Deck the halls with Buddy Holly

I'm completely over Christmas, especially in conjunction with the US Postal Service Mafia. I spend holidays alone, or with my son, and easily spend over $100 to send gifts to loved ones in other parts of the country, where they open the crap, without me. My dad & I agreed that we've had enough of the so-called holiday spirit, rushing around, and last minute, guaranteed-to-get-there-on-time shipping fees. This Summer, we're meeting in Vermont, or somewhere equally random, to spend "Christmas" in July in a different state drinking beer together. Fa la la la la.


75 and sunny

Of course I got lost looking for the mall in Montgomery.
Would you expect anything less?


Finger prick

The last place someone like me (a rage-filled, man-hating shrew) needed to be was the town piss-scented police station, but there I was, getting my fingerprints taken for the third time this year because the powers that be at the Department of Defense judged me unworthy of current security status, and I have a new job and have to go through the rigamarole again, don't you know.

I was minding my own business, paying my fee, as some crackhead detoxed down the hall ("I need a bologna sandwich, fuck, that's all!") and a woman sobbed in the chair next to me.

He: you should have known better. What were you thinking? If I hadn't gotten there...

She: I'm so sorry, I know, I love you, I..I....(her words trailed off into snot-muffled sobs so I couldn't tell exactly what else she was saying, plus I was trying very hard not to eavesdrop. As if).

He: well, I guess you didn't try hard enough, and I can't even touch you because I'll contaminate the evidence and what were you thinking?

The man continued to nag and berate his too-young-looking girlfriend until the receptionist finally butted in, "Shut the hell up and stop discussing the case. Can't you just show a little compassion? Jeez."

Joy to the World.


Solo Etoh

I have this rule against drinking alone. Screw my stupid rules.

Blah, blah, oink: my new job is sort of a diagonal move up - I'm overseeing much of my old responsibilities, even though I work for a different company. At first, I tried being laid back - "Oh, hey, when you get the chance, this needs to be done". My ex-boss, though, seems to be caught up in semantics: "this scope of work says it will affect a few machines, but 4 is more than a few. What you're asking is labor intensive and we won't be able to do it."

Uh-huh, uh-huh, I hear what you're saying, but...DO IT ANYWAY!! My jugular has been bulging and twitching for 48 hours and for all the time we've spent disagreeing, the damn work could already have been done. I'm frustrated, annoyed, pissed off and wondering if men like to fight, just for the sake of fighting!


Practical magic

My sister, best friend & I stayed the night in a hotel in Tallahassee before her xanax-filled flight back to Milwaukee. I had been lost in this city in the past, and was not surprised in the least when it took a little longer to find the hotel.* I hadn't planned on booking the room for the wrong night, but eventually we were able to take the blue padded elevator to our room.

*For some inexplicable reason, I dragged both of them into the gas station with me to ask for directions because I have a limited capacity for remembering more than two turns. We would be in San Francisco if we had to rely on either of their direction skills, though. Ehem.

At some point during the evening, we realized we had 3/4 of a powerful, mystical force with our fire (Leo), air (Gemini) and water (Scorpio) signs and drunk-dialed many in our quest to find an earth sign. Our bartender stepped forward, but after she charged $26 for a buttery nipple (ONE DRINK!), we kicked her ass to the curb.

I am feeling relieved and elated that my sister thinks so highly of my best friend, who "exceeded her expectations" because we have many backpacking and drinking adventures planned in the future, once we add her best friend to the mix.

Next on our list: Chicago 2007. Evacuate now.


B & E

Every morning, including weekends, I stop by my old place of employment to feed the feral cats before going into my new office. On Saturday, when I tried to get in, I noticed my key was missing. Not wasting one impulsive second, I called my ex-boss.

Me, indignant and slightly foamy: What? You couldn't just ask for my key back? You had to be sneaky and take it behind my back? You don't trust me enough to have access...

Him: What?

Me: I know I wasn't supposed to have it, and that's not the point...the cats should suffer because I no longer work there?

Him: What key?

Me: MY key!

Him: I thought your key broke?

Me: I said it broke, thinking you understood, so I could keep it in order to let myself in during the weekends to feed the cats, but someone took it off my ring last week!

Him: Of course I trust you and would never take your key. It bothers me that someone else did, and didn't turn it in to me, since I'm responsible for the warehouse, but I'll get to the bottom of this and give you another one, don't worry.

Me: Okay, fine. Thanks.

It has occured to me that the more you act like a raving lunatic, the more people do what you want.



Remember me when I am gone away,
Gone far away into the silent land;
When you can no more hold me by the hand,
Nor I half turn to go, yet turning stay.
Remember me when no more day by day
You tell me of our future that you plann'd:
Only remember me; you understand
It will be late to counsel then or pray.
Yet if you should forget me for a while
And afterwards remember, do not grieve:
For if the darkness and corruption leave
A vestige of the thoughts that once I had,
Better by far you should forget and smile
Than that you should remember and be sad.

- Christina Rossetti


I'm not sure how I lost an entire month, but, yep, I did. I'm blaming the new job. Or on too much company. Or the fact that my sister and I are regulars at our favorite bar (finally!) because the bouncers don't make us pay cover and the bartender doesn't ask what we're drinking (yes!). How proud my parents must be.

On my last day at the OLD job, my boss surprised me with a 4-leaf clover front license plate. He took a photo of my tattoo to a screenprinter in an attempt to duplicate my Q, which was a wonderful gesture, but as far as hanging out in the parking lot showing strangers my matching tattoo and car...eh, not so much.

All my co-workers gave me a sappy sentimental card filled with "it's been wonderful working with you" and "I hope you take over the world", but Jessica? Wrote "See ya", followed by her initials. Can you feel the love?

Someone once told me I would never find a man as long as I lived in Alabama, which is some sort of back-handed compliment, I suppose, because I'm too independent and intelligent-ish (I'm assuming). Turns out there are great men in Alabama, but only temporarily visiting.

I decided to bake pumpkin bread to take to my ex-stepmother's house for Thanksgiving dinner, but used baking powder instead of baking soda and burned all unrisen four mini loaves instead. Frazzled, but remembering a new recipe for apple-cranberry pie I wanted to try, I peeled some apples and attempted project #2. The oven timer must have gone off some time during my shower, as the crust and crumbly top goodness were burnt to a crisp by the time I checked on the damn thing. I arrived at her house with two bottles of wine and a grocery bag with canned goods - mushroom soup, green beans and French onion pieces.

My son & I had driven separately because I had to drive to the airport in Tallahassee to pick up my best friend that evening, and he would go back home afterwards. While showing off his car and stereo, he somehow managed to lock his keys inside the car. My sister agreed to drive him back to our house, but he grabbed the wrong key ring and had to call a locksmith in the end.

My friend Holly has missed her last three flights, but this time she was only delayed while they waited for a crew member. We spent five wonderful days catching up, which I'll write about...by the end of December, anyway, I'm sure.


Limited access

I don't know which one of us was more surprised this morning when, after fumbling and digging through my purse, I handed the guard at the gate a Victoria's Secret "Free Panties" Card instead of my ID card.

What kind of encore follows that?

In the queue

My sister and I share an unusual (morbid?) habit of saving the most recent voicemails from people we care about, in case something horrible should happen and we never hear from them again.

Currently, from our dad: "Just wondered if you had daylight saving's down there. We're really enjoying ours up here. Talk to ya' later."

From me, in the parking lot of a bar, playing undercover agent/matchmaker last weekend: "Yeah. You know the guy with that baby*? Well, he said that when he dates girls your age (24-25), they tend to get freaked out because he has a baby, and he asked if you would. I told him I didn't think so, but on second thought, I bet you would, so maybe you could sneak out to the parking lot and let me know so...god, I'm drunk. Nevermind."

*that baby is the one we saw on a Razr phone that a stranger had left on our table, not an actual baby in the bar. Everyone knows you can't take your kids to the bar until they're at least ten, unless a few of their cousins and/or pinball machines are there, or that would just be weird.


Casting call for "Jackass"

My son: Have you ever had a habanero pepper before? I ate an entire one at work tonight - it was orange so I thought it wouldn't be as hot as a jalepeno. You know how your leg falls asleep? That happened to my entire body, my face turned white, and my ears literally felt pressurized for at least fifteen minutes.

Me: Let me guess - this was for money?

He: Yep. $3.00.

I raised my eyebrow at him, giving him a little "I'm-so-glad-I'm-not-a-boy" look.

He: ...in quarters.


Sisterly advice

Next time you mouthe words about the lead singer of a band, make sure his sister isn't deaf and he can't read lips...


Yo. Yo.

In two weeks...I'll start my new job!

My negotiating skills? Suck. Auto dealers, salesmen, real estate agents and flea market vendors love me because I never try to get the price down. If it seems fair, I pay it. Last time another company took over our contract and I was offered a smaller salary than expected, I cried and decided to quit because 'counter offer' was a foreign concept.

This time? I asked for 25% more money than I currently make, never realistically expecting them to offer it. They did. And when the woman from HR explained some of the benefits package, I asked if vacation time was negotiable, to which she replied "sure" and added another week. Just like that. She probably pays too much for new cars, too, I'll bet. Suckah!


Don't call me Bubba

I have, apparently, wiggled my way into the professional good ole boy network of southern Alabama.

I had just started my current job when some sort of incident involving a vacuum pump device, a faulty hose, and a few gallons of oil took place. On me. I had showered that morning, but it turned into a really bad hair, with lots of advice from co-workers on the best way to get oil out of clothes. Dawn dishwashing detergent is not the magic elixir they claim, by the way.

I couldn't go home (which was my plan A) because Sam, a computer/environmental scientist/geek from Louisiana, arrived to install a new program and help me learn it that day. We became fast friends, though he later told me the image of me covered in oil was one he'd always remember.

His company is hiring a few people on my base, and, since he's helping in the hiring process, asked me to send my resume so he could write a job description using MY skills and certifications. I asked if he wanted my height, weight, and a photo to attach to eliminate the prospect of someone else applying.

His human resource department started the background check on me this week, and when my current company found out I was leaving, chaos ensued. Who knew I was such a hot commodity? I've always been tragically underpaid in this field, but it appears we're about to have an all out bidding war...for ME!*

*I'm almost afraid to post this entry, in case I somehow jinx myself and both companies wind up saying, "Nah, you can have her."


Money order

Last night, I talked to my sister, who asked if I had received anything in the mail from Tony (our dad), because he mentioned that he was sending something for both of us.

I replied, "Yep, a check for $6,000."

"NO WAY!", she said. "How crazy! Six thousand dollars? I can make my car payment, and..."

[She just makes it too easy to mess with her].


Quarantine: do not enter

5/06 - 10/22/06

While it's not my intention to start an online cat obituary log (catobitog?), I have to mention the frail, sweet, one-eyed Bowie, who entered my life, and heart, this summer. She was the runt of my foster cats, surviving every possible illness and recent death of her brother, with an adorable one-eyed sense of sweetness.

When my sister's boyfriend offered to take Bowie in July, I lied and said she had an appointment the following week, so he couldn't have her (I believe I might have some sort of underlying pathological issue. Or two).

My personal veterinarian (ha!) has no clue what's causing the quick, successive deaths of my cats, but sent a blood sample for full screening when I showed up with Crunchy Black (always fun at the office, when they call us in and I mumble, "my son named him" as we walk back to pet photo-covered walls). He told me he'd like to perform an autopsy on the next one to die, which made for a rather awkward silence. I told him the previous two had died on the weekend, wouldn't rigor mortis set in during that length of time? He told me, gently, that I could wrap the body in a plastic bag and put it in my freezer until Monday, when I could bring in the body.

What does one say to that? I feel like I'm stuck in a morbidly bad b-movie written by Stephen King.


Highways and byways

My ex- starts his new job today with training in Orlando so he had our son for the weekend, then flew him back to Tallahassee for me to get Sunday night. Post-party pick-up mom.

Most of my life, people have told me to slow down when driving, but my son? Nagged the entire way because I was only going 80. He missed his car and could not possibly wait another minute for the reunion, even going so far as to tell me that he could claim youthful offender and his car insurance could cover it if I got a speeding ticket (which I pay, incidentally).

We arrived home (finally!), and he took his poor car with cat-prints on the hood out for a spin. Just like a neglected girlfriend, she paid him back for his weekend getaway, stranding him on the side of the road about ten minutes from our house.

My son, who knows next to nothing about cars, had the hood open, peering inside, as I pulled up.

"It sounds electronical, don't you think?"

Rule #1: if you know nothing about cars, make up words.


Yes, we're going to a party party...

For birthdays during my obsessive, all-things-Beatles phase (which later evolved into one of all-things-George Harrison), my dad would take me shopping at Harmony House, where I would select the perfect album and we would try to answer the age old question: Beatles vs. Rolling Stones. We shared this interest in music, so browsing together was like being in a candy factory with a chocoholic.

I don't recall a special tradition for his birthday, which is today, though I do remember buying many ties and candles over the years. 2003 stands out for the best surprise, when my mom & I painted his kitchen while he was at work.

For something different, I thought it might be nice if complete strangers on the internet could wish him a good one... (GO!)

You say it's your birthday
Well it's my birthday too--yeah
You say it's your birthday
We're gonna have a good time
I'm glad it's your birthday
Happy birthday to you.

"I called you and it went straight to voicemail." Yep.

My cell phone, which is also my home phone, has been dead since Wednesday and I'm in no rush to recharge it.

I get like this sometimes, when I'm not able to articulate thoughts, let alone share them with others. It seems much easier to turn inward and avoid people (I wonder if this is what autistic feels like.) If brains are prisons, mine is solitary confinement.

My dad struggles with this, as well, although I always found it a quirky and endearing trait in him. He drove three hours to his neice's wedding reception a few years ago, because he knew he should be there, but he couldn't tolerate the crowd (which was mostly family). He entered the front door, walked though the entire hall, then exited out the back door and returned home. Odd, now, that I should so completely understand.

My ex- used to say to me, "You're going to grow up just like your dad* - alone in a cabin in the woods somewhere, drinking beer."

And? What's so wrong with that?

*he recently got married, moved out of the woods, and switched to whiskey (just kidding).


Addison was here.

Parents with many kids always say they love them equally, though perhaps in different ways, but I don't buy it. Of my ten cats, Crackhead Kennedy and four month old Addison have always been more affectionate, and consequently gained exalted "favorite" status.

Addison was lethargic Saturday, but I didn't really notice...he's a cat. Around midnight he started wailing, and when I got closer I could hear his shallow, pained breathing. His eyes were open, staring blankly and I knew there was nothing I could do. He continued having convulsions and crying loudly, as I helplessly held him. The other cats gathered around, equally confused and concerned.

I laid down on the floor beside him, holding his head tenderly in one hand, and petting him with the other, as he passed away. He still twitched, so I kept holding and petting for probably another half hour. To stop would mean giving up, I suppose, and I was clinging to some desperate hope that he would be alright. He wasn't.

I wrapped him tenderly in one of my favorite, softest hand towels and placed him in an empty box, with a lavender rose from my garden and a catnip toy mouse. My son dug the hole next to the pink Camilla bush that's starting to bloom, and we buried him together.

His brother has spent the past two days wandering around the house, crying. I'm equally as subtle, walking around with my puffy eyelids and sobbing whenever I think of him.

Addison used to sit on my laptop keyboard when I left for a moment, surprising me with gibberish, pop-up windows and odd searches. This one's for you, sweetie. MMMDHGEHEKLJK. Rest in Peace.


(Beyond the) Pale green Athena

Other people drive inanimate objects on the highways and byways. Cars. Trucks. Motorcycles. I am transported by a pronoun worthy pale-green goddess -- the first vehicle I ever bought myself, without the assistance of a negotiating spouse.

I took her to the body shop and was told she needs a little work on her rear end (hey, it happens). $5000 and three weeks is the estimation, then she should be good as new.

My auto insurance will pay the car rental for thirty days, so I handed over my driver's license to the woman at the customer service desk, who asked if all the information was correct.

"Well, no..." I said, "that's my married name there, which I'm not. And the address was three moves ago."

"Not a problem...except that your driver's license expired in July. I can't rent this car to you."

Well, of course not (to quote an old Steve Martin act, it's all about the timing. Ti-MING).

She told me that their employee Tim would drive me home to get my relevant paperwork (name change, divorce decree), then to the courthouse to get my license. Tim is retired from the Navy, saw combat in Vietnam, and grew up in this area so I got the full tour: the house he grew up in, the creek he fished in, and all the schools in the area. I'm going to suggest to my insurance company that they cover the rental and driver for the next three weeks.



The judge asked, "What do you plead?"

I said, "Insanity, your honour. Who in their right mind would park in the passing lane?"
- Stephen Wright

Same location (near my old house) on the same road (84-E), with the same weather (crappy late afternoon rain storm) as last year when the Bronco flipped over the median. Welcome to my déjà vu.

Not much on my mind, other than hypocrites and puritanical sensibilities, as I cruised along, hoping I wouldn't be too late for my dentist appointment. I played with my sunglass a bit, unable to decide if the clouds looked better darker. Lighter. Darker. Lighter. I noticed the car in front of me stopping suddenly, and quickly pressed down my own brake pedal as hard as I could. The anti-lock brakes worked like a charm as I skipped along the wet pavement, stopping approximately one inch from the car in front of me. PHEW!

My relief, however, was short-lived, as I glanced in my rear-view mirror and noticed the truck behind me, a Ford Ranger, was not having such an easy, stop-on-a-dime time with her brakes. She collided into my back end, pushing me into the car in front of me. Then again, with a jolt of the car forward and back, as another truck hit HER from behind. Domino Dancing in a six-cylinder.

The officer on a Harley eventually arrived, and we drove under the canopy at the Shell gas station so he wouldn't get wet (think Eric Estrada...plus 80 pounds). No one was hurt, fortunately, so he took the reports, while we joked and laughed and talked about how crazy hydroplaning was. I told them next time I was in a four car pile-up, I wanted to be at the front, in a truck, because my car was the vehicle that sustained the most damage.

What struck me most was that there didn't seem to be any anger or flying accusations. I don't know how the police report will read or fingers will be pointed, or if it really matters, but the woman that hit me apologized profusely. Repeatedly.

I'm from a no-fault insurance state (Michigan) so it's relatively simple: my insurance pays my damage, yours pays for you. Here? I'm not exactly sure how it works, and it all seemed to be rather hush-hush when I talked to my insurance agent on the phone, "Oh, I can't legally tell you who will pay the deductible, or if it falls under the collision portion of the policy."

This was the first accident I've had in over twenty years, so now I feel like I'm in a fancy restraurant with lots of people, waiting to see who picks up the bill.


7% solution

Two facts about my father:
1. He rarely (as in never) goes to the doctor. Once when I was seven, during a family meeting with his 10 siblings, he turned grey and blood started squirting out of his nose from his high blood pressure. And then? I'm not sure he did more than grab a towel and tilt his head back.

2. He doesn't buy new vehicles, preferring instead to trade used trucks with his brothers when they're drinking. He did buy a Chevy Citation in 1980 that had no air conditioning, power steering, or brakes (well, it might have had brakes, but he taught me how to drive with it, and I'm quite sure I never used them).

If it's possible to have a complete personality overhaul at age 60, he has.

He recently told me he was having surgery on his neck because of a nonspecific lump that didn't cause any pain. I expressed surprise, asking if he thought of getting a second opinion. "I did. The second doctor said, 'sure enough, you have a lump on your neck. That'll be $100.' He is also taking medication for his high blood pressure and has been to the dentist twice this month.

A chronic, lifetime procrastinator, he finished several courses he needed to continue teaching - and the deadline isn't until NEXT SUMMER! He's also put up a few entries in his blog, which is a few more than ever before.

He bought a new fully loaded SUV. A bit too much for him, with it's fancy features and leather interior, but he went a little more upscale for his wife.

When I asked him if he discovered a new vitamin, he told me that he estimated marriage has made him 7% more productive because now there is a witness whenever he feels like slacking. It's quite obvious by the piles of clothes, books stuffed in every crevice and assorted mounds of potting soil that I haven't had a witness in years.


Job's kittens

[top to bottom: Addison, Chase, Bowie]

When it comes to kittens, don't ever say, "What next?!" (or "No, I coudln't possibly take another", for that matter).

It turns out Addison, one-eyed Bowie's "sister", is technically a male. When I noticed his eye getting cloudy, as in a creepy episode of X-Files, I took him to the vet, who informed me that he has a juvenile cataract and is most probably blind in his left eye. There is no link between his cataract and Bowie's corneal ulcer - different mechanism, same result - although at least he'll get to keep the visionless eye.

Over the past six weeks, I've sent three of my veterinarian's children to college with the following kitten maladies: ulcerated cornea, eyeball enucleation (removal) , staph infection, ringworm, fleas, worms, juvenile cataract, and assorted vaccinations.

My cousin used to tell me that she wasn't going to the casino in the future - she would just slow down when she drove by and throw money out the window. I suppose it would be littering if I threw pieces of plastic credit cards at Westgate Animal Hospital while cruising past.


Pay it forward

My dad has this game he likes to play called "I-got-in-my-car-16-hours-ago-and-now-I'm-at-your-house...SURPRISE!"

1990. He had never been to my house in Alabama, 1050 miles away, since I had only been there a few months. In between napping/eating/wondering when I'd be able to stop wearing maternity clothes, the phone rang. He told me he was on the corner at the gas station, how would he find my house from there? It was a fantastic visit, but I don't believe I've ever been more caught off guard in my life.

2006. He and his "child bride" (she's 51) were supposed to be at my house Friday afternoon. I had a detailed, Martha Stewart type, I'm-kind-of-anal list to follow to complete everything before their arrival: cut the grass, trim the hedges, mop the floors, wash sheets, grocery shop, bake pies, etc. Thursday afternoon he called to say they were going to drive straight through rather than stop in a hotel, because they were just north of Montgomery. ACK! I do love surprises, but I prefer to be freshly showered with my to-do list completed first.

Because my sister has been depressed lately, we decided we wouldn't tell her that they would be visiting. Her mother & I synchronized our watches and met at the same restaurant for dinner Friday night. She was so shocked, she didn't even hug him initially, just stood there crying from happiness. I have an interesting photo of her veins bulging when she first realized we were there and lunged forward, but I promised not to post it. It's definitely better to be the surpriser than the surprisee.


Drama Queen Central

We were all sitting around/goofing off in the office Friday morning when my boss said he'd like to start a photo journal of run-down schools standing next to elaborate churches to show how our priorities, as a society, are backwards and that religious organizations should have to pay taxes like everyone else. A co-worker chimed in that she didn't think people without children should have to pay taxes (children are our future, who cares if you birthed them? Do you really want our country run by a bunch of ignorant adults?), though she suggested a flat tax of 10% on every purchase so illegal aliens would have to contribute to our social programs.

Belated note to self: avoid conversations about religion, politics, and especially BOTH.

We're both liberal, so I generally agree with him, but when my boss said he cheated on his taxes every year because everyone else did, I was stunned (and for the record, no one I know cheats on their taxes). I wasn't trying to be rude, judgemental or even snotty, but I said, "Hm. That surprises me. I thought you had more integrity than that." Try saying that if you ever want to end a conversation immediately, because it came to a screeching halt as he stomped out of the office.

I walked outside to call my sister, and was leaving a voice message as he walked past, "Mumble, mumble...integrity. Try looking in a fucking mirror!"

Since I wasn't exactly sure what he said, or if he was even talking to me, I said, "Excuse me?" but he didn't reply. He just got in his car and peeled out.

I try to be a bigger person (sometimes), I really do, but my fingers on a keyboard don't always have a filter. I decided I should email him an apology, and told him I was sorry that he felt the need to overreact, which a friend told me was arrogant and snarky - I should have just left it. Sigh. Two co-workers down, seven to go.


Mona Lisa Summer

One of the last photos I took of my cat Summer before she ran away/got lost/stumbled into a mole-filled heaven nine months ago alternately fascinates and gives me shivers. The background around her is crisp, while she is an ethereal beauty - glowing and planning other-worldly adventures (I'm sure it has something to do with the light or the aperture or something else technical, but that's irrelevant):

My aunt Susie is an artist - an incredibly talented, Belgian chocolate-loving personality whose work inspires those around her (and makes me crazy green with envy!). She and my mom have been best friends longer than I've been alive (they married brothers, but their friendship bond stuck even after their divorces), so she's always been a part of my life. The running joke is the time I babysat for her three kids (my cousins), but didn't pay attention as the toilet leaked and flooded their entire house with a foot of water. Hey, I was only twelve - you get what you pay for!

For my birthday this year, my mom sent a Summer portrait, painted by my Aunt Susie, who, fortunately, doesn't hold grudges:

I couldn't ask for a more wonderful gift.



I started physical therapy for scoliosis after my pre-teen growth spurt. One of the exercises was to crouch down on all fours, then stretch out with my arms as far as possible. The therapist would say, "Keep reaching, stretch, stretch. Pretend there's a million dollars within your grasp."

My cats own the laundry room, with their water and food bowls, assorted toys and scratching goodies, but they prefer the dog's dishes. Keep reaching, stretch, stretch...


I SAID super size

As I was dragging myself to McDonald's for my MUST HAVE post-drinking lunch*, I stopped at the first window to pay/rummage through my pockets/try to remember what the heck I did with my debit card, when I heard music coming from the car in front of me. Correction: it was so loud, I actually felt the music, throbbing somewhere behind my right temple.

*filet of fish, large fries and a strawberry shake. I don't know if it's the salt, the vegetable lard or the reconstituted strawberries in fake dairy goodness that helps, but it always settles my beer stomach.

The seventeenish year old drive-thru teller nodded her head in the car's direction and told me that the driver was playing that song for her.
I said, "Aw, that's sweet, right?"
She replied, "Very. We hooked up last night, and that's our song."

Romance isn't dead, but you might have to buy a happy-meal to find it.


39 and a day

Well, my birthday passed without much fanfare, drunken mishaps, or broken hips, which is probably a good thing. I went to work, then to my ex-stepmother Robbie's house for dinner (REAL southern fried chicken), shopping at Petsmart, then home in bed by 10:30. So, this is aging, huh?

The highlight was most definitely getting flowers from MY DAD TONY, who has probably never stepped foot in a flower shop, and probably only bought them accidentally because he misplaced his reading glasses and thought he was ordering a cd. They are gorgeous, and so unexpected.

They also managed to guilt my son Patrick into picking up a bouquet for me on his way home from work. Score!

Gift #3: Ed's mother will be in Savannah this weekend, so he had a friend of his fly Patrick there tonight. It was quite possibly the smallest plane I have ever seen - I'm guessing he'll have to hang his feet out the window.


Hip Hip...

How did my 9 feline anarchists celebrate/protest my return home from Milwaukee? With dirt, of course. Lots and lots of dirt.

Mediaplayer: Forever Young by Alphaville


Dell's Bells

When my HP desktop crashed THREE TIMES for no explicable reason other than the possible alignment of Saturn and Venus, their not-so-English-speaking-customer service department sent me a box so I could fed-ex the computer that time forgot to them in California. They replaced the hard drive and eventually mailed it back to me - a week and a half later.

My current soulmate, a Dell laptop that's still under warranty, lost/misplaced two letters off the keyboard (completely cat-related, of course, as one was trying to jump on my lap, his claw gripped the keyboard and pulled as he tried desperately to stay attached, but gravity won instead*), so I was thinking they could send a few letters? P and 0? Nah, they sent a whole new keyboard PLUS a cute, tiny screwdriver.

*this reminds me of my boss, who insists that if you throw dice, the number three will come up most often and believes that he knows, from research, the luckiest numbers for the Florida state lottery to eventually win. I keep telling him statistically, the odds of each number is the same. He can refuse to believe in statistics and gravity, but they're still there, regardless.

My laptop screen occasionally blinks, so I thought I could find out if it was covered under the warranty, which it is. A technician came to my house, cleaned the connections and replaced the video card. Two months later, it did it a few times again, so another technician arrived the next day with a brand new screen.

I can't get over this customer service...Budweiser needs something similar.


Not again

At the risk of having cats completly take over my blog, meet Addison, the sister of one-eyed Bowie:
When I got home from work yesterday, I noticed her eyes were barely open and she seemed to be sick. Please let it be a sympathy reaction to her sister losing an eye and nothing more.


They're poisoning cats on Fort Rucker, Alabama...

...and I feel sick.

I mentioned the other day my feral crew of approximately twenty cats at work (well, seventeen, since I took three kittens home. One with a bad eye needed antibiotics, but she was lonely so I grabbed her sister, then yesterday I took them up to visit their mom, who missed them not at all, though their brother was ecstatic to see them so I took him back with me).

Yesterday, there were only ten waiting for breakfast, then today, only six. Someone at work mentioned that they poison the feral cats on base about once a year, to keep the population down, and they had posted the "DO NOT FEED THE CATS" signs just last week, so he figured it was time again. What the hell? Is there a time warp tunnel from the Dark Ages around here?

Military bases are historically chock full of abandoned pets, with soldiers not wanting to go through the trouble or expense to take them once they move, especially overseas. I contacted the Veterinary office on post last week about a feral release program and they told me they would take the cats in, put them up for adoption, then put down the cats that didn't get taken. What part of FERAL do they not understand? No one will adopt these cats. I've fed them every day since November, some of them trust me enough that I could catch them, but I can't live with their blood on my hands if I take them in.

I decided to talk to my Veterinarian, to see if he would give me a discount so I could get the females spayed then return them back to their homebase to roam and hunt rodents, but I never got the chance. They're being murdered by thirds. every. single. day. My boss suggested I verify the information before I continue my obsession.

I'm tired of explaining to rednecks that have shot at birds and squirrels their entire lives with BB guns that this is CRUEL. I'm tired of expecting co-workers to have compassion. I'm tired of not having enough money or space to save them all. I'm just...tired.


Raindrops on roses and eyedrops in kittens

I take my "stupid" pills daily, like a good multivitamin, but this weekend I threw caution to the wind and consumed the entire bottle.

A major SUCKAH for cats, I accidentally ended up with six at home after one disappeared (read here). And at work? I've been feeding an average of ten cats since around October, when we discovered abandoned kittens under one of our storage units. That number has steadily increased, and with the birth of a few more batches, it's up to around twenty. About two weeks ago, I saw a cute little kitten with one brown eye, one blue, and named her Bowie. She was one of the more tame ones, occasionally allowing me to pet her.

When I went in Saturday morning, I noticed her brown eye was closed, with pus and drainage making it impossible for her to open it, so I drove her over to my veternarian, who said it could be a viral or bacterial infection that's caused such a deep lesion. He gave me antibiotics for the eye, antifungal for her ringworm, told me to keep her separated from my animals if I was taking her home, then bring her back Tuesday to see if she's improving.

She looked so lost and pathetic, sitting in the cat carrier in my bathroom by herself, but I didn't want to take her back to work since I have to give her medicine four times a day. I did the only logical thing: went back to work and nabbed her sister. The two of them are living like fat cats.

Captive audience:


From the Barney summer collection

I don't "get" fireworks: they're loud, look the same every year, my pets are terrified and we're in a drought, for heaven's sake! Besides, I'm the anti-celebrator during holidays. It's what I do.

While everyone else was pigging out on hotdogs and rancid cole slaw, I spent my weekend refinishing the little desk in my kitchen. What I envisioned as a sleek, dark eggplant surfing-stand turned out to be more of a grape kool-aid disaster.

I rummaged through my storage shed and found some limewash, which I painted on the desk with my random criss cross brush strokes. Nope. I dug deeper and found some crackle buried beneath some ancient pesticide, slopped some of that over the "raisin" base coat, then covered with a layer of white.

Before: old, dark brown, ragged desk. Dated.

Midproject: grape monstrosity.

After: old, purple, crackled, one-of-a-kind desk. Never been kissed.

I'm still not quite sure what I'll do to help this ugly stepchild of a desk, but I'm guessing some sort of stripping will be involved. For now, I giggle whenever I look at it, and shouldn't home decorating involve laughter? Or is that just me?


'Twas 71

My parents both use the internet phone plan Vonage, so sometimes our conversations are a series of clicks and echos. Sunday's conversation with my dad was particularly crowded with my ghost menagerie, which led him to tell me this:

When my aunt Denise told her son Travis about taking her first trip to Ireland this summer with her four sisters, he told her, "don't go with them, go with me instead." My twenty-seven year old cousin passed away at the end of February, so in the end, aunt Denise would make the journey with her sisters.

They stayed in a room with the skeleton key inside the lock, but the door would rattle and shake every night regardless. "Leave us alone, Travis...we're old women trying to sleep" became part of the nightly ritual.

On the return flight home, my aunt Denise would have to take a different plane home. Flight 71, which was also Travis' jersey number. Coincidence? Or did he perhaps take the trip to Ireland with his mom, afterall?


Think you know me?

100 fun facts:
I always wanted to be an archeologist (and still do)
I believe in reincarnation
I can touch my nose with my tongue
I'm an insomniac
I once thought I was driving to Austria, but ended up in Switzerland
While drunk, I've lost 6 watches
....and 3 pairs of earrings
I once took a Latin exam, and wrote all my answers in Spanish
I can write in cursive, backwards and upside down
I can drink diet pepsi and imagine it's bud light
I can drink an Atkins chocolate protein shake and imagine it's kalua & cream
I've moved 45 times
I'm afraid of bridges
...and seaweed
I've gotten 12 speeding tickets
I would love to go to school forever
I eat crunchy peanut butter out of the jar
I'm a LEO
I wear a sweater if it's cooler than 75 degrees F.
A ouji board told me I'd die at 42 - and I believe it*
     *apparently it lied, as I'm 49 and updating this in 2017
I have whole cds I can't listen to because they make me cry
I can ask for a beer in 6 different languages
I love shoes
....but have ugly feet
I always wanted to have a little girl
My eyes are hazel but bright green when I'm emotional
I have extremely cold-sensitive teeth - sometimes I have to drink beer with a straw
I've never been on a blind date
I sleep with a FLAT pillow
I've broken my nose twice
I've never been in a fist fight
I've weighed from 102 to 148 lbs during the past 10 years
I'm shy
I'm an only child
I accidentally forgot to file my state taxes
I have 6 cats
and a dog
and feed close to 20 wild cats at work
I've driven 120 mph on the Autobahn
I climbed a pyramid in Chichen-Itza with a hangover (and the bus had to stop so I could get out and throw up)
I'm quite sure I was George Harrison's greatest fan
My cell phone plays Fur Elise
I hate talking on the phone
I love Volcanoes
...and Depeche Mode's Dave Gahan's voice.
I never understood logarithms
I eat Whoppers malted milk balls until I'm sick
I was a medic in the Army
I love any and every combination of purple and green
I'm Irish, Hungarian, German and Polish - when people ask, I just say IRISH
I was Captain of my Varsity Lacrosse and Field Hockey teams
I melt butter and pour it over microwave buttered popcorn (a trick I learned from my mom)
I used to be 5'7"...now I'm only 5'5"
I have a hard time saying "I love you"
My ring finger is a size 4-1/2
I consider driving a 5 speed a good workout
I can't parallel park
INXS was the first concert I ever attended...
Natalie Merchant was the most recent
I can whistle, but not sing
Calla Lillies are my favorite flower
I don't like Lord of the Rings
I would kidnap Tom Brady of the NE Patriots if I thought I could get away with it
I learned how to drive when I was 12
...and drove from Michigan to Alabama and back, through snow, when I was 15
...and subtracted 10 years from my dad's life
I love reality tv shows
...but would hate to be on one
I know 4 different versions of solitaire
My 400+ cds are arranged alphabetically
My closet is arranged by color (ROYGBIV)
Each of my shoe boxes has a photo of the pair inside
I can't multi-task
If I had been a boy, my name would be Shane
I got caught cheating in 6th grade and never did it again
I went to a Catholic school for 1st grade
I have a BS in Biology/Chemistry
I don't use an alarm clock (I'm automatically up by 5:00)
When I'm drinking, my ears turn red
....and I can't find enough laps to sit on
One of my biggest faults is insecurity
Another is impulsiveness
But I'm an amazing procrastinator
I was a bartender
My favorite shot is a lemon drop with Absolut
I want to live in Italy
....and eat gelato EVERY DAY!
My favorite song is Peter Gabriel's In Your Eyes
I can't listen to it without crying
I love to vacuum
I drove a 2-1/2 ton truck (deuce and a half) in the Army
I can drive a forklift
I can also take out large chunks of walls with said forklift
I won $350 the first time I played Blackjack
I can forge my ex-husband's signature
I dump potato chips into the dip container and eat them with a spoon
Every week, I buy myself flowers and pretend someone loves me



"From atop these pyramids, forty centuries look down upon you."
-- Napoleon Bonaparte

**An added bonus of Blogspot: if you click on a photo in an entry, it will appear full size. Can you feel the sand between your toes?


Sans Claws

It's too difficult to fit all my cats in the little hand-held pet carrier, so I've been taking my six cats to the vet's office in groups of two. The males were fixed last month, and today I dropped off the two females to get spayed.

The receptionist was kind enough to call and leave a message where I work after their surgeries:“The surgeries went well, your cats are fine, and you can pick them up Friday afternoon because of the declawing.”

Huh? De-claw-ing? DECLAWING?! That's like going in for a hangnail and coming out with no legs!

The vet came on the line and apologized profusely for the misunderstanding - he'd performed several declawings, but NOT on my felines, who will still be able to climb the kitty condo and tear up my carpet. It would still be in his best interest to give them extra kitty drugs tonight, though.

November 16, 2005 flashback moment
When all four kittens DID fit in the same carrier. With room to spare.


Today's Tom Sawyer

My boy's got wheels!
The car: a 1987 Chevrolet Camaro. It has 86,000 miles, new tires, 6 cylinders and no air-conditioning, which is supposedly a plus because the car will ride lighter and faster. I imagine WE will be riding lighter, at the very least, since it's been in the high 90's all month.
The cost: $2,400. Patrick paid half from his hard-earned dish-washing stashed cash, his father paid the other. I'm actually proud of the two for setting aside their pigheadedness long enough to agree on a car.
Bonus Tom Sawyer moment: since we weren't able to pick up the car until 6 p.m., Ed demonstrated proper waxing technique ON MY CAR.


The year of 24

On my half-sister's fifth birthday, she walked into her mother's bedroom and asked if she knew what day it was. Her mother, no doubt recalling the birth of the ten-pound butterball, answered in the affirmative. My sister gleefully informed her, "it's the year of five!"
Today starts the year of twenty-four.


Speed Racer says...

As we prepared for our road trip from hell, I told my sister I would set my cruise control for 78 mph and she could follow me. She said, "Oh, I don't believe in cruise. I go 80 when my gut tells me it's safe, then I slow down when it tells me it's not."

I'd laugh, too, except she has zero speeding tickets and I have...well, you know.

I called the Mayor's court office in Arlington Heights, Ohio today to find out how much the fine for my ticket was. While it was relatively cheap ($142), I was informed that it was due by my court date...uh, May 18th - a week ago.


Michigan to Alabama: the drugs don't work

Pre-trip meltdown
Sunday morning, 6:00 a.m. phone call from my sister:" I haven't slept in three days, but if I take a sleeping pill I'll be out for ten hours and I won't be able to fininsh packing...I've had the flu and have been throwing up...I can't get ahold of my friend with the pickup truck to help me move my entertainment center and I have to be out of here by tomorrow...but I haven't closed out my bank account yet. What am I supposed to do? Follow you? Our dad yelled at me...and everyone thinks I'm a flaaaaaaake."

Me, in my calmest, no-you're-not-a-crazy-lunatic voice: "Um...no one thinks you're a flake. Did you take one of your little pills? (my sister has a history of serious anxiety attacks - one that required a trip to the hospital in an ambulance, which was the main reason we were driving together as she moved her life south).

Tuesday morning, we met at a gas station in Lansing, Michigan located halfway between us (within about twenty seconds of one another). She had given her cat a tranquilizer to calm her for the sixteen hour car ride, which seemed only to work as a bladder relaxer, as her carrier was soon flooded with cat urine. We decided the cat should ride with me, since I'm calmer (or as my friend said, "the lesser of two fruitcakes") and perhaps the MEOWING wouldn't be so incessant. This worked only in theory, since my ears were bleeding by the second hour.

Our trip was relatively uneventful as we arrived in Bowling Green, Kentucky to stop for the night.

Mistake #1: we stayed in a hotel that had a bar.
Mistake #2: the bar closed before we could finish our last drinks so I suggested she shove those last two in her purse so we could take them to our room. I think I was being a smartass, since she had ruined two phones using this specific method of drink removal in the past, but she grabbed the drinks anyway and killed another innocent phone.

We got off to a late start Wednesday, but I wasn't too concerned since I didn't have to be home until the following morning by 7:00 (I had to take my son to school and go to work). We ate, hung out at rest stops, exchanged cds and puttered our way south.

Murphy's Law dictates that her anxiety attack should occur at the most inconvenient moment possible. Crossing the Alabama State border, still having seven hours of dark, construction-coned road ahead of us, was it. She eventually calmed down, but could no longer drive so we found a hotel room and picked up some food. I gave her my cell phone, took her cat, and resumed my drive home - pulling in the driveway at 4:00 a.m. I was just in time to round up all my cats that were sitting out in the driveway (my ex-husband had stayed here for a week and decided to make them all outdoor cats - GRRRRR!), sleep for an hour, take a shower, and get to work. I'm definitely going to need a few days off to recover from this vacation.


78 in a 55 (Déjà Vu)

I've lived in: Michigan, Texas, Washington, Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio, and Germany.

I've gotten speeding tickets in: Michigan, Washington, Kentucky, Tennessee, Germany, Indiana (twice)...and now Ohio.

In my own defense, there were four lanes of cars, all speeding. I just happened to be in the middle with an OUT-OF-STATE license plate.

Funniest get-out-of-a-ticket story: my mom was working for an extremely particular boss who didn't tolerate tardiness. She left the house a little late, was pulled over by a policeman for speeding, and asked him to write a note so she wouldn't get in trouble once she got to work.


Shades of blonde

I stopped by the dry cleaners, on a whim, to see if my missing pink sweater that I wore to my dad's wedding reception might be there. "Yep", the cashier told me, "you owe $28.79". Sure, I bought it at Banana Republic, it has a great neckline, and is super soft, but almost $30? To clean? Beer and mozarella cheese stick stains are that difficult to remove?

Returning with my pink sweater and two dresses (ahhhhh), she told me they'd been there since October 2004, and were on their way to Goodwill this weekend, if I hadn't shown up.


I saw my house on the internet, on a local realtor's listing website, went to look at it during my lunch hour, and put in an offer the next day. I immediately fell in love with the yard, which is a beautiful corner lot with puh-lenty of trees and blooming azaleas. The only problem? I'm not exactly sure where my property line is. I'd like to rake it and take some cuttings, but I'm kind of embarrassed to go next door and ask after a year and a half. Either way, somebody should probably get out there and rake.

L'Oreal. Because I'm worth it.

You be the judge - doesn't that little green pylon look like a property marker?


This is really an odd way to leave a text message, but okay...

The plan: my sister is moving to Alabama in May to live with her mother for the summer and take a few college classes while she's here. She wanted me to fly to Michigan, then ride down here with her so she'll have someone to share the 20+ hour drive south. The road trip tatoos are being negotiated.

The snag: my sister is a flake. A beautiful blonde airhead. I've booked my ONE WAY ticket to Michigan, but can't reach her to double-check the date of my arrival. She hasn't answered her phone, which has no voicemail, and I'm guessing there was another incident involving her cell phone and an open bottle of beer from the bar hidden in her purse.

I am going to kick. her. ass. if I'm taking a week off to fly one way and she's changed the plan.


A shallow, unmarked grave

Looks like the cat mafia has a new calling card.
A second dead chipmunk was placed outside my door tonight.

[This is actually my gentlest kitten, Crackhead Kennedy, yawning.

No drunken, aspiring photographers - me - were harmed during the taking of this photo]


The sighs of March

My son was born on the last day of March in 1990 and every year we celebrate my pain and sixty pound weight gain, not with a card or flowers, but with phone calls from school principals. It’s always a different school, with different specifics, but it’s still the same: your son is disruptive and disrespectful and something needs to be done. I agree, apologize to the administrators, then try yelling, threatening and reasoning with the child who doesn’t seem to care that he’s making his life, and mine, miserable.

He’s had a good life with two parents who love him, never been hungry, and only been dropped on his head once. He’s seen counselors since he was young, taken anger management programs in multiple schools, yet still has such pent up frustration and rage, especially towards authority figures. And absolutely zero respect for the person who loves him the most: me.

Last year in March, when his dad was in Iraq, I drove him to a new school rather than send him to the alternate school for druggies, thieves and common criminals. He’s intelligent, getting A’s and B’s…didn’t he deserve another chance?

Now, with seven unexcused absences since January, he’s an inch away from getting no credit for the entire semester. Again! The principal suspended him for a day, for his constant disruptive behavior, and I’m at my wit’s end. Is it time to let him pay the consequences, even if it means dropping out of school in 10th grade, like his dad believes? What do I do when he pushes the snooze button for every single wake up call?

It makes me wonder...if there had been a mandatory exam before motherhood, would I have passed with a high enough score to have a child? Or would the hypothetical school for parents told me to stick with kittens?


How does one go about getting banned from Lowe's??

Hypothesis: the smaller the project, the more furniture I'll have in my driveway waiting to be crackled.

Some mildew on the bathroom wall. Relatively small and easy to fix, I assume, as I head off to Lowe's to pick up some mildew remover. Unfortunately, their ingenious floor plan means it's not possible to leave the store without passing through paint and plants.

Mildew cleaner (focus, focus...).

I really should pick up some paint for the bathroom, to freshen it up a bit, since I'm here. First I'll have to patch a few small holes in the wall, then the ceiling, where a piece of the popcorn ceiling fell off (it's also moist, not a good sign as far as the roof goes, but I'll have someone come look at that later). Oh, yeah, and the hole in the living room from where the carpet installer had taken a gash out of the wall? I should fix that, too, since I'll have the joint compound and trowel tools. My dark wood bathroom cabinet, which I never did care for, is going to look out of place now, but I can't afford a new one, so I'll just take off the doors and paint it...it'll need new hardware.

I find what I need, plus some Tuscan accents paint for my living room (to cover the new patch) and a trailing ivy. I return home, move the bookshelves out of the way, and decide to try cackling them since they're already emptied out. The primer is on the bedroom walls, there's a thick layer of dust in the bathroom from sanding the patches and I'm about to start painting the living room.

Now what did I do with that mildew cleaner...?


License and registration, ma'am

I fell in love today.

Oh, sure we had a rocky start, as I watched him two-finger peck my car registration information into his computer. I tapped my foot, exhaled several times (loudly), and chewed through three packs of gum as I wrestled with the idea of jumping over the counter to help the idiot type FASTER. But then, after twenty excruciatingly long minutes, he handed my driver's license back to me and said, "you definitely don't look your age. You don't look a day over 32."

Me: My eyes are puffy today...and I didn't sleep (kittens!)....

Lovebunny: Well, you look amazing for your age. You look amazing for any age.

Me: Thank you. I'll be back tomorrow.


Fair-feathered friends

I complain a bit/all the time about the messes my kittens make because it seems to be never-ending. Like the hockey tournament they held in the kitchen with an entire box of Fruit Loops, or the glasses of water they consistently knock over, or even the trail of kitter litter throughout the house. Today, however, I reset the bar.

I was trying to change a lightbulb above the fireplace, lost my balance (I never claimed to be graceful), fell onto the mantle, which is apparently not attached, flipped it over and caused four potted plants with soil to sail through the air and crash onto the (BEIGE) carpet. Oh, and the black basalt cat statue I had from Egypt? It's not so much stone as something...less stone-like and more breakable since the ears broke off. Stupid cats.

My best investment: their new feather bed, which should sleep one but will occasionally sleep four. It keeps them out of trouble for...minutes at a time.


Center for Disease Uncontrollable

My son, Dr. Truant, informed me this morning that he had pink eye.

Me: Let me see. Yeah, it's just red from staying up too late on the computer last night. Get in the shower.

Truant: Pink eye is extremely contagious you know.

Me: Don't make out between classes and you'll be fine. You missed yesterday because of a sore throat - you are going to school today. Per-i-od.

So, dumbass walked into his first block class and told the teacher he might have pink eye...and home he was sent. His theory, he told me tonight, is that he has bacterial conjunctivitis caused by streptococcus, thereby explaining his sore throat and red eye in one devious plot twist (this only confirms my theory that he's spending too much time on the internet).

My kittens are battling their own contagious fungal infection - ringworm - right now (any idea how difficult it is to give pills to four squirming little maniacs with teeth?).

Me? I've been itchy, scratching, feeling a fungal/bacterial growth over my entire body. Maybe my son will write me a doctor's note so I can skip work on Monday.


Sisters Q

I consider myself an only child, with a twenty-three year old sister (we have the same father) and a fourteen year old brother (same late blooming mother), because I was almost an adult when they came along. Instead of sharing a room, fighting over clothes, and learning social skills, I was lost in a book or setting up Monopoly tournaments for me, myself and I.

My sister left yesterday and I'm actually missing her as I find signs of her visit: her ring on my nightstand, Bud Light bottles in the bathroom, the gum stuck to my Cosmo, the black sweater with sparkles she let me borrow...(don't worry, I'm mailing you everything! Probably. Heh).

She's a true extrovert - the one in a room with the sparkly personality that people can't help but want to be near, while I've always been more introverted and reserved. I used to be envious of her ease with strangers and her comparatively easy childhood, but our struggles are simply different and I'm finally able to appreciate our similarities (like singing Van Morrison songs at the top of our lungs in the bar).

She's my anxiety-ridden, music-providing, beer-sharing, crazy-cat-lady-in-training sister and I feel a little less alone in the world with her in it.

You're beautiful. You're beautiful.
You're beautiful, it's true.
There must be an angel with a smile on her face,
When she thought up that I should be with you.

- James Blunt


Ask not for whom the ball drops, it drops for thee

You know you must have had a fun night when, the following day at noon, you're standing outside the strip bar in your pyjamas, 3" pumps, and princess tiara, banging on the door to see when you can get your credit card back (Monday, after 4:00).

12/31/2005: My sister TQ somehow convinced me to wear a little black boob-ilicious dress for our adventure New Year's Eve because it coordinated well with her sleek, backless black pant suit. Apparently, jeans and t-shirts are the southern dress code for bringing in the New Year in Alabama since we were WAY overdressed the entire evening.

We drank our beer and champagne at her mother's house until around 10:00, then decided to head to a gay bar in town. We met a couple of friendly women in line for the restroom ("Only one person may enter at a time. Strictly enforced"), but everyone there was a couple, so my drag queen sister and I kissed each other on the cheek when the ball dropped.

We drove through thick fog to the strip club and met Chad, my co-worker, in the parking lot. We stayed until last call, then headed to a "private" bar that stays open as long as anyone wants to drink (I'd never heard of this until I moved here, but apparently, as long as you are a "member" with a cheap cardboard name card, the party never ends. This has been my downfall many, many times).

More beer followed, then some guy that wanted my sister to pose with his band, bought us shots of Jagerbombs. I'd have to pinpoint this moment as the one she checked out for the evening:

It was around 6:30 a.m. by this time, so we decided to take the long way home, swinging by work so I could feed my ten stray cats. It's a bit unorthodox to be wandering around in high heels, out in the fog, with the sun coming up, carrying cat food and yelling, "Here, kitty, kitty..." but it was really important that I feed them, and don't argue with me when I'm drunk!