Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Jane Austen, Vampires and Genre Writing

This is the lovely Anita Blake. If you haven't met her, you should.

It's been a rainy week or so in my area of the US. I'm pretty sure I'm going to have to start collecting the animals two by two if things don't let up soon. The rain has really curbed my outdoor activities, since thunderstorms and tornadoes aren't really what you'd call conducive to gardening and yard work. As a result, I've found myself reading a lot more and keeping one eye on the television when the girls are watching movies (yes, I can do both at the same time.)

I had a couple of thoughts on books this week. The first thing I was thinking about was Jane Austen. Part of that stems from me having watched and read Jane Austen Book Club reently. Botht hte bookand the movie are nice and light, so check them out if you like Jane Austen. The book is by Karen Joy Fowler.

Anywy, I'm a big Austen fan. I have multiple copies of Pride and Prejudice, and all of her other books except Northanger Abbey, which I have yet to read. I also have the BBC version of P&P on Dvd, you know, the one with Colin Firth in it. Its one of my rainy day go-tos when I'm feeling a little low.

I don't know how many Austen fans I've got out there, so I'll pose this question to you: If you do read her, love her, what3ever, do you like the storylines for what they are or do you truly identify with the characters?

That's the one thing that bothered me about JABC the book and the movie. This idea that somehow there is this Jane Austen character lurking in all of us. I don't know that I agree.

I don't think all pretty girls are waiting to make great monied love matches. I don't think that they settle for slightly less handsome but stable and proper men after being jilted by a good-looking rake. I would like to think most mothers (not mine, maybe, but most) are sensible and want to look out for their children and not push them into wedlock. I want to think that not all boorish men are bad-looking and that not all intellectual men have to be ugly or churchish.

I like the stories because they are situation comedy from I time period I love, and they are well written. I like them because I find the characters amusing and engaging. But I don't, and have never, likened myself to one of the characters.

Something to think about.

I was also thinking about vampire books this week. Say what you will, they are my guilty pleasure. I love them. I can talk classics with the best of them, but nothing pelases me more than finding someone else who hates Richard from the Anita Blake series or someone who wishes Sookie Stackhouse would stop crying and man up already.

I got to thinking about the vampire genre because in about a week the new Sookie Stackhouse book "Dead Reckoning" is being released (May 3, for those who are counting down) and in June of this year the newest Anita Blake novel "Hit List" is going to be released. These books are 11 and 20 in their series' respectively. Those are big milestones for series writers. Its a lot of books. In my opion of both these authors, its also a lot of well written books.

Now, say what you want about vampire books ingeneral, or these two series inparticular; Charlaine Harris and Laurell K. Hamilton are excellent writers. I'm not saying that the books are highbrow, or modern classics. they aren't. But they are really good for their genre, and both of them have defied traditional ideas within their genre, and branched out. Both these authors do their research, both of them write will becautiful imagery. Their characters feel human. It's part of why I am so addicted to them.

Now, I know, a lot of people would say that vampire books are actually a sub-genre for fantasy or for horror. I disagree. If I were organizing my local Barnes and Noble, or had I (dare to dream) my own bookstore, I would be shelving all of the vampire books in one section under the heading "VAMPIRE."

Vampires have moved beyond sub-genre. You can't catagorize them. There are vampire mysteries, vampire romances, vampire fantasies, there are modern vampire novels and historic vampire novels. I even saw a vampire biography a few months back. There is cross-genre within the vampire genre. There are YA vampire books and adults only vampire books. There are crossover series. I don't think you can stick vampires next to faeries (sic) or demons or princesses encased in magical jewels or dragons anymore. I think they get their own heading, and I think the authors that have worked hard to make this genre what it is deserve the credit.

I think you start with Anne Rice and thank her for making vampires sexy and modern, then you thank Laurell K Hamilton, who started plugging away at the Anita Blake series in the eighties for making vampires even sexier than before, and Charlaine Harris who made a vampire series so popular HBO picked it up and ran with the idea. And yes, I do think my hating friends, you thank Stephanie Meyer for making the Young Adult and Crossover a legitimate part of the vampire genre. I had never heard of the Nightworld Series, or The Vampire Diaries, or any of those other great(ish) YA books until I was trolling through the YA section to get Stephanie Meyer merchandies. She gets credit for that. I also think you give a nod to Elizabeth Kostova for reminding us that vampires can still scare the bejezus out of you, when done properly.

There are so many authors out there that are contributing to the vampire genre, and I think there ought to be a separate section in the bookstore just for them. You could fill aisles with vampire books. I'd wager you could probably get a whole store if you tried (maybe the next branch off for Powells City of Books in Portland?).

I have an enormous respect for authors who take an age-old concept and make it new, fresh and riveting. I love that Charliane Harris is using the concept of modern technology to make me wonder whether or not in a few years I might actually meet a real vampire. I think it kicks ass that every time I am in Branson, MO I go down a specific road I get the heebie-jeebies because I know that there's a master vampire lair there because Laurell K Hamilton took the time to find that spot somehow in her research. I love that in any one of her given books I can see where exactly in St. Louis Anita is, because she knows that on the corner of this street there's a Union Planter's Bank and a Burger King, and she puts it in. They are taking the old mythology and making it new again. They are creating completely new universes set in our universe. I think that's a talent every writer should envy.

In light of the upcoming book releases, I'm probably going to go reread the last few in those serieses, because I like to remember what's going on.

Have a creepy, awesome night.

I also need to disclaim that I do not own Jane Austen, Charlaine Harris, Elizabeth Kostova, Karen Joy Fowler, Laurell K Hamilton, Stephanie Meyer nor any of their characters or books,nor any other book I might have mentioned in this post, as much as I might like to. I also got the lovely image at the top of the page from, which has a wonderful index of all things Anita Blake, check them out. Oh, and I'm pretty sure that image is from one of the Marvel Comics of Anita Blake. I don't own Marvel either.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Kitteh Commiteh

If you've clicked on the LOL Cats link in my sidebar you've seen one of these guys before.

I've been meaning to do an odd post about the cat thing, ebcause, I'm sure you've noticed, I've got a few, and I tend to use cat names as reference points for some of the people in my life. There's a reason for this. I'm obsessed. Only kidding.

When I was a little girl I was allergic to cats. I don't know if it was my asthma, or a paranoia on my parent's part or what, but I didn't get my first pet cat until I was about eight years old. Now, my grandmother had a couple of cats and they never seemed to bother me, so it might just be that my mom didn't think I needed a pet. I have no idea. (My grandma;s cats, by the way, were Juliet whome we called Juliegg because my brother had a speech impediment; and Fluffy, who had the most ironic name on the planet, because she died when she crawled into the dryer when my grandma wasn't looking.)

So I got my first cat when I was eight. His name was Frisky and he had a grey tip on his tail, otherwise he was white all over. I loved him. Several cats followed after that, and I don't need to tell you about them. The point is, since that time, I have almost always had a pet cat. The exception to this was when I was with BBD, who hates cats. (I should have known then there was something wrong with him.)

When I moved in with Kitten she had two adorable cats: Samson and Delyla. They were both rescues. Two summers ago, when I was a DJ at a local club Samason snuck out as I snuck in at whatever godawful hour of the morning I got off.I was heartbroken. Delyla never really liked me. In fact, for the first six months I lived with Kitten she peed on everything that had my scent on it. We went through so many pillows that we almost decided to take her to the vet to see what was wrong with her. Turns out once she realized I wasn't going anywhere, she knocked it off. She's still Kitten's cat, through and through. She actually acts more like a dog. She is the princess of the house, I think it is a result of her being a totally manky stray cat.

Actually, all of our cats seem to carry their dominant manky trait into some sort of weird neurosis now.

Voodoo, my little black cat, was a dumpster cat. Literally. She showed up on our porch about two years ago and she was all tiny and pathetic and we wouldn't let her in for fear of Delyla freaking out so she slept on our recycling dumpster. She looked lonely and sad all the time. We finally let her in during a terrible october rainstorm. She was squalling on the porch and we could hear her above the thunder. I went to the door to look at her, and when she saw Kitten behind me she lifted her paw and sneezed very theatrically. In she came. She went through (I am so not joking) nearly a solid year of being in heat before she calmed down enough for us to get her into the vet. She literally would go right back into heat the moment we picked up the phone to make an appointment. Now she mopes a lot, wants to be groomed, and spends her time wanting cuddles. But not too many.

We decided we didn't need more than two cats.

Then Dad called because a stray kitten had shown up on his porch. Would we take it? No, we said. We don't need another cat. Would we at least try to find her a home? Sure, we could do that. Dad had two big dogs at the time. No house for a kitten. We carried her home, bathed her (she had SO MANY FLEAS)and combed her. Then we realized she was deformed in her back leg. And she walked on her knuckles. This little cat, whom we had resolved to call Kitty so we wouldn't get attached, whispered in Kitten's ear that her name was Purrsephanie (I swear, that's what Kitten said) and we realized we wouldn't give her up to someone we couldn't be sure would take care of her when her leg got really bad. Purrsephanie (Squirt, we call her) is a habitual bather. Not just herself, but any of our other cats, or us, if she sees fit.


Oscelot moved in, and by that time we had been feeding the strays that used to live at our neighbors and now lived on our porch for some time. Her favorite stray, Precious (not our name) got pregnant and lost all of her kittens. So we thought. Then one day Kitten was on the front porch and Precious came up to her with a little black kitten in her mouth. She was clearly not feeding it, it needed help. We brought it in, fed it, wiped it's bottom and put it back out. Only Oscelot kept sneaking it in. Then Kitten stopped fighting her when she wanted to let it play inside. Then she stopped fighting her when she wanted to keep it for good. It's our only boy. His name is Munkostrap. We call him bubba or little man most of the time, because Munkostrap is a mouthful, and he really doesn't know the difference. All Bubba wants is to be held. I would chalk that up to either being held too much as a baby, or, if you want to give him feelings, he knows that his mother didn't take care of him, and now he wants to be babied.

Now, at this point we had four cats, which we all agreed was probably too many. We keep the litter scooped (constantly, I swear, they poop for fun!) and we vaccuum all the time, and we mop all the itme, and really, if you didn't see them, most our friends swear you wouldn't know we have pets.

So one night Kitten was on Craigslist, the bane of all who wish to remain sane and junk-free, and she saw a woman post how she was getting her apartment floors redone and she couldn't afford to kennel her kitten for the week. Would someone watch her for free. I get the text from Kitten that we are going to pick up a baby cat and sit it for a week.

I'm sure you aren't suprised, we got stuck with her. The mom wouldn't take her back. She was so tiny. I got attached. She's a littlee grey ball of fluff, with tiny white mittens and bloomers, and she is so cute. Also, tiny. She still had her milk teeth when we got her. Her name is Evelyn, and I'm glad we kept her. She was so sick the first month we had her, we honestly worried about her health. Now she is fat and happy, and like Bubba, needs to be cuddlesd constantly. In fact, most of the spelling errors on this blog are a result of her being in my lap, and me being unwilling to retype when she jumps in my way. She is also a neurotic nurser. She actually has a blanket she is allowed to nurse on, in our attempt to keep her from nursing everything and evryone else. It seems to be working.

Now, this might only qualify us for being cat ladies, not a Kitteh Commiteh, if it weren't for the fact that we have a cat fixation in our personalities. I started calling Kitten my tiger affectionately, and somehow, it stuck, and our friends refer to her as a tiger as well.

Soemhow along the line, our friends assigned me the title Panther, although the only explanation I can come up for this is that I wear a lot of black. I'm still working that out. Kitten says its because I'm sleek. I don't see how since my hair is more like a guinea pig's than anything else.

So one night we were joking iwth our friend Bobcat about being a cougar, but since she's a lesbian there has to be a different term for it. That's how she got the name bobcat. Also, it seems to suit her.

When we continued to hang out, we began a Kitteh Committeh joke, because we all read the LOL Cats page for fun.

Then she introduced us to Oscelot, who got her name from her love of water, and because she's adorable and tiny, just like an Oscelot should be.

The commiteh expanded.

Then we extended membership to our dear friend Earth Girl, who married Kitten and I, and decided to call her the Lion. (Lioness, I suppose, but who's keeping track?) I thought this was absolutely appropriate because when I met her she had beautiful golden hair that trailed down to her waist. She gave it to Locks of Love, which I think is admirable. I still see her with long hair, even if it is short now.

When Oscelot's birthday came around, we were introduced to Black Magic, who became part of our Sunday game night and we christened her Cheetah, although this is another one that goes to personality, seeing as how she can't walk very well right now.

Bobcat is getting married, her partner is call Teh Lynx. So we have ourselves quite a substantial group of people described by their cat personalities.

That my friends, is the story of the Kitteh Committeh.

I could talk about my cats all day, and my friends longer, but thatm ight bore you.

Now you know, when the Committeh has a meeting, what exactly I'm talking about.

Kitteh love to you all,

Did You Ever Sweat to the Oldies?

I have to confess, we actually own a Richard Simmons exercise tape. Now, it is technically a leftover from when Guitar Hero lived with us, and its not a 'Sweatin'' video. It's some sort of Latin Dance exercise video. We did it once and we laughed all the way through it. Somehow, I can't seem to focus on exercise when I look at Richard Simmons. Maybe its because he seems so funny to me. I'm sure that he's a totally approachable guy for people who are not the skinny types you see on most exercise videos. That has to help, I am sure. But the impulse to giggle, while great for the abs, is not really a foolproof exercise tool.

So last week we were hanging around the house one evening and I was talking to Oscelot about ballet. She went to an arts conservatory, but she got kicked out of her ballet class because she doesn't have the right body type. As a consequence, she knows almost nothing about the mechanics of ballet. Appreciate it, yes she does; but I don't think she would be able to tell you much about the preformance aspect of it.

Anyway, she had mentioned that she wished she could have seen me when I was a dancer. I, of course, thought she meant that brief ill-advised period in my late teen years when I was a preformer in a local bar in town. She laughed and said, no, she meant when I was a ballet dancer. I pointed out to her there wasn't much to watch, really. I was okay, but as for someone rivieting, probably not. I have bad feet, you see.

Then I got to explain the concept of bad feet to her, the idea that no matter how flexible you are you will never have perfect turnout. Your body isn't built for it. I have this sad condition, an affliction to me as a young dancer, because I truly loved it (and, as anyone who is familiar with ballet will tell you, you can't have a career as a dancer is you have poor turnout).

I stood up to demonstrate to her my bad feet. Now, I'm not nearly as flexible now as I once was, so my turnout is damn poor now. She showed me hers, and Anna showed me hers. No suprise, if they were both to improve their flexibility, they would have perfect turnout.

Point is, we got to playing around with the steps and then I realized I wanted to feel all stretchy and healthy. So I went hunting for my Yoga DVD and put it in. I begged their indulgence. They not only didn't mind, they did the DVD with me. It was wonderful.

My former partners have never been fond of my Yoda DVD because (they say) the lady who does it has an annoying voice, and I look positively stupid while I'm doing it. Imagine my chock when my lovely Kitten and Oscelot joined me in the floor to stretch and relax.

You know what kills me? Of the three of us, I am the least flexible. I'm the only one who had to use modifications for the standing positions. I don't have any blocks, so I used a couple of the Harry Potter books, and I was leaned to one side, struggling to get a good stretch that didn't kill me and I almost fell over when I looked at the girls. There they were, hips forward, hands on the floor, arms outstretched, looking absoutely perfect, if not comfortable. I suppose it gives me soemthing to work for. When I was sixteen I was so flexible I could put my feet in front of me and and lay my head on the floor next to my kneecaps. Now I can barely touch my toes without pulling something.

The evening was relaxing, and we were inspired. Oscelot and I stopped off to get a couple of workout DVD's after work the next day so that we could try and do a little at home work to feel better. I don't think I need to lose weight, Kitten is so skinny she needs a sandwich, and I think all Oscelot wants is to tone. But the idea of having two partners that are willing to work with me at home, knowing at least one of us is going to look really stupid at some point, is so novel to me.

Neither of them seem to mind, in fact, I think they are both rather eager. It's a nice change. Really it is. I keep thinking, once summer rolls around we get to be active and be outdoors. Now, even though we are covered with a constant rain cloud (seriously, its been raining for almost a week solid here, and the forecast say we get at least another three days of this before it stops) I can still be active and find a way to bond with my girls. It is so nice.

No, I porbably won't get out the Richard Simmons dvd, I think the moemory of us doing it would be nough to cause me to lose focus. But the new ones, I can't wait to pull them out of their wrappers and give them a try.

I'm off to go do some Yoga before I wake Oscelot up for work. I want to see if this whole "do it in the mrning and you'll feel relaxed all day" theory holds true.

Happy shaping up.

PS- I obviously don't own or know Richard Simmons, who I am sure is a lovely person and has great workout videos.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Sadomasochism and the Family

Here's a picture of my kitten Evelyn. Kittens are cheerful, and this post isn't so she's like a consolation prize.

Anyone who has ever talked to me for even a brief time or knows me at all will be able to tell you that I have an extremely odd family. That's a nice way to put it. There are days when I, and my closest friends, wonder how I came out even relatively normal. I still question whether or not I did.

I recall that when I was 20 or so I entered therapy to cope with what my ex Beloved would call my "issues." What I would call it is my complete inability, at that time, to say no to my family, or to avoid them in any way, even though they make me absolutely crazy, and sometimes severely depressed. When I sat on the fuzzy chair in the office of my then therapist and spent hours upon hours telling her about my childhood and my home life as I grew up I honestly thought that I was going through a normal adult experience. A lot of us have trouble coping with our families, right? Turns out my family is stranger than even I expected. My therapist suggested that a clean and permanent break with my family would be the most mentally healthy thing I could do.

I couldn't do it. I told her so point blank. The guilt of having to deal with my family's reaction and the ensuing terror that they would somehow be able to live their lives without me, foretting I existed completely, was too awful for me to face. Instead she kindly showed me ways I could learn to cope with my odd family situation without going completely insane or giving up what little personal autonomy I had in the process. I am very greatful to her.

Now, Beloved would say I still let my family push me around. I think sometimes she might be right. But then, I've come a long way since I was 20, and I feel like the progres I've made is a lot more substantial than she, or a lot of my former aquaintances, realize. Now, a lot of them would tell you that the best thing I could do would be stop talking to them. I can't do that now any more than I could then. But I've made strides.

Anyway, the point is, I was reflecting last night that my love of my family is a lot like sadomasochism. I torture myself in an attempt to maintain a healthy, or at least functioning relationship with them, and in return they sometimes return my love and then other times they make me absolutely miserable. Now, I do understand that this scenario would present a skewed view of S&M, which is supposed to be a mutally agreeable, pleasant experience. I think that for the most part, my family and I mutually agree we should be on speaking terms. The plesurable part, well, I think that's the part that's up for grabs.

Part of what brought this on was my mom. Now, I have a better relationsip with my mom than I did when I was younger. There is no question about that. Part of it stems from me being older and her being more accepting of my life choices (and I'm not just talking about Kitten and Oscelot, either). Part of it is because I absolutely refuse to let her speak to me the way she used to. I don't tolerate insults from people I don't like, there came a point in my life when I realized tha tinsults from people I llike or love are even worse. This is definately the case with my mother.

When I was younger there was a lot of that. Things like "you'd be so pretty if you didn't have glasses" or "I don't know why you applied for that job, its not like you'd be of any use to them". That stuff doesn't fly with me anymore. Even recently I've fought that battle. When I split up with BBD (oh, god, two, three?) however long ago it was, her first response to me telling her that I left him was "So I suppose you're going to go back to being a man-hating bulldyke now." I was really expecting something more along the lines of "What? He was physically abusing you? You're starving and broke? That bastard, I'm going to kick his ass and then call his mother and tell him what a horrible job she did raising him." Only in the movies, I guess. I suppose I've learned that my friends and my partner are for moral support, not my mother.

I remember the battle over Christmas this last year was equally epic. Part of it stemmed from the fact that she was already angry with me for missing Thanksgiving. I know I know, it is an important holiday to her, but we had just gotten back from our vacation on the West Coast, we were tired, and we had to spend the moring at Oscelot's family home, which ws equally exhausting since it was Kitten and I's fisrt time at one of their family gatherings , and thier lack of support of her lifestyle makes my family look like they are charter members of PFLAG. don't think I didn't give her warning. I did. I told her the minute we booked the flight, four months before we went. I gave her warning.

Here's the problem. Mom wanted a "Family Christmas." You know, one of those gather round the tree and open presents, eat dinner together and watch an old movie kind of Christmases. I would have been fine with all of those things, had she been willing to do them at my house with Kitten and Oscelot. No problem. The catch was, she wanted it to be at her house with my brother, Punk. Whom I am estranged from.

Before you go getting defensive on her behalf, I want to point out she is the reason I am estranged from him. Or part of it. Earlier last summer Punk beat the crud out of her. Badly enough that the county filed assault charges and she moved into Kitten and I's house for about a month because he doesn't know where I live, and he still had a key to her house. I know that sounds terrible, but when you've coped with stuff like that all your life, you start to feel a little numb about it. I was just overjoyed she was getting away, filing a restraining order and making a safe place for herself. After watching it with three husbands and my brother, I just wanted her to come to her senses and be safe and happy. Punk called me trying to find her and told me I needed to make her drop the charges against him. I told him I wasn't going to do that, it's never okay to hit a woman and certainly not your mother. His response was to tell me he no longer considered me to be his sister and he followed that up by calling me a stupid dyke and he told me he hoped I died of AIDS.

I think you can see why I wasn't really keen on the idea of spending Christmas with him, since he hasn't spoken to me since that time. The rest of my family has been totally supportive, for the most part. My aunts and uncles think I am doing the right thing, and I shouldn't put up with it. My grandmother, while understanding why I did it and respecting my decision, says I should let bygones be bygones. She invited me to family Christmas, but was kind enough to warn me Punk was coming. My aunts and uncles called me adn told me how much they missed me. It meant a lot to me.

I'm sure Idon't have to tell you, my mom dropped the charges and testified on Punk's behalf at the county hearing for the assualt charges. He got off.

Anyway, the long and short of it is, our relationship is still a point of contention with my mom. I've told her I won't talk about it, or Punk, at all. In fact, I've made good on my threat to hang up the phone when she starts talking about him several times. She always calls right back, acting like it was a dropped call or something, and not me hanging up. Very rarely will she take up the same subject, although I've had to hang up three times before she got the picture once.

Back to Christmas, anyway, I told her about our plans, which have become increasing complicated with the addition of Oscelot to our family. We have her family, Kitten's dad, Kitten's mom and my mom to arrange in a very short period of time. Oscelot does her family thing the week before, and we always go to midnight mass with Dad, so that leaves Christmas day for Mom and Kitten's mom. Kitten's mom was coming over to our house for breakfast. I told my mom that any time after breakfast she could coem over and we would spend the evening together, make dinner and do all those fun things she wanted to do. But, no, since I would not come to her house and be with her and Punk, she decided she was not going to spend Christmas with us at all.

Cue a barrage of phone calls from my grandmother, who was told I refused to see Mom on Christmas, purely out of the meaness of my heart. I tried my best to explain, and eventually brought Grandma around to the idea that if Mom wanted to see me, she knew where to find me.

Mom waited to call until five days before Christmas. She still wanted me to come over. I told her no. Now, what I probably should have done was tell her not to bother. But, instead, I offered to have her over same as I did before. She agreed.

When she showed up we were finishing a suprisingly fun game of Cranium with Kitten's mom. We invited her to join us in another game. Kitten's mom was even up for it. When my mom coldly refused, Kitten's mom gracefully took the hint and gave us hugs and kisses and left. My mom stayed for dinner and then promptly left, without a thanks for the evening or anything. I still wonder why she came over, unless Grandma let the cat out of the bag and told her about the vaccum cleaner I had bought her.

Fast forward to the last few weeks, where everytime I try to call my mom to check in with her I get her voicemail. Which she hasn't set up so I can't leave a message. Last Friday mom called and asked if she could come over and print something off on our computer. I told her we are out of ink, which is true, but that I could save whatever she needed to a flash drive and she could take it to Kinkos or something to get it printed off. She agreed to come over today to do that. She asked if we would like to have breakfast with her too. We agreed. She hung up after telling me I should try and call her more often, she doesn't understand why I never talk to her.

I got a text message last night at 10pm asking if she could still come by. I told her yes, just to call before she came since it's my day off and Iusually sleep late. I was up by 8, cleaning house and getting things in order when I got a text from her. "I'm not coming today. Sorry." That's it.

This happens with suprising frequency. Hell, the last time she and I had a lunch date we were supposed to go shopping for my birthday present. (Three months after my birthday, I might add) I picked a local store I like that doesn't have anything in it over $40 because I know she doesn't have a lot of money. In fact, I get most of my stuff there for $15 or less. Part of why I love that store. We went to the store and she looked at a lot of stuff, but didn't seem too interested in shopping for me. She tried some things on, and then we left. I wasn't too upset, I don't expect presents, its honestly okay. What bothered me was when we got to the restuarant for lunch and the bill came, she passed it to me expectantly. "I didn't bring any money with me," she says. I was greatful I did. That would have been embarassing.

Still, I find myself feeling guilty I don't spend more time with her. I wonder if I'm a bad daughter for not liking her more. Chances are, I'll feel bad aboutth is blog post later, although I shouldn't since this is my space to talk about whatever I want.

I know that my relationship with my mom isn't healthy. But I continue to pursue it, because I feel like I ought to. I feel like I should want to be around her, want to be a good kid, and I shouldn't resent to continuously bad choices that she makes for herself.

It drives me crazy.

The sad thing is, I always feel better after seeing her, even if she makes me feel really bad about myself. She can tell me how bad a kid I am, and how she had always hoped by now I'd be doing something worthwile, and how if I'm ever successful it will only be because she nagged me into making something of myself. Somehow, after all of that, I still feel better knowing I gave her the chance to say all of those things and feel like (in her twisted way) she is being a loving and supportive parent.

As I get older I know my mom will expect more from me. When I get a steady career, she wants me to buy her a house, get her a retirement package, and fly her out to the West COast where we want to live. She wants a room in our home so she can live with us. She wants me to take her on all of our family vacations. When she's short of money now she asks me for it, and I know that as she gets older and she still isn't saving, it will be me she turns to for money; which unless I am really lucky, I probably won't have.

I don't know how to tell her these are completely unrealistic expectations for her to have. I don't know how to tell her that as much as I love her, I'd rather have a root canal with no anethetic than have her live with me. That my family life revolves around my two lovely partners, whom she objects to me having. That no, we aren't planning on adopting children and I'm not changing my mind.

I have no idea how to tell her all of these things and still show her that I love her. I have no idea how I will be able to pick up and move away from here in three years and leave her behind knowing that she wishes she was going with me, but that she won't go unless I pay for her to.

The sadistic part of all of this is I suspect that she knows it. She brings it up constantly.

The truly masochistic part of me allows it, and sometimes I wonder to myself how I will ever dig myself out of the hole I put myself in. It makes me angry and sad to know that my loving her is what is trapping me in this situation.

I'm caught in a place where I wonder if I did the right thing all that time ago, not cutting the cord. It seems like sometime in the future, she's going to force me to do it. If not seeing her on Christmas is enough to make her not talk to me for three months, what will happen when I move across the country and leave her here?

I honestly don't have the answer to that one. I wish I did.


Monday, April 18, 2011

A Trip to the Library

Sorry I ducked out for nearly a week. That was an accident, mostly. I felt over the weekend like Ihad nothing interesting tosay about life. Also, I have been incredibly busy with a new project, which is inspiring this post.

A co-worker of mine is an Accounting major at the local university. She is preparing for the end of the year, and hopefully the end of her academic career, since she is almost ready to graduate. Before she does, though, she has a massive paper to write. It is not uncommon for me to offer to help out my co-workers with their research papers. (NO I do not write them for them.) I love writing, research is a geeky passion of mine, and since a large part of what I want to do for aliving involves editing, it is good practice for me.

Now, I know almost nothing about accounting, in fact most people will tell you I am terrible with numbers. Fortunately for all involved, this paper is about international accounting standards, which I can grasp relatively easily since foreign policy -be it financial or otherwise- does make sense to me. Some of the technical terms escape my grasp, but since she understands it that doesn't really matter. She can translate for me.

Tonight I got a chance to walk down memory lane and visit the university library. This thing has changed so much in the last ten years it boggles my mind. Now, for me, using the digital equivelent of a card catalog is still easy. I love that part. Browsing the shelves in the correct section also easy and entertaining for me. Locating everything was different. They had moved general circulation up a floor, Government Documents is no longer in a shadowy basement (since when are the PoliSci nerds allowed into the light?) and my favorite study area is now a computer lab.

Still, a fulfilling trip for me. Especially since after dinner we came home and I got to speed read a few of the books and make notes on the various sections that are useful to the purpose of her paper. I read quickly, so we managed 2 books in less than an hour. Hooray.

Sometimes I have a tendency to forget how intelligent a woman I can be. The mindless minutae of my day to day work has that effect on me. I forget that there are such things in the world as trade policy and life outside of how much I am being tipped. There is more to life than my ability to recall menu details and make a great cocktail. I am more than just the sum of my job description. Its nice to remember that. It is also nice to have one of my co-workers see it. There is a brain in my head, and I do know how to use it.

How refreshing.

Go do something this week that reminds you that you have passions beyond yoru every day life. It is what makes life worth living, isn't it?


As a post-script, my plants have not come in the mail yet and I expect them any day now. When that happens I may disappear, with a sporadic post about the insanity that is my yard.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Post-Office Waiting Game

We frequent the post office. And, I mean we really frequent the post office. Kitten joined an awesome online bookswap about a year ago. The way it works is you post a "bookshelf" of books that you have but don't want anymore. When someone wants a book from your bookshelf, they send you a request, and you mail it to them. When they receive the book, you get a credit. That credit is good for any book posted on that website, which you request, and the owner mails to you. Its a great site for reading junkies who have big libraries like we do. However, since we have something like 200 books on our shelf, and we are constantly adding or changing them, we spend a lot of time at the post office mailing books all over the country.

There's never any need for us both, or all three of us, to go inside, there's nothing to see or do in a post office if you don't have something to mail. So when I sit in the car waiting for Kitten, I keep track of the interesting and odd things that I see. When she gets back to the car, I always read them aloud to Kitten. This game transpired one afternoon when I was in a post office parking lot accross town, one we don't normally use. When I saw 5 separate black SUV's nearly mow down a mailman collection from the little blue drive up post-boxes, I began writing things down.

Now, our most recent foray to the post office was about a week ago, and I've been meaning to post for you thie things I saw while I was there. Unfortunately, I can't find my sheet of paper, so I have to go from memory.

This last trip I saw:

5 big white trucks
1 toyota prius
3 HHRs (all of which were weird colors like pumpkin orange)
One sodier in full dress
One man in VERY short khaki shorts and a sunbonnet, with socks up to his knees
One semi-truck without the 18-wheel attachment
3 silver vans
1 silver van which would circle the lot a few times, park, the lady driving would eat a Funion out of a big bag she was carrying with her, back out, recircle the lot, park somewhere different and repeat. She did this about 5 times. She left when the soldier came out and got in her car.
One lady who was wearing a very short black skirt emerging from the back of her SUV with so many packages I was compelled to ask her if she wanted help, if only to preserve her modesty.

Nothing too spectacular, but it was a wednesday at two in the afternoon. Weekends and right before close are always better times.

Sorry for the boring post, and the delay in a new one. We put in a load of sand for our new walkway yesterday and I am tired and sunburnt, though not nearly as red as Oscelot and Kitten.

Have a great day friends

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Perfumania, Innit and Other Things That Really Yank My Chain

I've had a few days worth of a migraine this week, so I think I've been especially irritable. It seems like things that I can normally let go have been really getting on my nerves, so I thought I would share a few of them with you today, in a vain attempt to seek sympathy. Feel free to skip the whining today, if you want, I won't be mad. But, I would bet, some of these things annoy you too.

Also, I might add, I am probably on the verge of a sneaky hate spiral ( I might also mention,this lady is much more amusing than I am)

So, things that have been getting on my nerves. Commence excessive use of the Caps Lock Key.


Perfume. It is supposed to make you smell good. It is not meant to mask odor. It will not hide if you have not showered. It also will not hide if you have not laundered your clothes. Someone needs to tell some of my co-workers this.

Someone also needs to inform the general poplace that cologne is supposed to be used sparingly. You do not marinate in it. If I can smell you when you walk into the store, you've got too much on. Especially if I am in another part of the store. We actually have one host, I can tell when she is in the store in precisely that manner. It's like a little trail of Addidas Sport for Her running through the store. When the zombie apocolypse comes, I know who will go first. The people who wear too much cologne. They won't be able to hide. I understand wanting to smell nice, but cologne is supposed to accent your natural smell. Not actually cover it up.

On the flip side of grooming; I'd like it if some of my co-workers would. Nothing turns off a guest, or a co-worker, like an unshaven dude standing over your table asking you if you want a soda. Also, I don't care if you have buzzed off all your hair or not, I can tell if you didn't bother showering before you came in. Guess what? So can your guests. And they will punish you, and later me, for it.

Also, ladies, (especially ladies with complicated hairstyles and or extensive highlighting) YOU CAN TOTALLY TELL WHEN YOU DON'T WASH YOUR HAIR. It's gross. Especially if you did use product in your hair the day before. You look like a skunk that has been hit by a car and then spray painted by a bunch of ne'er-do-wells. I get wanting to have a day where you don't mess with your hair. Do it on your day off. I wash my hair every day, and its not for fun. It isn't because I feel prettier. It's because I am going out in public and I have some self respect. I don't hyper-groom. Kitten and Oscelot will tell you, if I have a couple days off and I don't have to be in public, I won't shower. Because I don't have to. If I go camping I don't even bother bringing deoderant or soap. No one sees me but the snakes, frogs and bugs. BUT if I (or you) am going to be in public in the presence of strangers, I do myself a favor and I clean up. Unless I'm sick and tehn everyone can shove it. But if you're sick, trips in public better be to the pharmacy or the doctor and back, and that's it. Otherwise you're a jerk who's getting everyone else sick.

Another note for my co-workers. I am not a personal shopper for you. If I leave food at work it is beacuse I want to eat it. It is not a gift for you. It is not free. I have eaten the food at Casa Bueno for four solid years. While it is good, I am wearing out on it. I have a right to bring in strawberries, yogurt, chips, cookies or bacon for a sandwich and not have to worry that if I bring in more than a day's worth of food it will get eaten by someone who is not me. you are jerks. Eat your groceries, not mine. In the last month I have lost approximately $30 in food to unknown co-workers. What really kills me? I might have shared if they had asked me first.

I know this is wild, but I also like to mention, on occasion, YOU WORK AT YOUR JOB. Some of my co-workers seem to think they get paid by the hour to gossip, lean on our silverware table and lotion themselves, and switch grooming techniques they are apparently only using outside of work. Theey get SO upset because they spend less than 10% of the time their table is in the store at the table, actually trying to make their guests happy, which is how you make your money as a server. They don't smile. They complain when their guests want something special. But then they are schocked when they get a 4% tip or no tip at all.

On the flip side: I would like to say, I have absolutely no problem with accommodating my guests within reason. I totally don't. That's my job. Any of my readers who also eat in my restaurant will tell you I will bend over backwards to make you happy, given that your request is reasonable. That mentioned, when my guests demands rediculous things or talks to me like I am an idiot, it absolutely makes me seethe. I have a pretty mellow temperment. Sometimes, though, nothing gets me going like a guest who tells me I am doing my job wrong when I am actually doing it the correct way. I am a trainer at Casa Buesno. I have worked there for 4 years. I know the menu better than most of our cooks. I promise, when I tell you something about the menu, I'm not lying. A few examples:

I had a table of three people in my section the other day. I got to the table with one bowl of chips and two salsas, the prescribed amount I am allowed to take out on the first trip. One of the ladies at the table immediately demanded I go get four more salsas and two more bowls of chips. Kids, that's a set-up for a party of twelve. I will get in trouble. I told her I promised I wouldn't let her run out. She told me to go away until I brought her more chips. She followed up with her drink order, half-club soda, 1/4 water, 1/4 diet soda with one lemon and one lime and I had better not charge her for a soda since she only is drinking 1/4 soda inher glass and she would not be having 4 glasses of soda. When she ordered her dinner she wanted enchiladas, but she called it a combo, which is something completely different on the menu, I try to clarify and she bit my head off. Once I was clear about what she wanted I asked her about her sauce options. She shouted at me what she wanted with a "Because that's how its supposed to come young lady!" Bite me. Seriously.

I also run into the problem that there is a credit card company, Super Credit (we'll call them that), that has a call center near my work. They used to get a discount. We stopped giving it because they would come in on tehir lunch breaks in large groups (12-15 people) order high cook-time foods, abuse their server, demand tehir discount and then never, never tip. I'm not exaggerating. I still cringe when I see one come in with their work badge clipped on because I know I won't get tipped. Its like they have a box on their application that asks if you believe in tipping waitstaff. If you do, you can't work there. The point is, we got rid of the discount three years ago this summer. We informed the company. They still tell them they get a discount. When we tell them no, we haven't had that program in almost three years, they inform us their employer says they get one, so we have to give it to them. Actually, no, we don't.

Also, you can't trick me. I'm not stupid. If I tell you that you can't have your margarita to go and you ask for a cup for your water, I am going to bring you a to-go cup already full of water. You don't get to be angry at me because I don't want to lose my job.

End work rant. I could go on for days if I had the chance.


Lately, I've been noticing the absolutely deplorable grammer that surrounds me on a day to day basis. There is a distinct lack of diction in my region of the country. There is also a large amount of word misuse going on. And I am not talking about the little things. Anyone who has read snything of mine knows I am lazy about its and it's. I don't spell check my blog because this is my space and most of the time I am typing I have a cat in my lap. I would spend all my time correcting my typing and never get anything posted. HOWEVER. Some things drive me absolutely crazy.

Innit- not a word. Isn't it, the proper phrase, takes no less time to speak.

Agreeance- NOT A WORD. We are in agreement. We agree. There is no agreeance.

whadareu- What are you. Also a variant on Where are you or Why are you. They are three separate worlds. Pronounce them that way.

Missourah- I live in Missouri. it's pronounced Miz-or-ree. NOT muh-zur-uh. I actually had someone argue with me one time that our state is from the French and so both pronounciations are correct. WRONG. Missouri was a native american tribe. If it is from the french it would be mis-ur-ree, with a slight rolling of the first r and emphasis on the "ur" sound.

Illinoise- There is no s in Illinois. Its silent.

Ain't- the contraction for the phrase 'am i not' is not possible to you correctly in Modern American English.

just- this is an old writing pet peve of mine. Nothing is "just something" take out the just. you don't need it. Stop using that word as filler. When someone says I just want to do that so bad, it makes me crazy. Webster points out that jsut means all of these things: lawful, proper, fair, equitable, deserved, well-founded, reasonable, correct or true. As an adverb it can mean precisely, exactly, by a small amount, a short time ago, immediately. The way the word just is used in my area of the country is a colloquialism and it makes the grammer nazi in me want to cry.

Alot- not a word. See The Alot Is Better Than You At Everything. She explains it so much better than I ever could. What really makes me angry is that my phone accepts the word "alot" as a valid word. Texting is dumbing us down kids.

While I'm at it, you do not need to say OMG out loud. Say Oh my god, or don't say it. When you think I am funny, you laugh, you don't say lol. While I admit I will say WTF every now and again at work, its because I am not supposed to cuss on the clock. If I am in the presence of a manager who will let me, I will say the word fuck. Loudly.

Also, if you start your sentance with uuuuh, um, or soooo on a frequent basis, chances are I am tuning you out. If you can't gather your thoughts before you speak to me, don't bother. I won't be listening anyway. Besides, I don't need your grooming tips.


Okay, I know this first one kills us all. The 20 item or less checkout is for 20 items or less. Now, I don't count exactly, not every time, but I'm close. Nothing gets me angrier than being in a hurry at the store and getting into the only speedy checkout lane and having someone in front of me with a cart (or two) trying to cheat teh system because the store isn't busy or they don't want to wait in a normal line.

The cigarette counter is another place I run into this problem. At most of my local supermarkets the cigarettes are cheaper than at a gas station or tobbacco store. There is usually one line in the center of the checkout and you can get them when you pay for your groceries. I can't tell you the number of times I have ended up in that line with someone who is doing their shopping for what must be the entire frickin' year ahead of me. Okay, yes, you got in line before me. But when all I have is a bag of cat food and it's clear the only reason I am in this line and not behind the jerks in the 20 item or less line is because I want nicotine, do me a solid and let me go in front of you. Now, I know, if I quit smoking I could avoid this trouble. But here's the thing, Kitten smokes too. I'm trapped. And the person shopping for the zombie apocolypse is also going to buy three or four cartons of cigarettes, but they always have to ask how much each and every brand is before they select the brand they were probably going to get in the first place.

Parents who let their children scream in public are terrible. I know that children at a certain age a prone to tantrums. Ignoring them only makes the problem worse and annoys everyone in the vicinty. DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE REWARD THIS BEHAVIOR WITH A TOY! Remember Pavlov's dog? No, you probably don't know who Pavlov is. The point is, you are teaching them that if they pitch a fit they get what they want. You are a bad parent.

Also, the people who talk on their phone in the store are a menace to society. They are, I gurantee, the ones who text and drive, and treat the parking lot like its the Indy Speedway. I understand if you have to whip out your phone and check with your significant other whether they want this or that brand or did they say we needed bread? Totally fine. What is not okay is this "SO, then I told him that no real man would talk to his momma that way and I wasn gonna put up with him talking to me like that neither. What? Oh yeah, he was real mad. Oops, sorry about that. huh? No I accidentally ran into this lady with my cart. You know these aisles are so small...Did she act mad? Who, his momma? Oh, no, she just put all those hamburger helpers I knocked off the shelf back on and went her way. So I was saying to him about his momma and all, oops, sorry sir. You should watch those kiddos..." and so forth.

Speaking of the parking lot, when did it get so dangerous to walk in a cross walk? I thought the idea of the stripes on the pavement meant I was safe to cross because I have the right-of-way. Apparently I missed the memo that it means "cars go faster here." I think it came out on the same day the memo on "yellow lights mean speed up" was passed out.

And I know, I KNOW, that your BMW, Lexus, F150 Harley Davidson Edition is really special to you. This does not mean that you get to park in three spaces so no one dings your door. What it does mean is I will have to fight the compulsion to let my cart full of cat litter go at top speed right next to your driver side wheel well.

Every time I pass someone fit and able parking in the handicapped spot I have to remind myself it is bad karma to get out my lipstick and write "learn to walk asshole" on their windshield.

Parents- I want to call child services every time I see your four or five children playing in the center of the parking lot srive space, or right behind a backing vehicle. You are a terrible person. When your children get hurt, it will be all your fault.

This is just a starter list of the things that have gotten on my nerves in the last week. I'm certainly very grumpy. But wouldn't you be too?

Tomorrow starts another week. I am sure it will be better.

Have a good Monday everyone.

I also have to add, I use Websters New World dictionary for reference, Adidas for Her is a lovely fragrance I do not own, I cannot specifically verify the application questions at Super Credit and all views expressed about the lovely Casa Bueno are mine and mine alone and do not reflect the vews of the company, my managers, or other coworkers unless otherwise stated by company and public policy. I think that covers the disclaimers this time, doesn't it?

Friday, April 8, 2011

Gas Prices, Lybia and Civic Responsibility

So I was talking to my mom on the phone yesterday, which is always an interesting experience. The last time she called me she told me my 17 year old cousin was in the ER because he had a heart attack. Turns out he had inflamed cartilage in his chest wall which acts like a heart attack. Anyway, so she asked after me, then the cats, then Kitten and Oscelot. (Its always in that order too, I swear)And then she started telling me how she was thinking about moving to the city where she work, which is about a half hour/ forty five minutes away. Her reason for wanting to move, was of course, gas prices.

She follows up her reference to how much she spends in gas a day ($30, which I highly doubt) with a comment about how she doesn't plan on re-electing President Obama because it is all his fault our economy is a wreck and gas prices are high.

Now, I think we all know that this is a patently untrue statement. It takes several years, sometimes even decades, to get an economy like ours into a recession like the one we're in. I don't blame anyone, because as much as I would like to blame former Presidents, or whatever, the truth is it takes more than one or 250 people to get us into this kind of mess. When we aren't responsible fiscally, or civically, things like this happen. Runaway spending is a fault that belongs to all Americans who were aking unneccesary risk during the last ten years.

I try to explain this to her, and she says she blames him because he is the one who makes the laws. I point out, no, he only signs the bills into law. Technically, if she wants someone to be angry at, she should be calling her senators and congress people. That's the way to make change, is to talk to them.

She tells me no, he is the one that started the war in Lybia and drug us into wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Again, I try to explain to her that no, rebels started the war in Lybia. Technically, its a revolution, and we aren't involved in a war with them, we only participated (at the beginning) in the NATO strikes to try and protect the civilians in that country from the dictator who runs it.

Also, President Bush was the one that started the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and we have a responsibility to finsih those and leave cleanly the way any responsible nation would.

My mom's comment to this?

"Well, I don't care if those people hace to live with a dictator. It's sriving up the price of gas. We can't be responsible for the whole world you know."

This, to me, is one of the most irresponsible statements I have ever heard come out of my mother's mouth, and that's saying something. I could have told her no, we actually could. I could have told her that our country stands for that very thing: freedom at all costs. I could have told her that we expected the free world to get involved after September 11, 2001. We have a responsibility to the free world as well. I could have even pointed out that most of our oil actually comes from Canada, not the Middle East.

But I knew I would be wasting my breath.

What makes me really sad is that most people in the US probably feel the same way my mother does.

What happened to civic responsibilty and the emergence of a world community? What happened to having allies and supporting human rights?

It makes me really, really, sad.

Do your part, friends. If you do want to effect change, get ahold of your representatives, that's what they are there for.


Thursday, April 7, 2011

Why My Children Would Hate Me- Reflections on a child-free existence

I want to note, before I begin this post two separate things. First, I will be referenceing my previous post "Give Me an NC-21" you might want to skim it first. Also, and I know there will be a lot of people out there who are going to make this assumption: I don't hate children. In fact, I quite like children of a certain age. I just like the idea of enjoying their company and sending them on their way. There are a lot of reasons for this. But keep in mind, I DO LIKE CHILDREN. No part of this post should be construed as me saying having children is bad or that children are evil. I simply do not want any.

So here we go. As you can judge by my preface, Kitten,Oscelot and I are child-free. This is a decision that we made as a family, after much discussion. Part of it is that children who have parents of an alternative affinity orientation have a difficult time adjusting. I know that there are a lot of successful gay parents out there and I applaud them every day. I really do. Unfortunately, there is a lot of "otherness" to deal with when you are a child who was either conveived or adopted by two (or in our case)three women in a relationship. We live in what is most likely the most conservative part of the US and I don't think it would be fair to subject a child to that kind of heartache.

One of the other reasons is that Kitten is not terribly partial to children. She needs them in very small doses and they have to be well behaved.

The third reason is the cause of this post: I think if I had a child they would hate me. For a lot of reasons. I know that I would be a terribly over-protective, over indulgent but incredibly strict parent. This isn't a great combination for most children of the 2k generation.

Some of the things I think that would cause our children to dislike me:

1. Decisions about activities would be made as a family. If my children (we'll call them Joe and Sally) want to go to a friends house, we decide as a family. This means Sally can't ask Kitten, get a no, and then come ask me. It also means all parents have equal responsibility for the children, which I think would likely make us more strict. I would be a strict parent, Oscelot would be a strict parent and I'm pretty sure our kids would nickname Kitten "Hitler" behind her back.

2. Books, Movies, Video Games and Television shows will be screened. Heavily. I know kids wouldn't like this because I didn't like it as a kid. My parents were strict. There was no Simpsons in my house. I didn't watch an episode until I was nearly 17. Beevis and Butthead (yeah, I'm showing my age) were curse words in my home. Any book my children read would be read by me first. I would expect to go see movies and watch television shows before my kids got to see them. That way if I were to drop Jow and his friends off at the movie theater I would be able to ask them about specifics of the movies. No sneaking into higher rated movies for my kids, no sir, no mam. Questionable video games would be reviewed by us as parents and by friends I know who are into video games. I'm not giving my 7 year old child a video game where the object is to kill people or steal cars.

Now, I'm not saying video games and movies cause violence. That's like saying frogger causes jaywalking. What I am saying is there is a certain level of maturity that is required to understand certain books and movies. If my kids want to kill for fun, I'll teach them to hunt, and actually respect the life you are taking.

3. Outdoor activities would be encouraged, heavily. This is another one from my childhood. If I wanted to read on a nice day, I had to go sit on a blanket outside. Active children are more healthy and as a family they would be required to bond with us while we hike, canoe, or fish.

4. Dress would be monitored. Now, I wouldn't be nearly as strict as my parents and grandparents. Pants were not something a lady never wore. Frills were encouraged. In the grand scheme of nature versus nurture, I can almost see why I went crazy with the butch clothes when I was eighteen. Then again, now I actually like wearing skirts and dresses.

BUT I do not approve of the clothes that most of the children wear now. Sally will not be allowed to wear skirts that show her little underoos. There is no reason for there to be little girl thongs for sale at the mall. And I'm not kidding, they make them. Low cut tops aren't okay. Showing your belly is not okay.

My son is not going to be wearing baggy pants and sideways hats. He will dress like a clean-cut young man. If he wants clothes from nice or popular places at the mall, that is fine, but he will, by god, wear clothes that fit.

When my children get old enough to buy their own clothes, they will still be on approval. I will require receipts and proof of purchase from my children so inappropriate clothes can be returned. I understnad the want to fit in, but Sally will not look like a slut and Joe will not look like a giggolo. No sir, no mam.

5. My children will only go to age-appropriate restaurants. See my previous post Give me an NC-21. That does not mean I would give up going to nice restaurants. That means my children would be going with schoolmates and their parents (we would rotate of course) to an age appropriate restaurant while we go somewhere we want to go. And they will be taught table manners. There will be no "WE WANT ICE CREAM" shouted at the table. There will be no throwing food on the floor unless they want to clean it up, once they are old enough.

6. If we go on vacation somewhere that the children would not be able to behave, they will stay with family or friends. Now I am all about Disney World and trips to national parks and stuff like that. I want my children to have a good time and a lot of memories of going cool places with their family. But if I want to go with the ladies to The Louvre my kids are not coming with me. 5 year old Sally will not appreciate the Mona Lisa. Joe is not going to understand the importance of the Eiffel Tower at 10. They will stay home.

7. Friends and friend's households will be screened. I know some kids can't help their family. I get it. They can come to our house. But my children won't go to the homes of people who do drugs, or who won't clean, or who allow their children to run wild. It takes them out of the safe environment that I have created for them and give tehm liscence to do stupid stuff when I'm not looking.

8. Jobs will be mandatory at age 17. Work builds character.

9. You will earn your first vehicle. And no, it won't be a BMW or Lexus.

10. When you want a new toy, or outfit, or something frivolous, you will make your case to me and tell me why you want or need it. If we decide you do, you will take an old outfit, toy or equal frivolous thing and donate it to charity. It's important to remember that there are people less fortunate than you in the world.

11. Our children will eat healthy food. Cake is not a breakfast food. Its not even someting you get on a regular basis. Candy is a treat, not a food group. Chips will be an occasional snack. We would bar far prefer that our children eat vegetables and fruit. There will be no "I don't like that's" unless I'm certain you have tried it first. Also, you will clean your plate. I don't work hard to put food on the table so you can throw it in the trash or feed it to the cats. And dinner will take place at the table. Sally and Joe will set the table and help with dishes afterwards. Eating out is a luxury. Kiteen Oscelot and I don't eat fast food as a general rule, so our kids won't be getting a lot of happy meals when we don't feel like cooking.

12. My teenage children will have a curfew. And it won't be midnight either. If you are late you will call or all prileges will be taken away. Permission will be given before they go out. We will have contact numbers for the other children in the group of friends they are out with. When there is a sleepover, we will be calling to check and make sure the parents are home. I'm not stupid, I did that stuff as a teenager.

13. If you have a cell phone, it will have limited text and calling. You will not take it to school with you. You will not take it to bed with you. It will be given to me at the end of the night to charge in my bedroom. You will not password protect your phone, and we better know everyone in your phone contact list.

This is only the beginning of a long list of things I am pretty sure my child would hate me for. And chances are, they would do things to hurt me and themselves in an attempt to retaliate. I don't want this to happen. Honestly. I think it is a much better option for me not to have children at all.

I'll make a great godmother/godaunt whatever. I'll buy candy and take to amusment parks and the theater and all that once they are old enough. I'll go to ball games and plays and buy flowers and tonka trucks. But you get to keep them.

Love your kids, those that have them

Give me an NC-21- Restaurant Ratings Guide

So this is an extrememly brief post before I get to the one I've actually been plannign to do for today, but it is going to be referenced in my next post,and rather than interrupt the continuity of the next post for a lengthy explanation, I figured a short post beforehand would suffice.

I believe that all restaurants ought to be rated like the MPAA does movies. Only there would be some government board that had a rediculously long acronym. we'll call it the Bar and Restaurant Etiquette and Adult Manners Rating Association of America, or BREAMRAA. The idea is that BREAMRAA would rate every restaurant according to the age of clientele allowed in a certain establishment. I would say maturity level, but that would require testing of the entire restaurant going population, and that's a beauracratic and logistical nightmare.

I want to pause and note that I do not have anything against children. I don't. I honestly believe there are well behaved children that go out to restaurants with their parents. I just don't see them very often. So before anyone goes all bananas on me and says I hate kids, take a deep breath, I'm just saying there's exceptions and there's rules.

Right, so the Restaurant Rating Classifications established by BREAMRAA would be like this:

G: All ages welcome. This is for places like McDonald's, Chuck-E-Cheese, Burger King, anywhere with a plastic playplace or where the children's menu involves free toys. Suitable for infants, toddlers, and adults of all ages.

PG: Parental Guidance encouraged. This would be for families with well behaved toddlers and children in the 7-12 range. Places like this would be Golden Corral, any buffet really, Shoney's, Low-end ethnic restaurants, and pizza parlors.

PG-13: No one under 13 allowed. This would be a category for people who want to begin teaching their now-growing children how to behave themselves in a nicer restaurant. Chain restaurants like Olive Garden, where you get more than one fork, would be a good example of a PG-13 restaurant. Any restaurant where it is customary to have an appetizer before the meal, places that serve alcohol with their food.

R: Restricted Ages-This is an 18 and up restaurant. Anywhere there is likely to be wine offered with the meal. Local fine dining and high end upscale casual fall into this catagory. If you are likely to spend more than $150 for two people.

NC-21: Similar to the NC-17 MPAA rating, this would restrict patrons to the age of 21 and up. If a restaurant automatically serves multiple courses, has specialty china, or more than one course of silverware it would be NC-21. Anywhere that has a sommelier or serves on a Pri Fixe menu would also fall into this category.

I think if these simple rating systems would be employed all waitstaff and patrons would be much happier. I recently went to an NC21 rated restaurant, and if a child had interrupted my fourth course by screaming, I would have been really mad. Likewise, I was in an R rated restaurant about a year ago and a couple had seven (7!!!) five and six year olds at their table nearby. It was a birthday party for one of the children. Now, I think its nice the parents were willing to pay $15 a plate for gourmet mac'n'cheese for those kids, but their constant yelling, one-upping and running through the restaurant unchecked really got on my nerves. If I am paying that much for my meal, I want to enjoy it in peace. That may make me selfish, but there you have it.

On to the main event, my friends.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

More Things Banned- pass the hookah

I mentioned yesterday that we had local elections and one of the things on the ballot was an initiative to ban smoking in all public places and another one to ban alcohol in family style movie theaters. I also mentioned that I was against both of those initiatives.

Both of them passed. moking initiative passed by a few thousand votes and the alcohol passed by a few hundred. Both of them were 40/51 as far as percentage goes. I'm hoping this means that there will be a revote or some other sort of action taken.

Here's my thing, I know I'm a smoker and of course I would be against the smoking initiative. But its not just a personal thing. There are non-smoking restaurants and bars in town, and I patronize them.I have a problem with the business end of it.

Several local bars are going to go out of business now. My town actually has a hookah bar or two in it and they will be out of business in 60 days. I think that's sad. Also, the local bars and restaurants are being punished, because none of our surrounding cities have these bans and I think a lot of business will start migrating to those outlying towns. Especially the bars. I think that is dangerous.

Since you are only allowed to smoke in your home and in your car, there is also the risk of local businesses being punished if someone violates that law on their property. For example, if someone is smoking outside Casa Bueno, where I work, they will get a ticket for $50. My restaurant will be fined $500. Its not our job to enforce the ban, but the city is making it ours. I think that's silly.

I've been in two states with smoking bans statewide and neither of them were this strict. In Oregon there are still smoking bars and ppublic smoking areas, with signs clearly posted at the entrances. The same goes for Florida. Hell, Disney World and the entire complex has designated smoking areas all over it. Granted, they are off the beaten path, and you have to look for it, but they are there. If the happiest place on earth can put up with it, I think we should be able to as well.

Also, we only had one family movie therater that allowed you to have alcohol and you had to drink it in the lobby. It wasn't hurting anyone and I think it was wrong to target them specifically.

I think this is a sad reflection of the area I live in, and how the local government feels like it is allowed to mandate things that should be personal decisions. There's been an increase in that sort of action lately. The local schools have put a ban on certain snacks (like cupcakes or chocolate or whatever) in the classroom. You can't have soda or desert cakes in your lunch. Not even chocolate yogurt. I think it's silly that they police things that ought to be personal, or family decisions.

I don't like the way government has become so invasive lately. I worry what will come next.

Speak out for your freedoms friends. And tell me how you feel, I like to be engaged with my friends and readers on topics like this.

Off to smoke before I head to work.


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Day of Things Banned

A note to anyone who saw the unedited version of this post- I was typing in html and hit the wrong button so the first part posted on accident. This is the full post, you can stop wondering if I was asleep at the wheel.

I was visiting one of the links I've got in my sidebar, a lovely author called Trisha Leaver and saw that she had a post on banned books in her child's school. This got me thinking about banned books in my area of the country.

When I was in high school my school district (yes, I still live in it) had a policy that soem books had to be checked out with a permission slip from the parents. For example, if you wanted to read The Qua'ran you had to get permission from your parents. There were other books, I don't remember them right now, but I rmeember at the time a vague idea that it wasn't okay for the school to be minding my reading.

I will say this, when I was in elementary school, my school shared a library with the junior high we shared a name with. When I hit about fourth grade the books in the elementary section were starting to bore me. I asked permission to check out books from the junior high side of the library. I had to have my parents sign a note for me. They did, and I honestly don't think my mom paid the slightest attention to what I was reading at home. But I am glad the librarian made me ask them. Then again, once I was in high school, if I needed a book they wanted permission for me to check out I would either forge my mom's signature or go to the public library or a bookstore and get it. My family was very poor when I was a kid, but what little income I had left over from my after school job went to the local Barnes and Noble or Waldenbooks.

So, like I said, Trisha got me thinking, and I wanted to look at a list of the books banned in my area. This was suprisingly hard to find. There is not actually a list of books on the internet that my school district has banned or restricted. This is particularly interesting to me because today is school board elections. (There's another ban going on, I'll talk about that later)So I went to the Secretary of State's website for my state and looked up the books that have been banned (that is, taken of public or school chelves) or challenged (that means someone or a group of someones objected to them but it didn't get banned). I've actually read quite a few of them.

So I am going to bore you with a list of books from my state banned or restricted list that I have actually read. I will occasionally make a note about some of them. I think some of the books banned are suprising. (a note, I cannot tell from the SOS website whether some of these books are still banned, challenged or otherwise restricted, there is no mention of it) I will star anything I checked out without needing permission or was required to read in high school. Those are obvisouly not banned anymore

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain* I checked this out from my old church library when I was about 12. We read it in high school.
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Mark Twain*
All Quiet on the Western Front, Erich Maria Remarche*
Animal Farm, George Orwell * I read this my sophmore year in english. We learned all about the parallels to communism and how its evil. Seriously. I thought this book was a bore.
As I Lay Dying, William Faulkner
The Bean Tress, Babrbara Kingsolver
Beloved, Toni Morrison Another one of those books I read because we read another Toni Morrison in class at school. You'd think they wouldn't give us the works of banned authors just in case we liked them so much we did further reading on our own. Then again, maybe they don't expect teenagers to do further reading.
Black Beauty, Anna Sewell
CAll of The Wilde, Jack London
Candide, Voltaire
The Cantebury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer* We not only read this, we hda to memorie the prolouge in the old germanic for my advanced lit class my senior year. Our teacher took the time to explain to us about the preists being syphillitic, in case we missed it. We got the total breakdown on how gross that book really is. Also, made me apprciate the movie A Knight's Tale a lot more.
Carrie, Steven King
Catcher in the Rye, JD Salinger
The Crucible, Arthur Miller* One of our local high schools actually did this for their spring play a few years back.
The Davinci Code, Dan Brown I assume this one is because we aren't allowed to contemplate the Bible being wrong. That said, I didn't like this book too well. It's well written but Dan Brown's tone is so superior it makes me angry.
Death of a Salesman, Arthur Miller*
The Diary of a Young Girl, Anne Frank* Read this one in junior high
Farenheight 451, Ray bradbury
Fellowship of the Ring, JRR Tolkein
Flowers for Algernon, Daniel Keyes*
For Whom the Bell Tolls, Ernest Hemmingway
Frankenstein, Marie Shelley
Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell One of my favorite books of all time. Banned because of the use of the n-word.
The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinback* I still have a hard time understanding how anything this boring could be banned. (only kidding, I get why it was banned)
The Great Gatsby, F Scott Fitzgerald *
HArry Potter and the Socerer's Stone, JK Rowling I remember this one really specifically because at the time I had just started reading the series. Apparently a lot of the people who had wanted the book banned hadn't even read it. They just assumed that if the main character was going to a school for witchcraft and wizzardry, it was about the devil and it would teach children to worship satan.
To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee* I read this when I was in seventh grade, we had it as a required book when I was a Freshman in high school. I didn't understand the meaning of teh book until I was in high school, but I was completely able to follow the plot and enjoy the book when I was younger without being scarred for life.
King Lear, Shakespere*
Lady Chetterly's Lover, DH Lawrence
The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, CS Lewis I bet they felt really stupid when they figured out Aslan was a Christ symbol
Lord of the Flies, William Golding * This book did scar me. I had problems for weeks after I read this. I was a sophmore in high school. Maybe it was teh symbolism that got me. Maybe I didn't want to be marooned on an island with my classmates. Whatever it was, I STILL dont like this book.
The Martian Chronicles, Ray Bradbury*
The Merchant of Venice, Shakespere*
Moll Flanders, Daniel Defoe
1984, George Orwell*
Of Mice and Men, John Steiback*
The Oddessy, Homer*
One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest, Ken Kesey
Paradise Lost, John Milton*
The Pillar sof the Earth, Ken Follett
A Prayer for Owen Meany, John Irving
A Raisin in the Sun, Lorainne Hansbury*
Schindlers List, Thomas Keaneally
Snow Falling on Cedars, David Gutterson This is a great book. I honestly can's see why it was being challenged unless it was in an elementary school. It briefly mentions that sex happens, but nothing graphic goes on at all. I may have to re-read it now to see if I can figure out why it was challenged.
A Time to Kill, John Grisham
HAmlet, Shakespere*
Richard II, Shakespere*
Macbeth, Shakespere*
Twelfth Night, Shakespere*
Ulysses, James Joyce
A Wrinkle In Time, Madeline L'Engle*

On this list that I found are also about 20 other books I have on my shelves that I have been meaning to read. I'll definately have to get on that.

I would like to hear from my readers (all seven of you!) whether or not there are any books you think should be banned, or if there are books you've read that were banned or banned at the time. Thoughts on my list? Thoughts on my school district making me read books that were banned by the state at one point or another? (I might also mention, I read all of those almost exclusively during my freshman and sophmore years)

Honestly, I understand how some books probably don't need to be in junior high and high school libraries. For example, The Joy of Sex not really needed for academic achievement unless you're in a sociology class. Sociology is only offered as a dual college credit course in my town anyway. I get the whole freedom of speech and reading what you want, but then, that's what a public library and the bookstore are for.

It's hard for me to draw that line because I do know awesome parents that keep tabs on what their kids read and will know if the book is healthy for them or not. On the other hand, most parents will not keep track. Mine didn't. I was reading Lois duncan when I was ten years old. I probably didn't need to be. Of course, it didn't hurt me at all.

In other news, there is a vote in my city today to ban smoking in all public places and to ban alcohol consumption in movie theaters and other family venues. I haven't had anythign to vote for since I moved in with Kitten just after the last presidential election, so I haven't changed my voting district. I don't get to go vote today. Oscelot and Kitten are going to vote. I'm a smoker, and I am avidly following how this works out. It's likely I will post something on the vote later today.

I hope everyone is having a lovely day. Whether it is banned or not, go read a book soon.


Monday, April 4, 2011

What I've Learned From My Neighbors, Part 2

This is Jade, you read about her in Part 1 of this post.

I'm hoping you found this morning's post entertaining and informative, because I wasn't nearly done when I had to stop and run off to wrok this morning.

In case anyone is interested, work was lovely today and I actually had decent guests who took good care of me. It has been a plesant change from the last two weeks. It was the most fun I've had on the clock in a while. Incidentally, I local restaurant blogger came in today and sat in my section. This is his digital shout out, if he come by. *waves* You were awesome, thanks.

So, without further ado, more things I have learned from my neighbors.

1. Stealing and Selling Scrap Metal is a Great Form of Income- Unless Your Wife Rats You Out. The neighbors who lived next to us prior to these guys (you know, the one who sort-of mowed my lawn) discovered after the lawn mowing incident that between the lawn and the garage sales they were not going to make enough money. We started seeing him hauling a lot of metal goods around his back yard. This isn't suprising, we recycle, a lot of people in town do, and they pay you a decent amount of cents to the dollar by the pound for scrap metal and aluminum cans. This is convenient to us because not far from our neighborhood is a scrap recycling place.

What we didn't realize for a while was he wasn't coming by this metal honestly. We found out one night as we were crawling into bed. Kitten and I noticed there were little beams of light outside our bedroom window, which is creepy, so we had a peek. It was the local PD. Turns out MowerMan had been stealing scrap from the place up the road, and other places, and then selling it back. It was working out well, I suppose he thought. We noticed the police checking things out and then they went to the front door. Now, I know it's totally classless to spy on your neighbors through the shades while they get arrested. You know what? I don't care. It was funny in a sad way. We saw him sneaking out the back door while his wife answered the front one, claiming he wasn't home. I don't think the PD bought it for a minute. So they note they are going to be in the neighborhood for when he gets back.

MowerMan's wife wsn't too sharp. The minute she shut the door she got on her cell phone and called someone, I think her sister, and started shouting about how he had gotten caught and the police were on to him and he had to sneak out the back door to get away. She also mentioned how she hated our city and wished they had stayed in the country. I'm sure you will gather, her windows were open. I'm pretty sure that since we could hear it in our house, the police could hear it too. When he tried to sneak in later that night they caught him. Alas, he got out on bail somehow.

2. You Don't Have to Be a Responsible Parent if Your Neighbors Are. My newest neighbors haven't been a real treat, to tell you the truth. I wanted to give them a chance, really. Early on, before they had used up their trashcan welcome, I wanted to think they were just a nice, struggling couple who were doing tehir best to get by. I was wrong. Anyway, this was my first clue that maybe, just maybe, they had ridden the Dingbat Express into town with our former neighbors.

Kitten works early mornings, I think I've mentioned. She and I share a vehicle. When the tags expired on my old truck I got rid of it because it got, at most, 13 miles to the gallon. That gets expensive. We'r ein the market for a new car, I like the Prius, but I digress. I drive her to work. That's the point. So one morning last summer I get up to take her to work and we step out on the porch and there is a child outside. He has one of our (very angry) stray cats clutched in his arms and he proceeds to tell me how much he likes our cats. Its 5am. I asked him if his parents knew where he was. He tells me his parents are Neighborguy and Neighborgal and they live at and he tells me thier address. I tell him I know that, but do they know he is out of the house. I can see Kitten, who doesnt care for children, glaring at me from the truck. She's going to be late. I send him back to his house, and when I see him hit the front porch and reach for the door I get in the truck and drive away.

When I return there's no sign of him. I wake Oscelot up at 7 to take her to her (now former) job at Bread World and go out to feed the cats. Now there are two children on my porch. He's gone and gotten his two year old brother. They sure like our cats, they tell me. I tell them they need to go back home. He again parrots to me the name of his parents and his address. I walk them to their front porch and take Oscelot to work. No children when I come home.

Later that day Neighborguy comes over and tells me that the neighbors on the other side of us had called child services and the police, because evidentally the kids had waited until I was out of eyeshot and gone over to play with the other neighbors dog. When the other neighbors found them they took them inside and fed them breakfast while they called the police. Turns out the kids couldn't get inside, they had alarms on the locked front door to keep the kids in. They didn't think to lock the windows, which the 5 year old tore out, and escaped by.

I felt bad until this became a repeat occurence for them, their children constantly escaping from the house to get into our back yard, the neighbors' back yard or some other place they found interesting.

3. Corrolary to 2-Neighbors Double as Awesome Daycare. Neighborguy is unemployed. Surprise. His girlfriend/wife/whatever, does however work at The Devil's Warehouse (walmart). She works the evening shift and he has to go pick her up when she gets off. Like us, they only have one car. Several different times Neighborguy would come over at 11 or 1130 at night and wake us up to see if we would go over to his house to watch his kids for an hour or two while he went to get her. Obviously we said no. One, we get up at 5 most days. Two, why does it take 2 hours to pick up your girlsfriend from her workplace 15 minutes away? Three, they invented carseats for a reason. Just sayin'.

4. Neighbors Can Also Serve as an Excellent HyVee, Netflix or Other Store, When Strapped for Cash. Since he has moved in, neighborguy has come over to borrow the following:
1. Aspirin
2. The phone (at least once a week)
3. DVDs (we told him no on that one. He finished the request with "all of ours are all scratched up, damn kids")
4. Milk
5. Hot dogs
6. Baby Tylenol (we don't have any)
7. Cigarettes
8. A lighter (Hey, want to sit on your porch and talk to me while I smoke?")
This is just a partial list, but you get the idea. You'd think he would figure out he was annoying us. Apparently not.

5. Old Grudges Can Be Buried by a Crazy Neighbor. The people who live to the left of us are an interesting sort. There are always people coming and going, they have a lot of barbeques in the summer, they get a different car about once every two months. I don't mind, they keep to themselves. They always ask permission to get into our back yard if the kids throw their toys over the fence. Once they apologized for one of the kids throwing a roasted hot dog in our back yard on the Fourth of July.

We don't really relat to them, we haven't bonded, but we stay out of each other's way and life is pretty simple for us. We nod if we see each other coming and going and we don't complain about the noise from their summer parties because they don't mess with us, and ont he rare occasion we have groups of people over, they don't bitch if our friends park in front of tehir house. Its all about neighborly respect.

When MowerMan tried to break into the house on the other side of our Normal Neighbors and didn't succeed, he tried the Normal Neighbors house. We had no idea until the next day when Normal Neighbor Guy came over to tell us. He told us to lock up and night, that he'd be watching, and offered to lend us a gun. He worried about two women living by themselves with 'that crazy loose in our neighborhood.'We told him we had our own. But it was a nice gesture.

The only time we had any problem with them, and it wasn't a huge one, was when Guitar Hero lived with us. For those of you unfamiliar, Guitar Hero lived with Kitten and I for about 4 months between December after our marriage and March of that following year. We were doing it as a favor to her. It backfired. No good deed goes unpunished. This is an axiom we lived by at the time. She parked in front of Kitten and I's truck frequently, because she got home before us most days. In the winter she became lazy and didn't want to mess with asking us to back out for her when she wanted to leave. So she would back through the neighbors front yard instead. We were sure they would notice. We did. Plus the tire tracks in the snow didn't help. We told Guitar Hero to desist, to no avail. The Neighbors never said anything, they just lines the side of their yard with little stakes. I don't blame them in the slightest. We told her to knock it off. She did, literally. She took off her rear view mirrors trying toback in between the stakes, our truck, and a very large bush on their property. She stopped after that.

Anyway, we didn't feel comfortable with the whole situation, but since we don't talk very often we were unsure of how to proceed. I thought maybe baking cookies and leaving them a note. Kiteen said to let it go. So we did.

Earlier this summer one of the neighbors on the right side, about three hosues down, was messed up on something and sped out of his driveway, jumped the curb to our street into another one, turned around in oncoming traffic and hit the electrical pole directly in front of our house. We lost power. I was on my way home when it happened. When I got there, Kitten was sitting on the porch with our normal neighbors talking to them about what happened. They saw it becase they were on their front porch.

We all bonded while we watched them replace the pole (we wanted to not be in the house if it fell)and I offered an apology about Guitar Hero and the yard. He waved me off, noting that he had moved out and we were well shod of her. She was nuts. Did we know she would cry so loud at night they could hear it on the back porch if her window was open? Yeah, we did. We were glad she was gone too. He smiled and asked us if we had noticed how many "goddamn crazies" lived inthe rental houses next to us. We agreed. He expressed a desire for those houses to sell to nice families or nice girls like us. Too right.

6. Cute Old Ladies Can Hae Whatever They Want. Always. Before our crazy neighbors the house next door was inhabited by a semi-homebound lady who had a bad leg. We calle dher Neighbor Lady, because in the 5 years she lived next to Kitten, she never mentioned her name. She didn't bother us often, but if she came over it was usually to buy (we never took the money) a cigarette until her son could come take her to the store. Honestly, as bad as her leg was, if she needed one badly enough to hobble over to our house, she could have it. Once she borrowed our plunger. We told her to keep it. She was a nice old lady, she kept to herself, her yard was pretty and she always had flowers on her porch. She didn'thave many visitors, but they were always courteous when they were there and we were in the yard. A few years ago Neighbor Lady had to be moved into a retirement community with healthcare because of her leg. I wish her all the best, I hope she's smoking with the nurnses and living our her old age in style. I miss her. I would have let her have anything she wanted, she was so polite. Why can't we have neighbors like her again?

So that's life with the crazy neighbors. I'm sure you'll get regular updates when our new ones move in. Lord knows, there's probably one blogging about how his three crazy lesbian neighbors dug a huge whole in the front yard last week and haven't done anything with it.

Treasure your Neighbors, Y'all

PS- as I am sure everyone knows, I do not own Netflix, HyVee, or Walmart. Also, Walmart, as far as I am aware, is not actually owned by the devil.