Monday, April 30, 2007

Making progress

Still not completely recovered from getting all sideways, in fact someone in a chat room really pissed me off again. What is this with anger issues all of the sudden?

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Wow-A Scotty Tale

On one of my favorite yahoo groups Serro_Scotty_Camper_Enthusiasts, someone posted one of those give you shivers stories you hear from time to time. A lady bought a 1966 Serro Scotty still taped up and new-kept in a garage when the man who bought it did not return from Vietnam.

Immediately we were all awash with the excitement of the rare find and the sobering reality of what lead to such a discovery. I like old things because they have stories to tell, and this one was of a life left unfinished.

In my current midlife crisis phase I am struggling with the material vs. the non material constantly. I can't seem to pick a house or a profession or a diet I can live with. Yet in 1966, a young man wanted to go camping when he came home and today a group of us (who also like to go camping) remembered that.

I was six, going on 7 in 1966 and most of my life happened AFTER 1966. I've been camping alot, and several times I almost gave up on life. I'm thinking now about the Vietnam Memorial, and all those people who never got to go camping again.

From Wikepedia"
The Vietnam War was finally concluded on 30 April 1975, with the Fall of Saigon. The war claimed 58,000 U.S. combat dead and the lives of between 2 and 5.7 million Vietnamese,[3] a large number of whom were civilians. Although exact numbers are difficult to verify, the disparity in deaths illustrated the overwhelming superiority of U.S. firepower.[4]


58 thousand lives ended, and how many other's destroyed? I've met several people who were never the same when they came home. You can see and do what they saw and did, at any age, and especially a young age, without some damage. I can't even comprehend the number of Vietnamese (a large number of whom were civilians). I have met many former Vietnamese citizens who fled, and are still fleeing. Seems those soldiers left a few bundles of joy behind, who are now unwelcome, often in both places.

My own little Scotty was born during the Vietnam war, I wonder what tales it has to tell. In 1972 I was drawing a bead on puberty, madly in love with horses, Jackson Browne and completely dissatisfied with the size of my breasts vs. the size of my neighbors. I know the both of us, Scotty and I, have wracked up a few miles since 1972.

By the way, I still love horses, Jackson Browne and am completely dissatisfied with the size of my breasts in relation to the size of my stomach.

To all the sons and daughters who pay the ultimate price so that I can sit safely and muse on these things-I say Thank You.

Body then the Mind

I indulged in a complete mini breakdown yesterday-unable to shake off some fury that was created at work-I slept, and only ate healthy food. That got my leg back in order (let myself walk a little too fast and a little too stompy because I was pissed off) and the coffee is putting my mind back to rights as well.

I have to enclose myself in my home and my animals, or head out on the open road, before I can get that perspective that says "so what".

I was right and the other person was wrong INJUSTICE complete INJUSTICE on many levels and ironically, it wasn't even MY fight, clearly it was in another area and if the other area doesn't care, why should I? (That's an easy answer, my boss cares and it's in my best interest to care about what he cares about). Oh yes people, I was right, right, right and the slimy bastard was wrong wrong wrong and nothing happened except that I had to change a RIGHTEOUS report to an ACCURATE but not RIGHTEOUS report and it pissed me off and I stomped my poor old leg.

We human beings have this need to be righteous, don't we? Even my boss pointed out I had let it turn into a pissing contest,and he is right. The goal was accomplished, late and with much annoyance to me, but the goal was achieved. IF the SB (slimy bastard) had been a dog I would have clicked and treated and then raised the criteria next time-but he is allegedl a human, as am I, and I didn't want to accomplish the goal I wanted to win win win. Crush and utterly defeat this person.

My predatory, carniverous side found something to be RIGHT about and latched onto it with lethal intent-a RIGHTEOUS kill. Enemy vanquished, utterly defeated. And then, when it didn't happen, all that anger just turned inward and I had a shitty day yesterday. (But my leg did benefit from the rest).

It's not a pleasant thing to look at that side of yourself. It makes me feel/look a little like people I don't want to feel/look like, but there it is.

And really, I'm still me, I still have what I have, SB is still himself and in a few days SB's boss and I will exchange a joking e-mail or something and that will be the end of it. Spring is still springing, I have dogs and snakes and gerbils to play with-the exchange cost me nothing-nothing at all except some peace of mind, and frankly, if I wasn't sideways about that it probably would have been something else.

I don't know which is more frightening-how powerful the mind is, or the chaos that happens when a pack of minds gets together and unleashes a common goal on the real world.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Out of Gas

I really have that out of gas feeling-not even looking forward to the weekend. Hopefully that will change in the morning.

TGIF

A week of segment reviews (quarterly) and training sessions and junk food has left me feeling about a thousand years old. I can only think about one thing-sleep. But first, one more day at the office.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

My thoughts on HB 1309

Ok, my tax dollars are being spent regulating the movement of Non-native SNAKES? Shouldn’t we be worried about the non-native PEOPLE draining our system dry? Maybe we could think about some protection against terrorists instead of worrying about what kind of pet I might keep.

Now, it’s ok to keep a snake-it just has to be a Texas approved snake. So, if my locally caught rattlesnake happens to bite someone-oh well. I didn’t need a license for it. Nor do I need a license if I am a carnival or a menagerie keeper?

Well shit, I’m set because I’m a fat lady with a one eyed dog.

I don’t see the point of this legislation other than a reaction to media frenzy created by the picture of the python who exploded while eating an alligator. We must ban non-native species (most of which wouldn’t survive the winter) because, well, dang it, we’re in Texas and we don’t hold with them non-native species. So thar.

Now granted, every now and then a big constrictor gets out and squeezes someone, usually the owner, and most often alcohol or rampant stupidity is involved. So why not legislate against alcohol consumption or rampant stupidity? These are a more prevalent threat to the public safety and well being. Of course, that might involve removing some of the members of the legislature.

I’ve been bitten by a lot of critters, the most painful being a common housecat and a cocker spaniel. No one worries about those hazards-there is no common housecat legislation pending, and the cocker spaniel coalition would never allow those plucky little fellers to be defamed in the political arena.

One spring I did have a big, non-native constrictor turn up on my doorstep (I swear it’s true). AND I had a common housecat, a 5 pound chihuahua, plus, one small child at the time. I think it (the snake)was a young reticulated python, about 8 feet long. It was basking in the sun. I called animal control. Problem solved.

Really guys, this isn’t a serious public threat. I can speak as someone who has been there, on the receiving end of a visitation by a large, non-native constrictor.

As a citizen of the great state of Texas, I demand that someone get on board with the idea we in the risk management area like to call priorities. Prioritize items by severity of threat and by likelihood of occurrence. Don’t think too hard-they have programs that will do that for you. Next, address the threats in order of importance. The programs will map it out for you in color if you like-start with the red, move to the yellow, so on. Since you are spending tax dollars, go ahead and pop for a program that incorporates orange as well.

Once you get everything AHEAD of the threat to the public well being from non-native snakes-give me a call and we’ll talk.

H.B No. 1309

80R2369 KCR-D

By: Hilderbran H.B. No. 1309






A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
AN ACT
relating to the possession or transportation of certain snakes that
are not indigenous to this country; providing a penalty.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
SECTION 1. Chapter 43, Parks and Wildlife Code, is amended
by adding Subchapter V to read as follows:
SUBCHAPTER V. NONINDIGENOUS SNAKE PERMIT
Sec. 43.851. PERMIT. (a) The commission by rule shall
establish a permit that allows a permit holder to possess or
transport in this state a live venomous snake or live constrictor
that is not indigenous to this country.
(b) A permit under this subchapter is not required for:
(1) a state or county official performing an official
duty;
(2) a licensed circus, carnival, menagerie, or zoo
that possesses or transports a snake for exhibition or scientific
purposes; or
(3) a research facility licensed under the Animal
Welfare Act (7 U.S.C. Section 2131 et seq.) that possesses or
transports a snake for scientific purposes.
(c) Except as provided by Subsection (b), a person may not
possess or transport in this state a snake described by Subsection
(a) without a permit issued by the department under this
subchapter.
Sec. 43.852. FEE FOR PERMIT. The commission shall set a fee
for a permit issued under this subchapter.
Sec. 43.853. OFFENSE. A person who violates this
subchapter commits an offense that is a Class B Parks and Wildlife
Code misdemeanor.
SECTION 2. (a) The Parks and Wildlife Commission shall
adopt the rules necessary under Subchapter V, Chapter 43, Parks and
Wildlife Code, as added by this Act, not later than January 1, 2008.
(b) The Parks and Wildlife Department shall begin issuing
permits under Subchapter V, Chapter 43, Parks and Wildlife Code, as
added by this Act, not later than January 1, 2008.
SECTION 3. (a) Except as provided by Subsection (b) of this
section, this Act takes effect September 1, 2007.
(b) Sections 43.851(c) and 43.853, Parks and Wildlife Code,
as added by this Act, take effect January 1, 2008.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Education is broadening experience

First day of a three day enterprise risk management system class...are you still awake?

Lock people in a boardroom with an overhead projector and vast quantities of diet coke, coffee, chocolate, nuts, cookies and Mexican food are consumed. The pistachios are used to counter the effects of the sugar. God only knows why we drink Diet Coke-I do because I actually prefer the taste.


My name is Deb. I am addicted to sugar and to nutrasweet.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

I don't make these things up



There is probably nothing funnier than a naked fat lady in a wheelchair looking for a six foot python and ducking down to roll past the windows cause the lawn guy is outside. Except, perhaps if the fat lady has to catch the python before she can let the dogs back in because the lawn guy needs to mow the backyard. Add a little spice-she has a meeting with her boss who hasn’t been in the best of moods lately-but she can’t leave the snake loose and the dogs caged-it wouldn’t be quite sporting.

Welcome to my Tuesday ladies and gentleman.

I was multi-tasking-checking the snakes while drying clothes when I discovered Alfred’s break out. The morning is a bit of a blur, but I think I tossed off my nightie, remembered that I needed to dry a shirt to wear, and then backtracked to look at the snakes. The dogs were outside, so I must have put them there and I did manage to eat breakfast before the fun began.

Some facts: Alfred is large, but can curl up into small places. He isn’t a threat to humans, but the gerbils and the dogs and the cat would be at risk. If Alfred were to manage to visit the next door neighbors, he’d be a goner, it would probably make the news and I could be in big trouble. I keep extra security on the big snakes, so I KNEW he was in one room, but I couldn’t leave until he was secure again. I am also very fond of Alfred and wanted him safe and sound.

The thing about snakes is this-you can’t just go charging around looking for them, it upsets them. I can’t go charging around anyway at this point. So I sat back, collected my thoughts and priorities.

First priority-get my orthopedic boot on because if I did find the snake I would need to focus on the snake, not protecting my foot. Yet, I’ve fussed with this foot far too long already to go plowing over it or otherwise damaging it at this late date. (Vacation plans in two weeks). The pants I intended to wear won’t fit over the boot-,so I had to put my pants on, then the boot, then my other shoe. All set and properly protected now.

My shirt was now dry, but I forgot to toss a bra in the dryer. Next step-dry bra and put on a tie dye T-shirt in the meantime, carefully searching the drawer that contained the shirt in the off chance that it contained the python. Now the windows are no longer a threat, my foot is safe and all I have to do is find Alfred.

Easy enough. Alfred isn’t a climber, he wasn’t under or in the bed, and he hates plastic. Move dresser (from a sitting position in the wheelchair) being careful not to pick up the dresser lest it fall on the snake. Hissing reveals snake, who sticks his head out just to make sure I heard him and understand he is not happy. Move dresser some more to expose snake, who counters by wrapping his tail around the dresser.

Ask yourself “what would Steve Irwin do?” So, I pick up the snake, but he isn’t letting go of the dresser. I open the closet door next to the dresser and say “Look Alfred, there is a good place to hide-no biting!” and sure enough Alfred takes off for the closet. Wheelchair doesn’t fit between wall and dresser, so Alfred gets into the closet before I can grab him. I get some tail (ha ha) but he’s wedged his big fat self in a plastic milk crate.

I offer him a clothes basket, but he hates plastic and now he pretty much isn’t happy with anything or anyone. Did I mention Alfred is wild caught snake, an adult, and only in captivity for maybe a month now? That’s probably why he hates plastic and imagine his horror to find the girls he was searching for encased in the stuff (snake racks).

Ask yourself again “what would Steve Irwin do?” Sit in wheelchair and contemplate things while holding onto the back end of an angry snake is what I did, but then it came to me what Steve WOULD do! I picked up the crate and said “no biting” and carried Alfred back to his vivarium which is full of logs and wood and things he likes. He immediately took off for his favorite log at his usual snail’s pace. I stood on one foot holding up the plastic case while he meandered back home, keeping his tail firmly wrapped around the milk case just to spite me.

Shut viv, firmly this time and sit down in wheelchair. Whew.

Call boss, go to work and weigh all the politics and power struggles against the sheer delight of chasing down a wild animal in your house. The thing is, I NEEDED that adrenalin rush and I needed to do something both physically and mentally challenging. No one is likely to intimidate me today at the office

I made it fully clothed, in the right clothes-and I didn’t bring my lunch on purpose today. Today was a day for fish tacos and spinning tales of the wild.

Monday, April 23, 2007

The Most Uncomfortable Elevator Ride, Ever

I was summoned to an emergency meeting so I hobbled onto the elevator with the AP group-who were not, as it turns out, going to the 5th floor, but were headed home. Not for good, not yet, but to recover from the shock of having just been laid off.

So, I'm sitting in the midst of my "do I even want to be here" crisis and now I have to decide if I'm glad I'm still "here". Of course, I lept to the conclusion that I was "saved" due to injury, age, etc, but the truth is, I have a lot of decent skills and can fill in in a lot of places. It's so easy to to leap to the conclusion that you are unworthy.

In today's outsourcing environment, it's kind of like being in a tornado filled storm. If it doesn't hit you then you say Whew! I'm glad...and if it does, you figure out what to do next.

Of course, the next weeks are going to be challenging to my already waning morale, but I am going to do what I can which is basically offer a friendly smile and an encouraging word.

I just sapped my energy so I came home, ate dinner and hobbled out in the backyard for the first time since surgery. I really wanted to be outside. I'm also trying to stay awake till 9 so that I have a chance of staying asleep once I go.

I wrote this morning of all being well with the world, and in my world, it still is. Whew-I'm glad it wasn't me.

Monday Musing

I was listening to some tunes this morning and good ol’ Alice Cooper came on. It struck me, with my current situation (Scotty in the yard, houseful of snakes and dogs and various other mammals) that I may have actually achieved some of my teenage dreams. Now, the Camaro has been replaced by a Ford SUV-but it has another one of those teenage dreams-a moonroof.

The moonroof came in handy this morning-it was about as humid as a tropical rainforest and my hair refused to dry, so I opened the windows and opened the moonroof and used the I:30 blow drying system.

My meals were delivered promptly between 4 am and 7 am (that is going to be hard to give up when I can walk again). I had a low cal/low sugar soufflĂ© for breakfast and some leftover Starbucks coffee that I made myself. The lawn guy called to confirm his tomorrow appointment. (I won’t mind giving that up-I really don’t mind mowing the lawn and don’t like paying for it).

It’s weird that we go to work so we can afford to pay other people to do the things we don’t want to do. I’m just glad I can afford to pay for help this go-round...but eventually the novelty of the luxury will wear off and I will want to divert my funds towards more meaningful things like Scotty repair and life jackets. Last go-round I had groceries delivered (that isn’t available now) and I didn’t have a lawn, or a Scotty for that matter.

Time seems to be the biggest commodity for my friends and I. I’m slowed down by my leg, several friends are slowed down by children-yet we still must accomplish what we think we have to. I’m learning to let go of a lot of the things I think I have to do. After 46 years, I’m probably not going to wake up and suddenly keep an immaculate house-so I hire someone to scrub up the scrunge every two weeks and I don’t worry about it any longer.

In my case, even more than the time-getting rid of the horrible guilt for having a dirty house has been a lifesaver. No, I’m not my Mom, and I’m not my Dad either. Both of them are very nice people by the way. I am myself, with talents from both of them, and some that seem be mine alone.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Happy Earth Day!

So, I've been ordering low fat, holistic food for delivery because going back to work pretty much takes all the walking I can do for the day and I was sliding back into some severe drive thru habits. But what to do with all the plastic?


Some of the trays I'm saving for the snakes water dishes, some I am saving for my mom (who has a thing for single serve dip containers) and the rest I am just going to recycle.

I LOVE having my food delivered, but probably won't be able to make it a lifestyle after I am more mobile.

Hanging out and time travel

It's very hard to just hang out and do no work-I'm eiher asleep or producing something. Now the TV is a backdrop, but I rarely just sit and watch TV without something else going on.

I opened my big bag of 1960's LOOK magazines and can't be more delighted. Being a journalism major, I honed in on the adds, and the copy and just the general LOOK of the magazine. Problem is, I don't know if I can cut into them now-they are that awesome. No scotty ads, but some Rambler and Ford ads that are just awesome, and women's product ads are a hoot. That may actually be the theme for my table, if I can stand to take the scissors to my treasures.

To hoard or not to hoard, that is the question?

Friday, April 20, 2007

Friday Funny

How to say 'I love you' in 25 languages.....

English
I Love You

Spanish
Te Amo

French
Je T'aime

German
lch Liebe Dich

Japanese
Ai Shite Imasu

Thai
Phom rak khun


Italian
Ti amo

Chinese
Wo Ai Ni


Swedish
Jag Alskar

Alabama
Arkansas
Kansas
Oklahoma
Texas
North Carolina
South Carolina
Georgia
Tennessee
Idaho
Missouri
Mississippi
Montana
Louisiana
Virginia
West Virginia
Wyoming
Kentucky
parts of Florida

Nice Ass , Get in the truck

All in how you look at it

I want she wants he wants we wants we all want something but no one is really sure what. Do we really suffer from too many choices? Maybe a better choice of words is do we really torture ourselves with too many choices. Suffering is probably best reserved for people who have no choices.

I brought the kick ass boot out yesterday at work. I woke up fuming about a co-worker’s actions the day before, and that person disregarded my not so subtle “enough” warning and that of someone else as well. They were launching what I call the diversionary assault-jumping on me to cloud the real issue which was why something hadn’t been done.

Now I have actually taught classes in strategic e-mail and what NEVER to do. Beyond not being nice, it’s never ever a good idea to put anything blatantly wrong in writing that can easily be forwarded. It’s also extremely foolish to assume that people delete everything every day.

Finally, my title, Risk Manager, and the fact that I hang out with auditors and accountants and legal people, might lead you to believe I am pretty good about keeping the “paper trail” alive. It’s also my job to point out if something that is supposed to be done hasn’t been done, and preferably before the actual time comes to report that in front of the big dogs so that the medium dogs can take care of it.

Yet, I don’t go around dredging up stuff to make people’s lives miserable. I am an amiable person, I just want to get the job at hand done with as little fuss as possible. But, if there is one thing I can’t stand, it’s a bully. I will always step in if someone else is being bullied, always. So, what on this green earth made this idiot think that I would allow myself to be bullied?

Another thing about me that is kind of odd is that I don’t like a lot of back and forth and escalation. If I have the means to finish something, I give a fair warning and then I will drop the A- bomb in the next volley. It is a more efficient use of time and effort on everyone’s part.

I’ve learned a lot from working with my dogs-the alpha dog doesn’t run around barking and making a lot of noise-he or she just gives the order and expects it to be followed. Now, I am in no way alpha at my office, not even close, but why would you attack someone who is just doing their job, making a simple, polite, reasonable request? The funny thing is, the “loaded gun” I used, was loaded by the person who was being a jerk. This person handed me a gun, gave me ammo, and then went on the attack.

Now I know my feeble brain is trying to make sense of this and align it with the Virginia shootings somehow. It would be like that fellow handing all the students loaded rifles and THEN going on his assault. I just don’t get it.

Anyway, the little skirmish did free me from some angst-here was a clear problem and a clear solution. And, because it was a clear cut case of self defense, it was a righteous bit of ass kicking. And maybe that is my answer to yesterday’s question-maybe that guy in Virginia felt righteous about what he did.

Perspective is a weird thing, isn’t it?

Thursday, April 19, 2007

The Bomb

Today is the anniversary of the Oklahoma bombing-one of those “where were you moments” in history. I was at work in Downtown Dallas when a co-worker and fellow Okie came over to tell me the news and that I should probably call my parents. In the beginning, no one was sure whether it was an isolated attack or the start of an all out war. My parents were walking on a track in south Oklahoma City when the bomb went off-they said they felt the ground shake. I spent several years working in downtown Oklahoma City, and was saddened to see my old stomping grounds attacked.

Now the bombing is part of the lore of the state and our nation, along with the Edmond Postal Massacre and the Tornado of (I forget what year). I don’t think the tornado got a memorial out of the deal-natural disasters usually don’t. It’s the manmade disasters we like to remember.

I also paid a visit to Waco before the compound burned. Apparently, Timothy McViegh did as well, and I wonder if our paths ever crossed. I’ve met and known several people who have killed other humans, a couple of multiple killings. I’ve even talked to them about why they did it. I tend to ask a lot of questions.

I count myself as a carnivore and I live amongst a houseful of them. I had fish for lunch and everything else in my household eats meat almost exclusively. Buddhists and vegetarians aside, that kind of killing is normal and natural. I’ve also put down the occasional animal when it was sick or ailing. That is never pleasant, but it seems to be the right thing to do.

Killing for food, I understand. Killing to ease someone’s pain, I get. I have even been so very angry that I think I understand the heat of the moment gunshot. Killing innocents to draw attention to a cause or to your own internal pain- that I do not get. Moreover, apparently, in the case of many of the dramatic killers, killing the other people didn’t ease the pain enough, the killers generally wind up killing themselves too.

I think maybe those kinds of people are more like tornados than we’d like to admit-if the conditions are right, someone can snap. And the killer’s stated reasons aren’t any more than the meteorological conditions of someone’s soul.
The Virginia University shooter had a rough time growing up and felt like a social outcast. So did I, and in fact, I almost didn’t grow up at all. My meteorological conditions were right and I swallowed a whole lot of old timey anti-depressants they don’t use much any more because apparently lots of people swallowed them and some didn’t make it. Nevertheless, it never occurred to me to take someone with me.

Truth be told, I was too into my own agony to even think about anyone else.

Life is full of random acts and events that we simply cannot predict. Not to make light of any of this, but sometimes you are the windshield, sometimes you’re the bug, and sometimes people blow up and otherwise slaughter other people. Just like tornados.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Yeesh

What a cranky puss I have been-up and down and all around my mood has swirled. Life just seems to be about three steps ahead of me all the time. Oh well, got to dig in and just keep on going-things will eventually sort out.

How long can dreams sustain?

I am really really in awe of people who are in wheelchairs permanently. I am doing terribly emotionally right now, because there is so much I want to DO and CAN'T and it's wearing at me. And I won't say "it's different for them because they know there is no chance"....that's like saying "oh, he won't mind if I cut off his leg, he doesn't use it all that much anyway".

Right now I'm fighting a wretched tiredness that I don't think has anything to do with the body-more a weariness of the soul. It's time to get out in the kayak, and drive off in the Scotty, or at least begin her paint job....

Now, this aint my first rodeo, so I know about this last homestretch. But I did so well early on I thought I might avoid it. Time for my pile of poop in the road analogy-you see it and you can't go around it, so you just keep pedaling and get through it.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Getting the Chair and Relocating Bertha Butt

I am alternately struck by complete angst over all the decisions big and small that need to be made concerning my life and complete disdain for what a spoiled brat I am by not recognizing how lucky I am to HAVE choices.

Last night I hobbled through another fabric store and found IT-the perfect fabric that wasn’t what I imagined it to be at all-but when I saw it, I knew it. A 70’s green background with purple and blue chenille stripes. As soon as I saw it I knew it belonged with the Scotty and the Polyperk and the Tupperware. I also found some interlock knit that will have to be made into a lounger or something to lounge outside the Scotty in. Mom is set for her projects, and I think she was feeling a bit left out.

Then I went to Target, caught a ride on the electric chair and bagged an exercise ball for my dog’s therapy, sterlite and some melamine dishes for the snakes, and some cheap weights to weight the tanks down. Now a few days ago I ranted about nosey retailers, and sometimes I rant about indifferent retailers, but I was tired and very glad that the check out girl didn’t ask me what I was going to do with all that stuff. I think she assumed I was just another fat lady starting an exercise program-and I was happy my true, sinister purposes were not revealed.

With the new sterlite I was able to make a temporary double tank for the smaller snakes and separate the Butt sisters who are too big to share a tank. Bertha, the bigger of the Butts, has already settled down. I really meant to name them Janis Joplin and Cass Elliot, but when I brought them home and was putting them away, out of my mouth came, unbidden “Her name was Bertha, Bertha Butt....one of the Butt sisters.....she was a biiiiiiiiig woman.” (Troglodyte-one hit wonder from the 60’s or 70’s).

I was actually planning to blog and try to explain why I like the snakes, but that’s like explaining why you like chocolate or pate-you either do or you don’t. When people are at my home, and if they are interested and willing, I do enjoy showing the snakes and sometimes opinions change. But telling someone we’d be over run with vermin if it weren’t for snakes doesn’t seem to make the non-snake people feel any better about them.

I feel the same way about my tattoos. The funniest thing I ever hear is if I am in shorts around someone I’ve know for awhile. They always say “Wow, you never TOLD me you had some big tattoos.” The idea of of doing that always creeps me out-like saying “come up and see my etchings”... Lately, people have been quite shocked about my deformed feet-because again, they do not show.

Is the “mask” idea in reverse? I’m going to hide by not telling you every single detail about me? I don’t think so, it’s more that the time and context never was right.

I’m waxing philosophical because one of the things I thought about on my trip was -did I leave Oklahoma to be who I am, and if I had stayed, would I be different, and if I went back, would I change? (Multipart thoughts are commonplace in my brain-keep up). I even looked at houses for sale, trying to find one on my old street-I really have the urge to go back (even further back than the original Scotty it seems).

Some of it is continuing guilt over not living near my parents now that they are getting older. Me and an entire generation. But there is an aspect of the quest that infuses some of the decisions I am making-and it would sure as hell be helpful if I knew what it was I was looking for.

Monday, April 16, 2007

So many things to think about

My road trip was nice. I had a coma inducing feast at Jakes, a nap with the small chihuahuas and I picked up three nice snakes. On the way home I stopped at Ballards on highway 19/I 35 in Pauls Valley-they've been here since 1951. I wanted fried pickles, but they weren't on the menu, so I got some fabulous chicken livers. Usually I limit my Okie food to one big feed (Jakes) but I haven't been home since last July-I am beginning to understand why I'm so tired all the time.

I also had this thought-not terribly original-that our generation values excess the way my parent's values thrift. Not a terribly flattering thought.

The snakes were about 3 blocks from a couple of houses were I used to live with the child molesting, mentally abusing lawyer ex husband of mine. I think he deserves precise adjectives rather than generic cussing. So I drove by-one house was easy to spot, but for the life of me I couldn't pick out the other one. And then I thought-who cares? In fact, I thought the neighborhood looked pretty good and I was glad that the downhill slide seems to have reversed. People live their live there unaware of what horrors took place and truly, that is as it should be.

There are some things that deserve monuments-the Holocaust Museum comes to mind. But I wouldn't want a house of relics of the bad times in my personal life. And I think a lot of us hang on to "stuff" for just that reason, holding on to memories good and bad as if there will never be another moment of life to spend. And what is one peronal tragedy in the face of so much else that is going on in the world? Sometimes we need to be reminded to let our own stuff go and look around and try to make our home, this earth, a better place.

I also had another thought that wasn't terribly flattering-I wonder if God didn't make me fat to keep me humble. Cause so many of my dreams (books, book tours, business success) are centered around things that would make people notice me. Could it be the I, MOI, have an ego I was unaware of?

I had an adventure too. Steve Gooch, the person I bought the snakes from, keeps his kiddos upstairs-and with the help of Steve and his wife-I climbed the stairs and made it back down. Steve is photojournalist for the Daily Oklahoman, and I was in complete awe of anyone who can make living doing that, and I told him so. More than the snakes, which were fabulous, it was like meeting a hero.

I stopped and looked for curtain fabric for the Scotty on the way home, but couldn't find anything that really struck my fancy. I'm not sure want I want, but I will know it when I see it.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Friday the 13 and hard luck tales

Ah the open road this weekend-just a drive up to Oklahoma, that will include a snake drop off/gerbil pickup, lunch at Jakes and then another snake pick up on Sunday. I want to go by the tiger refuge on the way home, but I don’t think my legs are up to it yet and the idea is to occupy myself with things I can do while sitting down -driving, eating, snuggling my spotty dogs who are still in Oklahoma until I can care for them properly. Well, I can care for them now-but getting them out the back steps when they don’t want to go is iffy. Cody and Greta are better behaved in that arena.

I’ve been eating not so well this week, and I’m just not going to worry about it until next week because Jakes is truly food for the soul and may just save me. Jakes is in Chickasha Oklahoma and I may just ask if I can take pictures because there aren’t words to describe the mounds of food. Rib dinners come with two sides-and if you order the taters they are served on a piled high 12 inch dinner plate. That is a plate just for the taters, the ribs come on their own plate. I’ll leave the rest for the post debauchery review.

In spite of it all, I’m feeling fat and old and uncomfortable in my own skin again. I think a person only has SO much energy-optimism and then it needs to be refreshed and restored before they can move on. My leg hurts, my hands are bruised (don’t know how that happened) and I’m just generally battered. Maybe, like the snakes, I am ready for a good shed.

Got go on record about current events. Imus should be horsewhipped, but I wonder if the result would be different if he had said that about a small Okie College team instead of Rutgers. I never liked him anyway-he was mean spirited. WHY I dislike him and I DO like Howard Stern, I really cannot explain. Maybe Howard gets points because he’s a tall, somewhat gawky, Jewish person, therefore he is not “the Man”. Of course Imus is an ugly old goat, but the “Man” can be ugly and still be in a position of power.

At the end of the day, we are all responsible for our words. If you can’t censor yourself any better than that, you don’t need to be in a position to speak to and influence thousands of listeners. The situation also reveals the immense power of the marketplace-we are all free to say what we want, but by golly don’t piss of the advertisers. However, behind the advertisers are the consumer. It’s really all very democratic if you think about it-we are voting with our dollars and the advertisers new Imus had crossed that line and he slammed two very powerful demographics, all black people and all women. “The Man” should perhaps take notice.

Anna Nicole Smith was a junkie. Tragic, like any other junkie, but no more tragic than anyone else, and a lot better off while she was alive. She was no “candle in the wind” but a victim of her own appetites and desire to be noticed. If her son’s death is any indication, her daughter may have a better chance without her than with her. My daughter is a junkie and I pray alot for HER daughter.

Hey, I’m no angel, I sit here drowning in my own appetites for sugar and butter; but I expect no pity and I don’t expect anyone to fix it but me. Maybe a male dominated society created an unhealthy body ideal for ME too, which I couldn’t live up to, therefore I turned to chocolate chip cookies like Anna turned to methadone, et. al.....But at the end of the day, we are all responsible for our actions. Anna just had bigger tits and got a better payoff than I did.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Let's Rumble....

Are you ready to rumble? It’s NASCAR weekend in Dallas-which means I will have to sneak up to OKC via 75 to avoid the fuss. People are trying to rent trailers, but I couldn’t risk a drunken NASCAR fan trashing my dear little Scotty.

I ended up flat on my back with my foot in the air yesterday. Leg and body just had ENOUGH. It happens. I sometimes forget bodies don’t function on a regular, predictable basis. Well, the healing parts, anyway. SOME parts do, and for that I am grateful. Although it can be a curse if 10 am finds me on an airplane-I hate those little stalls. I may have really bad feet and ankles, but I was blessed with intestines of steel. I know, too much information, but it really does help to focus on what is right rather than what is wrong.

Anyway, I am cycling through my “overwhelmed” phase and am back into just one thing at a time mode. Some how it will all work out. I am considering asking for a demotion in my job. I need the extra time more than I need the extra money-lots of family obligations piling in on me and I had gotten used to my unlimited (too much so) ME time. I still need that and always will. I think I am partially autistic.

At every phase in my life I seem to have trouble figuring out the whole career thing and where I fit in and where it fits in. And, I’m having wisps of deja vu.....opportunities-but at the cost of family time. And, ARE they real opportunities? Opportunities are for those who dress the dress and talk the talk. Yet my absolute strength in my current position is I speak my mind and don’t play the game-important features of a Risk Manager.

But I’m growing disenchanted again-I want to go save the world and it won’t happen here.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Lawd Lawd Lawd

Ate a pack of cookies
Lawd Lawd Lawd
650 Calories
Lawd Lawd Lawd
But damn, they sure was good

Lawd Lawd Lawd I say Lawdy Lawdy Lawd
Sometimes, just sometimes you gots to have junk

Good Time Charlie's Got the Blues

Speak to me Oh Green Lizard and give me a theme beyond GREEN and LIZARD. Gecko, Gila Monster, Alligator, or Iguana? Realism or Abstract. (Well, let’s face it, abstract has a better chance of success).

Or do I even need Lizards at all? Can’t it just be the Green Lizard because it’s green and then I can go ahead and paint Elvis on the side (the dead singer, not my snake.)

Or what about a T-Rex or Brontosaurus? Oh heaven forbid it the T-Rex would turn out looking like Barney.

What about my Fat Polynesian Goddess dancing on the back of a Sea Turtle? She’s kind of asexual, but she does have nippies-can one HAVE nipples on the side of their trailer? Look what happened to poor Janice Jackson! Maybe I could draw her from the rear-even the handyman flashes butt crack. I live in the south, no one would notice. But the beauty of the Polynesian lady is her smile-she’s sooooo happy and content.

Content is currently unlike me, I’m afraid. I’m having a bit of a fussy, out of sorts, down day. Part is the pain factor over long term is wearing me down a bit, part of it is I have the blues cause Sue and Jay and the girls are moving to Florida. Everybody’s going away.....Looks like this time their going to staaaaayy...a one hit wonder (Good Time Charlie). I really need a vacation from my life at the moment.

A bit of good news, I did get the bright orange Poly Perk, blatant materialist that I am.

Monday, April 9, 2007

Scotty Dreams

Bah, I have to do my taxes and errands and go to work and what I’d really like to do is cut out pictures to paste on my scotty table. And there are the curtains to consider-a lizard motif or a rainforest theme? And how do I drag in a cowgirl element-perhaps a gila monster with a bandana?

Ironically, my house has no pictures hanging in it (no time and I like the clean walls) and I haven’t even loaded the one curio cabinet I have allotted for treasures since I moved in October. Now, granted, I’ve been hopping, Uncle Johns’ needs are keeping me busy and I’m trying to work full time with only one decent leg. But the truth is, it doesn’t dismay me at all. Right now my “art” is really my vivariums. I have a big ass TV in what might be the dining room, and my computer and camera and art supplies and plants are set up there as well.

Ah, but the Scotty is like a canvas, a mad building project, art project and traveling closet all rolled into one. It requires science (plugging the leaks), drafting and power tools as well as paint and fabric.

AND it involves purchasing period pieces-I’ve got a bid now on a Poly Perk. My Mom had two, but she gave one to a friend a few years ago so I am going to go obtain my own.

The one thing that I am going to have to do is install a microwave. I thought about roughing it with a toaster oven, but all my cooking at home is either nuking or crock potting-so I am going to figure out how to mount a microwave in there somewhere. And then there is the all important question-electric grill or charcoal grill?

Sunday, April 8, 2007

SNOW?????

Yesterday I was driving across town to pick up a snake (ghost ball python, wild caught, FAT, new name (and probably his first ever) is Alfred Hitchcock).

I was trying not to curse the dogwood stuff flying all about the air. The dogwoods want to live and be noticed too, and it's not their fault that I am allergic to them. Then I realized, with much shock, that what I was seeing was not dogwood stuff but SNOW. Snow in my air, in my town in APRIL.

Of course it didn't stick, but once I got Alfred home and warm and settled, the canines and the feline and I climbed aboard the observation platform (aka, my bed) and watched the new arrival until we all fell asleep. By the time we awoke, he was asleep in his log. I know its better to be all antiseptic and plastic, but for a wild caught creature I set him up with wood, etc. so he'd feel at home, and he certainly felt at home enough to strut around the end of the room where ZsaZsa and Eva were spendng out their quarintine time. Dirty old man-they are babies.

Friday was busy with the handyman, who I really put through his paces-I had a lot of fixin and totin to do. I love Kevin because he likes it when I say things like "Next I need you to move the kayak from off the spare bed and into the garage".

He admired my gas powered leaf blower, which I gave him. He was horrified until I told him that someone had given it to me-yes I was curb shopping and I wanted a bird cage and the elderly gentleman insisted I take the gas powered leaf blower. I didn't want to hurt his feelings, my father didn't want it, but low and behold, when Kevin was moving the kayak from the bedroom he spied it and it was his. A pre-easter egg just waiting in my garage for the right hunter to come along.

One of the other tasks he had was to take the table out of the scotty and put it on the sunporch so I can decopage it-my vintage magazines have arrived and my scissors are itching to sciss....or cut or whatever it is they do.

Sue is coming over this week to help me move the snake rack into the house. I bought it used from Alfred's former owner who makes them for sale. I'm actually going to be doing a little reverse engineering-it's hard to get plans for those things so I bought one to measure and pick apart so I can make more for myself.

AND, I got my sister number-I am Sister on the Fly #718 so now I have at least ONE thing to paint on the scotty. One of my purchases at Joanne's was this really great tool that is a soldering iron stamper thing, an one of the things it does is cut plastic stencils-so I will be able to make my own stencils-I'm stoked. But, I learned when burning holes into snake cages that you need to be well ventilated when you cut plastic-peee uuuuuuu.

Friday, April 6, 2007

Retail SUCKS-A rant

Whatever happened to customer service or even common courtesy?

Went to home depot, I'm using my walker and I want some storage containers-I was sent all the way across the store for a grand inventory of 2 sorry ass dusty things. I found an electric cart and continued to shop. I asked for some heat tape and the old fart threw 2 different kinds in MY buggy-neither of which was what I wanted. How DARE he. Then he ran off to teach a class, clearly not one in manners.

This man apparently doesn't watch the feel good "we'll teach you how" Home Depot Commercials.

On to Petco, where I pondered the "size 10" critter tanks. I asked the gentleman if they were the same size as 10 gallon aquariums. I told him I needed to know for sure because I had racks already for the 10 gallons....He read the box information to me then read the dimensions to me-and said "I think so " and I, being a cranky old witch said "Well, believe it or not, I can READ and I THINK so too-but I need to talk to someone who KNOWS or who could walk across the store and bring back the measurements. As you can see, it's hard for me to get around." (The walker is pretty self explanatory) You know that old bastard said "Well, enjoy your shopping" and walked off!!!!!

So, this morning I went to another pet store-no one offered to help me even though I regularly place 200+ orders for tanks.

Off to Joanne Fabrics where they have slamming deals on sterlite containers-I was just going to build my own tanks. Now, gentle reader, I KNOW they don't like snakes, so when the nosey lady asked me what I was going to use the heat gun for I said "to make critter cages". Of course she persisted. "What kind of critters"....."snakes". And she jumped back about 10 feet like she had just seen a gaboon viper. Then, on my way out the door, I had trouble with sacks, walker and the heavy glass door and none of the nice ladies offered to help.

This last one really pushes my buttons-I know people are afraid of snakes (some people) even to the point of phobia. But if I were buying a box of tampons or some preparation H, no one would ask what I was going to use it for, or cast judegement if they new I used the preparation H to help minimize under eye bags..... I have no issue with people who are afraid of snakes-what I really despise is people who ask questions but don't like the answer and pass judgement. Now, friends family, etc. can do that because they are friends, family. Retail people, in the business of selling, should either not ask or act like the like the answer no matter what it is. HELLO, the CUSTOMER is always right and I am paying your salary by purchasing my sterlite and heat guns from you.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Family Values

No one can pull your chain like your own mother. I told her that I had decided I would stop and eat a bait of ribs because I hadn’t been outside the door for anything but work/errands in months and eating was the only thing I could do for enjoyment at the moment. Her response “well, now you don’t want to start that.....” but in the next breath was planning to go to the rib place (Jakes, fabulous) when I drive up next week. So it’s ok to eat ribs when she says it’s Ok, but not?

My mother has an eating disorder-she’s obsessed with food and fixing it and feeding everyone but making sure they don’t eat too much. It’s her own way of coping with her fears of gaining weight when she was younger and as long as she doesn’t puke or overly restrict it’s not that harmful of a thing....unless you happen to be her daughter. I understand we are all a product of the society we are raised in, so I am not saying this with any malice towards my mother, who I love dearly.

She was the typical 60’s housewife and she did a great job of pinching pennies, decorating, cleaning the house, etc. but there is a huge generation gap for us. I have more in common with my father because I was single head of household. But Mom and I have our Chihuahuas in common, and our twisted relationships with food. And we like to garden.

At once point, or many points I probably have felt guilty for not being a more girly girl and having things in common with my mother, but that just isn’t how life turned out for me. She had the luxury of being taken care of and not having to know how to do things. I really don’t think I would have fit well into that role myself.

It seems like the older I get the more urgent things seem and I am chafing at the bit again. So, when she says things like “I wish you’d just sell that trailer” it really pushed my buttons, but I handle it much better these days. Maybe that is the nature of things, we replay our childhood until we get it right or someone dies.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Takin Care of Business

I must be entering the hunger phase of my recovery. I was steadily losing weight, but now that I am back at work and the energy output is more, some old naughty habits are creeping in. Must do the U turn thing. Also, must not freak out-this is one of the pitfalls of dieting-the first bump in the road and it’s back to the all you can eat buffet.

But my goodness, am I HUNGRY. I’m still making sure what I put in the tank is good fuel, but a lot seems to be going in. And, at a time when I need to be stocking up on protein, my spring/summer switch has turned and I don’t want meat at all. Even chicken isn’t sounding good-so I’m almost entirely on fish and oysters. That’s ok, good camping food, a tin of sardines and some crackers.

I’m getting overwhelmed with all the projects I started/thought up whilst I was home-so I am putting a moratorium on new ones until I complete some. My handyman is coming this weekend and I’m going to have him bring the table in so I can decopage-I hope my magazines get here.

My mother cannot understand why I won’t have the handyman seal the trailer. But the trailer is kind of like a guy’s vintage car-no one touches it unless they have to. But my mom is not a guy, so she doesn’t get that either. I did promise I wouldn’t climb until I can walk unassisted.

I’ve been using my jacks/trailer hitch to hold down the big python cage so I bought some tie down straps so that I could go ahead and move them out into the trailer section of the garage. And, I’m going to move the kayak off the bed and the bicycle out of the guest room. Time to move out of recovery mode and into preparation for using mode.

By my new calculations, it will be end of May before I am steady enough on my legs to go kayaking-which is fine because I need some warm water for the inevitable dumps I will take. I can probably bike in a couple more weeks-even before the surgery I never dabbed with my bad foot-I just fell over if I had to. City riding doesn’t usually force you to have to choose a side to put your foot down, so as soon as I can, I’m on the bike. It actually helps with range of motion and the pressure is on the ball of your foot, not my poor messed up heel.

In the meantime, there are dogs to train and snakes to tend and tomatoes to plant. When I get my SOF # I will need to paint that on the trailer along with some lizardly things. This portion of midlife crisis appears to be manifesting by flurry of activity.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Sisters on the Fly and the Green Lizard

It's that old need to "belong", I joined the Sisters on the Fly and part of the application involved naming my trailer. So I faced it head on, it IS the Green Lizard, and painting it and trying to make it something it's not is not in keeping with my plan to quit trying to make things what they are not.

It's a little bitty green trailer and it will never grow up to be an Airstream or class A RV and I probably wouldn't be able to drive it if it did.

I'm never going to look anorexic like Nicole Ritchie (unless I opt for natural burial, no embalming) and even then it would probably take awhile. Of course, at that point time really won't be an issue, will it?

Anyway, I sent off my dues and soon I will be assigned a number, and I will then be Debra Cowden (#xxx). Kind of like being in prison.

I also ordered a sander and a nail gun and a saw. In addition to Scotty repair I want to build snake cages and other fun things and Home Depot sucked me in with their no interest for a year and their rebate, which was kind of healthy. Anyway, if I build only ONE vivarium, the tools will have paid for themselves.

OK, I've bought tools that I rarely used before, but I can't give up TRYING, can I? Otherwise I might as well crawl into the grave and wait to look like Nicole Ritchie.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Lawd lawd lawd

Monday monday monday
Lawd lawd lawd
Can't seem to put it all together
Lawd Lawd Lawd
Sometimes we have too much
Lawd Lawd Lawd Lawdy Lawd Lawd
Longin for simpler times

Sunday, April 1, 2007

A little sun

I had a nice day today-drove to Dennison to meet Mom and Dad for lunch. That's my first road trip in what seems like forever. I stopped by the Tractor Supply Store on my way back to pick up some hardware/critter things and was worn out by the time I made it home. Stamina is still a problem.

I was listening to tunes and "Hotel California" came on and I began to wonder why everyone loves that song. Like most good music, I think it just captured a point in time we all share at one time or another-the feeling of not belonging in your own life. My brother lives in Oxnard, near where the real "Hotel California" was-it's now a junior college.

I had my own insanity trips-that movie, Girl Interupted, wasn't too far off. In the 70's if you were a girl and acted up, you ended up in the looney bin. For a long time I was quite pissed off about that, but it's just what was happening at the time. It sucked, but it really wasn't anything personal.

I remember some of my fellow inmates were a Nun, who was on electorshock treatments and a middle aged woman suffering from post partum depression. We didn't have a lot in common. I did run into an aquaintance from High School, apparently Jean Shelhammer's new nose job did not stop her from slitting her wrists. Don't tell the producers of The Swan. The Nun was a virgin (I asked) but she had a boyfriend when she was younger and she loved to play basketball. The post partum lady didn't talk much but she did cry alot.

I drank straight on full sugar Dr. Pepper in those days. I signed myself out quite a bit, walked around downtown and learned the lay of the land. A few years later I went to business school not too far from the hospital, and then worked at a jewelry store in the area-so I would nip over to the cafeteria and pretend to be a nursing student to eat for a reduced rate.

The clients of the jewelry store included a mafia guy, a brothel owner and a S&L Crook. I didn't tell my parents because I think they thought that job was perhaps a turning point in my life.

The hospital is still there, the jewelry store went under, I think the Business School (secretarial school not a college) went out of business. Timothy McVie bombed the Murrough building and now there are a bunch of empty chairs outside in a plaza. Not to be irreverant, but that is the second stupidest memorial I have seen, the first being the Kennedy memorial here in Dallas. I think the city felt like they had to outdo the memorial at the Edmond Post office (I lived near there too for awhile) commemorating the worst postal massacre in history.

Rednecks in general are obsessed with scars and death. I showed two guys at work the screws they took out of my foot. I'll do anything to fit in. As the song says "there's plenty of room at the Hotel California....."