Sunday, December 11, 2011

Tire trouble update...

so... if you read the last post... you know about the tire trouble... and the lack of spare tire and whathaveyou...

I figured the best thing to do was pull off the blown out tire, take the danged thing, with a ride from a friendly neighbor, to the used tire store, and get a replacement, then put the tire on the truck... unfortunately, what I wasn't aware of at the time, is that the last time I'd had the tires changed, the lug nuts had somehow gotten stripped.  Which means the blasted things aren't moving. 

I got the lug wrench on there... tried to turn it... and the lug wrench snapped... Now, I've heard of lug wrenches snapping before.  But I'd never actually known it to happen... but this one did... and unfortunately in the process, my hand rammed into the pavement, and I now have bleeding fingers... one of them actually took a hit right in the cuticle of my nail which is the most esquisitely painful place to get a cut... and it didn't want to stop bleeding. 

Fortunately, I grew up on an Army base, and I knew exactly what to do... which is to sit on the curb screaming every curse word you know for the next 15 minutes.  Much to the amusement of my neighbors, I assure you.  

Finally, cold, frustrated, bleeding and thoroughly pissed off... I called a tow truck and had the thing towed to a used tire place.  Fortunately the Corpus Christi job 2 weeks ago paid well and I had the money.  I would have infinitely preffered to buy something else with the money... something silly like food or maybe pay a bill or two... but there we are. 

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

so... a few weeks ago... maybe almost a month ago... someone stole the spare tire on my truck.  I don't know why, I'm not aware of a huge black market for spare tires, but they evidently crawled under my truck, cut the cable that holds the spare on with a pair of chain cutters or something and made off with the spare. 

I put the word out for another spare, but never heard back and then yesterday, I had a blowout in the middle of the freeway in Dallas.  And NO SPARE.  Dammit all to hell...

Ended up having to get towed home.   Which means the account for my gas is now empty, and since I had my gas money, the other account was used for bills so no help there and I'm waiting to hear from work to see when an advance on my paycheck will come through. 

I used to hope for an uneventful week... lately I've been hoping for a single uneventful day... Oh well... 

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Ok folks, it's Christmas at the flea market... and here's some of the things in my stall that we have for the holiday shoppers.  I wouldn't bother y'all with this sort of thing, except some of you seem to enjoy seeing what I have... I apologize for picture quality.  I'm stuck with a mobile phone at the moment... and the red background doesn't seem to condone pics for some reason.

First... there's a set of 8 of these powder horn beer glasses that would make somebody a wonderful present.  These are TIARA glass.  Tiara / Indiana Glass closed in 2002, and many of their pieces are coming into their own as collectables now... I'm pretty sure these date to the late seventies or early eighties. 

 Next on the flea market tour is this teapot from Fitz and Floyd.  It's a nice majolica piece that is in absolutely excellent condition.  No cracks, chips or even the tiny glaze flea bites that are the bane of majolica.  It's made to look like a Christmas cottage.  More a display piece than anything else... dating to the mid-eighties. 

And heres a pair of Fitz and Floyd salt and pepper shakers... I like these because the S and P's are actually usable pieces. 

More Tiara glass... this pair of beer steins are marked on the bottom and are in Tiara's 'black onyx'.  Definitely mid seventies here...

This pair of Salt and Pepper shakers in the Fitz and Floyd 'Damask Christmas' pattern are in their origional box... which is very important to collectors.  Early eighties. 

And I actually really really like these... dating to the late seventies, the tumbling reindeer are one of the earliest Christmas sets that Fitz and Floyd put out... there's a pair of candle holders, made to be centered on the table with the five cavorting reindeer surrounding them.  I once saw them in someones house worked into a table center with holly and pine, and it was quite striking.  These are in excellent condition. 
And that's a few of the pieces that we have in the Flea Market this week. 

On Friday, I officially spent 17 hours on the road.  The highlight of my day was a 400+ mile 'emergency' run to Corpus Christi.  Actually, I would have liked to have just found a cheap hotel room and stayed the night when I got there, but a quick check on my accounts showed that I couldn't really afford the room plus the gas back, so I turned around and came home, ariving about 2 am. 

That's one of the frustrating things about this job... yeah I go places, but all I see of them is the warehouse district.  True, this warehouse district had an interesting palm tree... but that doesn't really seem worth the trip. 

I spent all day Saturday dragging and nursing my knee.  Turns out my left knee doesn't particularly appreciate being asked to work a clutch for 17 hours straight.  When I woke up, it had stiffened up and didn't particularly want to bend.  A heating pad, elastic bandage and a certain amount of cussing seem to have finally convinced it, but today, Sunday, I won't be going to church.  I'm just too old to spring back from these things the way I used to.  I will however be listing some more on Craigs list... gonna sell off some Fitz & Floyd china that I have around here, and I have no use for.  Good thing about working in a flea market... I get tired of something, I have a place to get rid of it fairly easily. 

Speaking of Flea Market... There is a new one opening next year, and I've been approached about managing it.  Definitely interested. 

I'll attach links to the CL listings, or maybe just post some pics, later today...

Thursday, December 01, 2011

well, everybody out there will be glad to know that the elephants in the last post... are sold... so, here's the whole story...  I bought that pair for 10 bucks.  Because they didn't have tusks. 

Believe it or not, I just happened to have tusks at home.  Actually, I think they started out as cow horns, but they were in my bit's n pieces box... so I glued them in, and resold the elephants for 25 bucks each.  

Well, that's what I do for money.  Oh well... if you people had enough sense to save your own elephant tusks, you could have saved a few bucks, right? 

Monday, November 28, 2011

Howdy folks... I've been listing on Craigs List, so I thought I'd drop by and see what everybody was up to. 

We list a few items a week on CL for the flea market, so that we can get out of town customers in... Not only from Dallas, but we've had people come in from Louisiana... It's good PR for the stores, and people like CL for some reason. 

Here's what's in my stall that is listed...

Well, I like to have funky things in my booth.  And elephants are really popular...

note... pic was added on December 9th, because I realized the craigs list link was now dead and I really really really hate posts that are talking about pics & links and things that aren't there anymore...

Friday, November 25, 2011

Black Friday

I don't take part in Black Friday. 

I find the whole concept appalling. 

Probably because of things like THIS.

Now, before I continue... this video is a Wal-mart riot depicting people risking life and limb for the right to spend $2 on a waffle iron.  And, to be quite blunt, most of the people in that video would do well to lay off the waffles... there aren't many that I'd exactly call slender.  But that's beside the point I suppose.

You see, I was raised to believe that Christmas was a celebration of the birth of Christ.  Unfortunately, it seems to have devolved into some sort of Capitalist Pig-out.  (Don't worry... I'm not going to go off on a Jesus is the Reason for the season rant.)

Now, I'll always admit that there was a certain desperation about gifts.  Especially for children.  But I don't recall anybody risking injury to get any gifts.  This year I have, through facebook, read stories and seen videos of people getting maced, trampled and even a few stories about gun-fire. 

Come on people.

So... I'm going to announce now... DON'T BUY ME ANY PRESENTS.  The mere thought of somebody risking serious bodily injury for the sake of purchasing somthing for me makes me cringe.

I don't want anything.  If you absolutely have to get me something, then make it, or bake cookies or something.  There are a few gifts that I have to give, and I'm making them. 

You see, when I was a youngster, I developed a case of mononucleosis.  This was back in the day when the treatment for mono demanded complete bed rest.  I think it was 6 weeks... but to a 8 year old it felt like half a life time.  As I lay there, perishing of sheer unadulterated boredom, my Grandmother took it upon herself to sit with me.  Consequently, I learned how to knit, crochet and tat.  My close friends are recieving hand made scarves.  I may send out a few cards.  That's gonna be about it.

Now, kids probably need something storebought.  Fortunately, I don't have any kids to buy for.  If you do, you have my pity.  But the rest of you people are full grown adults and if you're one of those people who have an internal calculator that keeps tally of the cost of every present you recieve... grow up or get the hell out of my house, because you're gonna be bitterly disapointed.  

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Howdy folks... and Happy Thanksgiving. 

Just a quick note before I head out... I'm on my way to a friends house to have a Thanksgiving lunch and then on my way to my nieces to have a Thanksgiving dinner.  I'm going to get really really fat today. 

But of course, it's difficult to get really really fat all at once, so I'm taking my own tupperware. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Silent Auction Update


First, I said I would update ya'all on the benefit where I provided a vase for the silent auction.  I dropped by event thinking I would have a couple of drinks, maybe bid on a few things... little did I know...

The organizer of the event saw me and said... "Good!  You're here!"  and set me to work... I spent most of the evening working the room selling raffle tickets.  I personally raised about 140 bucks before I had to leave to get sleep... it was a Thursday and I have to work on Friday morning.   So, being slightly obnoxious and having some PR experience does come in handy.

 Also featured at the event were a few of the local Drag Performers who were also working the room.  If you've never been to a drag show, generally the 'girls' get up, talk, fling some tude around, then lip sych a song while collecting tips from the crowd... on the night in question, all the tips went into a bucket and were donated to the cause. 

I don't know exactly how much my vase brought in... but the total for the event was $2040 towards the food pantry.  And the food pantry people are very good and ensuring that each and every dollar donated is stretched to the max.  They'll be repeating this event quarterly, and they've asked if I can help do some PR for it.  I have every intention of doing so...

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Started work yesterday with a drive out job... here's the difference.  A direct job is when I pick something up here and deliver it 130 miles.  A drive out is when I drive 130 miles to pick up something and then drive it back... so, yesterday morning I drove to Wichita Falls to get something that was terribly important and bring it back. 

Now, as a courier, I don't always know exactly what's in those boxes.  There's very good reason for this... unless it's haz mat or dangerous, it really doesn't matter.  I get the box, I take it where it goes.  No big deal.  Also... there's security reasons... for instance, if I'm picking up a lockbox full of cash, jewelry, etc... and they're only paying me 25 bucks to deliver it... well... they'd just rather not let me know about it for some reason...  Eyeballs they'll tell me about, simply because there's very little chance a driver is going to disappear with them.  And I'm sure they like to watch some drivers turn green. 

So I ran up to Wichita Falls, get to the pick up and watched them pack the box.  Two cans of paint thinner.  Which prompts the response... "REALLY?"  I mean... are they honestly going to tell me there's no paint thinner in Dallas/ Fort Worth?  Did anybody think to check with the local Home Depot?  Lowes?  Wal-Mart for Christ's sake?  I mean, for the amount your paying me... I'd be perfectly willing to drop by any of those places, buy the blasted paint thinner and you can pay me back when I get there.

On the other hand... if you wanna pay me a decent sum of cash to drive your paint thinner all over the state of Texas, I guess I can do it... I've certainly done sillier things in my life. 

Regardless... I used enough gas that I had to call dispatch and arrange for an advance on the paycheck, since I used up my gas budget for the next two days... 

And as grateful as I am that I have a job... I soooooo want a new one...

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Rainbows and Eyeballs...

Well, the title probably sounds far more interesting than it was when it happened... basically, I had a really bad day at work.  Only 4 deliveries all day... I'm used to doing a dozen.  True, they were good deliveries in that they paid well, but still, there weren't enough of them. 

As for the eyeballs... well, I delivered eyes today.  There's a vision lab here in the metroplex, if I said the name you'd probably all recognise it, but I'm not comfortable giving out client information... anyway, at various times I have had to deliver eyes to them.  Sometimes they're pig eyes from the abattoir where the pigs are butchered... I understand that they extract the corneas and prepare them for human implant.  Last week I delivered a box of 70 to them.  I have also picked up human eyes from the airport and ran them out there... It's not really as creepy as it sounds.  Well, maybe it is, but I'm just over it... anyway... today I went to the lab and picked up a few eyes to deliver to one of the local medical schools. 

I'm pretty sure they were swine again, as if you are shipping human parts there are usually haz mat certificates and such... Don't know why human eyes would be haz mat and pig eyes wouldn't, but then I've learned to just go with the flow and not worry about it too much...

So... as I'm driving down the road on what was really a dingy kind of day, with a box of disembodied eyeballs in the seat beside me, lo and behold, I see a rainbow in front of me... hence... eyeballs and rainbows. 

And in many ways... that seems to be how my life has been lately... kinda gorey and weird with strange rays of light shining through. 

I work very hard at being grateful.  I know I shouldn't gripe about my job when unemployment is reaching record numbers and yes I know I'm struggling financially, but here in my county of Texas, approximately 17% of the population is on food stamps... which is a record number.  And, according to the news tonight, a large group of the food stamp people are employed, but due to pay cuts and such, they just aren't able to make ends meet anymore.  It's depressing if I think about it too much. 

So I have a little sign I made to put on my dashboard that says simply... "Be Grateful"   The strange thing is... it works.  It keeps my mood up.  When I pull up to a delivery, I look at it, I am grateful, and I enjoy my customers more.  It seems to be changing my attitude.  I'm being a little more cheerful, and that makes the customers easier to deal with. 

Really, I'm just babbling along here. 

Don't know what my point is. 

Monday, November 14, 2011

So... no sooner was I ready to get a new blog started (for the flea market) than my computer developed scizophrenia and by the time that was figured out, I couldn't get on the internet... UGH...

Anyway, it seems to be all right now.  But six days without the internet is not something I wanna go through again. 

Regardless, I'm putting off the Flea Market blog for the moment.  There's a very good reason for this... I'm being actively recruited to manage another flea market... and there's another job offer too... things are starting to look up around here.  Not sure about anything yet though. 

Monday, November 07, 2011

Well, the flea market is talking to me about maybe starting a blog for them... It wouldn't be too extensive, probably a weekly post on what's new at the store, maybe pics of the Christmas parties and such... What y'all think? 

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Just for clarification...

I apologised for the political rant because I just don't do them... It's been my experience that a Republican and a Democrat can argue all day every day for a solid week, and neither will ever change their mind about anything, despite logic, fisticuffs and tornadoes... (I know this because I've seen them do it, and I still don't know how that tornado was the democrats fault, but there's somebody out there who swears that's the case.)  So, in my opionion, political rants are pretty much useless.

Everybody is convinced they are correct and everybody else is wrong. We seem to come to our views as a result of our individual life experience. And that's OK.

When I made this blog it was about some of my things at the flea market. 

Then it segued  into cactus with the occasional gripe about whatever had crawled up my nose that day... or whatever I happened to see on the road when I was driving that I decided was interesting enough to talk about. 

I have, or rather had, an unwritten rule about talking about politics and religion in that these discussions are divisive and, for the reasons stated above, largely useless.  And the blogs I read about politics primarily seem to be some schmuck stringing together a few "facts" that are dubious at best to prove their point so they can say... "told you so, na na na na nah na"  Not all of them, but a large amount of them.  There's some good ones too...

But... I guess the political rant can come under the heading of whatever crawled up my nose that day, so I guess I can allow myself the occasional tantrum. 

One thing I do feel very strongly about, both by politics and religion, is that we are all here to help each other.  That's why, when I heard that they were having a silent auction to support the AIDS Outreach Nutrition Center, I grabbed this from the flea market stall and donated it...

It's Royal Haegar by Royal Hickman... (BTW... Royal Hickman was one of the designers for Haegar Pottery, and that's where the "Royal" in "Royal Haegar" pottery came from... it's basically a line of better pieces)  These vases were produced from 1938 to 1944 and the picture does not do the piece justice... There is no way a photograph can capture the colors... Actually, they've never been able to adequately reproduce Mr. Hickmans glazes.  Retail price for the vase is in the 100 dollar range, but no matter what it brings in the auction, it will go to feed men, women and children who are struggling.  Most of them are struggling because their medications, without which they'd die, cost about 1200 a month, and insurance companies are often discontinuing their coverage. 

I'll give an update on how much it brought it after the auction on November 17th. 

Monday, October 31, 2011

I've worked in a lot of bars in my life.  One thing I have learned... no matter how many Vodka /7"s you've had, you should always avoid discussions about politics and religion.  Another thing I've learned is that it's easy to avoid them if I confine myself to vodka/7's, but the minute tequilla is involved... all bets are off...
I have strong politcal beliefs... and I'm an army brat who was raised to believe that if you don't take part in the system then you have no right to bitch about it... so I vote.  I was also taught that the voting booth is confidential, and that you have no obligation to tell ANYONE who you voted for. 

I also go to church, but I know people from all backgrounds and religions.  Among my friends I know Athiests, Pagans, Wiccans, Islamics, Buddists, as well as the full spectrum of Christians.   I don't try to convert them... they don't try to convert me.  We get along just fine, If I'm absolutely honest, the church I go to is non-denominational, and several of our members have one or more of those belief systems in their past.  I'm pretty sure that there are very few of our members who found their way to our church on a smoothly paved road.  That's part of our strength. 

The Occupy movement is interesting.  I'm not saying that I agree with it, and I certainly have no intention of pitching a tent in the park... but I find it fascinating to watch. 

I've been keeping track of the local movements... there's one in Dallas and one in Fort Worth... the latter being smaller but also closer, I've probably paid more attention to it.  I also, through their facebook pages mostly, keep track of some of the other movements through the country. 

I agree that there are serious problems with the economy. 

My personal experience is this... there is nothing I'd like better than to get a new job.  I'm over qualified and over experienced to be a courier.  I've been applying for jobs at a rate of at least 2 or 3 a week for over a year.  People want to hire me.  Part-time with no benefits.  And no... they can't give me regular hours or a schedule, because that would mean I'd be able to get another part time job, and they don't want that.  So I'm stuck driving 5 days a week, and working at the flea market one day a week.  At least for the moment. 

And I'm doing better than many people I know. 

I personally know people who have a bachelors degree and are working at McDonalds. 

I know a single mother with a college degree in psychology who is working as a bartender. 

I know someone who has paid his insurance for over 15 years, only to have it cancelled when he was diagnosed with a life threatening condition. 

I know so many of these stories... that they're sadly typical.

Somethings gotta change.  Maybe the Occupy movement will be some sort of catalyst for that.  Maybe it won't, maybe it's just a way for people to express their frustration. 

I do know that I don't wanna hear about any marines who survived two tours of duty in Iraq, getting their skull cracked open with tear gas canisters, as happened in Oakland. 

I know that if Groups can drive in from out of state to stand by the road screaming "God Hates Fags" at people, then the residents of the state should have the right to stand by the road with a sign when they get off work at the warehouse. 

So... I'm watching the movement.  I'll see what happens. 

And I apologise for going off on a political rant. 

Saturday, October 08, 2011

and it blooms again...

This is the second bloom from my Stapelia gigantea... tomorrow might actually be more impressive, as I think the other four buds on the plant will all open at once then.. 

It's one of my favorite plants, not only for the impressive flowers, but for the sheer ease of growing the thing.  I yank it inside in the winter and ignore it.  Then I put it outside in the summer... and ignore it, apart from it getting some water occasionally.

And, every fall, it pretty consistently puts these flowers out.  Not bad, huh?  Now, I'm not getting as many blooms as normal, we had a killer summer.  But I didn't fare as well as normal this summer either... so what more can I ask, right? 

The plant carries the common name of Carrion flower.  This is due to the fact that it does smell like rotting meat.  There are some people who prefer the name of Starfish flower.  These are the kind of people who try to change the name of Datura Inoxia from Devil Apple to Angel Trumpet.  I find these renamings silly.  Listen... you can call this plant "sweetheart with a bow on top" but it doesn't change the fact that it looks unearthly, and it smells like something dead.  Carrion flower is what I've always called it and always will. 

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

almost a month!

Wow!  How did that happen? 

well, a week of it I can account for... I spent it house-sitting at a friends house in Burlesson... actually, dog sitting with two of the stupidest canines on the face of the planet... I will redily admit that Cocker Spaniels are not my favorite breed of dog.  They're kinda like the Anna Nicole Smiths of the dog world... pretty, and they do what they do... But lets face it, nobody ever expected Shakespeare from Anna Nicole.  

And these two were no exception... I'd been sleeping there for 3 nights, and feeding them every morning and evening... and every time I came in from work they had no bloody idea who I was... finally, on the fourth day, they seemed to realize that this was the guy with food... about the sixth day they decided that I was definitely not there to kill them and I might actually be pretty nice... oh well.

The rest is just me being busy I guess.  As Grandma would say... "Runnin' round like a chicken with it's head cut off..."

Other than panicky dogs, the house sitting thing was actually a relief.  There's something about being in a house that you're familiar with, but isn't yours, that just relaxes you.  And the fact that the only computer out there is a laptop with a tiny little keyboard that my manpaws couldn't manage gave me a break from lots of things. 

Furthermore... it was also an excuse to not do things that I didn't wish to do but was somehow obligated to do... What?  Oh I'd love to watch a 50 year old movie at church with a bunch of 10 year olds while eating cheese sandwiches and drinking Kool-aid.. Really, there's nothing I'd like more.  But you see... I have to drive all the way to Burlesson to house sit.  Can't let those sweet puppies starve now can I?  Although, Burlesson is only 15 miles from the church, so that was pushing it... but you get the idea...

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

well, I'm happy to report that I'm in a much better mood... I think it's primarily because the heat wave has broke.  On Sunday, it topped out at 95 degrees.  And it was a relief, let me tell you... I know, 95 a relief?  How sick is that? 

Regardless, Monday was mid-80's... and Monday night it got down to 59.  I actually was a little bit chilly when I got up.  And it felt WONDERFUL. 

Today, Tuesday, high 80's... and I'm feeling just fine. 

Now... about that last post... afraid I didn't come off too well in that... Sorry... not perfect... You will be glad to know that church guy and I are just fine.  He's back on his meds.  I read my scriptures in church.  Everybody survived... actually I went over and stayed with above-mentioned church guy over the weekend.  It's not that I'm a self-centered, foul tempered uncaring person... well, a little, but I was having my own issues that particular day. 

In preparation of my move, the large, hard to handle cactus are gradually being distributed among various plant sitters.  That way, there won't be a mad rush to move several hundred pounds of well armed botanica all at once. 

Hildy is blooming for her host.  She always was an accomidating house guest, and I may have a bit of a problem getting ole Hildy back...

Saturday, August 27, 2011

I have not had a good day. 

A flea market day at the end of the month is rarely much fun... add in that everybody has been spending all their money on school supplies, and the heat is sapping whatever energy everyone has left, and it just doesn't add up to huge sales... but still, we were busy in a very strange way...

It started when one of the local 'homes' stopped by with a busload of people that are 'challenged'

They bought a few things.  And paid for them with an astounding collection of pennies, nickels, dimes and the occasional quarter.  And some of that change was... sticky...  lets just say that the hand sanitizer was very popular today... 

And while this was happening, a church guy has been having a battle with depression issues, which I'm afraid to say I strongly suspect are more about his sense of drama than any real issue I can see... and after about the 4th text telling me about his total inability to sleep the night before, I responded that I was perfectly willing to cure his insomnia by knocking him out cold with the nearest heavy object.  (I can be very warm and nurturing at times... with proper warning, When I'm not driven to distraction.  And provided you're a cactus and not a full grown person who has stopped taking their medication.)     

And of course, about 20 minutes after that, I recieved notice that the church would very much like it if I would read the Biblical Scripture during church service.  Now, those of you who remember the Archangel Gabriel moment, may remember that these things always seem to be thrust upon me when I have just said or done something that is most vehemently Not Christian... and threatening to knock someone unconscious would probably qualify for that.    

And to top it all off... Little Bit... which is what we call one of our regular customers behind her back, came in at exactly 15 minutes to close, and began her favorite tactic of placing items priced at 10 dollars on the counter and announcing she was only paying two dollars.  It hasn't worked at any time in the last 2 years, but she keeps trying.  Gotta admire her persistance, God love her. 

She invariably pays the marked price... eventually... and I was 30 minutes late getting out of there. 

I have one nerve left, and I would strongly advise anyone out there to STAY OFF OF IT.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Last night... a small miracle occured...

It was all very confusing... I walked out of he house this morning and the first thing I noticed is that it didn't seem quite bright enough outside.  And it wasn't as hot as usual...

then, I felt something on top of my head.  A little cold spot suddently appeared... then another and another... on my head, my shoulders, my back... I looked up and something hit me in the eye...  not unpleasantly mind you, but still, it was jarring...

turned out to be... WATER. 

What is this?  Is my neighbors sprinkler system being a little overzealous?  No, water is coming down everywhere... terrified I ran into the house and turned on the TV...

Turns out that this mysterious phenomenon is called 'rain'

seriously folks... rain for the first time in well over a month feels miraculous.  And you have no idea how good 85 degrees feels when it's been in the mid hundreds for weeks on end.  It lifts your soul not to be oppressed by the very air that you're trying to breath.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

so yep... it actually hit 110 degrees in the Dallas Ft.Worth Metroplex today... unfortunately I missed this great historic event as I was driving up to McAlistar Oklahoma... where, at 3 PM it was a mere 107... HAH... I laugh at 107...   WIMPS.

Raced back to Ft. Worth, because I'd been invited to dinner at one of the church guys house.  

Now, this particular church guy has these dinners almost weekly.  I enjoy the company.  I enjoy the food... usually, but we'll get to that...   I don't enjoy the wine. 

He invariably serves chardonay. 

I hate and despise anything chardonay.  Now yes... I will admit that there are very subtle nuances to it's flavor... sometimes its a hint of kerosene.  Sometimes it's turpentine... on one very memorable occasion, I would have sworn that someone had poured a glass of chilled vintage gasoline.  But, according to my tastebuds... it's all distinctly oily and petroleum based.  It doesn't taste like anything that should be in my mouth.  

I have tried every subtle way of letting this be known.  I have had loud, easily overheard conversations obout the lack of merit of chardonay... I have taken one sip, sat the glass on the table and drank water for the rest of the meal.  I have even, three weeks ago, brought a fairly espensive bottle of wine along... that is still sitting on that mans kitchen counter...

Tonight, as I was speeding towards Ft. Worth and dinner, I made a quick call from the road saying that I'd be about 15 minutes late.  I texted another guy that was going to be there and said I'd see him there but I was running late. 

I get there... only 10 minutes late actually, go to the table, and commence to dig in.  Or try to.  What's this? 

"It's Moroccan Chicken..."

"There's chicken?"

Then the guy who I had texted said... "Oh, well we figured you weren't coming, so I ate it"

"I said I was gonna be late..."

"We didn't think you'd make it back from Oklahoma this quick."

"I drive places quickly for a living." 

Blank stares all around.

Finally, after a little digging, half of a chicken thigh was located.  There were also four chunks of potato and some carrots with what appeared to be onion gravy on them. 

I was offered cous cous which I declined.  I've eaten a lot of cous cous in my life, but I have to admit I've never tasted any of it.  Evidently, the tastebuds that taste petroleum in the chardonay also refuse to acknowledge the mere existence of cous cous.  I also didn't eat the pita bread, but that's because I'm not a bread eater.  We didn't have one of those families that had bread on the table at every meal.  Actually, it was rare.  I evidently just don't have the habit of it.

And then, of course, the inevitable glass of chardonay.  I'm afraid that after the polite sip, setting the glass down was a bit of a thud, followed by a lunge for the water glass tho... this glass was distinctly on the chilled gasoline list.

Anyway... excused myself as soon as possible and headed to the nearest fried chicken joint.  It may not be "Moroccan" but it's damned good. 

Monday, August 01, 2011

I had a few drinks and I think I woke up in hell...

No, really...

Today the weather man was predicting 106, but the temp officially reacged 107 degrees, and the thermometer in my back yard read 113.  We're not even going to talk about the heat index.  Tomorrow... they're predicting 110.  Please God help us all...

Now, I know what some of you are thinking... you live in Texas... what are you griping about.  Trust me, these temps are record breaking.   The usual case is a few days hitting a hundred in July... we've now had aproximately 30 days solid of it... and there's no summer storms.   There hasn't even been a heavy dew.  There are big burned patches by all the highways.  Even the cactus are suffering, many look like half inflated balloons, and no amount of watering seems to be helping. 

Yesterday, I washed a pair of jeans, put them on a hanger, and hung them from the eaves of my house.  They were dry in 15 minutes and I'll swear to it in court on a stack of bibles. 

I'm pulling every trick I know to keep cool and hydrated, but I think I may be losing the battle... 

Everyday, I pack a little cooler with frozen bottles of water and bottles of fruit juice.  Juice is better for you than those sports aides which are full of corn syrup.  And they taste better.  (Quite frankly, I can't choke Gatorade down.)  And if you buy the fruit juice in big bottles or in frozen concentrates, then refill bottles at home, it's much cheaper, and you're saving the landfills from all those hideous single serving bottles.

I also take frest fruit of somekind.  A banana is good... most fruit juices don't have the potasium that you need when you're that hot, and a banana can replenish you.  Sometimes, I take cherry tomatoes... I can eat them like grapes and they're a great potasium source too. 

I also take peppermints.  Those little startlight mints actually make you feel a bit cooler.  Of course, Altoids can give you a cold jolt!  Some people almost find it painful! 

I also pack a plastic bag with 3 or 4 wet bandanas in there... if you get too hot you wrap a wet bandana around your neck and you feel much better.  Lately, I've been putting a capful of rubbing alcohol in the bag with them... it helps.  I also keep hand sanitizer in the truck... it's rubbing alcohol too... NowI know... they say putting rubbing alcohol on your skin will dry it out.  Listen, I'm sweating faster than I can drink sometimes, my skin is consequently extremely oily.  If it was 70 degrees... I'd worry about drying my skin out.  It's bloody 106 already! 

Every day when I come home, I take a special cool bath... now, this is gonna sound strange, but I'll explain it... Three or four inches of cool water with two capfuls of mouthwash in it.

here's the thing... the blue mouthwashes, like Scope, (although I tend to buy the store brands that are identical but cheaper) contain Eucalyptol, Menthol, Methyl salicylate and Thymol, in addition to alcohol.  Eucalyptol and Menthol are both great for cooling down the skin, and these ingredients are all stong antiseptics.  What most of us smell like when we're skanky sweaty isn't our sweat, but the bacteria growing on our bodies and feeding on the sweat... now, I don't claim to smell like a rose, but I don't smell as bad as I used to.  No, you're not going to sanitize yourself, everything is diluted in all that water,  and it probably isn't advisable to sanitize yourself, but you will seriously keep it under control, and when you're sweating buckets, that's neccesary. 

Then I do a quick rinse, again cool water...  quite frankly when it's this hot outside, the water that comes out of the tap marked cold.... ain't cold... but again, hot showers actually promote bacteria growth, and quite frankly you're sweating when you go in and with a hot shower, you're sweating when you get out. 

And... a cool shower actually feels good.  I know, there's all sorts of jokes about cold showers, but it ain't any colder than jumping in a swimming pool. 

And now... that's more information than any of you needed to know about my grooming habits.  LOL

Friday, July 29, 2011

a random post about nothing at all...

you ever had one of those days when living in a cardboard box under the highway actually sounded like it might be a good idea? 

I mean, I always assumed that the homeless were under the overpass because they had no other options... It's starting to dawn on me that at least a few of them may be under there because they needed to get away from this batshit crazy world we live in.  

Well, I had that feeling today.  For a few minutes at least.  Then it dawned on me... I couldn't live in a cardboard box.  I'd have to have plywood.  Which entails finding some plywood, some 2 by 4's and some nails... and then it all started to look like an actual project, and I have to many projects already, so there we are.

we're on the 28th day straight of over 100 degrees outside, with absolutely no rain, and that's probably got a lot to do with my grumpiness.  Because, somehow, even with no rain, we're still getting high humidity.  Don't know where it's coming from.  There is a tropical disturbance on the coast, that might give us some relief when it makes landfall... the church guys are praying for it.  I don't quite know how I feel about praying up a tropical storm over Corpus Christi... but on the other hand the beach bums should be prepared for hurricanes so they're on their own. 

Now, this is a blog about gardening, right? 

Got nothing. 

How about a cut rate decorating tip... go to your local thrift store and get cheap florist vases that are either colored or painted glass... gather them in a group in the middle of a table, put a tea light in each, and they suddenly turn into really cool 'lanterns'   They're deep enough to protect the flame if you put them outside for garden parties too... not that there's any garden parties happening in this heat

Thursday, July 21, 2011

sunflowers in the morning....

So... I know it's not the prettiest pic around, but I've found, as I've gotten older that pretty doesn't always matter to me anymore.  I really really like these wild sunflowers... 

I don't know for sure how they origionally seeded in my yard, but these are the wild variety of sunflower that grows in fields throughout Texas... not so much in cow pastures, as cattle seem to delight in the seedlings in the spring. 

Usually, In the spring, I have hundreds of these seedlings along a wooden fence and I fastidiously clean them out to one or two plants.  This year, I got delayed, and they were 3 to 4 feet tall before I got to them.  A few got crowded out naturally, but the rest came up and were blooming before I even had a chance to think about thinning them, and the flowers were so cheerful perched above the velvety green leaves
 that I left them thinking they weren't doing any harm. 

Now they're going to seed, the leaves are browning, and they're decidedly ugly, weedy looking things anywhere from 4 to 8 feet tall... and I would definitely be out there with machete in hand if it weren't for one thing...

Every morning, I sit and watch cardinals, song sparrows, purple finches (they call them purple, the males have a raspberry red head and a decent little chirping song) and the mourning doves come and have their breakfast.  I've even seen house wrens and mockingbirds come down and search out insects, and particularly the ants that seem to colonize the stems.  It's really quite fascinating to watch them. 

I used to put out bird seed.  But the Grackles and English Sparrows would attack the feeders.  These two species don't seem to be bothering my sunflowers. 

So yes, the sunflowers, at this particular stage of their life, look ugly and weedy.  But I'm leaving them.  I enjoy them too much...

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

finally... something plant related!

and a cactus plant at that... although, it is one of my old faves... and by checking my stats... I can also see that it's one of the most popular posts I' ve ever made too....

Hildy... aka Cereus hidmannianus... will be opening her blooms tonight... 

and I still haven't got a camera.  will have to see what we can do with a porch light, a flashlight and a cell phone... but we're gonna give it the ole college try...

Tuesday, July 05, 2011


I swear, there are times when I go to work just to get some relaxation! 

Of course, as soon as I swore to myself that I was going to get back to blogging more, and had even gone so far as to make a separate blog for my devotionals... (see last post)  the blasted modem on my computer decided to develop schizophrenia.  It would connect, then it would disconnect, then it would connect again... basically flipping on and off like a demented strobe.  Quite maddening. 

I was really looking forward to the July 4th weekend... I had been invited to a party for the fourth that promised to be fun, and it's traditionally a good weekend at the flea market... I dared to hope for a little fun. 

Then a friends father passed away. 

The funeral would be on Sunday... they had the choice of Sunday or Independence Day... if they wanted anybody to show up, it had to be Sunday.  It was also in a small town in east Texas, about a hundred miles away. 

Now, this particular friend, his wife and his daughters had been a huge support for me when my Mother passed, and there was no way in hell that I was not gonna be there for them.

It was not the most pleasant experience, well, it WAS a funeral, but it was definitely an interesting one in a kind of lugubrious way, and I'm actually working on writing it up into a short story, so I'm not going to go into great detail now... but I will say this.

I have mourned among the rednecks.  And then, I ate catfish...

The Saturday before was pretty standard at the flea market... only a few minor squabbles.

The party with the church guys was more fun than most people would probably think... I mean... for most of us, myself included, a room full of Christians is not the first thing that comes to mind when you think party, but we're a fun group.  And when one of said Christians if trying to figure out the best way to make mojitos, it helps.  We couldn't let his various experiments go to waste, now could we?

But... I'm tired.  Way too tired.  I need some sleep...   

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The devotionals...

I had mentioned before that I was writing some devotionals for my church... a few of you asked if you could see them. 

I wasn't entirely happy with the idea of posting them here tho... so I've made another blog so you can look at them if you're interested in such things...

Haven't quite finished with the design of it... very much a work in progress... and there's only one on there so far... but HERE IT IS

Saturday, June 25, 2011

flea market stuff...

Well just one flea market stuff...

Got a wonderful vintage TV lamp... from the 50's... perfect condition.

bad pic... the boat is actually brighter yellow... and there's a place in the top for a plant... most of these I saw growing up had a plastic ivy in them... the light, which shines from inside, is red...

Can't find the maker, but it's in perfect condition, and I've priced it at 45 bucks.

Anyway... hadn't posted for a while, so I had to post SOMETHING and there we are.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Well, here's a surprise...

Last year, out of the kindness of her heart, Julie, that wonderful lady over at A Succulent Life, sent me a Gloriosa Lily...

I am ashamed to say that I thought I killed it. I neglected to dig it up in the winter as I'm supposed to in this zone. I'm a bad plant parent. I am a bad plant recipient. I should be taken out and beaten soundly. But, I thought to myself, there's a very thick layer of straw mulch over that tuber... maybe by some miracle it survived our record breaking cold weather this winter.

This spring, nothing.

But, evidently, the thick layer of mulch was enough. Imagine my surprise when this morning I walked out and saw this dangling over my head in the carport...

There's still not a shoot showing by the ground though. What happened, is that evidently, the lily sprouted and sent it's shoot up inside the hollow metal pole that holds up the carport... and after it reached the top, it grew out and began blooming...

Determined little thing, ain't it?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

a bright shiney morning...

Don't get all excited... I don't have a new camera yet... can't justify the expense because of other stuff going on in my life. This is a really crappy cell phone pic.

yep... the peanut cactus, 'rose quartz' is blooming it's fool head off after the HUGE storms last night... here in my part of Texas, we just caught the tag end of the things... through the midwest... well parts of Oklahoma came might near to being scraped off the map as far as I could

But these cheered me up a little this morning, and quite frankly I needed it... not gonna go into details at the moment, but let me say this...

My Grandmother, who was a very wise woman, always said... "The good Lord don't give you any burden you can't carry. But there are times when I've wished He didn't have such faith in me." Let's just say... I know what the hell she was talking about and leave it at that, OK?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


I forgot my phone at home today... by the time I figured it out, I was 20 miles away and in the middle of a delivery... not possible to go get it.

At first... there was a sense of panic. What if there's an emergency? What if I have a flat tire? What if something happens to a friend and they can't get ahold of me? The last is a legitimate concern. A couple of them are prone to assuming that anyone out of phone range is obviously lying in a crumpled broke pile in a ditch bleeding to death.

And what if I needed to call someone for work... Occasionally, on a delivery, I have to get in touch with someone for assistance. OK... about twice a month... but still, it happens...

But then, inexplicably, I felt a sense of calm come over me. I heard a voice in the back of my head say... "YOU"LL BE FINE"

Got a flat tire? Change it.
Someone can't get a hold of me? They'll call later.
I need to call someone for work? Find a pay phone or better yet... let the dispatcher call them.

I relaxed.

And I enjoyed it.

There's something amazingly and wonderfully liberating about not being at the planets beck and call. It's totally amazing how much the phone bleeping at you interferes with your day.

I drove around. I made my deliveries. I joked with warehouse guys, without having to worry about returning a text. I sang a whole bunch of songs I remembered. (This is actually almost a psychological breakthrough... I have major childhood traumas around singing... don't ask...) I had a great day.

It's true, when I walked into QT and they had 5 liter boxes of wine on sale for a buck... I'd gone in with the idea of buying a lotto ticket, but quite frankly, the odds are better on a box of wine... I really did want to send a message to a church guy. But I can text him later. Or maybe I'll have a glass or three of wine and not worry about it. Hard telling...

And when I had an hour without a delivery, I pulled out a pen and a piece of paper and started writing down an idea that had occured to me for a church devotional. (I sent in a couple during lent and they asked me to keep em coming... oh well...)

Don't get me wrong... I'm not going to start leaving the phone at home. There are legitimate reasons why I might need it on the road. But... I may be turning it off for long stretches of time.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Well, Good Friday was actually OK...

Last year on Good Friday, I made a single delivery, so I took this one off.

Went to rummage sales, found a few good things, and took myself to the flea market to price them and then, changed shirts to go to Tennebrae... now I guess I should tell you what Tennebrae is since I've had to tell about everybody else... Tennebrae is the old name for a good Friday service. Basically, it's a sunset service where you go over the Passion of Christ in reading and songs, while the lights are gradually turned off in the church, until, at the moment of sunset, which is the moment that Jesus died, all the lights go out. At the beginning of the service the altars, and all the crucifixes are draped in black... basically, the church goes into mourning.

It's a very deep and emotional service, that is usually only performed in what's refered to as 'High" churches... Catholic, Episcapalian, Anglican, Orthodox and some Lutheran... but it's actual form varies, and many churches are passing it over. Seems it depresses people.

Anyway, after Tennebrae, we went out for a drink... Really, what's a funeral without a wake, Right? Just kidding, but we were all together on a Friday night, so what the heck...

Saturday, I worked at the flea market all day... had a good day actually...

Easter Sunday was... different...

I'd never been to a Sunrise service before, and we were having one in the churches rose garden, so I decided I'd crawl out of bed at 4 AM... well, for various reasons, I was late... got there just at the end of it. But, even though I was late for the service, I was there in time for the breakfast (some people fast from Tennebrae to Sunrise on Easter, so breakfast is a big thing) and I'm not one to pass up free food, so eggs, sausage and biscuits and gravy.

I decided I'd go ahead and stay for the 9 o'clock service... I didn't really want to go home and come back for my usual 11 o'clock. One of the Assistant Pastors came over and asked me if I'd mind carrying a banner in the procession.

See, after the black drapes are taken down, the chior comes in, in procession, followed by six huge banners that are placed around the sanctuary. I say sure... and after I've placed my banner and am making my way to the pew... the head usher grabs me and co-opts me to replace an usher who didn't show up.

So, I have to pass communion, collect offerings and basically stand at the back of the sanctuary for an hour.

Here's the problem. In true Easter tradition... I am wearing new shoes. And I've been wearing them for several hours. I started out standing in the back all right, but by the time it was all over... NO MORE.

So off for the between service coffee hour where I can sit down and rest my feet when suddenly... Asst. Pastor shows up again, and I'm not really given the choice of whether I want to carry a banner again. I did, however, fairly loudly, refuse to usher again. Primarily by barking before they got the question out.

After all this, I went to an Easter lunch at a church guys parents house, and Thank the Lord, everybody there had kicked their shoes off and I was able to finally get mine off too...

and that was my Easter. Not too exciting, but there we are.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


Well, I don't usually inflict my rather bizarre taste on the world at large, but this video from Florence and the Machine made it through... 1) Amazing voice... 2) Amazing song... 3) and as far as I'm concerned... bright blue go-go dancers with brooklin girl wigs are perfection personified... Besides, I looked over my last few posts... and I need to lighten up!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

well, I had this big long post...

but I had to delete it... I looked at it and said, "What the hell are you whining about?" To be blunt, it touched on 1) church politics... which are boring to anybody not involved and not all that fascinating to those who are... 2) the trials and tribulations of working 10 to 12 hour days... which I'm sure many of you already know about and don't need to be reminded of... 3) and then there was a good dose of POOR ME, boo hoo boo hoo... I don't know why anybody out there would want to read that. I don't want to read that. But, I have been working too much, and the yard has fallen behind, and even if it hadn't, I still haven't gotten around to getting a camera. Did take a nice long drive to Temple TX to deliver some pieces of metal to a factory that I'm sure is going to make something absolutely fascinating out of them, but I have no idea what. It's frustrating delivering to these places. I'm sure there's lots of wonderful things in all of them but I never get to see them as I have to drop and/or pick up and run... but such is life. As soon as I get a camera, I'll be back in full force... the Mammillaria sonorensis v. craigii in the front yard was lucky enough to survive the winter and is setting buds, and the Escobaria missourensis is also... but this winter, while it didn't produce as much snow as last year, was much colder than last year and a few of my plants didn't make it, so I'll be replacing some and propogating some others and replanting. After I've had a nap or two...

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Walking Cactus?

On 20 legs no less....

Of course, it's not really a cactus... not a plant at all... and it's not alive anymore...

but it is intriguing enough to catch my attention... seems they found an ancient worm creature fossilized and all here's the link to the NPR story...

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Whatever have I been doing?

The answer to that question is "Not much of any interest to anyone but me..."

Sorry about that...

The truth is that I'm working and working and working... and as much as I want a new job, I haven't had time to even think about applying for one. The only time I have is on Sunday afternoon... and I usually spend that asleep.

I work, I go to church on Sunday and to the classes when I can drag myself there... These are from one of the classes on a Wednesday...

They're an Anglican Rosary... We strung them ourselves at the class... my little summary of the class is this... Almost all major religions of the world use some sort of prayer beads, to repeat a prayer or mantra. In the mid-eighties an Episcopal pastor, during one of their study groups, created these, and they've been slowly catching on ever since. To find the complete history of them, and other stuff like suggested prayers and how to make them... go here

Anyway... my church is non-denominational... and the former Catholics were missing their rosaries... for no good reason really, none of the rest of us are stopping them from saying them, but they missed the communal rosaries that are often said in Catholic churches and most of us just don't know what it's all about, and the former Baptists, Methodist, etc... who do know what it's about aren't objecting, they just are most CERTAINLY not praying to the virgin Mary.

The Anglican Rosary or Protestant Prayer beads are a very nice compromise. As you can tell by looking, there aren't as many beads, and they aren't as large as most rosaries that you see. You go through the entire strand 3 times. And while the church has distributed prayers that we will all recite together every Monday during Lent if we choose to participate, there are no hard and fast rules for saying them. You can make up your own prayers. You're kind of expected to actually. So while I have memorised the prayers the church sent out, I made up my own for myself... for several reasons.

1) the prayers the church will be saying during the mass are heavily focused on mercy. The phrase, "Have mercy on me..." is chanted a hundred times during the rosary... and while I'm not perfect, I don't think I need THAT much mercy. I just don't feel that pitiful.

2) The prayers are all directed towards Jesus... which I don't object to by any means... It's just that I had the sudden realization that even though I was definitely raised Christian, our church prayed more to God than Christ. Primarily because, in the New Testament, Christ never said pray to him, but to pray to his Father... and I guess my particular sect took that pretty seriously. Oh, we prayed in Jesus's name a lot, but not too Jesus... kind of a petty distinction, but... still...

3) There are certain prayers and phrases that I remember from my childhood which give me comfort for some unknowable reason. They fit just fine into the beads, and I will use them...

Now... the purpose of the beads is more meditative than anything else... repeating a prayer, mantra, phrase or any word really, can, bring about a very calming state almost like a trance.

Provided it's done right... like one of our assistant pastors pointed out... if you're gonna be like her brothers when they were growing up, and have contests to see who could get through the beads first... well, then don't bother.

Anyway... We made our prayer beads in class, and I got home and started trying to memorise them... and the beads promptly broke. Scattered all over the floor. And my first thought was... "great... now I'm damned to hell."

The cats however were thrilled to no end... and were chasing beads all over the place... and they made a nice maddening high pitched rolling sound on the floor as the cats batted them across the room...

The above pic is a restrung set that I made myself. The cross is from the church beads, the others are hematite and silver beads that I had in my flea market stuff... they look pretty good actually.

So... now that I've gone on and on about some things that most of you probably don't care that much about... I guess I should probably let you go...

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Haven't been posting much lately. Hardly surprising... this is largely a garden and plant blog. And this is hardly the time of year for gardening or plants... I look outside and all I see is brown grass and the occasional mudhole. Not much to talk about it that arena.

That, and I've been working extra to make up for the paychecks I missed when the engine needed replace, shortly followed by the power steering pump burning out. There are some bills that have gone unpaid, and the only way to get the money is to work extra, so there we are.

Considering the current state of affairs... it's certainly easy to see why this title jumped out at me from the bookshelf... "The Freedom Manifesto" How to free yourself from Anxiety, fear, mortgages, money, guilt, debt, government, boredom, supermarkets, bills, melencholy, pain, depression, work and waste.

This little mini-tome, written by Tom Hodgkinson, has been providing me with some valuable insights into things... and while I can't say I agree with everything he has to say, there's certainly enough valid points for me to seriously have some thinking going on.

But a lot of it boils down to this... We, as a society, tend to overspend. The basic workers life goes pretty much like this. We go to work so that we can earn money to pay our rent or mortgage. We work over time usually at a job we don't particularly like, with people we don't particularly like, and for bosses we don't particularly like. When we get home, we are so physically exhausted that we sit in front of a TV and watch something that's moderately entertaining, while being periodically blasted with advertisements that are informing us all about things that we need to buy to make our life easier or better and which we will have to go further into debt to buy. And it doesn't end. We keep going to the job to pay for the stuff we keep buying in the hopes that we will be happy and we never seem to get there, and the only people that seem to benefit from all this are the 2 percent of the human beings that control all the wealth... and quite frankly, they don't seem to happy if you look close enough.

There are two ways out of this. One is to deprive yourself of everything while you work and amass a huge amount of money, then one day, you will have enough money to be able to not worry about it.

Or two... stop buying things that you don't need, simply because somebody out there says that you do need them.

His contention is that your time is better spent doing things a simpler way.

I'll probably go with the latter... but quite frankly, I probably was leaning that way anyway... For instance, I don't posses an I-pod. Can't really see the reason for one. When I'm driving I'm concentrating on the road, listening to the dispatch radio and my GPS. I'm certainly don't have the extra attention for anything else. When I'm shopping, I've managed to get in and out of the market for years without listening to my favorite song, and when I'm at home, I have a CD player or even a radio. Who needs it?

I do not have twitter. I can't imagine that anybody out there cares that I'm pulling into Ennis TX to deliver a load of whatever, and I have enough experience with twitter to know that 99 percent of what comes over it, I don't care about. Honestly, I was once at dinner with a friend when we were subjected to the announcement that someone elses baby had just had it's first "Poopy diaper!" While this may, or may not, be a milestone for the child and something Mommy wants to celebrate, I, quite frankly, don't give a damn.

I'd do without the cell phone if I could, but I do use it for work. And I text more than I call my friends, because it cost less than the minutes... but even that has it's limits for me. This morning, I turned the phone off. I figured I'd turn it on if I needed to make a call. This happened about 1 pm. So, I turned the phone on, called the customer to arrange his delivery... and within 15 minutes I was besieged by about a half dozen texts asking if I was all right.

It seems that if you can't be located at the blink of an eye, everyone assumes you're comatose or something. I'm pretty sure that as recently as 5 years ago, I had friends that I saw once a week, and didn't talk to between those times. And I never assumed they'd lost consciousness.

I'm pretty sure that human beings have, historically, gone for very long extended periods of time without speaking or texting every few minutes. My own mother was an Army wife, based in Germany, and when Dad went on manuevers for periods of one to three months, I'm sure she worried. But she didn't panic. Instead, she packed up the kid and jumped on a train and visitied Bavaria, or Munich or basically she did something on her own, and when he came back they no doubt had long talks about their seperate times... face to face talks. Over dinner. Without some thing bleeping at them and interupting.

So... for the next few weeks... I'm going to be re-prioritizing.

I'm certainly not going to take Mr. Hodgkinson's suggestions and quit my job, move to a shack in the country and grow all my own food. And, if I'm honest, I don't think he expects anybody to go quite that far... But what I will be doing is this.

I will no longer spend $1.50 on a cup of convienence store coffee when I can certainly make a cup of coffee at home to take with me in the truck.

I will not spend $6 ot $8 a day for fast food lunch, when I can pack a weeks worth of lunches at home for the amount one of those bad-for-me barely food meals costs.

I will not spend $1.29 for a bottle of water when I can buy a case of the things for less than $5, and actual tap water is free... (I don't care what what the health freaks say, I've never heard of anybody who died of tap-water induced cancer.)

With the money that I save on lunches... I will be more than able to pay for my after church lunches with my friends, and still have plenty of money left over.

And I'm looking for other ways to avoid spending money. It's not exactly Puritanical thrift... it's just that I don't see why I should spend money on things that aren't good for me or I don't need or enjoy, when I can save the money and do things that are good for me, that I do need, and that I do enjoy.

And there we are.

And now to another subject.


Yes, it's a strange addiction, this social networking. But it's also infuriating, in it's way.

1) People... it's not a private diary! Please, please, please don't tell me the intimate details of your love life, or drag any fights you're having with a significant other, complete with graphic details of what they were doing when you caught them in bed with whoever. REALY. Especially when a quick look at our mutal friends list tells me that our Pastor can read this too... And our pastor DOES read our facebook posts... honest...

2) You do not work for MTV and you are not a Video Disk Jockey. And even if you were, I can not think of any thing that would induce me to look at a video of the latest single from a group of people that call themselves "The Vagina Divers" Never heard them... never hope to. OK?

3) Fine. You found an abandoned puppy and you're trying to find it a home. That's cool. However, in the last week, you have found 3 abandoned puppies, 2 full grown dogs and innumerable kittens, and now your posts are not only about finding them new homes, but are filled with pleas for money to buy animal food and veterinary care. All of which is laced with much hand wringing and wailing about these helpless innocent victims of society and how we are obligated to help them, and quite frankly if you, and several other people out there devoted half this amount of time, energy and money to alieviating human suffering, the world would be a much more pleasant place to live in.

And now... I'm gonna see if I can get off this soap box without breaking my neck...

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Just a little rant...

We're expecting our first snow of the year in Dallas - Ft. Worth this evening. Usually we get it a bit sooner, but then again, there have been a few years where not a single flake fell. The newsmen, in their typical panicky level, are telling me that the storm will start with rain and then turn to snow. as much as two to five inches of the stuff... which means that there will be a layer of ice under the pretty white powder.

Now, I realize northerners will find this a bit of a yawn. But the truth is that southerners don't know how to drive on it.

I actually do. I drove in Illinois over a few winters, but I am a little out of practice. But even if I did want to try it, NOBODY ELSE ON THE ROAD CAN DRIVE ON IT. It honestly doesn't matter if I can drive a straight line when there's likely to be a chevy sedan plummeting towards you at any moment.

Whether or not I go to church tomorrow depends on what happens in the weather tonight. It's quite likely that I will be reading the first chapters of a friends writing project that was sent to me via e-mail. Even though I have been published in magazines (not that you can tell from this stream-of-consciousness posting I do here) I am a much better editor than writer, so occasionally friends will forward something to me to look over. There's a 66 page chapter that I've actually scanned the first three pages of and found some major grammar problems with. That and it seems to be Chick-lit. Not my favorite genre. But there's a few intriguing themes presented, and it doesn't actually look that bad for a first draft. There's something to work with here.

But authors, especially first-time authors, can be touchy. They tend to think of their work like a baby. You really have to be careful of what you say. Consequently, an editors notes to the writer are often more subtle and creative that the novel they're working with.

I should also add that I had a really bad day at the flea market.

One of our dealers got into an attitude flinging contest with a former dealer who had dropped by, and for some unknown reason they decided to do this at the front counter, beside my cash register. And for some other reason they decided the I would be the perfect person to mediate this little drama.

Unfortunately after about five minutes, it boiled down to every sentence that began with "Well, I think..." or "Well, she said... " was met with me blurting... "DON'T CARE."

Really, I wouldn't even let either finish a statement. I just started barking before they got it out of their mouth.

Which means they both bounced their little selves to the back and lodged a complaint with the manager. And when she came to the front for a little talk with me... she got "DON'T CARE."

Fortunately, she had a pretty good idea what was going on and basically told them that my job was customer service, not group therapy... and they both bounced out the door, their fight forgotten and now united in a huff.

and I... "DON'T CARE."

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Happy New Year!

Again, no photographs.

It may be a good thing....

Anyway, myself and two of the church guys decided to spend New Years Eve at L's house in Mineral Wells... a mere 67 miles from my house, and I had to work New Years Day at the flea market, so I would just spend the night there and drive to work from Mineral Wells. OK.

So we had an OK time. We played dominoes. We played scrabble. We watched movies.

L & H drank beer. (we're a drinking, cussing kinda church... anything but holier-than-thou) I was drinking Mikes Hard Lemonade, because I never could choke down beer and I wasn't up to vodka. But nobody got drunk, we were just chilling.

L's parents, who live on the same block also stopped by, I think they wanted to get a look at the guys that their son has been hanging around at church, just to make sure we didn't have pentagrams tattooed on our foreheads or something.

Anyway they are one of those country style couples that you don't see much of anymore. They talk at the same time as the other, carrying on completely different conversations and you're supposed to keep up with both of them. And they're both about as deaf as a stump.

L's father wanted to discuss his days in the navy, and was telling a rather amusing anecdote about a rather drunken trip to Juarez, Mexico when his mother broke off from discussing the merits of various cornbread recipes and shouted... "Why don't you tell them about the green stamps?" Of course, this interjection didn't warrant so much as a eye blink and he continued his stream on consciousness...

"THE GREEN STAMPS. Oh you wouldn't tell them about THAT would you now?" and something along those lines several times through.

And he continued despite it all until she finally just couldn't take it any more and finally blurted out, "He was in a Mexican bordello, and he was trying to buy a prostitute with green stamps!"

At that point, L's father stood up with full military posture and announced, "It was nice meeting you boys, but I think it's high time we moved along and let you have your fun..." and marched out the door.

H & I were both about rolling on the floor, laughing so much it hurt, and L was saying, "Y'all, don't make fun of my parents!"

Make fun of them? Hell, I wanna adopt them.

So, after the ball dropped, I went to sleep and woke up in plenty of time to get to work, and since I didn't wanna bang around a strange kitchen making coffee, I said to myself, "Self, why don't you just stop and get one of those jumbo coffee's from 7-11 or Racetrack or someplace on the way in... you got plenty of time."

So off I go, and stop at the first convenience store I see, and they haven't got any brewed. Neither did the next. Or the next. And they're looking at me like I'm requesting caviar.

It's 8 AM, on January the 1st, after a very large percentage of the population has been intoxicated, and nobody has any blasted coffee!

It wasn't until I got to Weatherford, about 17 miles down the road to Ft. Worth, that I finally walked into a convenience store that has one of those giant walls with a dozen coffee dispensers, and one, count them.... one... of those blasted coffee machines actually had hot coffee in it.

I swear, I could have scored heroin easier.

Finally got some caffeine in my system, and got to work, and it was actually a decent day.

And one of these days, I'm going to actually post that I had a boring uneventful week and everybody who reads my blog will have an aneurysm.