Friday, December 31, 2010

What Goes Up

Must come down. Authorities all over everywhere are urging people not to fire off their guns tonight. Not to shoot them straight up in the air at midnight. Good idea as far as I’m concerned.

For the past ten years or so Reading has been doing a decent fireworks display at midnight over Mt. Penn. My second floor porch faces the mountain, a front row seat. Only thing is I no longer go out to watch. Not since my house was shot by the individuals in my block who use their handguns as noise makers.

No, much as I enjoy the show it’s just not worth potentially getting killed over. There are much better things to die for than idiots on New Year’s Eve. So happy new year, everyone. Whatever you do, be safe, be happy and best wishes for the year ahead. May it be the best so far.

Thursday, December 30, 2010


A month ago I switched companies for my cell phone. Which naturally entailed snagging a new phone. I was all set to be disappointed because Verizon doesn’t carry a green model when the very helpful woman tending to me and my imaginary friend who was with me that day handed me one of the options available. The wallpaper was a field of the right color green grass! And then I opened it to find a safari. An elephant and a giraffe strolling across, yep, you guessed, the right color green plain. She didn’t have a green cover for me there but I found one on ebay for 75 whole cents so I’m a happy girl.

This is the first phone I’ve had that has a full keyboard and it’s big enough to be just fine. The only thing that I’m not so sure about is that the phone is haunted. It randomly reads out my texts. Scared me half to death the first time it started rambling! I know you’re thinking it’s me, pressing some button that makes it do that but I swear it isn’t. I’ve tried to get it to chatter on purpose and I can’t.

I don’t think I mind that it’s possessed now that it has quit frightening me. What I do have trouble accepting is the voice that it uses. It’s a squeaky woman voice. Doesn’t sound at all like the imaginary friend that sends the texts. Yes, that’s a tad disturbing.

What’s that? You don’t quite get how an imaginary friend can go shopping or send texts? Trust me. My imagination is powerful enough that other people can see him too. In fact, it took long enough for all the details to be worked out that the whole Verizon store spoke with him while we were there.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

I Read a Book!

No big deal. Or it shouldn’t be. Lately, however, for me, it is.

I’ve lost the ability to read again so actually finishing something truly is a very big deal. Huge! And it only took me two and a half months to accomplish it. Pathetic since the book was a Sarah Graves, part of the Home Repair is Homicide series which I adore. Should have taken a day or two.

I started another one, a Rita Mae Brown, Mrs. Murphy mystery. Another series that feels like an old friend and should be a quick, happy read. Only it isn’t. I started it four days ago. Read ten pages the first day. Sat and held the book without opening it the next two. Couldn’t make myself pick it up the fourth day.

Sigh. I have literally thousands as in perhaps twelve to thirteen thousand books. There’s no way I’ll live long enough to read them all. I was pushing it when I read several books a week but now I don’t stand a chance. That thought makes me very, very sad.

I used to love to read. I still love to shop for books. Books used to be my friends. Now? They don’t seem to like me much. And I don’t know what happened to change that. Sorry. I have to go cry again.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


A little bit ago I was lounging, watching Joe Versus the Volcano while chatting with a friend. I mentioned it and discovered he’d never seen it. How that’s possible, I have no idea but me, being me, decided that needed fixing instantly.

I paused the movie and wandering into Amazon, since anything you need in life can be obtained there, and ordered him up a dvd. Got an order confirmation as I normally do, both from Amazon and the seller who listed the dvd. Got a shipping confirmation the next day. All was good in the world. Right? Wrong!

Since it was a holiday I expected it to take an extra day. No problem. I made a reference to the movie yesterday and had to explain what I was talking about since my friend still has yet to see it. So I took a moment to track the package. Yes, the nice people included that information in their email.

This is what I found. The movie left Indian Trail, NC on December 21st. It passed through Forrest Park, GA on the 22nd. And got to Hebron, KY on the 23rd where it seems to have taken up residence. Oh they do have a notice to pardon the delays which are due to extreme weather conditions in Europe, particularly in Belgium. Hmm, all right. Sure. That’s exactly how I would get something from North Carolina to Pennsylvania. In fact, the next time I visit him, I think that’s the route I’ll take. Of course starting from here I’ll need to go to Nevada first which will probably be impassible due to a typhoon in Sri Lanka. Perhaps it has something to do with the sidewalk at the beginning of the movie?

In the meantime, I’ll just recite the movie to him. It’ll be a lot easier than figuring this one out.

Monday, December 27, 2010

It Snowed

Just a coating here. Not like the rest of the east coast. We only got about an inch. I’m told it was slippy yesterday while it was snowing but Howie and I were home by then.

I was out and about in the morning. In the heavy hush that descends when snow is imminent. I love that. Snow is magical. Oh hush. Yes, I know snow is a nuisance. I know it inconveniences everyone. I’m not talking about the practical stuff, the technical details involved with dealing with it.

I’m talking about the feeling. The thick silence. How even normal noises are muffled as if in awe of what nature is capable of. The anticipation of the first flakes. How they sparkle. The way even Reading looks beautiful as the world slowly turns white. So yes, the street I park on at work was packed down solid and turned to ice which made getting to my car treacherous this afternoon and the wind is whipping around what little snow we got, trying to make it seem as if it’s more than it is but still, is there anything prettier than a freshly dusted pine tree?

Monday, December 20, 2010

Proceed at your Own Risk

There’s an old railroad bridge not far from my house. It’s weirdly shaped inside. Low and narrow. Not very user friendly for how heavily travelled the road is.

Since it’s gotten cold the icicles are forming again, as they do every year. This year, however, they seem particularly wicked. I’m sure glad Howie isn’t any higher because it would really hurt him to hit one.

It seems others with taller vehicles have because a bunch of the points are broken off. They get ground into the street below and are working on forming a rather nice sheet of ice. Yeah, Reading’s lots of fun in the winter.

And the bridge itself? Isn’t it cool? You have no idea how tempting it is to scale the steps beside them. You can’t really tell how overgrown they are in this picture but I don’t think it would be all that easy to do. Of course, the way they’re crumbling doesn’t help either but one of these days…

Thursday, December 16, 2010

One of the Few

Darkness pervades the pale hollows of my soul

Chasing out the last of the frolicsome motes

And I welcome it.

Gone are the cluttered trappings of the pretender,

The one who used to be.

The disgruntled malcontent

So infected with society’s hype,

Replaced now with the stark nothingness of authenticity.

No more games.

Never again the marionette

Torn asunder while struggling to conform.

Lines purposefully severed.

Dancing at the end of the strings no more.

Consciousness awakening.

A hyena scavenging the mindless carcasses of those yet confined.

Open, absorbing the elemental power of the void.

Linking to those who lurk beneath the throng

Poised, ready to accept my destiny

For I am chosen.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


Have you read about the mailman who made a delivery in the buff, hoping to cheer up a female employee at a business in Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin? It backfired and he was arrested. For lewd and lascivious behavior as well as delivering the mail wearing an unsanctioned uniform.

Personally, I think this is a hoot. So much so that I questioned the mailman who delivers to my office as to whether or not he’d be following suit. His response? Basically it was no. As in hell no! His reason for rejecting to further this trend was the temperature; it was in the twenties and windy today, not that he has any qualms about striding around naked. Yeah, I found that funny too.

Note to self – Ask again in July.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


I’ve decided Beau was a raccoon in a past life. He spends all his awake time scavenging. He’s poked into everything. Literally. Things that the other cats have never given a second glance. He squirms and prods and pulls until he has whatever it is open far enough for him to wiggle his way inside. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve found the tip of his tail sticking out from somewhere.

And then, when he’s asleep he does a great impersonation of a coon skin cap. He moulds himself to my head and either wraps his tail around my neck or drapes it down my back. Only I don’t think coon skin caps purr quiet like he does.

I saw his momma today. In the yard at work. Poor little girl must have been freezing. It was 20 and windy as can be. I told her if she would be friendly and trust me just a little bit I’d bring her home where it’s warm and there are soft things to curl up on with regular food and lots of petting. She gave me a look as only cats can and turned me down. For now. I’m not giving up though. Maybe one day she’ll have had enough of fighting to survive on the street and decide to come inside.

Monday, December 13, 2010

An Event

I went to see Narnia, Voyage of the Dawn Treader Saturday with one of the little girls. The movie was most enjoyable. Action, adventure, a little magic, humor, a sarcastic talking mouse who is a great warrior, mysterious fog, a hot guy with a few tears thrown in at the end. What’s not to like?

Afterwards, we went to Austin’s for dinner again. She made me misbehave the entire time we were there. You see, most of the staff is now made up of elves. Nearly identical, perfect little creatures. Too perfect. At first we couldn’t decide if Santa might be having some sort of problem that had the elves departing the North Pole or if this bunch did the prep work and had already finished their Christmas duties. But then we paid close attention and spied a few switches beneath their perfect little ponytails.

Mm hmm. Cyborgs in the guise of elves. Just the right height so they can stand next to the tables and chat with the customers without needing to bend over or strain to hear. I suspect their presence to be economically based. You invest in cyborgs up-front and don’t have to pay an hourly wage. You get to keep their tips since you just switch them off at the end of the night. No health insurance costs or staffing difficulties due to illness. Yes, makes sense if you think about it.

We did observe the other diners and it didn’t seem as if they noticed anything out of the ordinary. I found that most distressing as plastic mechanical beings do malfunction at times, intentionally or not, and then there’s no telling what you’re in for. It’s okay though. The little girl and I did notice. We were prepared, ready to fight our way out of there, should it become necessary.

Oh, yeah. Cyborgs or not, dinner was still ultra yummy and all in all it was a very good day.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


For being so boring
I’d write you a blog
But then you’d be snoring
Asleep, dead like a log

I have a bit of a cough
So, if you please,
I’ll take the day off
Ere I start to sneeze

It’s me who should sleep
Alas, such a pity
I can’t sink down deep
Without my Bix kitty

Instead, I’ll brew up some tea
Perhaps a whole pot
Some for you, some for me
And that, my friends, is all that I got.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Assistance Please

Are there any new TV Christmas movies I need to see? Not having TV makes it difficult to know what Hallmark is up to. I like some of their movies. Family channel has a nice one every now and then as well but again, kinda tough to know what they’ve come up with this year without TV. Let me know if there’s anything new that’s worth watching and I’ll go invade my neighbor’s living room and kick them off their couch for an evening.

Weird that I like to watch Christmas movies since Christmas is another of those holidays that I prefer to skip. Maybe there’s a part of me that still believes if I watch them often enough I’ll get to have warm fuzzies like in all the movies myself one day.

When I was either three or four, I sat on the floor in the doorway to my room and watched my mom and dad assemble my brother’s train set that was supposed to be from Santa. They didn’t notice I was there until after they had it finished and after that, nothing they said could convince me there was a Santa. It ruined the magic for me but I was sworn to secrecy so I never told. I think that made me miss out on a lot, growing up. How I wish I could go back and have a real childhood now.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Look What I Did!

For the past three months I’ve been working on this for a friend of mine. I couldn’t tell you about it sooner because it was a surprise present. I finished it last week, with two days to spare before I was due to visit which is when I planned on giving it to her. Isn’t it pretty! I also gave away the other sweater I made that I showed you a few months ago.

My friends’ reaction inspired me to knit more. Only this time, I’ve decided I’ll design the sweaters myself. What? Think I can’t do it? Why not? Oh, because I have no idea what I’m doing. Ah, I see. Well, I had no idea what I was doing when I started knitting the sweaters I just shared, even with the patterns so why would I let a minor detail like that stop me?

I decided to start with the yarn and go from there. I walked into the store Saturday, expecting to spend a good chunk of the afternoon fondling and comparing in order to choose the perfect yarn. How wrong I was. It took all of three minutes. And they had enough in stock. The yarn vibrated when I looked at it, that’s how magical it is. It’s grey, sort of. Color-shifting grey that might be very dark indigo in some lighting or black in others. This particular yarn is a wool/camel blend which feels absolutely amazing so I can’t wait to get started.

Shouldn’t even take that long. I was flipping back and forth through my handy dandy history of aran sweater book and I think I have the pattern pretty much formed in my mind. All I have to do now is chart it out and voila, I’ll be off knitting again.

Scary, aren’t I?

Sunday, December 5, 2010

And Then There Were Four

Bixby, the last of my original cats, died this morning. He was nineteen and a half. I'm sad. I know I've posted this poem before but I need it again.

Angel Cats

“Angel cats are just pretend
Just sorrows that will never mend”

But if I believe that, I’m untrue
To someone who loved me and you.
For I have felt my cat’s sweet weight
As she cuddles into bed so late
And heard her purrs, and felt her sigh
Mend my grief: sweet lullaby.

Faulty vision? I think not!
An angel cat, off like a shot
For that was how she ran while here:
Now plain sight, now disappear.
Angel cats are surely real
They stay in touch to help us heal
Their fur dries tears that will not dry
And as we mend, our spirits fly.

Rachel McGrath-Kerr

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

We'll See...

I heard something on the radio that I thought interesting. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to verify its validity but I’ll share it anyway.

It is supposedly St. Andrew’s Eve. Every where I looked said that was yesterday but for now I’ll go along with the talk radio host’s version. He claims you can predict the weather for the upcoming winter tonight. How? You place a glass full to the brim with water in the grass in your yard. The amount that spills out overnight determines how wet the winter will be. As in lots of water means lots of snow, none means it’ll be dry.

I’ve decided not to do this. There are torrential rains predicted for my area tonight. Up to two inches. So my glass would be way beyond overflowing. We’ll see. But, for the sake of comparison, why don’t you go ahead and stick a glass outside and then in the spring let us know if you think it was accurate or not.

Monday, November 29, 2010

So Wrong

Scientists are striving to develop ways of making trees glow. They intend to replace electric streetlights with these trees. They’ve been experimenting with bioluminescent genes from fireflies and a variety of glowing sea bacteria to create particles which would eventually be inserted into tree DNA. They also speculate that trees could be used for lighting for areas that aren’t included in an electric grid. Additionally, they are considering piping a form of this glowing algae into your home to replace the electric lights there.

Hmm. Personally, I don’t think I want the trees to start glowing. That’s just a bit too creepy for me. And I doubt the trees would be very pleased with it either. As for the algae streaming through my house. No, thank you. Yes, we need alternate fuel sources but I hope this isn’t the answer. I like to be surrounded by darkness at times. You can’t switch off a tree.

Imagine this. They perfect oak trees to be used for lighting. The trees make acorns. Then we have glow-in-the-dark squirrels. Which are then eaten by something else which also starts to glow. Hey there’s an idea. Let’s skip the trees and inject the glowy stuff straight into ourselves. We could be our own light source. On the other hand that would likely ruin hide ‘n seek so perhaps not.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


When I was a kid, Thanksgiving was always hosted by my dad’s parents. It was probably my least favorite holiday after my birthday. That grandmother was fussy. She didn’t like me much. At one point I thought it was children in general but there were a few instances that showed it was just me.

I wasn’t allowed to touch anything, not even the toys that were kept there for me. As she always put it, I’d ruin them if I played with them. No, they weren’t antiques. They weren’t fancy, special, collector’s items. They were just plain toys yet I was very rarely permitted to get them out of the closet where they were stashed.

Then there was dinner. Turkey. Not one of my favorites to begin with and especially not hers. It was always dry. And the gravy tasted funny so it was no help. Her version of potato filling was mashed potatoes with saffron and parsley. Dried corn, lettuce with hot bacon dressing and creamed onions for the veggies, none of which were kid-friendly. Pumpkin pie for dessert. Again, something I prefer not to eat.

There were two things that salvaged the day for me. Black olives that my grandfather would let me put on my fingertips and eat before dinner, something that infuriated my grandmother. I never knew if it was because I ate them from my fingers, because I had them prior to the meal, or because he didn’t make me sit at the table while having them. All I know is every year I’d have my olives and get hollered at. And then she’d comment during dinner that I wasn’t eating because I filled up on olives. You can imagine the drama the year I informed her that I simply didn’t like the dinner she cooked. Yes, I was in major trouble once we got back home for that one.

The other saving grace was Aunt Violet. She was older than dirt and I’m not entirely sure actually related to anyone. Picture bumbling Aunt Clara from Bewitched and that was Aunt Violet. The only time she ever appeared was on Thanksgiving Day. I never knew where she came from or where she was the rest year. I don’t even know what happened to her at the end of the day. One minute she’d be there in her hat with the layer of netting over her forehead and the next she’d vanish. I’m fairly certain she wasn’t a figment of my imagination because I asked and other people remember her too. Unless maybe it was a mass hallucination. Probably brought on by the olives.

Anyway, have a happy and safe Thanksgiving. Hope it’s better than mine used to be.

Monday, November 22, 2010

I'm Ready

My house has forced air heat. Before I turn it on every season I think it best to replace the heater filter. So bright and early Sunday morning Howie and I ventured off to Lowe’s to snag a new one. This year I even remembered the size needed without pulling out the old one to check.

When I got back home I changed it instantly. I don’t always. Some years the cats claim it for a scratching pad and I end up going back for a second one. It falls under their principle of anything new in the house must be inspected and utilized in whatever way they can prior to it being put to its intended use. Heater filters of any variety don’t hold up well under multiple sets of claws.

So the filter is replaced, all by myself, and I’m all set for winter. A whole week before my December 1st deadline. That’s the earliest I permit myself to turn the heat on. It hasn’t been that difficult this year. The temperature has only dropped below 60 twice so the temptation to switch it on early wasn’t there as it is some years. Maybe next weekend I’ll cover the back of the air conditioner to cut off the draft and not turn on the heat until January.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Life Goes On

I brought my great aunt's Christmas cactus home with me a few weeks ago. Look how pretty it is. Still, it has me a little sad.


Have a good weekend.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Today's Discovery

It’s mid-November and it took me until today to notice that they’ve changed the backs on pennies. Yes, I know. I’m a tad behind. The one I saw was a 2010 though it could have happened years ago.

Honestly, I don’t pay that much attention to new coins unless they’re defective in some way. I have the coolest penny that is stamped off-center. I’m sure there are many of them floating around out there but I found this one and I think it’s nifty to have so I kept it.

Generally, I only check old pennies, to see if there are any wheat ones. I save them. I’m not sure why other than my grandfather did and when he passed I got the container. By the way, the container is a vacuum cleaner bank that was a promotional item that came with the Electrolux he purchased in the fifties. The one that I have and is still functioning. Have the owner’s manual too since he never threw anything away. If I searched through the stack of papers I inherited I’d likely locate the receipt for it.

Hmm, getting sidetracked. What was my point? Oh yeah. Pennies. Wonder why they decided to mess with them. I supposed changing the color of bills wasn’t enough.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


I was outside the other day and noticed the most delicate scent wafting through the yard. Odd. Usually all you can smell in my neighborhood is french fries cooking at the corner bar. Curious, to say the least.

I looked around and finally realized it was my holly. Poor bush doesn’t seem to realize that it’s Autumn. It’s in full bloom and is just gorgeous. Thinking on it, I can’t remember if it bloomed last Spring so I don’t know if it’s late or early. Either way, it’s not going to be much help when it comes to providing pollen to make berries. Still, it is very pretty and was such a nice surprise that I had to thank it for making my day brighter.

I rescued this plant from a trash can years ago. It was down to one sad little leaf and its former owner had given up on it. I brought it home and chipped a hole in the cement at the back of my yard, since all the dirt area was already filled in with plants. If you don’t know, hollies aren’t really supposed to grow in lime, the main ingredient in cement. I planted it anyway and then asked the yard spirits to look after it for me.

Twenty years later, it’s eight feet around, six feet tall and beautiful though a tad confused. I explained seasons and, before I headed back inside, asked the yard spirits for their continued assistance. We’ll see…

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Citadel

Saturday there was an open house at the Citadel, Reading’s new Intermediate High School. It is located on the site that was formerly St. Joseph’s Hospital. Some of the original hospital buildings remain though they have undergone major renovations. The school has over 311,000 square feet of space and currently holds all of Reading’s 2500 ninth and tenth grade students.

The school was open for four hours with tours given randomly, mainly led by student tour guides. I, however, went with a friend who happens to be a school employee so I got a much more involved tour than most. I was able to wander around inside the classrooms that are supposedly haunted with spirits leftover from people who were sent to die in those rooms when it was the hospital, the former morgue which is now an employee break room, and the tower located behind what had been the hospital chapel. I also got to poke around in the areas that are still being set up. There was such a rush to get the school open by the beginning of the year that some of the spaces aren’t quite finished.

We spent a few minutes in the security center because it fascinated me. There are 15 monitors, 12 of which are divided into 16 squares, totaling 192 areas under constant surveillance. The other three monitor rotate areas, designated by the security guard according to what’s most important to see at the moment. Any of the 192 cameras can be blown up to full screen size as needed. As I said, fascinating but a bit sad too that it’s necessary.

I attended a very small school, 600 total grades 6 through 12 so exploring a place that size was fun for me. Each hallway has a different color scheme as opposed to the institutional cream that my school had. I’m told no two classroom floors are identical. Even the lockers are color-coordinated with the floor and walls. Pretty cool though I suspect many of the students fail to notice.

It was perhaps an odd way to spend a Saturday morning but I’m glad I went.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Today... Veterans Day. Have you said thank you?

Monday, November 8, 2010

I'm Tired

Emotionally and physically.

I spent the past two Saturdays helping to empty my great aunt’s apartment. She’d moved in there nearly 30 years ago when her knees got too bad to handle the steps. There was stuff that needed going through but she already had her big clear out when she sold her house.

It was very difficult. Everything there held some sort of memory so choosing what to keep and what to send to auction was a challenge. My great aunt is the most organized individual ever. She kept a book of all her possessions, where they originated and what they cost if an item was purchased. The added historical value of something that was perhaps given to my great grandparents as a wedding gift only added to that.

It’s finished now. I have some treasures. Not all that I may have liked because there simply isn’t space but I have the ones that mean the most. Still, I’m very sad. An era has ended. Although my great aunt is alive and as well as can be in the home there’s been a significant shift in my life. It hasn’t been easy for me and I can only imagine what it feels like for her.

Yeah, some days life is very, very hard.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Terrible Twos

I’m not sure how many human months are the equivalent of two cat years but if Beau is any indication it’s seven. In the past week he’s become a holy terror.

I have one of those old-fashioned claw foot tubs with the rounded edge. The big cats can all walk it which Beau has watched with both fascination and envy. He’s been attempting to do the same and Sunday he finally made it. Sort of. He managed to hop up on the edge but slid right down the other side into the tub. Not awful except that I happened to be in it with the shower running at the time. Nothing quite like sudden wet cat panic.

He’s been trying daily since then which has made my getting ready for work an event rather than routine. He’s progressed to the level that he can walk all the way around the tub but is then stymied when he encounters the shampoo shelf. He hasn’t figured out how to either turn around or hop over it into the sink without sending everything flying. I’ve had to reach out of the shower and, soaking wet, scoop him from the edge to deposit him on the floor. A game to him because he instantly returns for another go.

Apparently he loves the sound of the tub mat suction cups detaching. The past few days I’ve heard him playing with them constantly. The other morning I went to take my shower and the mat was all bunched up in one corner. What fun. I’m waiting for him to attempt to climb the shower curtain only to shred it as the big cats all did in turn. Then his learning to walk the tub will be complete and he’ll move on to something else. Silly little brat.

Thursday, November 4, 2010


There was some discussion about the differences in terminology for things you use all the time yet don’t or can’t remember the name for.

The object in question today was most definitely a thingy. As opposed to a whatsit or a doohickey, items which I also use. Then there are the doodads and whatchmacallits. Also thingamubobs, thingamujigs and gizmos. To go with the jiggies and gadgets.

I’m sure there are more out there. What do you call them?

Monday, November 1, 2010

I Need Socks!

It’s getting a little chilly in the morning. Chilly enough that I’ve considered breaking out my brand new, shiny pair of real shoes. Yes, believe it or not, I have real shoes. Got them last summer when they were tremendously on sale and I decided I couldn’t pass them up when they were that cheap.

I looked in my sock drawer this morning and was greatly dismayed by what I found. Not much of anything. I have a few pairs of fluffy white socks I wear with my sneakers, a few that I wear instead of slippers and that’s pretty much it.

My cool socks have fallen to bits. I’m sockless, as it were. Years ago, I worked with a woman who gifted me with the coolest socks every Christmas. Nifty and good quality. So good they’ve lasted all these years. Until now. I really miss her and her little bundles of Christmas socks. I wonder what she’s doing.

I’m now forced to go in search of socks on my own. I am not much of a shopper so I find that task a bit distressing. I preferred letting her deal with it. While I’m out there I should probably search for slippers too since they’re getting mighty shabby these days.

Sigh. Nothing’s ever easy, not even the change of seasons which should just happen without me needing to get involved.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Have a Happy!

I spent the past two days listening to the soundtrack to The Nightmare Before Christmas. I'm sure my coworkers are getting just a tad sick of it. Do I care? Nope. Not one bit. I'm still enjoying it. So much so I may let it play in the background all day Monday too. Hey. My office. I don't have it playing loud. The lyrics aren't offensive. If it's becoming bothersome they all have their own spaces they could retreat to. Of course by now it's too late. This song is stuck in their heads. Here. Have a listen. I want it stuck in yours too.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Decision Time

Hmm. Reuben sandwich with the girls or write a real blog? Choose a topic, research if necessary, write and post a real blog or nummy reuben sammich with enjoyable conversation and fun people?

Yeah, you know which I picked. Back tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


My great aunt made the decision to move into a nursing home last week. I say “made” only because she’s the one who finally came out and said it. There really is no alternative. She’s 94 and in the last two months has lost the ability to get around on her own. She had some physical therapy for a few weeks but they decided it won’t help, thus her need for an alternative to living alone.

She’s been in this apartment for over 25 years. Seeing her leave it is very, very sad. The social worker at the home thinks she may be a touch depressed over the whole thing. Um, yeah, me too. She’s leaving her home and all the things that have provided her comfort over the years and losing her independence all at once. I’m depressed too just thinking about it.

The idea of her sitting in a chair, staring at nothing like she has been hurts. She’s lost all interest in reading, so odd seeing her without a book nearby. On the rare occasion she bothers switching on the tv she watches without sound. She’s stopped participating in any of the activities the home offers, things she joined in on before when she was there for stints of physical therapy. She barely talks when I visit, as if all her stories have been locked inside, no longer meant for sharing. Yeah. As I said, seeing her like this hurts.

I would do anything possible to make this easy on her, cheer her up in any way I could. But I don’t know what to do. I’m not ever sure there is anything I can do. I’ve made sure she knows I’m here. I guess that’s about all that’s left now.

Monday, October 25, 2010

I Missed Something

The hiccup girl was back in the news today. The local radio station did a whole bit on how she went five weeks back in 2007 for hiccupping up to 55 times a minute, pretty much non-stop. No matter what she tried, nothing helped. Eventually, the hiccups faded away on their own and the girl ended up doing some media things.

Today’s story wrapped up with the reporter stating the girl is now nineteen and back in the news for killing someone during a robbery. She’s been arrested for first-degree murder which won’t be as easily remedied as the hiccups. Yep, they really did say that.

I’m horrified at the way the whole thing was treated. This is someone’s life that was taken that they’re talking about so flippantly. And I’m not entirely sure I understand the correlation. Did having never-ending hiccups do something to her mind that made her think a few years later that it is okay to rob and murder someone? Or is hiccupping a warning indicator of future malevolence? No, I really don’t get their point. Perhaps you could explain it to me.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Happy Weekend!

Thursday, October 21, 2010


I are zombie.

I are not happy.

I are supposed to double the dosage in a few days.

I are wondering which of you pooled your pennies and paid off my head doc to do this to me.

I are going to find out. You know I are.

I are warning you that when I do...


Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Someone, rather something, bit off a chunk of my ear. No, not today. I have no idea when it happened other than before when I began to remember. I asked my mother and she doesn’t know. Actually, she didn’t even know a smidge of my ear is missing. But that issue is for another blog.

I suspect it was done by whatever it was that lived in the attic above my room when I was a very small child. I’ve told you about that room, remember? How there were holes in the ceiling with coverings that were in place when I went to sleep but moved when I woke up in the morning?

Anyway, it’s just a small area that’s missing, like something tiny nipped me. It had to be tiny since I was a tiny child myself when it happened. If something large had bitten me my whole ear would be gone. Or perhaps I’m thinking about this entirely wrong. Maybe isn’t a bite. Maybe I was marked for some reason, tagged. Makes me wonder.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Happy Squirrel Month!

For those of you who don’t know, and I’m sure it’s all but a few, and aren’t already in the midst of celebrating, October is Squirrel Awareness and Appreciation Month.

To honor our bushy-tailed buddies I urge you to become a member of the Squirrel Lover’s Club. Founded in 1995 by Greg Bassett after a close encounter with a fox squirrel while visiting the Grand Canyon, the Squirrel Lover’s Club is an organization for people who believe squirrels matter. There are thousands of members world-wide who have united because they care about the well-being and humane treatment of squirrels.

Membership includes a bi-monthly newsletter which features stories, photographs, poetry, advice and resources for the squirrel lover. Poets get your pens moving and send off your tributes to your favorite squirrel. Photographers, get out there. We want to see your furry friends.

If you find an orphaned or injured squirrel, you can go the Squirrel Lover’s Club website for advice, including how to release the critter back into the wild once you’ve nursed it back to health though they do strongly recommend leaving that to a wildlife rehabilitator instead of undertaking it yourself. Remember, squirrels, cute and tamable as they are, are still wild critters, not house pets.

You’ll be most pleased to learn there is also a store with all your squirrely odds and ends. I know you just can’t wait to stock up.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Ninja Bitch Alert

I woke up grumpy today. Oh hell, it was more than that. Flat out bitch if I’m being truthful. I don’t do that often and there was no discernable reason for it. I was just pissed at the world and ready to turn ninja with the slightest provocation. Of which there was a lot in the first few hours this morning. Not a good thing, trust me. I walked around plotting wicked, evil, very painful demises, some quick, some not, for many I encountered at the start of my day.

And then I wandered off to visit my head doc, a generally entertaining experience. Fortunately he improved my day. Well, sort of. I was no longer furious with the world after chatting with him but something we discussed did leave me a little sad and no, I don’t really want to talk about it. On the migraine medication front, there’s no new and oh so wonderful cure-all but we’ve decided it’s time to try something else that sometimes works for other people. Side effects? Of course. There’s always a tradeoff, isn’t there?

I’ve been a tad resistant to trying this in the past because it’s likely to turn me into a zombie but I’m tired of my head hurting more often than not. This zombiness could be good in some ways – I won’t wake up ready to garrote certain individuals or, if I do, I won’t have the gumption to act on it. Bad in that well, I’ll be a zombie on an on-going basis. I don’t think I’m going to like that but we’ll see. Not being in pain sure would be nice for a change but I’d also like to know I’m not in pain so I could enjoy it.

Friday, October 15, 2010


i’m feeling restless out of sync off balance out of sorts or the lopsy lyles as my dad used to say and i’m hungry but i don’t want anything i have at home and i can’t find anything i want delivered and i don’t really feel like going anywhere not that i could decide where i wanted to go anyway so if i’m staying home i should go change into my sweats since its chilly in here today which means it’s maybe time to close the windows at least most of the way but it’s supposed to be sunny this weekend and then i’d just end up opening them again so why bother but if i go upstairs i’ll probably flop on the bed and end up falling asleep which it’s way too early to do and i’d just wake up really hungry in a few hours so i should eat first but again i’m too antsy to deal with that so maybe i’ll work on the project i’m working on but it needs concentration that i don’t have at the moment so i could maybe read some of the book i started last weekend but it’s upstairs and if i go up there i won’t come back down which means i should blow out the candle i just lit but i don’t want to because it smells nice and i’m thinking it would be nice if i had tv today because then i could curl up on the sofa with a cover and watch something mindless but i don’t so i’d need to choose a movie which i have plenty to choose from but i can’t be bothered so maybe i’ll just go to be after all so have a good weekend and maybe i’ll be back to making slightly more sense next week or maybe not but i doubt any of you are still reading at this point so it doesn’t much matter anyway.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Today's Lesson

A few years ago the city council of a town in Italy barred people from keeping their goldfish in curved bowls. Their reasoning – doing so is cruel to the goldfish as it gives them a distorted view of reality.

There are several problems with this. How was this cruelty determined? With the varying shapes of goldfish and the positioning of their eyes, might not a curved bowl actually be better for them than flat surfaces with square corners? Has extensive testing been completed in both environments with the goldfish responding to numerous questionnaires?

There was some discussion on how the brain interprets visuals. In one study, it was proven that it is capable of adjusting distorted images so what is seen is that which is considered true. So. Goldfish have brains. Perhaps they too can compensate for the curve and see things outside of their bowls as how we see them to be true, through a barrier, rounded or not. And what about blind goldfish? Curved bowls would certainly be more environmentally friendly to them than a square container. But I digress.

Next. The view from within the bowl is not the same as from without. Goldfish residing in curved bowls their entire lives could formulate their own specific scientific laws regarding objects they can see moving about outside of their bowls. Although we might deem their view distorted, it is the only view they have. Therefore, the laws they determine are the ones that will always be true from their viewpoint and the only ones applicable. Ours simply do not apply within their reality. Oh, ours are true too, just not to the goldfish.

Additionally, if these goldfish are clever enough to formulate their own laws of relativity I find it highly unlikely that they’d still be living in a little town in Italy in any sort of bowl, curved or not. If they can come up with all that, we’d probably be living in air pockets at the bottom of their ponds with them swimming around outside, keeping us as pets. I wonder what shape they’d make our containers.

One last thing. What the hell possessed those people on that city council to consider this long enough to dictate to their citizens how to house their goldfish?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Read Me Out Loud

(Creepy as you can.)

Inky slinky don’t dare blinky
Oily coily rum tum boily
Warn you once
Warn you twice
Draw the line at warning you thrice

Dangly fangly time to mangly
Seeny greeny oh so meany
Run for life
Fast as you can
Mess your pants you still a man

Stumble fumble lost in jumble
Wicked kicked in the thicket
Down you go
One last chance
Get up now or never again dance

Choppy loppy lose head toppy
Grippy snippy now you drippy
That was it
Warned you did
Now you stuffed in box with lid

Told ya kulled ya should a sold ya
Killed ya milled ya and I billed ya
Serves you right
No do what said
Now you gone deserve to be dead

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


I heard the funniest thing today. It was one of those little information moments on the radio. Unfortunately, it wasn’t meant as a joke. The suggestion to help you become more productive is to “schedule” an interruption break and set everything that comes along aside until that time. Hahahahahaha! No, really. That’s their BIG idea.

In theory, it doesn’t sound like such a bad one. In practice however, they’re clueless. Or have never worked in the real world a day in their lives. The thought that everyone will just happily agree and return at a specified later time is too much.

Okay, wait. Perhaps I’m mistaken. Perhaps that is realistic and will occur without a hitch. Perhaps it’s just me and the places I’ve worked where that’s not at all practical. Telling one’s boss not to interrupt for oh maybe five hours would just not do. No, not at all.

What about you? Would this fly where you work? Oh they also recommended moving your computer to a location other than your desk and only using it when absolutely necessary. As I said, hahahahahahaha!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Chocolate Extinct?

Roughly 1500 years ago, the Mayans domesticated cacao trees and began making chocolate. Due to a variety of fungal diseases, cacao trees are virtually nonexistent in Central America, its native habitat. Cacao is now grown in other parts of the world, predominantly West Africa. Scientists are having a race against time to try and develop disease resistant trees before the fungus reaches that area. If they fail, it is estimated that thirty to seventy percent of total global production could be lost. Personally, I find this very alarming. Time to stock up.

Did you know squids can fly? Neither did I. But they can. Sort of. Marine biologists have caught them in the act of propelling themselves out of the sea and then using their fins as wings to fly up to nearly forty feet, almost fifty times their eight-inch body length, sometimes nine feet above the water’s surface. This happens solo, in packs and at times, with enough force to match the speed of boats. Can you imagine zipping along the ocean and suddenly having a bunch of squid flying beside you? I love the thought of that! Not quite enough to make up for the impending loss of chocolate but it’s still making me smile.

On the “Get a Life” front, there’s now a corkscrew called the Electric Rabbit. Nope, corkscrew wasn’t exactly my first thought when I saw the heading either. It’s reported to be compact, up to three inches shorter than other electric corkscrews. For the low, low price of $49.95 it comes complete with a display that shows how many more bottles you can uncork before it needs recharging. Hmm. Does anyone else find this a tad scary or is it just me?

Friday, October 8, 2010

I Was Bad

I looked out my window at work this morning, as I do most mornings to see how pretty the petunias are, only to find a hole in the midst of them. Something’s been burrowing in my flowers.

The hole is currently about six inches across so it’s most likely a baby groundhog. Either that or perhaps a meerkat. I glanced out occasionally but didn’t catch any critters peeking back at me. Probably busy settling in since the hole wasn’t there yesterday. Prairie dogs would be nice. They’re fun to watch so I wouldn’t mind sharing the yard with a family of them.

Years ago I separated my yucca plants and passed a few on to a coworker. (It’s time again. Want some?) Anyway, they grew and holes started appearing around the base of the plants. The girl I gave them to asked if I had a guess as to what they were from and I instantly declared prairie dogs, followed with the logic that yuccas originate in the dessert so they attract them even in regions where prairie dogs don’t naturally live.

A few weeks later she came back and informed me that she’d been watching diligently but had yet to spy one. Unfortunately someone overheard her and questioned her as to why she would ever think she’d find prairie dogs in her yard. Yeah, you can imagine what happened next. Some people just love to spoil my fun.

Happy weekend!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Don't Go in the Corn!

Yep, it’s that time again – time for me to issue my annual reminder against willingly wandering around in cornfields.

How many times do I need to say it? Walking through corn is just plain wrong! Do it often enough and one of these times you won’t come out the other end. Nor will you ever be heard from again. You’ll become one of those “Do you remember…” stories. Is that what you need to keep you from going into the corn, someone you know to be taken? Perhaps it is. Since you seem so unwilling to take my word on it.

The man who rents the field next to my mother’s house has planted corn there the last few summers. It wasn’t quite as bad this year. With it being so dry the corn isn’t near as tall as it was other years. So frickin’ what? I haven’t been there since it got to be waist high and I have no intention of returning until after it’s harvested. Call me paranoid if you choose but we’ll see which of us is still around once the corn starts swallowing people up.

I know you don’t believe me but corn is evil. The stalks that is. The ears are fine once they’re picked. In fact, I truly enjoy corn on the cob. When it’s not overcooked but that’s a different ramble. It’s only stalks en masse that present a problem. Doesn’t matter if they’re dried or green, they’re creepy. They move about, shifting at will. Oh not so much that you can actually catch them in the act. Just a teeny tiny bit now and then when you’re not looking. If you ignore them long enough you will be trapped, cut off from any avenue of escape and then you’re in for it. You may as well get it over with and kill yourself on the spot. Hey, better that than what’s in store for you if the corn gets you.

Don’t laugh. I’m dead serious here. But okay, don’t listen. Go wander through a cornfield in you must. All in the name of fun, right? Anyway, it’s been nice knowing you. Bet I’m your last thought as the corn closes in on you.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Pardon My Rant

But I’m fairly annoyed and feel the need to bitch. If you don’t want to hear it, then stop reading now and come back tomorrow.

I had the occasion to be somewhere, in close quarters, with not one but two supposedly professional people first thing this morning. People whose occupations put them in the position of literally impacting others’ lives. Yeah, serious stuff here.

It wasn’t bad enough that they were both openly disinterested. As in seemingly bored by the whole thing they were doing. To the point of being rude. And when questioned, because yes, I do ask questions when I’m out and about and have them, became borderline hostile, like I shouldn’t be taking up their time with something so trivial as my life. No, that wasn’t bad enough. They were also both chewing gum. Loudly. Very smelly fruity gum.

Getting the picture? Or do you need more? Okay. Remember, I get migraines? Which can be severely aggravated by scents, especially yucky scents. And stressful situations, say like my doctor ordering some sort of potentially life-altering test. And then, let’s say some unknown doctor cancels half the test, seeing no need for it without even speaking to me in person. And, oh yeah, sends bored, uninterested, gum-popping, sighing technician flunky to tell me. Who then has the audacity to attempt to ignore me when I have the nerve to question said faceless doctor’s decision.

My head still hurts. A lot. My regular doctor was involved all day so I have yet to speak with her about any of this. And I’m really not looking forward to going back to the testing folks which, sooner or later, I will end up doing. Yeah, not at all a good day.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Amazing Critters

Beau had a big adventure Friday. He went off to the vet’s and was neutered. And had to spend the night. I’m not sure which of us had more trouble with that one. Hard to sleep when something’s missing that you’re used to.

I went to pick him up and was told how talkative he was the entire time he was there. Huh? At home, he doesn’t usually make a peep. Or he didn’t. Now that he’s back he talks constantly. I suspect he’s complaining about being mistreated. I hope it continues once he’s finished with that. I miss having a cat that talks.

Kya spent the weekend babying Beau. Every time she curled up he’d snuggle against her and get his face washed. What a change from their usual tumbling across the floor, knocking over everything in their path!

Friday, October 1, 2010

What A Difference

I had a few minutes between things to wander today so I went out to Lake Ontelaunee. Here's how the dam looked today. As I mentioned yesterday we had a very dry summer in this area. Probably a good thing. With the water levels of everything being so low the flooding wasn't near as bad as expected. Not here at least.

More to do so have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

It's Raining, It's Pouring

This picture was taken about two weeks ago. Normally, there is water pouring over the dam but not then. Today, for several hours, it rained an inch an hour. With all the streams emptying into the lake it may be flowing again. Perhaps, since I have the day off tomorrow, I may go for a wander and see. Not sure I’ll have time but I have my dying camera charging, just in case.

Most everyone I encountered was complaining about the weather. Me? Nope. This was my early day so before anyone else got in, I rolled up my cuffs and splashed in the puddles. I had crocs on so why not? They’re the perfect puddle-jumping shoes. I know the flooding aspect of all this rain is a bad thing however other than that, I really enjoyed it. And there’s supposed to be more later so all in all, I’ve had a good day.

Some people around here haven’t. Rain or not, the city has voted to raise the rates on expired parking meters. By 33 percent, from $15 to $20. They’re also raising the late fee from $35 to $40. What I suspect they’ve failed to mention is that in the teeny tiny fine print at the very bottom on the back where the crease is to make the ticket into an envelope so no one can actually read it is that the time to pay has been decreased to 37 minutes. Now, I’m not positive on this one but I wouldn’t be at all surprised. This is Reading, after all, and therefore not to be trusted with such things.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Is This It?

The worlds within have fallen silent
They are desolate
Void of fundamental vitality
And now even the sterile landscapes are dissipating
Erased by some cosmic force intent on stripping me of everything
I’m adrift
Hurtling through a nothingness that was once so crowded
Brimming with pure chaos
Chaos that left such joy in the madness of its wake
Emptiness echoes as yet another light blinks out
Leaving devastating sadness over what had been in its place
I’m here now
All on my own but for the gut wrenching fear that this is my destiny
An eternity spent wandering the chambers of my mind
Finding not even a carcass or a shadow left to remind me of what once was
Back when I was whole

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Nature Visits

The other evening I went about closing up my house only to find this magical creature hanging on my door as if waiting for me. I paused a moment, silently sharing space with her, me on one side of the screen, her on the other.

Twenty odd years ago, when I first moved in here, I ordered up a pod of praying mantis eggs to stick in my little yard since they're such good insects to have and I’ve been hosting them ever since. I generally see a few a summer, always in unexpected places, which never fails to make me smile. I’d about given up for this year when this lovely turned up on my door.

I have a long-legged spider spinning the most gorgeous web at the top of my cellar steps. Don’t mind spiders as long as I know they’re there and they don’t just suddenly appear dangling in front of my face say from the sun visor in my car. I’m going to need to purchase a new jug of washer fluid since I’m not about to disturb Charlotte in her web-designing. She may have an important message for me and I don’t want to miss it.

Monday, September 27, 2010

I'm Old

I heard on the radio that Mike Schmidt is 61 today. And Shaun Cassidy is 52. I grew up with them being on TV constantly. I’m not as old as they are but hearing their ages this morning made me feel ancient.

I received an invitation to my class reunion last week. I’ve never been to one. They’re always held the day after Thanksgiving, I suppose because the theory is that people are back, visiting family so more will come. The problem is that I too visit then. Only I go see my great aunt that day so I’m always out of town.

Of course I don’t know if I’d go anyway. I haven’t seen the majority of these people since the year before we graduated. I started college a year early so I wasn’t there for senior year. I doubt I’d recognize most of them if I tripped over them in the street. I say that because other years I’ve ordered the picture and can’t usually identify more than one or two.

Generally I get a few emails telling me I need to come to the reunion. Why? I mean why wait until then? I’ve always been around, findable should anyone so desire. And no one bothers. But then neither do I.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Happy Weekend!

For the past month, I’ve wanted a pretzel dog. The first two weeks, I was being morally supportive and wouldn’t permit myself one. The third week, I was in the right place on the wrong day. Sure, I could have ventured back on the proper day however I didn’t want one THAT much. Last week I was in the area on the right day but had no money.

Sad, isn’t it that a hotdog should require so much effort?

Today, payday, I splurged and went out of my way when I headed home. I stopped at the Reading Farmers’ Market and snagged myself the much coveted pretzel dog. Amazingly, it was as good as I wanted it to be.

It’s the little things in life…

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Who Cares?

We live in a disposable world.

There was yet another killing in Reading this week. It’s becoming a regular occurrence. This time a body was found on top of a pile of trash though it’s not been determined if that’s where he was actually killed. There’s some speculation as to whether or not he was stabbed in a nearby apartment and then tossed there. Sure, why not? It’s hot again this week. You don’t want to keep a dead guy in your living room too long, now do you? They think they have the guy who did it, though again there are questions. Supposedly, the guy they arrested was seen with his arms around the dead guy’s chest as they were fighting. However, from how it’s described, it sounds more like he was lugging him to the trash heap on the steps to the basement of a vacant building.

Last week four guys beat and shot a fifteen year old kid for his fancy sneakers. The kid was in the wrong place at the wrong time and didn’t run when approached as he perhaps should have. They caught the four, one of whom was only a kid himself.

The week before there was a shoot out with one man shot in the head. Though there were many bullets exchanged, he was the only one unlucky enough to be hit. He’s going to live but still, no respect for human life.

When did we get to this point? And how do we get away from it? Unfortunately, Reading has yet to hit bottom. Bad as it is now, it is sure to get worse, much worse, before it gets better. Wait. Make that if it gets better because honestly, I have many, many doubts of that being possible.

The mayor did a walkabout yesterday, going along with the codes inspectors. So he saw that my fence was the only one in my block with the graffiti removed. It’s reported that he also chatted with everyone as he wandered by. I really wish he’d waited until I was home. As I’m sure you can guess by now, I have a few things that I’d have liked to discuss.