If you’re lucky, you find someone who changes the way you view yourself, others, and the world in general. In addition to my family, I have found three such people, two of whom are in a tremendous amount of emotional pain right now. The first, a wonderful man I've known on the internet for over four years is losing kittens (he cares for twenty-one cats) daily to some lethal, extremely contagious virus and my heart is aching for him as he holds his dying kittens. He deserves more than my measley words.

Part two of the double whammy this week: my wonderful friend since Basic Training (1987) in Fort Jackson lost her father this week. I booked a ticket to Milwaukee, leaving Friday morning from Tallahassee (figuring I’d bypass the whole “speeding ticket/missed flight/get a hotel room” process I endure when I fly out of Atlanta). I crossed my fingers and held my breath while I waited for the purchase to go through on my maxed out credit card, and it must've worked because I’m on my way. I may be able to do nothing more than cry with my friend as she mourns the loss of her father, but offering my shoulder from nine-hundred miles away hardly felt supportive.


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.


St. George Island, Florida

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.


A round of jello shots for my cousin!

Karly Alexis, born on July 10th:
Congratulations to Kathleen and Scott for delivering this beautiful, miniature -ito's snacker to our family. Not to be pushy, but get her some shoes so we can start planning the next Mother-Daughter weekend.

One window to the soul

I started a pharmacy department in my bathroom for Bowie, the sevenish-week old kitten I took in last Saturday. I gave her eyedrops four times a day, general antibiotics, ointment and spray twice a day, but in the end, there was nothing they could do to save her eye (I might possibly have blacked out once the words "burst" and "eye" were used together so I'm not sure what the technical details are).

Weighing only 1 lb. 2 oz.*, I had to leave her at the vet's office today to have her eye removed.

*less than two cans of Campbell's tomato soup

Laying the almighty purple smackdown

I generally avoid heated discussions about politics or religion, because it seems sort of pointless. My beliefs work for me, as yours do for you, and I don't mind listening but please don't try to convert me. Well, unless you're a close-minded, hypocritical, right-wing Conversative Baptist trying to save my soul, then I'm just pretending to listen, while hearing the Brady Bunch theme song in my head and willing you to shut up. Quickly.

When I went to the gas station to fill up today, I had to walk inside to pay because the credit card option at the pump wasn't working (hey, it's 98 degrees with 99% humidity - I am not walking further than I have to). I heard the customer in front of me asking why the pumps no longer took the plastic, and the clerk told him it was a temporary glitch and he wished people would stop cussing him about it.
The customer said, "Guess you'll have to start cussing them back."
"Oh, I could never do that", the clerk replied. (I assumed he was going to say something about the customer always being right. Silly me). "God would never forgive me."

'Huh? Guess that lands me right in the center of hell's shit creek. Who could get through this life believing that any cussing, flaws or errors in judgement are unacceptable? No, thank you. If (I mean WHEN), I screw up in the future, I know the people in my life, as well as a higher being, will be there to accept my apology. In fact, the people I respect the most have the ability to forgive the best (coincidence? hmmmm). Perhaps it's because I was raised Catholic, but forgiveness is generally a confession and a wafer away.

The rest of the day was spent burning through my full tank of gas by picking up my son after his piece o'shit car (the Patri-Camaro) stranded him twice and hydroplaned him into the ditch once. AND, if you ever sell a car, buy a car, ride in a car or think of stealing one in the state of Alabama, make sure you sign your complete middle name and not only the initial on the title because if you don't, we'll have to redo paperwork in triplicate and get it notarized before we can register it. And, I will personally cuss you out.


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. Like our government won't LIE to me?

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.


You say "to-may-to", I say "killer to-mah-to"

Tired of auctioning out my liver to the highest bidder (ha!) in order to afford fresh produce, I decided to start on a small scale with two slightly-wilted tomato plants in my back yard, inconspicuously hidden behind the gardenia and plumbago. Psyched to pluck the first fresh fruit of my labor, I tugged and noticed a gooey, sticky mess. With her distinguishable eight legs and red hourglass, was a Black Widow Spider living between two tomatoes!! ACK!! That big white blob? Some sort of nest with many widow orphans.

I'm from Michigan - you might get trapped in a blizzard, but you never worry about poisonous snakes, plants and spiders. Pass the Lucky Charms!


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 god'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 should have just gone to Lowe's, bought some black glossy paint and been finished with it, but I've learned the hard way to avoid that evil, paycheck-sucking chain store.

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 (oh la la!). 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?

*Mediaplayer: On the Road to Find out - Cat Stevens


By next Mother's Day...

Upon a Lilac Sea
To toss incessantly
His Plush Alarm
Who fleeing from the Spring
The Spring avenging fling
To Dooms of Balm
- Emily Dickinson

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
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 think Angelina Jolie is HOT
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
My screen name at the bowling alley is "Sexy Butch"
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?

**In the mediaplayer: Wild Horses by The Sundays