About Me

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Bookkeeper, tax preparer, cat lady, blogger, organizer, mystery writer.


I've finally decided that I am a writer - all the other things I do just pay the bills. Someone eloquent once said that if you do what you love, the money will follow. Well, let's just see about that.

RIP Aggie

RIP Aggie
Aggie was my fifteen-year-old cairn terrier - or maybe I should say I was her 55-year-old person! She was my faithful companion, spoiled rotten and I am still trying to figure out what to do without her.

Peter the Cat...

Peter the Cat...
This is Peter the gingersnap tabby! He's seven years old and has just been promoted to Peter the Very, Very Good. He is working his way up to Peter the Great...

Bee - the Cat Who Came From Somewhere Else...

Bee - the Cat Who Came From Somewhere Else...
Bee is Peter's buddy. He's eight years old and has made himself right at home. I guess cats really do come in pairs or sets of three!

And Jasper makes three!

And Jasper makes three!
Jasper is our new guy - the Cat From Another Place. He's four years old and we think he likes it here - so far, so good!

Buzz about...

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The power of memory...

Isn't it funny how our brains work? I've always been impressed with the way it remembers things we didn't even know we had filed away. I have always had a gift for remembering numbers and trivia, but once in awhile my power of recall goes out on me and I draw a blank. Like, what was the name of the movie where Peter Fonda and Susan Saint James played bank robbers on the run? Do you think I could remember - and this was before the days of just running to imdb.com and looking it up - so I just put it out of my mind, or so I thought. Well, I woke up at two in the morning with the answer, seemingly out of nowhere: Outlaw Blues. I may have consciously stopped looking for the answer, but my brain was stuck in some sort of search do loop and then when the old girl (picture a big purple filing cabinet with overstuffed drawers) spit the punch card into my consciousness, I woke up one trivia answer wiser. I guess that's just another miracle of creation - and how wonderfully we are made!

But every now and then, my brain does some weird stuff with old memories. Maybe yours does, too - and I'd be interested in hearing about it. A few days ago, I woke up in the middle of the night with this sense of actually being in a particular place in the past. I am not sure if it was a dream - or some random neural firing that brought that memory to the surface. At any rate, I was sitting in the car with my father and I was about twelve or thirteen, I guess. We were at Cortez Plaza - as it used to be - with a Belk store and a bakery and an old Publix - and it was so real, I could have sworn that I felt the climate: a warm, humid summer day, with the windows down waiting for my mother to come out of the store and warm bakery smells wafting through the still air. I kept closing my eyes, willing myself to go back to sleep, but the memory persisted. I kept looking around, wondering what it was my subconscious was trying to tell me, but I couldn't see anything out of the ordinary. I finally decided that my brain had treated me to a nice memory of an earlier time; I felt safe and calm and peaceful and I wasn't worried about anything. I haven't felt that way in a long, long time.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Two Lessons for Tuesday...

I learned the hard way: don't put Thai rice noodles down your garbage disposal. It might seem like the clog is gone, but it has surreptitiously glommed on to whatever grease and junk is lurking down the line and gangs up on you. And secondly, don't run your dishwasher thinking that everything is all right. It's not and there will be water all over your kitchen floor. And dogs with wet feet trying to notify you of the problem. I spent most of the day waiting for the maintenance man to come and fix the big mess and then trying to control two over-eager canines who were desperately trying to assist him. I tried to tell them that if the nice man had needed help, he would have brought his own trained dog - but they weren't having any of that. All's well that ends well - he even fixed the leak under the sink for me while he was there.

Okay, I'll admit that the dogs' delirium was mainly my fault. I had been whipping them both into a frenzy all day by telling Aggie it was her birthday, happy birthday, who's the birthday girl, we're having treats, yadda yadda, yadda... Monty heard treats and that was his signal to run from room to room, jumping on the chairs, chasing his sister and making a general nuisance of himself. Anyhow, Aggie is eleven now and she still thinks she is all that - and a box of MilkBones. For dinner we had chicken hotdogs (Aggie loves chicken and Monty loves hot dogs, hence the compromise) and birthday cake. The lady at Publix couldn't believe I was giving the dogs people cake, but hey, it's only twice a year and I will use any excuse to have a piece of Publix Bakery birthday cake. They both ate until they lay groaning on the living room floor - we watched My Cousin Vinny - and the dogs were zonked out by ten o'clock. I foolishly thought that because they were both full as ticks that they would sleep through Pizza Guy's 2:30 am dog walk, but alas, I was wrong. They heard the dog's collar jingle and Aggie aroo-ed for a solid five minutes. Then they both went back to sleep. I've been awake ever since - and I've had way too much caffeine!

Monday, September 28, 2009

The Lesson...

I was casting about for something to write today. My weekend was completely unexciting: I worked for a bit on Saturday as I had a client coming in (he wanted to miss as little work as possible - can't blame him for that!) and I spent Saturday night and Sunday reading and watching movies. I didn't finish my book, but I watched some old favorites: The Blues Brothers, The Ladykillers and All of Me. I also spent a fair amount of time yesterday thinking and moping, overanalyzing my existence and everything that's going on in my life that is seemingly beyond my control. I had a hard time sleeping last night and woke up quite early this morning. More time to think and ponder and after a quick stop at WalMart for ibuprofen and packing tape, I came to the office. I have been sorting out stuff from storage to either donate or sell and the other day I came across a box I had forgotten about. During my collecting heyday, I was mad for Boyd's Bear figures and Tim had once gotten me a lovely piece (back in 1997!) called The Lesson. As you can see, it's a family of angel bears teaching the baby bear how to fly. The cats had broken the original I had (lots of my things met an untimely demise that way) and I had found an inexpensive replacement a couple of years ago on eBay - but I guess I never took it out of the box. No place to put it, I guess. Well, the other day, I liberated the bears from their box and here they are, demonstrating for me how to fly. Trite as it sounds, maybe the lesson I need to learn right now is how to fly solo again. I try to think of something positive to write about every day - who wants to read a downer sort of blog? - and these little bears reminded me of happier times. The box in the center of the piece says "Heavenly Home Flight Training Kit - The ONLY Way to Fly." Not a bad lesson for a Monday.

Mary Engelbreit never fails to lift my spirits, either. I went to her blog today and here was the picture above: "The world is full of cactus but you don't have to sit on it." Definitely a positive affirmation. And a good laugh!

Friday, September 25, 2009

A more productive day...

for me today: I did some bookkeeping, a tax return amendment for a client, made appointments with two new clients, sorted stuff for the Salvation Army in the back room (no sentimental card stuff today!) and I even re-arranged my patriotic display at the front of the office. Cute, huh?

I just finished reading Wedding Belles by Haywood Smith. I know I mentioned the first two books in the series, The Red Hat Club and the Red Hat Club Rides Again. This one was good - but the tone was a bit different and one of the previous characters was missing completely. My inquiring mind wanted to know what the deal was and so I emailed the author from her website and actually got a nice reply. Apparently her publisher decided to "erase" that character because of possible litigation. Honestly, aren't people just too litigious these days? It's fiction, for heaven's sake! She was very nice, thanked me for asking and for reading her work. Anyhow, if you get the opportunity to read any of her books (she also writes historical romance), you'll enjoy them.

I also watched a pretty good movie the other night: American Outlaws with Colin Farrell and Gabriel Macht. Well, good if you don't mind glaring historical inaccuracies - but not bad for a western shoot-em-up about Jesse James and his gang. Last night I watched Gotti, the HBO movie with Armand Assante. Not a bad story, even though they glorified John Gotti's life as a mobster, but if you had removed the F-word from the script, there would have been precious little dialogue. I don't know what it is with Hollywood - and why they actually think people want to watch a movie filled with vulgar language. Anyhow, I wouldn't bother renting that DVD. After cleaning out my DVD cabinet to share with friends and my husband, I watched everything I hadn't seen with the exception of Buffalo Girls. I was going to watch it on Monday, but I got sidetracked with the other two movies that Richard brought in for me to watch. The weekend is a good time to watch a mini-series, isn't it?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

What was I thinking?

I've been sorting through stuff from storage to take to the Salvation Army and I made the mistake of opening this box of cards and notes from Tim that I've saved over the years. This afternoon was not very productive, to say the least. I don't know what I was thinking! I'm going home to read a book or watch a movie to take my mind off things. I hope tomorrow is a better day - I was proud of myself for doing relatively well. Oh well - these things can't be helped, I guess. As my friend Heather and I remind each other frequently: It is what it is.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Petey's new hiding place...

has moved to the paper cabinet behind my desk. I sold the recliner he liked to sleep inside all day long - sorry, Pete! I imagine he's a bit irked with me - he loved that spot. Anyhow, I suspected that he had found his way inside this cabinet and sure enough -

when my friend, Richard, opened the door - there was Petey, all hunkered down between my stash of client folders and the postage scale. It took a couple of minutes to get him out, and thinking I could get a decent picture of him while Richard was hanging on to him, I snapped away with my trusty camera and -

Petey turned the other way! The little pooper - he is definitely camera shy. Seriously miffed, Pete jumped out of Richard's hands and headed for the back room. After two mornings in a row of a big hug and some serious petting and purring, Petey just wasn't in the mood today. There's always tomorrow...

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Atypical Tuesday...

I just could not get going this morning - and I wasn't even up late reading! I finally left the house at almost ten (yikes!) and got to the office shortly thereafter, not in the mood to do meaningful work. I spent some time working in my little craft area, deciding on photos for my cat scrapbook and working on a couple of cards - both of which I didn't like when I was finished. I need to pare the rubber stamps down to an even more manageable level, but that's a project for another day.

My friend, Long, unloaded the stuff from the back of my car, so my first project in the morning is to sort through that and decided what's going on eBay, what's going to the Salvation Army and what very small amount of stuff I am going to keep, either at the office or the apartment. I need to keep moving on this or I will never get the storage unit cleaned out! Anything crafty, like sewing stuff, is definitely staying at the office because there is no room for anything like that at home. I have my old lady cart all packed up at home with cookbooks, dishes and other stuff to get rid of. I am so proud of myself and my resolution to travel lighter. I think that the biggest hurdle for me will be sorting through all of the Muffy VanderBear collection that I've amassed over the years and the Hallmark ornaments. Both are things that I will never have room for or need of again. I've had the bears packed up for several years and we have not put up a Christmas tree in forever. The last time I had a tree was at my old office about three years ago. It was small and I put all of my angel ornaments on it; those are probably the only ones I will hang onto. I am sure that there are collectors of bears and ornaments out there somewhere who will be more than willing to give my stuff a good home!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Closer to my goal...

of getting everything in order before the end of October: my home, my office - my life! I'm working on it every day. As you can see, we got my oak table from storage on Friday after the nice people who bought the pub table came and picked it up. I hope they're as happy with it as I am to have my oak table and funky color chairs! We christened it with pizza after all the shuffling from office to storage to home was completed - well, the first trip anyway. We made quite a bit of progress on the storage unit - and the back of my SUV is still full of fabric and my serger which we were lucky enough to find. The sewing machine, however, is still in there somewhere.

My sweet little antique desk looks great in its new home! It's just been refinished and didn't take up nearly as much room as I had originally thought it would. If I had known it would be such a perfect fit, I would never have put it in storage! The red chair is perfect for it and I had a great time filling the drawers - I never thought I'd be so happy to actually have storage space. Funny how the little things can just make your day!
The green chair that goes with my sofa is another story - it looks so huge in this small room! It really didn't look this big at the office - I guess because it was in such a large open space and I always looked at the back of it. I vacuumed the cat hair off the cushions and as soon as I put the pillow in the chair, Aggie and Monty hopped right up in the seat together, as if to say, "Thanks for the new perch, Mom!" Later that evening, Aggie was going mad sniffing the chair all over - probably looking for the cat that came with it. I suppose Petey will have to find a new place to snooze at the office.

I finally finished the last of my pulp fiction crime novels this weekend - and I read the second book in the Red Hat Club series: The Red Hat Club Rides Again. I was up until two this morning finishing it. The next installment is Wedding Belles. Not my usual taste in fiction, but I liked the first book in the series, The Red Hat Club, as well as Haywood Smith's first book, Queen Bee of Mimosa Branch. Very southern chick lit.

Saturday night the dogs and I watched Fun With Dick & Jane - typical over-the-top Jim Carrey - and a very strange movie called Evolution with David Duchovny and Julianne Moore. I've been going through the DVDs looking for things I haven't watched and trying to thin out the collection. I'm sending Tim's favorite movies to him - out, out damned Dances With Wolves! - and I'm donating the rest that I will never watch again to the DVD library at my condo complex. Might as well share... Next we are going to watch Buffalo Girls - the mini-series based ont he book by Larry McMurtry. I've seen Lonesome Dove or parts of it what seems like a million times.

Friday, September 18, 2009

One of my favorite things...

I have had this little daily devotional flip thing since I was in high school. I think I paid a dollar for it at a school fundraising bazaar - I went to a non-denominational Christian high school. Oh, who I am kidding - it was a Calvinist outpost of the local Dutch Reformed Church. It didn't kill me - it just turned a Southern Baptist into one of John Calvin's elect, but I digress... Anyhow, it's called Little Gems, from the Women's Division of the World Home Bible League in South Holland, Illinois. Now if that isn't the CRC, I don't know what is! I used to keep it on the clothes rod in my closet so that every morning when I got ready for school, I could read my little gem for the day. Suffice it to say, I have had this wonderful little treasure for about thirty-six years and I still look at it every day. It's been to college with me, the various offices I've worked in, my kitchen counter - even the bathroom. I brought it to the office with me this morning, and don't you know - I have a place for it right here in front of my computer monitor. Today's quote: God give me sympathy and sense, And help me keep my courage high; God give me calm and confidence, and, please, a twinkle in my eye.
The other night I watched this movie; my friend lent it to me and gave it two thumbs up. I'd never seen it - Tim hates dry humor and Albert Brooks - and I will have to admit that some of his movies have been real stinkers (Mother, The Muse) - but Defending Your Life was actually pretty good. Albert Brooks is Daniel Miller - a guy who is afraid of success in life - and he dies when he has a head-on collision with a bus. He gets to Judgement City - which is apparently a way station before the afterlife - and he is told by his defender, Rip Torn, that he has to defend his life. He meets Meryl Streep, who is unafraid of anything and really enjoyed her life - and seems to be enjoying the afterlife - and falls in love with her as she teaches him to find joy in whatever life brings. Anyhow, the whole gist of the story was pretty thought provoking: when we are called upon to defend our lives, will we be able to say that we embraced the joy of life or were we afraid of actually living? I'm not sure how theologically correct the film is, but it was a good movie. Check it out if you've never seen it.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The final frontier...

it's the disaster in my office store room! I've been sorting and donating and deciding what to sell and putting out bags of trash left and right. I managed to clear off a couple of shelves for my eBay stuff and made room for some shipping boxes. I've finally gotten it back into some semblance of order in preparation for tax season. It's only September, you say - but I usually spend most of October and November making Christmas cards for my clients. Last year I made three hundred identical holiday greetings! I did birthday cards for clients following my first tax season in my own office, but I got sidetracked this year and didn't do the birthday thing. I may spend December making birthday cards for the 2009 tax season. Hmmm - it's a thought and it will keep my hands and mind busy.

I always think the cards I make are sort of ugly, so my friend Dorene in California told me to send her some samples and let her decide whether they're ugly or not. So, here's a few of the cards I'm sending to her. I actually like the purple one in the middle - I think it turned out kinda cute. I can be color-impaired at times - but this one is okay. I need to look through my holiday stamps and come up with a Christmas design - one that's simple enough to make three hundred without losing my mind. Any suggestions? I have lot of holiday stamps to choose from.
And finally, tomorrow is the day I'm moving my antique desk from storage to my apartment. I hope it doesn't decide to rain. I have a plan. Seriously - a plan all written out about what's coming out of storage, what's staying at the office, what's leaving the office and going to my apartment and what's coming from my apartment - you get my drift. It would seem that my OCD is getting worse in my old age!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

It's my party...

and I'll blog if I want to... I tried to scan this adorable card that my dear friend, Carolyn, sent me, but I have somehow messed up the scanner and it wouldn't scan in color - so I did the next best thing. Isn't the kitten the cutest thing? I've been thinking about adopting a buddy for Pete... Anyhow, I'm fifty-one today and to borrow from Kathy G's blog title - today is the first day of the second half of my life. I should be so lucky to live to be a hundred years old - but you never know. I remember when I thought thirty was old!
Aggie did the funniest thing this morning. I was getting ready for work and sitting in a chair in the bedroom that is close to the mirror. She was running around like a banshee and I picked her up and said she owed me a birthday hug. Well, she saw herself in the mirror and after a stunned instant, began barking at the strange dog that her mom had the nerve to be holding. When I put her down, she kept jumping up and whining, as if to say: "Let me at that interloper!" She's pretty jealous of Monty, but this was even worse - another cairn! I guess I never realized that she's never really seen herself in the mirror. All the cats had experienced the revelation of reflection when they were kittens - which I love to watch - but apparently the dogs have been ignorant of their own reflections all these years. I tried showing Aggie herself in the hand mirror, but she was still trying to find that other dog.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Another Tuesday in paradise...

but I am not in the mood to work. Isn't that always the way? When I have next to nothing to do, I make my list and plow through it first thing in the morning. Then I have all afternoon to make cards, write or whatever - but those are the days when I am not feeling the least bit creative. Today I have a small pile of work to do and I don't feel like doing it - I'd rather work on my kitty cat scrapbook! I finally found an 8x8 book and refill pages for cheap at Target - and the pink cover is perfect with the Martha Stewart bandana (8x8!) background paper I got - with turquoise, pink, red and green to choose from. I'm not a scrapbooker - and I guess you shouldn't buy the paper before you have the book! Oh well. I also have all the pictures together and I have cut out most of the names on the Cricut - now to write the little kitty bio for each page. It's going to be really neat - if I cannot keep my cats, I will have this book where I can visit with them whenever I want. Silly, I know, but they are my children and I miss them so much. I love Aggie and Monty, but they're just not cats. Petey meowed at me this morning in greeting, but I haven't seen him yet today. I wish he'd had more Eddie training!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Another noir weekend...

I finally succumbed to the rain on Saturday and left the office early. I stopped at the grocery for a few staples and a lottery ticket (my weekly $1 gamble!) and discovered that David Baldacci had written a book between Stone Cold and The Whole Truth. So, for less than the price of a movie and popcorn, I brought Divine Justice home with me and suddenly those unexplained gaps between the last two books became clear. Duh! Now I want to go back and re-read The Whole Truth to make sure I have the story straight! Anyway, it was a great way to spend a rainy Saturday afternoon and evening - just me and the dogs.

It rained so much on Saturday that we had standing water up to the back sidewalk - it looked like a lake! I decided to just stay home on Sunday, listen to the constant chorus of croaking frogs and read pulp fiction. As you can see, I polished off four crime novels - none of which were truly great. I got spoiled by reading the Richard Stark/Donald Westlake books first; he's very funny and a great writer. If you've never read him, try What's the Worst That Could Happen. It's not that the criminals are bumbling, it's just the funny stuff that happens to them - it's also a movie with Martin Lawrence. Also, the William H. Macy movie A Slight Case of Murder, which was made for TNT and is out on DVD, is based on a Westlake novel. Very funny - I highly recommend it - but then I love murder and mayhem, particularly when it's humorous. I guess you could say I have a tendency toward the bloodthirsty. I've got six books to go in my stack of hard case crime - then it's back to that Stephen King book I just can't seem to finish...

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Why, oh why, did it have to rain today?

I had such big plans! I was at the office by 8:30 and the lady who bought my pub table came by and paid for it - but it was raining so hard, she and her husband are going to come back and pick it up on Monday afternoon. That's okay - this place is big enough for both tables for a couple of days, I thought to myself. But it just kept on raining. And raining. It's almost one - our appointed time for the trek to the storage unit and on to my apartment - it's still drizzling. As much as I don't want to make my friends, who have so graciously volunteered to help me, go out in the rain - I had such big plans. I know - God is laughing at me right about now. That happens alot, because I am always making plans. Someday I'll learn. On the other hand, this is good weather for curling up with a good book and the dogs. And maybe a nap.

Friday, September 11, 2009

In mysterious ways...

Isn't it funny how God helps us out every day? It really must have been a sign that I could not get the picture of the oak table to upload - because an hour after I listed the pub table and chairs on craigslist, a lady called me up and bought it. They are coming to pick it up tomorrow morning. The best part is that I get to keep the oak table I have loved for years now! My friends are also going to help me move my desk tomorrow afternoon and bring the oak table to the office where it has found new life as a conference table - like I have a lot of conferences. Seriously. I'm hoping we can unearth my sewing machine while we're there. Maybe - maybe not. That storage unit is packed full like twenty pounds of crap in a five pound bag.

Can you tell I'm excited about bringing my antique desk to its new home? I even hung my Queen of the Cupcakes print up in the kitchen last night. Nesting, I guess. Hee hee! I'm even redecorating my blog - how about this new look for autumn?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Me and my old-lady cart...

I've been sorting through stuff at home, collecting up stuff to take to the Salvation Army. I'm trying to make room for my antique desk and the dishes I want to keep. That's right - I'm getting ready for my storage unit craigslist/eBay/garage sale! My goal is to get the whole unit cleaned out by October 31. I'm hoping it will cool off enough by then so I don't cause my helpful friends Long and Richard to get sunstroke. Seriously. I'm getting rid of cookbooks I'll never use and stuff like that. I keep telling myself: travel light. Well, lighter, anyway. I'm also clearing out the back room at the office to make space for the stuff from the storage unit worth selling on eBay. I've already listed a nice leather recliner and a table and chairs on craigslist - we'll see how that goes. The funny thing is, I tried repeatedly yesterday to list my round oak pedestal table and the ad and picture would not upload for some reason. I think it was a sign - I really love that table and I just had it refinished when we moved. I realized that I should probably be trying to sell the pub table and chairs from the office - it's newer, has chairs and I'd make more money. Funny how God sometimes helps us out, isn't it? I'm going to bring the oak table to the office and use it with my red and blue bargain chairs ($10 each for solid oak). I like quirky better than matchy-matchy anyway!

So now I have my old-lady cart packed up with my artwork that's going home with me. I was convinced that all of these prints had been ruined in a rain mishap during the move, but miraculously, they dried out and seem none the worse for wear. If you haven't noticed, I'm a Mary Engelbreit nut and I love these three prints - especially the Queen of the Cupcakes - which is perfect for my kitchen. It's actually an early print from a book-signing that I bought in a junk store once for about ten bucks - I was sure I couldn't replace it. Happily, it turns out I didn't need to. And lately, I need the Snap Out of It print to get me out of the dumps! Besides, re-arranging and decorating my now permanent home makes me happy - and fortunately, I do know how to put a room together. Watch out HGTV!

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Down on the farm...

Tim went to visit the cats at the farm today. Eddie looks good - it's just strange to see him out of doors. He's only been outside once in his life! The lady who has adopted him says he doesn't go far from the barn or his brothers and sisters, so I suppose that's all right. I love this cat; he is the most wonderful cat I ever had. He hated my mother and once bit her on the head. That's not why I love Eddie, but after that particular incident, I often wondered if Eddie was the orange tiger incarnation of my dad.

This little orange guy - doesn't he look like Ed? - is one of the farm kittens. It seems that Eddie has taken him and his twin brother on as proteges. I hope they get some good Eddie training.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Noir weekend...

What a long, long weekend! I worked for awhile on Saturday, puttering around the office catching up on stuff, putting my Cricut software on the extra computer so I can leave the machine hooked up to that one, instead of having it in my every day work area, playing with the cat - important stuff like that. I decided to stay home on Sunday and Monday for "big hug" days with the dogs. We made cookies and had our usual summer holiday fare of hot dogs - which Aggie and Monty love - and I read five crime noir novels. When I'd had enough double-crossing murder and larceny, I watched a movie in somewhat the same genre: Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. Very weird, to say the least. I'm not a big Jude Law fan, but Gwyneth Paltrow does pretty well in those 1940's girl reporter roles. The film also had Giovanni Ribisi as the boy wonder techno-nerd - years ahead of his time - and Angelina Jolie as the commander of a flying aircraft carrier. Her character was quirky - complete with a leather get-up and an eye patch, which made those lips look even freakier. For a pretty woman, she has some disturbing looking lips. Actually, those blowfish lips are the stuff nightmares are made of. Freaky. I'm just saying.

Friday, September 04, 2009

My sister and I...

were not your typical Barbie-doll-playing kids of the late sixties and early seventies. We were raised in a house full of soap opera devotees (Search for Tomorrow, Love is a Many Splendored Thing, As the World Turns, Another World - and my favorite - The Edge of Night) and we re-enacted dramatic courtroom scenes, life-saving surgeries and murder investigations instead of Barbie and Ken dates, elaborate weddings and other typical girl stuff. I can remember being interrogated by my sister on several occasions: "Did you, or did you not, kill Danny Fargo?" And she was probably only about five at the time!
While my mother and grandmother introduced us to the soaps, my dad instilled in us a love of nightly newscasts and a fascination with all things political. We watched the news with Daddy while Eric Sevareid reported somberly on the day's casualties in Viet Nam while wearing his jaunty lemon-yellow sport coat. I have no idea how many times I heard Walter Cronkite say, "And that's the way it was." We were glued to the television by the assassinations of Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr. We were probably the only kids on our block who understood the political ramifications of Teddy Kennedy's unfortunate auto accident on the bridge at Chappaquiddick and who Mary Jo Kopechne even was. But our real obsession was Watergate and Richard Nixon. We faithfully watched the hearings and reported on the proceedings nightly for my father. My sister did a dead-on impersonation of Sam Ervin who was constantly coming before America with a heavy heart, or so he said. We were familiar with Woodward and Bernstein even before Redford and Hoffman made them larger-than-life in All the President's Men. We had our own semi-weekly newspaper in which we chronicled current events, most notably the whole lengthy Watergate debacle. Oddly enough, I was always the more conservative Woodward and Debbie was the liberal Bernstein - especially odd because she is now an even more rabid Republican than Rush!

Yes, this trip down memory lane really is leading up to something. Something funny, actually. Over the past week, everyone who knew the late Senator Kennedy has spoken quite nicely about him, delivering heartfelt eulogies and anecdotes about having served with him in Congress. I was reminded of an essay by the late Lewis Grizzard which was published during the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings during which Mr. Kennedy served as a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Grizzard wrote something to the effect that he didn't care if Clarence Thomas stripped naked and stood on his desk to read Anita Hill the letters from Penthouse, he was still a better man than Ted Kennedy. I had to laugh at that - even though, given Justice Thomas' performance on the bench (or silence thereon), I'm not sure his eventual confirmation was in the nation's best interests. I was also reminded that I have a Ted Kennedy anecdote of my own - well, sort of. In the mid nineties, my sister the rabid Republican, went to work in Washington. For the first several months, she was starstruck and called me every couple of days to tell me what famous person she had met. She was practically incoherent the day she was introduced to Sonny Bono. One afternoon she called and before I could say hello, she shrieked: "Guess who I met today!" I think I said something like, "The President?" No - she told me to guess again. "John Glenn?" Of course, I was thinking of people that I would have been thrilled to meet. No - one more guess. I thought for a minute and guessed, "Sandra Day O'Connor?" My responses were met with an exasperated sigh. Wrong, apparently. Debbie proceeded to tell me that she was walking from her office building to the Capitol through one of the tunnels and suddenly this golf cart appeared beside her. The gentleman in the cart stopped and asked if she would like a ride to the Capitol. I said, "That's nice. Who was this gentleman?" I know the pause before her answer was for dramatic effect - and then she said, "Ted Kennedy." I was gobsmacked. I could hardly speak. I sputtered, "You got into a moving vehicle with Ted Kennedy?" She laughed and replied, "It was okay - we didn't drive over water."

Thursday, September 03, 2009

I found...

Tim's old laptop computer on the shelf in the back room at the office and amazingly, it still works! I installed my WordPerfect Office software on it and I am going to take it home with me so I can write at night. Since I had the cable disconnected, I've been reading, doing crosswords and watching an occasional DVD - but I decided that I'd probably get more written on my great American novel if I typed it instead of writing longhand. And, I should probably admit, I installed my Scrabble software on the laptop, too. Aggie and Monty aren't much on playing games - especially Scrabble.

The other night we watched Down With Love, a cute romantic comedy with Renee Zellweger and Ewan McGregor. Of course, I kept thinking Bridget Jones meets young ObiWan Kenobi - but that's just me. It was okay, but I prefer the old Rock Hudson and Doris Day movies. Last night after our gourmet dinner of Eggo waffles with peanut butter, the dogs and I watched Connie and Carla - which was actually quite funny. I mean, how can any movie with drag queens not be funny? I loved To Wong Foo, and while Patrick Swayze and John Leguizamo made great women, Wesley Snipes needs to stick to being a man. Flawless, with Robert DeNiro and Philip Seymour Hoffman, is another great drag queen movie. Funny, great story and definitely worth checking out if you've never seen it. I was also glad that someone finally decided to educate the masses about where the term drag came from: it originated with Shakespeare. If you've seen Shakespeare in Love, or just studied his work, you know that women did not appear in the theatre and all of the parts were played by men. In the stage direction for his work, Shakespeare would note that a character would enter "dressed as girl" and hence the term drag evolved. Just another UBI (useless bit of information), but I was surprised when one of the queens in Connie and Carla explained the term to one of his friends.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

My week is improving...

I mean, how could it get too much worse? Petey, the office cat, let me get his picture this morning. We had a big snuggle and he purred. Isn't he a handsome boy? He still spends most of his day sleeping, but I think he's a happy guy.

My car will be ready this afternoon - and thank heaven - it's only going to be $166 - not nearly as much as I had originally thought. The problem turned out to be a leaky vacuum hose in the fuel delivery system and that set off the key problem and the security issue. I'm just thankful it wasn't a major repair with a major price tag.

I also finally finished all of my scanning from last tax season. Everything is filed away electronically and I have shredded all of the papers with sensitive taxpayer information. I love it when a project is complete and I can check it off my to-do list. Obsessive compulsives unite!

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Today is the first day...

of the rest of my life, or so I told myself this morning as I trekked up the sidewalk from my apartment to my SUV. Get in, turn the key and while the dang thing started, it refused to keep running. So, I called AAA and asked for roadside assistance. "Is it your battery or do you need a tow truck?" asked the oh-so-polite-had-to-be-a-blonde on the other end of the line. I replied that I did not know, but I was fairly sure it wasn't the battery or the alternator, since the car started and the battery was showing charged on the meter on the dashboard. Well, thirty minutes later a battery man arrived and when I described the symptoms, he called a tow truck. Another thirty minutes and I now know that God does indeed have a sense of humor - a one-armed man driving a tow truck appeared and tentatively diagnosed the problem as a security issue with the alarm system. Mind you, this SUV does not have an alarm, but I did not want to argue. Actually, I was more fascinated with how that guy was going to manage to get that enormous SUV on the tow truck. I needn't have worried because he did just fine and I should be ashamed of myself for thinking that his handicap would stand in the way of his doing his job, but I am possessed of a warped sense of humor and I couldn't help myself. I mean, I couldn't have gotten the SUV even remotely lined up to get it on the truck - who am I kidding? I am sure I've been punished for my negative thoughts with the ever-skyrocketing repair bill. Karma, you know.

Speaking of karma, or whatever you want to call it, there is a reason why today was the first day of the rest of my life. First of all, it's September 1st and the first day of a month is always a good day for new beginning. Secondly, I've barely been coherent or able to function like a productive adult since last Tuesday morning, when my husband decided to rip my heart out and hand it to me. He does not want to be married anymore. Consequently, I am not moving to Pennsylvania or anywhere else. Tim has successfully adopted out (with the help of a family who owns a farm) all but six of our cats: Eddie, Sophie, Lucie Bee, Walter, Louie and Berny. I desperately want to bring my fourteen-year-old cat Eddie back home to Florida, but I don't hold out much hope of that happening. Apparently everyone who meets him wants to adopt him - but I've had Eddie around longer than Tim and I just can't give Eddie up. Something told me back in January that I should keep Eddie here with me, but I didn't do it because he's the head boy and the other cats loved him. He was the leader of the pack.
So anyway, I gave myself until this morning to get it together and well, you can imagine how that went. First the car problem - my friend Richard came and picked me up at the condo - we had planned to sort out junk at the office that I could either put on craigslist for sale or take to Goodwill - and then the day just sort of went downhill from there. We went to the storage unit - that tightly-packed abomination you can see above - to take pictures of my table and some other stuff, but after surveying the mess, we decided that we need to get some of the junk out of there first, so in a week or so I'm going to lead an expedition to the wilds of unit E41 and put stuff bound for the office in my friend Long's van and stuff for Goodwill in the back of my SUV. I think we can clean it out twice as fast that way and then I can take pictures of the big stuff that I plan to divest myself of since I won't be moving away.

That is some bad paragraph - and I fancy myself a writer... But you get the gist of this post - my goal today was to get it together (as best I can) and start moving on. I think I made a pretty good start - at least I have some kind of plan. I know this isn't going to be easy, but then, whose life really is?