Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Christmas Survived

I can't believe it has been 3 weeks since I last posted; it feels like just the other day. In that time, we got hit with an ice storm, which wasn't supposed to be as bad as it turned out to be. The boys missed their last day of school, mainly due to power outages more than icy roads or whatnot. Ours was out for about 8 hours; kudos to Jackson EMC, as this is the longest we've ever been without power since we moved here, and that was a pretty short period compared to a lot of people. I thought for sure the boys would make up that day, either on Friday (still too many power outages, I think), or at least on Monday - we are still 2 days behind from the stupid hurricane/gas crisis days our governor thought would be a good idea. The big kid had finals that day; considering his grades, he probably needed the finals to help his quarter grades out. I wonder how that will work out? Public schools - what a joke. Maybe they'll make them all up at the end of the year, so they can actually be in school part of May.

I managed to get my bead order in, and was missing one thing, though not vital for Christmas gifts. Spent that entire Sunday and Monday furiously putting beads together; I had 7 things to make, start to finish. Saturday was out, as that was our company Christmas Party. By the time I got home from the store and got all that taken care of, I had enough time to lie down for an hour, then had to get up and get started on the Big Hair, to go with the fantastic red dress I got off of ebay this year. Oh, and I decided the night before that I didn't have any jewelry to wear with it, so of course, I had to make something; I whipped up 4 strands of red twister beads Friday night. Earrings I had, and a bracelet crossed my mind, but the kind I wanted to make I didn't have a clasp for (I used up all of my clasp stock), so I just didn't bother with a bracelet at all. All in all, it worked out well. I should've taken the time to get my hair cut, because it really didn't do what I wanted it to do - too much of it. If I wait 2 more weeks, it will be 1 year since I last had it cut (not counting when I trim the bangs so I can see where I'm going). It is just now starting to look raggedy, though, so I guess it's still okay. When I do go, a LOT is coming off.

I had my shopping all done, except for a couple of stocking stuffers and such, when I shipped out-of-town stuff on 12/19. Christmas cards went out on 12/17. DH took me and his bonus to Wolf Camera on 12/17, and I am now the proud owner of a new Panasonic DMC-FZ5. I have just begun to play with it, but it is really cool, so far. It has a macro feature, which is imperative for my bead pics, as well as the simple no-frills setting, which I will most likely use when I'm not taking bead photos. I have come to the conclusion that the lights I have in my light box are not the kind I need; everything has a yellow cast to it, which I thought I would avoid using halogen lamps. Apparently, I was wrong. I will have to get some full-spectrum bulbs of some kind, like the light I have for cross stitching, which is made by Ott. I am not sure that particular lamp will work for this - it is not very bright, but that may be just my perception. I need to try it, except that it's a big, heavy floor lamp, so it's not terribly easy to just move around the house when I need to. And as it was $200, I don't foresee me buying a second one. Maybe a smaller, desktop version, if it does indeed work better. Maybe over the coming weekend, I will have time to experiment.

DH did his Christmas shopping on 12/23 and 12/24, as usual. He actually got everything wrapped, too. Now why, if I was done so much earlier, was I sweating getting the wrapping done? I guess because I have to do all of my "Santa" stuff in secret. And on Christmas Eve, the eggheads went to bed at 6:30! I am not too sure what they were thinking, but they came out every 1/2 hour and asked what time it was, instead of just coming out and watching a movie with us or whatever until it was time to go to bed. Needless to say, they just got more and more wound up, and the little kid finally fell out about 10:30; the big kid was still awake, but he knows the secret, thanks to his dad, so I just closed the door and started doing Santa's work. I didn't get to sleep until after 1:00 am. And the eggheads were up, the first time, at 4:30!!! I wanted to cry. We sent them back to bed, but of course, they weren't going back to sleep. They came back out at 5, and told Dad that it was 6, so they came in my room (Dad always sleeps out in the living room on Christmas Eve, so he can "keep an eye on things"), flipped on the lights, and told me to get up, Dad said so. I yelled "It's 5:00, not 6:00 - go back to bed. Now." So they went back to big kid's room and made a bunch of noise for another hour, though I did manage to get a few winks in before they made me get up for real. And an hour or so later, it was all over.

Big kid has lots of new games and such, though I have since found out that I have to do some upgrades to his computer to get a couple of his new pc games to work; what a pain in the butt. And of course, he's hounding me every hour on the hour about it - I guess he thinks I keep processors and memory on hand, and it's free. I understand the disappointment in a new thing not working right out of the box, but when you have 10 new things, and 2 don't work, try working the other 8 before you ride my ass about the two, which can't be fixed right away regardless. Little kid got a Robosapien robot thing; it's pretty cool. He also had lots of Lego and Lego-like things for me to put together (DH says I buy those for me, not them - uh, I don't recall playing with them after I build them the first time, so I disagree), and DH got both of them air soft guns. Oh Joy. So now I have those damn plastic pellets all over the house, even though they have both been told 100 times, by both of us, to do that outside. They don't listen very well. And the weather outside has been off and on since Christmas, so they have been outside when possible; just not long enough.

I have another bead order coming tomorrow; I needed to replace all of my clasps, and get the missing items from my group buy, as well as order some Ornela hanks for multi-strand necklaces. One of the girls here at work has ordered one, for a new outfit she just bought, and I wanted a red one and a pearl-like one. I will be able to make the two turquoise necklaces I have been waiting on for over 2 months - hopefully have those done by the time I go back to work on Tuesday, after the New Year's holiday. I finally got a floor stand for my cross stitch scroll frame, and have jumped back on the pumpkins I put down when the beads got going; I plan to have that done before 2006 gets here - I'm damn close. I want to get back to my castle and get that done. I am going to give stretching my work a try - one of my Yahoo groups has a great guide on how to do it, so maybe I can save myself some sticker shock at the framers next time. I will try it first on these pumpkins, when I get them done, once I get some acid-free board from my framer. If that goes well, we'll see what else I attempt. It's taking me a little time to get used to the floor stand - DH keeps making stupid comments about me getting into my spaceship. We'll see what he says after I get him to make the necessary modifications to it; I'm betting he won't make so much fun of it then.

We seem to have lost a kitty in the last couple of days; KiKi went out Tuesday afternoon, and we haven't seen her since, though DH has called for her 1000 times, including not sleeping much Tuesday night. She's been gone for a couple of hours before, but not this long. I don't know how hard he has looked for her, but he knows she would go across the street, so she might be smashed up on the main road. Or someone could have her locked up; Ripley was catnapped by a crazy person in the neighborhood a couple of times (I wonder if those people are still there?), and was even vetted/fixed by the nappers, which was fine by me, but as they did it without my knowledge or permission, I wasn't about to pay them back, or thank them , to be quite honest. I guess when you take an animal into your home that may or may not belong to someone, and he begs to be let out (especially if he can hear his people calling him, and gets frantic), then maybe you should just leave well enough alone. Of course, they are probably those kind of people you hear about on the news; for whatever reason, some official goes to the house, only to find 100 or more mistreated/malnourished/diseased animals living in filth. Because the owner is crazy. There's a name for that, but I can't recall it right now. And it's not always little old ladies, surprisingly enough, though they seem to make the news and CSI episodes more often. Anyway, we keep hoping KiKi comes back. It's kind of a mixed thing, because the other feline residents were NOT happy about her being there, and were demonstrating their unhappiness in the ways male cats do, so her not being there right now seems to have calmed the other 3 down some; but then again, I think Booger has been looking for her, too, and though I have tried not to like her, because of all the crap with the other 3, she was kinda cute. For an ugly, cross-eyed, rat-like, clumsy old cat. All I can say is, if she does come back, she had better not have kittens - we were going to get her to the vet right after the holidays and get that taken care of, but didn't think it was of immediate need (not sure how old she is - maybe 6 months?). I've never lost a cat before - hell, I can't get them to go away, regardless of what I do to them. Just like the stupid goldfish from the fair 4 years ago that still won't die; their tank is so dirty right now, you can barely see them. They are still alive and well, as far as I can tell. Since when do 25 cent fish live 4+ years? I didn't sign up for that.

Since I doubt I'll get back here before, Happy New Year!!!

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Christmas Crazies

Well, it's that time of year again; the weather is flaky, the roads are crowded, and people are just totally out of their minds. I did something this year that I have never done before - I went shopping early on Black Friday (day after Thanksgiving). I was up and out the door at 6:45 - DH about shit. It's hard enough to get me up to go to a game, or, you know, work, that early, but shopping, my least-favorite thing to do? And way back when, when I worked at the jewelry store, I swore I would never participate in Black Friday and do that to the poor sales people; people were always so damn nasty to us down there on Salem Avenue. "What do you mean you don't have any of the Doorbuster Specials? It's right here in your ad! I want to talk to your manager RIGHT NOW!!!!" For some reason, my reply about "when shopping in Cracktown, be careful what you ask for" didn't seem to make much of an impression with the screamers. But this year, I wasn't seeing too many deals, and I was in serious need of some deals - long list, small balance in my Christmas account. It worked out pretty well; I don't think there were any spectacular deals, but I did get done (except for 2 more gift certificates I need to pick up), and it was actually kinda pleasant. Of course, I was home by 9:30, and on the evening news that night, they were showing all the local knock-down, drag-out fights that occurred in local malls. Just reinforcement for my theory that people are retarded.

The boys are out of school for the year on 12/15! Damn, why do I even bother sending them? They go to school between 11-18 days a month - no more. Wait, I think one month, they actually make it to 21 days. And they wonder why no one in Georgia (except SE Asian immigrants' children) can pass any of the tests. UH, maybe because they never go to school, and when they do, more time is spent on Good Touch, Bad Touch and Why You Shouldn't Join a Gang than on teaching math, English, social studies, science? I so wish I had the money to get my kids out of the public education system and into a good private school, which are pretty non-existent down here. There are lots of Christian schools, but those are no good, either; I just don't think Fire and Brimstone comes up on the SAT or any college entrance exam. We do have a new Catholic school being built right now down the street, and if I had the money, they would apply there. It is a sorry state of affairs, public education. I actually think mine was pretty decent, between the two systems I was in. Some of these teachers my kids have just absolutely astound me; how they ever got through college themselves is anyone's guess, and now they are passing on their retardation to others. Oh, joy! Of course, with the liberal bullshit being labeled as college education these days, I guess it's not really any surprise. It's not what you know and how you relay that information, it's how it makes you feel [insert a whiney Diane Sawyer here], I guess. Because I'm all about how people feel, you know. Bastards. What the hell happened? Some days, I think I should go finish my teaching degree, so there will be at least one voice of logic and reason out there, but in the current environment, just how long do you suppose I would last? Not very, I'll wager. It all comes down to picking my battles; the easier battle is teaching my kids myself, in my copious amounts of free time. Take the bits of information they are given and put them into context for them. I think that's what is missing in today's education - context. It's all trivia if you don't know how to use it.

Yesterday was Pearl Harbor Day; did you see anything on the news about it? I didn't. Of course, I don't watch the news, so maybe that's the problem. Anyway, my point is this: 52 years ago, 2 years after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, had we forgotten about it? Were we screaming to get our soldiers out of Europe and the Pacific? Okay, I wasn't there personally, but I don't think we were. So what the hell is the deal now with Iraq? Germany did not attack the US, but damn it, we had to go over there and take care of business, didn't we? Japan had it coming. Iraq didn't attack us, but the Muslim world did, you know, on 9/11. And when somebody is obviously being a bastard and killing people (see Saddam "Nutcase" Hussein) just because he can, somebody needs to take care of business. It's pretty obvious he's crazy, and his kids? Apparently, he had a crib sheet for the Reproduction Certification test. People keep harping on the no-WMD thing, because that is the only factor involved in the decision to go over there, again. We haven't found any to date; what, do you want to pull out and give them time to get their shit together, then go back and take care of it then, hopefully before they blow up half the planet? If they had managed to get them, and say they made a mistake with one, and blew up, oh, the Sinai Peninsula, for instance, who do you suppose would be expected to lead the clean-up and rebuilding effort? The Good Old USA, of course. Even though we could be reasonably sure that their booboo was meant for us, we would still be held responsible for making everything okay for them again. Mess, mess, go away; come back to blow up the US another day! Anyone who thinks there weren't, at the very least, the beginnings of WMD stockpiles, are in total denial of the world we live in. Just because we couldn't find any - how many times in a week do you lose a remote control, in your own house, placed by your own hand? It eventually turns up, unless your house elves were making a special point to dismantle it and hide/destroy the parts. People, we need to finish what we are doing, and in all reality, shouldn't the decision to leave things undone be left to the people, our troops, who would be doing the leaving? Nobody wants to go to war (well, okay, some of those gung-ho types, but I mean your every-day GI), but that doesn't mean it doesn't have to happen sometimes. The main stream media needs to get a grip. Every newscaster currently employed should look up the phrase "For the greater good", and write a 5000 word essay on what that means to them. Then they should be submitted to the world for judging, and the one voted the best gets to keep their job - all the rest have to become janitors (cleaning shit shouldn't be much more taxing then shoveling it). People kill me. Turn off your TV's, people!!! It's crap!!! Unless they create a Johnny Depp network, of course. All Depp, All the Time! UMMMM, Tasty!

Okay, that's not really what I had in mind for this post, until I saw it down in B&W. I don't think I said what I meant very well, but that's okay for now - that's what the EDIT button is for. The words may change at some point, but the gist is the same. We led them to the voting booths, and they voted all on their own; let us finish cleaning up, and we'll see if they can take care of themselves after that. And if they can't, well, I don't want to hear somebody in a few years' time screaming "Why doesn't the most powerful nation on earth do something to help these people? Are they too selfish?" Just like when the tsunami hit last year; it didn't matter what we did, the US was criticized. But when the hurricanes wiped out the gulf coast this year, who knocked themselves out to help? We had to rely on ourselves then (yes, we got donations and assistance from our friends, but the names and dollar amounts involved weren't front-page news all over the world, were they?), and I really think it's high time some other people start taking care of themselves. The US is damned if we do, damned if we don't, so why doesn't everyone shut up, stop pointing fingers and playing the Blame Game, and just take care of the business at hand? Bunch of freakin' babies.... Someday when I am President of the earth, I'll see what I can do with this situation. I'm takin' my toys and going home; you all can just play with yourselves. PPPFFFTTTHHHH!!!

On the home front, indoor soccer has already started. The little kid had his first game last week, and the big kid has his this weekend. We thought for sure they wouldn't start games until after the holidays; no such luck, it seems. That's okay - at least they are all home games, no day-long adventures to the Sticks. Little kid won his game, 6-0. I couldn't pay a lot of attention to it, though, so can't give you any specifics about it; I was sitting with all the chatty parents, and my obnoxious 12-year-old and his obnoxious 13-year-old friend. They played a girls' team, and those girls were pretty big, but they just couldn't finish any of their shots. I was a little preoccupied with freezing my ass off on the metal bleachers in the building - there is no heater anywhere in that building, and it was very cold and wet out. This week, I'll bring a blankie to sit on/wrap up in.

I have 20 finished bead projects laying on my table, and my light box is built and ready. Now, I just have to get the camera thing settled. DH borrowed his work camera (Big kid needed some pics for a school project, too, so that worked out well), a 2.1; no good. I got the color okay now, with the lighting, but there is no detail in the beads at all, just color blobs. So I borrowed my IT guy's 3.2 again, and tried them again; still, no good, same deal. So I broke out the antique film camera last night and finished off the roll that was in it. If I can get it processed and digitized in the next day or so, I'll know if that's the way I need to go for the time being. They sure looked good through the view finder. I just have to get them done this weekend, because they all have to be delivered/shipped/packed, whatever, early next week, so they can get where they are going before the Big Day. And I still haven't gotten my big group-buy bead order; it's in the mail, somewhere between CA and here, and I really need that ASAP - three gifts are in that lot, and uh, I need to put them together when they get here? Hopefully tomorrow or Saturday it'll be here, and I'll have what I'm supposed to have. Our buy lead has been MIA lately, and not communicating at all, due to a crisis at her work, so this whole buy has kind of gotten pushed to her back burner; it started 2 months ago or more, and here we are, 2 weeks before Christmas, and I don't have my stuff yet. It's not all her fault, as our supplier and PayPal both caused huge problems to begin with, and it's partly my fault that, because I had a large order, I got moved to the back of the shipping queue (I actually think that should be reversed, but that's just the way I work best - get the hard shit done and out of the way). The real test will be if the post office can get my box here, in its original condition; my post office is pretty consistant with the disappointment, so we'll see.

4" of snow in Ohio right now, and we are supposed to get sleet here; I have two little boys who think they won't have school tomorrow - see my paragraph above. What do I have to do to get to Arizona? I can live my life without ever seeing snow in person again. I guess it wouldn't bother me so much here, since it is short-lived, but people absolutely lose their minds when we get a "flurry" (and by flurry, I mean 3-4 flakes fall out of the sky somewhere within 100 miles of Atlanta). The news is all "Winter Storm Warning", updates every 15 minutes on nothing, and the stores empty out of bread, milk, and toilet paper (nothing to eat but bread and milk - where's the toilet paper coming in? Or is everyone here lactose-intolerant?). It's totally insane. It never occurs to anybody that it was 80 the other day, and it's not like the ground is frozen - let us get snow or ice or whatever; it'll be gone in a day or two. Though I don't like the ice storms; since all of the power lines and such are above ground here, they do more damage than what would happen other places I've lived. When you live on a giant piece of granite, what're you going to do?

Enough - I had a whole other paragraph all done, but I failed to save it; it must be your lucky day :)

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

One Season Ends, Another Begins

The 2005 Fall soccer season is over. Both kids played in the same tournament this past weekend, at different venues, of course. The little kids did well; out of their 8 games, they won 4, lost 2, tied 2. The big kids had kind of a rough weekend; they started out pretty good, winning their first game 2-1. It was so cold out there, it was unreal; it was 80 two days before, and it was in the 20s the morning we had to be out there at 7:15 - never fails. The reffing was horrible, again; there should have been at least 2 yellow cards and one red card, but the ref called nothing - NOTHING. The red card was after the ref blew the game-ending whistle; Rigo bent over to pick up a ball, and this goofy red-haired kid put his hand flat on Rigo's back and tried to push him to the ground, while the ref stood there and watched it go on. Rigo got up and pushed back, and the goofball backed off. But they were poor sports when we played them during the regular season, too. Then we had 5 hours to kill before warm-up for the second game, which we knew was going to be tough - we were going up against the state champs, a division higher than us, and they have 4 ODP players. And all of our new Athens people know them, so it was even more uncomfortable.

So game time finally comes, and of course, the boys have all been goofing around for a couple of hours, though they claim they aren't tired. The whistle blows, and I bet the other team had their first goal within a minute. We played pretty well the first half, holding them 3-1. Then our trainer, who hasn't been able to get to a game all season until now, talks to them at half time. Whatever he said to them totally whacked them out; they came out totally flat and lifeless. They ended up losing 8-1, they were all hurt, and we had the same ref we had had that morning, and he moseyed through most of the game with his hands in his pockets. It was really sad. Reffing did not help our game at all, but there were a lot of bad mistakes. My kid kept letting the forward get between him and the net - he'd think he was in one place, turn around to get him, and the kid would be off to the goal. At one point, my kid just totally plowed someone over, completely by accident, and he made the mistake of apologizing to him right then - the ref heard him, and blew the whistle; the kid took his free shot, and it went right in. So I think he knows now not to apologize for anything during the game - he can say what he wants when it's over, but during? If he'd not said anything, the ref, who saw it all, wouldn't have called it at all.

The third game went okay; we won it, but only by 1 again, but it was 1-0, and we got extra points for a shut-out; we made it to the finals, against the team that just beat our pants off the day before. Since we had some time again, and it was colder than we all thought it was going to be, I took the big kid and Rigo back to the house, let them eat and chill for awhile, did some housework that I wouldn't have gotten to otherwise, and then went back. When we got there, we found out they were behind by about an hour; great - they got all worn out the day before with all that time to kill. Finally, it was our turn, after the entire park watched the game on the field next to ours, which came down to PKs; it was very exciting to watch the bigger boys do that. We started the game, and I think our boys were pretty pumped up. At least we had a different ref, although from watching the game before ours, no more effective than our Saturday ref. The other team scored first, but then we came back and got our first one a couple of minutes later. And from then on, we dominated the game totally; the final score doesn't show it (2-1 them), but we kicked their asses all over that field. As usual, we had 4-5x more shots on goal, we just couldn't get any to go in. I think if we ever meet them again in regular-season play, we should take them. We know how to mark them now, because, in all reality, they only have 2 good players - one forward, #23, and one mid, #11, who is quite possibly one of the fastest players I've ever seen - he was everywhere. If we had our regular goalie in the net, and our back-up out there on the field where he belongs, we would've done better in both games against them. Hopefully our goalie's eye injury will heal perfectly fine, and it'll all go back together in the spring.

A couple weeks off, and then Indoor starts; both kids are playing (no one is playing basketball this year :{ ), but they are playing in different places. At least those are only 1 practice a week. Actually, that kind of stinks, because I really like having my Tuesdays and Thursdays quiet for a couple of hours each night - it's the only time I get anything done at home. And for the big kid, indoor, school (if he keeps his grades up and is eligible), and outdoor are going to overlap in February. At least it's all one sport, so we don't have to change clothes and shoes 42 times during a day. I think February and March are going to suck. Last year, we had to make special arrangements to have our indoor championship rescheduled, because our first outdoor game was away, of course, and all but 2 of our indoor players were on the outdoor team, too. And when we won, and the boys, specifically Tyler, went to accept their trophies, they were booed. The Mexicans did not like a team with all the gringos on it winning anything, even though we totally kicked everyone's ass, fair and square. Our coach, Ramiro, I think was really upset that his community did that to us, though, in reality, I could see how they wouldn't like us up there, taking the spotlight from them. Hopefully, we'll have a better reception this year. Our team photo is on the door, I guess because our team is a racially-diverse poster child.

I haven't worked on my cross stitch in weeks; I was going to work on it on my birthday, but I pretty much did nothing but lay around all day, and cook my own dinner, as usual. DH offered to take me out for dinner, after I made a point of reminding him it would be nice if I didn't have to cook, but I didn't figure it was in the budget by then, so never mind. I have been working on beads a lot. I finally got my amber/gold Ornelas done - that set turned out very cool. My HR person here at work wants 5 necklace/earring sets for Christmas presents; I have one complete, one 90% done, and the beads for the other 3 sitting there. Since I have to clear the table for Turkey Dinner tomorrow, it'll be a few days before I get back to them. My co-worker wants a set for a friend, too - I guess I'll cut her a break and just charge her the cost of the supplies. I am still waiting to get my group buy order; our buy lead has been absolutely swamped at work, with some horrible AOL failure that has her working 16 hour days. One of my eBay sellers said they were having all kinds of problems the last couple of weeks - she had no idea if she had rec'd a payment from me, then she had to find the invoice, and then her e-mails to me were missing the attachments - all kinds of fun. Our buy lead wanted to have everything shipped by this week - there have been no updates in over a week, so I have no idea where she stands - some were done/shipped, some were packaged (I was neither of these) and that was 2 weeks ago. I hate not knowing where things are, especially when I'm waiting on stuff needed to complete something. But I also just ordered my boxes, so nothing's moving until those get here, regardless. Thanksgiving being a little earlier this year helps, too - it's a whole week before December starts, so I'll actually be ahead after 4 days off. If only I had some shopping done - I'm usually close to done by now - I haven't done much at all so far. I am absolutely dreading having to go to the mall. And trying to find something for my parents? That's always such a chore.

The new Harry Potter movie is out; hopefully we'll get around to going to the Imax version of it this weekend sometime. Big kid wants to go Thanksgiving night - I don't. Maybe Saturday sometime. Last year, we went to the Gladiators hockey game on turkey night; that was fun, and they have a game then this year, too, but we were just there a couple of weeks ago. Maybe I'll start getting the Christmas crap out early. I'm not really looking forward to putting the tree up Friday; my next tree will definitely be pre-lit, though those totally don't have enough lights on them for me - 1000+ for 7 1/2' tree, people. The lights in the neighborhood dim when I turn my tree on. It's always nice when I'm done, but it's just so much work; it used to be fun, but now it's just work. Maybe I'm just more bah-Humbug than usual.

On the bright side, we are officially out of the old building today, and in the new building when we come back to work on Monday. My new office is so cool; it's twice as big as the one I have now. No windows, but being so low on the payscale here, that's to be expected. Our desks are cool, too - a nice u-shaped workstation with rounded corners; goodbye, government-surplus desk with the sharp corners that I am constantly banging my leg into. I am still wondering if they are going to supply us with stuff to hang our calendars and such up with; 3M has those removable sticky hangers - I'll get a few at Wally World this weekend and try 'em out. I would think, in a brand-damn new building, that they would stipulate that kind of stuff right up front, and supply the appropriate stuff to accommodate us. I just doubt the facilities folks have gotten that far yet - I think the buildings got done too fast for them. Of course, as many people as are involved in this whole process, most of which are from our California office, it's a wonder anything's getting done, besides having our Christmas Party menu changed, for the 3rd year in a row, by someone who won't even be there. For whatever reason, regardless of where we have the party, we must change one item to green beans every year, as per our California HR department. I certainly hope that drops the per-person cost drastically for them, because otherwise, why in the hell do they care what we eat? People just have to meddle, I guess. And where is it written that the poor red-headed step-child division must eat green beans every year? Is that a punishment of some sort? Hey, I didn't work for Scientific Atlanta, ever - I don't deserve to be punished for what they did - working for/with S-A people is usually more than enough punishment - see my boss. Eh, whatever.

Happy Turkey Day - Invite a Native American to dinner, and apologize profusely for what your European ancestors did to them. And enjoy your meal!!

Friday, November 11, 2005

Veteran's Day

American Veterans By the Numbers
24.5 million
The number of military veterans in the United States.

1.7 million
The number of veterans who are women.

9.5 million
The number of veterans who are age 65 or older.

2.3 million
The number of black veterans. Additionally, 1.1 million veterans are Hispanic; 276,000 are Asian; 185,000 are American Indian or Alaska native; and 25,000 are native Hawaiian and other Pacific islander. (The numbers for blacks, Asians, American Indians, and Alaska natives and native Hawaiians and other Pacific islanders cover only those reporting a single race.)

8.2 million
Number of Vietnam-era veterans. More than 30% of all veterans served in Vietnam, the largest share of any period of service. The next largest share of wartime veterans, 3.9 million or fewer than 20%, served during World War II.

Percentage of Persian Gulf War veterans who are women. In contrast, women account for 5% of World War II vets, 3% of Vietnam vets, and 2% of Korean War vets.

Number of veterans who served during both the Vietnam era and in the Gulf War.

In addition,

383,000 veterans served during both the Korean War and the Vietnam conflict.

107,000 served during three periods: World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam conflict.

376,000 served in World War II and the Korean War.

Number of states with 1 million or more veterans. These states are California (2.3 million), Florida (1.8 million), Texas (1.7 million), New York (1.2 million), Pennsylvania (1.1 million), and Ohio (1.1 million).

$22.4 billion
Aggregate amount of money received annually by the 2.6 million veterans receiving compensation for service-connected disabilities.

$59.6 billion
Total amount of federal government spending for veterans benefits programs in fiscal year 2004.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau

Armistice Day Becomes Veterans Day
World War I officially ended on June 28, 1919, with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles. The actual fighting between the Allies and Germany, however, had ended seven months earlier with the armistice, which went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918. Armistice Day, as November 11 became known, officially became a holiday in the United States in 1926, and a national holiday 12 years later. On June 1, 1954, the name was changed to Veterans Day to honor all U.S. veterans.

In 1968, new legislation changed the national commemoration of Veterans Day to the fourth Monday in October. It soon became apparent, however, that November 11 was a date of historic significance to many Americans. Therefore, in 1978 Congress returned the observance to its traditional date.

Tomb of the Unknowns
Official, national ceremonies for Veterans Day center around the Tomb of the Unknowns.

To honor these men, symbolic of all Americans who gave their lives in all wars, an Army honor guard, the 3d U.S. Infantry (The Old Guard), keeps day and night vigil.

At 11 a.m. on November 11, a combined color guard representing all military services executes "Present Arms" at the tomb. The nation's tribute to its war dead is symbolized by the laying of a presidential wreath and the playing of "Taps."

Unknown Soldier Identified
On Memorial Day (which honors U.S. service people who died in action) in 1958, two more unidentified American war dead, one from World War II and the other from the Korean War, were buried next the unknown soldier of World War I.

A law was passed in 1973 providing interment of an unknown American from the Vietnam War, but because of the improved technology to identify the dead, it was not until 1984 that an unidentified soldier was buried in the tomb.

In 1998, however, the Vietnam soldier was identified through DNA tests as Michael Blassie, a 24-year-old Air Force pilot who was shot down in May of 1972 near the Cambodian border. His body was disinterred and reburied by his family in St. Louis, Missouri.

Information Please® Database, © 2005 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Busy, busy, busy

Well, busy at home, anyway. I go to work to get a break, it seems. My co-worker is back from her surgery; she's still complaining about her back, but differently now. God, whatever. I know, I'll probably end up with some ailment 10x worse, in retaliation for me being tired of hearing about it all the time, but damn; it's all we've talked about for 5 years. That, divorces, and stupid kids. It's a little bit of broken-record syndrome, I think.

Soccer updates: Little kid's season is pretty evenly spread between wins, ties, and losses. It's been pretty good, considering they mix up the two teams each week to get the line-ups. They are done with regular season, and only have the end-of-season tournament, weekend after next. The big kid has one game left, and then the same tournament as the little kid, though I am sure they will be at different venues - that's how my luck runs.

Big kid played the rich folks last weekend; we figured we'd have that one in the bag, and we did, but it took getting to the second half to get us there. We won that one, too, 5-1. It was crappy park - I was surprised. Million-dollar homes all around, and here we were, playing in this little strip of dirt along the road. And porta-potties. It was kinda nasty.

Anyone watching Survivor: Guatemala? Does anyone else think Bobby John is dumber than a bag of hammers? I hope Steph makes it to the final this time - she has the worst luck. She has my luck. Oh, speaking of luck, mine was okay today; my favorite (favorite = the least sucky) radio station here in town has, on their website, ways to get points, which you can then turn around and use to enter sweepstakes for stuff. Well, I entered this morning for 4 tickets to a Gwinnett Gladiators game, and I won them!!! The only down side is, I have to go to the station to get them, tomorrow, Friday, the worst day to try to go anywhere in this stupid town. The game is tomorrow night, so I have to go tomorrow. I made up an hour and half tonight, so I will disappear from work around 10:00 to run down there. I need a little adventure, I guess. And a Friday-night hockey game will be worth it.

I spilled Mountain Dew all over my keyboard couple of weeks ago - I yell at the boys all the time for having food and stuff around theirs, and they are on their second keyboard - and there I go and spill, too. Though, in my defense, I rarely drink pop out of a glass, and I did knock it over, but I almost caught it 3 times before I finally spilled it for good. Now my T and S stick, though I keep cleaning the areas with alcohol. I guess I'm going to have to bust out and get new one. Damn it. I replace one or two more things on this computer, and it'll be all new again.

Tomorrow is Veteran's Day - Happy Veteran's Day to my fellow Veterans. We get breakfast at work, and someone among us will have to get up and speak. It's nice. I wish all companies in this country recognized their vets; it's a national holiday, after all. I would still rather have a day off, but food is good, too. And the big 3-8 is Sunday. All I can say is, I had better not have a bunch of laundry to do. I know I'll end up cooking my own birthday dinner, just like I have to cook my Mother's Day meal, too. That might be about all I can do though. I have reading, stitching, and/or beading to do, and there's no reason I shouldn't be allowed to spend the entire day on that. Speaking of beading, I finished a really cool multi-strand necklace in my amber Ornela seed beads. I've had to re-do the earrings a few times to get them the way I want them - one is done now, and I need to get the other one finished. I made them to go with my leopard-print shirt. Somebody at work the other day (maybe Rob? I don't remember now) said something shitty about women who wear leopard-print anything; I love that shirt - am I missing something? Is it possible that I pull it off better than others?

WOOHOO!! In the typing of this, dumbass Bobby Jon jut got voted out. The IQ on the show jut went up by 100 point, at least. Gotta go, time for CSI. You know, the one with Warrick Brown, aka Gary Dourdan. He hasn't had his shirt off for several seasons - I think he's due.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

At last! I have my hour back!

I hate Daylight Savings Time; I was born during standard time, and I would prefer we kept it all year, and here they've gone and shortened it beginning in 2007. I mean, it's a nice idea, but does it really save energy anymore? I don't really care what time it gets dark at night - I have the same stuff to do each day regardless of the daylight. Time is time, and people can manipulate it all they want, but in the end, it doesn't really matter, does it?

Halloween is over for another year; it was kind of anti-climactic this year, for some reason. The big kid didn't dress up this year, and the little kid went Trick-or-Treating, but it just didn't seem to have the same impact this year. Maybe being on Monday made it weird this year. We got the outside lights plugged in that one day, and now it's time to take them down. I'll try to get them down and have them down for a couple of weeks before we get the Christmas stuff out. Man, Turkey Day is only 3 weeks from tomorrow. DH's family really wants us to come up there; I've told them I'm supposed to work that weekend, moving the computers to the new building and getting some very valuable OT, but I'm not sure I really care about it now. I kinda want to go up North for the weekend, but it's always such a hassle - 4 days of living in the car, arguing over who goes where when and for how long. I'm just not up for that kind of crap right now - there's plenty of stuff to argue about at home, no road trip required. I could use the money, if I stayed here and worked (not Friday - that's tree day). Eh, we'll see.

Speaking of road trips, we had a game in Savannah this past weekend, so we made a weekend out of it. We left Friday at noon (got the boys out of school early, including our soccer son, Rigo), and got down there in less than 5 hours, including 2 stops. The weather was great. The game was Saturday, and I had heard from a few people to expect the reffing to be bad, and that the park was in a bad area, to not keep anything valuable in the car. We got to the park, and everyone who was supposed to be there was there, and the one we knew wasn't coming was there, too! I guess they felt guilty. It was good to have him there - he's our best new player, and we would have missed him if he hadn't been there. So the game started, and right away, we knew the ref was going to be bad. By the end of the first half, we were down 2-0, and we had had at least 2 huge fouls IN THE BOX that were totally blatant and totally not called. The ref was chatting to the home parents, in the course of the game, and we were getting the shit knocked out of us. We came out for the second half, and really started playing well. We came back to tie it up, but the better we played, the meaner they got, and it was really getting out of hand. The Savannah goalie, on a couple of the goal kicks, took damn near a full minute to put the ball back into play (DH says the rule is 7 seconds); he was out there, moseying around inside his box, ball in hand, acting like he had all day, and you knew he was killing time intentionally. And the ref is down there joking and smiling with the parents, acting like, "You think that pissed them off, wait, watch this!" and one of our kids got a full forearm in the upper chest, in the box - no call. I saw two hands flat on my son's back and he went flying - no call. Of course, we're all jumping out of our seats and hollering, and their parents are being all stupid saying "What, you guys going to argue with everything?" Uh, yes, you stupid git, when somebody is getting hurt for absolutely no reason other than out of just pure meanness - that's not what this game is about. We scored 3 goals pretty much back to back, and that gave us a lead of 2, and it got really bad. DH and the ref got into it at one point, and DH said "Don't worry, we'll discuss it after the game". The ref ended up letting the game run about 10 minutes extra, I assume trying to let the home team catch up, which they would never have been able to do at that point - we were too hot by then. We (us and their parents, too) were wondering when he was going to call it, when one of the parents hollered out to the field "Hey, Carl, how much time you got left?"; Carl took a few seconds to try to figure it out, and he yelled back, to his buddy, obviously, that there were about 4 minutes left. Whatever; it didn't help. We won 5-3, they actually had a yellow card, but we had 2 bloody lips/noses, one almost broken leg, and the ref left so damn fast we didn't even see him leave. He called it pretty fair the last couple of minutes - I guess after he confronted DH, he decided he'd better get his act together, because we were on to him.

You know, when you are competing at this level, you expect some level of professionalism from the refs. This whole situation was totally uncalled for. It was the U-19 Savannah team that started all the crap up at our soccer complex a few weeks before that; the team had trashed the bench area, and the parents had trashed the stadium, and when someone asked them to pick up their mess, it turned into a big confrontation that ended up involving several cops. One of our people was in the act of calling 911 when one of the Savannah people threw water on them, and shorted out the phone. How stupid is all of this? And people wonder why soccer parents have such a bad rep - when people have to play dirty, at this age group, instead of playing the game, or have to be shitty afterwards because they are such poor sports, well, it's not really any wonder, is it? It makes me sad to be a part of it. In my personal opinion, I don't think the Savannah teams should be allowed to compete with us next year, after these two incidents (and probably more that we don't know about); they do not possess the proper attitude to be representative of the state and its youth athletics at this level. I am going to write a letter to someone at GYSA about that ref; as a paying parent, I expect, and believe I am in a position to demand, some unbiased (as much as it can ever be) reffing. That's what they'll get when they come up to our park - it's what I expect when I go to theirs. Otherwise, we'd stay home and play Rec ball, wouldn't we? Bastards.

Christmas is getting close - I am not ready. I am usually damn close to being done shopping by this time, and I really haven't even begun. I got the boys' lay-away at Wally World just last week, but haven't done anything else at all, except the 2 bead gifts I am making when my big order arrives. As usual, I have no idea what to get either of my parents. I have the gift for my Friend's mom almost done - I was working on it last night when I was rudely interrupted by people coming home from practice and expecting food. I'd like to get that finished up tonight - I'm not going to ship it for a few weeks, still, as I need to order my boxes still, and it's too far out yet (and I have to make another thing to go with it). My HR person here at work may order a few things, too; if so, I hope she has an idea of what she would like in the next couple of weeks, in case I need to order anything - time grows short. One of the girls that works with DH wanted to know about my stuff, too - I think it was a bit more pricey than she was expecting, though I was willing to offer discounts. Oh well - maybe next year. Actually, since I'm not really ready for business yet, I guess maybe less would be better. We'll call it practice for next year, I hope....

I would really like to get back to my cross stitching - I haven't touched the pumpkins since before we went to Savannah. I want to get those done, and get back on the castle. January and February are the two months that I really make a lot of progress - soccer is still going on (indoor), but no traveling, and the weather's not good enough to have me doing other things, so if I can get back to the castle by then, I expect to get a lot done, if not completely finished. At least it should be done by the time the boys are out of school, unless the beads really take off and consume a lot more time than I'm foreseeing.

I just ripped through King's DT VI - Susannah's Song. I really really like those books, and there's only one more, then I'm out. I still haven't seen VII in trade paperback yet - I have all of them in that format, so I've been waiting to get that one. I'm reading it as soon as I can get it. I checked Amazon a while back, and I think it's supposed to come out this month; I hope so. Diana Gabaldon's Breath of Snow & Ashes is out in hardback; I also have all of those in trade paperback, so I'll have to wait a year before I pick that one up. AT least I have a little breather, to catch up on the Nat'l Geographics from last year that I never got to; I am in the middle of November '04 now, should finish it tonight, then move to December '04. It was actually nice not renewing that this year, though I do really miss it. But they sent me a $15/year offer, and I couldn't resist at that price; I assume that'll pick up in January again. I wish I could pick up Archaeology and Smithsonian again, but that's just too much, especially when I have so many books I want to read, I have to maintain a spreadsheet listing them. Yes, I am AR. So?

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

SHHH - be vewy vewy qwiet

The last two weeks have been very long at work; nothing's going on except clean-up for the move next month, and testing of patches for our ERP systems. I hate testing. It's always such a convoluted mess, mainly because it's controlled in our California office, and that 3-hour time difference is always to our disadvantage. And the boss seems to keep needing to take days off, leaving me the only one here, while my co-worker is still out recouping from her surgery. She has her doctor's appt. today, so she might be back this week, if he'll release her; she was mopping her floor last week when I talked to her - sounds well enough to me. I sure hope she's back; I would really like to have Monday off. He conveniently forgot about me not being here Friday - in our dept (can a group of 2 grunts & 1 supervisor really be considered a department?) meeting, he wanted me to send an e-mail to schedule time to go to one of our contract manufacturers, to see if we can't figure out why they are having problems getting to our data. He said if he needed to go, he wouldn't be available Friday; I looked at him for a minute, and said "Uh, I won't either?". He squinted at his calendar and said "Interesting". I have no idea what that means. Whatever. I will not be at work on Friday - either by his leave, or if I have to call in sick, I will. It's bullshit - I knew about those 2 days a month before she scheduled her surgery, so maybe they need to live with it, not me. I am always at work - even if I take a sick day (it's never for me, it's always for one of the boys), I am there making up as much as I can. That's why I have 2 floating holidays, 44 hours sick time, and 32 hours vacation time right now. I am taking a sick day on 11/9 - I have my yearly check that morning, both boys have physicals that afternoon (I blew them off during the spring, when they should have had them), and just happened to get DH a dentist appointment, too - I have to go with him, or he won't go. Let's see anybody else manage appointments that well. And I don't really consider all those appointments as time off of work - it's work to get that all coordinated and taken care of. I need a couple of days off, people, okay? I don't think this is a hard concept to follow. I get 2 days off, or people start getting hurt. Pretty simple.

In other news, my 12-year-old scored the winning goal in his game this past Saturday!!!!one!! It was the coolest thing I've ever seen; he had a direct kick - forget what the call was now - it's unimportant. He was 5-10 yards from the center line of the field, and just nailed it. It arced right down, just over the tips of the goalie's fingers, nothing but net. It was just like you see on TV. The whole team ran over to him and pounded him on the back and such. It was total redemption for the loss to this same team during the season-opening tournament - you know, the one where the stupid-ass coach showed up, after his suspension was over, and fucked it all up for us. I am pretty sure they came up there, expecting to just walk all over us, and at half-time, we were down 2-0, but man, second half, we came out and kicked ass. You could see it on the faces of the other team - when we scored the first goal, they were all like "UH! You're not supposed to do that! You guys are supposed to suck!" And OMG did they yell at the ref every opportunity they got. If I was that ref, every time one of them opened their mouths to dispute something, big old Yellow Card for you, Sir! As bad as our reffing has been all year, this guy did an okay job - at the very least, he was very involved in it. After it was over, he gave us his interpretation of the Handball - it was partly bullshit, but whatever. I think he needs to brush up on his Offsides calls, too. We won 4-3, but one of their first couple of goals was totally offsides - that's like 5-6 against us this year that were obviously offsides. It's getting old.

During the game, one of the parents I absolutely despise (yeah, Carla, I mean you) made some shitty comment about my boy passing the ball back to her retard son, who flubbed it and lost possession; she just couldn't understand why on earth you would pass the ball back when you are moving forward. Uh, the fact that my kid had 2 guys all over him, and were about to force the ball out, plus he ending up having his back to the goal, keeping these guys off the ball, never occurred to her. It's called passing to an open player when you are stuck, you stupid idiot. That's why there are 9 other guys (10, if the goalie's not busy) on the field. So I looked her in the eye (I had my shades on of course, but I think most people know when I'm giving them the eye) and said "He was about to be forced out, I'm sure". She then said, "Well, it didn't look that close to me" - this from the coke-bottle-glasses-wearing, 5'0" person who wouldn't know in if it smacked her in the head. I said "Well, why don't you just ask him when he gets over here". She didn't say anything to that. And after the game, this same moron said that if they hadn't won this game, they were not going to go to the Savannah game this coming weekend. Now, if we weren't already in danger of not having enough players (1 quit, 1 can't play because his grades suck, 1 is who-knows-when-he'll-show-up, and others we know only go when we make special effort to get them there) and having to forfeit, I would've said, "Yeah, well, whatever - it won't matter". But we had exactly 11 for a home game, and we know very specifically 1 will not be going to Savannah - they are NOT driving 6 hours for a game, and have bitched about ever since they had the schedule handed to them - so I can't really discourage them from going. I'm going to be really pissed if we make all these plans to get down there, and come Saturday, we have no team show up. Okay, we're making a long weekend out of it, because we usually go to Savannah in October anyway, but the whole point is this game, especially now, when we are able to make up some ground in the standings, should we win (and we should). It's not like having to travel to games is unusual with Select soccer; what are they going to do if we end up playing in Gainesville, FL, or Jacksonville? They have some of the biggest tournaments in the SE - that's kinda what we expect to be doing at this level, people; we signed up for it, remember? God, people kill me.

On the hobby front, I have just placed a huge bead order via my Yahoo group; it's not that much stuff, but it ended up costing a lot more than I expected, since the beads I use for my twister strands have all doubled in price this month. That still freaks me out; they are pretty much static for at least 5 years, and as soon as I go about the business of opening my own business using these as the base, they double. I have either the worst luck of anyone I know, or the gods really are conspiring against me. I think it's a bit of both. But since I can't get any work done on my website for various reasons, I guess I shouldn't get all worked up about it. I just want the website ready to go - that's the biggest piece; after that, it's just a matter of maintaining that and taking care of business, both of which should be no-brainers, as they are totally in my control. I really need it ready for me to start adding the text - the picture-thing still isn't worked out, but that's why placeholders were invented - it's going to take me a few tries to get it where I like it, or at least can live with it. I just really hate when people make commitments that they can't keep. If you don't have time, you just need to tell me, and I'll take it somewhere else. Especially when I've done so much of the leg work already. I'm on a schedule here, and I intend to keep it - I've spent way too much brain power the last few months to let it all go now. If I had the time, I would just figure it out myself, but I plainly do not have the time; yeah, I need another thing I have to do each day before I lay down to sleep. I don't have hours on end of free time - I have 10 minutes here, 15 there, in between stringing beads, cooking dinner, doing homework, doing laundry, you know, running a household and working a full-time job, both with no help.

Anyway, I got my cranberry potato pearls knotted and strung; they are very cool. I'm not real thrilled with the earrings - I couldn't find any gold or gold-filled bead caps that would work - but they are okay. If I find caps later on, there's no reason I can't redo them. That's the great thing about making your own stuff; if you don't like it, or later find something that will work better, all you gotta do is re-do it! A little time and energy, and that great feeling of satisfaction when it finally goes together the way you imagined it.

We got the Halloween stuff out finally; I decided to not mess with the plug-in pumpkins and the little hay bales they sit on - don't feel like cleaning that up this year. I got all of my fall wall quilts out and up, my haunted house X-stitch with the glow-n-the-dark thread. I didn't get my new pumpkin x-stitch done yet, and the other fall one I finished stitching is still hanging on my bed, waiting to be finished/framed/whatever I'm going to do with it. I want to get these pumpkins done so I can get back to my castle; I want to get that done so I can start planning my Scarlet Quince design. I'm going to do a bit of a sample of it first, to decide what fabric I'm going to do it on - I am going to try over 1 on 28 ct, and see if that will cause me to lose my mind. I bet I won't end up doing that - it'll either be over 2 or done on the smallest Aida I can find, so I don't have to count threads, just find the holes. 130K stitches - I must be crazy. And I better get a floor stand for Christmas - we can start with the cheap one at Wally World first, and make any necessary modifications after that. If I could just get my dad to look at a good one and build me one - he is a mechanical genius, after all - it should be a piece of cake for him.

Need to call Mom again tonight - I got through to her today, but got the answering machine. I called last night, but got a busy signal - I didn't try again, as I figured it was like last year, all the lines in Florida tied up when the bottom half of the state gets wiped out. At least they have power, as evidenced by the answering machine. They must not've gotten much of Wilma. Good - they had enough last year. You know, that's what kills me with the hurricanes this year; we had four go through last year, and the gas prices didn't shoot off the charts and all this panic and crap - tell me it isn't all oil company hype. The whole Katrina debacle can just go stick itself, as far as I'm concerned. Do we really need to rebuild the cesspool formerly known as New Orleans? Somehow, I think we can live without it. Of course, all the poor black people will move here - most of them are here already, so whatever. Welfare works in whatever state you're in, doesn't it? At least the Mexicans are busting their asses doing some work every day; these folks that think they are "entitled" to something sure don't lift a finger except to point and throw race cards at every opportunity. Again, people kill me. Repeatedly.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Death of a Hamster, by KL Williams

Biter came to our house as a replacement for our dear friend, Shelly, who had died an agonizing death after 2 short years. Shelly had been a replacement for Henry, who had died a similar death before that. At first, Biter didn't have a name; the little kid kept coming up with silly, fluffy names, like, well, Fluffy; we don't have no stinking fluffy names for our animales (ask Booger, the patriarch of the bunch), so she continued to go nameless. Until one night, when I got her out of her cage after the boys were in bed (that's the only time I could play with her in peace); she was still new to us, and hadn't really gotten used to being handled yet, but I thought she was coming round. Boy, was I wrong. I had her sitting on the flat of my palm, and I looked away for a second, probably talking to DH, when all of a sudden, I heard this sound like nails punching through leather. I turned around, and the little monster had bitten right through my hand, right up there on the fleshy bit right below where my middle and ring finger separated from my hand. As I looked, I felt it - a burning, right through to the knuckles of both fingers. I was later surprised to find I didn't just automatically throw her through the air towards a wall; I calmly put her back in her cage and ran to the sink to douse myself in antibacterial soap and alcohol (rubbing, not drinking. You know, to disinfect the wound). The next day, the upper half of my palm was a black and blue mess, and I couldn't quite make my fingers work right. But at least the houseguest now had a name: Biter.

Apparently, Biter didn't care for the taste of people; right after that, the boys seemed to finally take an interest in her (yeah, you bit Mom; man, that's so cool! Some day, I'm gonna bite the shit out of her, too, right when she's yelling at me to clean my room). Little kid had her out of her cage almost every day, and didn't have any trouble with her. I stayed away from her, though I really did want to pet her little fuzzy body, and play with her little ears - they were so cute!!11one One day, Little Kid just dumped her in my lap, and I froze; please don't bite me again, or I WILL toss you, I said to myself. Well, she must've heard my plea, though she did give me a look like "Don't move a muscle, lady, or the hand gets it". Then I thought, hey, this is a rodent; what do rodents like best? Food!!! SO I very carefully carried her out to the kitchen, and put her on the bar. I dug in the fridge and found some veggies - boy, she loved that! Then I went for the cereal shelf - Honeycomb! WOOHOO! That silly rat shoved 10 of those whole honeycombs into her cheeks, and would've kept going if I hadn't taken her back to her cage. She then yakked them all out in a corner of the cage, and went and got a drink. We were pals from then on. FoodMaster = yummy goodness.

A few months later, I was sound asleep in bed, when suddenly, I heard a little scratching sound coming from somewhere in our room. I sprang instantly awake; it's coming from the bookshelf. I thought to myself, "that damn hamster is in here". I waited until I heard the scratching again, then I jumped up and turned on the closet light. I stood still until I heard it again, then got down on the floor in front of the bookshelf; she was right back there, I knew it. I moved a couple of books, sitting on the floor, out of the way, and watched. After a few seconds, a little pink, wiggly nose stuck out from behind a copy of "What to Expect When You're Expecting"; AHA! I had her. I scooped her out, and carried her back out, all the way to the other side of the house, to put her back in her cage. Along the way, I woke up Fat Ass, Booger, and Ripley, all sleeping in the hallway or the living room. What a bunch of completely useless animals - a 5 oz. hamster got down to the floor, without disturbing the lid on her cage one bit, I might add, and got all the way to the other side of the house, with 3 cats in it, one of whom (we're not sure which one, but think it's Fat Ass) likes to eat the heads of rodents, and leave the bodies under our cars for us to see as we pull out of the drive. And made enough noise to wake me up out of Mommy-sleep; DH to this day cannot believe I woke up knowing that little tiny sound was that of little hamster feet on shiny dust cover. Try it sometime - it makes a very distinctive sound. So back to her cage she went, and to keep her in it at least long enough for me to get back to sleep, I piled some books on top.

We went like that for a few weeks, but now that she had discovered the secret to freedom, she was constantly banging the hell out of the lid of her cage. Hamsters are nocturnal, like most rodents, so of course, this was going on at night. And since the whole damn house could blow up around these other people that live here and they wouldn't know, I was the only one to hear all this carrying-on. After a couple of weeks, I told DH that we had to come up with some other arrangement; if I didn't get a full night's sleep, soon, someone was going to get hurt. Then it came to me. Several years ago, I bought a 75-gallon fish tank and stand, thinking it would be nice to have a really big tank, so I could have schools of neon tetras and such, not realizing that it would cost me $500 at least to get it set up with the best low-maintenance stuff I could. Well, needless to say, it had been sitting downstairs, unused and empty. What better solution to the Amazing Escaping Hamster? There's no way she would be able to get out of there! Now, where to put it? Well, Little Kid is the animal collector, so we rearranged his whole room, and with just inches to spare, jammed that huge tank and stand in there, and outfitted it good enough to house a hamster Queen. And mover Biter right on in.

She lived in style for I can't even tell you how long; I'm guessing she was here for at least 3 years, which is a really long time for a hamster. She had a wheel, she had a ball, houses of legos and kleenex boxes and Play Doh volcanoes; we gave her treats all the time, honeycomb cereal being one of her favorites. One of our greatest family things was to gather around her, sitting on the bar, and counting how many pieces of any kind of cereal or sunflower seeds she could jam in her head at once; if we split an Oreo in half, and gave her just the cookie part, she could get that whole thing in there, in one piece! Her head would be all deformed and stuff, and it was so funny. Then the boys would take her to her house, and would be totally fascinated by her yakking it all up in her stash in the corner. Some of the faces she would make, or the gyrations she would have to go through to dislodge some of it were pretty comical. She was our pal, and better yet, she didn't seem to upset the cats. Except Zeke; if she was in the living room in her ball, and he walked in, she would just plow into him as many times as she could, until he would finally get his Fat Ass up and leave the room, always with a look of complete disgust on his face. Nobody likes a grouchy cat, especially a grossly fat grouchy cat.

Then a couple of weeks ago, I was in there, doing something (putting clothes away, cleaning the turtle cage, looking for the source of the smell) when Biter came out of her house. She didn't look too good - her fur was all out of order, she was not walking around with her usual spring. I waited for her to come fully awake, and stuck my hand in there to give her a pet - it had been a while since we'd had her out - and when she turned to see what was attacking her, I noticed her left eye was funny. She definitely didn't want me messing with her, so I left her alone. She went to her water bottle, and seemed to be having trouble getting anything out; I gave it a tap, to see if I could free up a drop for her, and it appeared to be working okay. I got another good look at her, and it kinda looked like she might've had a little hamster stroke or something. On the side with the funny-looking eye, her whole face wasn't right - her ear was a little droopy, her mouth was loose, and she didn't seem able to use the legs on that side of her body very well. I figured she wouldn't be around much longer; she just seemed to have gotten old over night.

DH was in there one day last week, and hollered that she was gone. She had crawled out of her little house, gone up to the front of the tank, and died right there where we would be sure to see her. I had just gotten an order of beads, and had just given the empty box to Little Kid; I had an argument with him to get the box back, so we could put Biter in it, in the nice piece of teal tissue paper that comes with all of my bead orders. She's down in the garage now (I hope not stinking), waiting for her funeral, out back where Shelly and Henry were. She was a good hamster, once we got past that first bite. I don't think we'll be getting another hamster again soon. Actually, I'd like to get that tank out of that room, and give Little Kid some room, though more room = more mess. 1 down, 10 more to go (KittyKitty, now KiKi, I guess, is officially a resident, though she still isn't allowed in overnight; I don't know why I waste my time and energy on saying no - it never works). I want new carpet and furniture!!!!

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Fall Has Arrived!

Well, we got through the end of the quarter at work, and from what we hear, did well. The bosses took us out for lunch Friday, at Roadhouse Grill. They brought us dinner steaks instead of lunch steaks - I did my best, but holy cow! I left half of it. It was good. That was payment enough for getting sw release CDs made and shipped. Now, for the next three weeks, I am a group of one; my co-worker is out for her third back surgery. Oh, goody, I get all the pre-move clean-up all to myself. Not to mention everything else. And I assume she won't be able to do anything with the move when she gets back, either; good, she can do all of the keying work, since I really hate data entry. She can have all the carpal tunnel she wants. I certainly hope I don't develop any of these health issues when I get to that age - if I'm not there, who will be?

Soccer this weekend was kind of a mixed bag; little kid lost (one of our players got lost on the way to the game, and never did find the place - we missed him); his other team won. And the big kid won one, lost one. And the loss was just plain stupid - ineffective coaching, again. Reffing was flaky again, too. Our trainer is really hot on the flat-back defense, and it just doesn't work for this team; we aren't fast enough for it. Every team we come up against who knows how to play through-ball just kills us when we have flat back. And we have lost 1 player for good, one just didn't show up at all this weekend (due to his bad grades, his mom isn't letting him play - thanks for the call, NOT), and one of mediocre players has all kinds of issues, and will NOT be playing on Sundays. And they haven't paid one dime for this season yet. And we've got one of the pokiest kids you ever saw playing up front. He needs to be sitting on the bench. And 2 of our 3 newbies are doing fantastic, but the third? Well, he makes mistake after mistake, but he plays the whole game. I do not get it. Well, I get it, but I'm not real sure why it's going on. We are reaaaalllllyyyy fed up with this team; we have some tremendous talent, but the coach just kinda seems to be punishing them, or something, and giving all of the kudos to the lame-os. Something has got to give; this isn't a Select team, it's a very talented rec team. But when this is all that shows up at tryouts, I guess you have to take what you get. Sad. Most of the talent pool in our area is living in poverty, so there's no way we can draw from them.

About time to kick into Christmas mode. I have ordered beads for a couple of presents, as well as for stock; I won't be getting them until mid-November, so when they get here, I'm going to be busy. I haven't gotten the Halloween stuff out yet; I don't even know if we are going to be here for trick or treating, or if we'll be in Savannah. I may get it out this week, unless I have to put in some OT, to make it look like we are really struggling with one of us gone. I'm sure I'll get asked to stay late, probably as soon as it is the most inconvenient. And I got a bunch of shit about wanting those days to go to Savannah, even though I knew about it before this stupid surgery was scheduled. You know what, I think they just might have to adjust - it's okay when I am the only one there, but it's not when the boss is? I think that's kind of crappy. They'll be SOL if I get sick, huh? Considering we've had strep and pneumonia in the house in the past few weeks, they're pretty lucky I've fought it all off, so far. I do get the feeling, though, that they don't see this, because somebody is always getting OT and I'm not. It's pretty unfair, too, I think; I spend 40 hours a week doing CM work, and other people spend 30 hours doing nothing, then find a whole bunch of extra work to do for other departments, justifying OT. What a load of crap. And I didn't get taken out for lunch for my 5-year anniversary, mainly because I just didn't say anything; the boss got guilted into it last year, and I thought that maybe he would remember on his own - he didn't. Alright, enough of that - don't want to go to work tomorrow; can you tell?

We got some rain from Tropical Storm Tammy - we got 5.65" from Wednesday through Friday. I hope the storms are over for the year now; I'm getting tired of the whole damn Katrina debacle. Hey, mayor and governor, you guys screwed up, huge; please just admit it and move on. Yes, it's a tragedy, but I have done my bit to help, as have almost everyone I know - stop yer whinin', and get to work, and stop looking for more cash handouts. Those stupid casinos aren't going to build themselves, are they? Looting police; by all means, let's knock ourselves out and help these people. Let's rebuild the prisons first, and it should be pretty easy after that. It's like I've said ever since we moved here; the South lost the Civil War partly because of their lack of railroads, but there are more damn train museums down here than any place I've been in the country. I expect some huge memorial to hurricanes and the ineffectiveness of the Republicans to respond to them to be erected in NO, so the "lazy" folks have a place to demonstrate and demand reparations from all of us. People kill me.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Another Weekend Gone

Friday, the washing machine decided to break; we think it is the switch that tells it the tub is full and to stop filling. We had 3 inches of water on the floor. Well, we have a bunch of dirty clothes now, but the laundry room floor is really clean. We have a new switch coming, tomorrow or Wednesday; I hope that fixes it. It took me a while Friday night to find a laundromat not in Little Mexico; the one we used to have in our town is now the Police Station (I guess they are trying to clean up. Bad, I know - blame my boss, he said it first). Just one more thing in our house that doesn't work. It's always something.

We had a decent soccer weekend; the little kid, who has had 3 ties in a row, won one, and his other team, won, also. I think we now have the winning combination for both of those teams. I missed his game, though, because I was at the big kid's game; we finally scored a goal! 3 in fact. We tied that game, and then, Sunday, he played again, and we lost that one, but it wasn't a shut-out. The reffing was really bad Sunday; there were some really blatant things that were not called evenly. We had a ref standing there, watching the game, and as I was commenting on calls, to anyone who was listening, somebody said something about home field advantage, at which point I said that doesn't work at our field. Came to find out that ref standing there was one of ours, and she was at this other park on most Sundays, and she said it was a compliment to them that our refs do not show any home field advantage. Well, it might be a compliment to the refs, but when every other field we play at definitely has it for their home teams, it puts us at the disadvantage. Whatever.

The team we played Sunday was one of big kid's buddies, who's dad is the coach; if all else fails, maybe we could consider that game a pre-tryout tryout, if the coach paid big kid any attention. If our coach doesn't make any advances in his coaching (or give up and let someone else take over the team), we will be going somewhere else. It's up to our coach whether it happens in January or July. I don't know if I can stomach the driving, but if we are going to continue on with this silly game, then I guess we'll have to do something; when you live in the sticks, your options are limited. Partly, I'd be willing to go somewhere else just to get away from a few of the parents currently involved. The first year we were with this team, there were the snobs and then the rest of us, including the Hispanic families, and it was very obvious there was a distinction between the two groups. Then last year, we all got along really well (mostly), except for the coach's wife, who has some kind of mental issue, we just don't know what. Now, we have new parents, a few of whom are quite sure us small-club country people don't know anything about the game, and spend the games coaching us on the rules and the politics of it. I'm about done. They spend more time correcting us parents (me, usually) and extolling the virtues of their children, because, though we were division champs last year, we obviously didn't have a team before they came to it. And as I don't like to sit near the chatterboxes either, there's no where for me and one other mom to be on the sidelines where we can just watch the game and have our tirades in peace. It's either suffer the chatterboxes (which I can do), or put up with the retards, who have no clue what is going on in the game, ever, or take the lectures from the newbies. Some of the guys stand off to the side, but I guess I can't go over there, either, because they all stop talking when I walk up - we womenfolk are supposed to stay in our designated areas, I guess, though I don't recall having read that rule anywhere. It's been a stupid season, so far; I'm hoping it improves this weekend. If not, it's going to be a long one, and then the dread of the Spring one will start in January.

And I found out Friday that 80% of the beads I have been planning on as the cornerstone of my web business have, just this past week, doubled in price. Man, I am still floored; they are glass. Gold and silver have both gone down; glass goes up in their place? So now, I have to rethink a whole bunch of stuff, and I have to do it before Wednesday, because the group I do bulk buys through has Wednesday as the deadline for first order (if we can just delete what I already submitted). I may have to rethink the way I was going to set up the site, to have options and color choices, and each thing custom made to order; I may have to go the more traditional route, and have finished things pictured and to be sold/shipped immediately upon request. Which also means that I can't wear them all myself. I was going to have the gallery for all of the one-offs of the ones I've made for myself and as gifts, some of which may or may not be re-created (sea beads, for example - I am doing one of those for my best friend's mom, adding some length to it, as I was able to find the dragon fly beads again), and it would have been on a check-with-me status; I can still do that, but that may be the bigger portion of the site now, which creates more work. And maybe it won't be as bad as I'm thinking; maybe, if it gets off the ground, I can build up my stock, and do what I originally intended - I just may not be able to start out that way. Too much to think about, too much stuff going on. And the Christmas crazies are just days away - I should get my club check this week, so I hope to be done in a few weeks - when the money runs out, I'm done, whether I'm done or not. Kids come first, DH next, then the rest. What a racket. Enough for today!

Thursday, September 29, 2005

It Started Out Like Any Other Wednesday....

I made myself get up, though I really didn't want to. Got going, got the boys going. Heard on the news that there was a big wreck on 85 (as usual). Got ready, went out to wait for the bus. Waited. Waited. 10 minutes past it's time, I put little kid in the car, and dropped him off, again (happened twice last week). Was late from waiting for the never-seen bus, and the radio traffic reports are saying how bad the wreck is; they said that Tuesday, too, and I actually got to work 25 minutes early (they were all stuck in it behind me - I went around). So I finally get to work after 95 mind-numbing minutes in the car, witnessing some of the stupidest things I have ever seen (yeah, you in the dumptruck and the car hauler that both decided to block all lanes - I'm talking about you), and find myself in software release hell. Actually, that started Tuesday, but it definitely had not improved overnight, and I had people from both coasts hollering for something they couldn't have. So I do what I can with that, then move on to more clean-up in prep for the move.

I go across the street to our other building, prepared to throw a whole bunch of stuff out; we (our division) do not want/need it, but we will give the other division a chance to screen it, just in case they need it. Well, I'm explaining this to "the Gatekeeper", and she's all, "I don't know, I'll have to talk to somebody". Fine, whatever, but for now, give me a place to stack this stuff, because I want it out of the cabinets that we know we are taking for our use. No dice. So I agree to make a copy of my list, with all of the pretty colors and the key to what those colors mean, and they can let me know later. So off to lunch we go.

The place we go is one of those where they ask every body if they have to go back to work, or if you plan on spending the afternoon. Uh, yeah, I have to go back - who doesn't, and how do I get a job there? We finally get a waiter, and he finally brings our water and takes our orders. The food finally shows up, and my co-worker's plate is just huge. There wasn't a dinner option of that on the menu, so we didn't think anything about it. Well, after I had been done for some time, the waiter finally reappears, and then goes to produce our checks. When he comes back, he hands hers over, and it's $12! It was supposed to .50 less than mine. So when he finally comes back to take our money, we ask him about it. So he disappears again, and comes back 10 minutes later and mumbles something about maybe not having to pay for it at all, because it's in the computer that way and he doesn't know what to do. And did the manager come talk to us? Uh, no? We finally get out of there, paying the correct amount, and leaving a quarter as a tip. What a moron-a-palooza! So we go back to work.

When we get here, I take care of a few things, and then get the boss and go back across the street to discuss this morning's issues. The Gatekeeper has apparently already left for the day. So he rifles through all this old stuff, and keeps mentioning stuff from when I was in elementary school, and keeps on going on and on. No real conclusions are drawn, but I do have a half-assed plan, so we come back over here. He then wants me to go to his office, he has some stuff we could look at to possibly help us decide what to do with the stuff (I thought we'd already decided - I was on the verge of throwing it out, after all). So, for the next mind-numbing hour, I sit there and watch him flip through old document after old document, not really knowing what he's looking for, or why. Then I go back to my office, with my brain hurting. I surf the net a while, making up time for being late in the morning, then finally give up on that, too. So I leave.

And it takes me an hour to get home!!! I could swear I've already sat in traffic... oh, wait, I have, but this time, it sprinkled, so we've lost our minds for an entirely different reason!! I finally get home, and then I have to argue with an 8-year-old to do his homework, and write lots of notes to send back to his teacher. Thinking about that right now, I have no idea if he put any of that in his bookbag this morning; I bet it's all sitting on the living room floor still. Oh well, flunk me for being a bad parent. And I really, really wanted to sit on the couch and stare at the tv, but DH was already spread out all over, and the chair had kid in it. I sat at the computer desk for a few minutes, for lack of something better. Then I went to my room for awhile, but that was boring, so I went back out and made the kid get out of the chair. Then, finally, nothing for a few minutes. They all actually figured out it was fend-for-yourself night without me having to tell them - miracle. I had a bowl of Lucky Charms for dinner. Yummy. Not. So then I figure I need to check e-mails - home and work, for sw and bead issues.

As I am e-mailing one of the girls in my bead-buying group, I check a couple of the items I have ordered, and realize that they have DOUBLED in price!!! SHIT!! What I have in my order (placed Monday with the group, but it won't get sent to the company we buy from for a few weeks still) I had budgeted to spend no more than $60, and it will now cost me $118!!! That's my entire budget, not counting the other things I have to get! Beads won't do me any good if I don't have clasps or string to put them on! WTF happened? It had to have happened on Tuesday; I was just in there looking Monday, as I was entering my order. this morning, I broke out my 2000/2001 catalog, and these prices have been pretty much the same since then - they have changed the way they are packaged, but the price is within a few cents of where it has been for 5 years. And they are glass; I expect fluctuations in gold and silver items, but not a doubling in GLASS! Has glass suddenly become endangered? Shit! So now, here I am, trying to start a business, and these items are a cornerstone of that business, and I am trying to do this out of my own pocket. Man, this sucks. So I send another post to my group, begging for help to meet the best price breaks on these, so I can keep my order intact - if we get the best break on all of them, it'll be $80; I was prepared to pay the middle break (60) before they doubled. I didn't want to sound whiny when I sent it - I've been trying to drum up support on these ever since the buy opened, but I'm not getting much help. Our buy lead is out of town for a week; hopefully, when she gets back, maybe she can call our rep and ask them what the deal is. Well, at that point, all I could do is wait to see what happens next week. CRAP. Dammit. Oh well. And of course, DH says, well, you need them, right? Get them. Yeah, I'll just get them. And do we not get the tags for the car, or not pay the electric bill, or skip one whole side of the family this Christmas? I just want to know why now these had to DOUBLE; they've been static for 5 years, and I could see a small increase, but double? I've looked, and can't find them cheaper - these are now about the same as most of the others I've found, but the others I've found do not have bulk pricing, so these are now actually more, if I were to buy them 1-2 at a time. So I try to concentrate on Lost and Invasion, and go to bed to finish watching.

As I am turning off the light, as per my usual routine, I grab the chap stick off of the table. Of course, I drop the damn thing behind the bed, in the land of the Killer Dust Bunny. And the only way for me to get it is to move all of the pillows and such, reach through the headboard, and feel around. I found something squishy (yuck), something fuzzy - dust bunny, or ball of cat hair - same thing - then finally got it. Man, I was DONE. I stared at the TV for a few more minutes, then rolled over and went to sleep.

And things were going pretty smooth this morning. Right up until I broke my toothbrush right in two. I was using the handle to push the toothpaste up in the tube - I do it all the time - and it snapped. Oh, there's no way in hell I'm having another yesterday!! Ain't going to happen, folks. So I do my best brushing with it (it has that stupid rubber coating on it to make a better/pretty grip - whatever - so it's holding together), but it's all wonky and waving - I feel like a cartoon person trying to brush with a rubbery brush. But the bus showed up, I got to work on time, and there's not a lot going on; my sw release isn't going on, either, which is a problem. I don't know if there is anybody home in our Maryland office - none of them have signed off or sent any e-mails or anything os far today. I'm going to go home today and take a nap. I was meaning to get my hair cut, but I just don't think I can suffer that kind of trauma right now. I must've been really, really, reallllyyyy bad in my previous life....

Monday, September 26, 2005

Quiet Weekend

We had a U13 soccer game last Thursady night; we lost almost as badly as we thought we were going to. So far, in regular season, we haven't scored a goal. We've made lots of attempts, just none of them are going in. Not real sure what the problem is. At least this game our trainer was there to watch; maybe he can better steer the practices now, and get them able to follow through on those shots. My son had a fantastic game, considering. They finally let him take all of the goal kicks; we've been trying to tell the coach for 2 years now that he has the foot for that, and the ability to put the ball in a specific spot, as opposed to the boot-ball method he seems to prefer. Well, the light bulb came on finally, and hopefully will remain lit.

We had 2 U10 games yesterday; one loss, one tie. We have tied 3 weeks in a row. They just have minutes where they are totally scattered, and then they get it together for a few, then it scatters again. And the teams they played this weekend were HUGE! One of our kids only came up to around the waist of a couple of them. That's just crazy. And our ref, who usually does a really good job (we call him Delicate Flower), was a little grumpy yesterday. He gave the opponents possession of the ball at least 3 times when it should've been ours, and he helped with some things, but not with others. It was weird. He must've had a long day Saturday, and wasn't quite ready for Sunday.

The boys are out of school today and tomorrow; the Governor asked all the public schools in the state to take a 2-day holiday, to help the gas crisis in the wake of Hurricane Rita. Okay, people, what exactly is going on around here? Have we forgotten that 4 (yes, four) hurricanes went through Florida last year? There was no panic about gas, prices didn't go up (yeah, the refineries weren't hit as hard, but still, they did receive some effects - we didn't hear about it, though, did we?), and we certainly didn't call off school in surrounding states. Now, it's a nice thought, but these kids aren't getting an adequate education when they are in school; how is this going to work out? Are we going to make them up at the end of the year? I doubt it. Boy, I should've finished my teaching degree and gotten a job down here; they work maybe 20 days a month, have no responsibility for anything, and when it all goes wrong, it's not their fault, or the kids' fault, it's the parents' fault. I guess it's my fault I can't afford to send my kids to private school. Some days, I think my kids know less when they get home from schoool than they did when they left the house that morning; that's a pretty sorry state of affairs, folks, and I don't think I should have to spend several hours each evening, after I've already worked a longer day than the teachers have, getting my kids up to speed. And I'm not sure they are even up to speed then. These schools in the South are horrendous. Keeping the bible-thumping out is one thing, but then just having to deal with all of the language barriers - how much time is taken away from teaching my kids the stuff they need and spent teaching other kids the basics, such as English? If English is your primary language, you should not be in classes with kids who do NOT have English as the primary language. Hello, People - what would I have to learn to live in your country? Discrimination? Discriminate this, you liberal wankers! This is the United States, and we speak English. Learn it and use it, or get out. Jeez. This ain't rocket science, folks.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

So I was driving home yesterday, and...

... as I was half-way down the on-ramp, I looked in my rear view mirror, and saw some stupid woman in her little Saturn right up my ass. She was so close, I couldn't see her headlights or half of her hood. And, as usual, the interstate was stop and go right there, and as we were coming down, a cop decided to pull someone over in that little triangle of space between the ramp and the roadway. Now, it just so happens that I need to end up in either of the last 2 far left lanes in order to follow where my road splits off, so I try to do this as soon as possible. So, in preparation for this, I turn on my signal, merge out onto the actual road, and start looking for spaces to move left in. I look up, and the woman in the Saturn is still right on my ass. I see a break where I can go over another lane, and, as I'm checking all the mirrors and actually looking left, the Saturn Woman has just gone right ahead and gone over - no signal, no nothing, just as if I haven't been traveling for some distance with my blinker on, with every intention of going over, too. Fortunately, there's room for me, too, so I jam on over. Saturn Woman then goes on over again, no signal again, death grip on the wheel. Finally, we are side-by-side in the the two left-most lanes, and as she flies on ahead of me (we're doing pretty close to 80 in a 65 at this point), I look at her plate, only to discover she's from Ohio!

Whoop-de-do, you might be saying. But in the years I have been here, I have created that ersatz romantic version of [drivers] in my home state being [saner] than the ones here (insert whatever appropriate words into the brackets). But thanks to Saturn Woman, that whole idea has been blown to little bits; it's true, people are assholes everywhere. And I really hate the new Ohio plates that don't have the counties on them; if she was from a county nowhere close to any of my home counties, I would've written her off to being from one of those other parts of Ohio. Ah, well, another bubble burst, and another reality faced.

Watched the finale to Rock Star INXS last night; I figured JD would be the winner, but I still don't like him as well as Marty. Though, considering my tastes in music, Marty was just more my style, and not so much INXS's. Actually, looking at MiG's blog profile on MSN, he has a lot of the same CDs I have, moreso than the other two. HHMMM. Whatever. I also read all three blogs' last posts, and JD said he was going to donate his Honda Civic that they each won to Katrina victims; I didn't see that coming. I think he'll do well with them, and he is very talented; I just don't like to watch him. Hopefully Marty will get a gig, too; I assume MiG can go back to his stage work and be okay.

We are going to the Gwinnett County Fair tonight; the boys will ride the rides, DH will rush them to eat so we can leave, and hopefully I'll get to see what little they have for exhibits. Fairs here aren't like the fairs we grew up with; there's a barn with maybe 15 cows, and 10 sheep - that's it. And the one hall has a bunch of exhibits from car dealers and politicians. No rabbits, no horses, no goats, no crafts, except the ones entered for judging (I need to enter some stuff next year, now that I found the forms - we don't have a fair in Hall Cty., so I assume I can enter into Gwinnett's) in one little corner of the political car barn. Oh, and no sugar waffles. Man, I love those things, but they just don't seem to have them down here; funnel cakes, yes, but I can't eat those anymore - they do not like me at all, just like donuts and cucumbers. I guess maybe sugar waffles don't meet the minimum coronary damage points, so they aren't allowed in. 14 kinds of bar-b-que and blooming onions, but no waffles. It's just crazy. They don't have any entertainment, either, unless they do on the weekends, though I don't know where - there's not a place for a band to play and people to listen. If it wasn't for the midway and all the creepy carneys, it'd take about 20 minutes to see everything there is to see, and stand in line in the women's restroom. But the boys like the rides, of course - hopefully no one pukes in that spaceship thing that sucks you to the walls (not that the big kid would care - he's riding it anyway), and we like the grilled corn.

Season premiere of Lost is on tonight, and then Invasion, which I seriously doubt I will be able to stay awake for. So far, I have seen Threshold (okay), Surface (okay, but damn similar to Threshold), and I watched Bones last week, before NAVY NCIS came back last night. Nothing's really grabbing me so far, besides the new season of Survivor. I'll be glad when the new CSI comes on tomorrow. I can't stay awake to watch either of the other two of those, either, and we can't seem to find the cables for the VCR. Eh, too much trouble, when it is apparent I already watch too much tv. But when I'm stitching, what else would I do? I need to change my focus periodically from my work to something, so it's just natural it be the tv, I guess. Staring at a computer screen for 8 hours at work, then going home and doing it for another couple of hours, you'd think that would be enough, but it doesn't seem to be. And then I read, too - that's what the commercials are for (DH hates it when I have my book open but am watching the tv, especially when he wants to change the channel, which is immediately after he walks in the room). I am just trying to jam as much living into each day as I can - I think it's pretty efficient, actually. I work, read, do a hobby, cook dinner, do laundry or whatever house work, watch the night's tv, and then I go to bed and get up and do it again the next day. That might be why I'm such a slug on the weekends; if it wasn't for having games to go to, and needing to go to the store, I'd veg all weekend, if I could, and watch movies.

I hope we get some rain from Rita - it hasn't rained once this month. But then, with DH being sick, he hasn't gotten the grass cut for awhile now, and it's totally out of hand; rain would only make it worse. The Gulf region doesn't need the rain, but we could use some - I can't believe we didn't get any from Ophelia. Bitch when it rains, bitch when it doesn't - some people are just never happy. I just need a break in the sun and heat; it's getting a little monotonous. I'm ready to turn the air off and open the windows; not yet, it's still in the 90s. I wonder what we'll get this winter; we haven't had any bad weather the past 2 years - no ice, no snow, even when everyone else is buried, most days well above 40. We're due for a blast.

Okay, that's enough. Other things to do today....