July 2, 2005


Sometimes life is really difficult.  It seems the last two years have been so full of those difficult types of events, it's hard to see the good things for the bad.  Currently, there are some changes at my work that threaten to take the company under.  Quite a few key people are looking for other work and several others are taking a "pull back, wait and see" attitude, but are keeping their options open.  But the overwhelming tone throughout the company is to bail and the people who created this situation will never understand or acknowledge the reasons why.  In some ways, I think they want this to happen, though I don't know what they would gain.


On top of all the nightmares at work, two days before everything came undone there, my niece, her husband and two of their friends were in a horrible accident.  When I first heard, my heart was in my throat and it has stayed there.  Jessica has always been such a sweet and giving person, even as a small child.  There were times I told her mother I would gladly keep Jessica if only she would let me but she never took me up on the offer.  Now, she is going through an ordeal that is heart wrenching and I want to take all the pain away, but I can't.


If you are a person who prays, please pray for Jessica and her husband, Matt, as well as for their friends.  If you want more information about them, you can go to this web site:  http://www.woodhenry.com.   You can see pictures of them and of the vehicle.  It's truly a miracle that they survived.



July 3, 2005


It's starting to look a lot like...oops!  Wrong holiday.  It's starting to SOUND a lot like the 4th of July out there.  I am playing the music VERY LOUDLY in hopes that Maddie won't notice.  So far, so good.  She is terrorized by all the fireworks and becomes completely inconsolable when everyone starts shooting them off illegally in their yards and in the street.  Did I mention this is illegal?  As in, you aren't supposed to do it at home?  In the city of Tulsa, they have raised the fines and are going to step up enforcement.  But here in the suburbs, they are allowing people to get permits so they can be shot off in certain areas...public areas, like parks.  That kind of place.  So people who have frightened little dogs won't have to go through the stress of having their next door neighbor setting them off in their yard where they are so loud that even blaring music can't mask the sound.


Truthfully, if they didn't cause Maddie to go insane with fear, I wouldn't mind too much at all as long as people don't start fires and rather destructive things like that.  But because I DO have Maddie and because they DO cause her to almost go insane with fear, I dread this holiday.  


It started a few days ago.  Sporadic explosions were starting to be heard all around town, mainly in the distance.  This morning at about 11:00 a.m., somebody shot about 30 minutes worth of firecrackers not too far from me, and so it began in earnest.  Tonight, we are being bombarded.  Which brings up another rather frustrating point regarding this holiday when you have a terrified little dog.  It is supposed to be on the FOURTH of July.  Not the first.  Not the sixth.  Not the second or the third.  One day, all day, get it over with and we move on.  That would be so much more bearable!


The other thing that bothers me, cynic that I have become, has to do with the lack of meaning in so many of our holiday celebrations, this one included.  It has become an excuse to get drunk and make a lot of noise shooting off little explosive devices.   People get hurt, they cause grass fires, they cause roof fires, they get obnoxiously drunk and have a hangover the next day, but they don't often remember the reason for the holiday.


Which would be really important things.  Like freedom and democracy.  (Used to have something to do with no more taxation without representation, but I guess we can't have everything, right?)


I know there are people who think about why we are celebrating, so I shouldn't let myself get so discouraged.  But the commercialization of all of our special holidays does bother me.  Christmas is the prime example of this.  It has become a retail feeding frenzy and little more, all meaning completely drained away.  But even Mother's day and Father's day swell the Sunday newspaper with all of the sale ads.  We have President's day sales, for heaven's sake!  And the day after Thanksgiving has become one of the biggest retail events of the year.


So please forgive me if I sit here listening to ridiculously loud music thinking about all the sacrifices people - real people like you and me - made over the years so that we could enjoy freedom in this country.  That freedom has been twisted and distorted and misused, but it's still a pretty amazing thing.  I know I'm hearing fireworks and not gunfire, for example.  The foundation this country was built on has some cracks (or crackpots) but it's still strong.  Quite a few people still believe in that foundation.  We do have things to celebrate, if only we would take a minute to remember...



July 4, 2005


Here we are...the big day, music blaring at an ungodly volume and Maddie laying on my feet staring up at me beseechingly.  The fireworks started about 8 a.m., but weren't really constant until about 5:00 p.m.  That's when I put the music on and I've gone through 5 CD's worth so far (my 4th of July drown out fireworks play list) and just started over.


In reading the paper today, I found out the $20 fireworks permit actually allows people to shoot fireworks in their yards, so we are just going to have to tough it out.  I worry about Maddie's heart.  She is beside herself with terror and I'm STRESSED!


Hope you and your family and friends are having a good holiday.  Happy birthday, America!



July 6, 2005


My vacation is going by so quickly!!!  It seems as if vacation is like Christmas...you look forward to it for a very long time, it whizzes by and you are left wondering what in the heck happened to all the time!  I have so many things planned and projects I wanted to complete, but it's becoming quite evident I'm not going to get there from here.  Rats!



 July 7, 2005




I've tried to be good and behave.  I've tried to avoid falling into "cynical mode" and have been fairly successful for...oh, at least a whole day or two.  But some of the recent events that have taken place within the company where I work have caused me to "cogitate" and reflect on certain things on a subconscious level until finally...I FEEL A RANT COMING ON!!!


I've probably been thinking about some of this long before any of the recent corporate political games began playing out.  I have watched for a few years now as long-term thinking became extinct and short-term targets became the god to which every employee is made to bow.  I've observed companies go under, fall apart, blow apart and be destroyed.  In every case I can think of, the businesses had two things in common: 1. They were investor owned, and,   2.  Corruption and greed ruled and reigned.


I am not an economic expert and I certainly don't claim to understand the complicated tangle of puzzle pieces that causes our economy to flourish or falter.  But now that I have reached a ripe old age and could probably be classified as a relic, I can say that I have been around long enough to make some educated observations about business in general.  These observations are just my opinion, although I believe they are pretty darn factual as I have seen them in action in way too many situations.


Let's talk about companies that are owned by investors.  Way back in the dark ages, businesses were owned by a person who made money if the company they owned made money.  If it made money and survived, they passed these businesses on to their children and sometimes, the business would be passed down through many generations.  Big or small, they were "family owned" and the family had a reason to want to see that company survive to be passed on and on and on.  It's not a perfect world, so this situation didn't always exist.  But there were many more hard-working, honest, ethical people than there were crooks because crooks were not held in high regard.  People didn't feel sorry for them if they had to wear little home monitoring devices...oh, wait.  I'm getting ahead of myself again.  We're still back in the dark ages.


So way back then, a person's reputation mattered.  And they would stake their reputation on their product, which was reflected in the way they did business.


There were investors back then too!  But during this particular era in our history, investors didn't expect to make millions of dollars within 2 or 3 years by squeezing every bit of profit out of the company while then owned it, then selling it off for more than they paid for it.  Really.  As a rule, investors in the dark ages knew that investing in a company was a commitment of sorts.  They realized it might take time for that company to make money for them.  They actually INVESTED in the company to give it the OPPORTUNITY to make money at some point in the FUTURE.  They expected to receive a return on their investment, just like people expect to receive a return on their investments today.  But investing was a LONG TERM way of thinking.  They expected to gradually begin receiving this return and they planned on being an investor in that business for a long time.  Their children expected to INHERIT the ownership the investment provided.  And though the investment could and often did result in someone becoming a millionaire, it was a PROCESS, happening over time as the company grew and prospered.  There were good investments and bad ones, but no one expected instant gratification.


Contrast this picture with what you commonly see today.  Investors, be they a group or an individual, try to acquire businesses cheaply, contributing the least amount of capital influx possible to make the business look really good with the smallest number of people they can so they can quickly sell it before the whole thing craters!  It's a bit like the undertaker who makes the corpse look good before the funeral.  And the undertaker - whoops - investors laugh all the way to the proverbial bank!  Why, you ask?  Because they are now, after 2, 3, or possibly 4 or 5 years,  multi-millionaires and that was the ONLY goal they EVER had when they entered into the relationship!  Now they have even more money to play with and they will repeat the cycle over and over again until they have accumulated massive wealth.  But if you look behind them, you will see that company A was dismantled as a result of the sale or company B was so in need of capital investments, they were so far behind they couldn't keep up with the times and went under, or company C was sold to a competitor who only wanted to eliminate competition, which they did when they closed the doors, or the buyers of company D lost their shirts because they acquired it too late, or company E went through the entire cycle once again, limping along as best they could, burning people out and using them up. 


There may be investors and / or investor groups out there who don't operate this way.  I hope so.  But if you care to check it out, you will find that a large percentage of companies that have collapsed in the past 15 years experienced exactly what I am describing here in one form or another.  Because these investors don't want to spend additional money on needed capital investments, the business itself gets further and further behind the technology curve and is soon so hopelessly behind and outdated, their doom is assured.  If all goes well, it will be sold just before becoming terminal.


Now, ask yourself who gets hurt in this scenario.  That's right!  You.  Me.  Your children, grandchildren, friends, aunts, uncles, grandparents and the friends of your children.  And what is the end result beyond the price we personally pay?  It's pretty obvious.  Our economy is damaged.  Eventually, we all pay...well, except for the investors who somehow manage to manipulate and exploit our tax laws as they avoid paying income tax.  In short, they don't even help pay for the damage they did because they don't contribute their fair share in taxes.  You and I still wind up carrying the load.


Whew!!!  Do you get a feeling I'm just getting started???  Sorry everybody.  Let's all take a break!



July 9, 2005




I guess thinking about the tax angle of all of this completely caused me to blow a circuit!!  I'll try not to get too long-winded today.


Back to the points I was trying to make...those being....that many of the businesses that have gone under in the past 15 years have had two things in common: 1. They were investor owned, and,   2.  Corruption and greed ruled and reigned. 


It's fairly easy to see how the shift from a long-term vision to one that is very short-term has damaged and threatened the solvency of many companies.  The "buy low, sell high" mentality is not in and of itself the problem.  The problem is more in the focus of the transaction (making a select few people multi-millionaires) and the time frame within which this all happens (normally 2 - 5 years).  The resultant rape and pillage of the company (and the people therein) to accomplish this inflated return on investment feat in true "wham, bam, thank you, madam" style deeply cripples and wounds even the best companies, but it destroys others and leaves hundreds of thousands of people without gainful employment.  And that brings up my second point.


Wanting to make a profit or to experience a good return on investment is not evil or wrong.  Making a profit is necessary for businesses to continue in business and that is necessary to provide employment to our citizens.  Investors have a role to play, which, if played without corruption and greed, can actually help businesses continue in business, thus helping to provide employment to people like you and me.  So, in all honesty, the fact that investors buy and sell businesses doesn't do the damage I've been talking (or ranting) about.  It's when this is coupled with point number 2 that damage is done.


You almost can't open the paper without reading about another business scandal.  We have massive legislation (Sarbanes Oxley...thanks, Enron) that is being phased in and it attempts to insure checks and balances are in place within companies to prevent corrupt and greedy people from doing what they do.  But I have a feeling, for all the work involved and all the expense of it, Sarbanes Oxley - or any other law for that matter - is not going to be successful in legislating people into being honest and doing the right things.  For every big public scandal, there are thousands of not-so-big acts of corruption and unethical behavior that are completely glossed over and hidden by the power that be within a corporation.  Businesses have ethics policies and the say a lot of big fancy words about how they value employees, believe in building a stable financial future for the company, believe a business has moral obligations and ethical responsibilities, that it must conform to the law and uphold human values.  They talk about honesty and integrity, how these qualities are characterized by truthfulness and freedom from deception or fraud and that this doesn't vary regardless of where you work in their company.  They will tell you that if you conduct yourself truthfully and with integrity, questions of ethical behavior will be easily answered in most situations and that acts which seem slightly dishonest can open the door to serious violations.  They purport trust, claiming we will prosper most in an environment that is fair, open and morally secure.  They claim their employees are the key to the success of the business and that we must treat each other in ways that foster individual self-respect, loyalty and dedication.  It sounds good.  But generally, it's all just a bunch of words on paper.


If executives, investors and employees lived by half of the lovely words in ethics policies or codes of conduct, we would see many more healthy and prosperous companies.  These companies would be places where people would want to work because they would be able to believe in the organization for which they labor.  It has always amazed me how much damage 2 or 3 people in positions of power can do to a company full of honest, law-abiding, hard-working employees.  But if these executives would live by the grand words they so effectively compose, we wouldn't see the rape and pillage scenario play out again and again.  But it seems such policies are only enforced with rank-and-file employees.  Higher up the chain, it's all hushed up and swept under the rug.


I actually worry about America because of this.  I rant because I don't know what else to do.  Not many people care.  Sometimes I start to feel as if honesty, integrity and ethical behavior no longer matter to anyone anywhere in any job function.  It has become such a "what's in it for me" society and everyone is only looking out for themselves.  Doing what it right and what will allow everyone to win is no longer of any concern.  Well, except to a few of us silly old relics out here who can't seem to give it up.  I hope there are more of us than I see.  And against all odds, I still hope there is a way to turn it around before it's too late.



July 10, 2005


Have you ever noticed how much fun a dog can have with a bug?   The bug probably isn't having such a grand time, but a dog can delightfully entertain themselves for some time with some unsuspecting insect.  As long as it moves, it is a wondrous toy!


My dog, being an inside dog who does not live with insects of all sorts on a daily basis, thinks bugs are the greatest invention known to dogs!  She watches them for a moment or two with her neck arched, nose almost riding their back and her tail wagging back and forth very quickly.  Then she attacks!  Ferociously, she snaps them up and shakes them wildly back and forth before releasing them in mid-fling.


In case you are wondering why I don't intervene, it has a lot to do with the "releasing them in mid-fling" part.  She doesn't even know where they go!  She immediately starts sniffing and searching until she locates them once again and the cycle repeats.  I have learned from experience, though the law of averages would tell you otherwise, if I am in the vicinity, that mid-fling release always shoots them right on me!!


The other reason I don't intervene has a lot to do with my dislike of most insects.  They are too "icky" for me to actually enjoy (sorry, Julie, they creep me out!).  I am content to let them live their lives, as long as they do it outside.  But when they venture in to my house, as far as I'm concerned, if Maddie finds them and plays them to death, they get what they have coming!


Back to the "mid-fling" phenomena, I have found Maddie has unerring accuracy with crickets.  And the bigger and uglier the cricket, the better her aim!  Yesterday, I saw the tell-tale (or tell-tail) wagging of her cute little stub of a tail and noted a very high arch to her neck.  The next thing I know this god-awful 10 lb. cave cricket comes flying in my direction!  O.K.  Maybe it didn't weight quite 10 lbs.  But it was MONSTROUS!!  I was amazed to hear myself squeal as I ran away...


But, honestly, who wouldn't run from an almost 10 lb. incoming cave cricket?  They are hideous looking!  They are fat juicy yucky jumping things that look like they belong in a cave.  And they jump.  Did I mention the jumping part?  They jump erratically and wildly in every which direction and somehow ALWAYS wind up jumping - or being flung - right on ME! 


Some bugs are easier for me to handle than others.  Big spiders and big bugs are at the top of my "I can't stand it" insect list.  And ANY insect that comes AT me, especially when they are jumping in such a manner that I can't predict the exact direction of attack, is at the very top of my "there ain't enough room for both of us in this house" list.  Which is why, once I had taken cover around the corner, I would occasionally peek into the room to see how the battle - or, from Maddie's perspective, how the game - was going.


She had a wonderful time and I cheered her on!  Unfortunately, she doesn't eat her kill, so I had to fold up 5 paper towels to insure there was a sufficient amount of padding between me and the dead cave cricket before I could force myself to pick it up and throw it in the trash.  It still gave me the creeps!  Maddie, smiling happily, wandered over to get a drink while I disposed of the body.  And so ends another day of wild excitement and adventure with Maddie the ferocious Schnauzer.  Stay tuned...there's more action and wild adventure to come!



July 11, 2005


I saw a picture in the newspaper from the bombings in London that touched my heart.  It was a picture of a woman weeping.  It brought me back to the way I felt when Oklahoma City, OK, was bombed.  Even though I didn't know a single person who was affected, I felt stunned initially.  I couldn't quite grasp what had happened.  And then, seeing the damage, the civilians who were badly injured, the children who were killed, the people frantically trying to find loved ones, an overwhelming sense of loss begin to sweep over me.  At that moment, I realized the world would never be the same for me again. 


This feeling was magnified when the World Trade Center towers collapsed after being hit by hijacked airliners.  SO MANY INNOCENT PEOPLE!  So many good, hard-working, living their lives without hurting anyone people!  They died senselessly.  People were scarred and broken...just ordinary people.  These were not soldiers or government agents.  They were going about the business of living their lives as best they could, going to work, doing their job, harming no one.


Certainly, there have been other terrorist attacks since then.  But for some reason, seeing the picture of the woman holding her face in her hands as she wept, I was deeply touched.  So much loss.  So much pain.  For no reason.  No cause.  Slaughtered or maimed though they were not fighting a war or protecting their country.  They were just going to work.


It is interesting to me that the same people who planned these cowardly attacks on unarmed, innocent, everyday civilians are the same people who scream at the top of their lungs if one of their "innocent" civilians is accidentally killed in a raid.  Somehow, what is "acceptable" in their eyes when dealing with others is totally unacceptable when it happens to them, even though in the latter case, the damage isn't intentional.  And to me, this is where you begin to see the truth of what the terrorists are actually about.


They are cowards.  They cannot face their enemy and fight to live or die.  They have to sneak around and plant bombs to kill innocent people; men, women and children.  They do this on purpose because no one else matters to them.  Yet the countries that fight against these terrorists do so to protect the innocent and to free those who have been held hostage by uncaring dictators.  While terrorists try to kill the innocent, those who fight terrorism seek to save the innocent from the guilty.  And where terrorists hide and cower behind cover and disguise, those who fight them do so in the open. 


I feel for the people in London right now.  They have suffered a loss and many people's lives will never be the same.  They certainly do not suffer alone.  Many share their pain.



July 12, 2005


Houston, we have a problem!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


I'm not kidding!  Bugs are yucky.  A lot of them gross me out.  I don't like the kind that are unpredictable...you know, they jump around so erratically, you can't tell exactly when they will land on you or where they are going to get you, but you KNOW they are going to land on you soon and they WILL find skin!  But, let's face it.  Though gross, most bugs can be squashed fairly easily (or I can sic Maddie on them).  SNAKES, however, are a WHOLE NEW BALLGAME!


Yes, I have discovered evidence that a HUGE (hugely huge) snake has been strolling in my yard!  In MY YARD!!!!  I found the evidence this morning at 4:30 a.m. and went from half asleep to way wide awake in one millisecond flat!  I saw this "thing" in the moonlight...looked kind of like a long piece of thin bark laying twisted on the grass.  I was curious.  I was half asleep.  I decided to check it out to see if it was indeed bark or if, perhaps, long dead weed.  NEVER did I DREAM it would be a SNAKE SKIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Oh, Boy.  I HATE snakes.  I despise them.  I intensely dislike them.  I loathe them.  I don't want them close enough to me to tell whether they are of the poisonous or non-poisonous type.  I don't think they are pretty or interesting or anything even close to acceptable as a yard mate.  As long as they stay in the woods, I'm not going to go hunt them down or do them major harm.  But when they are taking moonlight strolls in my yard - NAKED, no less - all bets are off!!!!  This is WAR!!!


Lest you think I'm kidding, here's a picture of the evidence, which I have marked "exhibit A".  It is LONG!!!  Way, way, way, way, way too long to ever be found in my nice, safe, happy yard.  This gigantic slithery snake came without an invitation and I don't ever want it to come here again!


O.K.  So I really do want to know if it was poisonous because I want to know if I am going to have to start going outside with a shotgun or with my pistol.  HA!  Just kidding!  It's not legal to discharge firearms in the city limits.  If it were, I can assure you, I would take the shotgun.  But since it isn't legal, I plan to carry my hoe - at all times!  It has a long handle, though I wish it was longer, but it will have to do since firearms are unacceptable, especially at 4:30 a.m.


Anyway, I tried to unroll the head after I took this picture, but it was wound up too tightly and the skin was too fragile.  So I don't know what kind of snake it is from, not being interested in snakes, other than my interest that they stay far away.  Therefore, I'm assuming the worst.  I'm also thinking, where there is one snake, there's a whole family, perhaps even an entire community!!!  I don't know if I can live next to a community of snakes.  I'm not prejudice at all, but I draw the line at cohabitating with snakes.  There isn't any way to be on friendly terms with one, nor do I care to try!  I want them off my property RIGHT NOW and I don't EVER want to see them again!


So if you know how to get this message across to the snakes that I am sure are infesting my back yard WITHOUT MY PERMISSION, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE let me know how to make sure they stay away from me and from Maddie!!!  This town just ain't big enough for all of us, so they are going to have to mosey on along down the creek. 


Can you take care of that for me, Houston...before I die from lack of oxygen???  I'm having a hard time breathing here...



July 15, 2005


I believe I am under attack by hideous aliens masquerading as insects and snakes!!!!  Really!!  This is becoming quite serious and I'm finally realizing that these grotesque beings are trying to drive me out of my home!!!!!!  They are trying to take control of the EARTH!!!


I walked out the back door a few minutes ago (9:20 p.m. CDST) only to find a GIGANTIC TARANTULA sitting on the back step, just hanging out waiting for some friends to come by!  I almost stepped on her because it was getting dark, but when I caught the motion and realized something half the size of the step was moving down there, I freaked!  I did a most interesting and highly complex little dance maneuver that would have surely won the grand prize if I had been in some competition.  I'm hoping I will recover before I have to go back to work on Monday.  And I must say, I defied the law of gravity as I contorted my body in mid-air in my desperate attempt to escape from the large "thing" that was scuttling at my feet.


After I landed, at which point I was facing the "thing," I slowly moved an inch (or maybe just a half of an inch) closer to the step to see if I could figure out what was down there.  At first I thought it was a leaf.  But, horror of horrors, it was the Titanic of tarantulas...AND IT WAS TRYING TO GO INTO MY HOUSE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


With my brain on adrenaline overload and my body beginning to convulse, I grabbed my hoe (the "weapon" I now keep by the back door for the purpose of dispatching any naked snakes I find in my yard on to hell where they belong!!).  My mind was processing at lightening speed and one thought was quickly crystallizing in my brain, "If you think cave crickets, jump, you ain't seen nothing yet!!!"  My mission became clear.  Kill it before it jumped on me...


I drew my sword, ah, or actually, my hoe, and prepared to do battle.  I missed totally on my first attempt and - yikes - it came running towards me.  Gasping with fright and powered by terror, I struck again.  Another miss!  Steeling myself and realizing I'm going to pass out if I don't kill this monster, I lunged once more.  This time my hoe hit home!!!


Indeed, the huge ugly monster stopped moving, but her BABIES were instantly propelled into action.  They went in every direction and all I could think was, "I cannot let them get into my house!"  Though it probably appeared I was having a seizure, I believe, I hope, I pray that I slew them all while performing a dance that would have been highly appropriate at a performance by "Stomp."  I stomped like a wild woman!


I would have taken a picture of the monster that is now slain, but there isn't much left to see other than a totally gross pile of goo and slime with some visible spider parts randomly thrown in.  I felt I might possibly throw up if I had to photograph the remains and prepare the photo for the web.  Therefore, you will have to take my word for how big she was before she got smooshed.  And while I will admit that the heightened sense of terror I felt at the time COULD have caused my brain to amplify her size SLIGHTLY, she was MASSIVE and GROSS and a formidable foe.  Now if I can just recover from the shot of adrenaline I received when I first saw her, I may actually be able to get a few hours of sleep tonight.  I just hope I killed all those babies...



July 17, 2005


This is serious.  It has gone TOO FAR!  It's like living in a B horror movie with no escape.  But it HAS TO STOP AND I MEAN NOW!!!


What, you might ask, am I talking about?  Well let me show you!


Do you see it??  How could you not!  I even saw it without my contacts in, the contacts I need in order to be able to see anything but a blur if it's at a distance.  And it felt like someone doused me with ice water when I realized what I was seeing.  I wanted to do a real honest to goodness B movie scream, but instead, I ran for my camera so I could show you that I am truly being attacked by all things slimy and slithery.  Gasp!


It's not the one I took a picture of a few days ago.  I threw that one away.  And this one is BIGGER!  MUCH BIGGER!  I have no idea if the snake did its shedding while up on the tree limb or if some animal carried it up there and left it as a warning.  Or perhaps, this is their battle flag.  But it appears to be fairly firmly caught in the middle, leaving the ends to loosely flap in the breeze. 


I could pretend that, after slithering out of its skin, this horrid snake took a nose-dive into the ground and died as a result, but I don't think I can pretend well enough to make myself believe it.  Instead, I'm stuck with an "Indiana Jones" vision of snakes writhing, squirming and slinking around as they wait in the woods for an opportunity to catch me by surprise.


I wish I knew if the are poisonous, but I can't tell.  And this one is high up in the tree.  Without a zoom lens, it wouldn't have looked like much and I wouldn't have been able to see any detail at all.  Once again, the head appears to be rolled up tightly, just as it was on the other skin.    THEY ARE TRYING TO KEEP ME FROM KNOWING WHO MY ENEMY IS!!!!


My fear is that they are Cottonmouth, the most fearless and aggressive of all snakes!  I'm hoping against hope that they are only Black snakes.  I've not seen Copperhead's this big, but I'm not expert.  My life-long goal has always been to avoid any and all snakes and I haven't felt especially motivated to study them because they give me the creeps!  But it appears as if this avoidance tactic may no longer yield satisfactory results.


With that thought in mind, I'm going to sign off now.  I have some research to do on snake repellant and on how to best kill snakes without discharging a firearm.  I'm going to have to fight back before the snake population gets any more out of hand.  Evidently, this is WAR!!!!



July 20, 2005


Just for the record: I dislike human snakes even more than I dislike those I've been talking about that slither on their bellies.  At least with slithery snakes, you know what they are - they're SNAKES!!!  With the human kind, you can't always tell when they're slimy, poisonous reptiles until it's too late...



July 25, 2005


Speaking of snakes, both the reptile-reptile and human-reptile variety, I have been told by corporate to "move on down the road" (honestly, that is what they said!).  I was told to do something that is unlawful and I'm not the "do something unlawful" type.  I actually take my work very seriously and understand part of my duties are to keep the company out of trouble by PREVENTING them from doing unlawful things.  I tried to tell them, but they wouldn't listen.  So I went to the corporate legal department for help and about a week later, I was told to "move on down the road."  Since this is a retaliatory discharge and yet another "something unlawful," they are offering severance if I will resign.  I have accepted their offer...not that I had much choice.  I don't sell nearly enough jewelry to pay my utilities, much less the house payment and they know I am alone and without other income.  I also hope we can settle out of court on the retaliation issue, but if I have to, I will sue.  If I have to sue, I'm going to ask for a very large sum of money instead of something reasonable.  If I have to go through the agony of a court battle, it's going to have to be worth the stress and trouble.


I've never been very good at laying down and letting someone walk all over me (well, except in my marriage, but that's another story).  I'm actually not good at letting someone walk all over someone else for that matter.  I'm a fighter for all things right and honest and truthful, which I suppose is pretty stupid in a lot of people's eyes.  I have this fairness alarm that sits quietly inside of me until someone starts using someone or doing them wrong.  When the alarm goes off, I take a stand for what is right.  Sometimes it costs me more than at other times.  I have worked for people who wanted to do the right things and they have actually appreciated it.  But for the most part, the executives I have (respectfully) stood up to realized I'm wasn't going to let them get away with anything underhanded and they simply tried to keep me out of the loop and worked their schemes some other way.  I have never been fired for standing up and telling the truth before.  Or should I say, I've never been asked to "move on down the road" for standing up and telling the truth before.  I've never been offered severance to resign after standing up and telling the truth either. 


Even though I know I did the right thing, it hurts.  I've put my heart and soul into my work and though I have been given almost no resources or help, I've accomplished a great deal.  I still feel as if I have failed everyone and I feel like a failure myself.  When I care, I give it everything I have.  And now it is gone.


Which brings me to the reptile-reptile variety of snake.  I want them to be gone.  And being the fighter than I am, I bought this "Snake-Away" stuff that you mix up and spray around the perimeter of your property.  Supposedly, snakes have sensitive olfactory glands and the smell is supposed to drive them away.  The smell is not supposed to be noticeable by humans.  But the smell of the undiluted liquid in the unopened box in my garage is enough to make me want to puke!  I'm hoping it will have the same effect on the snakes that have been invading my property!  Stay tuned! I'll keep you posted.



July 26, 2005


No matter where I walk through the house, my little Schnauzer, Maddie, is right behind me.  She is quite happy as long as she can be near me and she gets rather upset when I have to go somewhere without her.  I can hear her padding along behind me as I carry laundry to the laundry room, walk into the bathroom, go to answer the phone.  Sometimes, her nose will touch the back of my leg as she follows me.


When I am working on the computer, she often stands and lays her head on my leg as she looks up at me with pleading eyes (which I can't resist!).  When she tires of this, I put a bed beneath my desk for her and she will bed down there for a nap.  She is so tender and sweet, it touches my heart to know that she loves me so dearly and trusts me to watch over her. Many times she seems to have bad dreams and I will get down under there with her to love on her soft belly so I can gently wake her.  Sometimes she snores like a chain saw!!!  But always she is innocent and sweet.  I have to share a picture with you; one of her sleeping under my desk. 


Here she is, sound asleep in her snuggle bed.  Now is that adorable or is that adorable???












July 27, 2005


It was 105 degrees yesterday and the humidity was pretty high.  It's been this way for a couple of weeks now - very hot and sticky!  But this morning, it is 65 degrees!!!!  No typo...honest to goodness, it's 65 degrees outside!!! I have all the windows open, which is not something a person could normally consider doing in July.  There is a wonderful COOL breeze flowing through the house.  And Maddie is tucked away in her snuggle bed looking a lot like she did in the picture above.  What a treat!