Sunday, May 31, 2009

I Told Blaine So....


Okay, I don't give a rat's ass who thinks I'm crazy about this....

(And I do find it totally strange that this happened right while I'm writing the "Who Ya Gonna Call?" series of blog posts--- but I promise you that it wasn't planned that way.)

Anyway, here it is:

It has always driven me INSANE wondering WHAT in the hell the cats are looking at that I can't see.

I mean, at any given hour in our house the cats, Leonard and Little Baby, will deliberately turn their gaze to one particular location---the top of the stair well--- and then STARE at that spot as if there's something there. But when you look at the spot they're staring at, you can't see anything.

I mean it. It happens all the time. You can sit here in our living room and watch the two idgity cats do it over and over again. No matter what they are doing down here in the living room, either sitting, playing, or napping--- they periodically turn their gaze up towards that spot at the top of the stairs--- and then gaze at it purposefully for a few minutes.

When I have remarked about this behavior of the cats to Blaine, he says that I'm crazy. But yet he also doesn't have any sort of an explanation for why the cats do this--- nor an explanation for the fact that they don't stare at any other spot in this house. Nope---they only stare at THAT spot at the top of the staircase. And it happens constantly.

I think it's the strangest dadgum thing.

Okay, so yesterday I was sitting here in the living room watching a movie, and I noticed Little Baby taking a nap in one of her favorite napping places, over behind the magazine rack, which is near the bottom of the stairwell. After a bit she woke up and just sat there calmly, thinking her little cat thoughts or whatever. But then sure enough, a few minutes later, she turned her gaze up towards the top of the stair well--- and appeared to stare at "something". But when I turned and followed her gaze to the top of the stairs--- naturally there was nothing there!


It is driving me nuts! So you know what I did? Yes, I did--- I grabbed the digital camera and snapped a picture.

And wouldn't you know it...... even though I really didn't think it would happen--- but something weird actually showed up in the picture!

Now you tell me---WHAT IS THAT? And before you say it's just a "reflection" or a "dust particle" or some other anomaly in the camera image, just know that the .....the bubble... or whatever it is... has NEVER appeared in any of the hundreds of other pictures I've ever taken in this house of other locations. only appeared after I snapped a picture of the spot that stupid Little Baby was staring at! In fact, I've taken several pictures of that spot and those "bubbles" sometimes appear---and sometimes don't. But they have NEVER appeared in any other flash photos I've taken of other areas of the house. So maybe it's just artifact in the flash function of the camera---it probably is---but I still find it strange that it only appears in photos of that area of the house.

You tell me???......

And like I said--- I think it's strange, and I don't care who calls me crazy. (And I printed out the picture and will be taking it to my appointment with Fred tomorrow.)

(If you don't hear from me anymore, it's because Fred had me committed to the State mental hospital in Olathe.....)



Thursday, May 28, 2009

Who Ya Gonna Call?---Part One


I ain't afraid of no ghosts,

I hear it likes the girls,

I ain't afraid of no ghost,


Who ya gonna call?


(Ray Parker, "Ghostbusters")


Sigh.... I truly don't mean to keep ragging on poor Blaine, but Wednesday night was such a..... a typical Wednesday night.

As usual, Blaine wrapped himself up in one of the tattered afghans I've either knitted or crocheted for him over the years, and then as I knitted on a psychedelic shawl monstrosity, we watched two solid hours of the television program "Ghost Hunters"--- and gag me!

Two. Solid. Hours!

Okay, it's not that I don't like the genre of science-fiction, because I do. In fact, I absolutely love science-fiction. Right now I'm waiting impatiently for Blaine to take me and see "Star Trek" at the IMAX on Saturday night, yeehah!

And I love lots of science-fiction television shows--- like the darkly melancholy "Supernatural" (where, as you know, I'm totally enraptured with the Angel Castiel), and also the silly comedy about souls indebted to the devil, "Reaper".

I also frequently re-watch wonderful sci-fi movie classics such as "Twelve Monkeys", "The Time Machine", and "Total Recall"--- and I also like past and present TV fantasies like "Star Trek--The Next Generation", "Babylon 5", and "Smallville".

(Okay, not to take anything away from the object of my adoration, the Angel Castiel on "Supernatural", but have you checked out The Green Arrow on "Smallville" lately?.....Good Lord, have mercy--- oh baby, oh baby....)

Where was I?

Oh yeah--- that stupid program "Ghost Hunters" drives me absolutely bonkers with boredom.

Okay, the premise is that the "Ghost Hunters" team is supposedly going around to different locations which are purported to be "haunted", whereby they then set up all sorts of special sound and video equipment in order to prove or disprove the reported paranormal activity, which usually consists of witness reports of someone having seen a ghost, having heard unexplainable noises, having seen objects moving by themselves, or other spooky, unexplainable events.

And with all their impressive equipment, you'd think they'd be able to detect whatever phenomenom the witnesses are either "seeing" or "hearing", right?


For all their danged "special" sound and video equipment, all I have ever seen them do, hour upon boring hour, is stumble around with the lights out while whispering urgently to each other: "Did you hear that?" or "Did you see that?"....

...and yet whatever it is that they claim they "saw" or "heard" is absolutely NEVER caught on their audio system or their camera!

I mean, come on! I get so dadgummed tired of hearing them exclaim "Did you hear that?" for two durn hours! Hell, the so-called ghosts they're chasing appear to be as elusive as my neighborhood's Ice Cream Man!

"Did you hear that?"--- "Did you see that?"--- "I thought I heard something!"--- "I thought I saw something!"

Puh-leeze!!! But over and over, week after week, Blaine insists upon watching this stupid show. He says that he finds it "interesting" because they go to so many so-called "haunted" places like spooky old abandoned mental hospitals, historic military prisons or forts, ancient antebellum mansions-- and even public places like The Queen Mary, Wright-Patterson Airforce Base, or the traveling museum exhibit from the Titanic.


Because no matter how supposedly "haunted" the location they explore is reported to be, it's still going to be two long hours of them repeating over and over to each other "Did you see that?" or "Did you hear that?" while Blaine and I sit there arguing--- as Blaine strains his eyes and ears toward the television set trying to "see" or "hear" whatever it is that the Ghost Hunters saw or heard--- all while I'm sitting there sighing heavily, rolling my eyes, and saying things like: or "I didn't see a dadgum thing!", or "What shadow? It's totally dark in there!", or "All I heard was stupid Tango bumping his damn head on the kitchen cupboard!"

God, just once I'd love to see those two bumbling screwballs suddenly get confronted by a giant hideous ghost clutching a Sprint cell phone while screeching: "Can you hear me NOW?"

(But I know that will never happen.)

So I'm going to tell you what I told Blaine....

If you would like to hear a REAL "ghost story"--- an authentic one--- then I've got one for you.....

Yes, I actually do.

Oh, hey--- by the way--- four days after the baby birdies flew away and I had that confrontation with the rude chipmunk, guess what?

You guessed it---she's got two new eggies! Lordy mercy, that Mama Birdie is a veritable egg machine. (I wonder if the poor dear ever gets tired of sitting there on those eggs while getting blinded, day after day, by my camera's flash?)

(She'll probably need eye-glasses by the time spring is over...)

Where was I?

Oh yes--- the REAL ghost story.

And before I tell it to you, let me tell you I was always a confirmed disbeliever about so-called "paranormal" activity. I have never believed in ghosts. And never, in my whole life, would I ever have thought I'd ever personally experience anything remotely "unexplainable"....

Until what happened at my nursing school...

It was a very old, historic nursing school--- in an old, historical hospital. And if I hadn't experienced what happened there for myself, I would have told you that whoever was telling this story was lying through their teeth.

Okay so here goes...

A long, long time ago.... in a nursing school far, far away....

I went to a "diploma" nursing school, which is the old way that nurses used to be trained in the United States, before the proliferation of nursing programs at universities and junior colleges. Diploma schools were always based in Catholic hospitals, and were usually two or three-year programs where the students boarded and trained at that hospital for their entire nursing education. And diploma schools were notorious for turning out an extremely skilled and high caliber of nurses.

The students boarded at the hospital, ate in the hospital cafeteria, attended all classes at that hospital, and received all their patient-training "clinicals" in the hospital's wards--- and were completely and utterly controlled by whichever Order of Catholic nuns ran the school. These nuns were usually the meanest harpies women ever to don a religious habit, and they were always unfailingly strict in not only their requirements of impossibly high academic standards, but also in their even higher expectations of each student's level of personal integrity and honor.

A student's moral fiber was carefully researched before being admitted to the school, and thereafter it was closely monitored for the duration of the student's years at the school. Any infraction of the rules or unacceptable behaviors, both inside or outside the hospital, were swiftly and cruelly disciplined by the militaristic nuns, whose arsenal of punishments included assignments of arduous verbal reports on obscure medical diagnoses, grade point decreases, or outright expulsion from the school.

And speaking of grades, you were automatically expelled if your grade point average totted up to less than 76% at the end of each quarter--- or just because a nun didn't think you were "RN material". The nuns never hesitated to threaten us with expulsion, reminding us that we had been given the "privilege" of training to be an RN--- and that the desire to become an RN did not necessarily mean that you would be allowed to become an RN.

In fact, sometimes I think my parents sent me to that school not just because it was considered to be one of the top nursing schools in the USA, but because they held high hopes that the regimented program under the supervision of narrow-minded, dour Catholic nuns would whip me into a more... uh..... mature, responsible young lady....

I once got in a world of trouble when, while eavesdropping at the door of the Mother Superior's office, where she could be heard inside bawling out one of my naughty cohorts, Marla, for some minor infraction in the Microbiology lab---something about Marla claiming that she had discovered "a syphilis spirochete" on her epithelial slide---but unfortunately Mother Superior overheard me leaning with my ear at her door while I titillated my buddies by humming the suspense tune to "Final Jeopardy"...

She yanked that big old oakwood door open and I tumbled into her office, whereupon after landing in a heap on the floor I had simply turned to her and remarked: "Bond. James Bond."

Where was I?

Oh yeah. Back at prison nursing school.

Nowadays these diploma nursing schools have all been phased out, as they and the Catholic hospitals they were attached to have mostly been absorbed into junior colleges, universities, or huge medical conglomerations. My particular school was one of the last dinosaur diploma programs to remain in operation ( up to around 2001 or 2002, I think) but it, too, was finally absorbed into the UMPC, the University of Pittsburgh medical system, as was also the hospital itself.

I attended Shadyside Hospital School of Nursing, of Shadyside Hospital, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Florence Nightingale once lectured at that school when she was traveling in America. Many notable nurses in America were once students at Shadyside. A coveted diploma from Shadyside was considered a free pass to whichever job a graduate desired--- and I wanted to get a job in an Emergency Room, in Critical Care nursing.

I wanted to be one of the "glory girls"...

Shadyside's program consisted of a two-year program whereby we students lived and trained in an old historical 5-story building attached to the main hospital, a somber, gothic-looking Catholic hospital specializing in cardiac care. We nursing students were considered the lowest scum in the hospital, and were treated as such.

The first floor contained the gymnasium and the hospital's microbiological and pathology laboratories. The second floor held the "housemother" station, the students' mailboxes, several elegant visiting salons, a banquet room, and a small TV room where male visitors waited for their dates to come down the elevator from the dormitories---after which they were sternly warned that the student's "curfew" was 10 pm.

The third and fourth floors were the dormitories, each consisting of a long corridor of tiny single-student rooms, a common kitchen/TV lounge, and the maid's quarters. The maid's job was to clean the students' rooms and the common room, and also to be a spy chaperone.

And the top floor of this imposing edifice (the notorious "fifth floor"---more on that later) held the classrooms, the nuns' and the administrators' offices, the Portrait Hall where the portraits of each graduating nursing class since the Cro-Magnon days were hung.....

... and the chemistry lab.

The first year I was there, I was housed on the third floor. Dormitory life there was an extremely strict, cloistured existence-- as the rules included absolutely NO MEN in the dorm, no alcohol in the dorm, no smoking, no cussing, no running around in your underwear (or, God forbid, actual nakedness)--- nor anything even remotely considered as "humorous" or "fun", as these human penchants were considered to be tempting pathways to hell and damnation. The nuns had absolutely ZERO senses of humor.


I don't think these nuns had ever laughed even ONCE in their lives--- and they certainly considered it "sinful" for any of us students to ever laugh or crack a joke.

I once received an extremely harsh punishment because, on a quiz about hospital fire & bomb safety, where the question was "What do you do if there is a fire in the student dormitory?", I sassily answered the question by writing "I'd grab the picture of my boyfriend, cram all my stuffed animals into a pillowcase, and then run like hell."

Okay, maybe that doesn't sound too bad for a harmless little prank, but I think I pushed the limits with my answer to the next question, which was "You see a ticking package in the hospital restroom. What do you do?", and I replied "I'd drip dry, warn everybody to evacuate except that torpedo-boobs Charge Nurse on 3-South, and then I'd run like hell."

(In my defense, this quiz was not to going to be graded and was only meant as a tool to assess our knowledge of fire and bomb safety--- and in fact, we students weren't even required to put our names on the papers--- but the nuns claimed they recognized my handwriting...)

Anyhoo, after my first year, whereby I predictably proved myself a total juvenile delinquent, I was transferred to the fourth floor dorm for my second year--- due to the supposed "strictness" of that dorm's maid, who was a notorious tattle-tale.

(What? Did the nuns think I was totally stupid? I soon remedied the problem of that tattling fink by bribing her regularly with alcohol, cigarettes, and frequent cash loans.)

My dorm room, a small little cell just large enough to contain a bed, a desk, a shelf, a sink, and a small closet, was located on the east end of the hall, right under the chemistry lab. Additionally, I crammed into my room a large television set, about a hundred stuffed animals, and various and sundry forbidden items like bottles of Peach Schnapps, stacks of Glamour magazines, and diet pills, all of which I kept locked in the closet so the maid couldn't find them.


Day after day, after long hours of nursing classes--- and then after even more strenuous hours of laboring away doing the absolute dirtiest of work on the hospital's patient wards--- and even during every free hour I had on the weekends--- I would sit at my pitiful little desk studying until I was near exhaustion. I poured over bacteria charts, lists of nursing procedures, medical definitions, illness symptoms, and lab blood values---because I was determined to make top grades. I even taped lists of nursing information on the wall inside my favorite toilet booth in the bathroom, in order to utilize even those few five minutes for memorizing information I would need for the next test.

But I soon got in trouble, yet again, when the nuns found out that I was placing cleverly drawn "movie posters" on the walls outside the bathrooms, advertising such attractions as: "COMING SOON to a toilet seat near you! The AMAZING Herpes Virus and his colorful cousin, Venereal Warts!"

All of us students were fiercely competitive in our studies--- mostly because the sadistic nuns posted all test scores on a public bulletin board so that the entire school could see each student's grades. And my low self-esteemed, perfectionistic nature simply couldn't bear to get a grade less than anybody else's--- and so I studied like a fiend until my eyes were bleary and I could hardly walk in order to get the highest scores.

And I didn't just want to score a 100% on a test--- I wanted to win the "bonus questions" as well, so that my grade would be 102% or 104%....

Anyway, on a few of the nights I was sitting at my desk studying, I would heard loud chair scrapings coming from the ceiling above me.

How funny, I'd think to myself. I'm hearing the chair scrapings of the girl in the room below me as if she were above me.

Because I knew that the chair scrapings had to be coming from the floor below me because it was impossible for the noises to be coming from above me. And that was because I was directly under the chemistry lab--- and the chem lab was on the classroom floor, which was closed and locked at 5pm every evening.

Nobody was allowed to be on the fifth floor after 5pm, especially in the chemistry lab. Not only were all the classrooms and teachers' offices on that floor locked by the janitor at 5 pm sharp, but even the stairwells leading to that floor were locked. There was simply no way that anybody could be up there at night.

So whenever I heard those chair scrapings, I chalked it up to poor acoustics--- probably just due to the normal creakings and groanings of a century-old building... maybe from the ancient radiators which heated the rooms to an unbearably stuffiness....

Usually I heard the chair scrapings just after the Johnny Carson show began, at 11:30 or 11:35 pm. I figured the girl in the room beneath me studied just as hard and as late into the night as I did.... *




* P.S.---I am now on Twitter---because I want to see what all the fuss is about.



Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Dang it, Now I Have Empty Nest Syndrome....

The magical day finally arrived.... and all the other local birds and animals came to watch!

Even a big fat robin came to be part of the joyful process...

And while Papa Birdie perched himself high up on the next-door-neighbor's roof to watch, and Mama Birdie sat in her nest, the two precious little baby birdies that I have loved and fretted about, day by day since they were snug in their eggies--- both began to practice their walking and flying!

Even a friendly neighbor rabbit hopped over to watch, too....

But you've got to watch that dadgum rabbit---as he and his wife will eat anything not protected by wire meshing (as in unprotected tomatoes and other vegetables one might plant in their garden), as I found out the hard way one year...

Anyway, one little baby birdie sat calmly in the sun--- I guess waiting for the urge to fly away somewhere. I figured he was either trying to decide where to fly, trying to decipher which way the wind blew, or thinking whatever it is that little baby birdies think in their feathery little brains--- or perhaps simply waiting for his hapless sibling, who was having a little trouble on the other end of the front porch....

Because the other little baby birdie had tried to fly but only succeeded in crashing into the front window. The poor little thing was stunned for awhile, but after coming to his senses it rallied wonderfully ---and then both babies flew away into the wild blue yonder as I watched after them with a little tear in my eye....

After they flew away, I went over to the nest to see what Mama Birdie was doing. I saw that she was simply sitting serenely on the now-empty nest, and I could swear she looked content---proud and happy that she had shepherded her little brood to adulthood....

And then I noticed something...

As I gazed at Mama Birdie sitting on her nest, the hair stood up on my neck. It was a strange and eerie feeling--- a feeling that someone was.... well... watching me! And as I slowly scanned the tree around the nest, I discovered that I was correct--- someone WAS watching me!! In fact, I got quite a start when I noticed him sitting there, silent and unmoving, his beady little eyes staring right into my own eyeballs.....

It was a sneaky little chipmunk.....sitting on a branch a few inches above the nest!!

And that idgity little chipmunk sat there staring rudely at me for the longest time---and apparently it didn't bother Mama Birdie at all --- and for the life of me I can't figure out what in the Sam Hill that chipmunk was doing there....



Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Quicker-Crapper-Picker-Upper.....


You can't see the mornin', but I can see the light; ride, ride, ride, let it ride. While you've been out runnin' I've been waitin' half the night; ride, ride, ride, let it ride...


("Let It Ride", Bachman, Turner Overdrive)


Ah, Blaine..... there's no more decent and loving sort of guy.

Blaine and I are extremely close. In fact, we're so close that sometimes it feels like we've "grown up" together --- but that's not really true because we met in adulthood. But even so, we've known each other for 16 years, and I think that's long enough to go through several "maturing phases".

Blaine and I met in Texas and got married a couple of months later. And to my amazement, he was the only man I was ever involved with that my father approved of. On my father's dying bed he stated: "I know that Blaine will take care of you."

This was a definite personal compliment on Blaine's responsible and honorable nature, and also a reference to the fact that I've always been considered "flighty" (translation: crazy--- or insane, depending on which family member you ask) and reckless (translation: impulsive--- and sometimes self-destructive due to my alcoholism...)

But let's not go there right now....

Anyway, Blaine and I stayed married for about 4 years before I ... er... divorced him. And then we stayed un-married--- yet still close friends--- for the next ten years as I went through a stage where I "sowed my wild oats".

(Okay, I married a biker guy and lived on a biker compound in Austin, Texas. And I also went through several rounds of 30-day treatments for alcoholism...)

But again, let's not go there right now....

And then, as you guys know, I recently returned to Blaine, here in Kansas, to live in the same house we lived in when were were married. And, to my surprise, I found that things are a little different now....

It seems that Blaine has developed some different habits than those he had ten years ago. And whodathunkit, but one of those habits is that he has become ultra-thrifty with his money. Blaine makes a very good living as a computer networker for Sprint (after a 12-year career at IBM), and he manages his money extremely well (translation: he counts every penny within an inch of its life).

But the thing is.... I am still as reckless with money as I have always been. Money practically burns a hole in my pocket. If I have it, I spend it. And due to my mother's elegant tastes and her indulgement of me, I unfortunately have very expensive tastes. And furthermore, I love expensive, imported, French things--- which may be genetic due to the fact that I have some ancestral French blood in me, who knows.

In fact, it's truly uncanny. You could plop me into a merchandise warehouse containing 10,000 items, of which 9,999 items are on sale for 75% off--- but I'll put my nose to the ground like a bloodhound and speedily sniff out the one item which is NOT on sale.

Or, you could blindfold me and place me in a crowded airport--- and I'd manually feel my way three miles over to the one shop where they sell imported French, Swiss, or Dutch items.

Every single time Blaine takes me to Blockbuster Videos to rent a movie, I pass up the cheap Hershey chocolate bars in order to fly like a homing pigeon over to the foot-long Toblerone bars.....

Sigh... I would give my eyeteeth to find some authentic "My Sin" French perfume---- which I have been searching for fruitlessly ever since I bought a rare sample from a flight attendant on a KLM Royal Dutch Airline 747....

Anyway, Blaine knows full well about my expensive tastes and inability to manage money---and it seems that he has declared it his mission in life to quell these spendthrift urges of mine.

In short, he is having none of it.

Now don't get me wrong, I do think his sensible way about money is best. For example, he has worked hard to save his money, and he has planned very carefully for important things like retirement, medical emergencies, unexpected vehicle problems, dental issues, and various and sundry other costly necessities for which I typically haven't saved a spare nickel. In fact (and I hate to admit it), no matter how much money I've ever earned (and believe me, I earned plenty when I was employed as an RN), I have never saved even a Yankee Dime due to my reckless spending habits.

These days, since I am not currently employed, Blaine supports me very generously. And thus, I really can't complain. I'm grateful, in fact. And just lately, he even personally gifted me with his treasured blue pick-up truck after buying a brand new SUV. And let me tell you, I was totally jazzed to get ahold of this fabulous pick-up truck--- especially since my trusty Jeep is nearing retirement and needs to be sold--- because it is a really beautiful truck, albeit huge, with a great stereo system. Believe me when I say that Blaine has given me dire warnings to drive very carefully with the behomoth, as I am not used to long-bed pickup trucks with huge engines, to which I solemly swore that I would faithfully adhere to...

WHOO-HOO! Lookit me! I'm drivin' a big ole honkin' Ford F-150 pickup truck with a SCREAMINGLY powerful Triton V-8 engine while listening to Bachman, Turner Overdrive on the stereo, hah hah! Catch me if you can, wheeeee! Oh yeah, and EAT MY DUST all you people on Interstate 435!!!!

Where was I?

Oh yes, Blaine is "thrifty" with cash.

Okay, okay, I'm going to go further and tell you that he is really.... uh... more than just "thrifty". In my opinion, sometimes he's downright CHEAP.

And lest anyone severely chide me for finding fault with Blaine's sensible financial habits--- especially in light of today's horrific economy--- let me just defend myself by telling you that Blaine goes way too far with his "thriftiness". And in telling you of my complaint, I'm going to have to tell you of an ongoing argument that Blaine and I have--- and let me warn you that it is over a very delicate subject.....

And so I'm going to plunge right in.... (no pun intended, as you'll see in a minute)....

Because here it is:

Blaine complains about how much toilet tissue I use.

Yes. It's. True.

He. Complains. About. How. Much. Toilet. Paper. I. Use.

Ever since I moved back in with him last year he has been griping his idgity head off about (among other things ) the exact AMOUNT of toilet tissue that I use!! Can you believe it? TOILET TISSUE! Tissue I use for my... uh... "personal needs"!!!

God in Heaven, but it's actually gotten to the point where I DREAD putting toilet tissue on our weekly grocery list. Because as sure as my name is Bo, he'll spot that item on the list and start wailing about it.

"Bo, dammit! We're out of toilet tissue AGAIN? What the hell are you doing in there?"

No lie! To my utter mortification, he regularly rails against my tissue "usage"! And I don't know how to answer him because.... I mean... what the hell ELSE would I be doing with toilet tissue except... um.... using it for what it is intended, ya know?!

Finally, after a few months of this terrorization, I finally began to feel a little indignant about the whole issue. I mean, for Christ's sakes, it's TOILET TISSUE. And there is only ONE USE for toilet tissue. I mean, if he wants to complain about "waste", there are plenty of other household items which I waste on what you could label as "unnecessary" uses.

But first, it's baffling to me that he thinks I "waste" toilet tissue--- because what the hell is the solution to this problem? Does he think I can come up with an alternative to the amount of tissue I use? Should I use less? Puh-leeze! The hygiene issues emerging from "using less" are certainly unthinkable!

WHAT alternative would he have me do? I ask you. WHAT?....

Should I drip dry for an hour or so until toilet tissue is no longer necessary? (I'd be in the damn bathroom all the live-long day---- perhaps even finding it necessary to employ the use of a fan...)

Should I borrow from the neighbors? ("Excuse me, but could I borrow a cup of toilet tissue?") (And then I'd have to pay back the loan....)

Should I use washrags? (I don't even want to THINK about the laundry implications.....)

Should I take a shower after every bathroom episode? (Surely this solution would cancel out any toilet tissue monetary savings because it would cause a huge increase in our water bill, not to mention the fact that I use expensive imported French perfumed soap and Elizabeth Arden shampoo....)

Should I .... shudder.... do what the pioneers did and use a CORNCOB?

I'm sure you get the picture.

And as I pondered before, I am clueless as to how in the hell he picked this particular item to be frugal about when I waste so many other household items with wanton abandon on a daily basis.

Hell, if you want to talk about things I waste, let me tell you that I frequently pass up making myself a scheduled meal, opting instead to satisfy my hunger by scarfing every single Pepperidge Farm cookie in the house --- and yet Blaine doesn't utter a contrary word if I write "cookies" on the grocery list yet again.

And my wastage of entire rolls of Bounty paper-towels (the so-called "quicker picker upper") would leave you breathless. For instance, I routinely waste an unholy amount of paper towels on things like writing sock-knitting notes when I can't find a notepad, blowing my nose even though there's at least 3 boxes of Kleenex lying in plain view, blotting lettuce dry instead of using the spinner or letting it air-dry, wiping up grease spots on the stove instead of using a dishrag.....

...and yet Blaine never blinks an eyelash when I scribble "Bounty Paper Towels" yet again on the grocery list.

Heck, I waste more things than just cookies and Bounty paper towels. I also waste entire bottles of Pine-Sol cleanser simply because, in addition to using it for mopping floors and cleaning toilets, I also like to regularly pour heavy amounts of it down every sink drain in the house simply because I like those areas to smell like Pine Sol.

And, strangely, Blaine couldn't care less how much Pine-Sol we buy.

I've even gone on apricot binges and eaten all of the fancy, expensive Turkish apricots he gets from "Whole Foods"---and yet he never says a word. He just stops by Whole Foods and buys more, even remembering to ask the cashier for those wonderful "handle" shopping bags that I like to use as knitting project bags.

But.... let me include "toilet tissue" on our grocery list.... and Blaine's head starts spinning around on its axis like he's demon-possessed --- and then he begins screaming financial epithets at me like a crazed Congressional budget oversight appointee.

"Good God, Bo! We've got to buy toilet tissue AGAIN? Didn't we just buy an entire case of the stuff two weeks ago? What the deuce is GOING ON in your bathroom?"

What, indeed?

Finally, the limits of my patience were reached (and I even passed the "indignant" point and approached outright "defiance")---- and so I decided to flush out this travesty of feminine household budget justice. Because, I mean, REALLY! A woman has to have some dignity in her own bathroom, you know?

And so, I resorted to the only weapon which works with Blaine.

And that is my trademark coping skill....


And so, the Great Toilet Tissue Showdown of 2009 unfolded thusly:

Yesterday I bravely made out our weekly grocery list. And I brazenly wrote out "TOILET TISSUE" as the first item on the list.

I wrote it in all CAPITAL letters. And then I highlighted it in yellow marker. And I circled it with red pen.

And then I casually showed the list to Blaine, remarking: "Oh yeah, here's the list for this Saturday's Walmart trip."

He quickly scanned the list..... and then sure enough, when he spotted the scrawled banner headlining item, his eyes bugged open like a gigged frog's, both his eyebrows knit together into one huge foreboding streak across his forehead, his face reddened and puffed up like a deranged blowfish, and he breathed orange fire out of his nostrils....

"Dammit, Bo! We're out of toilet tissue AGAIN? What on God's green earth are you doing with all that damn toilet tissue? Geez-oh-man....I swear!...."

As he thundered on, I stood there unflinchingly, and silently, while leveling a sardonic gaze at him with what I hoped was the exact same curled-lip, rudely aloof, and yet bored facial expression the cats give us whenever we address them--- but this did not cow him. And Blaine plunged on in his angry soliloquy, even attempting to "reason" with me.

"For example, Bo, you say we're 'out' of toilet tissue--- and yet I still have PLENTY of toilet tissue in MY OWN bathroom! And so why in the hell don't you have any? WHY ARE YOU OUT OF IT?? What in heckfire are you doing DIFFERENTLY in your bathroom than I am doing in mine, I ASK YOU, WHAT????"

And that was the EXACT question I was waiting for.

And thus, I calmly (and ever so sweetly) gave him my answer.

"I do the exact same thing with toilet tissue that you do, Blaine," I told him. "In fact, I welcome you into my bathroom any time you desire to check on what I do with it because, bucko, I can defend every single square of the toilet tissue I utilize."

"Don't get cute, Bo..." he warned. But it was too late. I was on a roll (sorry, no pun intended).

"Okay, let's see...." I mused, ticking off imaginary squares of toilet tissue on each of my fingers as I explained. "I use around 4 to 8 squares for a quick pee....."

"Oh, don't you dare...." he muttered. But it was too late, and so I plunged onwards...

"Yep," I replied. "About 4 to 8 squares usually does it. But that number changes if I have to take a crap. Because then I might need anywhere between 12 to 25 squares, depending on the brand of toilet tissue and the nature of the crap. Cheap store brand tissue requires in the upper spectrum of numbers of squares because it's so thin. But if I'm using Charmin' I use less squares because it's quilted and soaks things up better. And then there's the issue of whether it's a 'normal' crap, a diarrhea crap, an 'in-a-hurry-cuz-the-telephone-is-ringing-crap', or a dry 'constipated crap'...."

"Stop it, Bo---you're being an idiot," he attempted. But as I said, I was on a roll......

"But then sometimes I have to adjust the numbers if there are certain anatomical variations of the usual process," I droned. "For example, I might have to reach down to the side of the commode for a book, which may cause everything to 'spill in different directions', which then raises the number of required squares of needed tissue. You know, I really need to move that book basket closer to the commode...."

"Alright, that's ENOUGH," he exclaimed, tossing the list down on the table with an exasperated sigh, which meant that I'd won the battle. And as he stalked away with his head held high, he gave me that "you're totally insane, Bo" look--- a look which didn't phase me one single bit---- because I was prepared for it, and I gave him a "return look" of my own...

A look which conveyed a warning which said something to the effect of "...and if you so much as DARE give me one smidgen of 'attitude' while we're on the toilet tissue aisle at Walmart, you'll be sooooooo sorry--- because, ho ho, I can get even more detailed and descriptory about toilet tissue requirements for various type craps.... all within the hearing distance of hapless, unsuspecting Walmart shoppers".....



Monday, May 18, 2009

Forgive My Obsessions....

Okay, I'll tell you what my therapist, Fred, told me today.

First of all, he said that I should overlook the fact that my entire family thinks I'm nuts because I sketch only angels.

Second, he also said that it's okay that I am obsessed with the Dove Birdies Family on our front porch. (He stated that having "compassion and "fascination" with sweet things like doves and their darling nests is a "sentimental" thing, and entirely non-worrisome in the realm between neurosis and mental illness.)

But.... he did instruct me that it would perhaps be best for me, when in the company of others, to "tone down" my ravings about the above fascinations--- as some people don't get as "passionate" as I do about such stuff.

Okay.... I can do that.

Now, have I shown you the latest pictures of the Dove Family? Look how darling they are! Sometimes I can only see one baby, as the other baby is squashed under Mama. The babies' feathers are coming in and I hope that nothing goes awry before they are able to fly away on their own.....


Friday, May 15, 2009

Confession --- I Lost My Temper With Our Local TV Channel....

Okay, I'm going to admit here that I lost my temper with our local TV channel--- which resulted in me sending a "complaint e-mail" to their programming manager.... (okay, and maybe I sent a copy of it to the "Letters to the Editor" of the Kansas City Star newspaper).... (and it's... er... self explanatory)...

Dear Madam Editor:,

I know that I am not alone in my complaint about your tv station's excessive weather coverage.

What IS IT with you that you feel that you simply MUST interrupt our evening television shows to spend two solid hours describing every single detail of the POSSIBILITIES of what you call "severe weather", which is really just a routine spring storm? And you spare no inconsequential, boring, dumb-ass detail in your zealous desire to "scoop" other TV channels on said weather coverage, which means that we poor viewers are a totally "captive audience" while
missing our regularly scheduled programming-- our favorite damn shows! And such, we are basically forced to ENDURE your ridiculously lengthy, hours-long weather 'primers' every single dadblame frigging time there are severe weather conditions!! Which aggravating ritual happens over and over and over, every time there's even a scant chance of thunder!!

(In spring, no less, when there's a stupid rain storm every other ding-dong day!)

And, additionally, you not only take endless hours of our viewing time to give us your stupid "weather lessons", but you also bore us to death discussing the behavior of your station's "weather spotters" (who chase the storms while hoping to gain a live picture of a tornado), and you EVEN talk on the phone with said spotters as they chase the stupid storms (WHICH WE COULDN'T CARE LESS ABOUT WHAT THE HELL THEY ARE DOING WITH THEIR FOOL SELVES OUT ON THE ROADS IN THE DAMN RAIN!!)---- and you are basically wasting all of our time giving us the same information that we've heard a zillion times, over and over, every single solitary time there's a spring thunderstorm---as if we'd never seen a damn rain storm in this area, GEEZ--OH-MAN!

I mean, for God's sakes! Literally every durn time there are rainy
weather conditions which could result in thunderstorms, hail, straight-line winds or tornadoes---within a 50-mile radius, mind you!---your television station's weather person interrupts all programming and gives a detailed lesson on:

1. How such weather conditions can result in hail; (WE KNOW THIS ALREADY!)

2. How such weather conditions could result in a tornado; (WE KNOW THIS ALREADY, TOO, YOU IDGITY YAY-HOO!)

3. How large any resultant hail could get; (YOU'RE NEVER CORRECT ABOUT THE SIZE OF THE HAIL---AND HAIL IS HAIL, DAMMIT!!)

4. What the trajectory of the
weather front could be; (even though EVERYBODY around here with even half a brain knows that most weather fronts around here travel from west to north, or from west to northeast, or sometimes from west to southeast);


6. Where your weather spotters are (WE DON'T GIVE A RAT'S ASS!)

7. What your stupid intern is doing (out in the parking lot collecting hail in your pocketbook like you asked her to do when you didn't know the microphone was still on, stupid!...); (AND, AGAIN, WE DON'T GIVE A RAT'S PATOOTY ABOUT WHAT IDIOTIC MUNDANE TASK YOUR DUMB-DORA INTERN IS DOING ANY MORE THAN WE CARE ABOUT WHAT YOUR IDGITY INSANE WEATHER SPOTTERS ARE DOING!!)

....Oh, and it goes on and on and on, ad nauseum....with even MORE info that we couldn't give a tinker's damn about!

(Are you getting the picture?)

I know that you're probably thinking that all the information you give is USEFUL and GOOD for a person to know in case they're in the path of a storm--- BUT WAIT.... because you have to remember that these "weather lessons" are being given to people who live in....wait for it .....KANSAS and MISSOURI!!! YES! In
frigging TORNADO ALLEY, for Christ's sakes!

Hello? Hello? THIS IS ROUTINE WEATHER HERE, you Dumb-Bunnies!!

Sigh.... For crying out loud, providing us these so-called weather 'teachings' during such routine spring storms is about as ridiculous and condescending as explaining the definition of a hurricane to people who live in Cuba or the Carribbean! Or pontificating about how the San Andreas Fault influences earthquakes to people who live in dadgum San Francisco! Or explaining rainfall to people who live in Seattle! Or fog to people in London!.....

Have I made myself clear?

Thus, my message to the guilty
television channel program managers is this:

Please, in the future, STOP "TRAINING" US ON WEATHER 101.... because believe me--- as Kansas residents, we already know all the dang answers!!!

PLEASE! Only spend a few minutes on weather--- with frequent updates, of course---and thereafter simply utilize notification "banners" at the bottom or the top of the screen for ongoing coverage. Because we are dang TIRED of missing our favorite television shows to get a repetitive lesson on the myriad of possibilities which severe weather conditions could engender---BECAUSE WE KNOW THIS CRAP ALREADY, THANK YOU VERY DANG MUCH!

Otherwise, we are going to CHANGE THE CHANNEL---FOR GOOD.

(Sorry for the capitals, but I feel strongly about what I'm saying.)

Thank you,


(After I wrote my "complaint email" and punched the "Send" button, I braved the storm outside to go check on my precious baby birdies...... and they were fine. Mama Birdie was faithfully and steadfastly sitting on the nest, protectively covering her babies--- protecting them from the rainstorm, even though she herself was dripping wet in the driving rain. Good for her, the dear little thing! Bless her little heart!! Anyway, the below picture of the two babies is one I captured a couple days ago using Brian's sister's camera, which is a much better camera than mine. Heck, it's a 'National Geographic' quality camera....)


(I will try to hold my temper in check in the future....)


Bo's Bird Cam---Feeding Time!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Lookie! Lookie!

Alright! Mama Birdie finally "stood up" and allowed me to get some pictures of the little baby birdies!

(I think the look on her face is priceless...)


I'm Honored!!!

Wow!! I just got notified today that my blog site has been listed in the Online Nursing Degree Guide's "Top 50 Nursing Blogs" .

Cool!! I'm honored!!!

Also, there's links there to tons of really interesting nursing blogs, differentiated by style of blogging. (I really like the funny ones!)

As for the "Bird Watch 2009", Mama Birdie is very protective of the two babies. She SITS ON THEM all day long! I wonder if they're getting tired of being under her feathery little butt? You can see one of them peeking out from under her in the below picture---the darling little thing!

She's so stubborn---every time I go out there to look, trying in vain to get a better glimpse of the babies, she stares at me with a look that says: "Nope---I'm not gonna move!" And sometimes she just turns her back on me, heh!

She trusts me, though, because she allows me to stand very close and take pictures of her.

(Bless her heart, she's probably so tired of that flash in her eyes...)

I'm really excited because tonight is the Season Finale episode of my favorite tv show "Supernatural". Okay...okay....I admit it--- I'm totally in love with the melancholy angel, Castiel. Sigh... he's so dreamy...... And I'm going to miss him until the new season starts.... waaaaah!


Monday, May 11, 2009

Meet The Dove Family....


The above is a picture of both Mama Birdie and Papa Birdies, about to change shifts on the nest. They trust me more, these days, and allow me to get pretty close to take pictures. But I have had a lot of difficulty finding them off the nest in order that I could take another picture of the babies--- because they still sit on the babies around the clock.

But after much patience, I was finally able to snap a quick picture (albeit a blurry one) during another "change of shift". It was thrilling to see them---they were moving about and appear bigger than my first picture of them.

Aside from my "nest watching" these days, I've been knitting a pair of psychedelic socks for my niece, as Blaine and I are planning to go visit my family in Texas for the 4th of July, when my mother is going to throw us a big barbecue.

(On this sock I used the short-row heel technique of Priscilla Wild in Charisa Martin Cairn's discussion of the "Lifestyle Toe Up Socks" method---and I had a lot less trouble with the technique due to the wonderful support and help I get from my friends in Socknitters---thank you, bunches, everybody!!!)


Saturday, May 09, 2009


Thumper: Say "bird."

Bambi: "Bur..."

Thumper: "Bird."

Bambi: "Bur!"

Thumper: "Uh-uh. Bir-duh!"

Other rabbits: "Come on, say 'bird'...say 'bird'!"

Bambi: "Bird!"

("Bambi", author Felix Salten; and a Walt Disney movie)


* (Note: Bo's nickname in nursing school was "Thumper"...) * *

This morning it seemed like all the neighborhood birds and animals were all twitterpated, and when I ran out onto the front porch I noticed Papa Birdie was standing guard near the Dove Family Nest....

and so I peeked into the Dove Family Tree....

And I saw that the second eggie had hatched!

And so now there are two baby dovies!!

I can say it: "Bird-uh!"