Don't open 'til...New Years

I used to write term papers the night before they were due. I file my taxes every year on April fourteenth and leave for work each morning five minutes late. I have perfected the fine art of procrastination and Christmas is my opportunity to shine. The day after Thanksgiving, when people get up at 4 a.m. to stand in line for sales? I'm at home stuffing my face full of pumpkin pie.

Since my family and friends live in other states and I have to ship their packages, my deadline for the hoopla is earlier. Last year, I waited until the 23rd of December and ended up having to FedEx them overnight so the little gremlins would have perfectly coiffed and coordinated gifts under the tree in time. It cost $186 - almost as much a flight I could have gotten to DELIVER the gifts in person. I am happy to report that this year I went to UPS (so I could use that awesome internet tracking device that tells me everything is currently in Sharonville, Ohio) and all my gifts should arrive in time. Eventually I'll get smart and send gift cards, but for this year, I can finally relax.

My ex- will be coming back from Iraq in about two weeks, which means he'll repossess his truck and I'll be buying a car. I can probably get a better deal if I wait until the last minute, right? RIGHT?!


The sweet, sweet smell of single

"You bought a WHAT?!"

"And paid HOW MUCH?!?
Being single means never having to rationalize any purchase or hide packages in my trunk. I stroll leisurely to the mailbox on the 22nd of each month, when the credit card bill arrives.

Meet my new Canon Powershot S80 8 megapixel digital camera...for no other reason than I wanted it. HA! Take that, you big fat man in a red polyester suit!



Pass the Resolve carpet cleaner

My bulimic cat Savannah purges most days between 3 and 4 o'clock in the morning. Since I replaced the carpet in the house when I moved in, I try to get up when I hear those pre-retching noises, grab her, and throw her in my bathroom, which is tiled, for easier clean up.

Right on schedule, this morning at 3:17, I heard the beginning of another puke ritual. I had two kittens sleeping beteen my legs, one on my chest and one near my head, so as I lept out of bed, I became twisted in the duvet and landed flat on my ass.

It's been one of those weeks.


And on the sixth day, she said, "Let there be Lucky Charms."

Apparently, six is the number of days I can stick to a low-carb diet before cracking, sitting on the kitchen floor eating bowl-after-bowl of Lucky Charms. It all started with Doritos, just a handful of crumbs from the bottom of the bag that my son had left sitting on the desk. Once I started...well, let's just say that while I understand the concept of moderation, I cannot practice it.

Damn the Doritos.


Royal Indigo

Each morning, I pull out my identification to show the guard, who lets me pass through the gate, onto the base, so I can go into the hellhole otherwise known as work. Yesterday, the guard at the gate said to me, "Has anyone ever told you that you look like Princess Diana?"

Technically, yes, but he had Down's Syndrome so I took it with a grain of salt. I'm sure it's the hair combined with my regal nose, but it still made me smile...perhaps my son will look like Prince William.

If you change points of view
You may change a vote
And when you change a vote
You may change the world
Princess Di is wearing a new dress
- Depeche Mode



Four times per day, seven days a week, I feed my kittens a well-balanced assortment of food guaranteed to please: liquid Whiska's catmilk, tiny cans of overpriced soft food, and crunchy chow.

What do they prefer? Dog food.


About last night

I watched the American Music Awards last night while getting my neck licked by a sandpaper kitten tongue. Best moment: Cyndi Lauper and Sarah McLachlan performing Time after Time (in black and white). Flawless.

My son redeemed himself slightly: "Look at Lindsay Lohan - that's disgusting. Her arms are only this big...she has to wear a big dress to cover up how skinny she is. Why would she do that to herself - that's just gross."

Bless him.


Home boy don't roll like that

My son was grounded this weekend. It started with his attitude as I walked through the door Friday after a long, alcohol-free week at work. "There's no food in the house and you're so mean and you're starving me..why won't you drive me across town to McDonald's?" (I gave him a 5.0 for technique, 4.5 for timing). Then he kicked the dog. Sure, he SAID he was playing, but that’s obviously unacceptable.

Imagine two entire days and three WHOLE nights spent with an angry fifteen year old boy - listening to loud rap, watching crap tv shows and nagging for him to pick up after himself.

Next time I ground him, I’m sending him to someone else’s house.


Take one placebo and call me in the morning

We have a family tradition: avoid health care, medical professionals and medication at all costs (except beer, of course, which falls under the category of holistic numbing). This aversion isn't rational, but I suppose it's considered a weakness if thy body cannot heal thyself. Like any other ridiculous trait, I've inherited it.

My son was four when we were living on Ft. Campbell base housing. The playground was behind our house so I'd fill his little canteen with water, give him some chewy fruit snacks and send him out for the afternoon so I could study/play Minesweeper on the computer. There were huge concrete pipes - probably leftover bunkers from WWII or something - and the kids played on them, hiding inside or trying to knock one another off. One evening he came running in the house screaming, tears running down his dirt-streaked face. He had fallen off the pipe and hurt his arm, so I made him dinner, gave him a bath, and tucked him into bed.

His dad came home later and checked on him as he was sleeping. He asked me why I didn't take him to the emergency room - his arm was still discolored - what kind of idiot was I? (how many different types are there, and is it possible to fall under multiple categories?). A few hours later, they returned from the hospital with my son's full arm cast. I DID feel horrible. And I had been a medic? Thank goodness I never saw combat: "Oh, that's just a sucking chest wound - get back out there!"

Oddly, this "suck it up" mentality doesn't extend to my kittens. Crackhead's (whose real name is Kennedy) fur fell out this week, and the other three's whiskers broke. I researched it on the internet and came to the conclusion that they had a rare and contagious fungus from the Amazon. I bundled up the kittens in the cat carrier, and off to the vet we went.

He checked for fungus, parasites, leukemia, aids, etc. and gave them a clean bill of health. He said they were very healthy, well-socialized and the fur must have fallen out from the stress of being abandoned or switching to solid food, since he could find no other medical explanation.

Combined total weight of my four kittens: 5 pounds.



Capital (One) Punishment - Death by Interest

I've always had a love-hate relationship with credit cards: I love the way they allow me to impulsively buy whatever my heart desires. I hate the way my heart desires forty pairs of shoes and the same shirt in five different colors!

My mother used to loan me her mastercard when I was sixteen years old since we had the same first intial and last name (I had to pay for it - she wasn't that generous). I was using it to charge a pair of jeans when the saleslady asked if I would like my own store credit card - with a driver's license and a master card, I'd have my own name stamped on a Hudson's card. The subsequent power trip was wonderful.

As a newlywed private in the Army four years later, my then husband told me that I'd have to cut ALL my credit cards...we would never get them paid off...then handed me scissors. Oh, sure, I fought and tried to cry my way out of it, but eventually they were cut and stuffed back in my wallet (you can still use the cards for phone orders with the account number - if you're a tad sneaky like that).

My credit has been fantastic for the past ten years or so, but moving three times this year meant sometimes there was a delay getting my mail and I made a few late payments (we're talking a DAY!). I complained about the $35 fee each time, but paid it, thinking I had been duly punished. Au contraire. Capital One recently jacked up my interest rate to 27.9% .

I was livid...furious at this blatant robbery. I transferred the balance to a new credit card at 5.9% and feel like the best bargain shopper ever - I believe I will be buying myself a new digital camera - surprise! Credit card season is upon us - don't go to Capital One, even if they do have really great faux leather credit cards and their commercials are cute.


Formation at 1300

My dog Skylar has taken over stepmother duties for my four new kittens. When she comes into the house, the first thing she does is count heads (preferably with tongue): okay, two kittens wrestling in the kitty litter, one hanging precariously on the curtains and one in the food bowl. Yep, all play toys present and accounted for.

When I took them all outside to enjoy the beautiful weather on Sunday, I know they wanted to run and frolic through the leaves. Nope. That overprotective stepmom wouldn't even let them wander.



From private high school to a geeky college, I was as wholesome as they come. I was young, idealistic, and determined to put myself through college, one student loan at a time. Enter one Army recruiter who promised me the world. And I, young naive thing, believed him when he said I could choose where I'd like to be stationed. Lying jerk.

We all have defining moments in life, a specific incident or event that changes our perspectives forever. There I was, in Basic training, with my well-behaved self and stylish asymetrical haircut...completely out of my element. Reserved and quiet means I usually come across as arrogant, but a big female oaf from the Projects in Chicago was determined to put me in my place.

This particular day of training was spent with pugil sticks (from the latin meaning, "to fight, rock 'em, sock 'em, robot style, while bopping your opponent in the head"). I've seen a similar set up on Survivor: two opponents face each other on a beam, then try to pummel one other using a long pole, with two padded ends, until one falls off. This was also the day we learned how to gore a potential enemy with a bayonet attached to an M-16. How many times have I needed that particular skill?

My opponent, Ms. Badass Chicago street fighter thought being street savvy meant she was going to wipe me all over Ft. Jackson, South Carolina and I'd run back to the barracks snivelling, begging her in the future to help polish her boots. She was a gangly 5'10", I was a slight 5'7", which I think actually helped me in the end (lower center of gravity). What she didn't know is that I had been captain of the lacrosse team - I was well-versed in the handling of sticks. So I played her like a weekend tournament, pushed her off the beam, and emerged victorious. HA! I learned that I'm not intimidated by anyone and she learned not to judge OR trust the quiet ones in BDU's. Win-win.

My two years as a medic was child's play compared to the sacrifices soldiers and their families make daily for our freedom. Give thanks for them today and every day - I do.


Beware of couch potato

I accidentally locked myself out of the house, popped out the screen in the living room and crawled through the window - while my dog casually watched from the couch.

No, no, honey, don't get up...here, let me fetch some of your toys for you (my smart ass dog enjoys sarcasm).


Audience of One


This is my new record for a monologue cleverly disguised as a phone conversation.

Bill & I have been friends for over twenty years. We don't see each other often because we both move regularly and frequently, but I'm starting to think our "friendship" should be redefined...he probably couldn't tell you what I do, where I live or if I'm single. Our phone calls, you see, consist entirely of BILL.

This summer, he:

  • quit his job of seventeen years in order to enjoy life and travel
  • took second in a Mr. Speedo contest (why would someone admit to owning a Speedo?).
  • learned how to sail on Martha's Vineyard with James Taylor
  • went to the Emmy Awards, where he sat behind and talked to the cast of Desperate Housewives
  • talked to Donald Trump
  • met and discarded 72 soulmates (fortunately, I had the sense to lie about picking up my son somewhere before he could carry on about his love life)
Hmmmm. No wonder we never talk about me.


Stop the Cheesecake!

Pet peeve for the day: Sarah Lee's slogan "Nobody doesn't like Sarah Lee".

Since when are double negatives catchy? HUH? Good grief. I will be boycotting her frozen cheesecake until something less grammatically awkward comes around.


Uh-oh...better get Geico

Ever been standing in your bathroom, freshly showered and wrapped in a towel, when you look up and notice a lizard curiously watching you? Okay, so maybe he wasn't curious - maybe he was just as FREAKED out as I was.

It's closing time, pal - I don't care where you go, but you can't stay here.

I grabbed last month’s Cosmo, put it near the lizard, and gingerly had him crawl onto…Scarlett Johansson. So far, so good. I started walking towards the door, when the lizard decided to take a FLYING leap for freedom…and havoc ensued.

I’m a cult leader of my house – a dog, two cats and four kittens are usually no further than 5 ft away from me at any given moment (under my feet is preferable). As the lizard dropped (semi-flew) and scrambled towards my closet, I screeched, the dog bolted, the cats pounced, and my sleeping son yelled ("MOM! I'm trying to sleep!"...concerned about me, per usual).

Sometimes I seriously believe my life is a series of Animal Kingdom episodes.


Embarrassing moment #1,037

Arriving at the McDonald's drive-thru pay window just as you remember your son taking your last bit of cash the night before.

Payback's a biatch, I hear.


Solitary Confinement

I’m a bit of a loner, I suppose. Being an only child for fifteen years, never having to share a bathroom, and always winning my monopoly tournaments (my banker persona won every time!). I’m self sufficient.

In fact, if I were to ever marry again, the perfect scenario would be a duplex, with a Holiday Inn-like adjoining door so we could just visit. And I would never have to watch Fox news. Or listen to AC/DC. EVAH!

Some days, though, when I'm hormonal and overly sensitive, what I really want, more than anything, is a nice strong pair of arms…to put my clothes in the dryer for me (and could you bring me a beer, while you’re up?)


Look what the cat/surrogate mother dragged in...

Two weeks ago I talked to a woman who wanted to know if my cat Summer could have been pregnant. I told her no, that was quite impossible because she was 13 years old and spayed. End of story? Not quite.

The mother cat, aka not-Summer, abandoned her six kittens at the woman’s house so she (Kelly) had been bottle feeding them and called me again last week to see if I might like one. She was going out of town and hod no other option but to drop them off at the pound, and she worried they wouldn’t make it (they’re about three weeks old). So I stopped by her house on the way home from work.

I talked to Kelly – it turns out she had lived in MY house a few years ago (owner #2). What could I do – this was fate. So I took a kitten (or four) home.

The little white one will only take kitten formula from a bottle, while the rest of them have figured out how to climb in the bowl, then lick the stuff off their paws. My son’s already named one – Crackhead. I haven’t given up on Summer, but she is gonna be PISSED if she comes home to see four bottle-drinking, mewing fur balls in her house and kitty litter. And I? Have resigned myself to being that crazy cat lady on the corner.


Obsessive is not a four-letter word

I've always had a one-track mind, which plays continuous loops of food or alcohol thoughts. I feel like I might possibly be obsessing about my missing cat, but that's what I do. That's who I am, scoffing at sleep and food and, yes, beer, when something's going on in my life. I imagine if I didn't have a blog, I'd be emailing family, and attaching various cat photos...just to reminisce (who am I kidding? I do that anyway).

I managed to get Summer's photo put in our area newspaper classified ads. It's very tiny, but between that and the seventy-five fliers around town, I've gotten three phone calls.

#1: "Is your cat black?"

Um, no, that's why there's a PHOTO!
#2: "I may have seen your cat..chasing chipmunks in my area."

This one was VERY promising, since my Summer did love bringing live chipmunks into the house for days of enjoyment (seriously, have you ever tried to catch one? They're like humingbirds...with legs). My two-year old son's version of the word was better...listening to him scream "motherfunk" every time he saw a chipmunk was well worth it.

"She's white and caramel-colored and has been around for about three months."

Nope. Sigh.
#3: "I saw her about 3 days ago. I had to stop my car to let her cross the street - a white cat with a dark tail. She didn't seem to be in any hurry."

Yep, that's her. And remember I wrote a few days ago that my dog was a dumb blonde with ADD? Well...it turns out she took us to the location near this woman's house so perhaps I should have trusted her instincts.

Back to the search this weekend.



My dog Skylar has been seriously depressed with the disappearance of our cat a week ago. Yes, I know you'll say I'm transferring my emotions - she's a dog - but I'm telling you it's true. She brings pieces of her food to the floor in front of the couch where the cat spent her days napping. I ask her where Summer is, she tilts her head, glances around the room, then heads towards the door (granted, if you ask where a cow is, she'll do the same thing).

If Skylar was a person, she'd be a friendly, yet dumb, blonde with attention deficit leanings, but I was starting to get desperate and hoped she could help. We drove up to the middle school, about a mile away, where Summer was last seen. I held her sweet, block-head face between my hands and said, "Where's Summer? You need to find her. You can do it - find Summer."

Skylar took off running. I was optimistic - for the first hour. We continued. I followed her lead for almost three hours. She found: two squirrels, a dead bird, a half-eaten chicken bone and a coupon for orange juice. No Summer.

If Timmy falls into a well near my house? I hope he carries a cell phone.


Feliz Navidad

My father sends odd greeting cards...on the wrong days...with sentiments written in Spanish (which he doesn't speak).

Mainstream has never been my father's forte. He was the third child of twelve born to Irish descendants living on a small farm in Michigan - this is where I pull my right hand out and point to an area in the general vicinity of my thumb. Seven boys and five girls - they all have Irish names (Shannon, Erin, Sean, etc.) - except my dad, Tony.

He was a tall, skinny kid who was usually squirrelled away in a corner, reading a library book, until his brothers found him to drag him back to reality by beating the crap out of him or throwing him off the roof. He always wanted to be a monk, surrounded by God, books, silence and maybe an alcoholic beverage or two. Unfortunately (or fortunately, I suppose, depending on how you view me), my mom never received the memo.

Facts and quirks:

  • he wears a broken watch with no face from a motorcycle accident he was in 35 years ago
  • he had a full scholarship to Michigan State, but left after one year to hitch hike to California
  • an insomniac, he grocery shops between 3:00 and 5:00 a.m.
  • he tries to keep telemarketers on the phone by talking to them as long as possible...his record is over an hour.
  • he bought and fixed up 20 old Apple GS computers to set up a computer lab in his classroom
  • he's an audio/video equipment junkie - and still has Harold and Maude and The Vanishing Point on Beta tapes
  • he loves music, from Hank Williams to Bob Dylan to Tori Amos
  • if you touch him from behind, duck, because he will turn around swinging
  • he turned 60 this year and has no grey hair (of course, he does have my son for the summer, so that's likely to change).
I believe one of the biggest factors in shaping my father's life was his severe stuttering (also for his dad and two brothers). As a child, I remember making phone calls for him - he would often not be able to verbalize the "hello, is..." before the person at the other end hung up. Sometimes, he'd call back several times, hoping to get the words out, until the other person would assume it was a prankster on the other end. He is one of the most intelligent people I know, but spent close to fifteen years working at General Motors, dreaming of becoming a teacher.

He still pauses before words when he's anxious or stressed, but he went back to college at 42 and finally has that dream job teaching 5th graders. Apparently a late bloomer, he also got married last fall. Intelligent, philosophical, generous, honest, compassionate, caring and funny...I hope to be more like this old soul when I grow up.

1950-ishTQboy-2.jpg 1962TQhhighschool-2.jpg


There's an empty space on my pillow

I can't sleep. I keep imagining her cry or a scratch at the door. I walk around the neighborhood, looking for signs of struggle, hoping to get a glimpse of her fluffy, short-legged body.

My cat Summer has been gone since Monday but I refuse to give up hope.


Behind the wheel...run! RUN!

"I installed a skylight in my apartment. The people who live above me are furious!" - Steven Wright

People say you should be able to laugh at yourself. I don't really have to in this instance - everyone else is doing it for me.

A couple of years ago, I mastered the industrial fork lift. Not so much mastered, as "drove around recklessly and tried not to take out too many sections of wall or posts" (the first aid kit that used to hang on the wall? Yep, my collision). I have two guys that work under me, but both called in sick Monday, when an 18-wheel semi truck was scheduled to pick up some of our hazardous waste drums. No problem, get out of the way, seek cover - I can drive the forklift and load the truck.

I rolled over the ramp, into the back of the trailer. I wanted to be helpful, and started to raise the pallet higher so it would be easier to double-stack them on the lower level of drums. I vaguely remember hearing, "Whoa, whoa, whoaaaaaa", followed by a crunching noise as the top of the forklift went all the way through the roof of the trailer. Sheet metal sounds an awful like like stepping on crickets, only louder. We all sat, incredulous, staring at the newly installed skylight. I was hoping to slither up through that hole, never to be seen again.

So I did what any southern man would do, and found some duct tape.


Going cold turkey isn't as delicious as it sounds

Ever notice that the later you are, the slower your kid moves? Bill Nye, the Science Guy must have been lurking in the background as my son acted out a segment on slow motion this morning. Then, because he’s a boy, he forgot his backpack and we had to turn around. I’ve decided to reset his alarm clock tonight.

Murphy’s law dictates that since I was seriously late already, there should be a flock of suicidal wild turkeys flying across the road, trying to smash themselves into my grill (second morning in a row, actually). I’m not sure if they’re called a flock…or even if it’s called flying. Dumbo the elephant with mashed potatoes and gravy comes to mind.

It's 8:30 a.m. and I need a drink. Make that a double.


Tip o' the Day

Next time you eat a pound of BBQ ribs and wash them down with 32 oz. of alcohol (rum/coconut/pineapple concoction), DO NOT decide to try a bungee catapult for the first time with your teenage son and come hurdling towards the earth...at incredible speeds...face first...in the dark! Just sayin'. (My incredibly long, howler monkey-like toes? Wrapped around the lower bar, holding on for dear life).

The best part about road trips with my son (besides occasionally sticking my right arm out across his chest like we're coming to a sudden and complete stop): torturing him with my Sirius Satellite 80's retro station.

We used to have this game - I'd say, "I'll give you a million dollars if you know who sings this", but he started getting wise that I wasn't really going to pay up. So, yesterday, during West End Girls, I cranked it up and said I'd give him $10 if he knew the artist.

Wise ass son: "Let's see...they sound really gay..with a crappy, techno beat. It must be Pet Shop Boys."

SCORE! Part of me is so proud that he's been paying attention all these years (though I'd disagree with his assessment of PSB's talent). But now I have to hand over $10.


Long distance drunk dialing expert

Voicemail from my sister Saturday night from my cousin's wedding reception (kindly add the sound effect of my mother giggling in the background):

Tiffany: "Colleeeeeeen. This is your sister...and your mom. We are having a blast together. And we really want to talk to you because we love you. P.S. your mom is a HOTTIE...her body is banging and she looks great so answer your phone and talk to us. Bye, love you. Call us back. We're so over you. I'm OVER you. Haaaaaa. Your mom's over you. That's bad - that's hardcore if your own mom's over you. If you don't call us back, she'll be over you for the rest of your life. Bye, sister."
I cannot WAIT until she has kids...


My driveway is full of boxes, I can't find my hairdryer, I'm going to bed and I'm NEVER doing this again!

I like to talk trash about my ex-husband because...I can. One thing I will say about him, though, is that he is physically the strongest person I have ever known. He bench presses over 400 pounds and he could single-handedly move all my belongings out of his house, by himself, with one hand. Oh, wait, he didn't, though, because I HAD TO HELP.

He's staying with me during his two-week break from Iraq in order to move, pack and ship all his belongings out of his house then sell it (Open House is Sunday - stop by for cookies). The plan was to have me rent a U-Haul truck, then he would help me move the rest of our son's belongings out, the cherry entertainment center I bought last year, the 54" big screen tv I traded my laptop for, and any furniture, books, etc. that I still wanted.

Because I felt guilty when we were going through our divorce a couple of years ago, I let him keep everything except for a couch and my son's bedroom furniture. He kept two houses, 100% of his retirement, the dog, and all the STUFF. He makes three times more than I do. Does it piss me off sometimes that I never even talked to a lawyer? Yep. Did it REALLY piss me off today? Apparently.

Move #47 was a meltdown waiting to happen. He didn't think we should risk moving the tv OR the entertainment stand ourselves because they would most likely end up damaged. I whined, complained about giving him the best years of my life with nothing to show after 17 years, etc. and he told me to quit being such a selfish, greedy bitch. I politely told him, "Fuck you, prick. I don't want anything of yours. I'm loading up all this shit and I'm taking it to Goodwill, motherfucker!" (I never swore when we first met..and I know he really hates it, so I turn on the fountain of "fucks" when I get mad at him).

There really should be some sort of law against people of Irish descent marrying. We yelled, threw things, broke dishes, I cried and resisted the urge to run him over...ahhhh, just like the good ole days.


Famous last words

All of my relationships end in these three words:


Pffft. That's why I have a blog.


Dander packrat

Me: (face-flushed, mini-rant mode): My damn tenants...they smoked - in MY house - then vacuumed up the butts. And? They never bothered to change the air filters - not once in EIGHT MONTHS - the fur, dirt and crap was at least five inches thick. Disgusting pigs.

Ex: You changed the air filters in my house while you were living here, right?

Me (sporting a blank look from the Fall 2005 Collection): Uh...I'm sure I wanted to...where do they go, again?

Thank goodness he didn't have the foresight to get a deposit from me.


Explosive Dinner Theatre

- one pro-Bush, Conservative, Right-Wing, macho military man
- one bleeding heart liberal
- one teen revolutionary/socialist

Preheat kitchen to 97 degrees Fahrenheit. Marinate soldier in bleeding heart liberal for two hours until eyes bulge and veins throb. Sprinkle generously with Che Guevara-t-shirt wearing teen.

Bring to a boil, then simmer indefinitely.

Who's ready for seconds?!


Gingko Biloba moments

These are two arguments I used to have regularly with my ex (do NOT take your camera out drinking if you're married - ever):

"You SAID you had to go to work but you went to Bowling Green with your 'friend' M (put an extra snide emphasis on the word 'friend'), stayed up drinking all night and came back with a camera-load of film of you drinking with a group of guys! This is not the way married women should act."

"Of course I threw all your clothes outside...I don't care who the hell he is, you shouldn't have a business card from Eric Hipple that says, 'thanks for a great night'" (hey, he used to be a quarterback for the Detroit Lions and he was in a hole-in-the-wall bar in Higgin's Lake, helping us carry out our friend who was busy throwing up).

[Wait: I see a pattern]

I think there should be a statute of limitations for an argument. Fight about it, slam doors, knock each other out, have make-up sex, then GET OVER IT!


Apaches, Chinooks, Blackhawks, oh my!

A few others have written about Hurricane Katrina in much more depth and more eloquently than I, so while I'm amazed at the depths of this tragedy on many levels, I want to focus on one aspect: the mind-boggling ineptitude of the U.S. government regarding air support.

I try to avoid politics here because I realize there are two sides to every issue (and I really hate conflict). While I don't always agree with Michael Moore, I wondered, too, about the U.S. Army helicopters sitting idly here this week on the military base I work. An excerpt from his letter to the president:

Friday, September 2nd, 2005

Dear Mr. Bush: Any idea where all our helicopters are? It's Day 5 of Hurricane Katrina and thousands remain stranded in New Orleans and need to be airlifted. Where on earth could you have misplaced all our military choppers? Do you need help finding them? I once lost my car in a Sears parking lot. Man, was that a drag.
The Home of Army Aviation is located in Southeastern Alabama, about 300 miles east of New Orleans - less than three hours by air. To prepare for Hurricanes Ivan and Dennis, helicopters were evacuated to Georgia for safety within a day's notice (phew - thank goodness the equipment is always safe during nature's wrath).

With this same amount of advance notice, I don't understand why these helicopters weren't mobilized from here no later than day 2, at least until an organized relief effort could begin. Maybe the president needs a giant key alarm that will beep and make noise next time he misplaces his aviation units.


knock three times...

My dad and his eleven brothers and sisters all suffer, in varying degrees, from manic depression. They require solo time, calling it "going down to the basement" in honor of my uncle Paul (with a metal plate in his head from a mugging in Chicago), who would not leave his dark basement bedroom for days at a time. Eventually, he'd emerge, not necessarily better for the wear.

A few years ago I miscarried by taking St. John's Wort to help with my depression and working out 3 hours a day (6 mile run and weights in the morning, step aerobics and treadmill in the evening). I didn't see daylight for five days and played the same two cds - Sarah McLachlan's Surfacing and Cowboy Junkies over and over. I didn't think I could feel a bigger loss. I was wrong.

Homes in Alabama don't have basements because of the water table (or something). "Sitting in my dark closet looking at my shoes" isn't as poetic as heading for the basement, but that's where I'll be for awhile. I have a habit of ruining all good things in my life.


Wave goodbye - see my heart so blue. Wave goodbye - lost for you...

Apparently, a wonderful friend of mine thought I was on suicide watch yesterday and sent the sweeetest email telling me how fabulous I am (okay, he didn't use that word, but it would have fit - next time, 'k?). He told me things I said to him ten years ago still have an impact on his thinking and he values our friendship every waking moment (I'm paraphrasing)! If I could, I'd post his whole letter because it made me feel THAT good - I'm needy like that and a little bit of praise goes a long, long way - but that would probably just be for my benefit. Still, his timing was impeccable and I'M the fortunate one to have him in my life. Damn hillbilly.

I think our choices in friends says a lot about us...my son has befriended a great 16 year old named "D" (because J, P and D are entirely too cool for whole names). They played Halo here part of the weekend, and when I ordered pizza, he offered to go pick it up so I wouldn't have to tip the driver - this is beyond thoughtful by teen male standards. He spent the summer in Spain with relatives and can actually hold up his end of a conversation.

D. has a congenital heart defect, making his life expectancy around 25 years. There is a surgery he's elected to have next month - it's only been performed four hundred times or so, and the odds of surviving it are 50/50. I can't fathom having to make this decision...knowing I could die before graduating high school; that this could possibly be my last month alive...wondering if I'm making the right decision....if I'm sure I want to risk everything.

I have no answers. Instead, I gaze at his sweet, young face and ask him if he wants another Coke.


Don't just stand there, Dante - grab a box!

Hell: moving belongings packed in the cab of a pickup, to include three cats (two meowing incessantly), one panting/drooling dog and one angst-ridden teen boy freaking out over cat fur ("Omigod, I'll never be able to wear this black t-shirt again") and continually begging to drive. It's 102 degrees Fahrenheit. It must certainly get better, right?

Wrong. After the forty minute drive to my house, I discovered the tenants had completely trashed my carpet - who says Berber resists stains and hides dirt? It seems the spots they weren’t able to soil, they managed to tear. There’s a strange undercurrent of curry, decay and lemon, which is overpowered by the stench of cigarette smoke. It appears as though there might have been a small kitchen fire under one of the cupboards, my flower garden is buried under weeds AND a very hairy man must have been shedding daily to get his dark, curly locks in every nook and cranny.

I believe they took my cable modem, but left some direct satellite attachment/accessories, some computer head gear (?) and a big barbeque grill.

Other than that, I’m ready to move right in!

P.S. Thank you to one of my lovely neighbors for sharing their wireless signal - it is soooo much more practical than blueberry muffins.


Okay, so I don't travel lightly

Back in May, I bought out Lowe's Home and Garden Dept. and turned my ex-husbands's backyard into a purple/pink/everything-smells-great paradise. Wait, I live in Alabama...okay, it was a tropical, redneck oasis, but still...lots of sweat, tears and busted nails went into the effort.

I spent my afternoon today undigging my efforts to transplant here at my house. To be fair, I DID leave the saucer magnolia tree and some of the annuals, but I just couldn't leave my garden behind to be swallowed by weeds or ignored by new homeowners that would forget to water.

Tonight, as I was standing in my shorts and flip flops in my flower garden at my house, I was feeling quite clever gardening at night - not having to contend with gnats or the sun's burning rays - when it painfully occurred to me: red ants don't care what time it is (help!). I wonder if this ever happened to Martha Stewart ...

And I don't want ANY smartass comments about karma, got it?!


Um...no, I wasn't really looking for a "mof*ckin thug"

YES! I finally have my internet fix to satisfy my needs at home...work's another story and I don't want to discuss it because I get all worked up and decide I'm going to quit, which I can't afford to do without a practical Plan B. I owe 4,941 emails, I haven't slept since last Saturday, and I need a stiff drink, BUT...did I mention I have cable internet again?

Sometimes, though, funny things happen when you share a computer. I wasn't TRYING to snoop, but I discovered my teenage son's blog tonight. Burning questions: why the hell doesn't he know how to spell? Punctuation is optional nowadays? Do I want to know what Turkish Jades are? Vanilla ICE?! Would it be okay to turn HIM into social services?

By the way, the punk's entry had fifteen comments....



well im updating lol

my history book says alabama edition on it and i was thinking what that meant......i guess it means they just basically took out all the civil rights movement and martin luther king shit out but who knows

well i wanted to buy the new vanilla ice cd that came out yesterday but they didnt have it so i bought soopa villianz lol. but that woulda been the shit if they had vanilla ice because he is awsome!!

got some turkish jades today after school im pretty excited

assleys boobs looked really good yesterday.

im horny

well i guess ima go



Open wide for absolution

[preface: I'm drinking...no, this isn't necessarily a DRUNK BLOG entry...just more honest than usual? More real emotion, perhaps. Or maybe just beer emotion. Who knows - get off my ass, already. I want accolades for my typing, at the very least].

Dr. L: Did you pre-medicate?
Me: Yep.
Dr. L: Do you need more antibiotics? I'll leave another script with the receptionist for you.
Me: Mm hm. That'd be great.
Dr. L: My wife has an MVP, too...I take it very seriously. Long limbs and a slender build, just like you.
Me: No kidding.

Most people make a mad dash for the dental floss twice a year for their 6-month dental checkup. I lie to my dentist and say my goodbyes.

I have a mitral valve prolapse, which is a relatively common heart condition in which the valve doesn't close properly, plus electrical problems exaccerbated by years of dexatrim (and every other diet pill on the market) so I'm supposed to take antibiotics before dental work. Actually, not all the diet pills have been on the market - I illegally purchased my obese cousin's Redux prescription when I weighed all of 112 lbs (a definition for wacko means I can tell you my weight during any given month/year for the past 20 years). He didn't have the money to fill the prescription...fortunately I only had enough to fill it for two months.

For me, it's my chance to live on the edge...bungee jumping with sparkling, fluoridated teeth. It's not that I have anything against life...I just wonder: is this IT? So I sit and wait, wondering if this will be the time some plaque settles in my heart and kills me.

[post script: if I had a wicked sense of humour, this would be my last entry...]


Napalm in the morning - THREE MORE YEARS!

You give me fever, when you kiss me
Fever when you hold me tight ....

Fire signs: Aries, Leo and Sagittarius (me, my son, my ex-husband, my mother...geez, I could go on but I'm getting a glimpse through the gates to hell...). People of the fire element are spontaneous and impulsive, they apply their energies wholeheartedly. Their emotional response is quick and they have a lively imagination. Okay, yeah, that sounds like me. The not-so-positive traits might be a tendency to be a little bossy, selfish and have a slightly overdeveloped ego. Nothing hurts them more than being ignored. Yeah, that part would be everyone else.

So, my drama queen/fashion expert son starts school TODAY (I don't even want to talk about how long it takes him to get ready in the morning). I had no idea shopping for school clothes could be such a hellacious experience. This year was even worse because Oh! My! God! there are no cool shoes worthy of his big feet - believe me, I've been in 20 shoe stores this weekend. Two fire signs in the mall, when one of them hasn't eaten and is a tad bitchy...not a good idea. I finally agreed to order Union Jack flag skate shoes online just to shut him the hell up - yeah, I know, they beat confederate flag/shotgun sole tennies.

And I'm really not sure if it's a gender issue, but when I try on clothes, I take AS MANY as my grubby little hands can carry into the fitting room at a time (generally everything I like in 3 different sizes - just in case). My son? ONE THING AT A TIME...it's excruciating, seriously, waiting in PacSun as he tries on one pair of jeans (that don't fit because he continually thinks he wears a different size), brings them out, digs through the pile, then tries on ONE more pair.

A prayer for the school year: please let him keep his smartass comments and opinions to himself until January, at least, so the principal and I aren't on a first name basis. Well, unless he's cute...then BRING IT!


D.A.R.E. to keep cops off donuts

The last time I drove to Hartsfield International Airport in Atlanta:

  • I forgot about the time difference (Eastern time zone, an hour later)
  • I drove like a maniac
  • ...when I noticed a state trooper coming in the opposite direction, so I headed for a service road then pulled into someone's driveway, hoping to evade him.
  • I didn't - he took his sweet ass time and handed me a speeding ticket for 77 mph in a 55 mph zone ($220)
  • I finally found a parking spot at the airport, juggled with all my luggage and found out I missed my flight anyway
  • ....and had to reschedule for the moring ($50 fee)
  • Then stayed at the Holiday Inn ($110)

The lesson: invest in a really good radar detector. Bastards.

[I'm hoping today's trip is a little less eventful].


The Last Supper (needs more butter)

My summer vacation is coming to an end as my prodigal son returns from six weeks spent with grandparents in Michigan. I'm excited to see him, of course, but realize this will probably be the last night for my dinner of choice: bud light and popcorn (uh, could you supersize that?). I don't know whether my ex- was happier to see me leave, or this monster bowl.

My son has flown solo since age seven, when he flew from Germany to Massachussetts, and has been doing it ever since. The airline keeps all the kids under fourteen in a room together, stewardesses help them find the next gate, and we've never had any problems. He's in a grey range age now, though...between 15-17 means I can still pay a little extra for supervision OR let him handle it himself. I booked a nonstop flight to Atlanta so he will officially be flying AS. AN. ADULT. (that's a new wrinkle between my eyes, isn't it? Argh).

Bad news for me: I'll be driving a little over four hours to pick his ass up, then turning around to come home. Note to self: pick up AAA batteries for his mp3 player. Yes, fine, I admit it...I missed him.


Four alarm picnic

Our fire alarm went off at work this morning, as I was in the middle of extremely important and urgent work (blogging). Our building is old, the alarms unpredictable, and last time the firemen were called out, they got so pissy to see us all sitting around ignoring the blasted noise. This time, we decided to grab some sodas and wait outside for their imminent arrival. I plopped open the tailgate on my truck, shook off some sandy towels and leftover chips from my trip to the beach last week, and we had a nice little picnic (the cooler held only empty bud lights - I checked).

The firemen took fifteen minutes to get there, then another 15 minutes to clear the building - all that equipment and heavy clothing in this heat - no wonder they're so crabby. I think I have a semi-redneck tan going on my neck and arms, though, suh-weet!

Sometimes I love my job.


A rolling stone gathers no effin' moss, or any damn thing else.

This rant is brought to you by the letter F.

I'm a laid back person, rarely get too upset or irrational, and try not to rely on a potty mouth, which is supposedly the sign of a poor vocabulary (my mom's idea of cursing? "SHOOT!") and upbringing. Today, I say: fuck that.

The thing I hate most in the world: M-O-V-I-N-G (!!). After 46 moves in THIS lifetime, I cannot take it. As a shy person that gets lost easily, it sucks giant, cellulite-ridden ass. I want stability, a garden to keep, a place where neigbors recognize my face!

Divorced 2 years ago and moved from a gorgeous house (location A) to a 3rd floor apartment (location B). I pinched my pennies, drank Bud Light instead of Corona, and bought a house (location C) and moved in last October. In December, when my ex- received orders to Iraq, we thought it would work out best if I moved BACK into his house (location A) so my son wouldn't have to change schools again.

When he had trouble in school in April, I pulled him out and started driving him to the school in the school district of MY house.

Fine, now it's time to start another school year. I was going to kick out my tenants and move back to MY house (location C), gradually taking boxes and stuff during the year [total: this will be 4 moves in 2 years]. My ex, though, has a two week break from Iraq and has decided to sell his motherfreakin' house. This means a FULL move, including furniture, separating dishes, etc. and for what? For him to go BACK to Iraq and leave his crap in storage. He pisses me off. No, my son pisses me off more. Pass the goddamn tape - I have boxes to pack!

P.S. I wouldn't be surprised if the damn post office refuses to forward any mail addressed to me...


Are you going to eat those tots? [Getting tatted]

My sister convinced me to play hooky from work on Wednesday so we could spend the day at Panama City Beach bonding - okay, so she didn't have to try that hard to convince me...er, it might have been my idea. With our fifteen year age difference, I told her we'd stay until someone asked if I was her mother.

We lugged our big cooler, towels, paraphenalia and music down to the beach as a few clouds starting rolling in. [Sidenote: she's afraid of shark attacks, so she really wanted to lay out at one of the pools belonging to a beach hotel, which makes going to the beach seem rather ridiculous, if you ask me. I did manage to get her in the water up to her waist, though, before I started throwing chopped up fish guts around her]. By the end of the first hour, the sky had turned black and we were not nearly drunk enough to head home. Given my track record for all things impulsive, it should come as no surprise that we decided to get matching tattoos.

Our last name starts with a Q... as much pride as we have in it and our heritage, you would think it's a powerful, mystical name, that simultaneously inspires awe and fear. All my aunts (5 of them) and many female cousins have changed their middle names to our family name once they get married, just because we love it so much. My sister and I decided to get matching tattoos using a logo my graphic artist aunt Susie had designed years ago.

My chickenshit sister that I love, who already has a tattoo, told me it was the most excruciating pain imaginable (she might opt for adoption instead of childbirth) and made me go first. It honestly didn't hurt...much. Well, and when I was a medic in the army, we used to practice drawing blood and giving i.v.'s to one another so perhaps my perspective is slanted. She called me a badass...and I liked it. She whined a bit when it was her turn (shoulder location, but opposite sides) but Sean told her she wouldn't get a certificate unless she piped down. I'm seriously considering framing mine and sticking it up on the wall behind my desk.

We are gonna be SUCH a hit at our next family reunion.


Time off for good behaviour?

Because my son has been gone for 28 days, and I haven't been to the grocery store in...29 days, I couldn't take my sister home fast enough Sunday for a fried chicken dinner (my ex-stepmom is an amazing cook).

We ate and were looking at old photos when two big delivery trucks pulled up to the house. The driver of one told us they had a furniture overstock sale and were driving in the neighborhood with unbeatable prices. I'd never heard of a moving truck sale, but it seemed belieavable enough...I AM in the south now...so who knows. I fell in love with this bench to put at the end of my bed and wingback chair and loveseat that would go perfectly in my rental house, BUT the man was only set up to take cash or check. I decided I couldn't live without the bench, took it home, and was telling my dad what a great deal I got (sturdy, cherry legs, only $165). He asked me if I thought it was a bit suspicious...but it seemed like it was a good deal for stolen furniture (!!)

I asked my co-workers if that's common practice down here, and they all kind of looked at me like I only had 1/2 of a functioning brain cell. "Did you get a bill of sale?"

"Yes, of course, he also wrote his phone number on there in case I changed my mind about the other stuff I loved...and there's a two-year warranty if I have any problems..."

Needless to say, when we called the number, there was no such furniture store, just a perplexed woman at the other end of the line. Looks like I'm in the stolen bench business...but look how cute:



The Plan: my dad and his new wife, both teachers with the Summer off, drove from Michigan to Alabama this weekend to take my 15 year old son back with them (yahooooooo!). My dad will have cheap labor for his canoe livery and my son will have money for more Insane Clown Posse cds. Win-win. It sure sounds a helluva lot more interesting than spending nights on AOL instant messenger and sleeping in 'til noon.

Revision: they think it will last for the summer - I'm hoping for two weeks (I'm a realist). Still, that's fourteen days without that drama queen AND I won't have to cook...I can have beer and popcorn for dinner EVERY night...go gambling in Biloxi. Well, er, actually nothing much will change, but I'm still looking forward to the break.

I will now be under the constant and diligent care of my therapist, Bud Light.


Dead Girls Don't Wear Plaid

Here I am demonstrating the proper stubborn ready-for-battle pose in plaid with slightly turned up collar:


Out of the closet

I can't figure out WHY I don't have a significant other...

...unless, of course, it's because I'm a FREAK!


Are you finished with the newspaper yet?

I generally leave all the doors in the house, including the one to the bathroom, open.

If I don't:


Odds and Tight Ends

CONGRATULATIONS! To my cousin Ryan for getting drafted by the New England Patriots (my favorite football team with my favorite quarter back). Surely, he'll be able to sneak me in the locker room!


Anger Management II

I have 16 years worth of "he's a controlling jerk" stories from my marriage. I was so relieved when that divorce was final and I had a chance to start over and gain control of my own life - FINALLY! Last summer, when he somehow successfully snagged a serious girlfriend, I went OUT OF MY MIND with rage - that hot girl was in MY house, petting MY dog and how could HE find someone to love when I couldn't and he's rich and I'm poor and life's not fair, wahhhhh! I drove by the house several times a day, used my garage door opener in the middle of the night, searched through the house when he wasn't there, called at half-hour increments, googled his girlfriend, then called and drove by HER house. My anger was consuming me.

After three weeks at this grueling pace of frantic behavior, I agreed to a pool party (yeah, 'cause even psychos need a day off). All day with lots of beer, splashing and sun, my pain and rage were temporarily numbed. I followed the advice in a Supertramp song, and took the long way home, driving by the ex's house out of habit by this time, when I had a brainstorm: I'll STEAL the dog out of the backyard! She loves me more, and he doesn't deserve her! Drama-filled phone calls followed when he noticed she was gone so he called to fight about dog custody (tell me: WHY argue with a drunk woman? Do you think I'm going to suddenly think like a rational human being?). I also vaguely remember calling his girlfriend and rambling on to her answering machine about the fact that she was white trash. I'm quite intimidating with a drunken slur, let me tell you.

The next morning, I was in bed (petting my dog, heh) when my heart started palpitating. No biggee, I'm used to it, it's happened all my life. My arms went numb and I started to worry a little but decided to give it another 10 minutes just to see if it would stop. It didn't. I drove myself to the hospital a few miles away (and repeatedly got bitched out about this, but I have crappy insurance) and could barely talk at this point. After an hour in the E.R. with a heart rate of over 240 bpm, they injected something to make my heart stop and start some sort of normal rhythym...twice! I'm in my THIRTIES!!

Maybe the events are unrelated. Maybe it was a coincidence. But until you're in my shoes, or my hospital gown with hangover hair and your heart stopped, crying with waterproof mascara clumping around your eyes, please don't ask me to hold onto anger any longer than I have to.



Of all the LEAST likely places to nap...it's a good thing I looked before turning on the water.


Inside the Box in the Dining Room

My computer's story: he was born a poor black Dell...sorry, wrong tale. My first purchase as a newly-single woman was this HP...it has issues, doesn't always like to do what it's supposed to, but it's MINE and it doesn't track my whereabouts or tell on me when I've stayed up too late.

In February, I moved into my ex's house while he went to Iraq (so my son wouldn't have to change schools, blah, blah, blah). His office has his computer, bookshelves, etc. so I promptly took over the dining room. It is now my official READING ROOM (comfort is important in reading blogs). I bought a cheap computer armoire and a wireless router...so I open the doors and sink into my own little world. Bonus: I can eat and drink in there as much as I please.

Welcome to my space:



Moore Spring Break

My son has been on Spring Break this week. He's gone nowhere, done nothing except watch Bowling for Columbine and Fahrenheit 9/11 SEVERAL HUNDRED times! I think I might have to strangle him if I hear his Bush imitation one more time*:

"I call upon all nations to do everything they can to stop these terrorist killers. Thank you. Now, watch this drive."

*Not that I'm not proud to have raised a mini-liberal, but he needs more material.


Inertia and the Teenage Boy

"Well if you ever plan to motor west
Travel my way, take the highway that’s the best
Get your kicks on route 66..."

My son is fourteen years old, which you would never guess by looking at the 6'1", lanky teen. He'll start driver's training soon, so I figured now would be the time for him to get behind the wheel and practice on something other than a go-cart. It was sunny, we were headed to the grocery store, and I tossed him the keys. I figured he could drive out through the neighborhood and I would drive from there - how many years could I age in a few short miles, anyway?

I have his dad's truck while he's in Iraq, which seemed even better from my perspective. The only trouble is it's a MONSTER Dodge truck with one of those hemi engines...not that it competes in the monster truck showdowns or anything, but it does require 3 steps for parking: pull in, back out, straighten and pull back in. It's a little intimidating sometimes - I've scraped the side mirror twice while pulling next to the ATM machine at the bank, but I figured he'd be fine, as long as he drove in the middle of the street.

He hopped in the driver's seat and buckled in, so I told him the basics about Park, Reverse and Drive, how to hold his hands on 10:00 and 2:00 on the steering wheel, and which pedal is which...I suggested taking his foot off the brake and coasting first to see how it steers, then gradually pushing down the accelerator. He must not have understood the word "gradually", as he stomped on the pedal and we went flying forward. He did, however, remember where the brake was located because he used his other foot and stomped on THAT pedal immediately afterwards! That Dodge apparently goes 0 to 60 to 0 in 5 seconds

He looked over at me with this endearing little smirk on his face and said, "Guess I'll have to practice getting the right angle with my foot."

You think?

*This photo should be ample punishment.



All Things Must Pass

When I was a teenager, I wanted to be George Harrison...not his wife, his manager or psycho fan club president, but the man himself . In the bylaws of reincarnation, there was a way we could both share the talented body and sensitive mind of the youngest, quietest Beatle.
  • For 24 years now, I have celebrated George Harrison's birthday every February 25th. 
  • I had two cats, George and Ringo, when I was a teen.
  • The Beatles song Long, Long, Long is my earliest musical memory.
  • I forged his signature perfectly and did so on all my parental permission slips in high school.
  • I taped and watched his interview on VHI 2 or 3...or 47 times (an interesting sidenote: Ravi Shankar's daughter is Norah Jones).
  • When he died, in 2001, I didn't leave my house for 3 days. I mourned the loss of this talented songwriter...a man whose voice could make me cry...a man who would rather garden and jam with his friends...a man whose wife left him for his best friend (Eric Clapton) and they STAYED friends!
  • His ashes may be in the Ganges River...and Kasey Kasum isn't around, but I have a long distance dedication: play Something, Here Comes the Sun, While My guitar Gently Weeps, My Sweet Lord...and absorb some GEORGE

P.S. If you're curious, the Beatles song Long, Long, Long will fit 23 times in a row on a cd-r.


So THAT explains it...


You can't see it, but the produce drawer is FILLED with cheese (shredded, colbyjack, munster, etc), the butter section has various bottles of nailpolish and the Guinness is hidden next to the Bud Light.

And the reason I have an EX-husband? Seems the idiot didn't know labels all face FRONT, sheesh

The big question of the day: who snuck that non-alcoholic diet pepsi in there?