Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Today's Vacation Photos Brought to you By:

Sitting on a log and letting those other losers hike down the other side of the mountain. Why hike up the dang thing twice?

Friday, July 27, 2007

Friday Cemetery Blogging

It is way too early in the morning to think of a good caption for this photo. I've always loved the way sunlight looks as the sun slips underneath the thunderstorm clouds on it's way to the horizon. The light and the shadows are equally intense. There is probably some sort of profound metaphor you could make with that, but then again, I'm sure it's been done before.

Have a great Friday! I'm hoping it goes by fast. Vacation starts at 5:01 p.m. (Aw hell, who am I kidding? Like I'm going to get anything else done after the 3:00 p.m. Ice Cream Hour.) ((Which only lasts for 30 minutes...))

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Better Living through Randomosity

* So there I was, sitting at my desk, when I was struck with a wonderful idea for a blog post. "Aha!" I said excitedly. "No need to write that down - I could never forget it."

* Been staring at this blank computer screen now for so long the screen saver came on. I've no clue what that really good idea was. Dammit.

* I have a raging headache. Maybe that's why I can't remember anything. Have I mentioned that the corn field across from my house is now over my head and starting to tassel? Danged ol' allergies.

* We leave on vacation on Saturday. Can't wait! We've rented a house on a mountainside and plan to sit around in the hot tub 24-7 admiring the view. Jonboy and his significant others are coming along. I think Jonboy and Jackson are secretly dating behind my back.

* Jackson refuses to grow his goatee back! He claims it's too grey and he says he looks "pretty" without it. I am incensed.

* We've been looking for a new house cleaner with no luck. Not even a nibble. Thankfully, today Maria called and said she can start cleaning for us again in August. The gods are smiling on us again!

* I just bought a nifty new copy of one of my all-time favorite stories. It's a hardback copy with snazzy endpapers and an attached ribbon bookmark. Makes me happy just to hold it. That is why e-books will never replace the real thing.

* The book is The Scarlet Pimpernel. I love nothing better than old masked avenger stories. Well, except for the Lone Ranger. He was ok, but he was no Green Hornet. The Shadow is probably my all-time favorite.

* I just had to venture into one of the back bedrooms to let Katie's friend Em know that her mom wanted her home. There are now two little girls back there, rolling on the floor wailing and moaning pathetically. They are deeply distraught because this is evidently the third evening in a row that I have interrupted their Barbie drama at the most climactic moment possible.

They disturb me. A lot.

* I would buy Katie some GI Joe's and a few Transformers, but I think it would be an exercise in futility. Transformers - Prom Dates in Disguise!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Friday Cemetery Blogging

A foggy morning in the cemetery.
I took this photo in January, on my way to work one morning.
What? Don't you grab your camera and head for the cemetery anytime you're graced with a foggy morning? No?
It's one of life's most peaceful pleasures.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Think before you dial.

I had an appointment with one of my guys yesterday and he got me to thinking. Thinking about another guy I used to supervise on probation.

My name, address and phone number used to be in the phone book. Long ago and far away, it was department policy that we be accessible like that, in case of an emergency. It's been about eight years since that policy was abolished. I didn't have a problem with it at the time, but looking back on it, I realize what a stupid policy it was.

I lived alone for all the years that the policy had been enforced and I had my fair share of late night phone calls from suicidal senior citizens, pissed off wives, and the occasional soon-to-be-father wondering if he could break his curfew to drive his wife to the hospital. But I seldom ever had an obscene phone call.

The first such call I ever got was - I think - totally random. Somebody was just dialing numbers and hoping to get lucky. The call came at seven o'clock in the morning, which I thought was a rather odd time for that sort of activity. The caller launched into his prepared remarks. When he paused for breath, I said, "Oh come on, now. Surely you can do better than that. " He was quiet for a couple of beats, then hung up the phone.

There was only one obscene call that I ever got from one of my probationers. This one was at two o'clock on a Sunday morning. Now, at 7:00 a.m., following a good night's sleep, I am awake and in control of enough of my faculties to handle unsolicited phone sex. Not so at 2:00 a.m.

Wakened from a deep sleep in the middle of the night makes me just stupid. Seriously so. Late night phone calls from friends and potential friends have occasionally been a source of embarrassment due to the fact that I have no idea what the hell I'm saying. I couldn't tell you my name and get it right.

So, when I answered the phone, I had no idea what was going on. I guess I wasn't very coherent because the guy asked twice to speak to Rachel. I managed to convince both of us that was me. He was real polite about it.

Once assured he had the right person, he launched into a laundry list of proposed future activities. I was still wiping slobber off my chin and wondering if I really was this Rachel person. He went on for several minutes it seemed, while I tried to kick start my brain.

The light finally turned on in my head and I recognized his voice.

"Joe! Have you been drinking?"

He must have been really drunk, because he said, "Uh....yes ma'am."

I told you he was real polite. I couldn't really think of any thing productive to contribute to the conversation at that point, so I said: "Well, cut it out! And be in my office at 8:00 a.m. on Monday!"

He sighed and said ok before I hung up the phone.

When Monday morning rolled around, I was laughing about this story with my co-workers. It was a few minutes before eight o'clock and the boss had arrived just in time to hear the last of my story. She said something along the lines of "He did WHAT?!"

Diane was the boss.

When I was in college, I intended to pursue a career in federal law enforcement. However, I discovered the feds didn't have much of a sense of humor, so I thought I might be interested in local law enforcement. I did an internship with the city police department. Promptly upon completion of said internship, I went to the probation department and turned in a job application.

After meeting Diane, I knew this is where I wanted to work.

Diane was tall, tough and smart as hell. She still is, actually, even though she's been retired for years. I want to be her when I grow up. She was an excellent motivator and could convince all of us drink the kool-aid if she'd wanted to. In addition to all that she was a mother to two grown sons.

When she said "He did WHAT?!" she used her mom voice. And it was scary.

Joe arrived, expecting to see me. He met with Diane instead.

And then he went to prison.

I miss Diane.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Open Letter to My Mom

Re: Harry Potter Moive

Dear Mom,

You have totally got to go see the new Harry Potter movie. It was good, I know you're a fan, so you will enjoy it based on that alone. However, even if you weren't a Potterite, you would still need to see it because it stars your granddaughter.

Yep. My niece, your grandkid, Jonboy's progeny plays Luna Lovejoy.

It is uncanny. She looks exactly like J-Boy Jr. They have the same face, the same body, the same hair, the same floaty attitude and approach to reality. Give her a drawl and a bit of a lisp and there would be no difference. Wanna see who J-Boy Jr. will be in a few years? Check out Evanna Lynch.

Bizarre, ain't it?



Thursday, July 12, 2007

Friday Cemetery Blogging

Howdy. These are interview questions that Patti sent me. If you would like some questions of your own to answer, leave a note in the comments or send me an email.

1. How is your bike riding going? So far, so good. I'm still doing it. I haven't lost any weight, but my cholesterol is down and my checkbook is fatter. I'm averaging 3-4 days a week. Haven't done the full five days yet. I love riding to work - it's normally cool and breezy. Riding home is hellacious. Do you remember the little old oatmeal eaters? I've noticed the last couple of weeks that they are watching me as much as I am watching them. Next week I may wave.

2. I know you are a fan of Art Buchwald. What do you find most inspiring about him? I learned a whole lot from reading Art Buchwald, starting as a 10 year old kid. He taught me all I know about mid-20th century political history. Seriously. I never had a class in high school or college that covered that particular period. Art Buchwald taught me that politics are damn funny. Politics are still my favorite spectator sport, thanks to Art's early influence. Now that local politics have a direct and lasting impact on my daily life and continued employment, I have tempered my love of their hilarity a bit. When the election on Tuesday decides who you'll be working for on Wednesday, it can sometimes be a bit of a nail-biter. But I still love it. I blame Buchwald for that. (And I learned lots of things about lots and lots of sex scandals that I bet my mom and dad wouldn't have approved of. It took me a really long time to figure out what the heck Chappaquiddick was.)

3. Describe your self, lifestyle and circumstances in High School: Interesting timing on this question. Jackson has always said that I remind him of Julia Styles in the movie 10 Things I Hate About You. A couple of weeks ago, a couple of other people told me the same thing. I decided I would finally watch the movie. I loved it! I mentioned it to my sister-in-law and she immediately said - you guessed it - that I remind her of Julia Styles in that movie. Much as I would like to claim that was me in high school, it's not. I was actually kind of quiet. I had a lot of fun, but I enjoyed staying at home to read a good book on Saturday night way more than hanging out with all the other kids on the town square, watching the traffic light change colors. My frame of reference was totally different from that of my peers, and that was fine with me. I was the preacher's kid and I wasn't even particularly rebellious. When I wasn't in school, I was doing manual labor at the City Grocery and Deli. I was a band geek, and, OF COURSE, I was the yearbook editor. (I contend that most bloggers were on the yearbook staff at some point during high school.) That's me in the hat, c. 1989, back row, second from left:

I wore hats a lot. (The girl in the wheelchair? She's the same one from this story.)

4. Let's say you could go to any theatrical production in the world. Money is no object. Where would you go? I would go to the theatre in London, for sure! I don't know what I would see...Spamalot, maybe? (Help me! I'm bein' repressed!) I love going to plays, but I haven't been to any big time shows, other than the Phantom of the Opera (which I reeeeally enjoyed!) I love to go watch kids in high school one act play competitions or to check out our local university's theatre department. Every great once in a while we go to a production in Big Flat City and a little more regularly we wander down off the Caprock to see whatever is happening at the Cereal City theatre.

5. What is the most uncomfortable pair of shoes you own? When do you wear them? These are my favorite least comfortable shoes. I had to search the far back reaches of my closet to find them because I have not found an occasion that was worth it for me to wear them in the last couple of years. I've wanted a pair of Dr. Scholl's Exercise Sandals since about 1979. I thought they were so cool on my older cousins and their friends. They finally came back into style when I was college. I hopped right out and bought me a pair. I love the way the wood feels smooth and cool on my feet. Unfortunately, these are half-assed shoes. I tend to kick off any shoe without at least a strap across the back when I walk. It's a pain in the rear with most shoes. It's a pain in the foot with these shoes. Every freakin' time I wear them, I manage to do that and bring my heel or arch down on the sharp wooden edge of these suckers. Damn, it hurts. Almost enough to bring tears. They should change the name to Dr. Sheol's Exercise Sandals.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Pusillanimous Asterisks Masquerading As Bloodthirsty Bullets

* The family reunion went well, although it was almost terminally boring. I thought about trying some of Presby Gal’s suggestions, but I don’t think anyone would have noticed.

* The very best part of the reunion was the fact that Cousin Ralph, the guy who hit on me last time, decided that Jackson would be his new best friend this time. He’s really a nice guy, but one of those people that we southerners like to describe, with a pat on the knee, as “a bit slow”.

Jackson and Katie Listen to "Cousin Ralph".

* Jackson tried to escape his new best friend, but to no avail. He excused himself to go to the restroom at one point as a means of terminating the conversation. Cousin Ralph jumped up and followed, promising to show Jackson the way to the facilities. Upon entry, Jackson discovered there was only a single facility. He gallantly offered to step outside and let Ralph use it first. Ralph offered to share. Jackson ran away. Far away.

* We survived camping. It rained, but it was really nice, perfect rain. It wasn’t even very hot. I’m still waiting for the other shoe to drop.

* We had several wildlife encounters while camping. Wildlife of the West Texas variety.

Right after breakfast. What do you think he ate? Rabbit? Rat?

* I’m working on five questions Patti sent me. I had planned to write my answers this past week, but my work email had swallowed the questions and refused to regurgitate them to my home email. So, this week, for sure!

* Our cleaning lady got a full-time job. She’s been cleaning my house for nigh onto thirteen years. There is much weeping and gnashing of teeth at the Spooky R Ranch. Katie is scrubbing toilets even as we speak.

* Three more weeks until more vacation! Hot tub on the mountain-side variety.

* Riding my bike home at 8:30 in the evening, in a very light rain - good. Real good. The wind and the persistent lightening that showed up halfway home? Not so good. If it had gotten any worse, I would've stopped at Little David's house and scrawled "Help!" on his driveway with chalk.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Merciless Bloodthirsty Bullets of Monday

* I ate breakfast, lunch and dinner in my office today. That’s bad.

* Riding my bike home at 9:00 p.m. is infinitely more pleasant than riding it home at 5:00 p.m. That’s good.

* We are going to my family reunion on Saturday. I haven’t been since the year before I got married. I am wretchedly unfamiliar with my own family. One of the last times I went, one of my fellow attendees tried to hit on me. Technically I think it would have been legal for us to date. But I wish I had a t-shirt that says “I Don’t Date Within My Double Helix”. Or something like that.

* Tuesday is the last day I have to go to work this week. Katie is spending the week with her grandmother in Big Flat City. Jackson and I are hoping to go camping. I can hardly wait!

* The gods are conspiring against us and throwing all manner of Herculean obstacles in the path of this camping trip. Can I go on record now as saying that if we do get to go, I fully expect to be struck by lightening then swept away in a roiling flash flood or a raging tornado? Anyone know if there is a patron saint of camping? Is there a Saint Coleman?

* I finally gave in and went back to the doctor to have my cholesterol tested. They wouldn’t give me any refills unless I agreed to go do some lab work. The nurse called me with the results last week. Cholesterol: 177 I was way impressed about that. Then she got all snippy and said my triglycerides were out of whack at 168. (Gotta eat fewer starches, dammit.) THEN she said my thyroid is way, way high, which totally explains why I have lost weight, had a ton of energy and lowered my cholesterol. Once again, the heartless bastards intend to cure me of this problem and they cut my thyroid medicine in half. Crimony! What should have been a lovely, congratulatory phone call turned out to be a complete downer. I really wanna kick that lady’s butt.

* ‘Course that could be the thyroid talking.