Monday, February 27, 2006

There Goes the Neighborhood

I just found out that we have a mysterious transient! And by "we," I mean all of us! Stay safe, everyone!

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Things That Go Ding In The Night

It was a dark and stormy night. No, really. It was dark. And our first drought-buster, frog-strangler line of thunderstorms dumped its load upon the land. (Hey, that was almost good!)

We were fast asleep (whatever that means). The doorbell awakened us. Whiskey-Tango-Foxtrot? Who would be idiot enough to stand out there in this dark and stormy downpour ringing the doorbell? I mean, the doorbell was like, totally ringing its little head off.

Tomcat went to check it out while I cowered stayed in bed. No one was at the door. A phantom? Ah, it was a dark and stormy night with a phantom!

Nah. It was just that the electricity in the storm set off the thingy in our wireless doorbell. But that's okay. It was BlogWorthy.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Carolina Dreamin'

This week I'm supposed to be doing research for my mystery novel.

And keeping up with my blog.

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Instead, I'm Googling pics of North Carolina. As both of my readers know, that's where Tomcat and I want to be, but we have to sell Maxwell House first. Sigh.

Did you know there are SO many things to do when you're avoiding the things you SHOULD be doing? It's true.

For example:

Visit everyone on your blogroll and leave comments, preferably lengthy, insightful ones. The kind that need revising before you hit "Post Comment."

Lurk on other people's blogs but don't leave comments.

Lurk on your own blog. (I'm watching you this very minute!)

Try to figure out why someone spent 89 minutes, 48 seconds on your blog, but didn't leave a comment.

Queue up a dozen articles on the printer for your research.

Fix jammed printer.

Fix jammed printer again.

Give up on damn jammed printer.

Pout. You cannot work under these conditions!

Find something, anything, to blog about.

Return to Google. They might need you.


P.S. Tomcat had a T-Shirt made for me on Valentine's Day. It says "Blog-Worthy."

Today? Eh. Not so much.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

It Beats Law School

Chapters 1 through 6 are done, and I've got a good portion of my mystery novel story-boarded. But now I've come to the part where I can't write another word without doing the research.

Unless ... I could get away with:

Chapter 7

And so, he was arrested and indicted for murder, which was a huge surprise, he pled not guilty at the arraignment, and then there was a bail bond hearing. His lawyer, whom he really liked a lot, got him out on his own recognizance.

Hmmm. No, one must have details. Lots of details. Like, most of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure details (thank God for PDFs.) I'll need to cram in about ten times as much information as I'll actually need to write the scenes.

So, this is me for awhile:

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Sunday, February 19, 2006

M-m-m-my Generation

I was running errands Friday and at one stop I asked for a six-pack and two lids. Which put me in a time warp, man.

A quick shake of the head, and I'm back in this decade. It's not beer and weed I'm asking for, it's a six-pack of Hill's Science Diet Z-D canned dog food and two plastic lids for keeping the food fresh in the refrigerator. For Scruffybutt, natch. (She looked SO cute in her brand new carseat and pink sweater.)

Peace out.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Pay No Attention--

--to Karl Rove the man behind the curtain!

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I lifted this from my horsey friend.

Friday, February 17, 2006

It's All About Me

I swiped this from Garnie. It's called a Johari* window, or grid. I've selected a few words from the grid which I think describe me. Now, I'm asking you to select five or six words that YOU think describe me.

You can click here to see the grid. Click on the words you want to select for me.

Then, at the bottom, enter YOUR name so that I'll know who picked what (or, I guess you could enter "Anonymous" if you'd prefer.) The responses I get will be compared to my own list of words.

After you have entered the words you've selected for me, you'll get a screen where you can see my own list. You'll also see the words that other people have selected, but not their names.

THEN, you'll get to do your OWN grid if you want, and then it will be All About You!

* From Wikipedia:

A Johari window is a metaphorical tool intended to help people better understand their interpersonal communication and relationships. It is used primarily in self-help groups and corporate settings as a heuristic device to encourage people to open up to another in self-disclosure. The concept was invented by Joseph Luft and Harrington Ingram, who combined their first names to create the name of the tool.

Heuristic is the art and science of discovery and invention.

Some commonplace heuristics, all from How to Solve It:

If you are having difficulty understanding a problem, try drawing a picture.

If you can't find a solution, try assuming that you have a solution and seeing what you can derive from that ("working backward").

If the problem is abstract, try examining a concrete example.

Try solving a more general problem first (the "inventor's paradox": the more ambitious plan may have more chances of success).

--Candace a/k/a Chenoah

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Duck and Cover

Okay, here's the link to the Jon Stewart bit I was telling you about in my last post. It's called Duck and Cover. Enjoy!
(you may have to click on "enter now" to see it)

Wednesday, February 15, 2006


Did ya'll see Jon Stewart last night? OMG, Tomcat and I were skuh-REEM-ing with laughter! The video is not up yet on The Daily Show site, but look for it maybe later today or tomorrow. Click on the link and go to Videos, Most Recent. He was savoring the absolutely delicious story of Cheney's hunting mishap and the subsequent grilling of the Press Secretary by reporters. I haven't laughed so hard in ages! Look for the video; I won't spoil it for ya here.

And speaking of the White House Press Corps, what a bunch of idiots! There they were, for the second day in a row, peppering (you might say) the Secretary with relentless questions and demands for clarifications and specifics, you know, the who-what-where-when-why-how stuff they suddenly remembered from journalism school. I just have to ask, THIS is the story that woke them up??? The Veep goes quail hunting and mistakes Whittington for a bird? NOW the Press Corps is doing its job like, you know, real journalists???

They sat there, apparently cowed, through that whole Iraq thing. They were timid about even asking for specifics on, say, WMDs (not to mention all the other stories they could have gotten righteous about, like bribery and corruption, the "elections," etc.)

What is going on with them NOW over this stupid hunting accident story? I mean, you'd think this had something to do with violations of civil rights, national security, or committing troops to an unnecessary war, or any number of other critical, important stories, you know, like Monica Lewinsky.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Saturday, February 11, 2006

The Great Purge

The Real Estate Drama continues. Buyer number four changed his mind. Whenever that singing fat lady finally gets here, I'm gonna kiss every one of her pudgy little toes!

Meanwhile, I've been inspired by a great book that people are talking about, at least here in Dallas, called Getting Things Done by David Allen. I tried to post a pic of the book under my Currently Reading sidebar, but the URL somehow links to a different book.

Allen asks you to think of a project that's been on your mind for a while, something that seems overwhelming and that's been bothering you. Okay, that was easy: The Move to North Carolina. This is a huge honking project that involves selling one house, fixing up another, selling it, finding a new house, new employment, moving to another state, etc. etc. etc.

Then Allen asks you to think about breaking everything down into "the next action." If you could start on this project right now, he asks, what would be the FIRST thing you would actually, physically do? Hmm. Well, I realized that the first thing would be to get up, go to the kitchen, grab the box of large brown trash bags, and start throwing out everything that wasn't going with us to NC. And, I would do that one room at a time, starting with my bathroom.

Wow! This was so energizing that I started The Great Purge the very next day. I've done three rooms so far. I've spent the most time on the papers in my office and file cabinets. Allen tells you exactly how to handle those. It's an amazing feeling to have all of that under control and organized in a way that makes sense.

When I'm done with the The Great Purge, everything that's left in the house can be packed when the time comes, and it IS coming. We won't have to decide what to do with every item as we pack -- give away? or throw away? -- because that part's already been done.

Our realtor is amazing. He's scheduled three showings of the renthouse today. Maybe the singing fat lady will be with one of them.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Get A Long, Little, Doggie

I just love CuteOverload!

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From The 'Hood

Yesterday Scruffybutt and I are sitting on the bed watching Oprah. We hear two loud pops, followed by the sound of breaking glass. The glass in the window behind us. I may have inadvertently caused a ripple in the space-time continuum thingy because I ducked, hit the floor, covered my head, grabbed Scruffybutt, the pistol, and the phone all in one motion. Sorry about that. I hope everyone's okay. Oh, and somewhere in all that I muted Oprah. I hope she's okay, too.

Well, nothing further happened -- no one broke into the house or smashed anything else. I did call 911. The weird thing was that the gal who answered kept asking me if I saw anyone. Um, that would be "No." (As a general rule of thumb, I don't look out the window while unknown objects/persons are breaking it. Just a silly quirk of mine.) She wants to know if I knew if they were in a car or on foot. Well, I didn't hear a car. She says a couple of more times, "But you didn't see anyone?" Um, still "no," as I was on the FLOOR at the time.

I checked the window before calling 911 by crouching to the side and moving the blinds with a stick. There was a hole in the glass near the top and a circular crack in the middle of the pane. Nothing had disturbed the blinds or the headboard, which reaches almost to the ceiling. So, I deduced that the damage was caused by rocks. But now I'm not so sure. Who would have two rocks at the ready, to be thrown in quick succession? When Tomcat got home, he looked for rocks on the ground between the window and the fence. Nada. (I was too afraid to go outside and check it out by myself. Another silly quirk of mine.) He also noticed two tears in the screen. I wonder if it was a BB gun? A real gun would have blown through the blinds and the headboard, wouldn't it? Weird.

The main thing I wanted the police to know was that our neighbors, who are good people, have been having trouble with their neighbors on the other side. They have had to call the police three times because these people have been harrassing them. They stand out in the yard and drink, try to pick fights, lob beer bottles across the lawn, and things like that. The first time our neighbors called the police was when these people where trying to pick a fight and they called (evidently) all their friends and relatives to come over to gang up on them. The police got that situation calmed down, but the next morning, these people followed my neighbors to church while making "pointing gun" hand gestures at them.

Whenever we've seen the police over there, Tomcat goes over to see if our neighbors are okay. Therefore, the bad neighbors know that we are friends. That's fine. We want people to know that Juan has friends on the block. So, I wanted the police to have a record of yesterday's incident at our house. It could be that these people want to expand their harrassment to us. Or, it might have been just some random idiot(s).

I hate situations like this. One family is making the rest of us feel unsafe. And the worst part is, there's an elementary school across the street, so our 'hood includes hundreds of little children.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Real Estate Drama, Act IV

Here we go again. Waiting through the option period while someone decides if they really want to buy Maxwell House. This is the fourth time we've been through this. Our agent calls this "Real Estate Drama."

Tomcat and I met him at a restaurant last night to sign the acceptance of the buyer's offer. We were such a sad little group, the three of us. We were worn out from the past two weeks of negotiations. But mostly, we're just afraid to get excited about this deal. The last time, with buyer number three, we joyously signed the acceptance at 8:00 in the morning, and the guy backed out at 1:00 that afternoon. So last night? Eh. Not so much.

This buyer has until Thursday midnight to decide. Closing is supposed to be on Monday. We don't take things like "Thursday at midnight" seriously anymore because investors aren't like home buyers. They wheel and deal while we wait and wonder.

Today I have to call the tenants. Again. And tell them that the place might be sold. Again. They've been in the middle of this drama, sometimes not knowing whether they'll have to move or not. Buyer number two, I think it was, wanted signed leases from them before closing. Buyer number three wanted to tear the place down and build something of his own design. This buyer wants to keep the tenants and everything as is.

I just hope that singing fat lady gets here soon.

Thursday, February 02, 2006


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Some Children's Parents!

Oy! We had dinner at one of our favorite places last night, Celebration Restaurant. They serve great food, homestyle, and it's all you can eat. The food has been consistently excellent in the twenty-something years I've been going there. Last night, one of Tomcat's Masonic groups hosted the dinner in honor of Valentine's Day for the ladies (yes, I know, a little early, but that's okay!)

There were 16 people and we had a "private room," which, unfortunately, did not have a DOOR that we could CLOSE. About 20 feet away, in another room, these awful people had their two young boys whom they would not control. These kids, maybe four and three, were skuh-REEM-ing pretty much nonstop, to the point that we in the next room were have to shout to hear each other! Not only that, at various times they would be on the floor so that the waiter had to step over them. Not only that, at other times, they ran around the restaurant into other dining rooms. I saw the older boy stomping on a styrofoam to-go box until it was dead. It was unbelievable. The other diners in the place erupted into applause when they finally left.

The manager's response was, well it's a family restaurant. We did tell them to keep the children in their seats (uh, that didn't work, did it?). The group is supposed to meet again there next week, wives invited. I don't think so.

Is it just me, or do you think management should have asked them to leave?