Monday, December 31, 2012

Bad Dates- Story 1

Part of the "Why I Am Still Single" series, here is a look at some of the worst dates I have ever been on:

One outstanding memory is from my time working at Books-A-Million, back in NC. We had several  semi-creepy regulars, some of whom kept trying to get dates with the female staff. (And on one memorable occasion, one of the male staff members) Two of them were good matches for me IN THEORY as we had several interests in common. However, they had zero social skills and as superficial as it sounds, were both kind of odd looking. (Like I'm a real prize, but still they just didn't do it for me)

Anyway, one of them, who I shall call Wolfie (as he was on a werewolf kick when we met), came into the store a lot. One of my coworkers, A, warned me about him. She'd given in and gone on a date with him shortly before I started working there and said it was the longest night of her life. So I made a point of keeping our conversations brief, yet friendly, and heading him off at the pass whenever he started veering into "will you go out with me territory?"

We were doing a scanning inventory of the store, which meant going shelf by shelf, scanning barcodes, and pulling out any titles the chain wanted to discontinue. It was my turn to scan and I was on my knees working on a low shelf of art books. (and cursing a blue streak under my breath) Wolfie came in, asked a coworker where I was, and proceeded to come stand over me as I worked, yapping away. I wasn't entirely paying attention to the conversation as I WAS WORKING, so my end mostly consisted of the occasional "uh-huh" and "Sure." Until I heard him say "Great! When should I pick you up?"

WHAAAAAAA? I looked over at the service desk and 3 of my coworkers were doubled over laughing. Apparently one of my absent minded "sures" was in answer to the date question. DAMN.

Since there was no graceful way to get out of it without being an utter cow (I am sometimes a nice-ish person), I decided to bite the bullet and go ahead with it. Also, I knew I was moving to Kentucky in a few weeks weeks, so it's not like there was a chance of any further dates. I flatly refused to give him my address- I told him I'd meet him at the store- but relcutantly gave him my phone number.

When he called later, we discussed ideas and went with the classic first date combo of dinner & a movie. We both liked Chinese, so I said any restaurant but the one where I'd gotten my first (and worst) case of food poisoning would be fine. We were both Godzilla fans, and he wanted to go see that, but I told him I'd already seen it with my brother (true) and didn't like it enough to go again, so we agreed on something else.

Date night came, and I reluctantly went to BAM to meet him. I got there at 6 on the dot. Wolfie was on the payphone as I walked up to the building. He saw me, hung up in mid sentence and snapped "You're late!" Um, we'd agreed on 6. (I found out later that he'd started calling my house at 5:45 and was arguing with my dad about my whereabouts until I got there & he hung up) Not a good sign.

We went to his car, and the first issue came up. We had driven past 2 very good Chinese places and I realized we were heading toward the ONE restaurant I had said I would not eat in. I tried to tactfully make that point, and he said "But it's my favorite place and it's cheap!" Um, oooookay. Sure enough, that's where we went. I had a glass of terrible iced tea and watched him eat. No conversation, just him shoving food into his mouth like he hadn't eaten in a month. Our server came over during one of his 6 trips to the buffet and whispered "Good luck honey, he's a cheap bastard that doesn't tip."

He didn't tip either, despite the fact that he kept our server busy refilling his drink and demanding she go tell the kitchen they needed to add various dishes to the buffet. I surreptitiously left a couple of dollars on the table and he actually picked them up and pocketed them.

Issue number 2 came up in the parking lot. He said "We're going to see Godzilla!" I said no, I'd seen it and would prefer to see almost anything else. "But I had my heart set on that movie!" I suggested that he drop me off back at the bookstore and go see it himself. I mentioned that I'd rather see King Kong Vs Godzilla than the movie in theaters at the moment. He accused me of making the movie up. I told him it was a real movie, and he should look for it at the movie section of Wal-Mart the next time he was there. So he insisted on going to WallyWorld right then to see if I was right. Bought himself a copy, and then he wanted to go back to his place and watch it. "And my roommate's gone, so we'll be alone!" Oh no. Not me, not tonight.

Issue 3- Since I wouldn't go to the movie he wanted to see, and I wouldn't go back to his place, we needed to find something to do. (I was mentally pleading with him to take me back to my car) So off to the local indie record store we went. Just my luck, a former coworker was working there and was on duty when we dropped by. J grabbed my arm and hissed "What are you doing with that freak?" I hissed back that I was on the date from hell and would appreciate any assistance he could offer to get me out of it. We were in that damned store for 4 hours. Wolfie had to look at EVERYTHING. And criticize the music I was looking at. The only reason we left is becasue they were closing.

At that point, I thanked him for an interesting evening and insisted he take me back to my car. He said we should go clubbing since it was too late to go to the movies. I told him I needed to be at work early the next day, so I really needed to go home. (not a lie, actually)

He tried to follow me home- I shook him off in a residential area that was maze-like and hard to get out of unless you knew where you were going. I walked into the house and my dad informed me that if that fool ever called and argued with him again SOMEBODY was going to get their feelings hurt. I told him that I wasn't going out with the fool again and he could feel free to make things up if he was insane enough to call.

Don't you know he called 3 more times that night? 2 in the morning and he calls. (Dad had a great deal of fun with that) Then he showed up at the store when we opened to ask when we were going to go out again. Never, that's when.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

And they let these idiots have guns why??? -or- Why I Should NEVER Sign Up To Work Overtime

It snowed here last night. This produced the usual panic in the streets and the grocery store shelves were instantly denuded of bread & milk. (We got maybe 1-2 inches, so clearly NOBODY was going to be able to get out to the stores *eyeroll*) It also had the added benefit of making it a slow night for me as even the criminals freak out and stay in when it snows.

Since there's still snow on the ground (but not the streets), I was kind of hoping for another slow day at the office for the OT shift I stupidly signed up for. It probably will be slow for the rest of the night, but I just had a trio of chuckleheads come in and send my blood pressure through the roof.

Chucklehead 1 comes in with 2 cell phones that he says are evidence, and some personal property for the same suspect. No problem. Knock that out, wish him a good afternoon. He tells me that he's waiting for his partners, Chuckleheads 2 & 3. OH NO. Chucklehead 2 is the same idiot from an earlier post who tried to tell me I'd mistaken a cell phone for an MP3 player and dragged his Sgt down here to yell at me, only to get chewed out himself when it was revealed that I HAD done my job correctly and he was a moron.

2 & 3 show up. C2 proceeds to tell me how everything I just put in for C1 was wrong & I need to fix it. 1 phone should have gone in as personal property, the other should have been evidence under another suspect. C1 & 3 take one look at my now murderous expression and back away, slowly, while C2 keeps flapping his yap. I open the door, grab C1, hand him a release form and tell him to fill it out for the phone they're giving back. This is the easiest way to fix things since it's already in the system. Otherwise I'd have to request a deletion from IT (which usually takes days) and re-enter both phones on new slips.

I asked C2, who was still telling me how I should have done things, to give me the name for the person whose phones is being kept as evidence. He told me it was "hers" and started talking about something else. WHO IS SHE? is what I needed to know. "The girl that was with the guy." Give me a name & address or I'm going to just kill you now and be done with it. Finally manage to get that and then he proceeds to tell me again how the other phone should be personal property of the original suspect. We're done with that, idiot. Shut Up.

Now they've got more evidence to put in on the same suspects. Chucklehead 2 tells me that I need to put both their names on it. We have been using this stupid, inefficient computer system for 5 years. It does not allow us to put more than one name on a property record, and we have this conversation EVERY FREAKING TIME this asshat comes in. I proceed to ignore him and ask C3 which name they want put on the record. He opts for the male suspect.

Among the evidence being put in is money....which is short from what is on the log sheet.  Since I tend to be bad at numbers due to my dyslexia, I count everything twice before I tell someone there's an error. (if I get the same number twice I call myself lucky) I tell them this and they tell me to count again. I count it again and it's still off by $30. C2 tells me I have mistaken a $20 for the lone $10 bill that should be there. I point out that there is no $10 bill in the stack. C3 tells 2 to shut up and go check the car...and is ignored, so he goes and looks for himself. Sure enough, it's out there. He brings it in, everything adds up, I finish my entries, package the stuff, give them their printouts and try to send them on their merry way before I totally lose it.

Chucklehead 2 isn't finished yet. (1 has fled to the car, recognizing the signs of my impending explosion) "You didn't put both suspects on the sheet."


I called that fool everything but a child of God. Chucklehead 3 quickly grabbed the envelopes with the drugs & money, threw them in the drop and frog-marched C2 out the door...only to come back a second later and sheepishly tell me he'd thrown them both in the same drop and could I please let the bosses know so they can fix it on Monday? (They go in separate drops- my bosses deal with the money, but only the narcotics techs can get into the drug drop) Am I surprised? No.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

SNAFU Christmas

Well, we had what is becoming our traditional family christmas. Last year, on Xmas Eve, my father began having a series of horrific nosebleeds that necessitated several frantic trips to the ER. Poor Dad wound up spending Christmas with the equivalent of a super tampon shoved up his nose.

It looked like things were going to be calm this year. My psycho coworker had tried to screw me by putting in for vacation time for the entire week, with the result that our boss got mad and gave her Christmas Eve & today off, gave me Christmas off, and we both work tomorrow. Frankly it wouldn't have bothered me if she had tomorrow off too, but I'll take what I can get.

Then I got home after my shift on Christmas Eve...walked in the door with a bag of assorted junk and an armful of mail...and proceeded to trip over a cat, several shoes, and a roll of giftwrap. I wasn't smart enough to let go of the stuff I was holding and try to catch myself on anything, so I would up doing this really odd crash on my knees (bad knee first) followed my smacking my chest on the edge of the couch and my face on a book on the couch, all while twisting my back in some demented effort to stay upright. The thud as I hit the floor literally rattled the whole house, and any neighbors who didn't hear that surely must have heard my standard cry of dismay in falling situations. "SHIT!"

Both cats took off for parts unknown as I hit bottom. I've warned them repeatedly that if they kill me by tripping me, Gramma's going to send them to the pound. I stayed in my awkward position for a few minutes while I reassured myself that I wasn't dead and nothing appeared to be broken. Truthfully, I was afraid to move at first becasue my back was sending distinct "not happy" signals, but I slowly & carefully hauled myself upright. The first thing I noticed was Greymalkin peeking around the bathroom door at me. He mewed softly as if to say "Oh Thank Goodness- I thought we'd really killed you and we haven't been fed yet!"

Let me back up and explain the shoe thing- Nightshade has taken to viewing my shoelaces as a plaything. She drags every pair of lace-up shoes I own over to the front door (her favorite play spot) and does acrobatics trying to pull the laces out of all of them. It's funny as heck to watch, but a pain in the butt when I have to put them away again. And a pain in several other places when I trip over them.

I texted Mom & BFF's Laura and Drew to tell them about my latest mishap. Drew is a nurse and called immediately and told me to haul myself to the ER. I told him I was pretty sure there wasn't any major harm done except to my pride and promised I would call Mom for a ride to the ER if the pain got worse or I started feeling dizzy. Made the same promise to Laura, via text.

Did I mention that since I had been a lazy lump all weekend, I hadn't done any of the baking I was supposed to do for our Christmas dinner? I had promised a trifle for dessert for Mom & myself, and a yellow cake with chocolate icing & black walnuts for Dad. So I had cakes to bake, custard to make, and fruit to deal with. I cheated and used extra creamy Cool Whip for the trifle's whipped cream and tried the new Cool Whip Chocolate Frosting for dad's cake. The frosting is actually fairly good, but has a mild chocolate flavor instead of the rich fudge Dad prefers.

So I stayed up until 4 a.m. limping around my kitchen and working on dessert prep. Mixed up way too much cake batter and had to bake the layers in batches. The custard cooked up fairly quickly, but I stupidly put the double batch in one bowl so it took forever to cool. Then I tried to get cute with the bag of mixed frozen berries that I'd bought and cooked them with some sugar & a splash of brandy. I was aiming for a mock-jelly, but didn't quite get there.

By the time I went to bed, every part of my body was screaming in pain. I took my last painkiller and slept until 3 p.m. Christmas Day. We were originally planning to have dinner at 5, so I frantically called Mom and begged for an extension. Luckily they'd had a late lunch, so that worked out. I threw the trifle together, frosted Dad's cake, and started wrapping presents. (yeah, hadn't done that yet either) I was still stiff and sore, but was able to hobble around.

Dinner was excellent, the desserts turned out well, and we were all happy with our presents. I talked to Uncle John, who was home from the physical rehab center on a day pass, and he was in good spirits. The new computer my mom has let me get online to play games, so it was a nice evening.

Today- still hobbling. I have a nice assortment of bruises on my legs and chest. Part of my pain is the arthritits in my knee & back flaring up due to the lovely rain/sleet/snow we're experiencing right now. But I successfully avoided the ER, and hope to continue to do so!

BTW- my favorite present came courtesy of my dad. We watch MeTv together every Sunday night and they always run a commerical for a product called Strutz. The commerical features this goofy animated critter- we think it's a kangaroo- hopping about singing a weird little song before they get to the 'user testimonials.'
picture courtesy

I had jokingly told my parents I wanted some for my birthday and professed to be quite disappointed when I didn't get them. So I told Dad that he'd better get me some for Christmas, and the old stinker did it! I'm wearing them here at work today (yes, I'm blogging from work- it's dead tonight) and they are surprisingly comfortable and make walking a bit less painful.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Monday, December 24, 2012

The Property Room 12 Days of Christmas

On the 1st day of Christmas, the police brought to me:

A protester chained to a tree

On the 2nd day of Christmas, the police brought to me:

2 search warrants & a protester chained to a tree

On the 3rd day of Christmas, the police brought to me:

3 crack pipes, 2 search warrants, and a protester chained to a tree

On the 4th day of Christmas, the police brought to me:

4 broken tasers, 3 crack pipes, 2 search warrants, and a protester chained to a tree.

On the 5th day of Christmas, the police brought to me:


4 broken tasers, 3 crack pipes, 2 search warrants, and a protester chained to a tree.

On the 6th day of Christmas, the police brought to me:

6 meth heads tweaking, FIVE DEFACED GUNS, 4 broken tasers, 3 search warrants, 2 crack pipes and a protester chained to a tree.

On the 7th day of Christmas, the police brought to me:
7 copper pipes, 6 meth heads tweaking, FIVE DEFACED GUNS, 4 broken tasers, 3 search warrants, 2 crack pipes and a protester chained to a tree.

On the 8th day of Christmas, the police brought to me:

8 keys of cocaine, 7 copper pipes, 6 meth heads tweaking, FIVE DEFACED GUNS, 4 broken tasers, 3 search warrants, 2 crack pipes and a protester chained to a tree.

On the 9th day of Christmas, the police brought to me:

9 giant weed plants, 8 keys of cocaine, 7 copper pipes, 6 meth heads tweaking, FIVE DEFACED GUNS, 4 broken tasers, 3 search warrants, 2 crack pipes and a protester chained to a tree.

On the 10th day of Christmas, the police brought to me:

10 grow operations, 9 giant weed plants, 8 keys of cocaine, 7 copper pipes, 6 meth heads tweaking, FIVE DEFACED GUNS, 4 broken tasers, 3 search warrants, 2 crack pipes and a protester chained to a tree

On the 11th day of Christmas, the police brought to me:

11 drug lord’s cell phones, 10 grow operations, 9 giant weed plants, 8 keys of cocaine, 7 copper pipes, 6 meth heads tweaking, FIVE DEFACED GUNS, 4 broken tasers, 3 search warrants, 2 crack pipes and a protester chained to a tree.

On the 12th day of Christmas, the police brought to me:

12 bags of pills, 11 drug lord’s cell phones, 10 grow operations, 9 giant weed plants, 8 keys of cocaine, 7 copper pipes, 6 meth heads tweaking, FIVE DEFACED GUNS, 4 broken tasers, 3 search warrants, 2 crack pipes and a protester chained to a tree.

Some liberties were taken with regards as to what we do/do not take here, but all in all, I'm pretty pleased with this. I expect they'll be singing it around the department for years to come. Heh.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Are we still here?

Oh good. I was really worried, you know. I hated to think I was going to die with bad skin and before I got to see the 7th season of Doctor Who. On the other hand, it sucks that we didn't all go up in flames because now I have to go out into the madness and buy Christmas presents. Guess that's what I get for hedging my bets....

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Casual Vacancy- J K Rowling

The Casual Vacancy

I can sum this book up in one word: Blech. Rowling succeeded at one thing- this book is nothing like her Harry Potter series. I didn't expect it to be and was quite hopeful when I heard it described as dark humor. There was plenty of darkness, but very little humor.

 The premise is that a man drops dead unexpectedly and leaves a vacancy on his town council. The surviving councillors are engaged in a war for supremacy for their group's views while trying to get a replacement. The story focuses on their internal warfare and the crumbling relationships with their children, class war, and how people cope with loss.

There wasn't a single likeable character in the book. Not even the teenagers were tolerable. I was slightly amused at them taking metaphorical potshots at the adults around them, but overall, this thing left me cold. One character is vaguely interesting- the sterotypical bad girl who has a horrible family life but is recognized by an adult as a diamond in the rough. The problem is that the adult in this case drops dead at the beginning of the book, nobody else cares enough about this girl to try to keep her going, and she winds up committing suicide at the end.

I'd like to thank J K Rowling for one thing. It's said that all fiction has a base in fact. If life in a British village is that dismal, with politics that pervasive, I am changing my future retirement plans to live in a flat in London!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Channeling my inner Garfield...

I would prefer to stay in bed until it's no longer Monday, but since my landlord and other assorted creditors expect money for various things, I HAVE to get up and go to work.

Last Monday was one of those days where I really should have stayed home. After a week of 60-70 degree temps, it had dropped to 40 overnight and was dropping even lower as the day progressed. my painfully arthritic knees & back were less than thrilled with this, and my long-suffering sinuses were even less so. I woke up early to go get a new work ID made (my last one had an ugly encounter with the gun vault door), looked into the mirror and decided to go back to bed until I looked slightly more human. Thanks to my inflamed sinuses, my eyes were puffy, swollen, and almost blackened. I looked like a domestic violence victim. Not a look you want to sport on a picture ID. It didn't get much better. By the end of the shift, officers were asking me if I needed help and/or who they needed to shoot.

Still have to finish the holiday shopping. My parents & I agreed not to spend a whole lot of money, but it's still hard to find things I think they'd like. Dad is next to impossible to shop for unless I give him nothing but lottery tickets.

I've been working on stitching Christmas ornaments too. I've been trying to stitch one penguin design for the last 2 years and I STILL can't get the damned thing to come out right, no matter how carefully I count. So I gave up on that one and decided to try a different one. Started that, ripped it out three times, and the 4th attempt is the closest I've come to getting it right. It's still slightly lopsided, but my plan is to tell the person it's for that it has Bell's Palsy like me.

Not much else going on right now...more later....

Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Devil In Me Strikes Again

So, I was at Wal-Mart, in line and cranky. There were 3 cashiers, 2 U-scans, and about 75 people divided among the lines. 

1 cashier was running a 20 item or less lane. There were 3 ghetto fabulous witches in her line with a cart overflowing with groceries. The cashier politely explained that she was a limited line and these three bitches started throwing a fit."There's no sign that says that" etc, etc. (There was a sign clearly displayed that they were apparently too illiterate to read) She offered to go ahead & take them if they'd allow her to take the girl behind them (the last person in that line) first as she only had 3 items. Their response was that the bitching got louder and angrier. "We had to wait, why shouldn't she?"

Then they started accusing the poor woman of being racist. At this point, evil Mickey came out to play. I've shopped in that store for years, that cashier has waited on me countless times, and is as sweet as she can be. So I pointed at the bitchiest one and cried out, "That's why you look familiar! You used to have a bright red weave with black streaks, didn't you?" All three of them turned to stare at me, so I kept going. "My sister is a nurse at the free clinic and I was picking her up for lunch. You were there complaining about an oozing rash and a guy that beat you up because he said you gave him crabs. You're Syphilitic Sally, right?"

Everyone around us was cracking up. The bitch and her friends started sputtering that they didn't know me and I was mistaken. I kept laying it on louder and thicker. Then a guy in the next lane joined in. "Hey, you told me that rash was just a reaction to your perfume! And you weren't  worth the $20 I paid you!"

By this time, everyone within earshot was hysterical. The terrible trio stormed out in a rage, leaving their groceries. A manager was coming just then, having been alerted to the trouble brewing at our end. He looked at the 30 or so people laughing hysterically, and began laughing himself. I explained what had happened and the cashier they had been abusing shrieked, "You mean you made that all up?" and started laughing so hard that she had to sit down. 

The guy in the next line admitted that he thought what  I was doing was so funny, he couldn't resist joining in. His wife expressed her gratitude at knowing it was a joke. I apologized for costing the store a big sale, and the manager (who was also laughing at this point) said that they could afford it at this time of year. He helped the still giggling cashier void the sale and took the cart back to the grocery department for restocking. My new buddy on the next aisle and I got high fives from the people around us as we got checked out and left.

So remember-be nice to those tired cashiers, especially at this time of year. Because you never know which of your fellow shoppers might decide they've had enough of your bad behavior and embarrass the hell out of you...

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Men In Black III

I *LOVED* the first Men In Black. It's one of those movies that I sporadically quote from, watch every time I catch it on TV, and even occasionally attempt to do the dance Will Smith does in the video for the theme song. (You're welcome for the mental image that probably just left you, and no, I won't come clean the drink you just snorted through your nose off your monitor)

The second movie? Eh. It had some funny moments, but just didn't live up to the first one.

Then, many moons later, they announced part 3 was being made. Part of me got giddy, part of me wanted to crawl into a hole and cry. The longer a series goes between sequels, the worse the movies seem to get. See Red Dwarf, the Star Wars series, and the Indiana Jones movies for proof of the depressing decline. (Digressing, I do have to admit I joined the rest of the theater in whooping wildly when the shadow of the hat rolled across the screen and you got to see that Indiana WAS back) I couldn't bring myself to go see it when it was finally released, just in case it really was bad.

Then, I was walking past a Redbox at the grocery store. Most of the time, getting a new release at that box is a no go. On a whim, I pulled MIB3 up and was startled to see it was in. So I rented it, went home, picked up an ornament I was cross stitching and settled in expecting the worst.

A couple of hours later, the ornament was forgotten, I was laughing and crying, and my fears were gone. This was a good movie. Not as humorous as the first, but very well done. The premise is that Agent J (Will Smith) has to go back in time to prevent the death of his partner, K. (Tommy Lee Jones) He meets the younger K (Josh Brolin) and the 2 don't see eye to eye, but wind up getting along and saving the world, just like they do in the future. Brolin is amazing as a younger K. He gets so many of Jones' quirky mannerisms down that you'd almost think it was him.

I suspected I knew what one of the plot twists was going to be, and I was partially right. Then, once I figured out the rest of the twist and it was played out onscreen, I cried like a baby. Won't tell what it was in case you haven't seen it yet, but I will say it explains a lot about a lot of things, especially the relationship between J & K. And despite the sadness of the plot twist, the movie ends with a smile (pretty much literally) and hope for the future.

Will they make a 4th movie? Probably not. I almost hope not, because they left it in a really good place with this installment.

One very minor gripe- I was totally bummed that there wasn't an extra scene thrown in at the end, during or after the credits. There also weren't any bloopers- you just KNOW there had to be some terrific ones from this bunch!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Because sometimes it's not all about you...

When I was in high school, our student council would take donations and adopt families via the Salvation Army for the holidays. Because the money was coming from students, it meant lots of loose change and I got quite adept at rolling the stuff. (a skill that still comes in handy) The SU advisor would tally up our collection and work with the SA to get as many families as we could provide a happy holiday for as possible. I always enjoyed working on that project, and my senior year was head of the fundraising committee. We raised enough for 25 families (a school record that still stands!) and it took 3 days of shopping and 3 days to make the deliveries.

I lost the habit of helping others after high school. Well, sort of lost. I would always stop and throw a few items in the canned food collection at the grocery store when I came across one, and I always dig into my pocket for donations to the Salvation Army bell ringers.

One year, working at Books-A-Million, I begged and pleaded with my coworkers to chip in and adopt a child from the Salvation Army. It took the addition of a prize of the homemade goodie of the winner's choice to get them to donate, but we collected $75 and I threw in $50 of my own and we got a teenage girl most of her wishlist. Our district manager won the raffle (I had no shame and hit up everyone for donations- got him on a random visit) and gave his prize to the bell ringer stationed at our store. (chocolate chip cookies if I remember correctly...)

After moving to Louisville, the independent bookstore where I worked collected books for various children's charities for the holidays. Well, of course I'm going to buy books for kids. EVERYONE should have books that wants them is one of my personal mottoes. And I continued to support food drives.

Then I started working for LMPD. The first year, I suggested to my coworkers that we adopt a child or do some other civic minded project. Louisville had lots of Hurricane Katrina refugees, so we contacted one of the shelters and adopted a displaced mother & son. My coworkers were all for the idea until it came time to contribute, and then it was like pulling teeth. It took pleading and a collection jar on the counter for the officers to help out, and even then my colleague J & I wound up putting in more of our own money than originally intended. But it was worth every dime and bit of stress to be able to fulfill their "needs" list and throw in quite a few "wants" as well. (Turns out that J & I were both power bargain shoppers)

After that experience, I decided not to bother with my coworkers any more. I try to adopt at least one kid a year, usually an older child because they often get overlooked. I still give to food drives, book drives, and for the last few years adopted a senior citizen from the giving tree at Wal-mart in honor of my late Gramma. Last year, instead of presents for my ingrate coworkers, I donated the money I would have spent on them to the food bank and to the First Reads program and plan to do it again this year.

This year, the department sent out an email from one of the children's home asking for help giving their kids a happy holiday. My parents & I had planned to do one anyway, so I requested one. Then, in a moment of insanity unbridled enthusiasm, I requested one for the office. I sent out a plea for donations, but expected to cover most of it myself. Much to my surprise, I got an overwhelmingly (for this place) positive response. Even better, I got actual cash from half my coworkers and the management! 

Mom went shopping with me and we had a blast. We bought tons of clothing and gift items for both of the 'angels' and still had money left. So, with the blessing of the home & my fellow donators, I bought an assortment of random clothing & gifts for the home to distribute as needed. We even had enough to throw in some gift wrapping supplies!

Reading back over this, it sounds like I'm blowing my own horn. That's not how I intended this piece to sound. I wanted to show that even in these days of excess, there are people out there who don't have it as good as most of us. Even the smallest donation can make an impact on someone's life. It's not about having the newest and flashiest gadgets, designer clothes, and biggest house. It's not about how cool you appear to be, because if you can't take a few minutes or spare a few dollars to help someone else, you're not that cool. We just helped make a 13 year old girl and a 12 year old boy feel like they're important enough for someone to care about them. They don't know who my coworkers, parents, & I are. They don't need to, because it's not about us. It's about THEM.

And you know what? That makes ME feel pretty darn good...

Friday, December 7, 2012

Where Do They Come From & Why Do They ALL Find Me?

Just had the world's dumbest woman come into the office. She called 4 times from the parking lot, trying to find out how to get into the building. Then she stood there at the door and called 3 more times. I couldn't answer the phone because I was tied up on another idiot call, so she called dispatch. They called to tell me that she was outside and I needed to go let her in. I told them to tell her to put her hand on the door handle and fucking well pull it and if she was too stupid to open a door she didn't need her frigging laptop back. Then she calls FROM THE LOBBY and says she doesn't know where to go. I told her to look for the door DIRECTLY IN FRONT OF HER WITH THE BIG RED SIGN THAT SAYS "PUBLIC ENTRANCE"

Seriously, how do some of these people manage to make it from day to day?!?

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

5 Books Due In 2013 That I Am DYING To Read...

Here I Go Again: A NovelJen writes fiction as well as she writes humor!

Tao of martha cover WANT. Seriously. THIS should be EPIC.

The Cats of Tanglewood ForestWritten by my favorite Fantasy author, illustrated by one of my favorite artists- WIN

Peach Pies and Alibis (A Charmed Pie Shoppe Mystery)Culinary mystery with a paranormal splash...

Is It Just Me?This one is actually out now in the UK, but probably won't be released in the US until next year.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Today's cat lesson- Not EVERYTHING that falls on the floor needs to be eaten

So, when I went to the grocery store the other day, I bought a ginormous pork roast that was on sale. Seriously, this sucker weighed over 7 lbs BEFORE cooking. And as much as I dig the pig, the prospect of eating all that was a little daunting. Since it was marked down, it needed to be cooked quickly or I would have saved it to take to my parents for Sunday dinner.

Anyway, last night I studded that bad boy with almost an entire head of garlic. Then I got out my herbs & spices. I threw a merry, mad concotion (italian seasoning, Trader Joe's 21 seasoning salute, fines herbes, & 5 spice powder- sounds weird, but it worked) together and decided it needed a liberal dose of fresh ground pepper. My mill was almost empty so I had to stop, kick a cat out from underfoot (Malkin), root around for my peppercorns, kick the cat out of the way again, and then try to fill the grinder.

I rarely allow the cats to have people food. Most of the time they get bits and pieces of meat that fall to the floor when I've gotten overly-enthusiastic stirring something or chopping, or that have fallen out of an over-stuffed sandwich. The unofficial rule is, if it hits the floor and they get to it before I do, they can have it. They usually beat me to things on the floor.

You know where this is going, right? I spilled some of the peppercorns while filling the grinder, and they went bouncing all over the kitchen floor. Malkin was quickly joined by Nightshade and they proceeded to go on a seek and destroy mission for those little beads...and quickly discovered that NEITHER of them like the taste of fresh peppercorns. Now I have two spitting, sneezing cats stumbling around my feet and wailing to the heavens that "You Fed Us Something Nasty and WHY Did You Do THAT?!?"

Got the brats calmed down, liberally rubbed my roast with the spices and some olive oil, and popped it into the oven. It didn't take long for the aroma of roasting herbs & meat to fill the house. I looked around after about an hour and realized both cats were perched in front of the oven, waiting to get at the source of that good smell.

Nightshade, bless her furry little heart, really is her mama's girl. I can't eat anything pork based without her doing her damndest to get some of it. She likes it all, if she can get it, but especially bacon. I literally have to stand in the middle of a room to eat it in peace, and even then she tries to climb me like a tree to get some. Sitting, I can expect a furry little paw to dart from over my shoulder, trying to hook a bite of my food. They've taken to tag-teaming me- one cat will launch a frontal assault and when I hold the plate away from them- say off to the side or behind me- the other will attack.

When I took the roast out a few hours later, both furkids were dancing happily around my feet. Oh was it a beauty! Crispy crackly skin, an aroma of meaty goodness mixed with garlic and herbs...couldn't wait. I hacked off some bits of the crackling and a bit of meat from the end & proceeded to burn the hell out of my tongue. Then I cut a little more off and tried to dice it. I should have let it sit for a bit longer before I cut it (there's a reason that you're supposed to let roasts rest for 5-10 minutes before carving), and sure enough wound up dropping a few bits on the floor.

Did my idiot cats learn their lesson from the peppercorns? Did they, hell. They dove right onto the meat, which was still too hot and burned THEIR little tongues. More wailing ensued.

We did all finally get to eat some cooled roasted pork. It tasted as good as it smelled. Can't wait to go home tonight and have a roasted pork sandwich on rye...or some chopped pork in gravy w/rice...or scalloped potatoes and pork....mmmmmmmmm

Monday, December 3, 2012

Goverment Stupidity in Action

The former mayor of our fair city couldn't resist a bargain. So when the sewer company offered to sell the city a condemned building for the princely sum of $1, he leapt at the chance. Then, (and this is the good part) SOMEBODY decided that this condemned biohazardous building was the PERFECT place to stick the PD evidence room.

So we've been here for 6 years now. We've all developed health problems, the cockroaches in the basement  constantly challenge us to turf wars (we've ceded them territory, but they want more), and the buliding is all but falling down around our ears, but HEY! We got it for a dollar!

We have begged for a truly functional HVAC system. The current system is all the heat we want in the summer and all the cold we can take in the winter. If they do get the a/c running, it only works at arctic blast levels. If they get the heat running, we work in the KY equivalent of the Sahara desert. It is not uncommon to see us sporting swimsuits and parkas in the same week as we try to cope with the temperature. (sometimes in the same day)

Our parking lot is a wasteland of lumps, bumps, and things that make our tires go flat. Because police officers have no idea how to park intelligently, we have BEGGED for someone to come paint lines on the lot and create actual spaces. Hell, I offered to go do it myself if they'd provide the paint. No dice.

We have broken windows that Facilities tell us they can't fix due to asbestos. If they did what was needed- i.e. rip everything out and install new windows with security grates- they'd have to spend a fortune removing asbestos and we couldn't be in the building for a few weeks. So obviously that can't happen. We now have plastic sheeting duct taped over the windows on one side of the office. Tacky, but effective.

What have we gotten? A federal grant to create a 'green roof' on the top of this broken down dump. They spent something like $1.5 million to resurface the roof (causing the removal of our exterior surveillance cameras which have STILL not been replaced, loss of half the parking lot to the work crews, exposure to all kinds of noise and chemicals, and- GASP-  the loss of the cable tv signal for several days. long term readers know which of these was the biggest issue for my coworkers) and put in a lovely little garden. This is supposed to help keep the building cool, and do some other crap that I can't recall at the moment. Oh, and provde a haven for employees to take a break. Which would be great if the only way to get to it was anything other than 4 flights of stairs that lead to another, uber-steep narrow flight of stairs. NOBODY goes up there.

After the rooftop debacle, they got another Federal grant...for a rain garden. Another million or so went to digging up 1/4 of our parking lot and installing this garden with succulent plants and a bench for employees to sit on. It's supposed to collect water from the roof of the unusable garage next to the main building, thus alleviating the amount running through our dying sewer system and keeping the plants pretty. So if summer 2013 is anything like this year's, we'll have our own little Gobi desert out front. And what employee wouldn't want to go sit on a stone bench in full sunlight surrounded by the aroma of homeless guy urine (did I mention that it has become a public potty?) and car exhaust?

Last, (so far) but not least, we have been blessed with the addition of new solar lights in the parking lot. In the section that was already fairly well lit. Not in the far corners of the lot where we can't tell if that shadow is a transformer or a nutjob waiting to run up and kill us. And then they disconnected the old lights, so all we have are the 2 barely glowing solar lights that might illuminate the 3 cars parked directly under them.

THIS is what my tax dollars are going toward?

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Liddabit Sweets Candy Cookbook: How to Make Truly Scrumptious Candy in Your Own Kitchen!

The Liddabit Sweets Candy Cookbook: How to Make Truly Scrumptious Candy in Your Own Kitchen!

I saw this listed in the new books section on my library website and requested it, not expecting much of anything. Cookbooks lately just haven't appealed to me at all.

My reserved copy came in and I sat down on the couch with it. WOW. Jen & Liz have done a great job with this book! They don't just assume that the reader knows how to do things, but they also don't dumb their insructions down to the point that you feel your intelligence has been insulted. There are clear step-by-step instuctions for various techniques, tips for how to save failed attempts, and suggested variations on nearly every recipe.

My favorite section of one of the baking classes I took in culinary school was the one where we made candy. We mostly did chocolates, and I had hoped to get a chance to try other things. Sadly, that didn't happen, but this book has rekindled my desire to give it another shot. I've placed an order for a copy of my own and suspect some of my officers are going to be my guinea pigs as I try a few recipes out...


You'll want to give this one a shot.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Things I Hate About Winter

1. My office maintains an average temp of 50 below and it is not an uncommon sight to see us in parkas & fingerless gloves while we try to handle evidence.

2. The homeless people who get arrested so that they'll have somewhere warm to sleep. I don't begrudge them getting shelter, however misguidedly, but I hate that Corrections won't take their bags so that WE are forced to deal with the (often stinky) mess. And the cranky people that then have to hike 4-5 miles to our office to reclaim their stuff.

3. The cold weather plays hell with my arthritic knees & back.

4. The nasty slushy mess that makes driving in Louisville an even more hazardous task after the first snowfall starts to melt.

5. Every stray cat in the neighborhood comes to roost under my house, often mating under my bedroom floor. Glad they're warm and somewhat safe, wish they weren't homeless to begin with.

6. My little black cat loses her mind and races around the house, often shrieking madly, until I snap and threaten to kill her.

7. My father gets VERY grumpy about the cold weather, making my mother crazy, in turn making me even crazier.

8. Listening to holiday music ad nauseum EVERYWHERE I go.

9. The office holiday party.  Almost nobody ever really wants one, but there's always some gung-ho idiot who just HAS to organzize one. I put my foot down last year- no presents for the jackholes I work with, no special treats, and since I'm not participating, I'm not cleaning it up. Expect a repeat performance this year.

10. The politically correct police who insist  "We should say Happy Holidays so that everyone will feel included!" and those who argue that "Christ is the reason for the season" and "You cain't take Christ out of Christmas!" Here's my take on the issue- SHUT UP, celebrate the way you are comfortable, and don't force your views on the rest of the world. If someone gives you a holiday greeting that's different from your view, just smile, thank them, and be grateful that anyone is speaking to your sorry ass in the first place.

Friday, November 23, 2012

The Oyster Dressing Story Concludes...

So I got over to the parental abode just enough ahead of Thanksgiving dinnertime to get Dad’s oyster stuffing heated up. Silly me thought my mother would do the intelligent thing, transfer the dressing into a pan and stick it in the oven to heat/crisp up some. Nope. She microwaved it, so we had a bowl of smelly (to me), slimy looking glop.

Dad ate a couple of spoonsful, but wasn’t totally delighted. (He WAS happy that I’d thought to get him some, just not the way it turned out) When we were clearing the table he said to Mom, “Mix the rest of that with some of the regular stuffing and I’ll eat it later.” Mom didn’t hear him, so she threw it out, thinking he didn’t want any more of it. We figured this out as I was leaving and telling him I was sorry he didn’t like his surprise. He did allow as how I might could get him some more at Christmas.

I also got an email from the manager at Whole Foods thanking me for sharing my great service story. He said that they have discretionary bonuses that they’re allowed to give employees at holiday time and the two associates that I named in my letter will each get one. How cool is that?

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Turkey Day!

As usual, many thanks to Google Images. Also to the late Charles Schulz.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Craft-A-Day: 365 Simple Handmade Projects

Craft-a-Day: 365 Simple Handmade Projects

I was really hoping for more than I got from this. I sporadically get bitten by the craft bug and decide it's my mission in life to make goofy stuff. The projects included in this book are cute and definitely simple, but it's rather repetetive. This would be a good book for parents with small children who need indoor projects on bad-weather days, teachers, and others of that ilk. I needed just a little bit more.

I will admit that the cat, lion, and bird projects were all tempting, despite the repetition. I may give a couple of them a try.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Today's Rant, with a surprise postive twist!

Left the house early today to try to get some errands run before coming to work. Started with Kroger. Mistake #1.

Kroger: Stopped at the pharmacy to see if the Rx I called in LAST WEEK was ready yet. (it wasn’t the last 2 times I went in) The girl at the counter said “Sure!” and then started looking for it. 20 minutes later she was still looking for it and enlisted the help of a pharmacy tech to help her find it. he pulled it straight out of the basket and gave her the “you are a total dumbass” look. She rang it up and cheerfully told me my total was $58. Um, no. MY prescription is a $4 water pill. She looked at the bottle and it turns out that they put someone else’s meds in my bag. I had to wait another 20 minutes for them to find that person’s bag and see if mine was in it- it was- and then verify that we each were getting the right medication. Paid for that and then ran to get the other things I had intended to pick up...and gave up on that idea after the 3rd aisle where I was blocked by an elderly person slowly meandering up the middle of the freaking lane. I understand that older people and/or those with physical problems sometimes move slowly. When my back & knee aren't cooperating, *I* move slowly. But I don't do it UP THE MIDDLE OF THE GADDAMNED AISLE, BLOCKING OTHER PEOPLE, AND GLARING IF THEY TRY TO GET PAST ME. And then I got stuck behind Shamu's sister as I tried to get out of the store and she ambled slowly through the middle of the exit, leaving no room for anyone to get in or out around her. Again, I'm a fat chick, so I understand taking up space, but seriously? WHY THE MIDDLE?!?

Left Kroger in a rage and headed to Rite Aid to get the next Rx. No problem there. I never have problems there and am transferring the one I have at Kroger back to them next month. The problem I run into at Rite Aid is trying to get out of their parking lot. It’s on a busy intersection and really difficult during normal business hours. I was about to make my turn when this bitch in the left lane decides to make a right turn in front of me, cutting me off and nearly killing us both. And then has the nerve to flip me off. You can imagine how well that went over. I caught up with her at the next light and cussed her out thoroughly. She was too stupid to roll her window up so she got to listen to my entire tirade.

Headed to Whole Food$ next. Realizing that I wasn't going to have time to stop and get lunch at Jason's Deli as I had originally planned (THANK YOU ASSHOLES AT KROGER) so I decided to get some rolls from the self-serve baking case & tuna from their deli to eat when I finally got to work. The store was packed- apparently the rich people in town took the whole week off for Thanksgiving and most of them chose today to do their shopping. at the bread & pastry case, there was a little old lady (god, another one) examining every roll in a basket. With her bare hands. She kept picking them up and squeezing them, looking for a soft one. The bakery associate & I stood there in shock. Finally the baker said "Um, ma'am, you really need to use the paper we provide to pick up the rolls." The old bat snapped back that her hands were perfectly clean and she needed to test the rolls to find the softest ones. The baker reiterated that she really shouldn't touch the food with her bare hands and the crone stomped off in a huff. Luckily, the rolls I wanted were in a different basket and she hadn't touched THEM. The beleagured baker wearily removed the basket that had been manhandled and wandered off.

The reason I went there today is this: When I stopped in last Sunday, I had asked the staff at the Thanksgiving table about oyster dressing. One of Daddy’s favorite things in the world is Uncle John’s oyster dressing. Since he’s still in the rehab center and we’re not going to NC, I thought I’d see if they had some. We’d bought some a couple of years ago and he liked it. It wasn’t on their production list, but the girl walked me over to the seafood counter and asked the guy working if it was something he could get for me. He grinned and said they’d had so many requests for it that they would be making some later that night and to just put in a request for however much I wanted.

Well, I went in to pick it up today and the girl was thrilled to see me. She remembered how happy I was when they said they could make me some. We went back to the seafood counter and my new buddy there went back and got it for me. Went to check out, when I got a delightful surprise. E.K.- the guy in seafood- had marked my pound of oyster dressing NO CHARGE. They gave me a pound of expensive freaking oyster dressing for free! I went back and hugged him and Star (the girl) both and I am sending a letter to their corporate office to let them know how cool those two are. Dad is going to die when he gets his stuffing for Thanksgiving.

Bonus good service story:

Realizing I was going to be late for work no matter what, I opted to stop at Starbuck$ and get my jereboam of iced coffee. (you'd think I'm rich the way I blew money today. I'm not, just for the record) Believe me when I say that nobody wants to see me decaffeinated, especially my coworkers. The line there was ridiculous too, both instore and at the drive thru. I finally got to the window and the cashier (new) called over her should that the iced coffee lady was up. The duo who are usually at the drive-thru came running over, saw me and yelled hellos. "We thought this was your order!" (ok, so I go there a little more often than I should) Then they gave me my drink for free. They do that a lot because I am apparently one of the few customers that says please & thank you and they like my tie-dyed shirt collection. They're getting a thank you letter too.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Things I Like About Winter

1. I get to sleep under 500 blankets. I don't know what it is about sleeping under a ton of covers, but having the weight of blankets on me is very comforting. Odd, considering my minor claustrophobia, but there you have it.

2. I get to wear my flannel PJ's and fuzzy slippers

3. My asthma symptoms almost disappear in the winter months.

4. Hot Chocolate!

5. Hot Spiced Cider!

6. It's finally cool enough to bake without dying of heat exposure in my little kitchen.  (Weight loss tip 5833- I tend to take most of the goodies to work or give them to friends so I don't wind up eating an entire rum cake or batch of cookies by myself. )

7. Comfort food! Thick chewy homemade noodles in broth, creamy casseroles, roast beef and baked ham.

8. The calm quietness that fills the air after the first silvery snowfall blankets the ground.

9. Wrapping up in a comforter on the couch and having a sleeping cat snoring softly in my lap while I read and sip hot tea.

10. All the pert skinny little bimbos who pranced around in skimpy clothing the rest of the year now have to cover that shit up. HALLELUJAH!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Wicked Wager- Anya Wylde

The Wicked Wager ( A Regency Murder Mystery & Romance )

This was a hoot! Emma has snared the one of the most eligible rakes in England, only her uncle the Duke isn't so sure he approves of the match. He orders Emma to come to his country estate and think things over. Richard, Em's betrothed, decides to come along disguised as a gardener, and if she can't persuade the Duke to let them marry, plans to compromise so that he HAS to allow the marriage. Things get tricky when the Duke (who is sharper than they think) decides to invite the prospective bridegroom to the estate and Richard enlists a friend to pose as him. The friend keeps forgetting who he is supposed to be in love with and winds up falling for Emma's cousin, who is conflicted about everything at this point. Add in an impromptu house party, blackmail, and a murder, and you have quite the entertaining read! I'm looking forward to Anya's next book, which I believe is due out later this year...

Note: I recieved a free e-copy of this book from the author for my honest review.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Lunacy Has Already Begun...

I received my first Christmas card in the mail today. *headdesk*

Pioneer Woman's Chicken With Mustard Cream Sauce- AKA- Making Sunday Dinner for My Parents and Losing My Mind in The Process

Sunday Dinner- OMG. I was going to do Ree’s Chicken in Mustard Cream Sauce. (recipe here:   I bought the brandy for the sauce and had the chicken- all my mother had to do was buy the cream. My dad likes to eat early (you know those senior citizen early bird specials? Meant for him) and I like to eat around 7, so I told them to make sure he had a snack or something so there would be no need to rush trying to cook.

Well, I got there at 6 and mentioned that the chicken was still partially frozen, so it might be 730 before dinner was ready. You would have thought I’d announced I was marrying Satan. “Well, your poor father has been starving for the last few hours, so I’ll have to go buy dinner then.” I gritted my teeth and said I’d brown the chicken and then nuke it while I was making the sauce and hope everything was done at the same time. Also asked what happened to “have a sandwich or something so I don’t have to rush cooking a new recipe.”

My mother follows me into the kitchen, griping about something and second guessing me on everything I did. their kitchen is really small- 2 big people in it is 1 too many. I finally told her to get the hell out and let me work in peace. She fiddled around, changed out the skillet I was going to use (which would have let me cook all the chicken at once instead of in batches), and finally left when I said I was leaving if she didn’t get out NOW.

Because I had to do the chicken in batches, the butter/olive oil mix I was browning it in got too hot and burned a little. Then when I poured in the brandy to start the sauce, it got really smoky. I quickly put the vent on, but Mom made a big production out of coughing and waving her magazine and opening the patio door. My equally helpful father came out of his room and asked what I was burning.

The brandy is reducing, I added in the mustard and chicken stock, and then I opened the fridge to get the cream…which is not there. I asked where it was and Mom said, “oh did you need that for tonight?” Well, the recipe is called Chicken in Mustard Cream Sauce, so yeah. “oh, well, I’ll run to the store and get some. Do you need anything else?” Yes, some valium, Xanax, and 2x4 to clock you with. I settled for a Dr Pepper.

Turned the heat down under the partial sauce mix. Put the rice & green beans that were the side dishes for this fiasco on to cook. Tasted the creamless sauce and it was not good. considered just going home at that point, but decided to stick it out. 40 minutes later, Mom returns from the store. Even on low heat, the sauce in the pan has almost gone dry. I throw in another splash of brandy and stock, let it heat up and add the cream the recipe calls for and another 1/4 cup, just because. Dumped the chicken back in, covered the pan and let it all simmer for another 5 minutes.

Amazingly enough, the meal turned out to be delicious. The extra simmering time for the sauce reduced the sting of the mustard taste. Having to microwave the chicken for a few minutes didn’t dry it out too badly, and being simmered in the sauce made it quite yummy. The only drawback is that we could have used about twice as much of the sauce as we had. We’re all gravy lovers.

Two thumbs up. Next week, we're trying this one:

Monday, November 12, 2012

Road Trip Rules

1. No smoking of anything in the car-EVER (thanks to a former co-worker who asked if she could smoke and then lit up a spliff in the wilds of Tennessee. I damn near turfed her out onto the road)

2. Drinks will have lids, spills will be sucked out of the upholstery by the spiller

3. Trash will be removed from the car at every stop. If my car is infested with fruit flies/ants/anything after the trip, every passenger will be called upon to come fumigate the vehicle while I crack a whip over their thick skulls.

4. If you are the assigned navigator, do not tell the driver that they need to “turn here” or “take this exit” as we are careening past it at 90 m.p.h. Otherwise be prepared to take turns on 2 wheels and/or be soundly cursed at by the driver.

5. If you are the assigned navigator, and we are traveling according to written directions, READ THE DIRECTIONS EXACTLY AS THEY ARE WRITTEN. DO NOT THINK THAT THEY ARE OPEN TO INTERPRETATION. Trust me, they AREN’T.

6. We are not stopping every 50 miles for you to pee. If you have a bladder the size of a lentil, consider Depends or cut back on the liquids. (This will be waived for certain medical conditions and/or at the driver’s discretion)

7. When we do stop, if food/drinks are available and you feel the need for one or both, GET THEM THEN. Asking to stop for either after we have just pulled back onto the interstate will get you smacked, hard.

8. Meal breaks are negotiable. Saying “anything is fine” and then rejecting the driver’s choice is not.

9. Trunks & cargo hatches have limited space. Pack accordingly. You do not need as much luggage as the Cirque du Soleil for a 2-3 day trip. You may wind up riding with your excess luggage in your lap. (learned this one the hard way traveling with wrestlers. Trust me when I tell you that 6 hours in a car clutching a 75 lb suitcase on your lap teaches you how to pack lightly)

10. Sharp inhalations, clutching the dashboard, or exclamations of fear are frowned upon by the driver. You don’t like the way I drive, you can drive next time. (just be aware that I morph into the passenger from hell- there are reasons I'm usually the driver and that is one of them)

11. Unless you are alerting the driver to law enforcement vehicles or other impending doom, “Ooooh, look at that!” is not something wise to say. In other words, "Oh look, a cow!" is not particularly helpful. On the other hand, "Oh look, a state trooper," is.

12. Control of the music may be negotiated, but the final say is up to the driver. (Warning- musical complaints may be resolved by me singing the entire catalog of Garth Brooks, Animaniacs, Phantom of the Opera, and anything else I can remember the words to. You'll be begging for the Metallica CD witihn 4 miles)

13. Control of the heat/AC is up to the driver. (ie, during winter trips, we will not be driving with one window down so you can breathe cool air. Conflicting temps are one of my migraine triggers. Do you really want me driving with a migraine? Didn't think so)

14. We do not stop anywhere not visible from the main road/interstate unless it is a DIRE emergency. (see the story about the ride home from Aunt Lora's funeral for reasons why)

15. Contributions to the gas fund/toll booth fund are not optional unless arrangements were made WELL beforehand. (thank some former friends for this one)

Idiotic Things I Have Done On Road Trips (mostly in my misspent youth)

1. Worn a bra on my head

2. Changed clothes in the front seat (I wasn’t driving)

3. Tied glow-in-the-dark condoms to the radio antenna

4. Jumped out of the car before it stopped moving and skidded 16 feet across the parking lot to talk to Ric Flair (who was most impressed that I slid to a stop in front of him without falling or knocking him over)

5. Driven backwards down a dirt road at 90 m.p.h.

6. Raced a carload of WCW wrestlers from Winston Salem to Raleigh (I won!)

7. Asked someone with a mush-mouth Southern accent for directions. (20 minutes/6 passes up and down the highway later we figured out that "faaaar taar road" meant Fire Tower Road)

8. Decided that it wasn't time to fill up even though I was down to less than 1/8 tank of gas. (and very luckily made it to the next stop)

9. Decided that the solution to utter exhaustion was to take No-Doz on top of Dr Pepper, a quart of tea, and very little food. (first trip to Toronto- I saw every bathroom from Ohio to Toronto thanks to that bit of foolishness)

10. Picked up a hitchhiker because he was cute. (to be fair, there were 4 of us in the car, I wasn't the driver, and he was on crutches...and very relieved to get out at his destination. I think WE scared HIM)

Suggested items for road trips

1. Cooler stocked w/beverages of choice for asst passengers (for trips in excess of 4 hours)

2. Plastic bags (grocery store are fine) for trash disposal

3. Asst snacks for passengers (also for the 4 hour rule. Things like trail mix are good. Yogurt and things that require utensils or are potentially messy are not)

4. Wet wipes

5. First aid kit with extra pain killers, sunblock, antihistamines (for myself & allergy prone passengers), and lipbalm. Also good are those little Listerine toothbrush thingies.

6. Small pillow & blanket (you never know if/when you'll need a nap or someone is going to get cold while the rest of the party is roasting)

Anybody have any other rules or suggested items for the car?

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The British: An Awfully Useful Guide- Toby Hill

A short, but cutely illustrated guide to some of the things that make the British what they are. It takes about 10 minutes to read through.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

It's Election Day!

*happydance happydance happydance*

After tonight, the election ads will go away!  With any luck people will find something new to talk about incessantly. Actually, I know they won't. The next few weeks will be spent listening to people rant and rave about the results of the election. No matter WHO wins, someone won't be happy. However, they are missing the point.

This year's election was supposed to have record turnout at the polls. No matter who wins, this is a GOOD thing. It means people are participating. I truly belive that you have no right to gripe if you don't at least register your opinion.

Now, here's to hoping the candidates I voted for win....

Monday, November 5, 2012

Things That Make Me Weary

It's been one of those days, kids...

1. Arguing with the power company

2. Arguing with the IRS

3. Repeating myself more than twice when trying to give/get information

4. Cleaning the litterbox (how can two smallish creatures create such an unholy mess?)

5. Jeans that fit fine last week but suddenly won't zip without the jaws of life

6. Explaining to the barista that I REALLY DO want my iced coffee black with no sugar. (it might be weird to you, pal, but I'm paying for it, I like it, and YOU'RE pouring coffee for a living so shut up)

7. Explaining to the order taker at any burger place that I DO NOT want cheese on my burger. (I don't like the taste of the nasty yellow rubber that masquerades as cheese in most of those places)

8. My job, in general

9. Family drama (take my relatives, please...well, most of them, anyway)

10. Being in the mood to read/cross stitch, and not being able to because I'm at work/doing something else that requires my attention

I know these are trivial things, and that there are many people out there who don't have it as good as I do. But sometimes things just weigh you down, so you vent them out.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

My Heart is Aching to Stitch This One!

Ink Circles "Cirque des Coeurs"

and this is the thread I want to stitch it in:

Carrie's Threads in Renegade- the most beautiful purple & black mix.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Nerd Cred- I Haz It!

Well, I just impressed a Sgt with my nerd credentials. LOL. I was putting in his evidence and we found a pair of dice mixed in with the drug paraphernalia. So I listed them as 6 sided dice. When I handed him the receipt at the end, he looked it over and started laughing. “Well, of course they’re 6 sided. All dice are.”

I looked him straight in the eye and said “You never played Dungeons & Dragons as a kid, did you?” Then I pulled up Google Images to show him the myriad types of gaming dice there are. His eyes got big and he shook his head.

“Just when I think I know you, you go and throw something new at me. Damn, girl.”

Wait until I tell him about my sword...

 If I was still gaming, I'd love a set of these steampunk dice.  
This is sort of what my default set looked like.    This is a fair idea of what my dice bag looked like when spilled across the table. Only most of mine were purple & black. Surprised?

Thanks again to Google Images for the pictures.