Wednesday, December 31, 2008

To all my friends on shore...

I really have to say thank you to all my pals who have been concerned about me and to tell you that I'm alive and kicking out here, but I did something really stupid...I allowed my blood sugar to climb without check on Christmas Eve and it's taken me this long to feel like sitting at the computer and trying to explain myself. When I say it was stupid, it really was...I needed my butt kicked and kicked it was. And let me tell you today, that small piece of rum cake that threw me wayyyyy over the top, was not worth it. Not one tiny sliver of it was worth what I put myself through! So, I'm back...and I'm about to go visit my friends and catch up and I'm not making a New Year's resolution here, they are made to be broken, I'm making myself a promise...I shall watch over my health with abandon! I will partake of fewer carbs and more proteins...MUCH fewer! I shall take Christmas Eve into my heart and eat sugar free Jello from now more rum cake. Shame, that.

I want to thank you all for being concerned, you are truly my friends and I will be back with a genuine post soon!~

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Five will get you Twenty

Five will Get you Twenty

How quickly the days slipped away. The decision to take a working vacation this early had not come easily. His wife had insisted. She harped on about how hard he had worked over the years and insisted that an early trip was an excellent idea. "You take Humphries with you, I can always contact him if anything comes up that needs your attention. You just have to take a break. Or a break is going to take you! And the funds need to be replenished. You may as well enjoy yourself as you take care of that piece of business." She was adamant that the "vacation" started soon. He almost became suspicious about her persistence but knew that she loved him, in fact adored him. She insisted that he go along with Humphries that she would occupy her time with the hobbies she had taken up. "In fact, I'll enjoy it more since I won't have you underfoot and demanding my attention." She smiled at him lovingly and he shrugged. "Okay, I'll get Humphries to make all the arrangements."

It was the climate difference that he always noticed most. The air was dry and warm. Warm, it was downright hot. He had immediately broken out what his wife called his "Hawaiian Look" wardrobe. The shorts did little to conceal his knobby knees and the shirt was just a canvas pulled taut over his belly. Before he had left home, he had gone to his bureau drawer and removed the flashy chip with the empty space where the name of the casino it chose to play at would go. He held it in his hand and casually flipped it skyward with the confidant air of a winner. Humphries, his diminutive traveling companion and bank keeper was dressed impeccably in a tailored pinstripe suit and highly polished Italian made shoes. He wrinkled his nose in the general direction of his boss. His boss looked at the expression on his face and said, "tacky is as tacky does, Humphries. Now be a good sport and stop casting aspersions on my outerwear." He picked up his golf hat, motioned for Humphries to take the briefcase lying on the end of the bed and they were off.

After they had arrived in Vegas, Nick and Humpries took some time to explore the various offerings of Vegas. Nick held the lucky chip in his hand and as they drove down Vegas Blvd, waited to see which would be the hotel of choice. The tingle began as they approached the Bellagio Casino and Hotel. "This is the one," Nick told Humphries. Humphries leaned forward and got the driver's attention. "We'll stop at the Bellagio, driver," he said.

"Yes, sir!" the driver answered, whipping into the hotel drive and pulling up to the front of the hotel. Like magic the Bellmen appeared out of nowhere and began to load Nick and Humphries bags onto the luggage trolley. "Follow me sirs, right this way," were tossed out as Nick paid the cabby, giving him a healthy tip in addition to the fare. "THANK YOU, SIR!" he called out to Nick's retreating back. "Nice Gentleman," he murmured, "nice Gentleman." He waved as he drove away to collect another fare.

Nick and Humphries approached the desk, deep in discussion. Humphries was still on about Nick's clothing, but Nick quickly pointed out that the shirt was silk the shorts linen and offered to let his young employee guess what it had cost. "The earth, I'm sure sir," smirked Humphries, " but it's not the cost, it's the appearance." Removing the expensive pair of sunglasses he had needed to block the burning rays of the sun from his eyes, Nick brushed him off as they arrived at check in. The clerk behind the desk was all smiles and very polite as he asked for the name the registration would be under. Nick still held on tight to his one chip, a smile teasing his lips.

"Snow, Nick Snow," he smiled to the clerk. The clerk glanced up and down the list of expected visitors on the computer screen. Looking up over the rim of his reading glasses, he spoke softly. "I'm sorry sir, I don't see your name registered here." The chip grew warm in Nick's hand. "Check again,'s there, " Nick replied. The clerk, eyes running down the list saw it immediately.

"I don't know how I missed it the first time, Sir. I do beg your pardon Mr. Snow. And I see you've been with us before, I'm terribly sorry for any inconvenience." He began to ring the bell sharply, to get a bellman to take the luggage and guests to Nick's suite. Nick waved away any mention that he was upset and he and Humphries approached the elevator with the bellman.

The two bedroom suite was luxurious, no doubt. Not that Nick would be spending much time inside it. He intended to lie down and take a nap, call his wife Gloria and let her know that he had arrived and then grab a shower. He would dress for dinner and the nights play at the roulette wheel. He sat down on the side of the satin topped bed and took out his cell phone. It burbled twice and suddenly his beloved Gloria was on the line. "Hello Darling, " she trilled. "I see you arrived all in one piece. No problem with the flight?"
"No, Sweets, no problem at all. We have the conveyance parked and everything in hand. We'll be going down to dinner shortly and then after that, I'll be at play in the Casino." He took the chip and turned it over and saw the word "Bellagio" emblazoned on the front. He smiled. "Yes, playtime will start soon. I wish you would come with me sometime, they have some excellent shops."
She giggled sweetly. "What need have I of shops?" she said. "You behave and don't be to sharp with Humphries. I don't think he quite approves of your play clothes."
Nick laughed out loud and the room trembled. "I'll knock his socks off tonight, my dear. I've brought my tux." A warm glow enveloped Gloria Snow as she imagined her Nick in his tux...he was a totally different man in that suit. "Good night Darling...I'll be seeing you soon?" Nick, imagining her dressed in her flowing silk nightgown, whispered to her. "Sooner than you may expect my Angel. Keep the candle in the window."

Dinner was superb. Nick enjoyed the tender sweetness of the fillet Mignon, the avocado salad was pure heaven. Humphries had enjoyed Trout Almondine and a green salad and now they were both awaiting a dessert that they had never had. The description read "Try the chocolate raspberry Decadence, a flourless chocolate raspberry cake served on top of two Florentine cookies and filled with raspberry mousse. The dome-shaped cake is rich and fudgy, while the lattice cookies and fluffy raspberry mousse are gentle by comparison." Nick took a good healthy drink of water to cleanse his palate and leaning back in his chair, looked at Humphries. "What, no harsh words about my evening attire, Humphries?" Humphries, himself dressed in a smaller version of Nick's tux, had the good grace to blush. Looking at his employer, dressed in a very classy black tux, the cumberbund a deep rose yellow and the tie the same color, Humphries looked appropriately impressed.
"You look quite dashing, Sir. I'm sure Mrs. Snow would approve." Nick laughed to himself, and the look on his face was blatant, causing Humphries to flush red. "Ahemmm," he said, clearing his throat, "I believe dessert is arriving." Dessert had indeed arrived and lived up to the high praise on the menu. Not the simple fare of milk and cookies he had become accustomed to, it was pure heart attack on a plate. Finishing up, Humphries took care of the bill while Nick excused himself and started towards the Casino and the Roulette Wheel.

The chip was so hot it nearly burned Nick's hand. He place the chip on 20 red and stood back as the Croupier valued the chip at 1000 dollars. He watched in fascination as the ball went one way and the wheel the other. It began to slow and the ball landed in 10 black then hopped out, jumped around trying to find a stopping point and landed on 20 red. "Well done, Sir ," said the Croupier and he pushed a pile of chips in front of Nick. "Let it ride," said Nick softly.

As the earned chips piled up in front of him, Humphries would remove half the stacks and take them to the window to be cashed in. He had all the paper work he needed in the briefcase. In several hours, the play went on and the eyes in the sky were trying to figure out how the well dressed gentleman at the Roulette table was cheating. Nick had managed to amass over a half million dollars. He had attracted a crowd and people were muttering amongst themselves and wondering why the Man in Charge hadn't shut the table down. Finally, at one Million dollars, he did just that. Mr. Big wanted his people to talk to this wizard of the Roulette Wheel but when they turned to talk to him, they discovered that Nick Snow was no where to be found.

Nick tucked the now cooling chip into his breast pocket and then tucked the silk kerchief back in the pocket. Humphries had gone up to the room and packed their bags. He stood at the waiting taxi, door open and nodded to Nick as he stooped to get in the back seat. "All taken care of Mr. Snow, " Humphries smiled.
"Excellent, Humphries, excellent." He gave the cabby an address out near the airport and they were off. "How much did we make, Humphries?" Nick asked.
Well over a million, Sir. We're well in the black and there should be no problems with supply this year or the next. We've done well, and the orders are in and they only await our return."

The cabby pulled into an alleyway, let the two gentlemen out and was pleased with the hefty tip he had received. He tried hard not to stare at the little gentleman's ears. They had a Mr. Spock look, sharply pointed. Funny, he didn't remember them being that way when they had entered the cab. "Thank you sirs, this tip will come in handy, this time of year. I was wondering what I was going to do about my kids. Christmas seems to get tighter every year."
Nick cocked his head and smiled warmly at the driver. "Don't you worry, John. Their wishes will be taken into account. I can promise you that." For some reason John the cabby didn't wonder how the handsome older Gentleman had known his name. He thought he already knew. He turned back to the wheel and as he drove off heard the bells of a sleigh. And smiled.

Monday, December 15, 2008

And it all began with a party line

When my grandmother became one of the first people in the western half of the county to have telephone service, it was absolutely nothing like our phone service of today. On your phone line would be at least five other patrons. If one of the other patrons was on the line, you of course were out of luck. No making calls till the line was clear. It was also an excellent way to gather news and "gossip" from around the area. They didn't hear it on the grape vine...they heard it on the party line. I remember once when my older sister wanted to make a call and our cousin Mary was on the phone at her house talking to her boyfriend. Holly kept picking up the phone to see if it was clear and the "click" it made when the receiver was lifted alerted Mary to the fact that someone else was on the line. This of course meant that she was reluctant to let go the line. There was a bit of small talk going on and the boyfriend was asking "where do you want to go tonight?" (Like there was a wealth of entertainment back in the late fifties...a movie theater and a skating rink.) "I don't know, where do you want to go?" Mary would ask back. After about three minutes of this back and forth, Holly says (disguising her voice a little...a very little) "you're going to hell if you don't get off this phone." I believe there was hell to pay after that little incident, too.

It was an important thing to have a phone in your home. You were really something if someone asked for your phone number and you actually had one to give. I remember when Mac and I married in 1968 how wonderful I felt when the phone company allowed as how we could have a phone...and there would be no party line. It would be our very own phone and we'd have our very own number that was totally different from my neighbors, not just off 1 or2 or 3 or 4...indicating party line service. I made sure to mail my family our phone number so that I didn't run up a high long distance charge on the bill. Being newly married, we were very careful about things like that. One night the phone rang and I answered it "McBride residence" as I always did. Mac sat across from me, watching the news. From the other end of the phone came the most vile language and vulgar suggestions that I held the phone by two fingers since it was the source of the filth. As I handed the phone across to Mac, I said "it's for you." He listened for half a tick and then he stated so coldly that I could hear the ice crackling in his voice. "If you ever call this number again you'll be sorry." As far as I know, he never did.

The next time we were home, I was telling my mother about my phone call and she laughed. She had worked for Ma Bell as a telephone operator when we lived in Washington DC when I was a baby. She told me about all the calls that she had heard (of course they didn't listen in!) and some of the perfectly wonderful responses that I might want to keep in mind, since Mac was away from home so much. I listened.

When we were stationed in Norfolk, Virginia I received a call one night. The young fellow on the other end was saying some pretty vile things. "Hold on a minute, sonny and let me get a cup of coffee and a cigarette." Click. It's no fun harassing a willing victim. I received a call from a phone molester when we lived in England and he had quite a repertoire of stuff to share with me. He got annoyed though when I kept saying things like "knickers? What are knickers?" And then turned to Bubbles (Violet Loxley Green) my neighbor and said, "he's asking about knickers, what's he talking about?" She looked at me and smiled and said, "hang up, darling it's only a tiny pervert who is definitely not going to be getting any jollies at this end of the line."

One night after we had gone to bed, the phone rang. Our house in England only had one line and it was downstairs in the entry way. I figured that people didn't talk as much on the phone as we did in the states since there was no line in the lounge (den or living room for my American audience). So anyway, the phone rang, I got up and went downstairs and answered it. A gentleman on the other end of the line asked if Janice were there. I had to tell him that I knew of no Janice and that he had probably misdialed. He agreed he probably had and then asked what part of the States I was from and we ended up talking about absolutely nothing for forty five minutes. After I rang off, I slipped back into bed and Mac asked sleepily, "who was it?"
I mumbled, just as sleepily, "oh, it was a wrong number."

So now here we are and everyone has a cell phone. Except me. I don't have one, don't want one...can't see a need for one. I heard on the news night before last that parents are in an uproar because their kids are taking pictures of themselves in their underwear and less WITH THEIR TELEPHONES and sending them to their friends, male and female. And male and female are doing this. So, the parents want to know what can be done. WHAT CAN BE DONE? For crying out loud, take the phone away from the child, you blithering idiot. Who pays the bills in that household? Who's rearing who? I see parents who are afraid of their own children and it's a frightening situation. Makes me long for the party line.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

GrayC, the Christmas Cat

Do you have any friends that are as close to you as sisters, that would do anything for you (and vice versa) and not even question why? I count myself so very blessed in that I have two such sisters. One is Evil Sister (Jacqui) and the other is Good Sister (Maureen). Today we will be introducing Evil Sister's cat, GrayC to you. GrayC could only belong to Evil Sister, being an Evil Cat. Evil Sister has no need of a watch dog as long as GrayC is around. This cat actually snarls. And growls. And I believe she may bite. My first introduction to the rotound Miss G was after Evil Sister and hubby moved here from New Jersey. (I like to say it was because their daughter had moved here, but it was really because she couldn't stand being away from her "sister".) I had been warned about Miss G's bad habits. I was ill prepared for the actuality that is GrayC. She had been, as I understand it, an orphaned little kitten that had to be bottle fed (such as our Hound). I know first hand how spoiled a human raised kitten can become...yes, GrayC is spoiled.

So when I first clapped eyes on her all I could say was, "my GOD that cat is fat!" I know now that Miss G and I shall never have an "aunt/niece" relationship because I stumbled in on the wrong foot from the beginning. You never tell an Up and Coming young debutante that she is on the, shall we say husky side , of petite. Jacqui says she can't figure out why GrayC is so er...plump. She only eats regular cat food. And apricots...and marshmallows...she loves those little yellow chicks. No, really. Apricots. And marshmallows. Yellow chicks.

Her "daddy" bought her a Christmas suit the other day. Seems he wanted her to be able to get into the spirit. As luck would have it, she could barely get into the suit. Jaq was telling me about how the velcro closures would barely make it around her girth and GrayC has no idea how to "suck it in" if it isn't a marshmallow. I told her she could add a piece of velcro to the closures and make a gusset, as it were. And then I fell into hysterical laughter at the thought of a gusset in the cat suit. Now, you'd think that the mention of a cat suit on a cat would set me off, but no. Nothing odd in dressing your sweetums in human attire. Is there?

So, they finally managed to stuff...I mean clothe Miss G in her Santa suit. They sent me a picture. Actually they sent two.

This is Miss G doing her Jim Carey impersonation of the Grinch. And meanwhile here at home, I can't get mine out of the Christmas tree.

This link will explain why I call her Evil Sister.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Gonna rope a deer

By now you all know that I am a bunny hugging, tree sitting, arm the animals type of person. I lay curses on deer hunters that use dogs and put that charm on so strong that long after deer season is over, the dogs are still shivering and refusing to leave their boxes. Their owners are having nightmares that mean they have to lay down in the afternoon and take a nap. I received this letter from a friend today and being that I love to share good news, I decided that I just had to share it with all my friends.

Roping A Deer - - - - - ( Names have been removed to protect the Stupid! )

Dear Family
I had this idea that I was going to rope a deer, put it in a stall, feed it up on corn for a couple of weeks, then kill it and eat it.

The first step in this adventure was getting a deer. I figured that, since they congregate at my cattle feeder and do not seem to have much fear of me when we are there (a bold one will sometimes come right up and sniff at the bags of feed while I am in the back of the truck not 4 feet away), it should not be difficult to rope one, get up to it and toss a bag over its head (to calm it down) then hog tie it and transport it home.

I filled the cattle feeder then hid down at the end with my rope.

The cattle, having seen the roping thing before, stayed well back. They were not having any of it.

After about 20 minutes, my deer showed up (actually 3 of them) I picked out a likely looking one,then stepped out from the end of the feeder, and threw my rope. The deer just stood there and stared at me.

I wrapped the rope around my waist and twisted the end so I would have a good hold. The deer still just stood and stared at me, but you could tell it was mildly concerned about the whole rope situation.

I took a step towards took a step away. I put a little tension on the rope and then received an education.

The first thing that I learned is that, while a deer may just stand there looking at you funny while you rope it, they are spurred to action when you start pulling on that rope.

That deer EXPLODED.

The second thing I learned is that pound for pound, a deer is a LOT stronger than a cow or a colt. A cow or a colt in that weight range I could fight down with a rope and with some dignity.

A deer-- no chance.

That thing ran and bucked and twisted and pulled. There was no controlling it and certainly no getting close to it. As it jerked me off my feet and started dragging me across the ground, it occurred to me that having a deer on a rope was not nearly as good an idea as I had originally imagined.

The only up side is that they do not have as much stamina as many other animals.

A brief 10 minutes later, it was tired and not nearly as quick to jerk me off my feet and drag me when I managed to get up. It took me a few minutes to realize this, since I was mostly blinded by the blood flowing out of the big gash in my head. At that point, I had lost my taste for corn-fed venison. I just wanted to get that devil creature off the end of that rope.

I figured if I just let it go with the rope hanging around its neck, it would likely die slow and painfully somewhere. At the time, there was no love at all between me and that deer. At that moment, I hated the thing, and I would venture a guess that the feeling was mutual.

Despite the gash in my head and the several large knots where I had cleverly arrested the deer's momentum by bracing my head against various large rocks as it dragged me across the ground, I could still think clearly enough to recognize that there was a small chance that I shared some tiny amount of responsibility for the situation we were in, so I didn't want the deer to have to suffer a slow death, so I managed to get it lined back up in between my truck and the feeder - a little trap I had set before hand...kind of like a squeeze chute.

I got it to back in there and I started moving up so I could get my rope back.

Did you know that deer bite? They do! I never in a million years would have thought that a deer would bite somebody, so I was very surprised when I reached up there to grab that rope and the deer grabbed hold of my wrist.

Now, when a deer bites you, it is not like being bit by a horse where they just bite you and then let go. A deer bites you and shakes its head --almost like a pit bull. They bite HARD and it hurts.

The proper thing to do when a deer bites you is probably to freeze and draw back slowly. I tried screaming and shaking instead. My method was ineffective. It seems like the deer was biting and shaking for several minutes, but it was likely only several seconds.

I, being smarter than a deer (though you may be questioning that claim by now), tricked it.

While I kept it busy tearing the tendons out of my right arm, I reached up with my left hand and pulled that rope loose. That was when I got my final lesson in deer behavior for the day.

Deer will strike at you with their front feet. They rear right up on their back feet and strike right about head and shoulder level, and their hooves are surprisingly sharp. I learned a long time ago that, when an animal -- like a horse --strikes at you with their hooves and you can't get away easily, the best thing to do is try to make a loud noise and make an aggressive move towards the animal. This will usually cause them to back down a bit so you can escape.

This was not a horse. This was a deer, so obviously, such trickery would not work. In the course of a millisecond, I devised a different strategy. I screamed like a woman and tried to turn and run.

The reason I had always been told NOT to try to turn and run from a horse that paws at you is that there is a good chance that it will hit you in the back of the head. Deer may not be so different from horses after all, besides being twice as strong and 3 times as evil, because the second I turned to run, it hit me right in the back of the head and knocked me down.

Now, when a deer paws at you and knocks you down, it does not immediately leave. I suspect it does not recognize that the danger has passed. What they do instead is paw your back and jump up and down on you while you are laying there crying like a little girl and covering your head.

I finally managed to crawl under the truck and the deer went away.

So now I know that when people go deer hunting they bring a rifle with a scope to sort of even the odds.
Y'all be good now, ya hear?

I had planned on going duck hunting for Christmas but I'm still blind in my right eye and my trigger finger appears to be missing.

Now you know why I hate's that part of the family that I try to avoid at all costs...