Thursday, December 20, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #74

Thursday Thirteen Header Graphic - Christmas13 Items from Fiction That I Would Like for Christmas

1. There is a lot from the Harry Potter books that I would like, so I'm only going to limit myself to a few. The first item I would like is my own House Elf. Just think how much help it would be with the cooking and cleaning!

2. From "Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles," I would like the Jolly Boat. This beautiful boat is powered by laughter and comes with a special "fountain" that will make whatever ice cream treat you want.

3. How about a seasons pass to visit Willie Wanka's Chocolate Factory whenever I want?

4. The flying car that Harry and Ron borrowed from Ron's dad and flew to Hogwarts? But I'd want it before it became feral in the Forbidden Forest.

5. I would like to get Bilbo's sword, Sting. I'm sure the fact that it glows when orcs are nearby would come in handy here in Creekistan.

6. From Star Trek, I'd love to get a Replicator. Be handy in the kitchen: "Cafe Mocha, please!"

7. Also from Star Trek, a Transporter. Would be great to get everyone to school on time, and it would save on gas and wear and tear on the flying car.

8. An Ewok. They're just cute and they would love living here in the forest.

9. The Time Machine from H.G. Wells. Just for quick trips into the past or future. I'd try not to step on a moth.

10. There are a lot of robots I'd like, but I guess my pick would be C2PO or other protocol droid. Handy at helping with guests, but also good at diagnosing problems with the other gadgets around the house.

11. Batman's self-driving car. I'd never have to worry about where I parked again--just speak into my communication watch and tell the car to come get me. But when my kids get old enough to drive, I'd have to program an override so they couldn't borrow it. Perhaps I'll let them use the flying car.

12. A Halodeck. I wouldn't have to leave home to go on vacation. I could make up my own environment and do role-playing. Everyone in the family would love it!

13. Lastly, I would like "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy." Not only would it be a wealth of information, but its take on things are refreshing. I'd have to help write the portion about humans on Earth.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #73

My 13 Favorite Chuck Norris "Facts"

1. When the Boogeyman goes to sleep every night, he checks his closet for Chuck Norris.

2. Chuck Norris knows the last digit of pi.

3. Chuck Norris does not sleep. He waits.

4. The leading causes of death in the United States are: 1. Heart Disease 2. Chuck Norris 3. Cancer

5. Guns don't kill people. Chuck Norris kills People.

6. Chuck Norris is the reason why Waldo is hiding.

7. Chuck Norris counted to infinity - twice.

8. Chuck Norris can lead a horse to water AND make it drink.

9. Chuck Norris does not get frostbite. Chuck Norris bites frost.

10. Chuck Norris wears a live rattlesnake as a condom.

11. When Chuck Norris says "More cowbell", he MEANS it.

12. When Chuck Norris does a pushup, he isn’t lifting himself up, he’s pushing the Earth down.

13. One day Chuck Norris walked down the street with a massive erection. There were no survivors.

More can be found at

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #72

You may not know that I grew up in Omaha, and spent a lot of that time in the Westroads Mall. It was the closest and biggest mall in our area of town and it had plenty of ways to keep us occupied. In light of the shooting that happened there yesterday, I'd like to share memories of that mall:

  1. My earliest memories of Westroads was standing in line to see Santa. They had an impressive animated display, complete with a Santa's workshop, moving elves and reindeer, and everything imaginable to make a kid stand there with their mouth open for several minutes. I only stood in line to see the display, and refused to see Santa, much to the dismay of my parents.
  2. When the mall was young, it did not have a food court. But it did have Bishops Cafeteria! You grabbed a tray, and as you went down the line, you can choose whatever foods you wanted. They would total it up at the end. I remember always getting a Jetsons plate with ham, green beans, and the best macaroni and cheese ever made.
  3. There was a cheap theater in the mall. My father and I used to go on Saturday mornings and see Star Wars--for as long as it was playing in the theater. I think we did this about 12 times!
  4. When my half-sister was staying with us, she used to take me to the mall on Saturday. We used to always see a movie--no matter what was playing. I remember seeing some really bad ones: Escape from Witch Mountain, Heaven Can Wait, and Hanger 18.
  5. When the phone company was de-monopolized (aka deregulated), an Omaha Bell store was put in so that you can buy your own phone! They had a display were you can call other phones in the store, and we'd do this for as long as they'd let us.
  6. The Montgomery Wards had a candy counter where my Dad would always buy chocolate stars with the white little balls on them. They sold balloons, too, but my Mother hated balloons and he'd get in trouble if he bought me one.
  7. My Mother worked at the Montgomery Wards for many years. She worked in the back at the very old-fashioned switchboard. It was the kind with all the wires and holes and you had to put the right wire in the right hole to connect someone to the right extension. I'd sneak back and watch her and ask for more money.
  8. When I was a young teen, my Mother would take me and a friend to the mall while she worked. I guess we were considered early Mall Rats.
  9. My best friend's mother owned a t-shirt shop on the lowest floor in a corner. We'd go just to say "Hi" (she didn't live with her Mother.) But it was the kind of store where you can pick out the shirt and the transfer and they'd put it on for you with a steamer. I remember getting a baseball jersey with a rainbow. I also remember they had a shirt that on the front that said, "To entertain an idiot, see other side." It said the same thing on the back.
  10. If I had extra money, I'd always buy an Orange Julius. I almost never had extra money.
  11. My first boyfriend bought me a bracelet there and had it engraved with my name on one side and "Love, (name)" on the other. We went there on my birthday.
  12. One of the last things I did before boarding the plane to move to Ohio, was go to that t-shirt shop I mentioned earlier. I bought a shirt that said, "London, England (with a picture of Big Ben); Rome, Italy (tower of Pisa); Paris, France (Eiffel Tower)' and Omaha, Nebraska (cow)."
  13. Whenever I visit Omaha, I go to Westroads. It's very different now and looks nothing like I remember. But it has a food court that still has Orange Julius and a Runza Hut. If you've never had a Runza, you should.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Christmas Answer #2: Christmas Trees

The Christmas tree is another example of the Christianization of pagan or secular traditions that celebrate the Winter Solstice. Christmas trees are evergreen, remaining green all year round. Evergreens have always been important during winter solstice because they reminded people that things were not all dead, and that Spring would come again.

Many cultures in many different lands used evergreens to decorate during the wintertime. Some of those were Egyptians, Romans, Druids, and Vikings. Our modern tradition can be traced back to 1570 Germany, when a small fir was decorated with apples, nuts, dates, pretzels and paper flowers. Children would collect the treats on Christmas day.

I've never had a real Christmas tree at home. I look forward to the day when we can go out and find one on our land and bring it home. But for now, we're happy with our cheap, Wal*Mart pre-lit tree. To me, it's still just as pretty and more friendly to the environment. I can't help but think about all those poor trees that are destroyed for a couple of weeks of enjoyment.


Sunday, November 25, 2007

Christmas Answer #1

Yesterday we put up our Christmas decorations. I knew my husband, a well-known Grinch, was gone for the afternoon, providing us the opportunity to get out the tree (fake, pre-lit) and all the other festive items. My son, who is 7 years-old asked me a lot of questions about the Christmas traditions that I could not answer. Why do people put an angel or a star on top of their tree? What is "Noel"? Why Santa Clause? Why put out colored lights and decorations at all?

I don't like answering his questions with "because we have always done that." We are not particularly religious, so I want to give him satisfying answers that are based on fact, tradition, and not stories that were hijacked by a particular belief and changed to satisfy those beliefs. So I'm doing a little bit of research and would like to share some of my findings.

By the way, we were completely done and had everything cleaned up by the time my husband came home. He said, "A Christmas Bomb went off while I was gone." But I know that deep down he really likes the colored lights. In fact, he slept in the living room last night with the tree on the entire time.

Christmas Answer #1: Why December 25th?
Before I try to answer that question, we have to learn a little about Winter Solstice. A solstice occurs twice a year, whenever Earth's axis tilts the most toward or away from the Sun, causing the Sun to be farthest north or south at noon. The winter solstice, which happens around December 22nd or 23rd, is when the days are the shortest of the entire year, and the nights are really long. At least that's true for the Northern hemisphere. We have to remember that in the Southern hemisphere, it's the opposite, and that Christmas time happens during their Summer!

A very long time ago, people became afraid that the nights would become longer and longer, and the sun would disappear altogether! They would especially be afraid at the time of the Winter Solstice. However, the wise people would notice that by December 25th, the days were getting longer again! Then it was time to celebrate the return of the sun.

Many cultures and religions have celebrations around the time of the Winter Solstice. For example, the Jewish holiday, Hanukkah, or the Muslim holiday of Ramadan.

But for the answer of Why December 25th for Christmas? Here's the short answer: No one really knows the day that Jesus was born, but they suspect that it was probably in the Fall. Early Christian church leaders selected December 25th because this was already the date recognized throughout the Roman Empire as the birthday of various Pagan gods. So, basically, it was already being celebrated for the birth of some gods, why not their god, Jesus? Eventually, when Christianity became more popular, they dropped the other gods and focused on Christianity's one god.

Religious from Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance:

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #71

Today is Thanksgiving and I should be cooking my Mother's special creamy mashed potatoes, but I still have time. I already made the cranberry relish and cranberry chutney, so I'm just about set to go to my Sister-in-Law's home for a nice dinner. But first things first, I need to get my Thursday Thirteen for the week up!

13 Things I'm Thankful For

1. My daughter is fully potty trained. No more diapers for me! Except those that she wears at night--but that's just fine with me. The only problem is that she's so tiny, I can't get pants to fit her around the waist! Most pants in her size are made for toddlers who still wear diapers.

2. My son understands and appreciates the humor of Monty Python. Not bad for a 7-year-old! The other day we were talking and I said, "Well, I didn't expect the Spanish Inquisition!" and he responded correctly, "No one expects the Spanish Inquisition!" and he grabbed a pillow and started torchering me.

3. My daughter has stopped sucking her thumb. She did this all by herself. She got a sore on her thumb (probably from too much sucking!) and requested a bandage. We kept the bandage on for a few days, and after a few grumpy days and nights, she was done with the thumb!

4. My son lost his first tooth this week. Probably one of the teeth that bit me while I was nursing! I'm thankful that he's growing and becoming a young man.

5. I'm extremely thankful for my neighbor, Brad. He's single-handadly responsible for bringing us to Creekistan and helping fix the house. All of the beautiful work done on the house is his.

6. My piano. We finally got a piano about a year ago, and I've been playing it just about every day. I've started teaching my children how to read music and play. I'm even giving lessons to a friend's little girl. My Grandmother would have been proud.

7. Satellite radio. I enjoy having good reception and a choice of stations. The only regular radio stations I can get around here are religious or country. Now I can listen to whatever I want.

8. Satellite internet. Since I can't get cable or DSL service here, it was our only choice for high-speed Internet.

9. Netflix. We don't get any TV stations and don't want satellite TV, so Netflix is our lifesaver! The turnaround is pretty fast (send movie back, day 1; Netflix receives movie and sends another one, day 2; and receive new movie at home, day 3.) Except for those days we suspect that our mail carrier is watching our movies before delivering them to us!

10. My laptop. I would go insane if I didn't have a decent computer with good software to work from.

11. Being able to stay at home full time. Yes it's hard living on only one income when you're used to two, but it's not that bad. My kids appreciate it, my home is running better, and I'm less stressed.

12. The beauty of the forest that I live in. Each season shows something new and interesting. I was sad to see all the leaves fall from the trees, but now I can see more sky between the branches. And now I can walk deeper into the forest without getting lost in the underbrush.

13. My husband is officially done with his Doctorate. We completed his dissertation earlier this week, it got approved, and now we're waiting on confirmation that early next month, he will officially be Dr. Evil Composer.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #70

If it says "Forward this to (insert number here) friends and (insert positive action here) will happen," I almost immediately delete it, no matter what hex may befall me. I've been e-mailing for over 10 years and I've seen lots of hoaxes and bogus stories, and all kinds of e-mails. And I'm not afraid to tell the sender the truth.

Now I'm starting to see the old messages come around again. I guess, as far as e-mail is concerned, there's a sucker born every minute. Now that people who were initially reluctant to get e-mail or just didn't know how, are finally using e-mail. Those new users are gullible to the old hoaxes, just as I was over 10 years ago. I'm just amazed that these hoaxes cannot be killed off.

13 of My (not-so) Favorite E-Mail Hoaxes

1. Those that say "forward to 5 friends and see what happens!". Basically this doesn't work except to put yet another FW: e-mail address on a list and more of those annoying >>>>> all over the message so that it's hard to read the original text.

2. The Koran ( 9:11 ) says " . . . the wrath of the Eagle cleansed the lands of Allah." No such passage exists. It's purely a hoax to play on American patriotism.

3. Applebees will not give out $50 gift certificates to anyone who forwards a certain e-mail message to 5 friends.

4. Putting Vicks VapoRub on the bottom of your feet will cure night-time coughs. I just have to laugh!

5. Glade Plug-Ins will cause fires. I have received this warning message several times. After investigation, I found out that this is simply not true. It it was, they would have taken it off the market by now!

6. Kidnappers who snatch children in stores (or other public place), take them to a bathroom, cut their hair, and change their clothes. Frightening, and even plausible, but not true.

7. An Essay titled "The Paradox of our Time" was written by George Carlin. Simply not true! This is just another one of those laundry lists that cites everything that is wrong with today. Carlin didn't write such sentimental bull sh*t.

8. An atheist group is trying to get the FCC to ban religious radio stations. Simply untrue. The FCC has no authority to ban religious programming.

9. A form of the drug, Meth, called Strawberry Quik, is being handed out to children and it looks like candy. Okay, I'm sure it does look like candy. But drug dealers can't afford to give out bags of meth for Halloween.

10. Paul Harvey did not do a show on how Hillary Clinton helped two Black Panthers get away with murder, also untrue.

11. Any e-mail petition. They simply do not work and have no legality.

12. You do not have to register your cell phone on the Do Not Call registry.

13. Just in time for the holidays, the "Merry Christmas Virus" e-mail claims that a message with an attachment named "Merry Christmas" contains a virus that will "burn" the hard drive on the infected computer. No such virus exists, and if you have up-to-date virus protection software, (or a Mac, like me) you'll be okay. Just so you know, a virus cannot be passed around in a simple e-mail message. It can, however, be embedded in an attachment.

Just a quick word: Don't forward anything to all your friends and family if you are not sure of the validity of the message. Confirm it on or just do a simple Internet search!


Thursday, November 08, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #69

13 Things that Happened This Week

1. The shingles are almost all on the house, with a few hard-to-reach spots still left bear. Hopefully that will be done soon!

2. I joined The FlyLady's mailing list - She help with reminders and suggestions for housecleaning and organizing, something I need. So far, I've cleaned my ceiling fans and kept my refrigerator clean, all in about 15 minutes a day.

3. My husband and a friend started their fall deer hunting. Right now they can hunt with a bow. So far, Humans 0, Bambi 1.

4. We cleaned out the storage bin that we've had since we moved to Creekistan. It contained all the stuff we didn't really need and furniture we didn't want in the way while we work. It's all sitting in the Bee House now. I may never need that stuff again.

5. I'm just about done transferring landscaping to my yard from a friend's yard. They recently purchased the house and don't want the bushes and plants that the previous owners planted for better curb appeal. I think they are crazy, but I'll take the free stuff!

6. It's getting cold, so now I have to get out the winter stuff and put away the summer stuff. Seems that my kids have outgrown the winter stuff from last year and now I need to find them warmer clothes.

7. I decided to start an eBay consignment business, tentatively named "Git-R-Gone". A lot of the folks around here have junk they want to sell but don't know how to use eBay. That's where I come in! My first client has some "collec table" burlap bags. We'll have to see how that goes!

8. While cleaning out the storage bin, I found out that I have too many kids books--if that is possible! I love having lots of books around, but I don't have enough shelves. I may have to purge some and donate them to the library.

9. I did manage to find my favorite children's chapter book, "Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles," and have been reading it to my kids. I recommend this book to everyone, adult or kid. It was given to me on my 9th birthday and has seen better days, but it can still be read and loved.

10. I'm putting the final touches on my husband's dissertation for his doctorate. Since he's a composer, it's a musical score, but not an ordinary score. It's very graphical and contains sections that call for particular beans to be placed in wood or metal bowls or balloons with rice inside to be swirled around. It's not easy trying to put that into picture/musical score form.

11. I also finished my Mother's Christmas letter. Since I do graphic design, I created the border and placed the text inside. I'm arguing with her about not using red text--I've always recommended staying away from red as it is hard on the eyes. She wants it to have a festive look. What do you think?

12. I, on the other hand, still have Halloween decorations to put away, let alone think about Christmas. But trips to the stores are a tempting reminder since they already have the trees up and decorated.

13. I managed to shoot an arrow into and help kill a large, grumpy possum that was irritating us. Something must have been wrong with it since it wouldn't move from it's spot in our yard. I didn't feel bad about killing it--I was probably doing it a favor as well as protecting my children. My family was impressed, especially my son, since I had to use his bow and arrow.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #68

13 Things That Really Scare Me

1. Bigfoot - My one true irrational fear. When driving at night in the woods, I'm always afraid of surprising one trying to cross the road.

2. The JFK Conspiracy -
When I was little, I saw a TV show about the assassination that featured the Zapruder film. For some reason, it scared me. To this day the idea that someone was killed, on camera, and that there seems to be a reality different than the "official story" makes me shiver. We may never know the satisfying truth.

3. Aliens from Outer Space
- I once saw a planetarium show about close encounters of the third kind, not the movie, but the phenomenon. From that day I'm always wondering, late at night, if a grey alien is looking through the window at me.

4. Ouija boards
- I'm amazed that these things are being sold as a "game". I think that nothing good can come from playing with the thing. I haven't had anything creepy happen to me the very few times I've trying playing with it, but I don't want to take any chances.

5. Photos of Ghosts - Especially those that show figures in mirrors. Although I think I could reproduce the effect with a properly place photo, this phenomenon happens too often to be ignored.

6. Art Bell's "Ghost-To-Ghost" - This is the version of Coast to Coast AM radio show when callers get to call in and tell their personal ghost stories. I happen to be listening to it right now, creeping myself out by sitting in the dark kitchen with my laptop. I hope that was the cat I just heard.

7. The movie
Loose Change - This movie claims that the September 11 attacks were planned and conducted by elements within the United States government, and bases these claims on perceived anomalies in the historical record of the attacks. I'm not sure about these claims, but the way the evidence is presented is creepy. It makes you wonder! When I saw it, I couldn't sleep that night.

8. Unsolved Mysteries - A TV show hosted by Robert Stack. Just the music raises the hair on the back of my neck.

9. The music, Tubular Bells, from the movie The Exorcist. If you don't know what I'm talking about, check this out and then you'll know what I think just the music is scary!

10. Manfred Mann's Earth Band's song "Blinded by the Light" - When I was about 7, this song creeps me out, especially the eerie guitar part. It reminded me of some of the music used in a TV show about Bigfoot.

11. The Captain - The spirit that we believe that haunts our Creekistan home. I had a dream that at one time a riverboat captain had lived and died lived here. He even buried a treasure around here somewhere! He's not scary, but you can tell that he's around sometimes. A friend of mine asked me "Who's standing behind me?" and I had to answer "The Captain," since no one was behind her.

12. Serial Killers - Hopefully I don't need to explain this. I'm scared yet fascinated by these killers.

13. New Movie: House of a 1000 Muppets

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #67

13 Pets That I've Had

1. Snoopy - Yep, a beagle. He was so fat that his belly hit the ground. Even though I was very young when he died, I remember him fondly as a tolerant dog who would let me dress him.

2. Daisy - She was a dachshund (aka wiener dog). She was brown and very nice. I don't remember too much about her since we only had her for about two or three years when I was little. When we moved from the farm to the suburbs, I guess she could not adjust. My parents had some explaining to do as to why Daisy was gone.

3. Denver - Another dachshund. We adopted Denver when he was an adult, but he was only with us for about a month. When Daisy went into heat, he gallantly defended her from other dogs, giving his life. His efforts paid off, because Daisy had a very cute litter of 5 pups that looked just like him, except for one that looked like her mother.

4. Tiny Tim - He was a pure bred toy poodle born on St. Patrick's Day. A great little dog, he was a good friend to me for several years. I remember that he would go to the park with me (we let him roam the neighborhood) and go down the slide with me. He liked to snuggle whenever my Mother took naps and would sleep with me at night. I remember that during his first Christmas, he not only chewed on the ornament, tree, and stockings, but he also tore through all the presents under the tree.

5. Tiny Tim Too - Another poodle that my older sister purchased after she moved out. But for some reason, she couldn't take care of him and my parents took him in. I remember that he was stupid. We didn't get attached and ended up giving him to a loving family with a large farm. From then on, he was in their family photos.

6. Melody - After having to move to a different city right before my senior year of high school, I managed to talk my parents into buying me a Shi Tzu puppy. She was a blast! I named her Melody because she reminded me of a piano keyboard--black and white. We would let her ride in the car with us just about everywhere we could--she learned that she could get treats from fast food windows. She understood many words and you could just about have a conversation with her. She would take my Father on walks and even though his Alzheimer's had him confused, she would lead him home.

7. Salvador - My first cat. When I had an apartment that would allow cats, I wanted one right away. I found Salvador (named after Salvador Dali, the artist) on the street as a tiny, skinny black cat. He was a terror as a kitten, but once he settled down, he was great. He grew to be quite large. I had him for many years.

8. Scarlet - Another black cat. Salvador's vet gave her to me and said that they were the same age and would get along great. Wrong. Seems that Scarlet was an adult ferile cat. Somehow we managed to domesticate her, but she never liked Salvador. I'll always remember her as the cat that liked to sit on top of the TV and drool.

9. Vincent - Another cat project that my husband took on. He was named Vincent because he had part of an ear missing, along with most of his nose. He also had broken his tail in several places, which fused together so that he couldn't move it normally. He must have been nearly blind and deaf, and was incontinent. Lovely! He couldn't walk backwards and would get stuck under furniture or in a corner.

10. Goofy - A Beta fish that I got my son for his second birthday. Five years later, he's still around! I swear he greets me whenever he sees me! Sometimes he would seem to be dead, but when I tap on the bowl, he wakes up.

11. Nearly Tailless Nick - He was a kitten that wandered into Creekistan when we were still living in the construction trailer. At first I had to lure him into a cage with food, but eventually we had him tame enough to come into the trailer when it was cold outside. He didn't have a tail, but he had plenty of attitude! He ran off after nearly a year, the day before he was scheduled to get fixed.

12. Bandit - Our current beast-in-residence. Bandit was rescued as a 1-week-old puppy after his mother was hit by a car. He was hand raised and we adopted him. He's the largest dog I've ever had, and quite the character. I think it's necessary to have a dog like Bandit out here in Creekistan, and he does a great job.

13. Gracie - Our current bed-heating cat. We didn't expect to get her, she chose us from the pet store. She was only a year old, but she already had a sweet temperament. She tolerates the kids and even secretly loves them, and is very friendly to everyone. But she's also a great mouser/squirreler/batter. Perfect for our family and for Creekistan.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #66

13 of my Favorite Modern Deities/Religions

1. J. R. "Bob" Dobbs - Church of the Subgenious. The Church of the SubGenius is known for a standing offer that stems from the ordainment fee of $30: "Eternal Salvation or TRIPLE Your Money Back!" The organization claims that if an ordained SubGenius minister dies and finds himself standing at the gates of "Normal" or "Boring" Hell, he will be personally greeted by Church founder J. R. "Bob" Dobbs Himself and receive a refund check for $90.00, along with a booklet titled, "How to Enjoy Hell for Five Cents an Eternity," which costs $89.95.

2. Flying Spaghetti Monster (FSM) - The religion was founded in 2005 by Oregon State University physics graduate Bobby Henderson to protest against the decision by the Kansas State Board of Education to require the teaching of intelligent design as an alternative to biological evolution.

3. Invisible Pink Unicorn - Invisible Pink Unicorns are beings of great spiritual power. We know this because they are capable of being invisible and pink at the same time. Like all religions, the Faith of the Invisible Pink Unicorns is based upon both logic and faith. We have faith that they are pink; we logically know that they are invisible because we can't see them.

4. Jedi - 0.7% of citizens in the UK listed it as their religion. Yoda would be proud!

5. Russell's teapot - Bertrand Russell (1872–1970) stated that, for the sake of argument, between the Earth and Mars there is a china teapot revolving about the sun in an elliptical orbit. Then, if, however, the existence of such a teapot were affirmed in ancient books, taught as the sacred truth every Sunday, and instilled into the minds of children at school, hesitation to believe in its existence would become a mark of eccentricity and entitle the doubter to the attentions of the psychiatrist in an enlightened age or of the Inquisitor in an earlier time.

6. Discordianism - is a modern, chaos-centered religion. Discordianism recognizes chaos, discord, and dissent as valid and desirable qualities.

7. Frisbeetarianism says that when you die, your soul goes up on a roof and you can't get it down. A lesser known aspect is the holy event known as "The Ascension", wherein someone comes along with a ladder and collects all the souls.

8. The Western Branch of American Reform Presbylutheranism, is the Christian denomination attended by most residents of Springfield on "The Simpsons." Presbylutherans split from the Catholic Church during the "Schism of Lourdes" to defend their "god-given right to come to church with wet hair," a right the Presbylutheran church later abolished.

9. The Great Pumpkin - The Great Pumpkin appears to exist only in the imagination of Linus, friend of Snoopy and Charlie Brown. Every Halloween, Linus awaits the appearance of The Great Pumpkin, which never appears. Poor Linus, he believes so strongly that we want the Great Pumpkin to appear!

10. Scientology was created by author L. Ron Hubbard in 1952 as an outgrowth of his self-help system, Dianetics. I'm too afraid to go further because I don't want any Scientologist Suits to come to Creekistan and do a "Stress Test" on me. Unless that Scientologist is Tom Cruise.

11. Zeus - He's making a comeback! [Read this! ]

12. Elvis - Church of Jesus Christ Elvis. "For unto you is born this day in the city of Memphis a Presley, which is Elvis the King."

13. Festivus - What is religion without holidays? How about a holiday without a religion? Festivus was popularized in a 1997 "Seinfeld" episode. It's called "Festivus for the rest of us," and is the holiday celebrated by the Costanza clan on December 23rd. Mr. Costanza, played by Jerry Stiller, erects a plain aluminium pole and practices the airing of grievances.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Dodging A Small Bullet

The doctor came into the room, introduced herself, and immediately said "Everything looks fine." I didn't realize how tense I was until that moment had passed. I had been secretly scared for about a month, ever since I started having pain in my right breast and found a small lump. It seems that it was a cyst brought on by hormones and I should expect them from time to time.

It was my very first mammogram, and I'm glad it's over and done with. Having my boobs squashed in the x-ray machine was not a fun experience. Neither is thinking that a part of your body is just sitting there, waiting to get cancer. But with statistics like 1 in 8 women getting breast cancer, the risk is too great to ignore. So instead of just wondering, I went ahead and got the mammogram. If it turned out to be cancer, we would have caught it early on. If it wasn't, well, then I'd have a great "baseline" image of my breasts.

With October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I was all too aware of the cause. The pink ribbons were a constant reminder that if I was to find out I had breast cancer, there is lots of information and help out there for me. Just about every magazine in the waiting room had articles on breast cancer and every catalog had pink ribbon items that you can buy with some of the profits going to support the cause. The waiting room itself was decorated like a giant pink ribbon monster came in and vomited all over the place. Pink, pink, pink, staring me in the face with it's cute, feminine color, when I knew it actually represented a deadly disease that kills thousands of women (and hundreds of men) each year.

But not me. Not right now. And from now on, I'm going to do those silly self breast exams in the shower and I'm going to keep the little pink ribbon pin they gave me at the clinic as a reminder. A reminder of my own scare, my new awareness, and of all the women out there that actually experienced the things that my brain imagined would happen to me and my family if my right boob was trying to kill me.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Dead Deer Storage

"When you drove in here, did you notice a sign out in front that said, "Dead [deer] storage"?"
"Naw man, I didn't."
"You know why you didn't see that sign?"
"'Cause storin' dead [deer] ain't my [lovin'] business!"

Someone better tell that to my dog, because I'm not going to put up with it any longer. This morning, while trying to investigate an extremely foul smell wafting into our open windows, I found the mostly-decomposed head of a young male deer. And then I found our wonderful dog practically smiling at me while he chewed on a deer leg--complete with fur.

This isn't the first time it's happened. Last year at hunting season, he would bring home parts of deer that had been discarded by hunters after they field-dressed the deer. It wasn't unusual to see him chewing on a leg or a jaw bone. (The irony of seeing something chewing on a jaw was not lost on me.) In the Spring he found a fawn and quickly disposed of that (yuck!) And he's been known to kill and eat rabbits and moles. Small things are fine because they don't last very long. But a dead deer requires a few trips to bring out of the forest and eat. During hunting season, it's a lot colder and things don't rot as quickly. But it's still reaching 80 degrees and dead things don't keep very good at that temperature.

I lost the battle to my husband and it became my job to dispose of the "problem." So I donned rubber gloves, grabbed a trash bag, several small grocery bags, and Lysol, and, holding my breath, went outside. Luckily the offending item--the head--was still intact and wasn't difficult to get into the bag. And luckily the dog didn't try to take it away from me. So after a quick search of the driveway for other pieces, I was able to breathe again and throw the dead deer part away. I don't know if Lysol is meant to work outside, but I figured it couldn't hurt.

Any tips to help me train my dog that bringing dead things to the front porch is not permitted would be appreciated. Hunting season is coming up, and I don't want to get into the business of deed dear storage.

In Loving Memory: Mister C's Steakhouse

Mr. C's Steakhouse

It was always special for me to go to Mr. C's Steakhouse. The food used to be fantastic. They served traditional Italian pasta dishes and, obviously, steak. I remember enjoying the bar-b-que ribs when I was a kid. But it wasn't just the food that made Mr. C's special. For one thing, he had colored lights all over the place--all shapes and sizes of Christmas lights and even lights shaped like grapes on vines--that gave the place an "It's always Christmas here!" feel. There were beautiful murals on the walls depecticing scenes from Italy. I could sit and stare at the murals and feel a part of the painting and could even imagine what the people were doing and thinking.

Sometimes wandering musicians added to the atmosphere--accordion and violin--that would play requests for each table. I would spend days trying to think of what song I would request next time I ate at Mr. C's. It usually ended up being "Turkey in the Straw."

And Mr. C himself would go table to table asking everyone how they were. I remember that one time, when we were there for lunch and it wasn't very busy, that Mr. C sat down with us for a while. He was always very friendly and gave special treatment to visitors from out of town. I think the last time I ate there, my son was less then a year old. I told Mr. C that even though I don't live in Omaha any more, I try to to to his steakhouse every time I visit.

Now, after over 50 years of being an icon of Omaha's great steak and Italian tradition, Mr. C's Steakhouse has closed. My mother called last night to give me the news, and it felt like someone had died. This great restaurant has become another victim of the "Olive Garden" chain restaurant plague that's overtaking the mom-and-pop restaurants in our hometowns. I don't understand the mentality to always eat at the same restaurant no matter what city you're in. Why can't people take a chance and try some local establishments? When I go on a trip, I almost always try to avoid the chains. But the pull of Cheesecake Factory is pretty strong.

They had an auction on Saturday where people would be able to purchase a piece of the restaurant--Christmas lights, statues, to even a stuffed parrot. I wish I could have been in town to purchase something. I'm going to keep an eye out on eBay, just in case.

Mr. C's and his family still have other restaurants in Omaha, and you can bet that I'll be eating at one next time I'm in town.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #65

13 Things My Mother Says About Creekistan

My mother is visiting Creekistan this week. She's not from around here. Here are some of her impressions dictated to me:

  1. Up in "No Mans Land."
  2. Where are all the birds? I expected to hear hear birds chirping when I woke up in the morning but it's too quiet.
  3. The dog is a pain in the butt. Because he doesn't see any people, he bombards people. If you sit outside, he's trying to lick you.
  4. We sat out one night and did hear some sounds and enjoyed the full moon.
  5. Creekistan needs rain.
  6. Every time I go to Creekistan my hair goes crazy!
  7. One day, we took the bumpy "back roads" home that really had me saying 'there are no signs!' and when you do get to a stop sign, you better stop because you'll go over a cliff! I felt we really were in the backwoods. It was very interesting! But when we got attacked by three dogs and punctured a tire at the same time, it made for a very interesting trip. We were lucky to make it home in one piece.
  8. The people are different then the people where I come from.
  9. The scenery is beautiful. I bet the people that live here all the time probably don't appreciate it. I like all the trees.
  10. It's interesting to see all the different types of homes. Some that are pretty nice, to some that are pretty bad. The bads ones look like they are hardly livable, they don't look livable from the outside.
  11. The older people like to sit out on their porches or decks and watch the cars go by. They usually wave.
  12. Creekistan is on a street very few cars go by, especially at night. I wonder if anyone comes by during the night.
  13. I miss watching TV. I wonder what's happening on the outside world. I have to get the news off of the radio or the Internet.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #64

  1. We live near a "Power Cut," a path in the forest that is kept clear for the power and phone lines to go through. It sometimes helps to walk in the power cut, especially when you're on a hill--you can get a better view of everything. In other words, you can see the forest despite the trees.

  2. Some people in this area live all year long in a campground along a river. Some have campers with porches, some actually have small mobile homes. Makes it easy when there is a flood. Sometimes I'm jealous of their simple life and ability to just pick up and leave.

  3. A neighbor took our unneeded trailer. I guess it was there as a camping trailer for hunting, but we never used it. The neighbor moved it down the street and put it on his property, where it sits next to abandoned cars and other junk. We call this yard the "debris field."

  4. A snake fell into our cistern when we went to check the level. It makes me feel strange when I take a shower in the "snake water." Don't worry--I checked the other day, and I think (hope) the snake got out.

  5. A friend was interested in a house on sale near us. We promised to check it out for them. If you thought our house was in the middle of nowhere, this house was even more secluded. If I lived there and had to give directions to find the place, the final two directions would be "just past the meth lab, take the first (and only) muddy driveway on the left. If you don't have a 4 x 4, just park and hike up the 1/4 mile to the house." I feel sorry for the realtor.

  6. It's tobacco harvesting time. Many of the people around here live almost exclusively on what they get for their harvest during this time.

  7. The houses down the hill are finally getting municipal water. They have no plans to bring the water service up to my property, though. We were joking about how this may help our property value.

  8. We live in a "dry" county--no beer or alcohol sales in our area. However, since we live near the edge of the county, our street is the "beer run". There are two stores that sell beer about 5-6 miles away. If it wasn't the beer run, I don't think we'd see much traffic at all.

  9. One of the places that sells beer nearby is a "drive thru" store. I went there once and had to wait for the chickens to get out of my way before I could pull up to the window.

  10. When I lived in the city, I had a rule about not buying food from a store that was also a bait shop. I can't have that rule any more or I would starve.

  11. I suspect that our mail carrier is reading one of our magazines. It's a weekly magazine, but we receive it several days late or not at all. We used to joke that they are also watching our Netflix movies.

  12. Some long-distance bikers use our road for training. I have to keep a close eye on the dog on the weekends, or he'll chase the bikers. Actually, I think it helps them get up the hill to have a dog barking at their heels.

  13. Spiders are a big problem around the house. They can spin a web very quickly and catch you it it. The other day, a large spider made a beautiful web across my closet entrance. I saw it just in time.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #63

Thirteen of my Final Requests

Not that I plan to die anytime soon, I just thought it would be fun to start planning now.

  1. I don't want to have my dead body paraded around, so be sure to cremate me.
  2. No big ceremony is necessity for the cremation, but I want my closest loved ones to draw straws to decide who should light the match.
  3. I don't care what you do with my ashes. But I have always joked that at a party in my honor, someone should sprinkle a little in the punch without anyone else knowing. Then, have a toast (with the tainted punch) and say "May there always be a little bit of her in us."
  4. Instead of a funeral, a large party should be organized, with invitations going out to my friends and family. Allow plenty of time between my death and the party for proper preparation.
  5. Children should be welcome at the party. In fact, they should come in costume and given sugar skulls from the Mexican Day of the Dead holiday.
  6. I would like some live music to be performed, probably something composed or arranged by my husband. At this time, I'd like his steal band version of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" and his piece "Three Found Dreaming," which includes the section called "Death." I'd also like to have Charles Ives' piece "The Unanswered Question" performed.
  7. But for the rest of the music, I'd like someone (preferably under the age of 27) to play songs off of my iPod (or whatever music playing device I have at the time). The playlist should be heavy on music from the 1980's, Radiohead, and the current alternative rock songs at the time. No country music allowed.
  8. There should be door prizes. You must be present (and alive) to win.
  9. Poetry can be read, sparingly, and should include at least one poem from Billy Collins and one from Charles Bukowski. I'd prefer if the poems would make the younger people giggle and the older people cringe.
  10. Everyone should wear a "Hello My Name Is . . . " sticker. I was so terrible with names.
  11. Instead of flowers, I'd prefer balloons. Everyone should be able to take one home if they like.
  12. Towards the end of the party, everyone should be given a kazoo for a group performance of Taps.
  13. Since I was such a fan of bonfires, the party should end with one. Everyone should be invited to throw paper effigies of luxury items into the fire, similar to those burned during the Chinese Ching Ming festival. Be sure to burn a paper laptop so that I can continue blogging and submitting my Thursday Thirteen, even in the afterlife!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #62

Thirteen Things That Make My Kids Weird

  1. While my son did spend his first five years in the city, he now prefers the forest and sees that the city is overrun by advertising, excessive consumption, and garbage. He breathes a sigh of relief when we return to Creekistan.
  2. Both my children love expensive cheese, especially brie. Occasionally we'll splurge and buy a wedge or hunk of stinky French, Dutch, or Norwegian cheese, but we have to hide it. My daughter has been known to plunge her hand into a tub of Feta and eat a handful.
  3. Both my kids love the music group They Might Be Giants . It might be because I listed to them while I was in labor. Their funny and singable songs helped take my mind off of the pain.
  4. My daughter is a "princess," with long flowing blond hair, but she really loves superheros. She can correctly identify Batman, Robin, Superman, and Spider-man. Oh, and Austin Powers.
  5. Both my kids have great Evil Laughs and we practice laughing maniacally on a regular basis.
  6. If my daughter thinks things are getting out of hand, she'll yell, "Expelliarmus," really loud. (That's the Harry Potter spell for disarming.)
  7. We recently heard a promo on our XM satellite radio for a funny morning show. It goes like this: [Operator] "City and state please?" [Funny guy] "Blakameekmen" [Operator] "Can you spell that?" [Funny guy] "T-H-A-T" We thought that was so funny that we all just blurt out "Blakameekmen" every so often. Even my 2 1/2 year old daughter. It makes me laugh every time.
  8. We sit down to dinner just about every night. Nowadays, as sad as it might sound, it probably qualifies as weird.
  9. My daughter loves capers. You know, those small pea-sized things you sometimes see on gourmet shows. Last night I put a few capers on top of the pasta I made. Before we could all sit down to eat, she had picked out and eaten most of them. (FYI: Capers are the immature buds plucked from a small bush native to the Middle East and Mediterranean regions of the world. Fresh caper blossoms are not especially flavorful, but their sharpness increases dramatically after sun-drying and brining in vinegar.) I had to call it "The Caper Caper."
  10. Both my kids love sushi. No, sushi does not necessarily mean raw fish. They prefer the vegetarian variety. But my daughter is developing a taste for fish.
  11. My kids understand that music can be any interesting sound, and will experiment to see what sound certain objects make. We've been known to play an entire percussion symphony with only what's on the dinner table.
  12. My kids have hung around semi-famous artists and take it for granted. About four years ago, my son tested objects that were going to be featured in the children's section at the opening of the new Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati. We went to the artist's studio and tried them out. He now has a "been there, done that" attitude.
  13. My daughter likes coffee. I have to keep it out of her reach. When I go to Starbucks (thank God there's a Starbucks near Creekistan now!) I have to get them to make a little extra and put it in a small sample cup for her. Don't worry, I don't do this often and it's usually in the morning. I tell her that she can't start drinking coffee until she turns 3. That's when I started drinking coffee.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Before and After

Just a quick update on the progress we've made on the house. Here is dramatic proof that are efforts are finally making a difference.

Photo number one is the house as we purchased it--complete with upturned furniture, abandoned car, bugs, mold, and lawn mower being eaten by grass.

Photo number two was taken this month--complete with patio, cedar siding, toys, and a lot of TLC.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #61

13 Uses for Freezer Paper

  1. Wrap meat to put in the freezer, especially if the deer was recently hit by a car and ended up dead on your driveway. Be sure to have the plastic-coated side of the paper on the inside, touching the meat. And don't forget to label the outside with a brief description of what's inside along with the date. I sometimes draw pictures of the dead animal with X's for eyes.

  2. Wrap those delicious fresh-smoked pieces of bacon from that pig you slaughtered. They make great morning treats for those overnight guests. But don't forget to put it in the fridge the day before so it has time to thaw.
  3. Kids love to use big pieces of freezer paper to color on. Just use the uncoated side!
  4. The coated side is perfect to put down on the table when you and the kids are playing with Play-Dough.
  5. In fact, the plastic coated side is perfect to put down under any project that is potentially messy.
  6. Not only is it great to color on, but it's good for painting on.
  7. You can use long pieces of freezer paper to make banners.
  8. The plastic-coated side is perfect for finger or pudding painting. Pudding painting is great because the baby/toddler can actually eat the paint. But I don't recommend keeping the artwork for very long.
  9. Freezer paper is great for covering school books. Then the kid can decorate them however they want.
  10. You can use it as a table covering for entertaining. If you provide crayons, your guests can draw on the tablecloth.
  11. This paper is great for wrapping presents. The kids can make their own wrapping paper!
  12. It's also good for wrapping packages that are going to be mailed, like those things you sell on eBay.
  13. You can put it down under raw meat when you're cutting it. This protects counters and keeps your cutting boards free of nasty microorganisms that can make you sick.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Sharing the Love for The Rock Chick

A couple of weeks ago, a blogger friend of mine, The Rock Chick participated in Blogathon 2007 with the worthy cause being VH1 Save The Music Foundation . You know me, I love music programs in schools and have practically supplied all my nieces and nephews with whatever instrument they want (flutes, clarinets, trumpets).

So I'm spreading my love for The Rock Chick and helping her become an "A-List" blogger. Perhaps, when she becomes famous, she'll thank those "little people," like me, who helped her along the way!

Life is RANTastic

“Let’s rock The Rock Chick’s World! Send Life is RANTastic to the A-List.”

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #61

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

13 Videos That My Kids Watch Over and Over

  1. Popeye - The old old old black and white cartoons. They can't get enough for some reason. Luckily, they are cheep and available at Evil Wal*Mart.

  2. Austin Powers - Okay, maybe not quite appropriate for kids their age, but they love him. Perhaps because it is rather immature humor. My daughter (2 1/2) loves the music and the costumes. She's been known to strike a pose and say "Give me back my Mojo!"

  3. Batman - They love the campy Batman movies. I can hardly stand to listen to them with the bad one-liners and terribly villains.

  4. Harry Potter - They love the movies, but know that the books are much, much better. Sometimes we discuss the differences between the movie and book. But we still enjoy the movies for their special effects.

  5. Thomas and the Magic Railroad - When my son was younger, he loved Thomas the Tank Engine. We had all the Brio railroad stuff and some other extras like blankets, etc. But we watched the stupid movie that was loosely based on the TV series. I thought I "lost" the movie when me moved to Creekistan, but I recently found it. Now it's back in circulation.

  6. Alf - You know, the 1980's sitcom about the alien living with a suburban family. We have the entire series on VHS that someone taped when the shows actually appeared on the network, complete with the old commercials. It's a walk down memory lane. I play a game with my son where he has to guess the premise of the show before the first commercial break.

  7. The Nightmare Before Christmas - Actually, they love just about any Tim Burton movie. I don't mind, because I also love Danny Elfman, the guy who does most of the music.

  8. The Tick - This is a Saturday morning cartoon series from the early '90s. So stupid it's funny, and yet so smart, it's stupid. Let's hear the battle cry, "Spoon!"

  9. Dr. Doolittle - More precisely, Dr. Doolittle 2 with Eddie Murphy. We don't have #1 and I don't know if we've ever seen it. But we got the VHS cheep and they love it. We also have the original movie made ages ago and they like that one too, but it's terribly long.

  10. The Incredibles - Even me and my husband love watching this video. Very clever premise and great animation. We especially love those scenes with Edna Mode. We're always repeating her: "No Capes!"

  11. Star Wars - Any of them and even the cartoons The Clone Wars.

  12. The Lord of the Rings - Yep, another series of movies that may be too old for them, but they seem to understand most of it anyway.

  13. Star Blazers - An old Anime video dubbed into English in the late '70s and early '80s.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #60 - SPOILER ALERT!

SPOILER ALERT! My 13 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Predictions

Let's see how I did with my predictions from a couple of weeks ago:

  1. The Weasly wedding will take place, but will be interrupted by an uninvited guest, possibly Greyback, the werewolf. Okay, I was close. It was interrupted by a Patronus, and then by Death Eaters.

  2. Harry will find the place where his parents were killed. But I don't think he'll find anything important there. Wrong! Harry did find important things there, and even a trap!

  3. I believe that Harry's father died after his mother, not the other way around. There is something important to the fact that James remained alive longer than Lily. Wrong. It was Lily that died last, trying to save the baby Harry.

  4. The infamous RAB will be Sirus' brother. Ding! Ding Ding! I was correct! Regulus Arcturus Black .

  5. One of the horcruxes will be hidden in the Black home, and Kreature will be guarding it. I don't think he'll be cooperative, and his head may end up on the wall next to his mother's. Wrong. Although Kreature did have a horcrux for a while, it was stolen from him. Also wrong about the house elf remaining mean. With proper care and sympathy, he turned out good! I'd love to try his French Onion Soup!

  6. Even though both Harry and I don't like Snape, he'll be a good guy in the end. At least he'll prove to be mostly honorable, quite possibly he'll die trying to save Harry. Correct! Severus' love for Harry's mother Lily is what ultimately made him good. His memories in the Pensive is one of the places in the book that made me cry.

  7. Neville will become stronger and more confident and will avenge his parents. Yeah Neville!

  8. Harry and Ginny will get back together. Yep, and have three kids!

  9. Dumbledore's painting will be hung in several important places in the wizarding world, and Harry can visit him and ask him questions. Mostly wrong. We only know of his painting in Hogwarts and Harry only visits him in the end.

  10. I think that one of the Dursley's will perform magic, possibly Dudley. But I don't think he'll like it. Wrong. But Dudley does show his appreciation to Harry for saving his live. In a way, that is magic.

  11. Filch's cat, Mrs. Norris, will be an unregistered animagas and a deatheater. But Crookshanks will kill her. Wrong. No mention of Mrs. Norris that I recall. Bummer!

  12. Faulks will help Harry in a very important way. Wrong. Faulks must have flown the coop!

  13. Everyone who reads the book will be very sad, either because someone important and loved dies, or just because there will be no more Harry Potter books to look forward to. I know the latter is true for me. Correct!

Saturday, July 28, 2007


You might assume that because this is a blog about how we moved in the the forest and are trying to remodel a house while learning to deal with nature, that when I say "Shingles" I'm referring to the kind that attach to the outside of the house.

You're right.

And you're wrong.

Yes, I'll mention that we are in the long process of putting cedar shingles on the outside of our house. They look great and should protect us from the elements and provide some defence against critters. The process is taking a while because we had to remove the old vinyl siding, which seems to have been put over the even-older wood siding. Then we've had to displace some angry wasps and wood-daubers who called the side of our house "home." We're half-way there. What's been done looks great.

But I'm also talking about the disease called "Shingles." Shingles (otherwise known as Herpes Zoster) is a painful, blistering rash caused by the chickenpox (varicella) virus. That is why my eye has been swollen almost to the point of being swollen shut--I have a rash on my eyelid.

I guess it pays to be an informed consumer of medical services. Since last Saturday (right after getting my Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows book) I started to experience itching on my eye. My initial thought was Pink Eye. Then on Monday I spoke to a friend that suggested it was a Stye. I did whatever I could to get rid of the pain and itching. On Tuesday, my eye was nearly swollen shut, so I call an eye doctor.

The doctor checked my vision and my eye and concluded that I had a blocked duct, (which he unblocked) and allergies. He recommended over-the-counter eye drops and sent me on my way.

They did not work. On Thursday my eye was worse, so I called him again.

Once more, he examined my eye and, like many doctors, dismissed my concerns and just went ahead and prescribed an antibiotic.

I insisted he look again. "Didn't you see the leas on or scab on my eyelid almost hidden by the lashes? That wasn't there the other day!"

He looked again, reluctantly. But then he changed his mind. Shingles on my eyelid!

Shingles is the chickenpox virus affecting you a second time. But this time it affects a particular nerve, causing a localised area of pain and tenderness, and blisters on only one side of your body.

Okay, that explains a lot! Like how my hair was hurting (pain on my scalp) on my right side, how my right eye was painful, and a lot of other little symptoms.

So now I'm on the right track to getting though this bout of illness, but it may last a couple of weeks. Most likely, I'll get rid of these singles before the house gains all of its singles!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #59

13 Random Things

  1. The Goodwill store in town has a sign outside that says "New Dickie Scrubs." Glad I'm not a guy--Ouch!

  2. Some jerk must have dumped their unwanted puppies near our property, because on Friday, our dog cornered one. On Saturday, our neighbor found one on their porch, and a third got cornered by my dog on Sunday night. I took the first, a beautiful and friendly lab/rotreiller/husky mix with two piercing blue eyes, to our pathetic pound. Our neighbors, so far, are keeping the second. It's a beautiful girl similar to the first with one blue and one brown eye. The third was another beautiful girl with mismatched eyes but was almost entirely black. I took her on Monday to the pound. I wish we could have kept one.

  3. I went to a Deathly Hallows party at Borders on Friday with my kids and a friend's family. We had to drive 3 hours to get there.

  4. My son dressed as Harry Potter. My daughter (only 2 1/2) dressed like a nice young witch/princess.

  5. I dyed my hair red for the occasion. It really was red--like red wine. It should go away in a week or so. I wore a great floor-length black duster. I was supposed to be a witch/auror, but a lot of people thought I was Tonks.

  6. My friends' kids dressed as 1) Sirius Black's mother--complete with picture frame, dark curtains, and screaming "Filthy blood traiters"; 2) a blue Cornish Pixie--it takes a real man to dress in blue tights and wings; and 3) Draco Malfoy--with rubber snake and constantly dueling with my son, Harry.

  7. My husband finished reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows on Sunday night. I was out of town and couldn't give him the book until Saturday night.

  8. I finished reading it Wednesday morning at 2:12 AM. Now we can discuss it, as long as the kids are out of the room. Don't want to spoil it for them!

  9. I now have satellite broadband. We got the best installer on the planet, who found the only place that we could get a good view of the Southern sky. Now we're about to get youtube and update our software. I feel like we're finally in the 21st century.

  10. Somehow my right eye has a blocked duct and has nearly swollen shut. So I did most my reading with one eye. I saw an eye doctor to get it fixed and took the book with me. Seems everyone is reading it and the only question they ask is "how far along are you?" No one wants to give anything away.

  11. I only cried three times while reading it, but I can't tell you what touched me without spoiling anything.
  12. My son saved enough money to buy a Nintendo Wii, and when we saw that Wal*Mart actually had one, we snatched it up. My husband actually likes it, especially the golf.

  13. My husband has gone more than one week without smoking! Now if we could get him to give up yelling and being irritable, we'll be really happy!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #58

My 13 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Predictions

Hopefully by this time next week, we'll know if I'm right. But then again, I am a slow reader. My husband would know, but I've made him promise not to spoil anything for me.

  1. The Weasly wedding will take place, but will be interrupted by an uninvited guest, possibly Greyback, the werewolf.

  2. Harry will find the place where his parents were killed. But I don't think he'll find anything important there.

  3. I believe that Harry's father died after his mother, not the other way around. There is something important to the fact that James remained alive longer than Lilly.

  4. The infamous RAB will be Sirus' brother.

  5. One of the horcruxes will be hidden in the Black home, and Kreature will be guarding it. I don't think he'll be cooperative, and his head may end up on the wall next to his mother's.

  6. Even though both Harry and I don't like Snape, he'll be a good guy in the end. At least he'll prove to be mostly honorable, quite possibly he'll die trying to save Harry.

  7. Neville will become stronger and more confident and will avenge his parents.

  8. Harry and Ginny will get back together.

  9. Dumbledore's painting will be hung in several important places in the wizarding world, and Harry can visit him and ask him questions.

  10. I think that one of the Dursley's will perform magic, possibly Dudley. But I don't think he'll like it.

  11. Filch's cat, Mrs. Norris, will be an unregistered animagas and a deatheater. But Crookshanks will kill her. Cat fight anyone?

  12. Faulks will help Harry in a very important way.

  13. Everyone who reads the book will be very sad, either because someone important and loved dies, or just because there will be no more Harry Potter books to look forward to. I know the latter is true for me.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Countdown to Harry Potter #7

I've been marking time this week, waiting until midnight Friday for the book release. I feel like a kid at Christmas. We're going to a bookstore party on Friday and will be dressed in our best wizarding robes. My husband will have the book read in a day, and it will take me a week or two to finish. It will take even longer for my children to finish it because we'll have to read it out-loud or find the book on CD. I do have a librarian friend who might be able to hook me up.

At least we had some excitement today: a quick and nasty thunderstorm passed over us, knocking down a big branch from a tree right onto my windshield. That's okay, it had a crack in it already. I'm just glad I didn't replace it sooner! It'll be replaced tomorrow afternoon and be in good shape for our trip to the bookstore on Friday.
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I was forced to drive the Beatle to the store--my first time driving a stick shift alone. At first I wasn't able to find first gear, but since I live on a hill, I was able to coast for a while.

I stopped at our neighbor's house to chat for a while. That's when I found out that my dog followed me down the hill. I don't think he expected me to be there, for when he saw me, he looked "in trouble." No problem--my neighbors are used to his visits and have a chain ready. On my way back up the hill, I made a quick stop, untied him, and he followed me up the road.

Two more nights to go.

Creekistan County Fair - Hogs Heaven

Its county fair time for Creekistan and it's surrounding areas. I don't know how much of a big deal it is for everyone in this county, but I can imagine the kids in 4H are excited. This is the time where they get to see how their project animals compare and possibly sell. One of my goals was to enter something into the fair, and I did manage to enter 4 things: a Halloween decoration, a Christmas apron, a submission for next years fairbook, and a photograph of my neighbor's 1949 tractor.

I visited the fair today with my children and my neighbor, Jody. She's been to the fair many times, and has even participated in 4H with her children when they were young. We saw the hog weigh-in, which was actually pretty exciting. Young people would poke their fat hogs down the row to the scale, hoping that they "make weight" (whatever that means). The hogs were not too thrilled to be away from their comfy pens--some pens even had fans. We'd ask the kids what they named their hog, and most said that they didn't name them. I guess it's because at the end of the fair they hope to sell their hog, and then the hog will become someone's dinner, breakfast, or sandwich meat.

We watched the Pig Scramble. That is the event where small pigs would get soaped up people would try to catch them and coax them into a pen. It was a lot of fun. My 2 1/2 year old daughter loved the pigs and enjoyed watching the pigs getting washed. I guess I may have to get a pig when she is older.

By the way, I did get two blue ribbons for my Christmas apron and Halloween decoration! My photograph didn't get anything, but I was glad to see that many people participated in the photography contest. My son also got a red ribbon for his decoration. I don't know about the fairbook cover. I guess I'll find out on Saturday when I pick everything up.

We spent most of the day at the fair, looking at animals, riding rides, and talking to people. It was a lot of fun and I look forward to next year. I'm going to enter more things, and I'm going to look into entering into the Powderpuff Demolition Derby. My driving skills may prove to be a benefit. Anyone want to sponsor me? Donate a car?

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #57

13 Things That I've Found Interesting Lately

  1. Moths attacked my sparkler on the 4th of July.

  2. When I have the track lights on near my kitchen window, hundreds of moths and other light-seeking insects gather there. Some are so big that they make a "thump" when they hit, making it unnerving when I'm alone.

  3. Hundreds of millipedes are crawling around my front porch. It reminds me of the scene in "Raiders of the Lost Arc" when all the snakes are crawling on the floor of an ancient tomb, only in miniature.

  4. I have a toad that lives on my front porch. I suppose he likes to eat the moths and hopefully the millipedes that accumulate there.

  5. Spiders are really bad right now. I have one in my bathroom that actually made a web across the sink. When I went to wash my hands, I broke through the web. Then she made a web across my hair products, making it look like I haven't touched them in years.

  6. A gigantic spider visited us and scared us. He must have come down from the ceiling through the space that will eventually get covered with crown molding. It was a wolf spider about the size of my hand. I tried to vacuum it up, but it wasn't going to go easily. So I left it alone and we left the room for a while. Hopefully it went back to it's dark space and is hunting bugs. With it's size, I'm sure it has to eat lots of bugs and perhaps a small mammal.

  7. A Super Wal*Mart opened up nearby, replacing the regular Wal*Mart. Now people around here can shop for fishing bait and spaghetti all at the same place.

  8. Thankfully, the Kroger around here, in competition with the new Super Wal*Mart, is undergoing an upgrade. They now have the areas first Starbucks, a sushi counter, and a pizza parlor. While all the "riff-raff" are shopping elsewhere, those of us who appreciate good things will shop at the Kroger.

  9. For the 4th, I gave glow sticks to the kids to play with. We used many of them to attach to the dog and to play glow fetch with him in the dark. It is funny to see glowing bars running around the forest.

  10. My husband has been running a fever and experiencing night sweats for the past week. During that time, I'm forced to sleep in my son's bed. I've been having strange dreams and actually sleeping better then if my husband had been using me as the human pillow.

  11. I'm getting ready to submit a few pieces of art/photography to the county fair. I'm entering a Christmas apron, a Halloween centerpiece, and a photo of my friend's 1949 Ford tractor. Wish me luck!

  12. I'm potty-training my 2 1/2 year old daughter. I found a potty that lets me record a message after the flush sound. Just think of the possibilities!

  13. Grape Cool-Aid makes poop green. I don't understand this phenonamon, but it makes for dirty diapers/training pants.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Tagged by Psychodiva: 8 Things About Me

Thanks go out to Psychodiva who tagged me!

  • All right, here are the rules.
  • We have to post these rules before we give you the facts.
  • Players start with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
  • People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.
  • At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.
  • Don't forget to leave them a comment telling them they're tagged, and to read your blog.

Okay, here we go:

  1. Until I started college, I thought I'd become a music teacher/band director. I learned all the instruments I could and played in any ensemble that would have me. But I didn't like doing theory or learning scales, or practicing. So I married a musician/composer instead. I tell people that since my husband is a musician, I needed to make money and went into marketing/business instead.
  2. I don't want to be buried in the ground. In fact, I don't like the idea of my dead body being paraded around. Just burn me, have a big party, and put my ashes wherever you want.
  3. I spent the first 5 years of my life on an old farm in Nebraska. My parents didn't farm (except for a large personal garden), but we were surrounded by fields and animals. I remember it fondly.
  4. I hate seafood. I do not like the fishy taste. I also don't like the fact that some look like giant bugs. They probably were bugs at one time. Don't tell me that swordfish is the least-fishy-tasting fish. If it's fish, I won't like it.
  5. I am currently writing a youth novel (for ages around 12). It's about an obsessive-compulsive ghost that farts a lot.
  6. My kids (aged 7 and 2 1/2) have an electric guitar, piano and drum set that they are allowed to play. The noise does not bother me. I think it's music!
  7. I love to play video games. Especially ones where you shoot things. I'm not so much into roll-playing games, but I do like Sims. I wish I had more time to play.
  8. I love watching the special features on DVD's, especially the deleted scenes and mistakes. I love knowing how they made something.

Tagged! Here are the other bloggers that I have tagged:






Brad S.