Friday, August 29, 2008

A First

Here is a first - all three of my girls facing the same direction in their crates. Well, it's a first that I've been able to capture in a video photo! Aren't they just the best girls?

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Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Excitement Never Ends

Today on the way home (remember I said it's usually SOMETHING every day), we had finally arrived at the Five Points Station in downtown Atlanta. As I was crossing Peachtree Street, I heard numerous fire engines or ambulances heading in my direction, along with about four helicopters hovering overhead. Five Points Station is near Underground Atlanta and alot of government buildings like the State Capital. My immediate thought was that SOMETHING had happened in the area which is usually true if you see helicopters hovering. And with that location, anything could have happened.

And, of course, something had happened. We speculated on what that was and someone at the bus area told us there had been a police shooting. Another commuter offered that Brian Nichols had another court hearing today and the ruckus was most likely because of him. I seriously doubted this suggestion and hoped that the City of Atlanta had not wasted that much manpower on that man who didn't deserve to even HAVE another court hearing, in my opinion.

Much to my dismay, none of the local news stations dispatched any "Breaking News" emails as I kept a vigil watch on my Blackberry for some word from the outside world. It was not until much later after I had arrived home that I turned on the local news and found out what had happened. It was, indeed, a police shooting involving a 21 year old suspect.

I tell you, I was scared to death at the time we were standing at the bus area. We were a few blocks away from the capital and could see the commotion in that direction with police cars everywhere. You could already see they had cordoned an area with crime scene tape so we knew something HAD happened, we just didn't know what! Intersections and intersections had been blocked off with police cars and policemen. Even the one closest to us but thank God they were allowing the buses through or we probably would have been stuck downtown for hours.

I had visions that the perpetrator was still at large and a man hunt was underway and he was about to run through the bus area waving a gun, scaring the crowd half to death. Afterall, with the intense police presence and activity that seemed endless, this had to be the case, right? Not . . . they had already shot the perpetrator, apprehended him, and he was well on his way to Grady Hospital to be treated. Who knew? It was just so darn scary, especially being so close to where it all happened and not having a clue what HAD happened. The unknown is always the scary part, isn't it?

But, in her usual fashion, our bus driver took control of that bus and navigated her way out of downtown Atlanta in a matter of minutes. Before we knew it, we were well out of any danger and speeding Westbound on I-20 on our way home. What a relief!

You just never know what you may happen upon on any given day during this commuting experience. It's a crap shoot, that's for sure. Or as Forrest Gump would say, "Life is like a box of chocolates . . . you never know what you're going to get."

Addendum: the story gets better, read this article from the AJC. Too funny! Pin It

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Sightings Along the Way

As you can imagine, I see many things on the way to and from work. It's almost a given if you think about the different modes of transportation that I use - a bus, a train, and a shuttle.

The train going home yesterday was no exception. We usually get on the last car on the train because it drops off right at the escalator at the train station so we can easily hop on and hopefully catch our bus on time. Anyway, yesterday's train was a short one, meaning it wasn't near as long as it usually is which, unfortunately, means everybody who thought they were going to get on the last car of the long train (which is usually further down the track at the train station) end up squished together in the last car of the shorter train. Did I loose you there? Don't worry, it isn't that important in the grand scheme of things.

Once onboard, I sat down next to a young African American boy who I thought to be around 12 years old or so. I started chatting with him, asking him all sorts of questions. He was very forthcoming which is something his parents should speak to him about. My Mom always told me not to speak to strangers. Anyway, I digress. I found out that this kid was actually in the 10th grade which would make him what, 15 years old maybe? He sure didn't look a day past 12! He assured me he was telling the truth and I assured him that 20 years from now he would think that looking younger would be a pretty nice trait. He then told me he was on his way home from school. I asked what school and he replied that he went to Dunwoody High School. I then asked where was home and he said he lived south of there. Come to find out he gets off at the Five Points Station and takes the Eastbound train where he finally gets off at the Kensington Station. So, he lives somewhere around there. All being said, he traveled quite a distance to get to school. Probably as far as I travel to get to work. I asked him why he did that and if Dunwoody High School was a better school than any around his neighborhood and he said it most certainly was. It'd have to be for me to make that trek everyday as a 15 year-old! He did admit that he got lost alot, even as recent as last week! I felt bad for him but assured him I get lost most everyday in Atlanta, which is basically true. If not for my Garmin, God knows where I would be right now!

We chatted some more and then he started working on some schoolwork, most notably, an essay he had to write for class. He asked me to proofread it for him which I gladly did. The students were instructed to write a fable and it had to be 200 words long. His fable involved a Leprechaun which he had mispelled (and which I had to Google to be sure I had it spelled right) and another character by the name of Wiggledodo. I laughed and asked him to pronunciate "Wiggledodo" and he did, and yes, it is pronounced just as it is spelled. The fable was about the difference between a human heart and the heart we normally see at Valentine's day. He hadn't finished the story so I don't really know how he connected the two characters to the differences in the hearts or what differences he planned to spell out. We chatted a bit more and I learned that he does have a computer at home but only has Internet access when he goes to his grandmother's house which I thought was a good thing except that the Internet is a wonderful resource tool for school kids. Maybe Grandma isn't that far away!

Oh, and they did a career quiz type exercise in class that day and it was determined that he should be a Professor. He was pretty psyched about that which is cool. A really nice young man.
Then we get to the train station and disembark and head to our bus while the young man headed to his Eastbound train. I'm sure I probably won't run into him again so I won't hear the end of his fable but I'm sure he probably received a good grade on it. That required quite an imagination to come up with that story to start with and I'm sure from the little bit that I read, he told the story well.

On our ride home we usually see alot of panhandlers, crazies wanting to convert us, others talking to invisible beings, others being rude, etc. It was very refreshing to see a nice young man like that working on his homework and being a nice person.
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Sunday, August 24, 2008

Various Varieties of Shrooms

Throughout the rainy weeks we've had lately in Georgia, I've noticed quite a variety of mushrooms proliferating throughout my yard. I honestly don't know if any might be poisonous or not or hallucinogenic or not. I always worry that the dogs might eat one and come into the house either "sick as a dog" or tripping, either of which would not be a good thing. Can you imagine Lucy in the latter state?

But thank goodness, neither has happened as of yet. The only thing they might eat in the backyard, if allowed to go out unmuzzled, might be a pear from the neighbor's pear tree (and I haven't yet figured out how the pears get over a 6 foot fence into my backyard) or their own poop which is really disgusting. I always try to muzzle them because of the latter.

Here are some pictures of some shrooms found in the yard lately. They are quite photogenic and I hope I've done them justice. I am most curious as to what might cause the variety.

Update: check out the site about poisonous mushrooms and your dogs.

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Friday, August 22, 2008

Speaking of Worms . . .

The other day I walked across my patio on my way to the grill when I came across this little critter. Of course, I first thought it was a worm, but when I knelt down to get a better look, I soon realized that this was no worm. In fact, it was a snake . . . a real little, baby snake. It was black and had a triangle head that it held up while spitting it's little tongue at me as I peered down at it. I'm sure he was as scared as I was! He was an interesting little critter.

He soon withered off and was on his merry way. I, too, was soon on my merry way to the grill to start dinner. Pin It

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

What Does This Worm Have to Do With A Lasso?

You are probably asking yourself that very same question. Actually yesterday my cubemate, Barbie, confided in myself and another cubemate that she spent the day on Friday chasing worms. As you can imagine, that definitely did stir the pot so we had to inquire about this worm chasing experience. You see, Barbie and her husband Russ, have a pool which is constantly being encroached upon by various critters ie frogs, moles, snakes, and of course, worms. Hey, they all like water so who could blame them? And it's a saltwater system and we all know that saltwater is very good for you.

Anyway on Friday Barbie was attempting to prevent an innocent worm from going into the "concrete pond" using a garden hose (imagine the worm's thoughts on this). In any event, whilst trying to prevent this from happening, the unfortunate DID happen! The poor worm fell into the pool and immediately was sucked up by Rover (the Polaris). Such a sad ending to an otherwise perfect day - for the worm!

We have now dubbed Barbie our resident "worm wrangler". I, too, plan to start "worm wrangling" as I start to vermicompost which is "the process of using worms and micro-organisms to turn kitchen waste into a black, earthy-smelling, nutrient-rich humus.." If I could use Barbie's black worms to start my vermicompost, I'd just ask her to wrangle me up a few and bring them to work with her one day but alas, this requires red wigglers.

My goal in the next few weeks is to find some red wigglers, and get my composting project underway. Perhaps Barbie will have a few worm wrangling tips for me! I think she could also be President of our, yet to be established club, Worm Wranglers of the Southeast.

PS - Barbie, President of the now established club, Worm Wranglers of the Southeast, is currently feverishly designing a logo for the Club. Everyone will just HAVE to have a t-shirt and a coffee mug in support of their local worm wranglers (frequently check CafePress for our shop). Go worm wranglers!! Pin It

Friday, August 15, 2008

UWO - Unidentified White Object

Okay, I went to work today and left the three girls in their crates, happy and content. I tossed them each a peanut butter cookie, a Zuke's treat, and a marshmallow. May sound like alot but they are all small treats.

I returned home, let the girls out to potty and then proceeded with the usual routine of filling their water bowls and feeding them their dinner. I was putting Lucy's water bowl down when I caught a glimpse of Sugar's side. Here is what I saw! Imagine my surprise! I looked again and still saw this strange white lump protruding from Sugar's side. I knelt down to get a closer look and then it hit me and I started laughing almost hysterically! Yes, it appears that dear Sugar had laid on her marshmallow this morning and it stuck to her . . . ALL day! I can't imagine why she didn't pull it off and eat it. I imagine Lucy was eyeballing it all day just dying to get to it to munch on it - she loves her marshmallows! Anyway, it was definitely a first so I had to take photos and blog about it. Obviously these dogs keep me in stitches!

Postscript - I now cannot get Sugar to eat a marshmallow to save my life. I think she thinks it might attack her again!
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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

I've Been Tagged . . .

by Heather of GreytBlackDog fame to a meme "Six Unknown Things About You". Like everyone else, I first had to understand what a meme is. This is definitely a new term for me. I googled it and here is what I found:

A meme is:
An idea that, like a gene, can replicate and evolve.
A unit of cultural information that represents a basic idea that can be transferred from one individual to another, and subjected to mutation, crossover and adaptation.
A cultural unit (an idea or value or pattern of behavior) that is passed from one generation to another by nongenetic means (as by imitation); "memes are the cultural counterpart of genes".

The term and concept of meme is from the 1976 book by Richard Dawkins, The Selfish Gene. Though Dawkins defined the meme as "a unit of cultural transmission, or a unit of imitation," memeticists vary in their definitions of meme. The lack of a consistent, rigorous definition of what precisely a meme is remains one of the principal criticisms leveled at memetics, the study of memes.

Now that we are all further enlightened, I will get on with the task at hand, and that is to come up with six unknown things about myself. This is a rather difficult task as I honestly think most folks know EVERYTHING about me. So, without further adieu . . .

1. I once applied to join the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Yes, and this is probably the most disappointing unsuccessful thing I've ever tried to do. I wanted to work in an Embassy overseas and see the world! I first contacted my local congressman to gain his support, he then contacted the head of the CIA at the time, I was then invited to a group meeting in Pensacola, at which point they widdled down the applicants from a room of 100 or so people to about 10 and then on from there. They came to Panama City and interviewed me, my neighbors and references, teachers, and I think my parents.

I was then invited to visit the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) headquarters in McLean, Virginia for formal interviews, health screening, and the formidable lie detector test over a two day period. Naturally, I was a nervous wreck. At the ripe old age of 23 (I think) at the time, you can only imagine what was going through my head, however, I was excited about the opportunity and wanted to do my best.

The interview went fine, the health screening went ok, and the lie detector test, well, let me just say it was no cake walk. The morning of the test the electricity went out in my hotel. I thought it must be an omen. I put on my make-up and fluffed my towel-dried hair with my cigarette lighter (I was a smoker at the time). And, yes, I almost caught my hair on fire and the room, too!

I made it to headquarters and waited in the reception area for someone to call my name. As I waited, other applicants were filing out and all were in tears or at least were very upset. Again, I thought this must be an omen. My name was called so I gathered my wits and proceeded to the office where they would hook me up to all kinds of wires. Then, the questioning began. I think I was in that room for about 30-45 minutes and the guy asked me a gazillon questions again and again.

I was released and headed back to the hotel to gather my things and get to the airport. What a day. A few weeks later I received an envelope in the mail from the CIA which stated that although I was a fine applicant, they could not consider me for employment because I did not pass the lie detector test. I spoke with my friend from high school who was an Intelligence Officer in the Navy and she assured me that those things are nothing more than emotion detectors and are not accurate. This was many years ago so I hope the technology has improved since then. It was very stressful, to say the least and is something I hope to never have to do again!

The whole process from initiation to end took almost two years but I have to say I did learn quite a bit during that timeframe. I am now very happy that it didn't work out. With the world as it is today, I probably would have been blown up in an Embassy somewhere. C'est la vie, I say!

2. I am a avid genealogist. That, as Wikipedia says, "is the study and tracing of family lineages and history." I've been doing this for many years but since getting into Greyhound adoption, I've had little time to devote to it. I do know that I have some lines traced as far back as 1612. We definitely have some very colorful ancestors, that's for sure. Most on my mother's side who originated mostly in South Carolina and Georgia. Most had large plantations with 250+ slaves. They grew cotton, indigo, rice and who knows what else (hence my desire to grow cotton once in my garden). One ancestor owned Montpelier Plantation in Beaufort County, South Carolina and another Walnut Hill, in the same county. One line had three mayors of Savannah - a grandfather, a father, and a son. There were some Senators, Generals, Lieutenants, and one Prince, so far.

My great-great-grandfather on my Mom's side enlisted in the Civil War in Atlanta, in January of 1864 (at the age of 16), serving under Capt. Jake Robinson being discharged in 1865 in Augusta under Commander Gary (Cary) W. Stiles. He fought in the Siege of Atlanta and Savannah, Company "L" Artillery. Unfortunately, he lost his leg in that war and was unable to get disability from the government or any Veteran's benefits because he was underage when he enlisted so there is no official record of his enlistment.

Obviously, it's really interesting and is something that I love doing. I recently updated my Family Tree Maker software to the 2008 version so I hope to soon pick up where I've left off.

3. I'm a foodie. Yes, I admit it. I love trying new recipes, am right at home in a Williams-Sonoma, and would rather make my living as a caterer but alas, I doubt the money could support me in the manner in which I'm accustomed to. Pampered Chef is my friend! I have more cookbooks than any one person should have. And as my sister says, being a foodie makes me a detriment to myself as far as the waistline goes. It's a constant battle that I'm hoping to beat with WW.

My biggest thrill was meeting Tyler Florence at a Southern Living show in Birmingham and after that meeting Bobby Flay at his restaurant in New York, Mesa Grill. He actually kissed my hand! Whenever I'm in the Big City, I always go there in hopes of seeing him again. And I've been to the Mesa Grill in Vegas as well. It's a really good restaurant if you're ever near one, I highly recommend dining there.

4. I used to breed and raise and, yes, sell Himalyan kittens. For many years I did this and just loved having new kittens in the house. They are the cutest, fluffiest, blue-eyed things! My brood cat, Chelsea, had to be put to sleep last summer at the age of 16 1/2 due to kidney failure. She was such a good kitty and I miss her terribly. She was an integral part of my life for such a long time and was SEGA's offical cat test kitty for a few years. Her husband, Boca, was quite the stud muffin. He preceeded her in death by about 10 years. He had urethra problems which contributed to his death. This ailment appears to be common for male cats who have been altered. Chelsea missed his companionship so soon after I got Savannah, the Ragdoll, who is now our official cat test kitty for SEGA. She's the bomb and is such an interesting cat. I've always called her my "cat-dog" because she is a cat but she acts like a dog. She definitely fits right into the Greyhound pack I've gathered and is happy as a clam when there are scads of them in the house for dinners or parties.

5. I'm addicted to the Internet and email. I'm sure everyone knows this but I thought I'd throw it out there for those who didn't. My Blackberry is my best buddy! And I'm sure I would start having DTs if anyone were to take it away from me so be forewarned, it won't be pretty! Along with that addiction is the one I have for gadgets, mostly electronic gadgets but if you look through my kitchen you will also see loads of kitchen gadgets. Just call me "gadget girl".

6. I am terrified of folks in costumes covering their heads running at me. I don't know where this comes from except that I was told that once when I was a kid, my neighbor's Dad ran at me with a paper bag over his head screaming and screaming. It was at the kid's birthday party, I think, and one of his presents was a bike with the leopard banana seat - I remember that. Whoo hoo! Anyway, I think the ordeal traumatized me to this day. I don't enjoy the costumed characters at Disney World, I don't enjoy the costumed characters at Six Flags, I hate the costumed characters at haunted houses, and I deplore any costumed character anywhere for that matter, especially if they are chasing me!

So, that's it. Boring, huh? I now tag Maria, Jen, and Scott to do the same, "Six Unknown Things About You". Pin It

Monday, August 11, 2008

Priceless! (turn your speakers up!)

Is Woody Woodpecker in the room? Oh my . . . do you suppose those "Snore No More" strips would help her?

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Monday, August 04, 2008

Friday's Train Entertainment

Friday on the commute home on the train, my car was entertained by a very, very feminine guy who, yes, was gay. The talk about the train was how his eyebrows, which were waxed and perfectly shaped, looked better than any of the females on the train (and they did). He was quite proud of them, you could tell. His pink eyeshadow seemed to emphasize the brow bone even more than usual. As he stood up to disembark at the Midtown station (how appropriate, huh?), he turned to the crowd and waved the typical "parade" wave, smiling the whole time. What a hoot! He played the crowd, that's for sure.

And then, to top that off, we were waiting on our bus at the Five Points Station and a black girl walked by with a t-shirt on that read on the front, "Yes, I know I'm a Bitch" and on the back "Just Not Your Bitch". Another classic sighting! Pin It

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Progress in the Garden

The garden is flourishing as you can see. The corn sustained some damage in a recent storm but I think it'll survive. I staked some of the stalks up this morning so am hopeful the corn on those stalks will mature. I'm having some squash tonight with my grilled Talapia. Umm, umm. You can't beat that! The sweet potatoes are coming along and I should have some zucchini soon. The bell peppers are coming in and the Serrano peppers, too. I think I'll have enough Jalapeno peppers this week to make some stuffed Jalapeno's for my work mates. The green beans and cucumbers are never ending. I can't eat enough cucumbers and green beans to keep those from falling off the vines.

And speaking of vines, isn't that a most delightful watermelon you see there? There are two more on the vines and many more blossoms. I expect to have quite a few to eat shortly. They look scrumptious and I can't wait to split one open!
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