Thursday, December 27, 2007

First of Ebay Mania 2008

So as per my last post; I bring you the first batch of EBAY auctions that I am creating for my mother.
I plan on systematically working through her home over the next few years, organizing, ebaying items and getting items ready for a spring rummage sale.
This is a HUGE project, as my parents are decades long packrats. The items featured in this auction batch represent only one bag in one lowly corner of one lowly room.
I haven't even begun to make a dent.
Also in this carload were three boxes of Disney videos which are now at the bookstore.
The prices on the videos range from 2-6.00 each.

To view all of the items for sale on EBAY, click on "view seller's other items".





EBAY LOOT

Monday, December 24, 2007

In which hating phones bites me hard

As I've probably stated on here before; I hate telephones. And as I've probably said at one time or another; I don't visit my folks as often as a good child would do. And I've probably also mentioned that one of my worst fears is to get the "call"; that one of your elderly parents is having a medical emergency.
Well I got the call, and I'm quite ashamed to say it was two days after the fact.

Ya see....I have a cell phone and it's always in my purse across the room or across the house.
And the house phones are in my husband's office and somewhere else obscure (I never check the machine). I depend on my husband to give me answering machine messages that come in.

And I rarely check my cell phone messages, because no one ever calls and I hardly ever use it.

So on December 10, I find a chilling cell phone message from my mom, left on the morning of the 8th during which she was having a heart attack and waiting for my sister to come and take her to the hospital.

You have no idea how absolutely shitty a child can feel.

She's ok. The doctors were able to stop the heart attack before any serious damage was done. She takes a lot of medication and it seems that she accidentally let one slip through the cracks.

SO. For 2008, I'm cutting back to 4 days a week at the bookstore and spending a day at my parent's house working instead. I'll be cleaning, doing laundry, ebay auctions, organizing (it is a critical case of packratitis) and throwing away lots of stuff (I HOPE).

I'm really looking forward to this. Probably my favorite thing to do is to throw stuff away and organize. I will be in hog heaven. And more importantly, I will be taking a big load off of my mom.

Friday, November 16, 2007

The Thin Black Line

My youngest cat has, in the last six months, discovered the awesomeness that is the outdoors. Not with our permission, I should add. He has become slyer and dartier and has managed to escape the monotony that is our house twice now, preferring to explore the woods and worry us silly.

So the other day, I got him a little cat harness and little cat retractable leash. (They are so cute btw).

Walking a cat on a leash is very unlike walking a dog. A cat saunters and plops. Repeatedly.
I open the door..he saunters out slowly, then plops down on his belly. Then he's up again, walks a few feet, then sinks again to lay flat on the ground.

We did this for about 20 minutes around the yard. He loved it, even though he lets me know in no uncertain terms that I am seriously cramping his style with the leash.

But tonight I knew the leash had established a permanant place in his heart when I rustled around in the leash basket and he raced to the door and hollered.

Awwwww. So cute.

Leaves are falling..fire is crackling...life is good

Oh my good god, I love vacation. I have five days off this week.

My ideal schedule that I'm working toward would be as follows:
Three days at the bookstore. Four days working from home.

I just love the whole free-form aspect of working from home. Two hours cataloging books in the morning over coffee, then packaging orders to take to the post office, then off to thrift shops and other resale shops in town in search of books to resell.
Lunch and visit with my mom and/or dad. Or lunch with my husband.
Then grocery shop, run errands and be home in plenty of time to clean house and plan and cook dinner.
Sweet.

I have had the best time these last two days doing just that.
Sour cream corn casserole and chicken with tomato and mozzarella cooking as I type.

Granted, it will be a while before my website affords me this luxury. Either that, or when my husband's salary can take up more of the slack. We just both zeroed out our credit card debt this month, so we're creating more wiggle room. Feels pretty good.

Ok, and because I know you're always looking for new recipes that are quick, tasty and easy, I give you....

Sour Cream Corn Casserole

1C. sour cream (I used 1/2c yogurt and 1/2c sour cream)
1 can creamed corn
1/2 stick butter melted
1 box jiffy corn bread mix
1 can kernel corn, drained
2 eggs beaten
1C. cheddar grated
1 small can chopped green chiles

Combine all ingredients. Pour into greased 8x8 casserole dish. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.

I just tasted it and it is super good. Like all things that are bad for you are.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Why can't I bake good bread?

I envy the rest of the creatures on the planet. Because they instinctively know what they need to do. They know how to build their homes, they know what to eat, they know who their predators are, they know where they need to be each season and what they need to be doing.

I often wonder what is the "natural" existence supposed to look like for humans? If we were auto-wired at one time to be sort of in-sync humans, what kind of homes did we build? Out of what? What did we gravitate toward as a food source? What did we instinctively avoid?

It's not that I don't appreciate choice and ingenuity. We as a species have created some amazing things. But we are also responsible for stuff like Clinton Highway.
I just wonder what we are all about when you strip it back down.

Warm and dry. Quenched and sated.

I think I'll go build a fire.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

21st Century Bitch

I'm becoming quite the 40-something year old grouch. I went to an antique mall today that I visit about every six months and I found myself being a complete bitch to the owner. Not that she doesn't deserve it. She is always there; always attacks you as you walk in the door, follows you around and makes really obnoxious pressury comments regarding everything you pick up to examine. I've just found that her type needs some personality nettles to keep her at bay. I just want to browse in peace for goodness sake. I know what I like. Right?

Plus when I was checking out, two of the items I chose were priced with stickers and she balked, saying that "that was the price we paid" and made me pay twice the price per item.

I really can't stand her.

Ok, but it's not just her I act out against. I am finding myself increasingly annoyed by profit-driven personalities. The fakey sugary following me around all over the store shit, the "do you have anything on the bottom of your cart?" shit, the pretend stocking/shelving right next to me while I'm browsing shit.

I AM NOT A THIEF for God's sake.

Give me some breathing room.

I recently read a book called "I Passed As a Teen" written by a thirty-something woman who posed as a high school teenager for a semester in order to write an article about teens. This was in the late sixties.

One of her conclusions was that teenagers are incredibly put-upon by their superiors; lots of "Don't do this", "Don't do that", "If I catch you doing so and so, you will be..", etc....
She claimed that teenagers were basically being yelled at all day and barely being really looked at as god honest human beings. She predicted that it was only a matter of time before the teenagers "snapped" and acted out against the system.
And guess what? She was absolutely right.

And it's not just teenagers. All of us are being treated as nothing more than pockets to pick these days.

I find myself feeling increasingly demoralized as I encounter more and more red light ticket cameras at my usual intersections. Is there any aspect of our lives that doesn't involve a hand in our pockets?

Ok, so if you encounter me in public and try to sell me something or try to imply that I am going to deprive you of something, then guess what?, I am going to be bitchy to you.

On the other hand, if you visit my store and need help or info, I will give it to you gladly and leave you to your own decision-making processes; no pressure. I promise.
You know what you like. Right?

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Bored? Here's an idea....

Today my husband left for yet another out of town trip (hopefully the last one). I got busy with catching up on housework because my boss went on vacation last week and I haven't had a day off in 10 days.

At some point I started thinking some paranoid thoughts along the lines of "what if our stuff got stolen?" and I decided to spend the remainder of the day recording serial numbers and and taking photos.

I have to say....you should do it. Whoever you are. It's a little bit of a pain in the ass, but really not too bad and my goodness, think of the hours and hours of headaches you will be saving on the other end.

I started in my office and just went room to room meticulously copying down serial numbers off of any and all electronic devices and following up with a digital picture.

I also took photos of my "stuff" because my memory is bad and it would be helpful to have photos of my artwork and books and stuff.

At the end of the project, I copied my digital camera pictures onto two CDs; one to store at home and one at work.

Take half a day and do this. You will feel much better and be waaaay ahead of the game if, god forbid, anything should happen.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Thinking about quality again

I was watching Tim Gunn's Style show the other day and got to thinking about "core" stuff. The few pieces of stuff that you own that are actually nice or worth hanging onto long term. With his show, it's about your core clothes, but what about your other belongings?

I feel like my life has been defined with the cliche of not being able to have nice things. Granted, that's mainly because of having so many animals sharing my space, so it's not all my fault. But along with that, I am seemingly addicted to changing things up. The animals have trained me to shop with disposability and thriftiness in mind. The only breakable stuff I have is contained within the kitchen cabinet. Any cloth item must be washing machinable..I mean machine washable. There must be no significant investment or attachment to any furniture because it might need to be tossed into the ditch at a moment's notice.

I found a box of pictures when I was cleaning out my workshop the other day and it was interesting to look back on my various versions of interior decorating. I tried to pick out things that I'm still using or still own. Mostly it boiled down to artwork. I rarely will throw out a piece of art. Everything else though, was totally different.

My home often feels more like a stage set than anything else.
I don't mind it really. It keeps things fun and unpredictable. Every now and then I will find myself envying a more old-fashioned type of person who has generations of heirlooms and fine furniture. But I just don't think I would really enjoy that for very long. It would feel like being chained to a bunch of stuff for family's sake.

I have conflicting visions about my perfect house. Part of me wants the tidy bungalow with lots of sunshine and tall ceilings and natural wood. Another part of me mentally designs something more like an airplane hangar with concrete floors and retractable walls. Lots of indoor/outdoor areas. Mostly I crave big open organized space.

I also find myself mentally trying to design the ideal long-term furniture for pet-owners. I came up with a great couch idea the other night. But being as I don't build stuff, it most likely will never get made. Or if my husband takes a stab at it, it will end up weighing 500 pounds.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Gimpy gifter

I absolutely abhor gift-giving deadlines.

And I really resent the gift-giving industry for establishing these deadlines.
Because for someone like me, who is actually, believe-it-or-not, generous, but also kind of psychologically disoriented, it makes me look like poo-poo.

I just can't buy a gift on cue.
I want to give people things that are unique and specific and perfect to their personalities and needs.

I can't do that at the mall at the 11th hour.
I give people stuff all the time. But I like to do it unprompted. Unexpectedly.
I love finding the perfect thing and sending it off. I really think those make the best gifts.

Christmas is approaching and I'm getting tense already. I've been trying to phase Christmas gift-giving out for the last few years. At least the gift exchanging that goes on between the adults. Or at the very least, just drawing names and buying for one person seems much more logical.

My mom's birthday dinner is tonight and thankfully, I found something cool and unique a few months ago to give her.

I am so lucky that my husband has the same handicap. We absolutely do not hold it against the other when an important occasion comes and goes without a gift. And we both are really good at making it up when least expected.

Friday, October 05, 2007

37914


Our neighborhood is, if nothing else, a source of weekly excitement. My husband and I are frequent background extras in multiple hypothetical COPS episodes.

There was the pistol whipping episode, the woman screaming and hauled out on a stretcher episode, the stolen car crashed into the neighbor's driveway and then the attempt to haul it off with another stolen car using a rope episode and oh Lord so much else.

Tonight was the first night my husband was off on a business trip and guess what?
A new COPS episode!!!

We had a truck crash mightily into the oak tree by the road and bounce back into our deep ditch.
Apparently, there were multiple people involved in the crash, but the chicken shit, in-shock from head-wounds dudes took off and left their woman to take the heat.

I heard a big boom and looked out and saw basically a truck parked in my front yard. Within minutes there were ambulances, fire-trucks, police cars and two tow trucks.

This is our life. Pretty much. Lots of weekly or bi-weekly emergency-vehicle visits.

Kind of fun to be perfectly honest.
Kind of annoying though when I spend the rest of the night checking the backyard and woods for intoxicated dudes with head wounds and the next day picking headlight parts out of my front yard.

My zip code needs it's own tv show.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Dodged the cutest bullet ever


I was trying to find my needle-felting customer's ebay site today when I came across this OMG CUTEST LITTLE FAWN THAT EVER WAS FELTED!!!

I have to come clean and admit that it was me that pushed the bidding up to $89.00.

That's right, you heard me, 89.00 dollars.

But you can see the little fawn and you can see where I'm coming from.

IT'S JUST THE CUTEST FUCKING THING EVER CREATED!!!

I had to back out at $89.00 though just on common sense principle. I made myself admit to my husband that I was having a crack-addict moment and needed some slapping around. He obliged. I am out of the auction.

For those of you who might have been caught up in the hypnotic tractor pull of the cuteness; the auction ends around midnight tonight and you still have a chance against 4210kathy. She's up to $93.78.

BTW, fuck 4210kathy. I hate that bitch.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Chupacabra



Here's our elusive prey. Not a great picture, but I had to take it from far away. He skitters off when you get too close. Isn't he pretty?

We bought him a Fred Flintstone sized cow femur last night at Food City and he's taken to dragging it around with him. It's behind him in this picture, although you can't really tell.

Skilz

I think scouting-type badges for adults is a good idea. Lots of people unfortunately just didn't have parents that knew beans about certain things.
My dad, for instance, practically instilled in me that you should hire a professional for each and every situation...he didn't even trust himself to change the flashlight batteries. I'm not quite so helpless (thanks to my mom), but there are lots of things that I've had to messily figure out for myself.

Badges might include:

Resume writing
Negotiating for a raise
Bill paying
House cleaning
Cooking
Yard work
Pet Ownership
Parenting
Sex
Entertaining
Having a yard sale
Grilling
Programming the TIVO/VCR/DVR
Laundry
Budgeting
Changing your oil
Voting/Politics
Spousing
Locating the main water shut off valve (hee..funny story....)
Tipping

It would be fun don't you think? Badges. Sashes. Classes. Field trips. Uniforms.

What should the top scouting rank be called? The Grown-up? The Huxtable?

Sunday, September 30, 2007

A Dangerous Drinking Game

Just try not to get wasted if you watch Extreme Home Makeover and take a drink everytime someone says "OH MY GOD".

Not that I did this or anything....

Neep-neep









Daily I marvel at my husband's clever patched-together engineering skills where it applies to catching the stray neighborhood pit bull.

We started with an official Humane Society cage which only managed to attract stray cats and raccoons.

But from there, things have gotten interesting.

For a week, he turned the vacant pony barn into an impressive trap. He secured the second door and then installed three automatic latches on the front door. To insure that the dog would be captured, he hung a net full of dog food from the ceiling beams attached to a long line that somehow ran through the door. The way it was supposed to work was that the dog would jump up to eat the hanging food and by pulling down the net bag, the line would be pulled and the door would close and latch.

Ok so that was awesome, but it didn't work. We woke up a few days with a shut door, but it must've been raccoons or cats, because they made it out through small holes under the walls.


Ok, so trap number two is in place now. My husband has created a "pen" at the end of our fenced in yard. He took a dog food bowl, rigged it up so that it's held by a metal hook to the door of the fence, which is attached to a taut bungee cord.
Supposedly when the dog eats, the bowl will be pushed down, the hook disengages and releases the fence that will slam shut with the bungee cord pulling it.

It's all very cool. Ultimately ineffectual, but cool. Kind of Moby Dick/ Wile E. Coyote situation we have going here.

My husband likes to say that this isn't his new hobby, but I'm not so sure.

Friday, September 28, 2007

I'm onto them

Ever meet someone who you wouldn't be a bit surprised to learn was an alien?

We've got this couple that's been visiting our store for a few years now. I forget where they are from, but it's another state. Maybe north originally. Maybe Florida now.
They are both probably in their mid-sixties.

The woman is small and thin, has a complexion like a wad of clay sprayed down with olive oil. She always wears this hat that reminds me of an Edwardian newsboy. It's dark blue or charcoal with a longer brim.
She is loud and exuberant and exclaims over everything.

The man is tall with thin legs and arms, but a nice large protruding gut. He always wears a silky shiny football jersey with three quarter length sleeves and shorts. His hair is gray and cut into a weird Prince Valiant style, but longer.
He is a chronic mutterer; always having his own private hilarious eurekas.

They tell me that they have a singing act that they do in retirement homes. One of them plays piano and they both sing old-fashioned popular tunes.
They're always telling me retirement home anecdotes. I used to encourage it, but I try to hurry them up nowadays.

They are so oddly "off". Always benign and upbeat. Always in character. Very much "Third Rock From the Sun".

I think if we did have aliens among us; they would mainly be like these folks, although I would hope that a few genius peacemakers would choose to make the trip as well.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Synchronicity

So last week one of my regular customers came into the store with her kids. I like this girl; she reminds me of the first Sharona from the show Monk.
She was having a particularly hard time that day with the various helpless men in her life, who kept calling her on her cellphone and handing off assorted problems and tasks.
Her day was quickly turning into one big sigh and eye-roll.

In an attempt to give her a little bright spot, I slipped a kid's book that she liked into her bag.

Anyway, she came back a few days ago and handed me a little rose pin that she had made. But get this...it was needle-felted! Just the night before, I had sat down to read the first chapter of my new needle-felting book.

As it turns out, this woman, "Sharona", makes all kinds of stuff and also teaches. Plus she spins yarn and belongs to a wool guild that she invited me to sit in on. How weird is all that?

She's challenged me to have something made by her next visit. I haven't even picked up a needle yet. Yikes.

Some stuff from the morning

First conscious moments of age 40:

Waking from a dream in which there was a new kind of weather. The sky was filled with three-dimensional clouds that took their shape and design from the frost patterns you see on window panes. It was somewhat Tim Burtonesque. Very beautiful.

Then I woke up and spanked (just one quick butt smack) my Eddie Haskell of a cat for being obnoxious.
If he thinks you're sleeping too long, he will find something that really really annoys you and just keep doing it until you get up.
For a while it was systematically pushing things off my dresser with his paw. One earring..scooot...drop...roll. Another earring...scoot...drop...roll. Coins, pencils, a book. Jerk.

Then he decided that rabbit-kicking whatever cat was sleeping beside me was good sport.If that didn't work, he'd pull on the window shades or slowly scratch the wallpaper.

Now he's discovered the living room closet doors. They're the sliding kind; two panels; unattached at the floor. So he hooks a paw underneath and pulls them out and lets them drop back which makes a deep thumping sound.

I thank God I am not parent to his human equivalent. He is completely irresistable and completely full of it. I would probably have to let him join a band.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Having a beer gut is so much easier

I've had a gym membership for about 4 or 5 years now. At first I amazed myself by how often I went. I mentally did the math every day on my way home and figured I'd have it all down to pennies a visit in no time.

Hahahahaha.

Rather, in no time, I have ceased visiting at all.
I did get up my momentum a few months ago and started going a few days a week and it felt good. But then some twit of a desk dude decided to make me his personal greeting project.

It went something like this:

Me: Walking in, 6:30am, still sleepy.
Him: HEY there! How are you this morning?
Me: Mumble mumble good fine.
Him: Don't like to talk much do you? Gotta a big workout planned? Well, ok then, enjoy your work-out!

Me: Leaving, 7:20am, trying to avoid the notice of desk dude on my way out the door.
Him: Not gonna say bye? Did you have a good work-out? What did you do? Cardio? Weights? You're shy aren't you? Heading home? Oh, work? Where do you work? You like to read? So you're a bookworm huh? Little grumpy this morning, are ya?

So I encountered the dude about three or four times and just didn't want to go back.
Stupid I know. But come on; I just want to walk in the door, wave my barcode tag and go have a quiet workout.
I don't need to be "drawn out" or coddled.
He really bugged the crap out of me.

So, I've decided to cancel my membership, seeing as how I'm really not using it and also seeing as how something so petty can throw me off my workout course.
I've decided instead to travel down another well-worn "throw your money away" path; that being a home workout machine.
In this case, just a cross-trainer thingy with a digital readout.
I'm gonna put it in the basement and get my husband to hook up a tv down there so that working out won't be so boring.

You can already see the dust gathering on the machine in your mind, can't you?

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

What's for dinner?

I'm a big believer in systems. I like organization. I don't always take the time to implement good systems, but I still like to try.
My latest fantasy is to compile a family cookbook specific to mine and my husband's tastes and budget.

I have a calendar with pockets and every month I print out new recipes to try. If we both give the recipe a thumbs up, then at the end of the year, it gets hole-punched and put into a ring-binder.

I want to get this down to a science though. The whole nine yards.
What ingredients to keep on hand, when to buy them based on how perishable they are and when they will be used. What I'm going to make every day of the week.
Factor in leftovers potential so that I can save money on work lunches.
Work more vegetables and salads into the mix. Keep the weekly fat factor down as much as possible.
Lots to think about.

Meats are no problem. My husband would happily skip between hot dogs, hamburgers and steak all day long. It's coming up with healthy side dishes that are problematic.
He doesn't like cooked broccoli or cauliflower. He thinks corn is pretty useless. Red and green peppers are a no go. He's lukewarm about sauteed cabbage. We both like sauteed zucchini and squash, but you can only do that so many days a week.
Salads are good; I need to make that happen more often.

I just know that I spend far too much on groceries. I am a stocking-up addict. I think having a good system in place would help us eat better and save bunches of money.

Okeley dokeley

Why do so many Southern Baptist men emasculate their voices, so that it seems as if they are channeling Mr. Rogers?
"Shucks. I am a simple plump bumblebear with pocketsfull of pastel yarn." Soft chuckle chuckle.
The women do their own version of it. Everything they say might as well be:
"I am queen of the fairy kittens and I only eat marshmallows with pink candy sprinkles."

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

My secret shame

I am steeping my brain in the luxury that is fall t.v. premieres this week.
I bought my fall preview TV guide the other day and have already programmed my tv to record stuff I might miss.
I am so hooked on my "stories".
Tonight: Biggest Loser (Gillian's secret black team kicked butt).
Tim Gunn's Guide to Style.

I recorded Beauty and the Geek to watch later. I love that show. It's really sweet, no kidding. I think it's one of the few good competitive reality shows out there. And they have one of the highest hook-up rates to boot, despite not being a dating show. I think it's because some of the smarter ladies learn the value of hooking up with a geek.
I know I did.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Power of the Press


I was sorting through my photos and came across this one.

I took it about 5 years ago on Magnolia.
Because it was funny.
But as soon as I started clicking, a woman rushed out of the building and confronted me. She was so nervous. She wanted to know what paper I worked for and demanded that I leave the property.
When I drove by an hour later, the whole mess was cleaned up.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Twisted critters




After a nice tropical month of lizard weather, I finally brought my iguana, Lois, back inside to her inside cage. She has been crazy with energy, so tonight I opened the door and let her roam the house.
Now Lois is resting on top of a row of books in my bedroom.
And two of the cats have taken over her cage.

All my guys crack me up.

In which my reading skills are validated

I found out yesterday that the novel that I selected to be considered for the Peter Taylor Prize actually won!
I feel proud like it was my kid or something that won.
I can't wait to meet the author.

It's a really good book btw. Once the news is public, I'll share more info.

A month ago I wrangled a snake in science fiction

10:20: Arrive at work.
10:21: Approach front door and notice something on the walkway.Realize it is a hornet nest covered in hornets.
10:22: Walk around to the other side of the ramp and let myself in the store. Put stuff down on counter. Monitor walkway and think about solutions. "What would the croc hunter do?"
10:24: Run and get a large thick plastic cup. Squat near nest and gauge hornets reactions when I move the cup near their heads.
10:25: Decide that I am chickenshit.
10:26 Phone rings and I have to go inside to answer it.
10:27 Co-worker arrives. I frantically wrap up phone conversation and manage to stop co-worker just in time from stepping on nest with flip flops.
10:28 Mailman offers to stomp nest. I decline offer.
10:29 Co-worker runs to business next door in search of poison.
10:30 I fashion a rope handle at the bottom of the plastic cup, hook it at the end of a long broom handle and slowly lower cup down over nest. Success!
10:31 Examine new situation. Realize it's still scary. Hornets are completely pissed at cup.
10:32 Slide cardboard under cup. Tape cup to cardboard to prevent transportation accidents. Walk cup through store to back door.
Open door. Tear off some tape. Fling whole package hard and fast. Close door.
10:32 Turn around and notice mouse carcass on floor behind me. Sigh.

Number One Fan

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Nature Quiz



Anyone know what these flowers are called? They are all over my yard.

We call him Root

Did I mention that we have been trying to catch a newly strayed Pit Bull for about two weeks?

He first appeared wearing a collar with about three feet of line hanging from it, so I figured he escaped from his yard.

After a few days, the collar disappeared, but before it did, the neighbor kid got a number off of it.
He called the owners and turns out they live in South Knoxville (we live in East Knox; how the heck he got from there to here is a mystery). They said he had been gone for two weeks and that they'd be over later that afternoon.

That was about a week ago. As far as I know, they never showed (and no one wrote the number down so we can't call back).

My husband got a trapping cage from the humane society and has been baiting it every night. And every morning I go out and release well-fed raccoons and stray cats.

This dog is gorgeous. He's brown and white and his brown parts are brindled. He's got a great form and seems to have a really fine temperment.
I think of him as Ferdinand the Bull. He sits in our backyard and sniffs the air and the grass with a big smile on his face.

But the fact is, he's a Pit Bull and it's doing no good to have him running loose. I don't think he's been neutered so there's the chance that breeders/fighters will pick him up and mess his life up.
And someone might just get out a gun and shoot him if he comes onto their property where there are kids or animals.

I wish he weren't so danged smart. He will not get in that cage.

As my hunting friend said, "He's gone to school on us".

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Patriotic Day My Ass...(Bush's America)


So on the way to work this morning, I passed the TVA Fair marquee and of course they have co-opted Tuesday September 11, 2007 as "Patriotic Day".
Which sounds stupid to me. Why not "National Pride Day", "Civic Responsibility Day"?, but I digress...

So here's what's happening on my street on "Patriotic Day".

My neighbor is a 30-something year old single mother of two teenaged sons. She's doing her best with a part-time job substitute teaching at $45-$65 a day.

One son has been accepted to chef school, but tuition is $10,000 per year plus a laptop and supplies. She is so proud, but has no idea how she's going to pay the bills.

The other son wants to join the army. I really want to talk him out of that. He is such a great kid. Screw him dying before he's 20 because of misguided bullshit.

Yesterday, their power was shut off by the utility company and tonight we have an extension cord running from our house to theirs to supply the power needed to keep this week's groceries from spoiling and keep their lights on.

It just pisses me off. All of it.

Trust

My dog developed a peanut-sized tumor on her ass.
Poor girl is at the vet for surgery as I type.
She really didn't like the part where I handed her over to someone strange and walked out the door.
I really didn't like it either.
I can't imagine having a human child.

Monday, September 10, 2007

A wee bit of giddy



I think I may have finally found an artisitic medium that resonates with me. I say "may have" because I haven't actually tried my hand at it, but it really appeals to me.
I didn't know til' last night that it's called needle felting. You use special needles to sculpt wool into solid forms, like dolls, hats, bags, paintings, jewelry etc...
I'm drawn to the doll/figure making potential.
I suck at sewing. I'm not that skilled at painting. I don't have the patience or resources for sculpting from more traditional mediums such as metal or wood. Knitting is too technical and most knitted stuff looks dumb when you finish with it.
But I do have a pretty good sense for spatial relations and form and color, so I think I can pull this off.
And I LOVE felt. And tiny things. And things that don't break.
I now understand the connection between all the little things I've been compelled to own. I have a felted hat, a set of 1930's tiny russian peasant dolls with felted-like faces and bodies, several small handmade felted cats.
It's the one area of frivolous buying that I can't seem to reason myself out of.
So it makes sense that I should see if I have any aptitude for it.

I ordered a basic mess of supplies and a few books this morning. That's going to be my 40th birthday present to myself.
That, and a bottle of expensive single malt scotch (I've always wanted to try that too).
If this turns into an online business, I can always call myself The Drunken Felter.

Afterward we played skeeball

My husband and I drove to the mountains today ostensibly in search of new man pants, but somehow we never got around to that.
We did however, go bungee-jumping.
I've always wanted to give myself the opportunity to do that and wasn't sure how I would be on the actual diving board part.
I'm happy to say, I did just fine. I jumped on the second "one, two, three".

Ok, that was great and all, but what pissed me off were the employees.
I mean, statistically I could get hurt or die, right?
And what are they doing? Yawn, yawn...big party last night...must lay frat boy head down on wooden shelf and close frat boy eyes.
Not just one of them, but TWO were napping at their station.
These are the dudes who outfit and strap customers in.

I mean, come on, they could at least have some of those glasses with "wide-awake" eyes painted on them just to make me feel like I'm worth some effort.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Lordy, I'm almost _ _ _ _ _

I'm about to turn 40.
The number itself doesn't bother me; I'm ok with my age.
I think what's got me down a bit is trying to chart my progress as a human that's been around for 40 years.
I'm not sure I'm evolving.

Positive growth:

I rarely suffer from severe depression anymore.
I don't lose things much anymore.
I'm less dramatic.

No growth:

Self-absorbed.
Neglectful.
Overly-sensitive.
Insecure.
Habitual.
Low-risk.
Still not creating art despite ideas and opportunity.

That just doesn't look good on the whole.
Is this the stuff of middle-age crisises?

I just want to know I'm making this all count for something.

Does not stimulate fish cravings


I like weathered gray Cape Cod style clapboard, but don't you think that the new Captain D's building design looks like an easter egg market or a baby shower gift shop?

They just went too far with the pastel theme.

If you can't really see what I'm talking about in this photo, just mentally remove the Captain D's logo on the gable and replace it with a big blue bow.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Hands Off

Avoiding Kids

When I was younger, my mom ran a daycare from our home. This was during the mid '70's through the early '80's. When we started keeping the kids, there was no common social paranoia about child molestation.

I can remember when things shifted somewhat though. I don't recall if it was a local or national story, but there was a daycare provider that became the center of a huge scandal in which many of the kids started reporting sexual abuse.
This was in the news for months as more and more children came forth and the couple who ran the daycare were vilified and torn apart by the press.
It turns out later that it's likely that nothing ever happened.

But the damage was done and even in our own daycare, we could sense a shift in public perception. We all became more guarded and careful about our interactions with the children. I was a kid myself, but even I started feeling afraid of being accused of something untoward.
And you know, I still carry a bit of that paranoia with me.

I hate that, like with everything else that was once good, a few bad apples take our society one more notch backward.

I find it really sad that most people are no longer comfortable giving children physical reassurance or helping a distressed or endangered child without fear of their help being seen as inappropriate.

Just a few weeks ago, here in town, a three year old boy was seen wandering down along a busy main road with a dog. And instead of feeling comfortable getting the boy off the road and riding him home, a concerned driver instead, had to put on her hazard lights and drive slowly alongside the boy until the police could get there.

Something similar also happened a few months back, when two extremely young kids were found playing on some train tracks. The driver who found them used his truck to block traffic until the police could arrive, but felt too paranoid to get out of his car and approach the kids.

So which way will public perception swing when a child ends up getting hurt because of "hands-off" approach?

One memory I have that means a lot to me to this day is that of my fourth grade teacher holding me on her lap while I sobbed about a problem I was having. At that moment I needed to be listened to and cared for by someone to which I looked up and respected. I'd hate to think that doesn't happen anymore.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Too Much NPR

Most mornings when I wake up, I say to myself what day of the week it is, so that I can get my head oriented.

On Thursdays however, it goes something like this:

"Today is Thursday; the day we read from your letters."

Too much Bravo TV

Ever get a word stuck in your head and you have no idea what it means?

I've had "mascarpone" floating around for a few days. I think it has something to do with food.


Ok..just checked..it is a very soft italian cheese.

Good to know.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Fun October Release



This book looks like a load of fun.
We come across hilarious titles and odd cover art all the time at my job.
I've actually had the Scouts book before.
I'm surprised no one has put them together until now.

Amazon Link

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Saying a proper goodbye

A friend of mine just had his aged dog put down today. Very emotional. I can't even imagine how I'll get through that when the time comes for my dogs to go.

But the news reminded me of an issue over which I've been conflicted for like three or four years now.

I used to be close friends with a girl a few years back and during the course of our friendship, her dog grew ill and had to be put down.
I stood by her during the downhill slide and was with her and her dog on the fateful day.

My friend gave me a ziploc bagful of the dog's ashes to dispose of in my own personal way and at the time I pictured the ashes going in my garden or at the base of a tree or something.
I put it off, wanting just the perfect thing and during the time I put it off, my friend and I fell out.

So fast-forward to three years later and I still have this bag of beloved doggie ashes and I haven't spoken to said friend in the time that has passed.

What do I do?

I harbor absolutely no ill feelings for my ex-friend. I liked her.
I liked her dog too.
I feel honored that I have some ashes and that I was there physically and emotionally for the final moments.

But what do I do?

It's too late and too weird to send the ashes back to her. Plus I don't even know where I would mail them to.
I might move from this house in a year or so, so anything I do here would be, in my opinion, a sort of waste. Plus the dog never had any significant memories in my yard.

I'm thinking I might go over to to her old apartment complex and shake them out on the lawn.

That sounds ok.

I just want rid of this responsibility and these remains. I want to honor the dog and put this chapter to rest.

P.S. My husband is supremely unsympathetic and atheistic and says so what? He probably has a point.
I maintain that a bit of decorum is required.

Well Look at Me

After two years at this, I finally stumbled onto the page here where you can add links.
What a relief.

Looks like a few of them don't work, so I'll tinker some more later.

Monday, September 03, 2007

I think of a few of my favorite things.....

I think easily, hands down, my favorite smell is that of a camp-fire/bon-fire/wood fueled fire.

It instantly transports me to a feeling of "damn, ok, stop, drop and relax".

I love it when some of my customers approach the counter and their thick woolen overshirts smell of woodsmoke. I always comment to the positive.

I have been lucky enough to find an incense that does a good job of capturing that wonderful scent:

http://tinyurl.com/2eljnv

This incense is awesome.

Some of the local asian markets carry it, but I've had better luck ordering it online.

Enjoy!

Good advice you can't buy

Hey guess what?

Among the other things that ants like to eat, apparently record albums/sleeves are also included.

I just had to extricate and fumigate a whole boxload of ant-compromised albums today.

With larvae.

Gag.

That is all.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

I really want to know

Ok, here's a question that's been at my brain for a long time now.
You know there are "dorks" right? I'm picturing the comic book/Star Trek/Star Wars variety, but then you also have the extremely smart/socially awkward/pocket-protector group.
And there's a shared "differentness" about these folks. Different things fire up their funny bone, influence their fashion sense, peak their interest.
So my question is basically, when did the "dork" appear in society?
Were there cave man dorks? Dorks in ancient Rome? Medieval dorks? And if so, what role did they play in society? What jobs were they attracted to? Did other cultures create a name for this subset of personality types? Did they wear their togas too short or have mismatched leggings?
How many pre-twentieth-century dorks were simply lumped under the category of eccentric?

Or is the dork a by-product of technology?

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Counting down

The big deal bookdealer will be here in twenty minutes. House is clean. Books are displayed nicely. Lightbulbs changed for optimal viewing. One beer down to relax my nerves.

I keep trying to prepare from the perspective of her having just left and me being racked with "I should've's".
I feel pretty good.

Eeek.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Hannah Freaking Montana

Wow, this Hannah Montana trend is crazy.
My sister called me Friday to tell me that she would be busy Saturday morning and would I log on and try to get 4 tickets for my niece and her friends.
I went next door to the Disc Exchange and asked my friend/employees if they could hold any tickets back for me. The manager said she would try to hold two, but "no guarantees".
I got up Saturday morning and logged on and bought four tickets. Seemed pretty straight-forward.
I find out otherwise later.
There was a line outside the Disc Exchange about an eighth of a mile long and only the first five people in line got tickets.
And from what I heard from the DE employees, nobody they knew got any tickets online.
So what happened to me was some kind of weirdass miracle fluke.
Thank god.
My sister called me later to verify "Did you REALLY get the tickets?!" because none of the 30+ friends of hers who logged online that morning got anything.
I have a verification number, so I assume I'm good.
If I were my sister, I'd just sell the tickets for like a thousand dollars; buy my niece a video and CD and put the money into a college fund.
Crazy.

End of the day beer is good

Lots of things are happening and coming together in a good way.
First, we were going to buy a house and then we didn't. But along the way, we rented a storage unit to begin to put unused items into.
Then I packed up all my personal books and put them into storage.
Then I get a call from a bigtime bookdealer who wants to come by my house to shop.
So now, I have all my shelves free to set up the books for her to browse, without having to traipse through my bedroom.
Then I had to close my antique mall booth which gives me two great new bookcases to set up in my house.
Then my husband buys a truck which makes it easier to move all kinds of things.
Then I get his car which is great, because my car was on the verge of crapping out.
And that gives us a decoy car to leave at home when we aren't there, so as to thwart thieves.
Which is great, because my husband will have to do some more travelling soon.
On the whole, I'm happy and optimistic, but admittedly worn out from moving so much stuff.
I love good positive change.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Yet another pet peeve




So I've been looking and looking at real estate lately. And poring over photos of interiors of homes. And I'm going along, looking at a perfectly decent house that has honest potential and some precious Dolly Dingle has befouled every window with sheer ruffled curtains.
I see the same contamination with the majority of rental cabins in the Smokies as well.
Perfectly nice place to stay and then BAM; you're hit with trailer park aesthetics.
I don't get the appeal of Ruffled Curtains.
The house I own presently came with a set on each window and the previous owner made a big deal of bequeathing them to me as part of the conveyence.
I conveyed them quickly to the garbage can.

Crazy Day

Yesterday, I followed my husband over to a repair shop because the alternator on his car had gone bad. We came back home in my car and I then headed downtown to run an errand. When I got into my car to come home, my Low Coolant light came on. I just barely made it into a convenient store parking lot when steam started pouring out of the vents.
I called my husband and he offered to ride over on his bike. He shows up 20 minutes later and we realize after filling the coolant tank and starting the car up, that the problem is more serious. So we call a tow truck. In the meantime, this is not a convenient store at which you want to be for more than maybe five minutes. While we were there, a sting operation went down out front and a guy was handcuffed and taken in.
The towtruck got there pretty fast though, and we rode over with him to a nearby mechanic. Dropped my car off and walked up to the brewery, had a few beers and ran into another friend who's car just happened to be in a nearby shop.

Anyway, all in all, very weird timing. That both my and my husband's cars would end up out of commission on the same day and that just when we needed a ride to pick one of them up, a friend's car is within walking distance.

My car's damage is a busted heater coil? core? I reckon I'll have it fixed.

Monday, August 13, 2007

In which the small business owner is confused

Like I said a while back, I finally officially registered my business this year. So I got my "Business License and Tax Report" as well as another form that requires filling out and mailing back, and danged if I can make heads or tails out of either one of them.
So I have to go downtown today and get someone to sit down with me and help me so that I'm not pummeled with an audit or fine.
I also got an annual inventory form to fill out. I swear I already filled one out a few months ago.
They are really interested in my stuff.
I wonder maybe if I can de-register my business. Sales are pretty low the last few months and technically fall below the licensing requirements.
I'm just hating all this paperwork.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Even More Twisty Twist

We are not buying the house. Way too much pressure to synchronize selling our home and meeting the seller's needs on their closing date.
And you know what?
I feel good about it.

Honestly, as much as I don't like things about my present house, this economy is making me jittery. I'm not sure that it's a good time to be taking on a new mortgage.
We're going to continue to shop though.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Twist

I mentioned the great new house. You know what comes with that entree of great new house? A side dish of having to sell my present crappy home in one month. There will be no sleeping for quite some time.
We think we have leads and fortunately we can afford to sell this house at a loss and be ok. Fingers crossed.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Word of Advice

When shopping for a mortgage, never ever ever submit your information to LendingTree.com.
You will rue the day.

Monday, August 06, 2007

OMFG

I can't believe how much your life can change in one weekend.
We just bought a kickass house!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Oh yeah, and my husband just got a call out of the blue with a job offer that would double his salary.

And thirdly, I just bought the best batch of kid's books of my 14 year career.

w00t, w00t, and woot!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, August 03, 2007

Fight Club

After watching Fight Club last night:

"So I guess the whole point of the movie is that if you don't sleep, you can sure get a lot done."

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Buy it already!!

There is some goofus that has looked at a particular book on my website now 52 times. Over the course of a week.
If this were a really expensive book, I would understand. But this is a $6.00 dollar book.
It's driving me crazy.

Free Samples

I honestly believe that there are two recipes for most any product; the one that fills a full-size container at the store and one that goes into free samples.
And guess what?
The free sample recipe is better.
You know why? Because that is how they hook you.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Honey Woman

Tonight as I was walking to my car across the grocery store parking lot, I was asked,in all seriousness, "Are you the honey-woman?"

Good luck with getting to sleep tonight.

Smell your house

You know how you sometimes go into other people's houses and their house has a distinct smell personality? And it's not really any one thing you can put your finger on. Maybe it's a house of incense junkies and it's easy to figure out; but usually it's just what it is and there's no duplicating it.
I've always wondered what my house smell is because, as I think is true for most of us, including the incense junkies, it's hard to smell your own home's smell profile.
Well today I figured out how to do it.

Step #1: Get together a box of books that's been sitting around in your house for a long while. Make sure these are books you don't mind getting hot and buckled.

Step #2: Wait for a really hot day.

Step #3: Put the box of books in your car and roll up the windows. Let the books bake in there for about four hours.

Step #4: Smell the books. There it is!

My house smells a bit granny-like, but with a touch of old cigarette smoke. Weird.

Milk Addict Breaks Silence

Give a shout out to Kate and Jon.

In case the hilarious subject line doesn't clue you in; it's a baby thing.

Breaking news

Star Jones: "I had gastric bypass surgery!"

Firstimpressionist: "I couldn't fucking care less!"

HAPPY BIRTHDAY JO ROWLING!!

Thanks for your monumental contribution to young adult literature. Thanks for being such a smart, savvy, creative, strong woman. Thanks for never dumbing down your books or changing your narrative as a result of public pressure.

It's been a pleasure to make you a success.
Does it bug you when you hand someone something to sign and they whip out their own "fancy" pen and eschew the pen you hand them?
It kind of bugs me.
I bet it bugs you too.
Like they're saying "Um, nooo, as if I would deign to slum with your cheapass pen? I'll be using my Cross/Mont Blanc/Parker thankyouverymuch..."

Bad Timing











Really shitty (pardon the pun) time to launch a career using your real name if your real name is Alli.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Thrifty tip of the day


Don't pay three dollars for a roll of sticky paper on a handle sold to remove pet hair from clothing and furniture. Instead just order a roll of priority mail stickers from the post office website.

Free and delivered right to your door!

Starting Fresh

I spend a lot of time in my office when I'm at home. Funny to think that this room started out the first year as junk room with ugly blue carpet. (Aside: the previous owner of my house was cuckoo for robin's egg blue and stark white. And sheer fluffy window treatments. On top of those precious qualities, she's a Glamour Shots addict as well.)Back to musing...

Then I rented it to a friend of mine for a few years.
Then it was my iguana's bedroom.
And now it's an office thanks to my husband's ability to wire it for internet and phone.

There are kid's books that I get and figure I should put them online and I make a pile and feel ambitious. Then after a couple of beers, I start fishing out only the most fun and clean of these books and leave the ugly ones and boring ones.
Pretty soon, my office is full of ugly and worn and boring kid's books with clumps of dust and pet hair clinging to them.
And that makes me feel tired and the neglectful attitude spreads to everything else in my office.

Today, however, I finally took some time and got my office back on track.

Good thing #1:
I found a good place to set up these cool cat perches that I bought on QVC. I put one on either side of a wooden loveseat frame that is presently minus its cushions. The cats think it's pretty groovy.

Cat Hostel


Good thing #2:
I sorted all the books into three boxes; antique mall bound, bookstore bound, and those to be catalogued at home.

Good thing #3:
I dusted and dusted and took out the trash.

Good thing #4:
I had a private hissy fit last night and finally threw out my old tv; the one that makes watching tv like being half-blind in a dimly lit pumpkin.
The good part of that is that I put in a different tv that is a normal tv.

Bad thing #1:
I found a state business form thingy that was due yesterday.

Bad thing #2:
My iguana is ill and it makes my heart hurt to share this room with her and look over and see her nose every minute.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Tired of repeating this lesson

Note to self: trust your instincts. Sigh.
You are not a badass and you don't need the drama.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Alzheimers sucks the big one

My sister is participating in a walk to raise money for Alzheimer's research on behalf of our father.
If you have a friend or family member suffering from Alzheimers, please consider making a donation toward funding a cure.
My sister's modest goal has been reached, but she would be thrilled to exceed it.
My Dad's Pledge Page

Sunday, July 15, 2007

New Big and new Small

Change is in the air. In lots of different forms. Feels like things are realigning and setting up for something.
I've been quit from smoking for 3 months. I'm now trying to quit drinking. Too much beer lately methinks.
My lizard of 14 years doesn't look very healthy and I'm not really willing to take her to the vet at this point.
My cat of 14 years is ill and might have to be put down tomorrow. We'll see what the vet says.
My husband is very nearly finished with the travel portion of his job (one month to go, yay!)
My boss is discussing moving away next year for a 12 month sabbatical.
I'm becoming more open to the idea of what the house my husband and I will build can be. As long as certain basic features are in place, I can make the rest comfortable.
And a little thing, but I'll throw it in; I found a new fragrant lotion that I love. I mention that because I have a strong olfactory/memory connection and it's interesting that I'm now creating a new neural pathway with this scent.

Yummy




RECIPE

I found this recipe earlier this year online and it's been sitting around taunting me with it's savory potential.
I finally made a batch last night and I'm happy to say that they do not disappoint. They are oddly addictive and so not good for you.

If I had to make any changes to the recipe, I would probably add some chopped pine nuts to the filling.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Living with Quality

One of my friends is housesitting this month for her employer at a large rural farm site over in Kodak. My husband and I went over for a cookout last week. I had been told that the house was an old log cabin, but I wasn't really prepared for the awesomeness of the old house.

I'm told that that the house was taken apart, moved and reconstructed on this site. It looks like it's probably from the late 1700's or early 1800's; notched logs, stone basement, three stories high, old wide wooden doors with iron latches and a huge cooking hearth.

I guess the thing that struck me most was the sense of the house being like a fine piece of furniture.
It's all built from old wood. And the wood holds such a phenomenal fragrance. It's centuries of cooking and hearth fires and just... life. I don't really know how to put it. It made me acutely aware of how bland and lifeless most modern houses have become.



My co-worker really really likes hats. He recently acquired a fine old bowler as payment for housesitting for my boss. (Another house-sitting theme).

He brought the hat in today and we both sat and marveled at the fine detailing and craftmanship. Silk lining, leather band, tiny stitches, laced band tightener with bow, fine felt and a perfect fit.

And again I was struck at the lack of quality that we encounter in our day to day lives here in the 21st century. I mean obviously we have nutrional quality, job quality, medical quality etc...but as far as goods go, we have given way to cheap and easy.

And here's my quandary. My husband and I are talking about buying some land during the next year and putting into place, plans for building our own house and lil' farm.
And frankly I'm a bit scared. I'm really afraid of ending up with a cheap boring personalitiless home. I'm afraid of low ceilings and plywood and vinyl flooring and the foreverness of it all.

I'm just completely ignorant of home-building and I want to make sure that we are able to create something akin to a "fine piece of furniture" and hope that's something we can afford to do. I want a fragrant wooden house with tall ceilings and deep closets and thick doors and solid floors and the baked-in scent of many winters worth of wood fires.

God, we have a lot of work to do to make this happen.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Looksism, or "Back in my day..."

I was tremendously insecure about my appearance when I was a child. I don't think there was anything about myself with which I was comfortable or pleased.
I really don't know why I ended up feeling that way about myself; my parents were complimentary to me and I went to a small public school that actively worked at fostering an environment free of classism and racism. We were all pretty much on equal ground.
I can only imagine how hard it is for kids these days with a near-constant media barrage of what's hot and what's not.
I wish the U.S. had taken the opportunity when it had the chance, to establish bans on advertising to young people. Seems like kids go straight from toys to Abercrombie and Fitch Jr.
Kids have a hard enough time trying to figure out who they are and what's important to them without having corporations scrambling to turn them into vapid, insecure, identically-clad, debt-bound clones.
Anyway...pretty good article : Looksism

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

The Accidental Patriot

Nice afternoon and evening on the lake with my inlaws yesterday. We had intended to just boat over to The Point for dinner, but stumbled onto a full-blown pre-fireworks gathering, complete with Phil Williams. So we tied off and spent the evening at the red, white and Bud soiree.
Seems like drinking Budweiser on the Fourth has become like eating black-eyed peas on New Years.

(How does Budweiser do that anyway? An independently owned restaurant, an independently owned dockside convenient store, and an outdoor buffet, and all are stocked with nothing but Budweiser.)

So anyway, at some point as the sun was setting and the sky was pinkish and dusky, four orangey-pink round lights appeared, coming slowly and in a straight line from the west. Maybe ten thousand feet above us, flickering like japanese lanterns. As they got above us, they seemed to climb higher and then the light dimmed and then flickered completely out, revealing a smallish black silhouette then rose up and away, or in one case, slowly fell.
A group of six appeared after that, behaving the same way.
We never did figure out what in the heck they were.

The firework show was nice but somewhat haphazard. The promoters had intended for it to be coordinated with music, but dude got a late start and then it seemed, had to light every rocket by hand, making it hard for him to keep up with the beat, as he had to run between crates of explosives and dodge heavy smoke and sparks.
At one point the music stopped and the fuse-lighter man was only about halfway through his stash. He kept lighting in silence as the dj's scrambled to come up with a suitable patriotic song to accompany him.
They settled on Rocky Top. Then Celine Dion singing God Bless America. Then some other crap.
Finally finally at long last the finale, which was quite pretty and we quite sure, had killed the fuse-lighter man.

We rode back across the lake afterward in the dark, which I have to say, is extremely disorienting. Eveytime we do it, I am amazed that my father-in-law can figure out where we're headed and manage not to hit anything.
My in-laws wanted to load up the boat onto the trailer so that they could take it to Norris the next morning. The first time they had tried doing this in the dark. And with lots of other drunken boats milling around trying to load up as well.
And....it didn't go well.

We first tried to load it on a slanted slope with my mother-and-law driving the boat.
She missed the first try and the second.
So my father-in-law tries to drive up on it and it seems to be good until we drive out of the water and we see the boat is all crooked and leaning.
We try again, drive out, and hear a loud crack and the boat threatens to fall over into a foot of water. (This is a large pontoon boat so it's really frightening).
Turns out, one of the top rails of the trailer had snapped off and was floating in the water.

So at this point, my mother-in-law and I are absolute nervous wrecks. Amazingly though, the boys decided to give it another go on a more level surface and actually got it on properly (the broken trailer bit wasn't as essential as I had thought).

I'm always impressed with people who have the confidence and patience to try and try again. That's not my style. I'm a throw-the-textbook-across-the-room-and-sob kind of girl.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Greetings from Summer

I can't tell you how many times I've clicked on "create post" and then drawn a blank, opened another tab and gone on about my computer business.
So here I am for a few minutes and I will be typing this time.

Today I'm happy that I'm getting a long overdue massage.
Not so happy that I'm always chronically in need of one, but it's nice that there are so many well-trained squeezers and mashers here in town.

I made the appointment on Saturday for Monday because my left shoulder was getting pretty hard to ignore. Then, Sunday morning I wake up and for no apparent reason, my right shoulder is so cricked that I can't move my head more than a few inches in any direction. It hurts even when I yawn hard. The pain is still there today, so it's a good thing I have the massage lined up. I wish now I had booked two straight hours.

I can remember one masseur telling me that my shoulders would just keep on doing this until I changed my life. But if I don't know what it is that generates all this tension for me, then what do I change?
I seriously live one of the more benign low-key lives around. I sell children's books for goodness sake. I have a happy marriage. Lots of free time. Wicker chair on the front porch with a cup of tea and a good book kind of options.

But you'd think by only studying my shoulder muscles that I must be Tony Snow or something.

I will say that I'm sad this morning because my husband just left for Kentucky. Another week on the road. It's always especially hard to see him go when we've had a few weeks together and I've gotten used to him being here.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Really fine day

Got up early, mowed the backyard, watched a movie, worked in the garden, had a good day at work and surprise surprise....my husband is coming home a day early tonight!!!
He's been gone 10 days, so it's about danged time.

Three Days

I learned this week that it only takes dogs three days to learn a new habit.
A new fun habit anyway.
Going to the park after work is now mandatory. I was going to skip it the other night because I had a party to go to, but it quickly became clear that the dogs were not going to allow that to happen.
We've got a nice little routine going and it really only takes 20 minutes or so.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Two weeks

I've read that it takes about two weeks to start a new habit or break an old one.

So far I'm at day 18 without smoking. That's one old habit broken.
I'm at day 4 for taking the dogs to the park after work.
I'm at day 3 for getting up at 6:30-7:00 and going to the gym.
I'm eating breakfast (something I never made time for before or cared about).
I've been eating fairly healthy all month; lots of fish, vegetables, and juices.

It's a veritable lifestyle overhaul.

Once I feel these new habits are somewhat secure, I want to find a way to put art back into my life. I need to find a form of artistic expression that doesn't intimidate me.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Next stop, Oprah!

I hate spending time with vanity press authors. They are, hands down, the most tragic figures that cross the threshold of our store.
These books of theirs; these sad sad little books.

So yesterday, I met maybe the saddest vanity press author yet. She came into our store with her walker, a sample copy of her book, and a handful of returned promotional letters. She laid her book down on the counter and began her pitch, which I had to interrupt to inform her that we didn't carry consignments or new books.

Her book had a wretched title, a wretched cover, and a wretched premise. I want to share all the details, but I worry that maybe she'll stumble on this blog someday and I'll have made her cry.

At one point, while she was telling me her long sad story of trying to market and sell her book, of which there were 850 copies in her car, I looked up and realized with horror that she was wearing a promotional track suit. On one side of the zippered jacket was the cover of her book and on the other side, the title. Sigh.

I can't stop thinking about her. A carful of impossible-to-sell crap that she poured her heart and her last penny into. A long, fruitless, last-ditch-effort road trip across three states when gas prices are at $3.00/gallon. Her beret, her returned letters, her dumb track suit, and the fact that when it's all said and done, she probably still won't understand why no one wanted the book.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Sometimes the pen isn't so mighty

It's the time of the year again when I'm screening manuscripts for a literary competition.
Last year I was able to dismiss the first four I picked up after reading just a couple of pages each.
I gave the first one of this year 30 pages before conclusively rejecting it and so far I'm into the second one about 60 pages. The second one will definately be dismissed as well, but it's got me hooked. It's kind of an early nineteenth century gothic novel with a male protaganist.
I've also found that you can tell a lot about an author when they attempt to write a sex scene. The only sex scene so far in this novel was depicted with throbbing feathers and netted herring.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Tis the season

I bought my first Vidalia onions tonight and I can't stop eating raw slices of onion. To think I hated them as a kid. I have yet to warm up to radishes however.

RIP Mabel Again

After some critter dug her up and tried to eat her.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

13 Days Later

I think I've quit smoking.

Clearly I've quit for the short term, but I'm hoping it's for the long term as well.
Tomorrow will be two weeks. Cold turkey.

The first week I had to quit everything; beer, cigarettes and coffee, because the associations were too strong. After a week, I tried going out to the bar one night. I just had one beer and despite being surrounded by smokers, I didn't get overwhelmed by any cravings. Cool.
Last night was the bigger challenge. Three hours in a small Nascar bar filled with smoker friends. I came home smelling like smoke, but made it through the gauntlet.

I've quit several times before. The longest was for two months. I think my problem is that I just get cocky at some point during the recovery and decide that one cigarette is no big deal. But that one cigarette invariably leads to 2,3,4 and then back to a full-time habit.

I'm going to have to excercise some sustained will power to make this stick for sure. Most of my friends are smokers. My husband smokes. The places at which we socialize are filled with smokers. I just have to remember that I've spent far more of my life identifying as a non-smoker than a smoker. I need to get back in touch with that identity.

The pros and cons list is just ridiculous. Hmmm lessseee, I can spend a stupid amount of money to injure my health, look like shit, smell bad, stink up my house, tire easily, create a wheeze when I breathe deeply, feed my fears of developing cancer,and generally feel bad about myself.

Or not.

It really is a form of insanity.

I'm actually convinced that the big tobacco companies have carefully perfected the cigarette recipe so that a person quitting encounters unnecessary additional or enhanced withdrawal symptoms on kind of a time-release schedule.

Because to be honest, quitting isn't all that hard. It's dealing with the withdrawal that sends people back to the pack. If the tobacco industry can keep a person from making it to three or four days, then they haven't lost a customer.
And if the smoker continues to fight, the same company is making even more money off of overpriced "quit-smoking" products.

Ok, so yay me and all that. Now I have to work on my husband's habit. Then we'll have double the quitting power.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Dear Target....

I went to your store to buy only this...

Rustlesak

...and emerged 160.00 poorer.
Your clothes this year are just too fun and versatile. Curse you. Even the garments I wasn't 100% sure about ended up in my cart.
Despite the dressing room's abyssmal lighting that showed me how much of a "before" picture I've become, I now own a shirt that makes me look like a Kate Greenaway character.
How did this happen?

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Customer disservice

Yesterday, a couple came into the store wearing really muddy hiking boots. I didn't notice at first, but when I went to straighten the children's section, I found a big brown muddy mess all the way through the section. Chunks of dirt, ground in dirt, footprints etc..

I followed the trail back through the store and saw that the entrance area was also tracked up with mud.
Then I made the mistake? of telling my boss, who promptly approached the couple and started a huge fight. Needless to say they won't be coming back.

I wonder at the couple's lack of respect or consideration. They had to have known they were making a huge mess. I spent the next hour on my hands and knees scrubbing mud out of the carpet all over the store.

I tried to think of how I would've handled it, if I were tasked with saying something to them. I guess the best thing would've been to politely ask them to remove their shoes as soon as they came in, but as it was, we caught the problem too late.
Obviously, my boss could've been more tactful, but really, what do you say?

The ugly truth

My husband is really good at saying things to his parents that they don't want to hear. For example, he frequently will launch into harsh religious or political debate with them, so much so, that for a time we were excluded from family gatherings.
I have to admit I respect his tenacity and fearlessness, even if it makes me uncomfortable at times.

Although I live a life that I imagine my parents would be in agreement with, I find myself hiding certain things from them. Smoking for instance.
Both of my parents smoked multiple packs of cigarettes per day when I was growing up. At some point they were both able to quit. So it's not like they wouldn't understand or have good advice.

I took up smoking at age 33, oddly enough, and I just can't bring myself to admit this to my folks. I'm sure my mom knows. Just not how much or for how long. We don't talk about it. Strange huh?

Anyway, I have to work all day with my mother today at the antique mall and I'm wondering what will I do when I need to take a smoke break. I'm out of nicotine patches.

My husband says to just tell her I'm taking a smoke break.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Some crumbs

Haven't been keeping up to date here lately.
My husband's on the road again. Our yard might need some water/sewer pipes dug up and replaced. The house is presently a mess. I've gotten a few things put into the antique mall for now. Need to do more work there.
I went to Greeneville, TN yesterday for a library sale.

I wish I had a picture to post of the line of people waiting to get into the sale. It was, no exaggeration, about a quarter of a mile long. Which makes me believe that these people have it all wrong: Who Reads Books Anymore?

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Bookstore behavior

I noticed something today at the bookstore. We have over a hundred sections in our store and with our low walk-in traffic, most stay pretty tidy overall.
But the three sections that are continually rumpled and disorderly are cooking, sex, and religion.
Interesting, no?
The three subjects that represent the most basic human needs; all trashed every week.
What does it mean?
When people browse these sections, are they operating out of a more base part of their brain that rejects order and discipline?

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Bells and Whistles

So my new website has all these new features. Like gift certificates for example. Which so far, no one has tried to order. But today someone sent me an email wanting to purchase a gift certificate. Yikes. It's not "hard" necessarily, but it's not easy either. I have to create a category and then products within the category for each denomination. And check all the appropriate boxes for each creation.
I got 80% through on the first one, and then accidentally hit the back button and erased all my progress.
Sigh.

Giving up now and watching Jon Stewart ream John McCain.

Monday, April 23, 2007

When I Win the Lottery.........flat yard, riding mower?

I have to mow my yard today. I like mowing, I really do, just not my yard. Or rather, just not the backyard.
It's very steep and very large.
I'm drinking a beer right now, trying to psyche myself up. Unfortunately, the beer in my system is going to make mowing even harder.
I have to take several breaks in which I lay flat on my back in the grass and catch my breath.
It wasn't always this way.
When I first moved in, I must've been much fitter, because I could knock it out in one go. Of course at the time, I had only been smoking for a few months and I rode my mountain bike four times a week.
I'm squishier and less oxygenated now.
Stupid yard.

New Venture

A friend and I just rented a booth at an antique (vintique) mall. I've done this kind of thing a few times in the past and while I've never lost money, it's a lot of work and pressure to make sure you can at least cover rent each month.

I'm glad I'm sharing the responsibility this time around. I'm mainly doing books and she'll be doing glassware, furniture, and jewelry.
The biggest problem I'm having with the books is that nearly all my best stock is tied up online. I wish there was a way to put my online books in the booth, but there are just too many logistical problems with doing that.

Anyway, I'm excited. My mother works at this shop part-time, so I'll get to spend more time visiting with her and her friends.

After walking around the mall, I was blown away by all the creativity demonstrated by the other vendors. Beautiful homemade partitions, innovative fixtures, cozy theme rooms etc...
I wish I had a good idea for a display that's really fun, creative, and eye-catching.
As it is, I'll just use stuff I have lying around and hope it won't be too hard on the eyes.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Breathing room

My dad has his first surgery yesterday and is doing great. The doctors worked on the right side vein and inserted a shunt up through his groin to his neck. He woke up cracking jokes, flirting with the nurses and eating up a storm.

The doctors are going to keep him on Plavix (sp?) for another few weeks and see if that doesn't clear up the other vein.

My goal now is to arrange a nice day out boating on the lake with my mom and dad and my inlaws. I can just picture my dad, who's been incredibly cabin-fevery lately, having a wonderful time enjoying the sun and the beautiful views.

Friday, April 13, 2007

X-Rated Spring Cleaning

So during my vacation, I engaged in some nesting activities such as cleaning out closets, pantries and my basement and throwing away superfluous stuff.

I started on the front hall closet and among other things, I pulled out an old binocular case I picked up at a garage sale.

I imagine the case at one time held some actual binoculars, but they had since been removed and lost to some other part of the house.

Out of instinct, I reached into the case to see what might be stuffed away inside and I pulled out a worn envelope.
Inside the envelope were about twenty photos. My first thought was that I had maybe used the case to hide away/protect some stuff of mine.
Um, that wasn't the case (no pun intended).
Twenty photos of some exhibitionist dude engaging in all manner of sexual activity.

I took the envelope to my husband with all sorts of OMG and "you should see this" chatter. He began looking at them and I could tell he was at first really scared that I might be, for some ungodly reason, showing him photos of my past exploits.
I quickly reassured him that I had nothing to do with said photos and we went through the batch until we came to an unexplicable one with a tell-tale cut out.

"Wonder what the cut-out was?" we asked ourselves. My husband said it was obviously the dude's dick. I fished around in the envelope and sure enough, there was the cut-out dick.
Talk about paper dolls.

We put the batch in the garbage and raced each other to the antibacterial soap.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Vacation almost over

I have to get my husband to the airport by 5:00am tomorrow morning. Which means a really early bedtime and getting up by 4:00am.
Tomorrow is the last day of my vacation, so I'm not sure whether I'll come home and go back to bed or stay up and crash later on.

And btw, I didn't make anything today. Well, I made food. Lots of it. I made hotdogs, spaghetti, curried potatoes and shrimp over couscous, and black eyed pea salad.
I might make brownies later if I'm still awake.

Indecision

I want to make something today. Lord knows I'm not short on resources and supplies, but I'm not sure what direction to go.
I really would like to make a little victorian Easter ornament, but I think it might require a styrofoam ball and some yellow or pink soft fabric and some other stuff I don't have.
I tried to draw the Dutton "Guilt-Edged" publisher colophon to turn into an iron-on transfer, but there were too many right angles and I don't know how to draw with photo-shop. I'm more of an organic free-hand drawer.
I've had these blank nesting-dolls for some years now, and I could paint them, but what would be my theme? Maybe our pets, stacked by age?
Bleh...this is one of the reasons I only went to art school for one year.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Throwing it all away

Tomorrow is the court date for our burglar. My husband is on call in the event that they need his testimony, although our video footage should be enough to cover our side.

As it turns out, the guy was on probabtion when he committed our burglary as well as the other one at which he was arrested. Plus, he's also served time before for similar offenses. This means that he's facing 12 years in prison on this current charge.

I'm really glad on the one hand. But on the other hand, it sucks to see folks throw their lives away on something as frivolous as a quick crack score. A lawnmower for god's sake.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

DOH!

It took me like six months and trying on 50 pairs of jeans to find a pair that worked. I forked over my 40 dollars and looked forward to a few years of not having to worry about this issue again.
Then yesterday, I was loaded down with packages at the post office and I tripped on a curb and landed on my knee. Which means fashion-wise, that I now have three tears in my new jeans which will widen and expand with each washing.
If I were 20 years younger, I'd be elated, but as an almost 40-year old, it's pretty aggravating.
I guess I now need to learn how to iron on a patch.

Where's my Tigger tail?

It's my third day of spring vacation from work.
In past years, I've tended to build up a tremendous amount of pre-vacation energy toward accomplishing particular goals.

This year though, I'm not feeling quite as driven. There are a ton of things I want to get done, but I'm not feeling as super-charged.
Today, I'm thinking would be a good day to go buy some vegetables and herbs to plant and I'll probably do it, but in the past I would've been at the nursery at opening with my car cleaned out.

More on my dad

So the new strategy that the doctor has devised for my father is to keep him on medicine for two weeks in an attempt to dissolve some of the blockage. On the 16th, they'll inject a dye into his veins and reassess the blockage. If it's diminished enought, they will try to use shunts to open the passages. If they're still severely blocked, then they will have to operate to open up the veins.

We had dinner with my parents last night and I have to say that you'd never know my dad was ailing. He recognized all of us, made jokes, ate a big dinner and seemed to be in a really nice frame of mind.

I'm just going to do my best not to dwell on worst case scenarios. A few years back, he made it successfully through a five bypass surgery on his heart. He was wonky for a month afterward, but healed up quickly and was back on his feet much more quickly than projected.

Man, old age really has its downside.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Sunday Corn-flakes

For years now, I've done a lot of "new-agey" type of reading. And basically the bottom line seems to be that the universe's main law is that of attraction.

Every single thought that we focus on has it's own vibration and that vibration seeks its match and draws that thing toward us.

Sometimes what we attract can be quite literal but more often, what we attract, whether it's something that appears as negative or positive, comes into our lives to bring us closer to focusing more clearly on our ideal goals.

For example, the house I currently own is not a house that fits me or my husband. But because living in it helps us focus more clearly on what we don't want in a house, we can sharpen our vision of what we do want. And supposedly if we do that with a strong belief in what is possible, without muddying the waters with a lot of doubt or competing negative vibrations, we will attract a more ideal situation.

I know there are of lot of obviously undesirable situations that we observe every day that make this law of attraction seem ridiculous, but I still believe in the truth of it.

We're all artists who are ultimately in control of our creation from moment to moment. We create with our energy and our thoughts and the vibrations we are generating.

I think this is the idea behind prayer, except that prayer usually takes place amidst a lot of fear and uncertainty and thus often negates the desired outcome.

So prepare for that which you want, dwell on it, expect it, try to generate the feeling you'll have when you arrive at that goal and know that it's on the way.

Eggshells

I think I've mentioned before that my father has Alzheimer's. He stays at home mostly with my mom looking after him. And these days his life is comprised of mainly sitting at home and watching television. Don't get me wrong; my mom takes excellent care of him, cooking him healthy meals, making sure he makes his doctor's appointments and takes his medicine each day.
He went for a vascular ultrasound this week and the doctor found that my dad has two blocked arteries to the brain. So the doctor recommended that my mother check him into the hospital that same day so that he could be scheduled for surgery as soon as possible. Meaning, he could have a stroke at any moment if left untreated.

My mom took him to the hospital that afternoon (yesterday) and after waiting for over two hours, found out that the hospital had never received my dad's file or the scary ultrasound.
The surgeon sent him home with some medicine and told him to come back on Monday.

See, I think if I had been the surgeon, I would've checked my dad in for monitoring and ordered a new ultrasound.
I can't believe they just sent him home. So now we're all going to spend an agonizing weekend knowing that my dad could keel over at any minute.