Friday, July 30, 2010

My New Favorite Writer?

I don't know if I'd go that far. Chuck Palahniuk is a damned good writer. His stories are easy to read and to follow and his characters are interesting. Of course when someone begins his story by saying, "Don't read this book," you know I have to find out why.

The plots are just plain weird, and the plot twists are weirder. There's no way on earth I could have ever picked up the first book I read, Choke, and expect a man to choke on his meal so he can sponge off his rescuer, over and over and over again. It was good. It was funny. Somehow, though, I don't know how I can say this about any book that is just so weird, but as unexpected as each plot and twist is, the endings aren't. I think I figured them out about half way through each book. Go figure.....

Monday, July 19, 2010

Flight to California

My heart goes out to my kids. Jon and Gloria have been planning a trip to California for months. They got their flight months ago, with hotel room and car, and they made plans to meet up with one of Gloria's friends who lives out there. Jon even went as far as to pay his bills up a month in advance so he wouldn't have to worry about how much he had to spend.

They were scheduled to take off this morning at 6AM. Their flight was suppose to go out of Midway. Anyway, their alarms didn't go off and their ride didn't show up. They drove to her mother's house to have her mother drive. Mom took the wrong turn and wound up at the wrong terminal. It only took a few minutes to find where they were suppose to go, but those few minutes proved crucial. They arrived at 6:33, a full three minutes after they closed the gate. They weren't allowed to board.

Instead they were told they would have to fly standby. There were two more flights departing from Midway, one taking off at noon and one at 6PM. The noon flight came around and one seat became available. Rather than one taking that flight, they decided to wait until they could fly out together. The airline decided though, that their luggage would take that flight. Unfortunately there weren't any seats on the 6PM seats either.

So after waiting at the airport all day long, they are now spending the night at her brother's place, and without a change no less. We're praying that their luggage doesn't get lost, although we're betting on the idea that when they land in California, they'll learn their luggage was returned to Chicago.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

A Pact

I started walking in the evening of late. Sheeba is not very good on the leash, so I figured that the exercise I'd get from walking would be wonderful, but the struggle to keep the dog in line would be even more beneficial. She's either stopping to smell something, or bouncing like a fool when she sees someone she wants to visit it. Either way, I have to tug at her to get her to do what I want.

Mike usually follows us. Now he's another problem. He will stay a half of block behind us, so I stop all the time, to call out to him to catch up. Now figure cats are territorial. There are times as we walk when Mike will cross the street and walk even with us. I know for sure that at the one point he does it most often, there's a big, old tom cat that lives there. I also noticed that if he's someplace he isn't sure of, he'll catch up with us and walk step for step at Sheeba's side. Now figure that's Sheeba's best friend. Some mean old cat tries to take something up with Mike, Sheeba would bite him in half. Surprisingly we don't see many cats on our walks.

The neighbors at this point are coming out to look at us. Tonight we walked by a family who sat on their stoop as their boys played soccer on the parkway. I have to admit that we make kind of a comical procession; me, my dog and my cat. One little boy ran up to Mike, pointing at him. "Kitty! Kitty!" Mike hurried to catch up to Sheeba again.

I confess that after about four outings, I tried to blow it off.

Jon took issue with that as I dearly need all the exercise I can get. So just to make him happy, I began again after about a week's break. So last night, these two started in on me. I hadn't taken them the night before, and they weren't going to have it again. Mike moved to sit in front of my computer screen as Sheeba placed her front feet on my chair and howled. I gave in and got the leash. We did four blocks last night. Tonight after they ganged up on me again, we did six blocks. I have no doubt they won't leave me alone tomorrow. I don't get it. This dog only kind of understands my cats, and yet they both know when it's time for a walk. So, I hate tugging at Sheeba's leach and calling for Mike to catch up. But maybe this isn't such a bad thing. They can use the exercise, too.

Friday, July 16, 2010


I really think this kitten is the cutest little thing I've ever met. She's about 8 months old now, and is still not very big. Although her feet are huge. The older she gets the more adept she is at using her thumbs. I mean she really uses them like thumbs, or as close to opposable digits as physically possible.

Becki bought her a pink collar. I forgot how well pink goes with gray. It looks so feminine and dainty on her. It has a double row of rhinestones and a little bell. Becki bought matching ones for the boys. J.J. got green to go with his eyes, and Mike got purple just because the only other color in his size was pink. It took them a couple of weeks, but somehow they boys managed to lose theirs. Scrambles still has hers, and thankfully I can hear her coming.

First thing in the morning, she starts to run. If I forget to close our bedroom door, she usually cruises the bed at high speed, being sure to aim for one of our stomachs. I love her as much as I've loved other kittens, but early morning is not a good time for me without her acting like an idiot.

I allowed Becki to bring her home just because my boys, Mike and J.J., aren't good mousers. Considering they're already here, and even if Mike pisses me off from day to day, they're still my babies. There's no way I could turn them out. So when Scrambles decided that she loves to chase mice, it made my heart feel good. I hate mice. Last week alone she caught three.

She's also the loudest animal I ever met. When Becki brought her home, she had her hidden in her pocket. We couldn't see a bulge even, but we heard her. From outside, meowing at the top of her lungs, my God, it was almost deafening. Last week we were trying to tell Jon how loud she is. He didn't believe it, especially since she wouldn't get loud once we got her meowing. At least not until he left.

Anyway, there's another side to her personality that just blows my mind. She adores Sheeba. I wish I had a picture of it. Sheeba will be sitting on the floor and Scrambles will walk right up to her and rub cheeks with the dog. Sheeba isn't quite sure what to do about it, but you can tell that in spite of her confusion, she likes Scrambles, too.

Well, Becki brought home a turtle she calls Zanzibar, and damned if this thing doesn't swim to the front of the tank as if to say hi. Well Scrambles is so intrigued about this, she'll go into the bedroom and sit next to the tank for hours. We figured if the tank didn't have a lid, she'd probably go fishing. That is until the day we found her sitting on the lid, purring her butt off. Zanzi was sitting comfortably on the rock right below the kitten.

Becki brought home a rabbit next. We were suppose to be rabbit sitting while its owners went on vacation. I think Becki figured we'd just fall in love and let her keep it. I was tempted, but there's too many animals now. Chris finally took it.

We spent most of the time it was here trying to rename it. The original owners called it Hagrith (sp?), like the giant in Harry Potter. Bill and I opted for Harvey, like the 6 foot rabbit in the movie. He said Harvey Wallbanger, and I said Harvey Headcase. Becki came up with a different name everyday. We finally decided to call it someone else's rabbit when it looked like no one was going to pick it up.

Getting back to Scrambles, she decided she liked the rabbit, too. One more time, we caught her either rubbing up the cage with her cheek, or sitting on top and purring. I won't mention the unmentionable act the rabbit was involved in with the tube inside it's cage. It is a male, and it is a rabbit. I'll leave the rest to your imagination.

I had enough of that behavior today. Ed, who is laid up at the moment with a wrenched knee, asked Chris to help him with the air conditioner in his room. It was leaning in and dripping on the floor. So anyway, Chris went through the garage, looking for something to use to tilt it in the other direction. He came up with a brick and a piece of wood. He found the wood worked best. Once he had it fixed, he left the brick on the chair in Ed's room. That's where I found Scrambles. Sitting next to the brick, rubbing it with her cheek and purring her ass off. I'm just thankful she isn't that sweet to the mice.

Ed has been laid up now for two weeks. I will say that it hasn't been as bad as it could be waiting on him. The thing that intrigues me is that most of the animals, with the exception of Mike and Scrambles, aren't that close to him. Since he's been hurt though, I can usually find at least two animals curled up next to him. It's like they take turn taking care of him.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Monk In our Backyard

I came across a comment after my last post. Apparently the reader was confused about what ghosts had to do with jewelry. She had a good point. I was attempting to relay Becki's, who is now selling jewelry, continuing experiences with 'other worldly' beings. Just to be sure I don't confuse anyone else, I figured I should probably add a link to the original story about the Monk in our backyard. Becki and I are still going around and around about why it took two complete strangers to get me to believe something she's been telling me since she was little. Anyway, read the story, and I hope you enjoy it.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Jewelry, Craft Shows and Ghosts

I hate to make excuses, but seriously, I have a few. Work has been confusing at best. We've been busy. And I've been paying more attention to Travian, Helium and my newest blog, Politics - My Way. I can't go through life without shooting off my mouth, so let that be the place.

Ed and Becki are getting ready to return to school, which is good. Along with that, Gloria and Chris both mentioned that they want to as well. I'm thrilled. None of them have work, with the exception of Gloria, so they might as well go to school. It can't hurt to have something bigger and better to offer when the economy straightens up. As President Obama explained about the Stimulus and the Health Care Reform, there are provisions for greater education opportunities just because as the needs of the economy changes, so will the jobs. Not only will we need our younger workers to better educate themselves, but we will need our older workers from time to time to broaden their understanding and abilities as technology advances. This is a good thing.

So Becki has been busy selling jewelry, which isn't as easy as it sounds. The product is nice and it is expensive, which is the last thing anyone wants to spend money on now. Where she's finding buyers, she's not finding hostesses. We did a craft show a few weeks ago. To say we received an education here, is an understatement. We sold five pieces all together, for a decent total. A problem arose when we took a book order from a young lady who shouldn't have ordered anything. Without going into details, it proved to be a nightmare. As I told Becki yesterday when we discussed it, when we sell at craft shows for now on, it will be from the jewelry we have on display and not from the catalogs. She agreed whole heartedly.

Gloria held a party for her. She lives way out south and neither Becki nor I are familiar with the neighborhood. I was unbelievably ill that day, but I insisted I would go with Becki just because the old van is ready for the junkyard, and I was afraid she'd get lost. So we got lost together. On the way home, we got turned around, and we found ourselves further south of where we were suppose to be, and in the middle of the night at that. Not to mention we were in one of 'those' neighborhoods that the Southside is famous for. We found directions easily enough, and we were able to get home, but it took a lot longer than it took to get there. I thank God that we stayed safe, because obviously the neighborhood we were in has a bad reputation.

Becki was asked to babysit for a friend of Jon's. When she came home after having spent the day there, she said, "Mom, that house is screwed up!"

It took me a good couple of seconds before I realized what she meant. "You mean Jon didn't tell you about that place?"

"You mean he told you?" She said that when she first arrived, she heard a lot of commotion in the kitchen, but considering it wasn't her house, she assumed it was the noises that are unique to every house. They had a cat who spent most of his time in the back room, so she assumed maybe it was him. But when she went to get a change for the baby from the baby's room, she said, she felt something in there and it didn't like her at all.

Checking around I learned that the baby's brother doesn't sleep in his room every night because he feels uncomfortable there. I was told that one sitter was holding the baby in her arms and began to fall asleep. She woke up when someone tried to take the baby from her. "That could be a good thing," I told her. "Someone is protecting the baby."

"Scared the hell out of me," the person told me. "I won't go back there."

Later Becki had a jewelry party at a home where the previous owner was a clock collector. She said she felt his presence when she walked through the door. When she mentioned it to the owner, she was told that every so often what is left of the collection winds itself up and sets off the alarms.

Then yesterday Becki invited her friends from Chris's car club over for a fire. She said it was kind of embarrassing. The monk came out for the first time in months, and it followed her around the yard. I told her she has to be firm and tell it not to bother her. "Yeah, Mom. These people already think I'm nuts. What are they going to say if the catch me talking to the invisible monk in the back yard?"

Ah, good question.

Did I mention Ed and his buddies where having a fire in the yard when he threw his knee out? Poor kid has been laid up all weekend. He spent his Fourth sitting in the emergency room at Cook County waiting for someone to come look at him. Jon, too. It was suppose to be Jon's birthday party, only Jon had to drive. My brakes went out so I couldn't. Anyway, Ed is wearing a brace and I am waiting on him hand and foot. He hasn't been so bad that I'm ready to strangle him, so I won't complain. It's hot here and he isn't. Not so bad I guess.