Happy Halloween! And happy anniversary to Fred, who married me two years ago tonight, which was the smartest thing he’s ever done. No, really! Do y’all like the background? That’s actually a picture of our pumpkin, which Fred carved with his own little hands. He tells me that it’s "deliberately crooked." Suuuure, it is. It’s 6:30 and fully dark here, and we’ve only had six or seven trick or treaters. Fred took the spud around the neighborhood and they were only gone for about 45 minutes, because fairly early on she complained that her feet hurt and she was hot and wanted to go home. I think next year, she should just stay home and hand out candy, personally. For your perusal, here are some pictures I took this evening.

possessed poo Miz Poo, possessed by some evil demons. In other words, she’s acting like she usually does. spanky If you look closely, you can see Spanky’s silhouette as he peeks out the window to see what’s going on. halloween spot Spot, possessed by some of those same demons… spud The spud in costume. Yes, that’s a real knife. No, we didn’t let her take it around with her whilst trick or treating.

Don’t eat too much Halloween candy, y’all!



Center Stage (I adored it, am I a loser for admitting that?) I noticed that my right eye was, to use the medical term, goopy. I rinsed out my contact lens, but the goop kept forming. I took both my contacts out and wore glasses for the rest of the day, and by bedtime my right eye was not only goopy but completely red where it shoulda been white. I put a few drops of Visine in the eye and hoped that would solve the problem. This morning, red and goopy. I didn’t dare to put my contacts in, because I didn’t want my eye to get any redder or goopier, and did a few more drops of Visine ("gets the red out!") before going downstairs to exercise. I got back from my walk and checked out the offending eye. Red and goopy. Still. I waffled back and forth about what to do, decided I’d wait a day and see if it got any better, and then noticed that my left eye was starting to get red right around the pupil. So I gave up and went to the nearest doc-in-a-box. I really hate going to the doctor, but I really really hate wearing my glasses all the time, – I feel like I’m watching everything through a window – and if I put off my visit to the doctor, that just meant one more day I’d have to wear the damn things. I grabbed a book to take with me and cooled my heels for about an hour and a half before I saw the doctor (I finished the book this afternoon, by the way, and highly recommend it). He spent perhaps forty-five seconds checking out my eyes, ears, and throat before pronouncing that I have conjunctivitis. Big shock. By the time I got my prescription filled and got home, I was starving, and eager to make my wickedly excellent corn chowder (chowdah), and chopped an onion and peeled some potatoes and got the broth ready to go before I realized I had no can of creamed corn. Grrr. Before I went to the doctor’s this morning, I finished Survivor, which I bought at Wal-Mart last week. I was really quite less than impressed. With that ringing endorsement, is there anyone out there who’d like me to send the book to them? Fred isn’t interested in reading it, and I usually send all the books I’ve read to my sister, but she wasn’t into Survivor, so I thought I’d take a chance to send it on to one of my readers and save you the $13 or so. If you’re interested, email your name and address to me before Friday, and I’ll do a random drawing. That is, assuming more than one person is interested. ]]>


Fred, who is a wonderful man, not only returned my sneakers for me, but picked out the female version of the sneakers he bought for himself, and exchanged the no-good very-bad sneakers I bought the other day. Hands off, ladies. He’s taken. I finished the new Stephen King book last night. It’s an excellent book and I highly recommend it. The first third or so is sort of a memoir, and it was pretty neat to see last names I recognized, and to realize that he was talking about the parents or grandparents of kids I went to school with. I’m kind of immersed in Stephen King these days, because when I walk in the morning I listen to Bag of Bones on cd, and I have the second and third chapters of The Plant waiting for me to read them. (And I see that chapter 4 is out, so pardon me for a moment while I go download it…) The only downside to all this Stephen King-ism is that the entire time I was reading On Writing, I could hear his voice in the back of my head as if he were reading it to me, and it was a tad disconcerting. Have I ever mentioned that I love me some Stephen King? The very first adult novel I read was Carrie, and it just blew me away that he wrote the way people really talked. I must have been about the spud’s age when I read Carrie, and it was actually a copy that belonged to my brother Tracy. My mother had read the paperback when Tracy was done, and inside the front cover, she’d written "I don’t approve of this. Do you?" and signed her name. I’m not sure who the note was intended for, but the fact that she didn’t approve made me only want to read it all the more. Fred and I talked about all the Stephen King books there are, and Fred began listing the ones he didn’t like – Insomnia, Rose Madder, Cujo – and I repeated several times "I like ALL his books!" I mean, don’t get me wrong, I know some of them are better than others, but all in all if I were stranded on a desert island, I’d want all his books with me. Of course, if I had all those books with me, I could probably build a kickin’ yacht and be out of there in no time. I spent this morning being all industrious and not only doing laundry, but cleaning out the garage-cum-pigsty, and now it’s hardly even recognizable as the same garage. I put my foot down and informed Fred that there’s hardly room for all the STUFF in the garage and both our Jeeps too, so I was going to start parking in the driveway, he could park in my spot (closest to the door, don’tchaknow), and we’d use the empty half of the garage for storage. So once I was done exercising, I backed my Jeep out of the garage and began cleaning. I managed to fill the back of my Jeep up with boxes and other trash to throw away, and I filled the garbage can up with the little things we never use anymore. I swept two tons of dust and crap out into the driveway and then picked it all up and tossed it in the garbage can. Mark my words, it’ll be back to looking crappy in three days flat. I only ran across one living spider, and it came nowhere near my body or hair, for which I am grateful. The spud turns 12 tomorrow.


I was sitting in front of my computer staring at it blankly as I surfed from site to site this morning at 9:30, when the phone rang. It was the new office manager, and she said "Hi, Robyn!" (’cause that’s my name) "What’re you doing?" "Uhhhh…." I said, casting around for something smart-ass or impressive to say. "Uhhhh… Uhhhh…. Nothing, actually!" She was calling to ask if I could come in and lend a helping hand for a while, which I was pleased to do, and the whole time I showered and stopped by the movie store and then went into the office and chatted with her and helped out and then went to Wal-Mart and stopped by Wendy’s and then came home, my brain cells were hard at work trying to come up with a smart-ass answer. I tend toward the smart-ass – I’m sure that shocks you. Aside from "I’m trying to figure out where to hide the body", nothing comes to mind. I blame my lack of brain activity on Miz Poo, who kneaded as hard as she could on my carotid arteries at 2 this morning, blocking off blood flow to my brain for a good five minutes. I bought a pair of New Balance running shoes at Just for Feet yesterday, and they suck. It’s not the fault of the shoes, but rather the fault of me, who knows that I need a 9 WIDE, not a 9 MEDIUM, and yet decided that the shoes would stretch enough to be comfortable, and halfway through my 1.9 mile walk this morning, I was ready to kick my own ass for being such a dumbass. I just do NOT want to go back into Just For Feet, because they play their music at a deafening level, and I can’t hear anything they say so I just nod and smile.

I wonder if I can talk Fred into returning them for me… ::blink::blink:: Pleeeeeeease?



Where were you when the Challenger exploded? I was sitting in my senior Creative Writing classroom, reading a book. I was scheduled for lunch the period before my Creative Writing class, but I almost always skipped lunch and sat in the classroom reading; my teacher was scheduled for lunch the same period as I, so he’d wait for me to show up then let me in the classroom and lock the door behind him. Anyway, lunch period was almost over and he’d unlocked the door so students could come in and sit down, and then wandered off to the teacher’s lounge or the bathroom or whatever. Ten minutes later, he popped back into the classroom, pale, and said "Have you heard anything about the Challenger exploding?" The few of us sitting in the classroom looked at him, not knowing whether he was joking – I have no idea why he’d joke about such a thing, but he was one of the few teachers Lisbon High School employed who actually possessed a sense of humor, so I assumed if he was joking, it was just going over my head – and I said "No, we haven’t heard anything." He took off for the front office at a dead run and when he returned a few minutes later, he wheeled a television set before him, then plugged it in and tuned to one of the Portland stations. We spent the entire period watching the news. The class drama queen was in hysterics the whole time because she’d once attended the school Christa McAuliffe taught at. Not at the same time she taught there or anything, but in DQ’s eyes, this meant they were practically the same person. We watched the news in silence for the next 41 minutes, and when the bell rang, we filed quietly out of the room. I left school for the day – Creative Writing was my 5th period class, and I could leave early because I had "Senior Privilege" and as long as my grades stayed up I could skip my last two classes, which were study periods. As a side note, you had to have a "b" or higher average to be eligible for Senior Privilege and I believe my senior average was closer to a "d" minus because I was so damn sick of being in school, sick of listening to the teachers drone on, sick of the whole high school thing that as long as I kept my grades somewhere above an "f", I didn’t give a shit how I did. Since I wasn’t really eligible for Senior Privilege, I was basically skipping the last two periods. Every morning like clockwork after the principal’s announcements, they read off a list of students who were supposed to report to the main office. I showed up the first time and pled ignorance – "Oh, I didn’t realize I had to start showing up for study hall yesterday! I thought it was today!" – and thereafter just didn’t bother to show up when they called my name. The vice principal, who was a complete fucking idiot, god knows where they found him, he was only vice principal for that year as far as I know, never came looking for me and it all worked out well in my opinion. I think back on the shit I pulled as a senior in high school, and I’m flat-out amazed that I managed to graduate. Anyway, when I left school that day, I went directly to work – I was in my second year of working at McDonald’s, and had quit twice already. A year later I quit for good when they made me a manager in training, and I realized if I became a manager, I’d work at McDonald’s for the rest of my life, and who the fuck wants that? Sure, someone’s gotta do it, but not me, thanks. When I arrived at work, everyone was talking about the Challenger explosion. The manager on shift was Annette, who was 23 years old but seemed impossibly ancient to the 18 year-old me. Soon after I punched in and started taking drive-thru orders, she got a call from the area manager, Jim Provost (I can’t believe I still remember his name. I remember his face, too, clear as a bell. I guess the oh-shit feeling I got whenever I saw his face in the drive-thru line burned him into my brain. I got dinged by him many a time for not "selling up" – if someone just ordered fries without specifying a size, you’d ask if that was a MEDIUM fry, because more often than not they’d agree. You couldn’t ask if they wanted a LARGE fry, though, because that was considered pushy and would tend to make the customer irate). Jim told Annette to make sure the flag was flying at half-mast. Annette told Lucien, one of the grill guys, to go out and lower the flag to half-mast. Lucien wandered around the parking lot for half an hour before coming back in and asking Annette where the hell the flag was located. It was then that Annette realized there WAS no flag.

This entire memory was spurred by the fact that Lowe’s was flying their flag at half-mast today.



We watched Toy Story 2 last night, and it was so freakin’ cute I went into sugar shock and had to be rushed to the hospital. Especially the part where the slinky dog and Woody’s horse (forgive me, I don’t remember his name) were growling at each other. It took me half the movie to figure out that Jessie was voiced by Joan Cusack. I love Joan Cusack, and not because she has such a damn cute brother. Yesterday, Miz Poo sat in the basket full o’ clean clothes I left sitting in the middle of the computer room, and stared across the room at Fred’s screensaver for a good half hour. I tried recording her for a little movie, since I haven’t done that in a while, but all she did was sit there and blink, and refused to look at me, so I took a picture instead.

miz poo I did make a small movie of Spot, since he was right there sniffing the shredder, I know not why. You can see the Spot movie here. The spud turns 12 next week, can you believe it? And, because I was apparently insane when the subject was broached, I’m letting her have a sleepover party the first Friday of November to celebrate, and 5 loud, shrieky 11 and 12 year-olds will be spending the night. Fred’s going to spending the night at his mother’s, so that he won’t be stomping around, pissed off and stressing me out at 3 am when they’re still running around screaming at the top of their loud little lungs. I have come to terms with the fact that there will probably be no sleep that night at all. It gives me a whole new respect for my parents, who regularly let me have sleepover parties. It was always our goal, at these parties, to stay up later than we had at the previous sleepovers. At the last one, which took place when I was 14 or 15, we stayed up until 6 am. Ah, those were the days… And as I recall, we went roller skating the evening before, and I hooted like a goon at my brother and his cute friend every time they skated by us. Lord, I was such a dork. "Was"?



diarist.net I spend some time on the ThreeWayAction forum boards – if that surprises y’all, it shouldn’t – and every now and then I see the “When it’s time to go” topic. Without fail, every time I look at it, my brain changes it into “When it’s time to change”, and that damn song is stuck in my head all day long. What’s that, you say? You don’t know that song? Well, harken back to the late sixties (or actually the mid to late ’70s, when I saw it myself in reruns), and think about Peter Brady and his changing voice, and how it screwed up the song Greg had written for all of the Brady kids to sing and record, and how Greg threw a fit and Peter said he couldn’t help it, he couldn’t stop his voice from changing, and Mom and Dad Brady stood about looking concerned, and then Greg locked himself in his (and Peter and Bobby’s) bedroom and would write something, and then crumple it up and toss it over his shoulder and then repeat, and we’d know a lot of time had passed because the trash can was piled high and surrounded with crumpled papers, and Bobby and Peter were banging on the bedroom door wanting in, but Greg was the ARTIST, hard at work, and ignored them while he wrote and crumpled and wrote and crumpled, and finally held up a piece of paper with a big grin on his face, letting us know that he’d written the work of art he’d set out to write, and then it cut to the Brady kids in the recording studio singing and the chorus went “When it’s time to chaaaaaange, you’ve got to rearraaaaaange, who ya ARE into what you’re a-gonna BE! ShananananananaNUH, shanananananananNUH!” and there was a close-up of Peter singing “When it’s time to chaaaaaange”, and his voice was cracking, SIGNIFYING THE WHOLE CONCEPT OF CHANGE (it was really quite light and subtle, so perhaps you didn’t notice), and then Mom and Dad Brady stood about looking proud and pleased. Remember that episode? Well, the song keeps looping through my mind, and it’s become background noise I don’t even notice anymore until I bend over to pick up Miz Poo and sing, in Greg’s voice, “Every boy’s a man inside!” and then in Marcia’s voice, “A girl’s a woman, too!”, and Miz Poo – who was ready to settle down on the couch with me and get some belly rubs – becomes frightened and puts her ears back, then rakes her sharp-as-shit back claws across my chest, hitting some kind of important artery or something and then jumps to the floor to get away from me as quickly as possible, and I sink to the floor, blood jetting from my chest, and the kitties gather around to stare at and sniff the pool – nay, lake – of blood forming around me, and with my very last dying gasp, all I can force out between my lips is not “Tell the spud I love her” or “Tell Fred to hide the vibrator before his mother cleans out my bedside table and boxes everything up to send to my parents in her glee at my demise, oh yeah, and that I love him”, but rather all I can say is this: “ya gotta take a lesson from mother nature, and if you do, you’ll know… when it’s time to chaaaaange, then it’s time to chaaaaaange…”



I had a whole slew of things I wanted to write about, but my brain cells have flown the coop and I’m left here with a big, cartoonish question mark hanging over my head. Hmph. What did I want to write about? Not a clue. I went to the movie store today, since Tuesday is Movie Rental Day. Tex told Fred that Frequency came out today, so we were both all kinds of excited, since – as you know – we never ever go to the movies and instead wait until they come out on video. However, once again Tex was wrong – an unbroken record, I believe – and Frequency doesn’t come out ’til the 31st. Oh, that reminds me that I need to get a costume for the spud for Halloween. She’s going to be the guy from Scream. Since Frequency didn’t come out today, I rented Keeping the Faith, Toy Story 2, But I’m a Cheerleader, and one other movie I can’t recall and am too lazy to go check it out. I spent the majority of the morning lolling about the house finishing my current book (The Ladies Man, which was unexpectedly funny) and cuddling with Miz Poo, who doesn’t appear to be feeling very well. Shortly before I was about to leave to rent movies and get lunch (Wendy’s, if you must know), Fred called and informed me that he and his partners were about to take a bonus. I told him I’d be in around 1:30 to help out, since the new office manager, Kristi, hadn’t done bonuses, and I wanted to be there to help out. I was there yesterday too, as a matter of fact, showing her how to pay the payroll taxes and do all the retirement stuff (borrrrring), but it was kind of fun sitting in her office and chatting. She’s pretty funny and really nice, and it appears she’ll work out a lot better than the last one. Anyway, to my surprise, Fred suggested that we deposit his bonus check, and then take $250 in cash and split it, and that way he can get the rest of the books in the series he’s reading, and I could buy Mastercook, among other things. Like I’m gonna say no to THAT. So I stopped on the way home and deposited the check and got money from the ATM. I still had a lot of my allowance left, and now I have another $125, which ROCKS. Now I just have to decide what to spend it on. —–]]>


The Spider Dance.
or, how to look like an idiot in 24 easy steps

First, and most importantly, it is helpful to live in an area where spiders are plentiful. Northern Alabama, for example, where the evil-looking black widow and reclusive brown recluse spiders are so numerous that there’s a waiting list to get into your back yard. Secondly, it is vital that you not wear gloves or a long-sleeve shirt, as this hampers the feeling of spider legs skittering along your skin. 1. Stroll happily into your back yard. Smile and look at the sky, noting that the sun is shining, it’s a lovely 75 degrees out, and the kitties are sitting under the bird feeders waiting for a hapless bird to come alone and become dinner. Except for Miz Poo, who is digging frantically in the dirt of the plant pot from which you recently removed gladiolus bulbs. Hope aloud that Miz Poo is not using the plant pot as a litterbox. Watch as Miz Poo catches sight of you and runs like Satan himself is after her, then hides in a patch of weeds as if you can’t see her big kitty ass sticking up in the air, her tail wagging frantically back and forth. Decide to ignore Miz Poo for the moment and get to work. This back yard is a mess, with dead plants hanging everywhere and weeds coming up through the rocks covering your french drain. Snap open your garbage bag in a businesslike manner and walk purposefully toward the dead gladiolus leaves sitting on the lawn. 2. Two minutes later, note that this is harder work than you realized, laboring under the hot midday sun. Take a ten minute break to pet and cuddle Miz Poo. Who wuvs a bebbe? Who wuvs a Mith Poo? Dat’s right! Dat’s right, momma wuvs a Miz Poopypants! 3. When someone walks along the outside of your fence and snickers at your babytalk, put down Miz Poo and get back to work. 4. Ten minutes later, note with satisfaction that the gladiolus stems and most other detritus is cleared from the lawn. Muse aloud that the lawn doesn’t really look any different than usual. That will change once those nasty weeds growing through the rocks are yanked up, though! Remind yourself to not forget to pull down the dead Morning Glory vines. 5. Repeat #2. 6. Decide unhappily to get going on the weeds. Someone’s gotta do it, right? Wonder aloud how much the yard guys would charge to do this sort of thing. Remind yourself that you’re supposed to be saving money, not spending it. Consider making the spud do it. Finally suck it up and force your lazy ass in gear. 7. Repeat #2. 8. The weeds are finally yanked up. Note that it’s ironic that most of the "weeds" growing through the rocks were actually grass. Damn that Bermuda grass, it sure is persistent. Take a few moments to hate the Bermuda grass and grasses of all kind. Inform yourself that it would be nice to just cement over the entire back yard. Remind yourself that the resale value of the house would probably go way, way down, and (say this aloud) "I don’t plan to be in this hellhole forever!" 9. Feel guilty. Tell house that it’s not really a hellhole, that it’s a perfectly nice house. Mutter to yourself "for a hellhole, that is!" Worry whether the house heard that. 10. Do a happy dance. Once the Morning Glory vines are yanked down from the trellis, your (check watch) 30 minutes of hard, excruciating labor will be over! 11. Begin yanking the dead Morning Glory stems down and stuffing them into the garbage bag. This is boring work, so let your mind wander. Wonder if that damn piece of shit computer which kept freezing up on you earlier has learned its’ lesson. Try to decide what to have for lunch. Listen to Miz Poo chirp at Mr. Fancypants as she kicks his ass. Feel a tickle on your right forearm and glance absently downward. 12. HOLY GOD IN HEAVEN, IT’S A SPIDER! IT’S A SPIDER! A SPIDER! OHMYGODOHMYGODOHMYGOD! 13. Scream loudly and throw your garbage bag into the pool. Flail both arms backwards as hard as you can, letting out a long, high-pitched scream. Begin running in place as fast as you can, your feet slapping the cement in a rapid one-two rhythm, while continuing to flail your arms back and forth. 14. Feel a slight tickling on your face. 15. HOLY GOD IN HEAVEN, IT’S A SPIDER! A SPIDER ON MY FACE! OHMYGODOHMYGODOHMYGOD! 16. Realize – you must keep up the flailing and running in place the entire time – that a spider is not on your face. That’s a stray hair which has escaped from your carefully (ha!) gelled and blow-dried ‘do. 17. Move ever-so-subtly (without realizing it) in the direction of the pool. 18. Begin flailing your arms in a circular motion, as you are certain – though you cannot see them – that spiders are all over your arms. 19. Feel a tickling between your breasts. Stop flailing your arms and instead begin beating yourself on the chest, hoping to kill the scads of spiders you’re sure have invaded your bra. 20. Realize that that was the tickle of sweat you felt. Lower the register of your scream slightly so that you sound like a somewhat mentally disturbed deranged person. 21. Finally, stop running in place. Slowly lower your arms. Lastly, cease and desist with the scream. Note that your neighbors have gathered outside your fence and are peering through the slats to see who’s killing you. 22. Give yourself a once-over and see no spiders, black widow or otherwise. Brush your hair back from your face and speak soothingly to Miz Poo, who is hiding under the steps with her tail bushed out. 23. Take one step backward to get away from the Morning Glory trellis before going to open the fence gate to let the cops – who are banging on the gate, guns drawn – in so that you might explain (with an embarrassed grin) what exactly happened. 24. Trip over the solar cover reel and fall into the pool.