Sunday, July 31, 2005

Spooky stuff

Following up on yesterday's funk-y entry, have you ever had a dream that told you to do something? I had this weird dream a few days ago, and when I woke up I realized that someone had been telling me to make a list of things to take care of when I died. I can't tell you who this person was, but it was a really strong feeling. It seriously weirded me out, but I couldn't stop thinking about it. Later that day I tried to organize my thoughts, but I was at work and couldn't concentrate very well.

Yesterday I actually sat down and wrote the whole thing out. I'm glad I did it because it obviously needed to be done, but it has REALLY freaked me out, plus the fact that now I'm having trouble going to sleep every night because I'm wondering why the hell I had a dream like that in the first place.

It's just plain creepy.


I bought a new retractable leash for Maggie this week. One of the warnings printed on the case is:

"For use by responsible adults only."

I guess I need to return it and get a refund.


PS--More articles on Oklahomans at Stories in America, including interviews with Clara Luper and the Oklahoma City Impeach Bush Meetup Group.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Funk-y Town

I've been in a bit of a funk lately. It's too hot, I'm worn out, I'm not always sleeping well, I'm tired of getting up in the morning, etc., etc., etc. This time of year is always hard because I hate the heat--I'm really more of a Fall Girl, so when the temps began to climb back into the 90s, I just don't want to do anything.

And then there's the Fiber Funk. I can't seem to get motivated to pick up the needles. I have two projects sitting on my coffee table, but they're just not doing it for me. My spindle is still there, too, with yarn on it that's been there probably six months. I need to ply it and get started on something else. My spinning wheel is sitting where I left it months ago--I haven't touched it except to move it out of the way.

Last weekend I spent most of my time face down on the bed, which is pretty unusual for me anymore. I have books from the library, but I don't want to read. I have movies from Netflix as well as a couple of videotapes I need to watch, but I have no desire to do so. Add in how depressing anything in the news is lately, and it's no wonder I want to find a hole to hide in.

Part of this stems from the fact that I know I've hit my "age peak." It's kinda hard to see where you are and know that's pretty much the best you're gonna be for the rest of your life. Truly, mid life sucks, and as for the "golden years"--yeah, I'm sure it'll be much worse.

The only thing that keeps me sane is the weekend. It's such a relief to know I can come home, close the door, and not have to deal with anyone or anything outside my own little bubble for 48 hours.

Thank god for the weekend.

Link: Saturday Morning Garden Blogging, Vol. XXIII

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Some nice writing about Oklahoma

Please check out Stories in America for some nice stories about Oklahoma and the folks who live here. Her interview with Rabbi Cohen is particularly interesting. Rose Aguilar has taken a unique approach to traveling around the country, and I look forward to reading more about her travels.

I'm also really interested in The Downtown Guy--he writes about Oklahoma City and has some interesting thoughts about inner-city development. I don't always agree with him, but it's good reading.

I've just discovered another blog--Western Americana--written by Sue Schrems, a historian from Norman. I inherited my interest in Western history from my dad, so I look forward to reading more of her work. I'm especially interested in something I saw in the sidebar--"Who's Rocking the Cradle? Women Pioneers of Oklahoma Politics From Socialism to the KKK, 1900-1930." Apparently, according to something I read tonight, Oklahoma had a large number of women who belonged to the KKK, and there were a great deal of socialists in the state also. I know at one time my grandfather joined the Socialist Party (I have his membership card somewhere), but I was told that it was because Party leaders threatened his family unless he joined. I'm interested to learn more about both of these issues.

Last night I was playing with some photos I took from my garden--here's a couple:

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Blessed relief

Current Time - 6:48 p.m. CDST

Current Temperature - 83 Degrees

Current Heat Index - 83 Degrees

Today's Low Temperature - 63 Degrees

Aaaaahhhhhhhhhhh . . . .

Monday, July 25, 2005

My Grandma & Grandpa's birthdays

This photo was taken February 23, 1963, at the 50th wedding anniversary party for my dad's parents. This photo was taken with the grandchildren and great-grandchildren. (Realize that I was the youngest of the grandchildren and the others were just getting started having kids.)

And yes, that's me sitting between my grandparents in my cute little red pantsuit. I was five at the time.

Grandpa was born on July 23, 1891, and Grandma was born July 31, 1893. It's hard to believe that both of them would be well over 100 years of age today. Even though they were both much older when I was born, I don't ever think of them that way. Nothing ever stopped them from doing what had to be done--talk about your "work ethic."

They were good people, loved by everyone in their small town. Everybody knew them and their kids. Even though their own brothers and sisters were spread out all over the country, they were still very close to them. There were "round robin" letters and a rare long-distance phone call between them now and then, and my great aunts and uncle would always come to visit and stay for weeks. We had so much fun.

My grandparents didn't have a lot, but they were happy with what they had. We kids would ride on the back of Grandpa's tractor, and Grandma and I would make homemade arrangements for the graves on Decoration Day. What I remember most was that they were kind and gentle and loving, generous to everyone they knew, and they loved me like I was their own child.

I had my Grandpa tied around my little finger. When I was little he would let me shave his head with an electric razor because it was so hot in the fields in the summer--would you let a 7 or 8-year-old kid do that? Well, he did, and he never said a word if I accidentally cut a little too close. Once the three of us were coming back from town, and down the road from the house we found three puppies that someone had dumped by the side of the road. One was black, one was brown, and one was spotted. Guess who got three new dogs that day? My grandparents took in all three and never said a word. I was ecstatic.

My Grandma was my best friend, and I would spend weekends with her and we'd sit up and watch Johnny Carson and the Late Show. We always spent the Labor Day weekend together so we could watch the Jerry Lewis Telethon--and we watched it all night long. She taught me to knit and crochet, play Old Maid and Go Fish, and she helped me with my 4-H sewing projects. She bought me my first Monopoly game with Green Stamps. Grandma thought the Beatles were "cute." During the summer, I would have to go the mile down the road to their house every Saturday afternoon so we could watch the baseball games on TV. Grandma secretly entered me into a My*T*Fine Pudding contest on the Foreman Scotty show, and I won a brand-new three-speed Huffy bike--I nearly had a heart attack when I heard my name announced on TV. That bike was the talk of the town, and I even got my name in the paper because of it.

After they moved to town, I would walk to my grandparents' house after school, and we'd watch Merv Griffin and Dick Cavett and have snacks. There were times when I was in college and would make the two-hour round trip just to take Grandma to the grocery store because no one else could take her.

Grandpa died in 1972, and Grandma continued to live in town by herself until shortly before she passed away in 1980. I consider myself very lucky--because I spent so much time with my grandparents, I got to know both them and my great-aunts and uncle much better than many of my other relatives. They were a very big part of my life for a very long time.

So happy birthday, Grandpa and Grandma--I miss you both very much.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

It's a lazy, hazy Saturday . . .

here at Casa Katya. it's been hot, hot, hot this week, and everyone's too exhausted to do much of anything except sit under the AC. However, I will not complain (so much) since we are nowhere near as hot as Arizona and many other places.

The garden is still hanging in there, but I've lost a few plants to the heat. It's weird--I leave in the morning and everything looks fine, but then I come home at night and there's a dead plant. Oh well, at least they don't suffer (ha).

My Alice duPont mandevilla, however, is absolutely thriving:

One of my neighbors moved out last weekend. He was obviously a techie, because he threw tons of computer stuff away. Of course, this was very tempting to me, because who can pass up something for free? A little dumpster diving resulted in a practically brand-new HP computer keyboard and several cables which I'm sure I can use. All I had to do was download a driver, and I've got myself a new keyboard--sweet!

My Roady2 XM satellite radio arrived Thursday aftenoon. How cool is this? It took less than 15 minutes to set it up, and I was able to listen to it on the way home from work. I can't wait to get the home kit, but I have to wait until payday--bummer. A nice bonus to your XM subscription is that you can stream most of the channels over your computer at no extra charge. So I think it was a good deal all around.

If you'll notice down on the lower right side, there is a "gratituous plug" link to Adagio Teas. If you put a link on your blog or website and submit it to them, they'll send you a gift determined by your viewer stats. Since I know my stats are really low (oh, well), I qualified for a one-ounce sample of tea. I figured it would be one little tin--boy, was I wrong! Yesterday I received my gift, and it was a sampler of FOUR tins of wonderful green teas, some undyed tea filters, and a handwritten thank-you note!!! I think that sampler retails for $11, so it was a VERY nice gift. The teas are genmai cha pop (has rice and popcorn in it, sweet and nutty), hojicha fugue (a low-caffeine tea with a nutty, mesquite taste), green pekoe blues (smells wonderful), and citron green (has lemon and lime in it and smells very perfume-y).

One warning, however: I decided to try some of the citron green tea right before bedtime. It was really good, but obviously I forgot that green tea contains caffeine, because one cup sent me flying. It was almost two hours before I was able to go to sleep. So I highly recommend the green tea if you need a boost at some point in the day, but not before bedtime.

Thanks, Adagio Teas--you've got a new fan!

Maggie and I plan on staying cool this weekend, and I hope to tackle some knitting since I was too lazy to get to the library yesterday after work. A nap would be good, too . . . .

Link: Saturday Morning Garden Blogging, Vol. XXII

Monday, July 18, 2005

Uproar on the Internets

So apparently there's quite an uproar today over an article in Sunday's New York Times entitled "The New Nanny Diaries Are Online" (registration required) written by a woman who read her nanny's blog and felt her writings were inappropriate.  The blogger, Tessy, at Instructions to the Double, has refuted the article, and the ensuing ruckus is being heard all over the internets as a violation of free speech and the rights of bloggers everywhere.
I blog for fun.  I do it anonymously, not because I'm going to say something totally outrageous, but because I have bad enough karma in my life as it is--I don't need to go tempting the fates with anything more.  I'm not going to say much about my personal life--one, there's not much to tell, and two, I don't want the whole world to know it.  Work is pretty much off limits because, well, it's how I keep a roof over my head and food on the table.  The main reason I blog is because it's different--it's something new for me, and I've learned a lot about html and page design.  I finally have a use for the digital camera I've had for years, and it's nice to feel like you're a part of a community (the Oklahoma Bloggers, for example).  It's also good to get some things out of my head.  I've never kept a diary--I've never felt comfortable writing things down on paper, but putting comments on my blog feels totally different to me. 
And therein lies the problem.  Your blog may function as your diary, but unless you have some type of protection in place, there is nothing private about it.  Anyone in the world who has a computer can access your website or blog and read everything on it.  I'll say it again--THERE IS NO PRIVACY INVOLVED.  I'll defend your right to free speech as long as I can, but you can't lock the cover of a blog and hide it between the mattresses so Mom and Dad can't find it. 
I think people forget this.  The blog's author, Tessy, writes about what is going on in her 26-year-old life:  boyfriends, sex, her job, her education.  That's all well and good, but she forgot the cardinal rule--if you put it out there for the world to read, they will read it.  And the results may not always be what you expect.
I think Tessy's biggest mistake was telling her boss about the blog in the first place.  Why in the world would you do that when you know you've written about things that many people think of as highly personal and that no one else necessarily needs to know?  Would you sit down with your employer or your minister and talk to them about those things over lunch?  If not, then why would you think your employer would want to read about them?  Giving your boss information like that is not the same as sharing it with your other 20-something friends, especially if you know your employer is a journalist.
However, the ex-boss is not without blame, either.  After reading the article, I'm sure she thought she would be vindicated in having fired the nanny.  But she seems to have sensationalized a lot of the situation and taken advantage of the nanny in many others.  She also seems to have felt uncomfortable reading about herself and her family on the nanny's blog.  However, if she felt so uncomfortable, why did she tell her friends about it?  Probably because she wanted them to agree that the situation was "weird" and that the nanny had some inappropriate behavior.  I'm sure she though it was within her rights as a journalist to write about this.  Unfortunately, thanks to the internets, the whole world gets to read and discuss it ad nauseum.
Listen, it's not easy to take care of a child, whether it's your own or somebody else's.  There's so much weirdness in the world these days that you have to be aware every second of the day so that your kids don't get hurt.  I can see that reading some of these things, even though they apparently weren't written as salaciously as was made to sound in the Times piece, could cause a parent a lot of concern.  People get freaked out over the slightest things and many times rightfully so. You can't be too careful.  But sensationalizing parts of someone else's life (without their permission) to earn a buck?  Not so great, either.
If it was just me reading this blog, I probably wouldn't have thought too much about it.  I most likely would have admired her for being able to publically write about these types of things; however, that doesn't mean I would have been comfortable reading a lot of it.  But if I was a mother who was employing this woman as a nanny to my small children, I'm sure I would have had a much different reaction.
I think this is a case of TMI--too much information in the hands of the wrong people.  The blogger is young and still learning about life's boundaries.  Hopefully she will come to understand that some things are better kept to yourself.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

I'm done--


Just WOW.

I'm not sure how to even explain it.

Oh, how I wish Richard Harris were still alive--this would be the performance of his career.

All I can say is Book 7 will probably be NOTHING like the other 6, and I just don't have a good feeling about it.


Friday, July 15, 2005

My weekend plans are simple . . .

Just me, a bottle of wine, and Harry Potter. Can't get much better than that.

Of course, this means I have to dress presentably to greet the UPS man tomorrow, but that's a small concession to make, don't you think?

I have just a few more chapters of my last Mitford book to finish tonight, and then I'll be all ready for Harry. Hopefully I will have enough time to finish it this weekend--of course, I'm still living down the fact that I read the last one in one evening. I couldn't help it--I got sucked into the plot and couldn't put it down.

I found some other books I want to read after this--three books by Gregory Maguire: "Wicked - The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West," "Confessions of An Ugly Stepsister," and "Mirror, Mirror." Maguire takes classic fairy tales and stories and expands and resets them to make new stories. These books are about The Wizard of Oz, Cinderella, and Sleeping Beauty. "Wicked" is the book that the musical "Wicked" is based on. I can't wait to read them.

And will wonders never cease? My Roady2 satellite radio finally shipped today! Yay!!!

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Corporate correctness gone TOTALLY awry . . . .

I just read a newsletter from one of our local hospitals.  It is the most grandiose and pompous piece of crap I've ever seen.  The writing is in a style meant to impress people with all the big words they use, not to actually relay any type of useful information. If it wasn't for the pictures, no one would have a clue what the articles were about.
But the best part was how the hospital doesn't refer to the people who frequent their services as "patients" or even "clients"--oh no, they're now called "stakeholders."  WTF???  What the hell's the point of this? Let's take the humanity COMPLETELY out of healthcare, why don't we?  That way when you totally bankrupt someone because they had the audacity to get sick and expect medical treatment but they didn't have insurance and you billed them at full price and then turned them over to collections because they could only pay you $25 a month, you can still sleep like a baby at night, because they're "stakeholders," not real flesh-and-blood people with names and faces and homes and families, just some ephemeral thing defined by some stupid, idiotic, totally meaningless term that some monkey in a suit was paid way too much money to think of.
I swear to god, I've worked in healthcare for the better part of twenty years, and I've never seen anything so absolutely, insanely stupid in my entire life. I hope the staff at this hospital raises holy hell over this.
Oh, this just makes me want to hurt something . . . .

Monday, July 11, 2005

I ate my first home-grown strawberry today . . . .

It was about the size of my thumbnail, but it was very good. I'm looking forward to more. I don't think they'll be very big, but that's okay--it's the growing process that's important.

I spent $20 I shouldn't have on a Delphi Roady2 XM Satellite Radio system from's right, TWENTY DOLLARS! How can you pass that up? I can't wait to get it--I love my electronic toys, even though I don't get very many of them any more. Between it and my mp3 player, I should never complain again about not having anything to listen to in the car. The Roady2 can be used indoors also--there's a home kit for $38 that I plan on getting after payday. So for less than $75 I can have satellite radio both in the car and at home--what a deal!!!

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Shawl Report

Amount of time spent knitting shawl on Saturday - 2-1/2 hours

Number of new rows completed - 3

Number of times new rows had to be frogged - 3

Total new rows accomplished - 1
What the hell is wrong with me?

Summer of Lace, my ass . . . .

Saturday, July 09, 2005

It's been a lousy couple of days.

Too much bad crap happening to make it otherwise. For the last 48 hours I've either cried at the drop of the hat or gotten so angry I want to smash something. There's really not been much in between except being really, really tired, both emotionally and physically.

I want to refer you to a Live Journal entry, Right-Wing Evil At It's Best, so that you'll better understand why I am so angry. I couldn't put it into better words myself. You want to know why I'm a liberal? This is why.

There are people in this world who see nothing wrong in destroying not only someone's name but their life as well. And they do it with joy in their hearts. They call themselves "good Christians" while decimating people's lives and then go to sleep at night with a smile on their face. This has happened to me.

I didn't know that the level of anger and hatred I feel toward this person could even exist, but it does. Every day I wish there was some sort of revenge that I could enact on this person and this person's family so that they could feel one iota of what I have felt over the past few years, but there is no punishment that fits the crime, and besides, it's not going to happen. You have to have ways and means to enact such revenge, and I have neither. However, in Andy's case, there are people, his friends, who are planning to deal with the filth that hurt him and his family so badly, and I will sit back and watch and enjoy every god damn minute of it.

Sometimes when you can't get revenge on your own, someone else's is just as sweet.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

What a sad, sad day . . . .

Such a horrible thing that has happened in England. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

Photo copyright Reuters 2005

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

More Gratituous Eggplant Blogging!

It's looking more like an eggplant every day!

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Yes, I am obsessed with this--it's just soooo cool!!!

I've decided on the K1, P1 ribbed heel--it's coming along slowly. I just can't seem to get planted on the couch early enough in the evenings to knit any at all. I have to be at work extra early in the morning, so it probably won't happen tonight, either.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Can someone explain this to me, please?


Why do someone think that because they have a cordless phone that it's okay to stand OUTSIDE their apartment (home, whatever), and let the whole world hear their conversations? I do not understand this at all. I sure as hell would not want people to hear some of these conversations if I was involved, that's for sure. I don't want to know about your love life or your parents or your lousy boss and how you're getting shafted at work or how hard you're trying to convince someone to sleep with you, and I'll bet that no one else does either.

There used to be this guy who lived in the building across from me who would stand out on the balcony in front of his apartment or walk around the ENTIRE COMPLEX all hours of day and night talking on the phone! Sometimes he would sit on the curb in the street--why the hell would you do that? I think he wanted everyone to think that he was hot shit because he was always wooing some girl on the phone. (He was a used car salesman and rarely spent the night in his own bed--draw your own conclusions.)

I've had people actually stand right next to my OPEN WINDOW and talk for two hours--in the rain--in Chinese! (I have nothing against Chinese, but seriously, do you know how aggravating it is to be forced to listen to a conversation and not be able to understand a word of it?) He was talking so loud that I couldn't hear the movie I was trying to watch, so I turned up the volume--and he moved closer to the window and talked louder!

Here's my suggestion--if you want privacy, GO STAND IN THE BATHROOM AND LOCK THE DAMN DOOR AND LEAVE ME OUT OF IT!

And believe me, this doesn't just apply at home---I am sick of hearing people talking on the phone in public, period. Today I was in Michael's and I thought I heard someone speak to me. When I turned around to look, there was no one there. It was a woman on her cell phone--TWO AISLES OVER!! Why don't you just scream at the top of your lungs and let the entire store know your work schedule for the next week while you're at it?



Gratituous Eggplant Blogging:

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It's about two inches long (no dirty jokes, please).

Monday, July 04, 2005

Happy 4th of July!!!

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Saturday, July 02, 2005

It's a lovely, cool Saturday morning . . .

I've had two cups of coffee in my beautiful sheepy mug that Missy gave me for my birthday (thanks, Mis--I love it!),

and am sitting here enjoying the fact that I'm able to have the windows open on July 2. It's been threatening rain all morning, and even though the sun keeps trying to come out, it's still nice and cool compared to the 90-plus-degree temps we had this week.

Check out the beginnings of an eggplant from a bloom:

It fascinates me to realize that yesterday morning when I went to work there was a bloom, and last night when I came home it had transformed into a vegetable! How in the world does this happen? I would love to see some time-lapse photography to figure out just how this works. It looks like this one plant could product at least 6 eggplant--yum!

I lost one grape tomato plant this week, but the remaining one is hanging in there and beginning to bloom. I may get some tomatoes from it yet. My little strawberry basket has lots of blooms, and my peppers--well, they're still standing, but not much is happening with them. I need to baby them this weekend and see if that will help.

Missy and I went to the Farmers Market downtown yesterday during lunch and bought all kinds of veggies for the weekend. I also bought a few flowers to fill in some empty spots in my planters. I could spend an entire day down there wandering through all the booths. Of course, then we followed that up with a trip to the liquor store for wine, so, you know, it all evened out . . . .

This weekend I plan on cooking short ribs in the crockpot, making some ratatouille and guacamole, and I thought I'd try roasting some garlic and making a garlic spread with some fresh chives from my herb garden. I'm on a real veggie kick lately because it's been to hot to eat anything else and it surely won't hurt me to eat a little more healthy, so YUM!

One last photo from the garden:

Isn't she cute? She's my garden angel--I've named her Essie, after my grandmother.

Oh, and as for knitting progress--NONE, nada, zip. Why? Because I HATE knitting a "regular" heel--HATE, HATE, HATE, HATE, HATE! I always knit too tight, and I know I'll break at least one needle, and I HATE IT when I do that. So today, once I'm settled into the couch for the afternoon, my plan is find another heel pattern to use. Otherwise, these socks are never going to be finished.

And I'm going to work on my shawl--I swear.

Link: Saturday Morning Garden Blogging, Vol. XIX

Friday, July 01, 2005

Rest in peace, Luther . . . .

May flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.

Dance With My Father

Back when I was a child, before life removed all the innocence
My father would lift me high and dance with my mother and me and then
Spin me around 'til I fell asleep
Then up the stairs he would carry me
And I knew for sure I was loved
If I could get another chance, another walk, another dance with him
I'd play a song that would never, ever end
How I'd love, love, love
To dance with my father again

When I and my mother would disagree
To get my way, I would run from her to him
He'd make me laugh just to comfort me
Then finally make me do just what my mama said
Later that night when I was asleep
He left a dollar under my sheet
Never dreamed that he would be gone from me
If I could steal one final glance, one final step, one final dance with him
I'd play a song that would never, ever end
'Cause I'd love, love, love
To dance with my father again

Sometimes I'd listen outside her door
And I'd hear how my mother cried for him
I pray for her even more than me
I pray for her even more than me
I know I'm praying for much too much
But could you send back the only man she loved
I know you don't do it usually
But dear Lord she's dying
To dance with my father again

Every night I fall asleep and this is all I ever dream

Lyrics - Luther Vandross and Richard Marx
Music - Luther Vandross

Copyright 2003 Luther Vandross/Sony BMG Music Entertainment