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Welcome to the BOMB.

The Blog Of the "Mother" of Bandit.
Bandit is my Hairless Chinese Crested--he's the "normal" one. I, on the other hand, am unrepentantly "pet-crazy." You know the type--the spinster who lives in the haunted house three blocks over with 72 cats...okay, so I don't have 72 cats, and my house isn't haunted--but my dogs wardrobe is better than mine! Need I say more? :~)
I've never been consistant at journaling, so the timing of my blogs will be sporadic at best. I just hope they are as entertaining to you as they are to me; however, be forewarned: Most of my blogs will be about The BaldOne. In spite of his Don King "do," I think he's just as cute as any of the Brothers B!
Now, if I can just remember not to get him wet--or feed him after midnight...

About Me

My photo
My bags are packed and I'm always ready to seek out an adventure with Bandit and Moggy in tow. Bandit is my thirteen year old Chinese Crested, who I frequently call The Bald One or The BaldOne Boy (like he was one of the Baldwin Brothers). Moggy’s full name is Pip-Moggy. He’s my two year old gansta-resuce kitty. I couldn’t decide between Pip (which are the spots on die and domino tiles) and Moggy (or Moggie when I mistakenly thought he was a she), so I combined the two. Moggy refers to the British term for "cat of unknown parentage .” So in essence, I have an almost bald dog, and I’ve named my cat “Spot.”

Fun Stuff (I'm doing now or have done)

  • Artistic Attempts weekly (alternating between Painting With A Twist, That Art Place, and Peniot's Palette).
  • Bunko with the Belton Bunko Babes monthly.
  • Participating in the A to Z Blogging Challenge.
  • Spades and Liverpool Rummy with the Spadetts weekly.
  • The Mighty Texas Dog Walk, Austin (fund raiser for Service Dogs, Inc--they train shelter dogs to be Service Dogs, then give them free of charge to people with disabilities.)

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Five-Seven-Five #ThinkKit

Just when you thought you were safe....

This post is part of Think Kit by SmallBox.  Today's prompt: "Five-Seven-Five."  :~) Write a haiku about the past. Then write one about the present or future.

I love haiku (even if I don't know, or follow the rules, (except for the 5-7-5 meter) so this is my favorite prompt.

The (soon-to-be) Past haiku:

twenty and fourteen
upside-down topsy-turvy
thank God it's over

The Future haiku:

the new year begins
possibilities abound
the future is bright

And with that, I bid you sweet slumber, and a prosperous and happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

One Word For 2014: Turbulent.

My one word for 2014:  turbulent. 

The year started off great then took a turbulent turn during my summer vacation.  

The trip was planned as a fast paced finish of the western half of Route 66, driving up the coast, hitting Canada, and looping back through Colorado. All my activities were pet-friendly (including participating in the Ugly Dog Contest--which we planned to lose because, face it, Bandit is just too darn handsome to win it!). 

Everything looked great.  My mostly fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants trip planning worked perfectly.  (I only made reservations at The Flamingo for the night of the Donny and Marie Show, and San Francisco--close to the Ugly Dog Contest--every other reservation was made the night before, or the day of and was dependent upon the distance I felt I could drive.)

Until the tumble I took at the Flamingo slowed my fast-paced vacation to a more manageable pace, and I gave up the idea of catching up with a couple of friends while I was in California--sorry Debby and Des--maybe next trip 

I made a last minute decision to spend a few days at my Aunt Margie's cabin on the lake in Oregon rather than continuing up the coast and crossing into Canada. While I was there I started questioning my normal vacation mode--go, go, go--pack in way too many activities, and roll into my driveway the morning of my return to work. I decided that was too stressful and counterproductive. I had envisioned a smaller cabin in the mountains on a river or lake (but in Maine) as my retirement home. I decided what I really want to do is buy an RV and travel--but at a much more relaxed pace. Maybe I can still have that cabin as a home base.   

After I slowed the pace down I also got waylaid in a small Nevada town when my steering went out. But God saw me through and directed my path to  an honest mechanic within walking distance of a pet-friendly hotel, bookstore, museum, park, grocery store and several other shops making my forced pedi-life bearable. And when the tire blew on the interstate the day I got back on the road, He sent a nice young man to change my tire and compelled several guys to stay late at the Utah WalMart to sell and mount my new tire. 

While I thought GPS-girl routing me up through Wyoming on my way to Colorado was a bit much, it did keep me on a populated interstate, which gave me peace of mind on the drive to Colorado. And I found a great blanket inspired jacket that total strangers stop me and ask me about. Who knew I'd become a fashion guru?!

And who knew I would have trouble with cell phone service in Colorado Springs?  But God directed me to the Focus on the Family  campus and welcome center, where I could make a telephone call to locate Kaitlin. And send a text to my Mama so she wouldn't worry. I never found service until I returned to Texas soil. 

And He directed me to another pet-friendly hotel in some tiny Texas town--to the last available room even though I arrived late at night without a reservation--after the town I had just passed through had evacuated because of a broken water main. 

Even though the 2-week trip was fraught with obstacles, it was one of my most relaxing!  

I returned to work refreshed and with a resolve to save in earnest for a nice retirement RV, and learn more about the RV life. 

And then the year took a turn for the worse. 

Daddy became ill, left the hospital too soon, and fell. My weekend trip to assess the situation turned into a month-long stay due to his readmission, and ultimate placement into Hospice, that preceded my own emergency surgery and recovery at Mamas house. Which, as bad as it seemed at the time, was a blessing, as it ensured I was there to visit with Daddy prior to his death and take care of the funeral.  

During that dark time, I found out how special my friends really are:  Sharry and Georgie for being in my hospital room almost before I arrived. Sharry, Georgie, and Betsy driving to Mamas to check on me. Georgie and Betsy driving back yet again to attend the funeral. Shelia for spoiling Bandit while I was hospitalized.  Teresa for meeting up with me just to catch up on old times. While each of these wonderful friends drove hours out of their way to minister to me, Linda and Vickie  won the driving award hands down when they drove to Florida in order to drive me home to Central Texas! 

Except for some major Family Drama that blindsided me, I thought life was getting back on track. 

Boy was I wrong! 

November saw me in a loaner the entire month as the repairs  on my Mariner mounted higher and higher.  But God is good, and through a month-long process that at times was mentally exhausting, has brought me a new home for my UMHB antenna-ball:  a 2015 Ford Escape (the same thing as my beloved Mercury Mariner--which has served me well for the past 6 years and over 232,000 miles! 

The last half of the year has been turbulent. But it has also served to be a reminder of Gods watch care over me--for which I am thankful. 

Thankful. Perhaps I should change my "one word" from turbulent to thankful. 

May 2015 find me even more thankful. And less turbulent.  


This post is part of Think Kit by SmallBox.  Today's prompt: "One word for 2014."

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Where Does the Time Go?

Where does the time go? 

Christmas-Eve Eve 2014 is fast approaching history status and I'm almost ready for the beginning of December. Almost. 

I watched the year racing to closure and I have amazingly still been blindsided by Christmas. 


Every Christmas-Eve Eve I say the same thing, "Next year I'm going to be more organized. Next year I'm channeling my Mother.  Next year I'm going to shop year-round.  Next year  I'm going to relax and watch everyone else stress over how far behind they are. Next year I will be ready."  And I visualize shaking my gift-laden fist up at the black and white sky ala Scarlett O'Hara. 

And every year--usually on Christmas-Eve Eve--I am among the throngs of procrastinating shoppers who are beginning to start searching for elusive gifts.

I've got ideas. I've made lists--which I may, or may not follow. Most years I  have a gift or two already purchased. But the bulk of the gift-hunt is executed on, or after, Christmas-Eve Eve. 

Some days I go into the store with a specific gift in mind, only to find it's really not what I wanted to give.  Other days I go into a store with a nebulous hint of an idea that morphs into "the perfect gift" without thought or assistance from me. 

The funny thing is, although Christmas blindsided me again, I think I'm ahead of the game.  BECAUSE, surprisingly, this Christmas-Eve Eve, I only have three gifts left to hunt. 

Now I just need to decide on the best hunting lease so I can carve out the time to hunt and dress my kill (wrap my gifts). 

It is now after midnight, making it official: the hunt is on in earnest. There are less than 24-hours left before Christmas is upon us.  Time is running out. 

Where does the time fly?! 

Monday, December 22, 2014

A Lapse in Judgement #ThinkKit

As I perused magazines at a major chain bookstore I glanced up to see a GrandMother holding the hand of her toddler Granddaughter. Her black hair was styled with a beautiful face framing fringe of hair, the tips of which were a flaming fire engine red--the Grandmothers, not the toddlers.

After the initial shock wore off I applauded her confidence, and I thought of my new friend from  Canberra.  Julia has strikingly beautiful electric blue hair. It would seem neither woman has a problem with self-expression or accepting attention.

Within minutes I saw a blonde teen with a loud top-layer of magenta hair. That was a little less unexpected since I have several young friends who choose non-traditional hair colors as an expression of their individuality or their distance from main-stream society.

But then, I did a double take and my chin dropped to the floor, as yet another woman with brightly colored locks came into my periphery.  Again, she was an older woman. And again her hair color choice made a bold statement. A very bold statement. She was sporting bright turquoise hair.

As I closed my mouth and scrapped my chin up off the the floor, I began to wonder if "Candid Camera" was filming an episode.  Maybe the beauty school had a color sale for finals week. Or perhaps over  the weekend there had been Central Texas colorist convention gone awry.

Now don't get me wrong. I like colored hair. I myself have been known to mix up a few colors. However, since an unfortunate experience in my remote past, in which I failed to regain my blonde tresses of childhood, I tend to keep my hair color choices within a shade or three of the realm of my current natural color and highlights--although I occasionally forget and choose a medium brown rather than a light Caramel for the base, and I tend to  have a heavy hand when I add auburn, which results in a bolder red hair color than I intend.

Although I admire those who wear bold hair color choices with confidence, I am not a bold hair color kind of girl. I can, and do, appreciate that quality in others.

Until, I saw this middle aged woman with brilliantly turquoise tresses.

It was not the attention grabbing raven of a goth teen.  It was not the originality of a Lucille Ball Orange, which inspired a rose to be named after her.  Nor was it the at-home-attempt-turned-horridly-brassy bleached hair of my High School Self. The unnatural pink of Nicki Manij, or Pink herself, pales in comparison to this hue.  Even the rainbow of colors Lady Gaga or Dennis Rodman have worn over the years was no where near as shocking as this mannishly close-cropped 'do. I couldn't even attribute it to a misguided sense of sports fanatic fandom like that of my beloved Purple and Gold die-hard Cru-fans, because she was wearing a black and gold Pittsburg Steelers jacket.

And then it hit me. It was the moment I realized I was viewing something far more ominous than simple attention demanding, mainstream society distancing, self-expression.

She, like all Steeler fans, had experienced a lapse in sound judgement.

This post is part of Think Kit by Small Box
Prompt:  "Ooh!  Aa!  What surprised you this year? Was it a jump-out-of-your-seat shocking moment? Learning something new that really flipped your wig? A moment in time that left you speechless?  Leave us slack-jawed and standing silent...or at least thoughtfully quiet for a few seconds!"

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Just One of Those Days

It's been...interesting. 

I awoke before the alarm (that never sounded) so I was ready for Church for once.  I took Bandit outside just before I left, but I never arrived.  Bandit, who has been kept on a leash for the past two weeks due to running off, slipped out of his collar.  Can we say "harness?"  It's the last step before I have him neutered--even though I believe neutering to be ineffective at this late date.  He's almost ten. This is more of a learned behavior rather than raging hormones. 

This  afternoon I went on a quest for the "perfect gift.  I found THREE!!  

Only they were perfect for someone else. 

While questing, I eavesdropped on the conversation of three cute little boys in the Hallmark store (okay, they were Soldiers--adult men, defenders of our country--but still boys at heart).  I allowed their debate over the merits of Elton John.  I am cognizant  of the fact that  not everyone shares my exquisite musical taste. However, two isles over, when they began debating which "Wizard of Oz" character didn't have a heart (one said the Scarecrow and another said it was the Lion), I could stand it no longer.  I broke my silence with the following rant:  

"No, no, no, no, no!  The Scarecrow didn't have a brain. The Tin Man didn't have a heart. The 'cowardly' Lion didn't have courage....and Sir Elton John rules!!!!"

I got high-fives from all three of the cutie-pies. 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Over the Top Ugly T-shirt.

I felt like a fairy god-mother today—everywhere I went I left a trail of glitter and tinsel…
It was Ugly Christmas Sweater Day on my Ward today.  I have one Christmas Sweater. It’s much too hot to wear it, and quite frankly, I have no clue where it might be. It’s actually a two piece, sweater and pants set. Besides, it's much too cute to be an ugly sweater anyway.

WalMart had all of two Christmas sweaters for sale.  And a couple of meds t-shirts with a Christmas theme—none of which I liked.  So what’s a girl to do?
This girl gets crafty.

I decided I could wear my Dancing Christmas Tree hat and wrap a  t-shirt in tinsel or ribbon shaped to resemble the bottom of a Christmas tree. And I could add battery operated lights and ornaments.  Hey—I’m an “Over the Top Girl” so why not take Tacky Christmas Sweater to new heights?!  All I had to do was find the Dancing Christmas Tree hat.
I have plenty of Christmas Hats to choose from—somewhere—since I buy new Christmas hats every year. [Note to Self:  This years New Year Resolution could be:  Get Organized! My 2-fold goal could be: 1)  toss, sell, or gift a bag of “stuff” each week, and 2) label storage boxes with contents of the stuff I keep].

It was getting late and I  still hadn’t found the Dancing Christmas Tree, so it was time for Plan B.
I would develop a UCS based on what I could find in the next five minutes.  

I came up with four choices:  the deep purple zebra print stocking cap I wore to the  Spadettes Christmas party the night before, the lilac stocking cap w/white battery operated lights, the red “I’ve been good” stocking cap  w/battery operated colored lights, and the Dallas Cowboys flap-cap.  In writing this post I wanted the correct term for the flap-hat, so I googled it. Flap-cap, ear-flap hat, snow (or ski) beanies with ear-flaps, Ushanka (Russian Trooper hats), and Chullo (Peruvian or Andean hats) all have ear-flaps.  With the colors of my four easily obtainable hats in mind, I went to WalMart at 10pm in search of ideas.  Surely, I could come up with something tacky from WalMart.
By the time I went to bed at 2am, my SUV was packed with goodies for our brunch and all the supplies I would need to quickly assemble the shirt after I attended my daily Bed Huddle meeting.

Pre-made stuff and safety pins are a costumers best friend. I have even more stuff I could have pinned on—I just ran out of break-time. Gotta love my co-worker who thought I needed even more bling and gave me a strand of tinsel with snowflakes intertwined—it became my boa and finished off the outfit.
BTW, while glitter and tinsel provides a nice blingy effect, it also leaves a trail that a blind man could follow.
Make sure you don’t do anything illegal when you wear it…

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Cars, Crowns, and Craziness.

I'm still in The Loaner.  Still figuring out features.  And still forgetting which side the fuel tank is located. (Passenger). Still having the guys at the gym log me in by hand when I go, and still only able to access my Post Office Box when the PO is open, because my GymX pass card and my PO Box key are on the spare key ring.

Every day my Service Advisor calls with an update. Everyday for the past week he's said "this is the day." 

And then something else wrong is found. 

Every few days I call my bank to update them on when to expect my debit card to be used and I give them the newest amount. At this rate I'll have to do at least 12-18 months hard driving (as if I drove any other way!) in order to recoup my repair costs. 

As much as it pains me, this time next year I will be looking in earnest for a new car.  I'm in mourning already. 

It's too bad I got new tags after my dental appointment yesterday.  Actually, I went--thinking I was picking up tags. I picked up plates.  The ugliest plates I've ever seen. Maybe by the time I'm ready to buy the new vehicle the plates will be nicer than these blah, black and off white (no background), three letter-four number formatted plates. If not, it may be time to support a cause or get personalized plates. I  wonder if they come in bling?!  I absolutely hate this one. 

As for work, it was a crazy day today--and not in a good crazy kind of way. 

I had 12 admissions and three problematic discharges on my Ward, plus I provided coverage on part of another Ward--thankfully, the part I covered on that Ward only had 2 admissions. 

If I  had I known how bad it was going to be, I would have thought twice before I turned down the offer to move my crown placement from next Monday to today.  

Unfortunately, that crown placement is not a reference to my long overdue coronation. 

Monday, December 1, 2014

The Loaner

I have mixed emotions as November, and the use of The Loaner, comes to an end.  I am glad to be getting my SUV back; however, my back will miss the heated seats that come with The Loaner.
On the other hand, my SUV rides higher and has a higher head clearance, which makes entering and exiting the SUV much easier on my bad leg—and I don’t bang my head on my SUV doorframe.  The head banging I’ve endured this past month will teach me to not laugh at a friend bopping himself so hard he gave himself a concussion.  Also, my AC gets colder quicker, which keeps me happier (and others on the road alive when I'm flashin').  ;~)

By giving up The Loaner, I will miss the touch start and stop ignition. As long as the keys are nearby, I just touch and drive. What I won't miss, is  the way The Loaner eats things—especially keys. It ate The Loaner key fob (and my house keys) again yesterday. This time I remembered to power the seats all the way forward and backward—and found the fob right away. But still. It's pretty inconvenient, and sad, that I have to go through all that every time something comes up missing.
It’s also kind of sad that, after almost a month, I just figured out how to use the blinkers.

No—really.  For the past month I've had a time of it trying to work the blasted things. In my SUV, I flip the turn signal, make a lane change, then flip the turn signal back off—and it stays off. Not so in The Loaner. When I go to flip the signal back off, it changes to the opposite turn signal. I can't tell you how many times I've been driving around and wondered, "What is that clicking noise?" only to look down and see the turn signal was on. Sometimes I catch it pretty quick. Other times, not so fast. But it's really bad when I notice the signal is still flashing, and I attempt to turn it off, but only succeed in turning on the opposite signal—so I try to  correct that mistake, but it goes back to the first signal—which causes me to have to repeat the whole process all over again!  If you've seen a Grey Taurus flashing conflicting signals—making it appear the driver was incapable of deciding when, where, or which way they were going to turn—it was probably me.
If just now mastering the turn signals isn’t bad enough, I  still haven't really mastered the art of securely locking The Loaner.  I'll think I have it locked, only to check a door, and it'll pop right open. Other times, I'll have my hands full and go to open a back door, and it’ll be locked up tighter than a drum. And while it's great to have trunk space, I don't like my stuff shifting forward out of my reach.

I've kept my trips to a minimum this month—but I've still really missed the convenience of having my 6-disc CD player. I love listening to audio books but hate having to pull over to change discs.
And I don't like having the gas tank on the passenger side—and there being no gas cap. (How does that pass inspection? Used to be, if the gas cap seal didn’t  "pop" it would fail.)

When I give up The Loaner in just a few minutes, I know I'll miss the inside handles that I can hang a garment rod on. And the cool covered console cubby holes that conceal my stuff, but spring open at a touch.  And the backup camera—the picture is the best I’ve seen on a back-up camera….although I really like my SUVs back up beep better. And my SUV fuel gauge that tells me how many more miles I can drive on my current tank of gas—I can’t tell you how many times I’ve relied on it to plan fuel stops and potty breaks on trips.  My SUV also tells me what my current gas mileage per gallon is—I’m sure The Loaner has that feature as well—but I never found it.  The Loaner also had some really cool features I never activated—in-dash GPS, Bluetooth for my phone, Syncing, and a bunch of computer stuff way too savvy for me. The Loaner is a really great car. So much so, that I looked at trading in my SUV on one. But I need to get my monies worth out of the repairs I just made on the SUV.  Besides, I really  prefer my black leather seats to The Loaners tan leather seats….
But I really will miss The Loaners heated

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Exact Change

O.M.Gosh!  I just went through a fast food drive-thru and I gave the cashier exact change. I thought I was doing them a favor.  Plus, I was getting rid of some excess change. I even made it simple by giving her the least amount of coins possible. 

Unfortunately, the exact change contained a half-dollar. 

She started counting the change.  
When she said "what a pretty quarter," I thought the shiny quarter I had thrown into the mix was a new one with a pretty design. 

But then she started recounting. 

This time she started off saying "seventy-five" and I thought she was on her way. Until she stopped.  

And restarted counting. 

Around the third or fourth recount, I finally rescued her.  

I said, "there's a fifty cent piece, a quarter, a nickel, and three pennies--which makes $0.83."

She didn't believe me. 

So I started to walk her through the process of adding up the change. "The half-dollar plus the quarter is seventy-five, and the--"

"No it's not."

"Yes.  It is.  Fifty cents plus twenty-five is--"

"This is a seventy-five cent piece."

"No. We don't have a seventy-five cent piece. What I gave you is a half dollar."

"Half a dollar is seventy-five."

"No. Half a dollar is fifty cents."

I think the lightbulb finally went off at that point because she counted it my way and came up with $0.83.

Friday, November 28, 2014

I was trying to get a clear shot of the dot on Moggy's head--but he's pretty quick so this is the best photo.  

As I'm looking at the photo now, from this angle, the dot on the left and the blob on the right almost form a Mickey Mouse. You know what this means don't you? 

My cat, whose gangsta-sounding name (Pip-Moggy) means Spot, a classic dogs name, has mythical mouse markings. 

It's a typical day at our home. 

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Medical Expenses

I am getting quite proficient at spending mega-bucks.  Earlier this year it was my emergency surgery. This week it was the root canal. Next week I still have a couple of teeth to see about, and we will decide if I should do the crown this year or on the insurance for next year.  I’m thinking with all of these medical/dental expenses I may have enough in co-pays and out of pocket expenses, it may pay to itemize this year, and after the recent trip to the Veterinarian for Bandit and Pip de la Moggie, I really wish I could add in their expenses. I could claim Head of House.  I am head of house…when they allow me. Although Pet Insurance is offered, I don’t carry it; therefore, Bandit and Moggy’s  medical is 100% out of pocket.  Besides, I heard rescue Fosters can actually use their expenses as charitable donations. Hummm…I wonder if it’s too late to take back my intention to keep Moggie?
BTW, Moggie has finally started to respond when I call.  Either that or it’s a response to the pop of the kitten food can. Whatever works. I’m not too proud to copy Pavlov.

I know Pip de la Moggie is a pretty ostentatious name for a 8-week old kitten. But I really like the fact that it means “Spot the Cat.”  [Pips are the spots or dots on dice and dominoes, and Moggie (also spelled Moggy) is the British term for a kitten or cat of unknown parentage.] I’m already thinking of Christmas and Moggie’s stocking. I saw an adorable cat stocking on Pinterest I simply must make. It’s a gold sequin fish body, with a white fur cuff for the fish lips (opening at the top), and a sturdy gold lame’ looking tail fin. I would make it a pink or purple sequin body, with the fins a more flowing sheer ribbon.   And, I’d rethink the furry lips, just because I would want to place the name on the lip/cuff, and maybe bling it up for my little girl.
The only problem, other than the fact that I don’t sew, is Pip de la Moggie is actually Pip-Moggy.

Yep. She’s a he.  Dr. Gosney just laughed. He thought it was pretty obvious Moggy’s a boy. I swear, when I looked, it looked like a little girl to me. Granted, there is a lot of fluffy fur, and my eyes are pretty bad up close, (but I still passed the driver’s test eye-chart), but dang!  Not being able to tell the gender of a cat?! That's kind of  embarrasing. Even without looking I should have known Moggy was a boy  because he’s such a lover—he gets on my chest and purrs, while softly patting my face with his claw-retracted paws. It's a heart melting action. I'm sure he knows exactly what he's doing when he does it. 
So I guess this means the frilly sheer ribbon Christmas stocking is out. 
But his name can stay the same—sort of—by calling him Pip-Moggy. It still means Spot the Cat.  And it’s more masculine—in fact, I think it’s kinda gangtsa. I envision heavy gold chains and a large rhinestone encrusted $ hangin’ ‘round his neck, and a backwards ball cap jauntily tossed over one of his cute little black ears. I’m not sure, but I think it’s just a coincidence that this gansta-vision of Moggy usually appears about the same time as he’s drawing blood whilst climbing up my bear legs with his claws fully extended. Ouch.
And before you suggest it, I’ve already started looking around for an Ophthalmologist.  If I can be seen before the end of the year, I really may have enough medical to be worth the effort of itemizing…

Sunday, November 23, 2014

There is Only One Acceptable "Just a"

Recently I overheard someone referring to themselves as "just a" and my blood started a slow boil because there is really no such thing as "just a" anything. Even overlooking the spiritual ramifications, which you may or may not believe--you are not a "just a."  You are so much more!

Overlooking the Biblical teachings that we are wonderfully and fearfully made; and that as insignificant as we may be in the grand scheme of things, even the hairs on our head are numbered by the One Who loves us and died for us (sermon over)--you are still so more than "just a!"

If I've left out your particular flavor of "justa," please fill it in:

There is no such thing as "just a" Wife or Mother. You are a HelpMate, SoulMate, Equal Partner, Domestic Diva, Family CEO.

There is no such thing as "just a" Husband or Father.  You are a leader, provider, disciplinarian, lover, example, role model.

You are not "just a" janitor, yard man, garbage collector, sewage treatment worker, therapist, counselor, actor, singer, band member, landlord, farmer, rancher, banker, author, dancer, diplomat, zoo keeper, peace keeper.

You  are not "just a" factory worker, bus driver, train conductor, pilot, veterinarian, computer tech, babysitter, grocery bagger, designer, architect, engineer, sales man, mechanic, preacher, athlete, pharmacist, jeweler.

You are not "just a" police officer, military man/woman, EMT, fire fighter,  truck driver, cowboy, lawyer, judge, yard boy, coach, referee, day care worker, museum curator, artist.

You are not "just a" teacher, cashier, waitstaff, cook, dishwasher, cab driver, secretary, blogger, journalist, photographer, rodeo clown, nurse.

You are a man or woman, who is legally and gainfully employed, a provider, a successful and productive member of society. There is nothing "just a" about that!  You are significant. Someone, somewhere, looks to you. You may not be aware of it, or their admiration--but just because you are unaware of it, does not negate it.

The title of this post is: "There is Only One Acceptable 'Just a.'"So what IS the only acceptable "just a?"

In my book, Three Dog Night sang about it...

"Just an Old-fashioned Love Song." ("...comin' down in three-part harmony.."). And even that was not "just a" love song.

Maybe there really ISN'T a "just a" anything.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

I Really Could Use That 435i

Ring, ring, ring…
A far-off annoyance is breaking into my warm happy place.

Ring, ring, ring…

My left eye peeks open. It’s dark out still. It's never a good sign when the phone wakes you and it’s still dark outside.
“Hello?” The frog remains in my voice.

“Hello, Miss Robinson?”  It’s the voice of the man I’ve been talking with almost daily for the last 10 days. Why is he calling at o-dark-thirty? This really can’t be good.
“This is she.”

“This is…um…Ja…this is Ja....”
“Good morning J.”

“Um….Miss Robinson….um…I…I have an…update on your SUV.”
“An update?  I thought it was supposed to be ready yesterday.”  Moggie, the Failed Foster kitten, jumps on the unsuspecting Bandit, who turns his “you just had to have a cat—what did I do that was so bad?” look on me. His soulful caramel eyes melting the remaining vestige of sleep from my foggy head.

“Well…um…y-y-yes Ma’am. It was….I ah...I have some good news…and some bad news.”
I love the stomach dropping sensation I feel when I’m riding the Tilt-O-Whirl; however, I really can’t say that I care for it when I’m not actually at the County Fair.

“Go on.” The tiniest hint of dread creeps into my voice.

“Well…um…Who’s your insurance carrier?”
“NationWide.” (the Inside Voice continues singing in my head, “…is on your side.”) “J—is there a problem?”

“Spill it J.”

J spills it alright—in a rush of words that spew from his mouth like hot lava from Mount  Vesuvius. “There’s been an accident. Your SUVs been totaled. We need to call the insurance for the claim. On the bright side, you may be getting a new car after all!”

And then I woke up for reals.
Moggie was sleeping on my chest. Bandit, who really does turn his pitiful look on me as if to say, “Was I not enough?”  was sleeping under the cover on my lap. I had fallen asleep in my recliner.
The last thing I remember before the dream:  checking email and seeing the advertisement for the BMW give-away (I had liked, commented, and shared—for the entry last week). Come on Metalic Sapphire Black 435i!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

I Learned About Moggies Today.

Trying to come up with a cute name for the kitten I don't intend to keep, I googled a couple of phrases describing her:  dark-eared kitten and dark tailed kitten.  Both times a bunch of Siamese websites popped up. Hummm, she doesn't look Siamese, but I wouldn't discount the possibility yet. She might have A tiny part Siamese--she does have dark spots on her ears and tail, she IS LOUD--a trait of Siamese.  

So I chose the Website site that also had a FB page by the same name and started reading:   Life With Siamese.  

This website has TONS of information (like over 200 pages) about the many varieties of Siamese--who knew?! Certainly not me.   

With all the varieties and types, it should be easy to determine if this kitten has any Siamese or not.  That's what I thought anyway.   But with the myriad of varieties and their gazillion offshoots, I got confused. She had a little bit of the description, but not nearly enough to "fit" in anywhere.  Here's just a little bit of what I learned...

Where you live determines if your variety is "true" or not!  Meezers (slang nickname) come in 4 "universally" (UK and USA) accepted varieties:

Seal Points:  ears, face, paws and pads, and tail (the points) are a deep, dark seal-brown and the coat is cream to tan. 

Chocolate Points:  points are more of a milk chocolate. 

Blue Points:  points are slate-grey blue. 

Lilac Points (sometimes called Frost Points):   palest points. Pink undertones to their coat and points give them a frosty look. 

I won't even go into all the OTHER variations:  flame, Carmel, cinnamon, fawn, red (which encompasses red, cream, or apricot points) tortoise-shell or "tortie" points (variants on ALL the different color options),  and tabby/lynx points (which also are variants on ALL the different color options) and on, and on, and head is still spinning. And that's just the color varieties. 

Color-wise, her coat is white. Not cream. Not ecru. Not eggshell. White. A pretty stark white coat. And the only "points" she could have would possibly be Blue or Lilac ears and tail. But even that was a stretch. The rest of her face, paws, and pads are the color of her coat:  White.   

Speaking of coats, her undercoat is straight like meezers--but it's way too thick and fluffy. 

Not to be confused with variety (coloring), there are also three "types" (body types).  Old-fashioned, apple-head, and modern. 

Her body type is definitely not the showy modern type--they are thin, long, small boned, angular, with large ears. Kind of like anorexic runway models--but catty. 

The Old-fashioned (aka original, Thai, moderate, or classic) type has a less angular head with a large boned,but elongated body. 

The apple-head is much like the old-fashioned in that it is large boned; however, the head and body are more rounded and fuller. 

The old-fashioned and apple-heads are often blurred. I think this kitten, if it were a Siamese, would be more apple-head. 

Finally, Siamese are noted for brilliant to pale icy blue eyes--but always blue. Hers are more greenish with maybe a pale blue tint. Maybe, depending on the light. And even then, I think they are more green. 

She for sure is not a modern Siamese with classic point or coat coloring.  And most likely she's also not an old-fashioned or apple head Siamese. However,  maybe her parents had some Siamese?  Could other breeds have the darker ears and tail?  I'm sure anything is possible, but by this time my head was spinning with all the possibilities, so I posted a photo on the website and asked.  I must have been delirious with sleep deprivation from worrying about her the night before, because in the clear light of day, she looks nothing like a Siamese!  On any count. Color variety, body type, coat characteristics, eye color--absolutely nothing that would even remotely suggest that she was anything other than a DSH--Domestic Short Hair. Then I read what she is. 

It appears she's a Moggie. 

I had never heard of a Moggie before, so I looked it up.  Moggie (also spelled moggy) is an informal British term for cat or kitten. It may have been a derivative of Margaret or Maggie.   One site said it was a "mongrel" cat--one of undetermined parentage. That for sure is this kitten. 

But more importantly, I like the way it sounds. 

So now I'm calling her Moggie. Along with Pip.

A pip is the dot (or Spot) on either dominos or dice (I looked it up because it was driving me batty not being able to remember which it was.  I found out a pip can be on either--but I think I learned about pips when I read a "Cat Who..." book where the numbers of the resort cottages were based on domino pips.  I also like the slag meaning of Pip--a character, one who is difficult but still likeable.  Again it suits her. 

No matter, the kitten hasn't responded to Moggie, Pip, Moggie-Pip, or Pip-Moggie.  Yet. 

I don't know which version I like best, but I have found a perverse pleasure in calling the cat a derivative of "Spot."

The MIA iPhone

The loaner car ate my iPhone last night.

I realized it was gone just before Fairfield. I remembered placing it on the center console sometime after I left Marshall.  But it wasn't there when I looked again. The good news is I charge my iPhone in the car and it's easy to retrieve it by pulling the charging cord if I drop it. I figured it had slid off the console, so I pulled up the charging cord.

The cord was empty.

When I stopped for gas in Waco, I spent a good 20 minutes searching the car. The iPhone was nowhere to be found. Not in the bag of trash I had produced. Not in any of the myriad of car cubbyholes. I checked under seats and between the console as best I could. It was a very tight fit and I was having  a difficult time getting my hand all the way under or between.  I couldn't feel it anywhere. It had not fallen into my open purse or mini book-bag. Where could it have gone?

I went through everything a second time.  Still nada. I considered laying down on the back seat to see if I could get a better angle for checking between and under the seats.

When I got home I checked everything a third time. It had to be in the car. I had not gotten out. Or rolled down a window. I rechecked all my pockets, the car cubbies, under and around seats, and my purse and bag for a third time. Still no iPhone. It was MIA.

It was not until I thought to move the seats all the way forward and all the way backward that I started finding MIAs.  But they were other peoples MIAs:

* A key ring with 6-7 keys.
* A single key with a broken hanger--maybe off the key ring--or maybe off another.
* An empty ice tea bottle.
* Money. (Okay, it was only $0.01)

I readjusted the seats and finally I found it.

This incident got me to thinking though. It would seem this car has a history of abduction. How many other cars have an equally sinister past?

Perhaps rather than checking CarFax, we need to check Police Blotters.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

I Bit the Bullet

I entered my first writing contest. It's a very small and informal contest held every week or so. It’s attached to a blog by NY Agent, Janet Reid.  I've been reading her for a couple of years and love her. She's a straight from the hip shooter. Because she's blunt, people sometimes feel like she's chewed them up and spit them out.  Being blunt myself, I appreciate her.
Her nickname is The Shark. 

Every week or so I wait in anticipation for her contest. I read the rules (usually 100 word count or less,  must include the 5-6 required words she assigns,  submissions are made as a comment at the end that particular blog entry within a specific timeframe:  Sat 10am to Sun 10am, and one do-over is allowed).  The rules are the same every week. Only the required words change. I read the rules faithfully every week because she’s a stickler for following submission guidelines. The hardest she critiques anyone, is when she points out the rules they failed to follow. I don’t know if it’s true or not, but rumor has it she has banned people for this act of stupidity. There is no way I’m going to not follow her rules, so I read them every week.  I even go so far as to develop a story most weeks. 

But I never enter.

That’s not quite true. Last year I worked up the courage to submit a story. Luckily my submission didn't go through—so for all intents and purposes, I’ve never entered.  In retrospect I was glad my submission failed to go through—all of the other submissions were brilliant. I would have been embarrassed for mine to have been included.  Plus, if she had ripped it, I would have been crushed.
I'm not an award winner. Ever. I'm an Also Ran. My Best is never The Best. And that's okay. As long as it's My Best, I'm pleased. Could I do better? Always. Will I do better? Improvement is always the goal.  Which is why my second favorite blog post of The Shark, follows the contest by a couple of days. It's the blog post where she declares the winner(s). I can usually pick out who the winner(s) will be even if the writing style or storyline is not to my liking. So if nothing else, I figure I'm at least honing my ability to recognize what a NYC Agent sees as acceptable writing.  

Every week or so, I sit safely back and read her contest entrant submissions.  Frequently I’m blown away by the writing as I read entry after entry of sheer brilliance. But every once in a while, I read an entry that is written by someone and I think, “I could write something better than this.”  Sometimes I smugly ask the screen, "Did you not read the submission guidelines?  I do not want to be in your shoes, when The Shark reads this!" At other times I scratch my head as I try to make sense of a disjointed entry I imagine to have been penned by someone with no social skills and even poorer written communication skills.  I know I shouldn’t be so judgmental, but I am. I imagine others do the same thing as they read some of my inane prose. However, no matter how hard I might imagine others being on me, I’m even tougher on myself.
And I never enter, because too many things might go wrong...

The Shark might take note of my drivel and ban me from her site for life.  The real authors that enter might laugh at my feeble attempt at composing a story.  The wannabe's and posers might also laugh at my entry—or worse—embrace me as one of their own. Worse still, I might actually win one week—and then the pressure would be on to win again. There's probably not much worse than being a one hit wonder—which surpasses being a no talent hack by only a cat’s whisker. But, for me, the all-time worst thing that could happen would be for my submission to be totally ignored.  Which is why I go through the motions of writing a story, but never entering the contest.

This week my story is very simple—it has no dialogue and is nowhere near as brilliant as some of the stories submitted.  It's also the hardest I've even written. Not the story content. The stupid word count!

It’s only 100 words—but trying to tell a cohesive story in under 100 words is difficult. Strunk and White encourage writers to “make every word count.” Others say, “Write Tight!”  This is much easier said than done. I started out with 156 words. That was the easy part. Then I had to cull and revise—and it would take me an hour or more, during each revision.  I'd think, "Surely the word count is okay now." And I'd recount manually (iPhone doesn't have a WC function). 

I gained 16 words.

Why couldn't I gain words when I participated in NaNoWriMo?!  National Novel Writing Month is held every November and the goal is to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days.  It’s actually a very doable goal if you plug away every day—all I would have to do is write 1,667 words each day. But every year, I manage to loose word count. They caution you to silence your inner editor, and just get the words on the page. I’ve never been good at following instructions. I tend to edit more than I write. As a result I tighten it up and loose word count.  Editing or writing a 100 word piece of Flash Fiction should be easy. Right?

I finally pared my entry down to 100 words. Then I sat on it for several hours before coming back and rereading it. I edited it some more and gained more words. I took Steven King’s advice and killed off the little darlings.  I managed to get my entry back to 100 words. I left to do something. When I came back and re-reread it....

Several rounds of add and purge later, I was satisfied with my story.  Well, I was as satisfied as I get with any story I write. Then I noticed not too many people had entered the contest this week…

Maybe everyone else was busy with NaNoWriMo.  I thought, “This might be a good week to enter. I might stand a chance.”  If nothing else, The Shark might comment on a nicely turned phrase (I particularly liked my "Zamboni-smoothed rink ice" word picture).  

I re-constructed my story to include her in a shameless attempt to sway her toward my story.  I had seen that tactic go either way—sometimes she loved it, other times, she didn’t comment.  She had been known to comment on word choices—especially if they were new to her, so I threw in a couple of (I thought) brilliant word choices:

               Littoral = part of the shore where the blue water meets the sand.

               Tiburon = shark (shamelessly alluding to her).

She calls her Interns her minions, so I made Billie and Max her minions.  And, in case there was any doubt, I mentioned her walls—she paints her walls like every two seconds.  

I rechecked her blog comments.  Some of the submissions I read were poorly written—they either had errors or I couldn't get a sense of an actual story (I didn’t know if I am just too unsophisticated to understand some of the submissions, or if they really lacked clarity).  I hoped to land in between two of those submissions so mine would appear stronger.

 If I actually submitted it. I was still on the fence. And the fence was safe. The fence kept the critics at bay.  But that was because only friends had ever read anything I have ever written.

Until this week.

I submitted my simple story that afternoon. But something happened to the submission—I couldn’t find it. I worried, "It's so bad she's not even going to let me enter! I know it's at least as good as so-and-so's submission.  This is twice now—does this chick just not like me? Am I totally off with my story? Did I screw up the submission—again?!”

Déjà vu. 

I was sick. I had spent the better part of my day and I had nothing to show for it. I would be doomed to a life of never knowing if I could construct a story—even a simple piece of Flash Fiction.  Oh, woe was me….

Once I calmed down, I realized my error.  I was on the old page. My submission was safe and sound awaiting my tap on the send button.  I hit the button before I could stop myself.

Finally, it was submitted.

Then the waiting began.  The contest was still open and every time I saw her blog my stomach would tie up in knots.

A couple of years (really just days) later my unspoken goal was realized:  In the blog where she announced the winners, I received a shout out from The Query Shark! 
I didn’t win. My word choices did not impress her. Her comment wasn't on form, content, or anything of any major importance, but it was a mention. I was not ignored.

In retrospect, I may have gone too far when I aged her to the point of requiring her to walk with a Rollator (wheeled walker with a seat).


I'm Loulymar and my submission was posted at 7:15 pm.  It's about two thirds of the way in to the submissions:,+Literary+Agent)&m=1

Monday, November 10, 2014

Ornery Cats and Spades Players

(I noticed a Friend of a Friend read and liked an old FaceBook post, so I decided to reprint it here. I may try to figure out how to link my FB and Blogger acounts. I thought it used to to it for me, but I haven't be able to link in quite some time.  Until I figure it out, I'm going to repost a few FB posts. This is from a May 12, 2014 FB post.)
I had a fun night playing spades with Sharon, Guyann, and Lou last night—even when the storm hit. We have a scaredy cat. Actually, there was a cat at spades.
"Jane," the visually impaired kitty.  She's also a naughty kitty. She nearly got spritzed with Sharon's water bottle for attempting to hop up on the table. She eventually found a comfy spot on Lou's handbag (Jane, not Sharon), after she accompanied me to the bathroom (again, Jane—not Sharon).
I thought it was just my pets that had an overwhelming urge to ensure my bathroom safety. Evidentially, I must give off the "I'm helpless and need protection" vibe, because ALL animals--whether mine or not, seem to be protective of me and feel compelled to keep me safe in the bathroom.
I even thought it was fun when Sharon attempted to correct me by spraying me with her water bottle.  Sharons corrective attempt was clearly an epic fail since she says I'm still ornery.
I guess I am ornery because I had an especially fun night.  Guyann was my spades partner and we  stomped Lou and Sharon—all night.
Well, almost all night.  Right up until the last hand, of the last game, when everyone played their last card.
Everyone except Lou that is—after she played her "last" card, she still had four in her hand...we're still kinda wondering how that happened. Maybe she picked up a trick and it was placed in her hand? We've made every known mistake, and a few unique to us.
It really didn't matter, I promptly declared, "Jane," the visually impaired kitty, the overall game winner!
Jane approved.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Possible Pinterest Bracelet Instructions

I pinned a corded anchor bracelet on Pinterest last year. Since that time the blog (with instructions or sales info)  has been removed.  I have been asked how to make the bracelet and I don't know.  But the more I look at it, I believe it could be simple enough to recreate. So here are the steps I would try: 

1) cut two lengths of cord a little longer than the circumference of your wrist. 

2) fold one length of cord in half and apply a crimping end-cap with a ring on the end (maybe using glue inside  the cap for a more secure hold) then using a jump ring attach the anchor charm to that loop. Set the first loop with anchor charm aside. 

3) fold the second length of cord so there is a tail of about 3-4 inches, place a crimping barrel over the loop and the opposite free end (so there are three cord widths inside the crimping barrel and a loose tail sticking out.  I would NOT crimp the barrel at this point. 

4) intertwine the two looped cords (like you would intertwine two rubber bands)

5) wrap the intertwined loops around your wrist, close the looped tail over the anchor, adjust until it fits your wrist but can also be taken off (by unlooping the anchor), trim the tail,  and crimp the barrel to secure everything.  

I'm sure there's probably an easier way of doing it--but that's probably what I would try to do to duplicate the bracelet in the photo. Hope that helps.