spend the extra time off prowling around a cemetery. I went to a small town northwest of here. It was freakin' cold. They still had snow on the ground from last weekend's weather. After about a half hour of roaming around the frigid marble, my camera shutter began to freeze up. A sure sign that it was time for lunch. Before I left, I got some interesting photos.

I though Little David would appreciate this one. It has the Hawaii State Flower, the hibiscus, on it. If you look closely, there is also a Hawaiian inscription:

The English translation was on the bottom half of the stone, but I forgot to photograph it. Anybody want to take a guess as to what it means? According to my cemetery field guide (thank you C. Wright) the hibiscus is often seen on tombstones in the Pacific islands. The flowers are only open for a short time each day, which is symbolic of "the brevity of our time in this realm."

There were some really nice marble headstones in this cemetery. Like this one, for instance.

More to come...

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Chrismas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree, wherefore art thou, Christmas Tree?

By nine o'clock on Tuesday the 26th I had the Christmas detritus packed up and gone. I'm not a total Scrooge, but at 12:01 a.m. on the 26th, Yuletide Decor officially morphs into Seasonal Craptacula. I like putting up the tree the day after Thanksgiving but I like taking it down the day after Christmas even more.

We finally bought a new tree this year. It is a little smaller and a whole lot easier to deal with than the old one. The old one was retro cool. That's not really true, it was just old. And bulky.

I was sort of dreading putting away the new tree. We hadn't gotten rid of the old tree. It was still in the living room coffin where it is stored for most of the year. I was excited to be rid of the tree and the stockings and the garland, but I really didn't feel like boxing up the old tree and taking it the Salvation Army. I also felt a little guilty because I really meant to take the old tree over there much earlier so someone could actually use it during the season. The road to hell..., eh?

The stocking were removed from the chimney with care and the skirt of the Christmas tree cleaned of cat hair. The ornaments were nestled all snug in their boxes and we got prepared for the next equinoxes.

(Nothing, nothing! rhymes with boxes. Except foxes. And maybe axes.)

Finally, I could put it off no longer and had to open the coffin. Opening the coffin with the old tree in it is a decidedly Fibber McGee experience and usually results in some sort of body piercing by plastic pine parts. But not this time!

The coffin opened and nothing fell out. It was empty! I was very pleasantly surprised and thought nice things about Jackson who had obviously already dropped off the old tree at the collection box. He was still asleep, so I didn't thank him for thinking ahead. I didn't think about it again, until

yesterday. Yesterday when Jackson asked me if I'd taken the old tree to the Salvation Army or if I just threw it away.


He didn't take it anywhere. I didn't take it anywhere. We have no idea what happened to it.

Its just gone.

And that's kind of spooky.