Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Post Season

When the kids were kids we rooted for the White Sox. D was a softball player, a rather large (as compared to the other girls her age) player with a big swing. She was dubbed "lil Frank" by her teammates. Unlike Frank though, D wasn't just a big bat, she could field the ball. She was awesome at first base, if I do say so myself. But alas, softball gave way to soccer and volleyball.
As a kid I rooted for the Cubs. When I played ball with the other kids my player name was "Billy Williams" primarily because I batted from the left side. I also threw left-handed but was otherwise rigged to pursue the right-hand mind-set.

As adults we (D and me) kinda, sorta root for both teams. We are not big baseball fans but we are fans of the home town teams. M is not much of a fan either. But since he lives on the north side, a couple of miles from the "friendly confines", he has to at least pretend to bleed Cubby blue, especially on game days. He says the atmosphere is insane on game days, Win days.
Both home town teams have made it to the post season. I'm rooting for both for what it's worth, though truth be told I don't want to be anywhere near the city if by some chance they both make it to the World Series. Oh Me. Oh My. I think though, if they both do make it to the big show, Chicago is a shoo in for winning the 2016 Summer Olympic bid.
Big news, yes, but our eyes are also trained on the Fire and we are looking forward to the inaugural season of Women's Pro Soccer ( re-vamped form of the defunct WUSA) next year.
Chicago, it seems is building a pretty impressive team.

The LA Sparks are not playing for the championship and in that case, Go Silver Stars!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Another Cat Tai..Tale

Buttah. deciding that Pete's ears needed attention, tending them with loving care.

The daughter hasn't given up the idea of
dressing the cat. However, now she has her own cat to embarrass dress. Someone donated a bag of pet costumes for a variety seasons and occasions to the shelter. Daughter snagged a few items for possible consideration.
So far, only the rubber band ball will wear the pilgrim hat. I'll keep you posted.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Woman's Work

For September's Wordsmith's Challenge: Woman's Work
The drink order was delivered without benefit of eye contact from the morose waitress. The absence of that little bit of familiarity and camaraderie would normally upset this customer. Not today, today is not a normal day. The customer, Dusty, was in a funky mood and the plan was to drink her way to a more agreeable mood, fast.
Dusty Lickliter’s funky mood was caused by her termination. She was fired from the job she loved as the number one taste tester for the Kook-ee Candies and Confections Company. For three years Dusty poured her heart and soul into this job. She never missed a day and she applied for extra hours whenever she could.
Proposed all-day-sucker flavors always warranted extra hours.
There would be no more extra hours though. Dusty was fired. No reason to get up in the morning. Gone was the sniffing and licking ritual that defined tasting. Gone was Lickliter’s joy except for that which she hoped would be found at the bottom of this drink. Well, truth be told, many drinks.
Deep into drink number four, Dusty began to accept that her termination was justified. She recalled the day the Pink Pulse samples were delivered to her cubicle.
Pink Pulse, a new hard candy flavor sensation, was slated for a vigorous round of tasting. Dusty gave it all she had. She sniffed and licked the Pink for five days before finally awarding the flavor four tongues up, the highest praise a hard candy could achieve. Pink Pulse went into production almost immediately, based exclusively on Dusty Lickliter’s trusty tasting skills.
The Pink bombed.
Kook-ee Candiies and Confections lost millions. While the business survived the fall-out, Dusty was not so lucky. She was out, a taster without a purpose. Her tongue was once considered the best little licker in town. That’s all kaput now.
Though content to drown her sorrows in as many of the tasty concoctions the morose but pretty waitress of the garishly decorated restaurant / bar could bring her, Dusty was pleased to have been able to walk home under her own steam.
Checking her receipts several days later, Dusty saw that the delectable concoction she’d been drinking that night was called Pretty in Pink.
If there were such a concept of ‘lucky color’, Dusty Lickliter has decided that the color pink is certainly out of the running as her charm.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Knock On Wood

You’ve had one of those days, I’m sure. You wake to a shining sun. You’re hair is working with you instead of against. You don’t burn your breakfast and the pets manage the morning without too much fuss. Your mind is as clear as your goals for the day. Your very workable things-to-do list will rule the day. You are feeling good, so good you are literally humming on your way to work.

The first hour is good. Your commute is un-eventful, you don’t spill your tea and you’re not nearly killed by a crazed motorist.

Into the second hour is when it starts. Barely half-way through your list, Justin appears in your doorway. Somehow he has managed to erase the system administrator password for the antiquated phone system. Helping him reset and restore kills too many minutes and much momentum. Yet, the rest of your list looms.

You take a break, get some air and eat an apple. After your burps, you get back on the case.

No sooner do you get humping on the rest of the list items, the phone rings. It is your mother. The topic—doesn’t matter, the conversation rips into the next several minutes the way the kids in the neighborhood rip into flamin’ hot chee-tohs.

Then a flurry of minor, mind numbing disturbances swirl around like dumpster flies.

Your last ditch effort to salvage any remnant of focus is thwarted by the ache creeping up your back and deciding to nestle itself at the base of your skull. Thankfully it is close enough to 5 to call it a day.

You head home, done in before you could finish the list which now adds to the challenge for the next day.

However, you’re met at the door by the smiling eyes of one curly haired pup, a sauntering orange tabby and a wary grey one. They all are happy to see you, but they want to eat so they’re happier to see food. You walk the pup, take care of some essentials and prepare your own dinner.

You share a meal of turkey tacos with your daughter who relates the best and worst of her own hopeful day. You talk (by phone) with girlfriend and then your son and then your girlfriend again. They both make you laugh and you feel relaxation taking over where tautness once reigned.

The night ends with you and girlfriend exchanging, 'I love you', giving one another a virtual kiss and you dreaming of her sparkling eyes.

You wake the next morning (much too early) but you know the sun will be up soon. You prepare breakfast for you and the pets. You move onward to the rest of your day. Another shot to crack that augmented list and then some. If you succeed fantastic and if you don’t, well, knock on wood there is another day.

You understand your days can turn on a dime, your well-laid plans melt like ice cream in the summer heat, leaving residue all over your hands (unless you had a napkin). You never seem to have a napkin when you need one. But there is soap and water, all is well.

The day will go the way it goes and then you’re home. You talk with son, daughter and girlfriend. You go to sleep dreaming of sparkling eyes knowing that each day that passes, brings you closer to days without work and with those eyes (and the rest of her).

Knock on wood.

Friday, September 19, 2008


D-dog, Diamond, the diva is seven years old today. Since coming to us a year ago (next week) she has revealed a feisty, sweet, fierce, perpetually hungry, loving, happy, hefty bundle of curly grey fur.

The plans for the day, I think, were to eat, sleep, punk the cats, sleep, lick her paws, punk the cats, sleep, beg for daughter's cheeseburgers (or whatever she decided to have for lunch), sleep, walk, piss, poop, sleep, drink some water, punk the cats, roll over many times for belly rubs and for good measure, punk the cats. She lived in one household prior to being surrendered to the shelter. Daughter scooped her up before anyone else, even before she was deemed "adoptable." She sure knows how to pick 'em. Happy 7th Diamond girl.
As an aside, Syd talked about meat, more specifically BBQ which of course, made me want some, bad. I entertained thoughts of tossing the cottage cheese that was lunch out the window, but decided just to save it for another day. I did go out for BBQ (flavor anyway). I don't go just anywhere for BBQ and there isn't anyplace around work that comes close to being acceptable. There is a fairly new place that I thought might work for flavorful sauciness. I tested them with a grilled chicken sandwich a couple of weeks ago. It wasn't bad, but they could do better by the chicken by upgrading the bun. Wimpy buns bum me out.
Well, I decided today (since Syd was all over meat BBQ) to try their BBQ chicken breast sandwich. Now, the wimpy bun I expected and was willing to give a pass, but the limp lettuce? Ewww
Worse than the wimpy bun and limpy lettuce was the crap-tastic shit swill they were passing off as BBQ sauce. I don't say (or rather write) this often but...WTF? Seriously. I needed 2 cups of water to wash that muck out of my mouth.
I'm going to go brush my teeth now.
Happy, happy, joy, joy to daughter's dog.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Bits on a Thursday

Mom has called every day this week asking about my labs. I had blood drawn on Saturday morning for the routine screenings connected to my routine annual physical. No, I don’t have the results (as of yesterday). “You are very patient”, says she. These weren’t urgent, it is routine. Anxious is her middle name.

I was nearly run over yesterday. Shhhh, don’t tell Neta (or my mom or my daughter). I had a rant all booted up to talk about the dipshit who blew a red light and nearly turned off my lights. I’ve calmed down some, mostly because this kind of thing happens much too frequently. Such are the hazards of walking and pedaling among thousands of motorized vehicles, handled by moronic, inconsiderate speed demons.

Holly sheets!!

A friend of my daughter’s had to swim away from his car on Monday. He was driving down River Rd. when suddenly it became…a river. A mis-calculation had him stranded in the middle of a flooded intersection. Daughter drove out to rescue him, bummed by the fact that Micky D’s was closed. Of course it was…there is a river of water where the sidewalks used to be. He was able to salvage his tools and textbooks (studying to be an auto mechanic) and his teacher says car may not necessarily be toast.

It is harder to be a daughter than a mother. That may not be universal, could just be in my universe. Not, mind you, that mothering son and daughter didn’t have challenges along the way (or still) it’s just that I felt surer of my own steps in those regards.

I got word that dad (& wife) evacuated for Gustav by heading to Georgia. For all I know they may still be there. dad James celebrated his 70th birthday at the beginning of this month. I have no idea what form that celebration took. I wasn’t in that loop.

I broke down and gave a cousin my email address, hoping that maybe we could “re-connect” in some meaningful way. I thought that she, being 5 or so years my senior might be able to offer some insight from the over 50 point of view. A few of her messages so far:
FWD: Guurl I just got my nails did FWD: Men! ! FWD: Prom day in the ‘hood

Sometimes I feel like I sprang from a pod. I am one of them, but I’m not.

Neta’s newest nickname for me is “Detail Deb” as my tales tend to go a little long. Heh!

My wasband took to calling me “chocolate” for a time. Yours truly didn't feel endeared by the term.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Such a Little Thing

If you ask me (or anyone really) for directions and I (or anyone) offer the directions, your response to same is: Thank You or thanks, I appreciate your help or some similar variation.

A grunt, some other noise or worse, nothing at all is not a similar variation.

If you ask me (or anyone, really) for directions and I (or anyone) relate, "I'm sorry, I'm not sure how to get there from here." Your response to same is: Oh ok, thanks anyway or some similar variation.

A grunt, some other noise or worse, nothing at all is not a similar variation.

And if you shove me (or anyone) trying to do, whatever it is you're trying to do--excuse me, I'm sorry or some similar variation is appropriate.

"Get da F#*# outta... "
Well, you know...not a similar variation.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Stimulus Query # 200

Paranoia strikes deep in the heartland
But I think it's all overdone
Exaggerating this and exaggerating that
They don't have no fun
*Paul Simon's Have A Good Time

Monday, September 15, 2008

Nature Au Naturel

Five days is average, normal and . . . ok, acceptable. Even at 48, 5 days is acceptable. Barely.

Nine days is above average, maybe normal but skirting the edge and nearing the realm of un-acceptable. Seriously.

Twelve days, though not the longest I’ve experienced in the past 2—3 years is well beyond average, has tottered over the edge of normal and is quite totally unacceptable.

Always Maxi with wings, I am not singing your praises. You are better than your competition but you leave much, well, let’s just leave it there.

However, it isn’t raining today, I didn’t have any electrical issues or flooding (though a couple of co-workers did), the new barber (I had to get a new one, Norman passed away) did an ok job a few days ago and I am not Joe. Joe lost his job on Monday because he was irresponsible and inconsiderate on Friday. Joe was not pleased with losing his job on Monday. He became belligerent and vulgar. I thought we’d need to summon the police. Joe ultimately left quietly.

To everyone who has suffered the forces of nature this weekend past, here’s to recovery.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Expectation Express

Back in 2006 the public transpo option to / from work nearest my home and work-place went express. Overall I was happy about this service improvement though even after two years, nearly every day someone shouted, "LET ME OFF! I DIDN'T KNOW THIS WAS AN EXPRESS!!"

Some weeks ago the public transpo authority decided to de-express the express (partially). They decided that for part of the route (the longest, most populated part) the bus would make all stops for about a 2 1/2 mile stretch. That's about 20 city blocks (give or take). There are 23 bus stops in that stretch. TWENTY-THREE vs. the 6 it was making as a pure express bus. SIX and that includes the end-of-the-line turn around. Keep in mind that over this same stretch of 23 stops is the regular route bus making the same stops.

Think the express patrons were confused before? 'Taint nothin compared to the confusion reigning now, not to mention the anger.

The route does maintain the express concept for the second part of the trip, making only another 10 stops before it hits the down-town area. I get off at stop number seven. So in theory the bus could stop 30 times (not counting traffic lights and stop signs) before I get to my destination. THIRTY vs thirteen.

Change, it happens. I get that. I adjust. I deal. What continues to burn my buttons about this change is that the patrons found out ON THE DAY of the change. There were no hearings, no notice and no signage along the route until the day of the change. Further, I don't see how they can call this an express bus, when it is clearly no longer express (at least for most of the route). The CSA responding to my emails spouted the company line about servicing the maximum number of customers in the most efficient manner. It was / is my position that this change does the exact opposite.

Partly as a result of this change and partly because I'm working on working in more exercise in my daily routines (more about that later) I found an alternative to the non-express express bus and the elevated trains with all those daunting stairs. I take the on-ground train, but I have to walk (or ride my bike) several blocks to get to the station.

Now and again, I'm not up to the walk (especially in the rain) so I resort to the non-express express bus. This morning was one of those times. This morning there was a public transpo authority service rep on the bus handing out survey forms about this route. Trust, I stated my opinion.

I expect one of two scenarios. 1. the non-express express will be cancelled altoghter or 2. will only run from that 2nd part through the downtown area, which will effectively take it off my service radar.

In either case, I expect that I must embrace walking (or riding my bike) the several blocks to the on-ground train, come rain (wind, sleet, snow) or shine. I suppose considering the overall health benefits of the alternate travel plan, they can take this express bus and shove it.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Veggie Tale

I bought and prepared a small (though not small enough) head of cabbage for the Labor Day meal. The cabbage was at the daughter’s request, but as it turns out due to her drugged out state she didn’t eat that much that day or the days immediately following.

I don’t care for cabbage. I don’t hate cabbage but it certainly is not among my top 10 veggie likes. Son apparently is not a big fan either. Though he ate a healthy portion that day he didn’t take any home. He did, however, clear us out of spaghetti and apple pie.

Yesterday, we finally finished the Labor Day cabbage, re-heating a little for dinner (and even once for lunch Saturday).

My mom stopped over on Sunday. She brought me a container of almost done cabbage and 2 ears of corn (frozen).

On Monday she called wanting to know if I wanted more cabbage. It seems the large head she bought at the farmer’s market keeps getting . . . bigger.

No. More. Cabbage. I respectfully declined the offer of more cabbage.

Then, “well, what about Brussels sprouts?”

The previously delivered almost done cabbage was resting in the freezer.

I respectfully declined the Brussels sprouts offer.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Calculations and the Cat(s) and a Dog

I’ve lived with the two cats and a dog for a few weeks now and I'd like to share a few observations:

Buttah tolerates the crunchy kibble but he goes cuckoo for co-co puffs over the moist food, i.e. cat crack. His fervent mews for moist food time are second only to those reserved for the appearance of human food. Pete likes the moist food too, but much like his response to most everything, he’s… heh, whatev.

Speaking of Mr. Personality his early morning wake-up routine has altered a bit since Buttah’s arrival. He is still the designated waker upper, but he’s a lot less insistent about it. No more leg humping, no nipping at the elbows, no chin chucking. Just few mews, some finger licks and one (or two) trips across the chest or around the head. And best of all, inside of 4 am it’s more like 5.

Buttah, we think, spent a lot of time outside before D found him. That or his previous family fed him human food often. The kitchen is clearly his favorite room and chicken (as in wings) is clearly his favorite, most coveted food stuffs. He calms down once he sees we won’t give in to his performance. It is, quite the show.

Diamond must be policed around any food, especially since her diet. She gobbles hers down and stalks theirs. If left on her own she will push them out of the way and eat their moist food. She pushes them around just on general principal, being the oldest and heaviest. They, however, can leap out of her reach. Still, she’s the big ticket around here, and she doesn’t let them forget it.

At least twice in the last few weeks the three of them got a bit rambunctious in the early morning hours, chasing one another back and forth through the unit, barreling to and fro. The sound my steps freeze them in their tracks, the ‘it wasn’t me’ look plastered to each furry face.

Diamond is a major league snorer. Today, for some inexplicable reason she ate the feather toys belonging to the cats. She may be acting out because of the diet.

Buttah pees like a racehorse and hair ball? It’s more like hair log.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Daughter. October. Twenty-three. Hmm, Not

If daughter got this cake for her birthday celebration, she might be put off cakes forever.

Check out some other wrecks.

It Is Time

. . . or hail to those * who wish to be chief.

*not my creation. appears to be making the rounds via emails.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Before the Weekend Update

Remember the break-in a year plus ago? Well there has been a development. Lead detective Unzngr came over last night to discuss the development and the possible next steps.

The development: The state lab has completed the fingerprint analysis. Finally, a suspect has been identified. This suspect has a very extensive arrest and conviction history. A ‘rap sheet’ they call it, one as long as my arm, the detective relayed.

In fact, the suspect is currently serving time, convicted a few weeks ago for retail theft. The detective notes that though the suspect was sentenced to two years, he’ll likely serve half that, even less depending on the state-wide convict population.

The file will be delivered to an assistant district attorney who will look at the evidence, statements and reports toward deciding whether to charge the suspect. The ADA might send the detective to question the suspect. However, lacking witnesses or any other physical evidence, coupled with the non-recovery of the stolen items, a charge is not likely.

I’ll have to be ok with that, mostly I am, for outside the occasional heart-wrenching thought of what might have happened had daughter awakened to find the suspect in our home….the episode has been pretty much laid to rest.

And oh, the suspect is not my younger brother. Of course, I have no way of knowing if my brother's path ever crossed that of the suspect. They both seemed to have spent a life-time criss-crossing the state, visiting one correctional facility after another.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Buggin' Out

You know what bugs me? Well yes that too, but also this:

A company I've known for a couple of decades as: Joe Friday Company* has changed their name to: Friday Company, Joe

A customer is charged sales tax. They know that they are exempt from same, they just need to provide documentation (an exemption certificate) which they do--with their payment. Instead of deducting the tax from the payment and asking us to credit the transaction to even, they pay the tax, ask for a credit and then a refund for the overpayment.

Our order processing software does not identify billing documents as invoices. The software issues order numbers instead. I stamp every order document meant as a billing document, submitted for payment: INVOICE PLEASE REMIT Additionally, every document has a message center. The message center has the following statement: PLEASE PAY BY ORDER NUMBER / INVOICE. REMIT "BALANCE". Customers call to say they can't find the invoice number on order number 123456A.

Save a heart attack Ain't nobody humping around Happy Wednesday.
~B. Brown

*an example for illustrative purposes only.