Sunday, August 31, 2008

A Bit of Fun for a Sunday

This word cloud was generated at

I've seen these word clouds on various web sites and now I have one of my own. You can have one too! In fact, you can create as many as you'd like. Just visit Wordle and by entering your URL, or your choice of words, you can make your own unique cloud. The site allows you to tweak your cloud by changing the font, layout and coloring of the cloud.

I see lots of possibilities here: school projects, personalized special occasion cards, and posters to name a few. For now, just a little bit of fun for a Sunday :)

Friday, August 29, 2008

When Chocolate Pudding Is Not....

Sometimes a musical artist will take an old song and remake it, and that can be a good thing. So when I heard what sounded like a familiar old song the other day I turned up the radio and told my daughters, "Hey, you gotta hear this song from back in the day!" Imagine my disappointment when the song turned out to be, well, something other than what I thought. It's like seeing a bowl of delicious chocolate pudding - thick and creamy and rich. Your mouth is watering and you're all ready for that wonderful first taste, but when you take a bite it turns out to be a watered down version - artificial chocolate flavor, made with skim milk. Yeah, that's the feeling.

What I'm referring to here is the song by Kid Rock called, "All Summer Long." The flavor I was expecting was, "Werewolves of London," by Warren Zevon. Get a taste of the real thing. In fact, devour it all:

The lyrics are creative and fun, and if you're too young to know who Lon Chaney and Lon Chaney Jr. were, go do some research on google, then come back and tell my why they were referenced in this song! Yes, youngsters, that's a homework assignment!

"I saw a werewolf drinking a pina colada at Trader Vic's - his hair was perfect!"

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Random Ruminations

Morning cows
Originally uploaded by James Jordan

I read a news article on the internet about cows today. Apparently cows have a sense of direction. MmmmHmmmm. Researchers examining satellite images of cows have discovered that our bovine friends somehow have a sense of north and south, and align their bodies accordingly. This pattern has been seen across the globe. I'm not sure why researchers were looking at cows on satellite but hey, not my business...

Naturally this got me thinking about cows. I like cows, I do. For many reasons, not the least of which are the edible reasons. Cows are nice to look at. There's just something about driving past a field of cows that causes my kids and I to exclaim, "COWS!" as if they are magical creatures we had only ever read of, but never seen in real life. They usually appear so peaceful and relaxed - not a care in the world. I like cows more from a distance than up close, though. Mainly because up close you can see their snotty noses or drooling mouths....ugh - cow slobber!! There is also the cow-pie factor, which is not a problem at a distance.

I have a bit of a fear of cows. It's not that they are malicious or anything. I suppose it comes from my childhood (like any good phobia). We used to go out to my grandparents farm and when you are quite small, a cow is a rather daunting creature. They are loud up close, and just so big. I mean really, if a cow were to knock you down and sit on you there's not much you could do about it. Or if you got between a cow and a hard place (or fence) you would be really sorry. For sure I never want to be kicked by one either. I don't recall ever being 'trapped' by a cow or having any bad cow experience (well, bad burger at Burger King..) to blame this fear on, just a problem with my imagination I suppose.

I have some of the same fears about horses as well, in spite of the fact that I worked on a ranch once upon a time. Horses, unlike cows can be, well, not malicious but mischievous. Truly. The owner's son had a horse that only wanted one rider, and that was the son. He was disobedient with everyone but Cody. One day all the horses were in use and I had to take out a ride so I wound up with Cody's horse. That horse gave me a hard time and then deliberately stepped on my foot. He stayed there a while too. Horses, like cows, are heavy, and you don't want one on any part of you. He just stood there, on my foot, while I tried not to swear or do anything to scare the little children who were waiting for their ride. I could swear he laughed too. It was painful, physically and in terms of embarrassment.

Anyway, back to the issue of cow GPS, it's good to know that the majority of cows align north and south. Keep this in mind should you ever become lost and there aren't any mossy trees to point you north, or streams to follow to civilization. Perhaps you'll be in luck and spot a group of cows. Just don't get too close.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Deluge Known as Fay

I don't know when I've seen more rain in a 24 hour period. I thought about building an ark but I don't really have any idea how big a cubit is. I suppose I could check the builders manual (a.k.a.Bible) but I don't think there's a handy conversion chart in there.

Got a few pictures while I was out Saturday and Sunday. Yeah, I went out a time or two Saturday. My 12 year old had spent the night with friends Friday night and by mid-afternoon Saturday they were concerned that their road was about to flood out completely so we met up halfway. It was surprising the number of people out shopping. Power was out in a lot of places but their were still stores and restaurants open. Starbucks, in fact. If I could have parked close enough I would have gone in. Yes, I own an umbrella, but an umbrella is pretty useless when the wind is blowing the rain sideways. Besides, it's kind of embarrassing (and really annoying) to have your umbrella blow inside out...

These first pictures are the rainwater discharge pond at the front of the complex where I live.

What you see is flood vs. non-flood versions of the pond. The non-flood version was taken today (Tues. eve), and as you can see the landscaping and white railing are usually not underwater. The water is still about 10 inches higher than normal.

My second trip was due to my 16 year old wanting to go to a friends house to hang out with an accumulation of teens(similar to a gaggle of geese in many ways). Since she is learning to drive this year I thought it would be a good thing for her to experience these poor driving conditions. Here's a re-enactment of our usual driving lessons:

Me: Slow down. Slow Down! SLOW DOWN!!
Her: Ooooh! Turn up the radio! I like this song!!!

Neither one of us could believe I let her drive, but I would rather she learn to navigate bad conditions with me in the car than to learn it on her own. She would probably have preferred learning alone, since I took the opportunity to impart every piece of driving-in-bad-weather advice imaginable. I think this is the first time she actually turned the radio down and paid attention. Nothing teaches you to slow down like a good scare or two - such as not being able to see well, semi-flooded roads, and feeling your car slide because you have no traction. Yeah, valuable learning experience that one. Come to think of it, this is probably the first time that she was more afraid while she was driving than I was.

The flooding only worsened as the evening progressed. The city asked for a moratorium on the use of washing machines and dishwashers, since all the run-off and flooding was overwhelming the sewer system. Guess who had a full dishwasher and a bunch of laundry to do? Note to self: next time a big storm is coming do the laundry and run the dishwasher before the storm. I guess I could have taken care of it Friday after work, but hey - it was Friday! Who wants to do laundry on Friday???

These last two picture are at the soccer complex.

My oldest daughter had training Sunday afternoon and pretty much nothing gets in the way of soccer. I've seen them play in raining, 40 degree weather. They don't care, unless they lose. Field 1 was completely underwater as well as a large portion of the front parking. We do get puddles now and then, they just aren't usually this big...

I didn't bother driving all the way around the complex because the road on the other side is lower, along with a couple of the back fields. There is one field out of the ten that has artificial turf (and it's on high ground) so they trained there to avoid mud issues.

A lot of neighborhoods lost power, some neighborhoods were evacuated due to flooding. A lot of trees have fallen and continue to fall because the ground is so saturated and therefore unstable. In fact, late this afternoon we heard a loud crash at work and saw that a tree had fallen on the back storage building. Nothing close enough to the main building for me to worry about ;) Now we wait to see if "Gustav" makes an appearance this way!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Toilet Kitty ™

It seems that Rafik is a toilet kitty. Let me explain. For some reason she thinks it’s her duty to accompany me whilst I am ‘indisposed’ in the bathroom. Seriously. I can’t use the toilet without her racing in to assist me. My other cat doesn’t do this – she’s sensible and she could care less what I do unless it involves the kitchen. Rafik however comes running if she see’s me head for the bathroom, or hears the bathroom door close. It is somehow obvious to her (not me!) that I need her in my lap when seated on the toilet. Yes, I know I can close the door and keep her out, it’s just that after it happened a couple of times I thought I’d see if she would always jump up in my lap. Sure enough, she jumps up and lies down and purrs…weird. God forbid I should shut her out - she meows pitifully to be let in. Come on, kitty, I’ve been using a bathroom unassisted for quite a lot of years now!

So now I’m thinking, “Hey, I should clone this cat and trademark her!” People might pay to have a Toilet Kitty™! Weird, twisted people, perhaps, but their money still spends the same...Can you see the ad?

“Now that I have my Toilet Kitty™ I get a warm, fuzzy feeling whenever I pee!”


“I really enjoy doing my business now that I’ve got my Toilet Kitty™!”

What? Was that too much information? Yeah, I guess you didn't come here to read about my toilet habits....and if you did, well, you're just the sort of person that would buy a Toilet Kitty™!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

In the Midst of Fay

When I left off yesterday I had been for a good run and was anticipating the arrival of Fay. Well, she's here - passing through the area on her westward travels. The 'eye' of the storm passed south of us during the night so now we are in the heavier part of the storm. This is where we get the heavy rain, steady wind and strong gusts. So far so good - we still have electricity, which I am taking advantage of by cooking and posting.

I went to a friends house yesterday afternoon and we played cards, and I learned that my 12 year old, while seeming to not know what she's doing, is actually quite a good player of cards! She won - repeatedly. Good thing no money was involved. She would agonize over every draw and discard and truly seemed clueless - she had a fistful of cards and just when a couple of us were poised to play our final cards and win, her turn would come and she would draw a card and suddenly lay them all out for a win. It was uncanny!

After a few hours of cards/movie watching my daughter stayed the night there and I came home to see what my 16 year old was up to. As I went to get in my car I saw that one of my front tires looked ominously low. Great. Now I have to stop to air up a tire. Gas pumps are covered so only blowing rain will get you. Not so with the air coverage at all. #!%*!#!!. I got soaked. When I got home my daughter was busy making plans to go out with friends - plans that were quickly quashed by myself and the other parents, due to the worsening storm. So we hung out for the evening and went off to bed semi-early.

Good thing we got some sleep because by about 3 a.m. we were awakened by the storm in all it's glory. We have lots of trees around here so the wind gusting through the trees and the rain hammering on the roof kept waking us, along with occasional sirens.

By 7 a.m. we quit trying to sleep and did the next best thing - made coffee and some breakfast and sat on the balcony to watch the storm. Our balcony is semi-enclosed and screened so it was perfect for enjoying the view without getting wet. We were discussing birds and how much it sucks to be clinging to a tree during a storm, when I looked over and saw something running along the ground. Turned out to be a rabbit. What!!!??? What possessed a rabbit to get out in this weather? I always assume that animals have some internal guiding system that tells them to fill up before an approaching storm. Instincts that are guided by barometric pressure or some such thing. Apparently I'm wrong. Or this was just one dumb rabbit.

Enough for now. Elder daughter has gone off to get the sleep she missed last night, and so long as it's going to be dark and rainy I may as well get a nap in too!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Fay is coming my way... what am I doing? Well, I went running that's what! More about that in a minute. I did go to the grocery store to stock up on some non-perishable food and some gallon jugs of water. We always have a certain amount of emergency supplies because I've lived in an earthquake zone, tornado country and now hurricane world. Not that I think this is going to be such a bad storm for us.

Right now we are in the outer bands - light wind, occasional showers. The center of the storm will move south of us and likely pick up more water from the gulf to dump on us. My biggest problem will be the power going out due to falling limbs/trees. No cooking, no air conditioning, no internet!!!! Parts of town and certain streets will flood, but it's the coastal counties that will bear the brunt of the storm. There's a chance for tornadoes but somehow they always seem to hit the counties around us...thanks to the lay of the land or perhaps dumb luck.

As for running, well this is awesome weather for running, or any exercise really. What makes it good is the light wind and rain. See with these outer bands of the storm the temperature is in the mid to high 70's, which is about 10 degrees cooler than usual. Also, no direct sun beating down on you, so it's about as comfy a run as you can have this time of year. Hey, if I'm gonna exercise it's gonna be as comfy as possible, ok? "But what about the treadmill?" you ask. Hmmm, that is air conditioned but also boring. I really do prefer the great outdoors.

The route I run starts out level then goes downhill, levels out again and then uphill on the return. For the downhill portion the wind was in my face so I figured that I would have the wind at my back on the uphill return right? Wrong. Wind has a way of shifting so there went my help on the uphill! So there I was, running with the wind fighting against me and thinking about my epitaph:

Here lies Annette,
toned and dead;
She died while running,
what more can be said?

At least I might look halfway good in the box.

Back to Fay. They announced yesterday that the schools would be closed today. Bloody hell! The kids just started back; it's us adults that need the break! Which we sort of got. I pointed out to my boss that we had no appointments until 9 this morning so we ought to sleep in. He went for it. We went in at 9, did about an hours worth of work, ate donuts and left at 11:15. That's my kind of work day.

I'm off to do errands now before it gets too ugly to drive. See you on the flip side...

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Viva la Vida

I listen to a pretty wide variety of music and lately I've been catching this tune on the radio and it's grown on me.

Viva La Vida - Coldplay
I didn't really pay attention to the lyrics at first, I just enjoyed the sound of the song - an uplifting sort of feeling. I like the use of orchestral instruments, and I also like the singer's voice. Then I started listening to the lyrics. You know, sometimes you start to like a song and then when you really listen to the lyrics you realize the message is not what you thought and it ruins the song for you. So I started to listen to the lyrics but I didn't get them all. Enter the internet. I love it - I can find anything on here, including the words to songs.

So, I got online and found the lyrics...only there were several versions! You know, the old 'mondegreen' problem. Was it "Lucy in disguise with diamonds" or was it "Lucy in the sky with diamonds"? Basically, I just wanted to see what the song was about and it seems there are many different interpretations of what 'story' the artist was telling. Was it religiously significant? Was it about Napoleon? I'm not quite certain but at least it's nothing overtly objectionable.

Anyway, I think I'll stop analyzing and just enjoy. Please do the same yourselves!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Tag-Team Bageling

Holy Crap!! I was actually running ahead of schedule this morning, so I decided to stop at the local bagel shop near my office. I pulled into the parking lot with visions of a nice toasty bagel with butter melting on it, along with a hot cup of coffee. Powerful coffee, not office coffee. I proceed into the bagel joint and see that there are two women at the counter ordering, and no line!! What miracle this? The two women were apparently ordering for some sort of office meeting. I had ten minutes before I had to be at work. With no line I should have been in and out and on time to work. Then reality came crashing down.

The two women were apparently using some sort of tag-team technique for ordering bagels. Lets call these ladies W1 and W2 (woman 1, woman2). Their order went like this: W1, "Let's get 3 of the everything bagels." Then she would consult with W2, and W2 would say, "We'll take 5 of the tomato/basil bagels." More consultation, followed by W1's request for 4 more bagels of another variety. This went on to the point where I wanted to tear my hair out and scream until my lungs collapsed. Or just bitch-slap the tag-team. The guy behind the counter didn't seem any happier about it than me. Finally, another employee came along to assist me and the line that had formed behind me. As I'm ordering I hear W2 say, "Is that 39 yet?"

What!!!! You need 39 bagels for your office - okay, I'm fine with that, but a normal person would just come in and ask for, oh say half a dozen of 6 different flavors plus 3 extra of one flavor. Am I wrong to think that's how to do it? Do you seriously need to consult with someone every 4th or 5th bagel??? Next they had to make important decisions about which tubs of cream cheese should be purchased to accompany the bagels. Luckily I had bypassed them at this point and was able to get my coffee and pay before they made it to the cashier. God only knows how long the cream cheese consultation went on. Hmmmm. Maybe they were getting paid in 15 minute increments for their 'consulting' work. Not a bad gig if you can get it.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Mindset List, a.k.a. Boy Am I Getting Old!

I was cruising the internet today and saw an article about the Mindset List, published annually by Beloit College. Every year you see a list like this around the time of graduation or when college freshman are starting school. The lists are designed to refresh the older generations on the relevance of topics and point of view of the younger generations. These lists always provide both a laugh and a shock for me. Case in point:

Kids starting college this fall have always lived in a world with GPS and phones with caller ID.

My kids will hardly answer a phone if they can't see who's calling. My daughter asked me once in disbelief, "How did you know who was calling before caller ID?" "Well, we answered the phone," was my reply. As for GPS, well, people still seem to get lost in spite of it!

"The Tonight Show" has always been hosted by Jay Leno.

Yes, kids, some guy named Johnny Carson used to host that show with Ed McMahon at his side. Yes, Ed actually worked in TV before Star Search! No, Ed wasn't just the spokesman for Publisher's Clearinghouse.


Just ask a college student about Watergate. Go ahead. I did it at work today and my coworker had no idea what I was referencing. She did, however, recognize the name Nixon.

IBM typewriters?

Whenever my children complain of having to write an essay or do any kind of writing project I regale them with stories of the "old days" when we struggled with typewriters. Just one clean page of typing was a nightmare to produce. Spellcheck? It was called a dictionary. Fonts? What??? Seriously, computers make writing such a dream! No backspacing to center your title. When you make a mistake you just delete. Don't like the way your paragraphs are organized? Cut and paste!

This reminds me of the first time I experienced an 'old' moment...and I wasn't even old. I was home from college one summer and I went to a music store at the mall. As I was browsing the selections I overheard a high school student exclaim, "Wow! I didn't know Paul McCartney was in a band before Wings!!!"

Sunday, August 17, 2008

A Blast From the Past

Today I'd like to share some images with you that come from a 1940's book about dressmaking. This book is awesome for a number of reasons, but one section I particularly enjoy is all about poise, posture and charm! I love the choice of words the author uses to describe every move from gesturing to properly sitting, standing, descending stairs, dressing and even getting into and out of cars. Really. When you consider the difficulty that many celebrities have getting out of cars these days without flashing their lady-bits it's a wonder we don't have a modern version of this book.

"Avoid awkward gestures" is the advice given with the drawings at left. "You don't point, of course, but you may know someone who does. Help her to lose the habit by showing her these pictures." Anyone care to share pictures?? According to the author you should practice every move in order to avoid awkwardness. By the way, don't talk with your hands as it causes you to appear older! Hmmm, and I thought it was the lines, wrinkles and grey hairs that did that...

Now then, shall we examine how we sit?

Sitting isn't just about posture, although she does devote several drawings and paragraphs to that subject. Sitting is actually about being naked! Yes, judging by these pictures, sitting around naked is a-ok! Sitting is also about what you do with your hands and feet. "Feet together is the smart way." According to the author, if you get in the habit of crossing your legs at the knee you may "embarrass yourself and others" while in a drawing room, ballroom or church. Well, we wouldn't want that now would we? Remember, your feet don't need anything to do while you are sitting: "Let them rest side by side on the floor. They have a decorative function." I'm not kidding - it really says that! Your feet are decorations, damn it! Treat them as such!

The book goes on to discuss exercise, diet, and supportive undergarments, as well as the importance of keeping our stocking seams straight, and our belongings tidy.

Which leads us to the dresser.

Is your dresser a delight or a despair? Your dresser drawers should be in "..such immaculate order that they are a delight to you..." If you fall into the despair category it is recommended that you "..prop this book on your dresser, open at this page; then set about putting things to rights." Well, I'll get right on that! Again, be reminded that your dresser serves a decorative purpose and you shouldn't just pile it up with stuff. Oh, I'm failing miserably on that one...Isn't that why we have furniture in bedrooms? So that we can fling our clothing and pile up our stuff rather than just toss it on the floor? If by chance your dresser is not enough of a challenge, the author has a detailed system for sorting, packaging and labeling the contents of your handbag.

Well, what are you waiting for?! Practice away those awkward gestures, strive to be pleasing and smart, and delight in your immaculate dresser!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Coffee Cups and a Quiz...

Good Morning! Welcome to Saturday! Coffee is how I pretty much prefer to start most every day. Sometimes my teenage daughter indulges as well and that's how I came to have this picture. As you can see, I sat down first at the computer to relax and enjoy my coffee. When I got up momentarily, my daughter thought she could just horn in on the action and take over. Well, you can't really see who was there first but you know I'm telling the truth because just who do you think gets up first on a weekend???

So, I come back over to the desk to find two cups of coffee. This is where the quiz comes in. Which cup of coffee belongs to the mom and which to the teen? It's not much of a quiz 'cause the clues are easy. Hey, it's Saturday and I'm not gonna make you think too hard. Someday I'll give you a more difficult quiz. Long and involved. Probably with trick questions.

It's only natural that you find yourself wondering, "Who in hell uses cups and saucers?" Well, I do. I used to have the huge coffee mugs. Then a couple years ago I bought some new dishes since the old ones were missing several pieces. Not that you care why I bought new dishes. Basically I'm not the sort of person to have 5 sets of dishes and there's not enough room around here or I might well do it! Anyway, the set I bought had everything I wanted but instead of mugs it came with cups and saucers. Not even an option to buy mugs separately.

Initially I was a bit bothered about having no mugs. I have other mugs I can use for coffee. But you know what? I have come to prefer my cups and saucers. First of all, when I used a bigger cup/mug the coffee often went cold (or lukewarm) before I ever finished. With these cups my coffee is hot to the last sip. Second, if you aren't careful walking and your coffee is in a mug, the spill lands on your hand or the floor or both. Not a problem with a cup and saucer. Not that I'm all sloppy...well, I have my moments. Third, they don't take up much space in my cupboard. Finally, they just look so darn nice, don't they? Of course I have to make more frequent trips to the kitchen for re-fills, but I just count that as exercise.

Now, the answer you've all been waiting for: the cup of coffee with sugar in it belongs to the teen. Come on now, you know it's the one on the left. And see there? Mine didn't have a spill!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Miscellaneous Me

Here's something you may find hard to believe: I've never made a single mistake. Seriously. I make all my mistakes in multiples - it's much more efficient that way!

I'm short - about 5'2" on a good day, but on the inside I'm just as big as anyone.

A slow-motion, downhill, 360 degree turn on an icy road is kinda scary. Actually, any unintentional, non-forward motion on an icy road is kinda scary. Ok, really scary.

Phyllo 'leaves' are not related to pot. Mmmmm, but they're good when used right. Look it up...

After I graduated from college, but before I got a 'serious' career, I worked on a ranch as a cook. It was an awesome job.

It's never really a good idea to touch a cholla, also known as 'jumping cactus'. They are a lot harder to 'untouch' than your average cactus.

You may call a dandelion a weed, but I prefer to call it a flower.

When I was little I thought babies came out of your belly-button. Now I know better, and the truth hurts! Really!

It's possible to close your head in a door without being drunk or on drugs, especially when you're a teenager.

In 1989 there was an earthquake in the San Francisco Bay area. I lived there at the time. Now I live in Florida, but I'm still more afraid of earthquakes than hurricaines 'cause you can't see an earthquake coming.

You may think that I don't have any cartoon character stuffed animals, but you would be wrong. I also have a couple of sock monkeys.

Real butter is better than margarine, sugar is better than artificial sweetener, lard makes a dandy pie crust, and coffee is better with real creamer. Moderation is the key.

Never let a small frog loose in your parents car.

If someone asks you about the space between your ears, do not reply with the question, "What space?". I was young, ok?

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Your Cosmic Blog-O-Scope

YIPPEE boys and girls!! It's your very own Blog-O-Scope! I'm going to open the cosmic world to you by way of interpreting the stars so that you won't make any embarrassing cosmic blogging mistakes. You may ask, "What qualifications does Snail possess that she is able to do this?" The short answer is, "None." The longer answer is, "I've read lots of fortune cookies and horoscopes over the years. Also, I've been around the block a time or so, which leads me to believe I can give cosmic advice as well as anyone!"

I'm feeling inspired by the Flamarion Woodcut, which is the picture you see above. Though created by an unknown artist, the picture first appeared in a book by Camille Flammarion and became known by her name. The musical artist Donovan used this print for the inside cover of his album, "Cosmic Wheels", which came out when I was in 6th grade. A local radio station sponsored a poster coloring contest and our art teacher picked up copies for our own in-school contest. And guess what? I won first place in my class! I think what put me over the top was the use of the Metallic Gold Crayon. That crayon was magic, I tell you! My prize was a gift certificate for a local ice-cream shop. I used that crayon a lot after that...

But, back to the matter at hand. With the help of the stars I will now guide you in your blogging efforts thusly:

Aries The Ram: You are creative, open hearted, and high spirited. For shocking results, use the word electricity next time you post. A tasty reuben sandwich opens many blogging doors for you. Your lucky number is 3.14159.

Taurus The Bull: You are quiet, patient, and affectionate. Your colorful writing skills will be brought to the forefront when you blog in shades of green. When in doubt about a blogging topic, eat some bacon and you will soon be posting.
Your lucky number is -40੦ C/F.

Gemini The Twins: You are clever with words, quick in thought, and full of new ideas. Your sign is ruled by Mercury therefore curried chicken will add some heat to your blog. Yours is a repetitive sign so you should send out a meme! Your lucky number is ½.

Cancer The Crab: You are unpredictable, loyal, and will make any sacrifice for someone in need. Having trouble blogging? Yours is a water sign, so dining along the French Riviera will likely help. Say hello to Pierre for me. Your lucky number is 1776.

Leo The Lion: You are kind, openhearted, and generous. There’s nothing like salad to get the words flowing, but too much could lead to scandalous posting! Stay away from cliffs - you could easily fall off and burst into flames! It doesn’t just happen in the movies! Your lucky number is 911.

Virgo The Virgin: You are intelligent, shy, and charming. Always have handy some strawberries dipped in chocolate as they will help you sink your teeth into your writing. No one will be able to resist your blog, you sexy thing. Your lucky number is 90210.

Libra The Scales: You strive for balance and harmony. You are a born diplomat. A drive through town with a blindfold on will give you much to blog about, once you recover. Beware bad kiwi fruit. Really. Your lucky number is 42.

Scorpio The Scorpion: You are powerful, independent, and passionate. When Pluto, your ruler, is in your 8th house you will hit blogger’s gold, but beware when Pluto enters your condo, as this can only lead to trouble! Your lucky number is 867-5309.

Sagittarius The Archer: You are fun to be with, imaginative, and clever. Tacos will clear your mind's palette so that you can blog freely. Be careful that you do not flame anyone when posting comments – it’s a common problem for a fire sign such as yours! Your lucky number is 26%.

Capricorn The Sea goat: You are ambitious, cautious, and determined. Be daring and have cheese on your broccoli - you will be inspired to greater writing. You are most at home blogging in your 10th house. You know it’s really not right to have so many houses! Your lucky number is 666.

Aquarius The Water Bearer: You refuse to follow the crowd. You are outgoing, and eccentric. As an air sign you tend to live with your head in the clouds. Stop flying kites instead of writing! Clam chowder brings you back to earth and inspires great blogging. Your lucky number is .333333

Pisces The Fish: You are loyal, generous, and will help a friend who has fallen on hard times. Using pictures in your blog, such as The Scream, by Edvard Munch, will add an element of surprise to your next post. Sushi does not become you. Avoid it!! Your lucky number is 01010010.

Now, go forth and blog knowing that the forces of the universe are guiding you!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Allergic to August

I think I'm allergic to August,
July posed no problem for me.
No sniffles, no sneezes, no headaches,
and the temp stayed below one-o-three.

I must be allergic to August,
how else to explain the iced-tea?
How else to explain the afternoon nap
and the aversion to humidity?

The days how they pass by so slowly.
To Alaska I wish I could flee.
The cure takes too long in it's coming,
for September is my remedy.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Fur Beasts

I've just downloaded some pictures from my camera and thought I'd share a couple with you. No family is complete without a fur beast or two. Sure, it always starts with one, but pets are like Lay's potato just never seems to be enough. Without further ado I give you Finko and Rafik. First we'll have a look at Finko. Here she is on display with my daughter's Vera Bradley bag.

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Finko joined us a little over two years ago. She was a street kitty that a co-worker found. She was about 8 weeks old, scrawny and had a big lump part way down her tail which I assumed meant it was broken. Since it didn't seem to hurt her I thought I would take her home and clean her up and then make a vet appointment. After her bath I put her down on the floor and she began grooming herself. A couple minutes later I looked over and a good portion of her tail was about to come off! Basically it was hanging by a thread where the lump had been. Finko didn't seem to be in pain and there was very little blood. My first instinct was to bundle her into her carrier and rush her to the animal hospital. Then I realized that the tail would be off before we got there and it wasn't likely to rejoin her again in this life. You can see her evil glare in this shot - that's the 'don't touch me and expect to live' look.

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I did the only thing I could and immediately left the room to avoid the grossness factor of watching her finish the 'removal' process. Next day we saw the vet, got ointment and shots and went home. But the fun wasn't over. The hair on the remaining portion of her tail began to come out and to this day only half of her tail has hair and the rest has a really bad comb over. As I mentioned, I left the room when I saw her tail coming off, and when I returned the tail was gone. I hadn't counted on it disappearing! For a split second I wondered if she could have eaten it. Naw...she must have played with it. Great, now there was a piece of cat tail lost in my living room. The girls and I searched, but she was small and had likely gone under the sofa and left it there. Who wants to reach way under there and feel for a tail? None of us, that's for sure. One morning about a week later I came out and there was the tail in the middle of the floor. She had apparently found it and played with it during the night. This time it disappeared for good. Next you see Rafik looking innocent. Don't be fooled.

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Rafik is 5 months old and is the second fur member of the family. Rafik was also a street kitty and also came to us via a co-worker, though not the same one. Rafik's street days must not have been as bad as Finko's for she is much less shy and shows more affection at an earlier age than Finko did. She is also much more compliant when my 12 year old dresses her in clothes. My youngest has some stuffed animals with clothes that are just the right size for Rafik, and so Rafik must bear the occasional humiliation of being dressed up and photographed. Here you see her in her "Pimp My Cat" look. All she needs is some bling.

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Finko gets lots of exercise now thanks to Rafik, and she no longer pounces on the girls and I. When these two aren't sleeping they're busy chasing each other about. They get pretty rough, and Finko could easily kick butt and take names but she goes easy on Rafik. I don't anticipate adding any more fur beasts to the mix as I have no intention of becoming a crazy cat lady. The fur beasts appear below in their natural habitat. They're so cute when they sleep....

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Saturday, August 2, 2008

Ten Things I Like ...

...followed by ten things I don't, in no particular order.


1. Home made mashed potatoes
2. Pachelbel's Canon in D
3. Warm, furry animals
4. A cold beer on a hot day
5. Peonies
6. Blueberry pie, home made
7. Get Fuzzy
8. A starry sky (especially while camping or at the beach)
9. Frogs
10. Mountains


1. Artificial sweetener
2. The term 'brain fart'
3. Whip It, by Devo (someone in my dorm played it entirely too much)
4. Cockroaches
5. Spilled sugar found on the kitchen floor by my bare feet
6. Boxing
7. Romance novels
8. Pointy toed shoes
9. Walking into unseen spider webs
10. Ferrets