Friday, July 30, 2010


It's like "Cher"... nothing needs to be added to the name.

If you live in the Lehigh Valley, you just need to say "22" and you hear the groans and the moans.
Yesterday evening I was once again stuck on 22...that's Route 22 to those of you who live in the country...another country.

I get stuck on 22 often since I drive back and forth across the state for work. I'm usually driving home, eastward, during the evening rush hour. Now THERE'S a misnomer: "rush" hour. There's NO rushing on 22 during "rush" hour. It should be called "slow" hour or "stop" hour or "why is that truck on my a-s while we're only going 5 miles an hour" hour.

Yesterday, while I was stuck on the Lehigh Valley's longest, narrowest parking lot, I thought about...retiring.

Then I would go out on 22 between 1PM and 3 PM when everyone else was working.
Or maybe I would just not go on 22 ever again.
It's not like I would have to.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Pope Is Wrong

Another great article from

I've been thinking about this news and how I would write about it - I couldn't do better than this.

Vatican Inquisition Warning to Outspoken American Nuns

I spent an afternoon with six nuns. They are all women of a certain age who look like your grandmother. White hair. Sensible shoes.

These sisters have served the church faithfully for decades. They have advanced academic degrees. And experience running complex things like hospitals and schools.

They are furious.

Not a ranting, raving kind of fury. But a quieter, deeper anger born of betrayal and disrespect.

And it's directed quite specifically. Not at priests in general, because these nuns honor and respect many of the priests they know. They are outraged at specific priests who have betrayed the cloth. And at the curia in Rome which, in its insulation and tone-deafness, has time and again failed to respond in a timely, open and transparent manner to the worst of all abuses -- the violation of young people under their protection.

The sisters and I met over the Fourth of July weekend. The Vatican had not yet issued its mind-boggling declaration of "grave sins" that stuck the attempted ordination of women on the same list as pedophilia. That outrage was yet to come.

Instead, the sisters and I talked about the continuing Vatican investigation of nuns. It is a two-pronged probe in which religious orders of women in America are being questioned about their lifestyles, their faithfulness to church orthodoxy and about their concerns for the future of the church.

One nun told me that one of the sisters in her order responded recently to her Vatican-sent questioner by saying that among her serious concerns were the continued revelations about priestly pedophilia. No sooner had she given that answer than she realized from the look on her inquisitor's face that she'd just flunked the test.

The interrogation of American nuns, as you may know, will not result in a published report. The Vatican will conclude its chilling probe but will keep its conclusions to itself. A stern way of warning sisters they'd better straighten up and fly right, that someone above them is watching. No, not God. But the boys in Rome who are displeased with their independence and outspokenness. That no doubt includes Cardinal Bernard Law, the obstructor of justice from Boston about whom I have written often. Law lives a fabulous life in Rome, flies first class and remains a member of the College of Cardinals despite his massive role in the church's cover-up of pedophilia in the United States.

Law has never been prosecuted, defrocked or excommunicated. The church saves its speedy justice for its women. Like Sister Margaret McBride, an administrator at St. Joseph's Hospital in Phoenix, who in May realized the only way to save the life of a pregnant 26-year-old mother of four was to abort her fetus. Otherwise, both mother and baby would die.

Bishop Thomas J. Olmstead quickly excommunicated her. His decision has horrified many Catholic clergy and lay people alike.

On the heels of that shocking injustice dispensed to a sister dedicated to saving lives came the church's July document explaining "more grave sins."

It was supposed to demonstrate just how seriously the church is now dealing with relentless, daily revelations of sex abuse across Europe.

And to express the church's determination to deal expeditiously with offenders.

But by tossing in the attempted ordination of women, it looked for all the world as though the Vatican was equating the two.

Not so, assured Archbishop Donald Wuerl of Washington.

Wuerl "was left to attempt to convince the skeptics in the United States that the Church loves and values women," according to the National Catholic Reporter.

Sure it does.

As long as they know their place.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

A Weird Idea...

We all know I'm weird.
I've accepted that.
I follow all the "paranormal" news and I've even posted some here.
While reading one of my weird magazines (World Explorer), I had a thought (yeah, yeah - a weird thought):
There seems to have been an increasing amount of weirdness going on, or rather, weirdness sightings, over the last few years. Crop Circles. Bigfoot. Huge Fish. Large Black Cats. UFOs. Ghosts. Fairies.
We are less than two years away from what one of the few surviving Mayan Codexes may have noted as the end of....something.... just what it's the end of is unclear.
The Date is (of course, if you don't know, you've been living on Venus and if you have been living on Venus, you've got one helluva tan)...cue the base drum roll... 12/21/12 or if you're in Europe: 21/12/12.
So just what will happen?
Some theories:
1. Nuthin' and we'll all turn over in our snuggy beds and dream of sugar plums. (Remember the Y2K crap?)
2. Some people will freak out and act out, more so than usual.
3. "New Agers" (and I sometimes count myself in that mystical group) think that there will be a shift in consciousness. Huh? Not unless we're all shifting at the same time in the same direction. I, for one, cannot see a fanatic Muslim who wants to stone female rape victims suddenly turning into Alan Alda on 12/21/12.
4. And to be politically correct with #3, nor do I see fundamentalist Christians who believe that the rest of us are going to Hell in a very large handbasket changing their ideas on the same day.
5. There will be a shift in the earth's crust. It has happened before and if it happens in 2012, let me just say that you should give your Christmas presents early because if this earth moves, ain't nuthin' gonna be left.
6. There could be a Polar Shift - this has also happened before and results are the same as #5.
7. Various other astronomical and geographical scenarios that my poor brain cannot wrap around - but that would led to "THE END OF THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT".

So what does all of the above have to do with the increase weirdness that is going on?
Maybe, just maybe, all of the "sightings" are things, animals, people that live in a different dimension. Look it up. Scientists do believe there are different dimensions other than what we see.
Maybe the dividing line between the other dimension(s) and ours is thinning...allowing us to see beings that exist in their own "place" but sometimes "bleed" into ours.
And maybe that line is thinning because...well...we're getting close to (cue the Law and Order theme): 12/21/12, when the dimensions will merge.

Fairies and elves and bigfoots...oh, my.

See, I told you I was weird.
But remember - I did predict the housing crash - and right on this very blog, too.

Just sayin'....

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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Getting Ready for the Weekend...

...sometimes begins Thursday morning.
Yesterday was another long day at work - no writing, some reading when I got home.
I already warned Dave that today cannot be another long day - hair appointment (for me, not him) at 5:30.
Morgan may be up tomorrow.
Sooooo....this morning I was up at 4:30 (that's AM), did some straightening up in the apartment, got ready for work and went to the grocery store.
I just finished putting groceries away and in plenty of time to make it to work...early.
I may be snoring while Maryann colors my gray, but at least one pre-weekend chore is done.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

If not now, when...

My father told me never to volunteer - he'd been in the army.
I never listened to Pop.
I've done volunteer work for most of my adult life.
From the Cancer Society to the Heart Association to animal shelters to writers groups.
My volunteer spirit ended when I ended up in a hospital bed with accelerated hypertension, caused by a blocked renal artery and a work load that keeps on growing.
I can't stop working, so I limit what I do outside of work.
Spending time for me, spending time with Morgan, all decreases my stress.
I may go back to volunteering when I retire but until then, I'm volunteering for Mitzi.
"If not now, when?"
If I don't take care of me now, there may be no later.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Name That Cat...

He doesn't answer to Snowfoot.
He doesn't answer to LalalalaLola.
He doesn't answer to Poncho.

He does have six toes - at least on his front feet.

Today Morgan told me about a camp counselor he worked with as a young man; the counselor had six toes on each foot. Morgan and a friend would pull a prank on this counselor by telling the campers that this counselor's extra toe was fake and the campers would win a prize if they could take it off while he slept.

"Yep," Morgan said. "That was Six-Toe Lenny."
"That's what I should name the cat!" I said. "Heck, he doesn't answer to anything so I can give him a new name every week."

So when I got home, I looked at the six-toed cat, lying on his perch by the window, and I said, "Lenny, time to eat."
He was in the kitchen before I was.
Now maybe he knows the word "eat" or maybe, just maybe, I've finally found the right name.

For Six-Toed Lenny?
Nah....for Lenny Briscoe and besides, it goes well with Murray.

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Saturday, July 17, 2010

Polydactyl Kitty

I'm usually VERY observant.
I'm a nurse - it's part of my job.
I just thought Poncho had big feet and the more I looked at him, the more I thought the vet who had removed his front claws had done something wrong.
Cats are notorious for not letting you touch their feet. Poncho's no different, even while sitting on my lap.
So I just kept looking and looking and suddenly...
Damn cat has an extra toe on each front foot...not sure about the back ones.
Will let you know after I buy extra band-aids.

Believe It or .....

I post this because I was in England the first week of June and even though our tour guide drove us through parts of Wiltshire noted for Crop Circles, we saw none. Jamie did say they usually appear later in June or July.

Man-made? I don't know. Alien-made? Don't know that either. Nature-made? This is the latest theory - something to do with plasma and electromagnetic fields and stuff I know nothing about.
Interesting? You Betcha!

From: The BEST place to find weird information (You just knew I would love it, right?)

Photos: Recent Crop Circle Formations

A trio of intriguing crop circles have appear recently. The top image is that of a crop circle found on July 13th, 2010 at Guys Cliffe, near Old Milverton, Warwickshire. The middle image was taken at Clay Hill, Warminster, Wiltshire on July 11th, 2010 and the last image was taken the same day in another location in Wiltshire.

The crop circle phenomenon started in Westbury, just three miles north of Warminster in August 1980 and last month 200 crop circles have appeared in one elaborate formation in the nearby village of Mere.

Some believe Westbury's proximity to the prehistoric stone circles at Stonehenge and Avebury is the reason for the strange goings-on.

Others say it is because it lies on the confluence of two so-called leylines, which link spots said to have 'mystical energy'.

Conspiracy theorists put them down to the proximity of Salisbury Plain, home of secret military work.


Friday, July 16, 2010

When Can I Retire Rant

I'm tired.
Forty-two years as a nurse.
I'm tired.
I'm happy to have the job I have, but there are other things I want to do.
I want to write.
I want to be the one with a book signing (yeah, the ole green-eyed monster - I'm human). I've been writing for 50 years; writing for publication for 2o years.
I cannot let the day job exhaust me to the point that I can't do anything else.
I've got to keep thinking about Morgan fixing up the sun porch with two desks, one for each of us.
The prize I'm keeping my eye on.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

He's Baaaaaaaaack!

My good neighbors saw a cat sitting on my patio, looking sadly in the window. They closed the gate and put the babygate up so he couldn't go anywhere and then called the apartment management, who called me.

It was the FC, or now affectionately called Poncho.
Kiss him or kill him?
I kissed and hugged and cooed and when I put him down inside the apartment, he made a beeline to the food.

Last night he spent most of his time on my lap (and I spent most of my time getting out many tiny, tiny burrs that had caught in his long fur)- same this morning.
I hope he's learned that being a well-cared for house cat is a lot better than living out in the wild.
And let's hope that memory is a lasting one.
Welcome home, Snowfoot/LalalalaLola/Poncho/the FC.
Now sit...stay.

(P.S. I just discovered that I have multiple mosquito bites from my night of sleeping on the grass waiting for the prodigal cat.)

Monday, July 12, 2010

Looking for The Lost

Here's what I'm doing:
1. Driving (when it rains) or walking around the complex looking for the FC
2. Fliers offering a $100 reward are now up on all the mailboxes. I hope some kids on school vacation find that attractive.
3. The local SPCA has been alerted. They'll call me if a perpetrator answering the FC's description is brought in.
4. A "Lost" ad in the local daily newspaper.
5. Olivia is also driving around looking for him.

Don't know what more I can do - just keep hoping he shows up.
I am not sleeping outside tonight - calling for rain. I have to draw the line somewhere.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Continuing Saga of FC

I walked around the complex this morning, calling "kitty, kitty, kitty....f--in' kitty..." Actually left off the last one. I want to stay here a little while longer.
I think the FC had an ulterior motive: to get me off my a-s and walking. I will walk again this evening.
I used my new Sletchers Shape-ups and I lost 30 pounds in that one walk.
I lie.
They're comfortable but feel a bit funny at times, like I'm going to tip over - and no wine yet, even though it IS 5 PM SOMEWHERE.
The dry food I put out last night is almost gone - but that could have been any number of critters - lots of wooded areas around here.
Tomorrow I put up fliers.
Don't know if FC can read, but, if he can, he'll know I'm looking for him.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Great Escape - Part Two

Well, the F---in' Cat did it again. Determined SOB, he is....

Midnight, I'm awake and I couldn't go back to sleep.
I decided to read.
I could have picked any one of the hundreds of books in my apartment, but Nooooooooo....
I had to pick the one that was in my car.
I had to shoo FC away from the door with a loud NO!
Went out to the car in bare feet (this time was wearing my shorts, thank the Goddess)...
Got my book out of the car and as I slowly, carefully opened the front door to go back inside....
Swoosh....a streak of beige and white ran past me.
I got the flashlight (the million-watt one).
I roamed the complex.
I went to the wooded areas (and we have a lot - one of the reasons I live here).
I looked under cars.
I got out the wet Meow Mix and carried it around so long I smelled like salmon and tuna.
I sat on my front yard with the Meow Mix.
Then finally I sat the cat fud on the patio and went inside...
To bed?
Oh, no, not guilty old me.
I plopped down on the floor in front of the open patio door and waited...
And waited....
And waited...
And F this!
I went to bed.
This morning on the patio there's food and water and FC's security carrier (the one he wanted to stay in and slept in until, nasty, cat lady that I am, I fixed him a soft bed in a wicker basket).
I'm spending the day with Morgan.
If FC decides to come back, the little varmint will have food, water and shelter.
If not, I've learned a 265 dollar lesson:
Along with most men, you can't change most cats.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Escape Artist...

I have to preface this post by saying, in this heat I sleep in panties and one of my many t-shirts. I get up at 5 AM and sometimes I'm brave enough to slip out my front door without putting on my shorts, snag my newspaper and the quickly slip back inside before any of my neighbors see me and go blind.

I thought I would do that this morning; however, Poncho was behind me, waiting for his chance. And before I could say, "WTF!" he was out the door and across the parking lot, furry chubby butt moving faster than I thought it could. Fourteen pounds of fluffy cat can move, especially when he surprises the old woman standing in her doorway dressed only in t-shirts and panties.

Grumbling, I ran to my bedroom, slipped on my shorts, put on shoes and followed "The Damn Cat" - actually I was calling him the "F-word" cat. I did the "kitty-kitty-kitty" thing as quietly as possible (it was 5 AM after all) with no takers - not even any of the strays that hang around the apartment complex.

It was still dark, so I went back inside to get the million-watt flashlight Morgan had given me. Outside I crouched under evergreens and bushes, swiping the flashlight back and forth, trying not to look like the crazy cat lady I seem to be becoming.

Grumbling even more, I went back inside the apartment to get my car keys. Maybe the F--ing Cat (Poncho's new name as far as I was concerned) had gotten as far as another section of the apartment complex. In t-shirt (bra-less of course) and shorts I would drive around flashing the million-watt light and calling, "Kitty, kitty, f-ing kitty." If I couldn't find him, then I would go to Dunkin Donuts and get a peanut butter and jelly donut that would ruin my blood sugar but gratify my soul.

I even thought, "Well, Poncho, if you want to be outside so badly, then stay outside!" And then I remembered writing a check for 265 dollars at the vet's and almost got into the car, until I saw it...a large ball of reddish-beige fluff walking down the sidewalk towards the apartment, just as if he'd meant to come home.

I tried to get him, but once again cat eluded woman and ran to a clump of evergreens behind the apartment...the same set of trees he would look at longingly while sitting at the back bedroom window. I decided to use food as a weapon and finally caught the perpetrator with an open container of wet Meow Mix.

Unhappy cat and unhappy cat lady tramped back home.
After eating his breakfast, Poncho slunked under a bookcase. I took my shower, still grumbling.
Murray looked at me as if to say, "Don't worry about me doing that. I know where I have it good."

I certainly hope Murray relates that to F-ing Poncho.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

So what's wrong with a beaver......

Another interesting story from

My thoughts on this:
1. Years ago there once was a lovely statue commissioned for downtown Easton, PA that had the same issues (in the viewpoint of some people) and it was decommissioned.
2. It's nice to know that some people think they're aware of what female genitalia look like. But just like our faces, women are all different and all beautiful, even "down there".
3. If one looks around there are lots of representations of male genitalia. Silos are the first to come to mind.
4. I may see the image of an elephant in a cloud and someone else may think the same cloud is a pirate ship.
5. Have these complaining people REALLY looked at Georgia O'Keeffe painting?
6. We haven't come a long way, baby, since that statue was commissioned for downtown Easton, PA.

Too Much 'Beaver'?

UPI - A scene painted on a beaver statue struck some observers as female genitalia, prompting its removal from a public art walk in Bemidji, Minn., an organizer said.

Deborah Davis of Blackduck says her piece of art, one of nine fibreglass beaver sculptures painted by area artists, was meant to portray a praying woman's hands.

But about 20 people who sized it up as they took in downtown Bemidji's Sculpture Walk called city officials to say they saw something entirely different when they looked at the beaver's belly. And so the offending statue disappeared from the public space on Thursday by order of City Manager John Chattin.

Al Belleveau, president of the Bemidji Sculpture Walk, said he transported the sculpture to his yard until the City Council rules on its future on Tuesday.

But removing the beaver stirred emotions in others who are upset the sculpture was removed. Davis said a group of people had gathered at the spot where her statue had stood carrying signs that read "Censored" and some of the other beaver artists covered up their own works in solidarity with her.

"My intent was to paint Mother Nature, Mother Earth," said Davis, a former kindergarten teacher. "I didn't understand that some people saw genitalia. ... I understand people see different things in art, and they need to be free to do that. ... My intent was to paint a praying woman."

Saturday, July 03, 2010

The Disappearing Bee....

It's about time we realize that as go the bees, so goes the human race...

From CNN and

Study Links Bee Decline to Cell Phones

cnn - A new study has suggested that cell phone radiation may be contributing to declines in bee populations in some areas of the world.

Bee populations dropped 17 percent in the UK last year, according to the British Bee Association, and nearly 30 percent in the United States says the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Parasitic mites called varroa, agricultural pesticides and the effects of climate change have all been implicated in what has been dubbed "colony collapse disorder" (CCD).

But researchers in India believe cell phones could also be to blame for some of the losses.

In a study at Panjab University in Chandigarh, northern India, researchers fitted cell phones to a hive and powered them up for two fifteen-minute periods each day.

After three months, they found the bees stopped producing honey, egg production by the queen bee halved, and the size of the hive dramatically reduced.

It's not just the honey that will be lost if populations plummet further. Bees are estimated to pollinate 90 commercial crops worldwide. Their economic value in the UK is estimated to be $290 million per year and around $12 billion in the U.S.

Andrew Goldsworthy, a biologist from the UK's Imperial College, London, has studied the biological effects of electromagnetic fields. He thinks it's possible bees could be affected by cell phone radiation.

The reason, Goldsworthy says, could hinge on a pigment in bees called cryptochrome.

"Animals, including insects, use cryptochrome for navigation," Goldsworthy told CNN.

"They use it to sense the direction of the earth's magnetic field and their ability to do this is compromised by radiation from [cell] phones and their base stations. So basically bees do not find their way back to the hive."

Goldsworthy has written to the UK communications regulator OFCOM suggesting a change of phone frequencies would stop the bees being confused.

"It's possible to modify the signal coming from the [cell] phones and the base station in such a way that it doesn't produce the frequencies that disturb the cryptochrome molecules," Goldsworthy said.

"So they could do this without the signal losing its ability to transmit information."

But the UK's Mobile Operators Association -- which represents the UK's five mobile network operators -- told CNN: "Research scientists have already considered possible factors involved in CCD and have identified the areas for research into the causes of CCD which do not include exposure to radio waves."

Norman Carreck, Scientific director of the International Bee research Association at the UK's University of Sussex says it's still not clear how much radio waves affect bees.

"We know they are sensitive to magnetic fields. What we don't know is what use they actually make of them. And no one has yet demonstrated that honey bees use the earth's magnetic field when navigating," Carreck said.


Friday, July 02, 2010


This article was recently on

Many years ago I wrote a short story about animals, deformed from environmental disasters, attacking humans. This barracuda attack occurred in the Gulf. Coincidence?

Barracuda Jumps Into Boat, Attacks 14-Year-Old Girl

Koral Wira was named after the sea and its tranquility, not the terror she experienced on Sunday morning. Fishing with her family in the Gulf of Mexico, the unsuspecting 14-year-old girl from Venice was attacked by a 45-inch barracuda while sitting inside a boat.

According to the family, the barracuda jumped from the water, flew across the boat like a bullet, clamped onto the girl's left arm and left it looking like "raw hamburger."

Wira had incision-like bite marks from her elbow to her wrist, and the wounds required 51 stitches to close. "It was like out of 'Jaws,' it was that scary," said Dina Parker, Wira's mother. "We'll never go back out there again. It was the most terrifying thing I've ever been through. I've never been so scared in my life.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Settling In...

What a handsome boy!