March 9, 2005

I visit the site of one of my favorite glass artists almost daily (O.K., O.K.,  I confess, I visit the sites of several of my favorite glass artists daily, yes, daily, as in every day). This particular artist keeps a log her thoughts, adventures, frustrations, miscellaneous happenings, stories about her kids…you name it…anything that is on her mind or that is going on in her life.  She usually updates the site once or twice a week with these snippets.  Nothing earth-shattering or terribly profound most of the time. But addictive!  Personally, I look forward to checking each day to see if she has added anything new.  I LOVE it when I discover she has posted some bit of news since my last visit.  And if I don't "hear" from her (via her site), I miss her!

It’s so fun for me, I decided to steal her idea.  Well, not steal, exactly.  I did get her permission first, so maybe "borrow" is a better word!  But I can't take credit for the idea and wouldn't want to try to fool you into thinking I'm that clever.  All credit goes to Julie Suchy.  She is a terrific writer and has a wonderful sense of humor...not to mention, she creates incredible beads!  If you would like to catch up on the happenings in her life, click...HERE!

There were two reasons I thought it might be fun to "visit" with you this way.  The first, of course, was Julie.  The other was my dog, Maddie.  If you have ever had a dog, you know they are really dependant on you.  They live for the moment you come home and their excitement can't be contained when you finally walk through the door.  They are all different, having various quirks and personality traits.  Some of these quirks are so silly, you will find your dog to be a source of great amusement and enjoyment.  Some of the things they do are mystifying.  And sometimes, they are so funny and mystifying, you HAVE to share with someone!

Which is where YOU come in...

 

You see, last Sunday afternoon, I realized my heater wasn't working.  I didn't notice until the temperature started dropping, but suddenly, the house felt chilly.  I checked the thermostat and it was repeatedly flashing a warning that the batteries were low.  Ah-ha!  Maybe that's why it's getting cold!  So I changed the batteries...and waited.

Nothing happened.  Although I could hear the igniters fire up, the comforting sound of the blower didn't follow.  And when I went into the garage, I could hear this nasty electrical buzzing sound that, even to my untrained ear, sounded like money going out the door.

I said all that to say that the electric blanket became my good friend Sunday evening, as did my cold shivering Schnauzer.  Schnauzers don't tolerate heat or cold very well.  So Maddie was trying to squeeze another atom of space out from between us while I was trying to get comfortable enough to go to sleep with everything but the top of my head under the electric blanket.

It seemed like only a few minutes had passed when I was startled awake by a loud noise. More time had passed than I realized; the clock said it was 2:00 a.m.  Maddie was instantly on her feet, trembling with fear (letting cold air under the covers!) so I knew I hadn't just dreamed the sound.  Then I heard it again...close...really close...and I knew...

...it was the smoke detector in my bedroom... 

I don't know if you have ever had an experience with these particular smoke detectors, but I despise them!  You see, the builder put them in even though I had the alarm company install them with my alarm system.  And builders are known to be...hmmm, how can I tactfully say this? Cheap.  The word is cheap (maybe that's what the stupid thing was saying in its loud, high-pitched annoying voice...cheap...cheap...cheap).  If you don't pay extra for it, it's going to be the absolute least expensive item that is available on planet earth (like my furnace, for example).  So, though they are hardwired and use the battery only as a backup source of power, when the battery dies, the smoke detector freaks out and it doesn't recover.

You see, you can change the battery, but they will NEVER stop chirping!!  It's as if they are possessed by an alien life form!  You can't kill them! I have replaced the battery, foolishly believing they would stop making that awful noise..  HA!!!  Not a chance!!!  When that didn't work, I took the battery out, hoping they would suck electricity and shut up.  What a joke!  They continue to chirp merrily as if this is their true mission in life.  The only way I have been able to get them to STOP chirping is to gut and kill them...I mean...unscrew them from the ceiling, rip the wires out, unplug them, remove the battery and take them to the garage.  They still chirp for awhile (which is why I take them to the garage), but eventually they do stop.  And I know, this is what I'm going to have to do now, at 2:00 a.m. in the morning with no heat.

By this time, Maddie is shaking uncontrollably and is trying to drill into my body so she can escape their evil and incessant noise.  Sleep is out of the question, so I fling back the covers and brace myself against the cold air.  Maddie follows at my heels, still trying to find a way to meld with my body as I turn off the alarm and retrieve the ladder from the garage.

I hate ladders.  I can handle going up a step or two.  Anything above that just isn't comfortable.  But as I set the ladder up beneath the offending alarm and stared up at my 10 ft. ceiling...did I mention that I'm 5 ft. 4 inches tall?..I knew that even the 3rd step wasn't going to be high enough.  Nope!  I was going to have to climb this baby all the way to the top!!!

It's probably a good thing I was desperate.  I climbed and by step number 4, I was trembling like Maddie, who had disappeared into the bathroom to hide behind the toilet!  By step number 5, I was causing the ladder to shake so much, I was afraid it was going to shake me off.  I tried to reach it from there, but I couldn't.  So, I crept up to the very top and steadied myself by putting my fingers on the ceiling.  Then I quickly twisted it off...it resisted me at first, but I was not to be deterred...ripped the wires apart and hugged the ladder until I was safely on the floor.  I ran to the garage, jerked the case open and gutted it (ah, I mean I took the battery out)!!!  After I folded up the ladder and returned it to its place, I went looking for Maddie.

She was, indeed, wedged behind the toilet and was digging frantically at the carpet, trying to make her escape.  I tried to coax her out by telling her that I had killed the awful thing.  But she wouldn't believe me, so I had to pry her out...which wasn't easy, by the way...and carry her back to bed.  Evidently she didn't have much confidence in my ability to save her.  Even though I held her snuggled under the covers, she was stiff as a board and panting heavily.  She continued panting in this hyper-alert state for the next 30 minutes or so.  As I was laying there trying to comfort her, I started laughing and I couldn't stop!  And the more I thought about it, the more I laughed!  All that commotion because a low battery in a smoke detector was causing it to chirp, which terrorized my brave little Schnauzer!!!

She did finally melt and I eventually drifted back to sleep.  But I was still laughing in my dreams...

 

March 10, 2005

 

I'm having my new heater installed today...whoopee!  I'm trying to whip up some enthusiasm because, when spending this much money for something I shouldn't be having to buy for another 15 years, if you don't convince yourself that you're really happy about it, you can get pretty depressed...

 

 

 

March 11, 2005

 

They finished the installation today.  Maddie and I are warm and we haven't had any more encounters with possessed smoke detectors.  Our adventure has ended and all that remains undone is paying for it...

 

 

March 17, 2005

 

If you haven't read Julie's story about her dog, Stink, you won't understand why my brain has taken the path it took today or why I am relating this particular story.  You see, my dog, Maddie, has many nicknames (Sweet, Bugger, Little Beastie, Sweetiekins, Maddiekins, Sweet Face, Kissy Head...).  But one of the names I use frequently is "Little Stink."  Sometimes I call her "Stink," or "Little Stinker," but she is most affectionately known as the "Little Stink."  This gives you some idea of why my brain set off on the path it did after reading about Julie's dog and how I wound up reminiscing about this particular moment in time.

 

If you have read my "Just for Fun" page, you know Maddie was rescued from some people who badly mistreated and abused her.  As a result, she had some fairly big "issues" when she was first adopted.  For example, she like to "kill" pillows...and she often did a very good job of it!  But that's another story for another day. As she became more secure, she became less destructive and eventually, she was routinely letting the pillows live while just carrying them around with her to various places in the house.  When she learned routines and realized she was not going to be left alone forever, she finally settled on ripping up a piece of paper to lessen her anxiety.  And I generally settled on leaving out a paper towel to give her a handy and harmless way to vent.  Before figuring this out, she earned the nickname "The Jaws of Death."  This was due to her amazing ability to chew, rip and demolish things you would not normally have to worry about a dog destroying.  So ripping up a paper towel was a VERY acceptable expression of her anxiety.  Separation anxiety, to be exact.  Once she had her "fit of pique" and shredded the paper towel, she was able to cope.  At least, she was able to cope most of the time.

 

I don't recall where I had gone, but I know I hadn't been gone a horribly long time.  I walked in the office in my home to put my purse on the desk and was surprised to see a couple of SlimFast meal bar wrappers torn into pieces and scattered on the floor.  I am (always) trying to lose weight, so these serve as my lunch and I keep a box in my briefcase lest I forget to take them to work with me in the morning.  But I'm careful with things like this because I don't want Maddie to swallow plastic, foil, or other foreign objects, nor do I want to temp her to eat things she shouldn't.  So I couldn't figure out where she managed to find a couple of wrappers, especially that would be within her reach.

 

Later that evening, I noticed she was having trouble getting comfortable when she laid down.  I could hear her tummy rumbling.  My brain starts putting pieces together, but surely not!  And though I can't believe it's possible, I run to my briefcase....where suddenly, it all becomes clear.  The zipper is unzipped.  I know I checked it before I left.  I actually zipped it.  Fearfully, I open it and check the SlimFast box.  Empty.

 

I panicked because I knew chocolate is not good for dogs.  But the vet on call assured me that Chocolate Cookie Dough SlimFast bars did not contain one molecule of chocolate.  In fact, they didn't contain anything that would do any permanent damage.  I needed only to let nature take her course.

 

After we went to bed, the rumbling became louder and more ominous.  Her belly was stretched tight as a drum.  Since she seems to have fairly regular stomach problems, our vet has instructed me to give her 1/2 of a Pepcid AC when needed, not to exceed 1/2 of a pill per day.  Luckily, she takes pills like a champ.  I went to sleep listening to the amazing tunes her tummy was belting out and woke to total tummy silence.  I was very relieved.

 

I get up at 4:00 a.m. so I can haul myself to work by 5:40 to 6:00 a.m. (arrival time depends on how long Maddie has to spend doing border patrol as she sniffs every blade of grass and occasionally "does her thing").  This particular morning, she shot to the door like a bullet fired from a machine gun.  I always go out with her when it's dark because there is a creek behind my house and coyotes run the creek at night.  But I'm still pretty groggy at 4:00, so I'm kind of like a zombie trudging along behind her as she makes her rounds. 

 

I am suddenly rousted from my half-sleep as this 19 lb. dog discharging a most astounding (as in ASTOUNDING!!!!) amount of gas!  Even outdoors, the smell is enough to knock out a 300 lb. grizzly bear.  And as I involuntarily back away, my "Little Stink" cuts loose with what can only be described as projectile diarrhea!!  Right before my eyes, she is shooting a three foot stream of it under high pressure..  And even in the dark, I can tell she is looking at me with a sheepish and apologetic look as her eyes beg me to save her!!!

 

I was late for work that morning.  We experienced quite a few more earth-shaking discharges of both types of "matter."  I knew the worst was over when she got frisky on me and let me know she was ready for breakfast.  While I am still very careful not to provide opportunity, Maddie has steered clear of my briefcase and I don't think SlimFast bars are the temptation they once were...at least, not the Chocolate Cookie Dough bars.  I'm not going to let her try any other flavors, if that's okay with you.

 

 

March 20, 2005

One of the totally unexpected benefits of making jewelry and selling it via the web is getting to hear from people from all over the world!  People write to say hello, to offer encouragement, to share some pieces of their life story, to give advice and feedback; for all kinds of reasons, really.  I have a customer who is giving me pointers on photography...now how cool is that!  I mean, I would have never "met" this person if not for the internet and she's giving me all these pointers and ideas about how to improve the quality of the photography on my site! I appreciate this!  I love it when people feel comfortable enough to share...be it something personal or providing tips.  I'm getting to meet people from other countries.  Places I've never been and will probably never have the opportunity to go!  I hadn't realized how much fun this would be, but I'm loving it!

 

  March 21, 2005

I have to confess.  I don't really like starting the day off at 4:00 a.m.  I don't function well that early in the morning.  But the thing I hate worse is starting the day off at 4:00 a.m. when it is raining. 

Schnauzers don't like water...not in any form.  So they don't only despise bath time, as any self-respecting dog does. They have been known to rearrange their bone structure to avoid being touched by someone with wet hands.  They get real miffed if they have to walk in wet grass.  And rain!  Forget it!!  If you think you are going to get a Schnauzer to go outside in the rain to do those things that house dogs are supposed to do outside, you had better think again.  Oh, you can eventually get them out.  You're bigger than they are.  But you can't make the move a micrometer away from the door and you sure as heck can't make them do their business out there.  So when it's raining in the morning, I am filled with overwhelming dread and a cold foreboding.  The battle is about to begin.

I have a patio out back, so I can usually get Maddie to go out the door without too much coercion.  Well, most of the time anyway.  But this morning, the wind was blowing briskly and it was blowing in a direction that caused the rain, occasionally, to be blown more than half way across the patio.  Maddie came to full attention upon discovering this and gave me a dirty look.  She turned and promptly planted herself on the step with her nose wedged into the corner of the door.  So ended round one.  I wisely retreated to fight again at a later time!

I ate breakfast with Maddie clinging to my leg (which has earned her the nickname "Velcro dog").  As soon as I swallowed my last bite, I said, "Come on, Maddie, let's go bathroom outside!!!"  She immediately started bouncing up and down at the door in agreement.

Two inches outside the door, she realized she had been "had" and turned to give me a dirty look.  In the same motion, she made a U-turn and planted her nose in the corner of the door again.  But this time, I don't acknowledge her retreat.  "I can't help it if it's raining," I pled.  "You have to tough it out...go fast!"

Ha!  Have you ever seen a dog "go" fast?  I haven't either.  It's a social occasion.  Catch up on the neighborhood news.  Hit all the best spots...twice.  There is no rushing this ritual and driving rain isn't going to change this fact.  Wishful thinking on my part, but frivolous.

I coaxed and called and sweetly begged. Reluctantly, she ventured to the very edge of the patio where the peed half-heartedly before resuming her nose-in-corner-of-door stance.  I sighed and opened the door.  She has a way of communicating and she was telling me that she wasn't going anywhere near the wet edges of the patio unless I carried her there. 

I've tried that, by the way.  I have carried her out in the yard...in the rain...getting drenched...sat her down and watched dumbfounded as she streaked back to the door at something close to the speed of light.  She shakes vigorously and she's dry.  I'm still drenched and standing in the middle of the yard.  What's wrong with this picture?

Having learned my lesson as to the ineffective use of brute force, I decide to try something new! Something smart!  Something ingenious!  I grab my umbrella (why haven't I done this before?) and coax her back outside.  As I open the umbrella, she flees in horror to cling to the door.  But I'm smarter than she is!  I go to the edge of the patio and squat under the umbrella, calling her over to me. 

As she approaches me, she looks up at the strange thing above my head and runs away again.  "No, come here, Maddie," I call, "this just keeps you from getting wet...see?"  I move further out into the rain.  She looks skeptical.  "Really, come and see!"

Finally, she comes.  Hesitantly. Then we encounter another unforeseen problem.  She finally lets me put the umbrella over her, shielding her from the foul weather, only to be spooked by the SOUND of the RAIN HITTING the UMBRELLA!!!  Again, she heads for the door.

Tenaciously, I call to her again.  She comes.  She gets spooked.  She runs back to the door.  By the 4th try, even I am beginning to see a pattern and it spells D-E-F-E-A-T.  I slog back to the house and let her in.

Failure leaves a bitter taste in my mouth that brushing can't remove.  I resign myself to having to clean up a mess when I get home in the evening.  Today, I need to leave the trash out at the curb, so I gather everything up and prepare to leave for work.  Maddie and I have a little routine we go through to say goodbye, but I was a little wet for her this morning, so it was somewhat abbreviated.  I tell her I love her (mostly) and that I'll be back tonight.  Then I head for the garage. 

I open the garage door...can it be?  IT'S BARELY RAINING!!!  Madly, I rush back in the house, telling Maddie to follow me!  Hope is surging!  Maybe, just maybe...

I fly out the door into the middle of the yard.  She regards me cautiously.  "See, it's not raining!  Hurry, Maddie!"

I'm happy to report that we were successful.  She daintily made her rounds - slowly - shaking her feet every now and then because she didn't like the wet grass.  But barely a drop fell from the sky.  I thanked God for the break in the storm, joyfully watching her hit all her favorite spots.  And I felt good as I was driving to work.  Such a relief!  Whew!  

I'm just hoping we don't have to go through this again in the morning.  It's supposed to rain all week and I don't know if I can make myself get out of bed to face this again tomorrow.  Sigh...

 

March 24, 2005

**RANT WARNING**RANT WARNING**RANT WARNING**RANT WARNING**RANT WARNING**RANT WARNING**

I live in Tulsa, OK...well, I live in Broken Arrow, which is seamlessly joined at the hip with Tulsa.  It's not a HUGE city.  Not like Dallas or Houston or LA or Miami (not the one in Oklahoma...the one in Florida).  And I firmly believe it will NEVER become a huge city.  Why, you ask?  Because, whether planned or not, until people learn how to drive like semi-normal human beings with a semblance of a brain, we will continue to kill residents off in ghastly numbers, thus keeping the population contained, preventing any growth!!!!!!!!

One of my first experiences with this phenomenon happened as I was getting on the expressway.  I was on the "ACCELERATION RAMP" accelerating, which is what I thought the ACCELERATION RAMP was for, as I prepared to merge with traffic.  I had picked my hole and was adjusting my speed accordingly when I happened to glance forward just in time to realize the car that was a short distance in front of me had STOPPED at the yield sign.  Who stops on an ACCELERATION RAMP, for goodness sake!!!  And why do they stop at a YIELD sign????  I slammed on the brakes, narrowly avoiding smashing into the back end of their car and sat shaking and trying to breath after receiving an adrenaline shot that, quite frankly, made me want to jump out of my car, drag them through the window of their vehicle, confiscate their keys and run them down as I merged - from a dead stop - with traffic going 75+ miles per hour!  Instead, I watched in amazement as they waited until no one was coming (took about, oh, 20 to 30 minutes) and proceeded to putter out and slowly accelerate on down the road.

I was cautious after that, which is good.  Because though I had believed these idiotic, insane, stupid, moronic, dumb, crazy, incapable drivers I had encountered that day were just idiotic, insane, stupid, moronic, dumb, crazy and incapable drivers, THEY WERE NOT ALONE!!!!  All of their relatives and their relative's relatives did the SAME THING!  In fact, stopping at yield signs on the end of acceleration ramps was not an uncommon event! 

Now, stopping at STOP SIGNS was another thing all together.  You see, these same idiotic, insane, stupid, moronic, dumb, crazy, incapable people who stop at yield signs COMPLETELY disregard STOP SIGNS!  They don't even YIELD at stop signs!  They time it so they can see the whites of your eyes as they drive through the stop sign, pulling right out in front of you, causing you (again) to slam on your brakes and screech to a stop behind them.  And you have to stop, you see, because once they are in front of you, they accelerate to the amazing speed of...20.  Eventually, they MIGHT actually achieve 35 miles per hour in that 45 - 50 mile an hour speed zone.

I admit that I would be a fast driver...as in exceeding the speed limit by...oh, maybe I shouldn't put that particular detail in print.  But I work VERY HARD to keep my speed within 5 (or so) miles per hour of the limit because I do have a respect for the law and a fondness for not using my money to pay traffic tickets.  That 5 miles per hour is above the limit, to be specific.  I never drive below the speed limit - well, not until one of these idiotic, insane, stupid, moronic, dumb, crazy, incapable drivers pulls out in front of me after having just looked me in the eye and run a stop sign!  As a result, I am getting somewhat used to adrenaline rushes.  I can almost control the shaking now.  And I do check my brakes - often.

The other interesting phenomenon I had not encountered until living in Tulsa was playing "dodge ball" (or maybe I should say "dodge vehicle") with other drivers.  I foolishly thought that line down the middle of the road meant that the road to the right hand side was mine.  But in Oklahoma, the line means nothing in particular.  Drivers coming toward you may just decide they like your side of the road better than the side they WERE driving on, so they may come over for a visit.  Typically they do this as they get closer to you, giving you the feeling that they are actually aiming at you.  And they do this as if it's totally your problem to figure out how to get out of their way!

I don't fully understand why, but this particular "game" seems to be most popular with drivers of pickup trucks and SUV's.  It's not totally isolated to pickups and SUV's.  But, in my experience, they are especially enthusiastic about "playing" this "game."  And since I drive a Honda Prelude (i.e. target), I have gotten very good at "dodging" oncoming traffic as they cross the line and yaw toward me.  I am actually very thankful for rack and pinion steering and have proven the maneuverability of the Prelude on countless occasions!

I could go on...and I probably will.  But not today.  I'll save the rest of my rant for tomorrow!  All this talk about adrenaline rushes has stirred me up.  I haven't gotten mine yet today, so I'm feeling a need to take a drive!

 

March 25, 2005

**RANT WARNING CONTINUED**RANT WARNING CONTINUED**RANT WARNING CONTINUED**RANT WARNING CONTINUED**

Rant warning...it's kind of like the severe thunderstorm warning we had last night.  At first, it was issued until 7:00 p.m.  Then it was extended to 8:00 p.m.  They extended it again until 9:00 p.m.  Somewhere in there, I started hearing the rumbling of thunder in the distance and in short order the lightning bombardment began, followed by very heavy rain.  So, I guess if the weather service can continue to extend severe thunderstorm warnings until the storm finally shows up and blows through, I can extend my rant warnings until I finally get it all out of my system!

Speaking of Tulsa drivers, which I was doing yesterday, they have a few other annoying habits that can give you astounding insight into why road rage happens.   Now, there is NO excuse for road rage.  None.  Ever.  But after you encounter 4 or 5 of the idiotic, insane, stupid, moronic, dumb, crazy, incapable drivers that I have been describing, you can suddenly comprehend the outrage that, if freely vented, would culminate in a road rage incident.  Mature people have learned not to act on such emotions...or perhaps they issue rant warnings and talk about it on their web site.   Additionally, in Oklahoma, where pickup trucks with gun racks reign supreme, way too many of those idiotic, insane, stupid, moronic, dumb, crazy, incapable drivers are fully armed!  So ranting on your web site is a much better way of dealing with the frustration.

You see, one of the things that pushes my buttons is people who tailgate.  I have irrational thoughts when I'm being tailgated.  I find myself slowing down because:

bullet If they are going to wind up in my trunk, I would rather not be going quite so fast when they hit me.
bullet Maybe I can entice them to pass so I won't have to be bothered with them any more.
bullet Maybe I can pay them back for the aggravation they are causing me by making them SUFFER behind my slow moving vehicle!

So I'm not perfect...okay?

But tailgating and pickup trucks with gun racks brings up another point, because pickup truck drivers seem to be one of two kinds of drivers.  They either drive way too fast or way too slow.  If I encounter a pickup driver who is actually driving like a reasonable human being, I assume they have borrowed the truck from a friend and they normally drive a sports car.  And since I always drive about 5 mph over the speed limit, the idiotic, insane, stupid, moronic, dumb, crazy, incapable pickup truck drivers who tailgate me are from the "drive way too fast" category.  Which is why slowing down is a delightful way to torture them!!!!  It's not like they can get any closer to your bumper, so hey, why not make them pay...in a civilized way, of course!!!

The other interesting quirk I've noticed about many of our drivers is that they are unable to maneuver their vehicles into their driveway.  I assume this has to be the problem anyway, because why else would they all park on the street?????  I can understand that their garage is so full of junk they can no longer fit their car inside.  But when the driveway is empty and all 3 of their vehicles are parked semi-close to the curb, what other explanation could there possibly be for leaving property that costs as much as houses used to cost sitting on the street?

The result of this odd problem is that those of us who live in a neighborhood have to navigate an obstacle course every time we leave the house.  Perhaps our neighbors feel they are helping others by getting people prepared for playing "dodge vehicle."  I don't know.  But for people like myself, who actually try to drive on our own side of the road, and who generally feel that a street - even a residential street - should allow two way traffic, having to navigate around monster vehicles that are parked a foot from the curb narrowing traffic to one lane is just ONE MORE FRUSTRATION on a STACK of amazingly frustrating things that have to be handled EVERY DAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  EVERY SINGLE SOLITARY DAY!!!!!!!!  DO YOU HEAR ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I'M SICK OF IT!!!!!  SICK, SICK, SICK!!!!!!

Whew!  What an amazing release of pressure!  I feel so much better now!  Shall we continue?

It gets especially fun when school is letting out and 10,000 vehicles are trying to move through the neighborhood obstacle course.  It is common to have lines of 15 or more cars backed up behind some idiotic, insane, stupid, moronic, dumb, crazy, incapable person's vehicle that is parked in the street at a 15 degree angle a foot away from the curb at the closest point.  Their neighbor across the street is, of course, also parked on the other side of the street, leaving a narrow corridor for traffic.  And these lovely little "pinch points" exist in ABUNDANCE throughout the neighborhood!  On curves, where parking a vehicle neatly out of the way is not possible, you sometimes wonder if the person is parked, leaning over to pick up their cell phone, or if the vehicle was stolen and abandoned by thieves in the middle of the street.  And you know that little rule about not parking within a certain distance of an intersection so as not to block the view of oncoming vehicles?  I didn't know this, but apparently that law has been amended since I took my driving test and it no longer applies to residential streets!  If this law was still in effect, hundreds of cars in my area alone would be towed away.  You wouldn't have to pull the nose of your car into oncoming traffic to see if someone was coming.  But they park this way every day without penalty, so I can only sadly assume this law no longer applies.

I would be afraid to park my car on the street.  I actually park it in the garage.  I'm an oddity, for certain.  But I know that if I parked MY car on the street, someone would hit it and that would be that.  I would, at the very least, always park in my driveway.  It seems reasonable.  I know it could be a challenge for some people, but I believe they could do it if they worked at it. 

Or, we could require people to actually be able to reasonably maneuver a vehicle, drive on their own side of the road, park IN THEIR DRIVEWAY, stop at stop signs, accelerate on acceleration ramps...and other generally difficult things like this...BEFORE we issue their driver's license!  Isn't that a unique thought...

 

March 26, 2005

**RANT WARNING CONTINUED**RANT WARNING CONTINUED**RANT WARNING CONTINUED**RANT WARNING CONTINUED**

I promise I'm almost done carrying on about Tulsa drivers.  But after I finished yesterday, I thought of another extremely irritating thing that these JERKS tend to do that I felt I should mention in an effort to accurately depict the joys of driving in this area.

You know those people I was telling you about who look you right in the eyeball, then pull out in front of you, only to go 20 miles per hour in front of you?  Well, these same people, who can't for the life of them find their accelerator when pulling out, have a very strange habit that surfaces when you attempt to pass them.  You may have been stuck behind them for several miles while they blissfully - but slowly - puttered along.  Yet the moment you finally get a break in traffic and edge the nose of your car out to pass, they take off like a bat out of hell!

You are left with a dilemma.  You know if you pull back behind them, they will suddenly revert to Mr. or Ms. Putz as they resume an unbearably slow speed of 20 to 25 mph.  But if you continue your attempt to pass, you will find yourself the unwitting participant in a drag race that easily reaches speeds in excess of 80 mph! 

Are they doing this on purpose?  If so, why???  Do they get some sadistic pleasure from torturing their fellow motorists?  What possible harm could come of letting someone move on by you when they want to go faster than you evidently want to go?  Do they take it personally for some contorted reason?  IT MAKES NO SENSE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

However, should one of you insane, perverted idiots who gets off on torturing people in this manner find yourselves trying to play this little "game" with me, you had better be prepared!  My Honda Prelude has a 200 hp V-TECH racing engine in it!  IT LOVES TO GO FAST!!!  IT LIVES TO RACE!!!!  So get ready, 'cause I'm not stopping until I'm looking at you disappear in my rear view mirror!!!

 

March 27, 2005

No ranting today!  Just wanted to wish everyone a very special Easter.  This is a day of celebration, at least it is for me and others who have come to have a personal relationship with the living Christ.  Because I didn't grow up in church and since I was voted the "worst disaster of all times" by my classmates (a title I earned, thank you very much!), the traditions of church are pretty must lost on me.  The one thing I know for certain is that I was a disaster on track to be dead before I reached age 25.  Now, instead of fighting those dragons, I work REALLY HARD not to drive too fast because of respect for the law and other drivers (except for those noted above who are trying to kill me!).  I'm still very human - way, way human - and have lots of "disaster areas" within, but God changed my life.  That's what I am celebrating today...

 

March 28, 2005

As I was sitting here starting to write, Maddie, who is sleeping in her little nest of a bed that I keep under my desk, started REALLY snoring!  She is so completely sacked out, it kind of made me forget about the hard, insanely crazy day I had at work.  She is resting peacefully, completely secure, twitching as she dreams of chasing rabbits...or maybe squirrels.  Every now and then, she yips a muffled bark.  In her relaxed state, she has turned into a little ball of fur without form, completely melted.  And snoring!  BIG snores!  Hard to believe they are being made by a 20 lb. dog!

It made me feel good.  Sometimes it's easy to believe I don't really matter.  But I matter to her and she is safely sleeping at my feet.  Sometimes it's nice to know I make a difference, even if it's only evident to my dog.

 

March 31, 2005

I have a new mission in life.  Or maybe it's just a new obsession.  But whatever it is, I have become very committed to it and it certainly gives me something to do during the frequent visits I make to the back yard as I wait (and wait and wait) for Maddie to finish "doing her business."  What is this new mission, you ask?  Well, let me back up just a bit and then I will tell you.

It started earlier this year when the weeds began to poke their snarly heads above ground.  Suddenly, my yard was spotted with islands of green in the midst of a sea of still dormant grass.  I found myself being compelled to rip them from the earth, for my frustration and dismay wouldn't allow inactivity on my part!

Initially, I gained great satisfaction from this "hobby."  I was actually obliterating them, victoriously banishing all weeds from my kingdom!

Then the dandelions started to grow.

I can remember when I was a kid...a feat in and of itself...remembering that long ago...I actually liked dandelions.  They were pretty flowers.  And what self-respecting child can resist blowing all those lovely seeds into the wind and watching them parachute back to earth?  Thinking about those seeds propelled me into motion.  I started pulling with renewed determination!

Now some weeds are easier to pull than others and, as weeds go, dandelions are fairly tenacious.  After a good soaking rain, you're more likely to have success in removing them root and all.  But even then, these devious creatures are likely to go into self-preservation mode and eject  the upper portion of the plant so as to save themselves from death!  The more tops they ejected, the more frustrated I became.  This would not do!  It would take me days to rid the yard of their presence, but with all those roots still safely growing, they would be producing new leaves and flowers in no time!  I decided I would be smart and not work quite so hard. I started plucking off their bright yellow flowers...with glee!  I was extremely satisfied when I had finally rid the yard of their gaudy display!  And it only took about 15 minutes.  Maddie wasn't even ready to go inside yet!

The next evening, I went out with a bit of a smirk on my face...but my smirk was quickly replaced by dumbfounded astonishment.  There were TWICE AS MANY of those disgusting yellow dots than there had been the night before!!!

Determination again drove me to rip their little heads off with a satisfied "take that!!!"  Ha!  Thought they could beat me?  Not a chance!  Even though I had to check from several angles to make sure I was finding them all (can you believe something that bright yellow could actually be hard to see if they turned away from me quickly before being spotted?), it didn't take long.  In 30 minutes, not a single yellow flower remained! I wiped the dandelion juice from my hands and surveyed the battlefield.  Once again, I was victorious!

The third night, I rushed outside expectantly.  I could not believe how quickly they had returned!!!!  Once again, I began furiously pinching their heads off, enjoying their demise.  And this is when I made a discovery.

Dandelions have always been a part of my life.  As a kid, they were a welcome part and they were actually kind of considered a nice touch in weed bouquets.  I have picked quite a few of them in my day.  But never once had I noticed that, as one flower opens and blooms, that sinister weed actually has 3 to 5 "babies" tucked way down at the root - and they are just waiting to replace their older sibling!  So this was how they did it!!!  I was on to them now!!

I don't use the word "obsessed" lightly.  I admit I became obsessed with removing each and every one of those hideous babies from their protective nest.  So as I ripped the yellow bloom from the plant, I checked carefully for others nestled down below and pinched them out of the greenery that so effectively hid them from the eye.  But this was much harder.  This took a lot longer.  I actually initiated a few trips to the yard that night so I could finish them all off.

Since I had killed so many babies, I walked out tonight expecting to see 10 or 15 dandelions in bloom.  But I opened the door, only to be greeted by HUNDREDS of those hideous yellow flowers!  Maybe even THOUSANDS!!!  I couldn't believe my eyes!!!

Maddie came over a few times as I was madly plucking the blossoms.  She kept trying to tell me I wasn't following our routine.  I was supposed to be feeding her, not getting my hands stained yellow by dandelions.  I couldn't even get very many babies.  It took everything I had just to pinch off the flowers.  I was not as assured of victory as I had been on previous evenings.  I might be smarter than they are, but they are EVIL and UNDERHANDED!!!  I'm going to have to re-think my battle plan.

Maybe I could start a dandelion therapy group, to be held in my back yard.  Vent your frustration by pinching the heads off dandelions and killing all their babies.  What do you think?