Monday, June 22, 2009

16+ hours of driving in fun bite-size segments! And a dream.

Davey, on a wrestling game:
At first I got the heck beat out of, and Daddy got the heck beat out of, but then I started winning and Uncle Daniel got the heck beat out of.

At Lunch:
Mom: Wow, girl, you're a bottomless pit!
Fi: What's a bottomless pit?
Daddy: People used to say I had a hollow leg.
Fi: A hollow head?
Daddy: Leg.
Fi: Head. Hehehehe

DJ: Mom?
Me: Mmmm?
DJ: Are you sleeping?
Me: ...*sigh*... No.
DJ: Then why are you lying there with your eyes closed?

The CNN moment:
Me: If you kids don't settle down blah blah LAST WARNING!, blah blah blah!
DJ: *insert mouthing off*
Daddy: *pulls to a stop light in downtown Panama City*
Me: *Slam down knitting, unbuckle seatbelt, dive into back seat, pull DJ out of his seat, swat swat, return to seat, straighten hair*
Guy in the Blazer beside us: OMG....
Daddy: This is not my family, this is not my car, that's not my license plate...

Return Trip:
DJ: I want to talk to Mom
Daddy: Mom's asleep. Be quiet and let her rest.
DJ: Well, she's staring at me!
Daddy: No, behind her sunglasses her eyes are closed; she's asleep.
DJ: Stop staring at me, Mom!! Aaaauuugh!!!

The dream at the hotel:
I was trying out to be a private chef for a lady who lived alone. She wanted me to audition Iron Chef-style. She said to make oatmeal. There's not a lot you can do to make that "gourmet." I stirred and stirred, tilting the pot, adding milk, until the consistency was perfect. Now, the flavor. Mint. And Honey. It was delicious. Refreshing and indulgent. Perfect. She loved it.

Roadkill Tour 2009:
Always a unique experience once across state lines.
1 Alligator
1 Opossum
1 Raccoon
1 Un-identifiable
1 Watermellon
2 Turtles
3 squirrels
5 armadillos
9 cantaloupe
Umptyzillion Tires

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Kitten & book

A week ago on Saturday the 13th, I woke up late to a sick kitten. She was lethargic. Not eating. Shaking. I got her to the emergency vet. They ran all kinds of tests, but everything came up negative. They suspected Feline Leukemia due to her age (5 weeks) and the fact that Mama cat has not only not been spayed, but hasn't had shots, either. I was willing to go along with this, until David pointed out some things. 1) She was the runt, and they do tend to have problems. 2) She had a weird tendency to lick the raised print on any t-shirt. 3) While she was a fine jumper-down, she was never very steady on her feet. 4) After she passed, the ninja-cat (a.k.a. Ginger kitty) stopped being so horrible to all the kittens (maybe she knew something was up from the get-go). All-in-all, I think something went wrong inside her. She was really pretty and very, very sweet. I thought of her as Ursa Minor (mama is Ursa) and Fi called her little tiger.

The hard part for me was trying to keep her alive. I took her home that evening with some gel vitamin supplement and instructions to feed it to her, even if per force. I tried that and some egg-cream mixture, hoping she'd feel like eating. She bit the crap out of me and started seizing and screaming. Her fever must have spiked. That was when I totally lost it. Mom said I needed to calm down before the kids got home. I did. While I was calming down, she passed.

The hard part for the kids was coming to the realization that she was gone. DJ so obviously went through all the stages of grief. It was very clear and, in an intellectual way, an interesting thing to watch. Each stage was clearly defined: Denial (She can't be dead! You mean she's not coming back??), Anger (It's not fair! She didn't DO anything!), Bargaining (I wish I could see her play a little more), Depression - a little strong, I'd go with "sadness" (I MISS the little black kitty), and then acceptance (I miss the little black kitty, but I'm glad we have the other kitties). Fi processed things a little more internally and a bit more calmly.

We buried her on Sunday. The boys cut flowers from the garden to put on her grave. As soon as the kittens are weaned, we'll take mama-cat in for her shots and spay and them in for the same.

On Friday the 12th, Siamese kitty went missing. I think sometimes he gets confused. I didn't even miss him in all the excitement of Saturday. Sunday, we tied a running shirt to the fence as usual when he goes missing. I hate to admit it, but by Tuesday I was thinking awful things. I don't really like that cat - I love him, but I don't like him. He's an ill-behaved and ill-tempered beast. We DO have, like six- I mean, five, other cats. But he is my Siamese buddy. He's gregarious; he'd easily find a new home. He showed up on Tuesday night with a badly mangled tail. I think it's broken in at least one spot, and I swear I can see bone. Chunks of skin are missing. I think either a dog got him by it, or he got it stuck in something like a fan. I'm not sure he has feeling in the tip. I think it may have to be amputated. It's an absess waiting to happen. Yet another vet bill. Well, he was coming up due for shots, too.

Spoilers ahead!! Don't read on, if you don't like spoilers!

Meanwhile, Life of Pi proved an excellent distraction. Wow, is it gory. I have to say that I'm not sure which of the two stories I like better or believe more. I know the mind can do some weird stuff when isolated for a long time.

I could see turning a part of yourself into a tiger as a way of distancing yourself from the atrocities survival forces you to commit. I can also see a tiger never being found in the Mexican jungle. I can see turning the other people into animals to distance the awful things that happen to them from the memories of loved ones, but I can also see a zebra jumping and landing in a boat and an orangutan floating on a ton of bananas. I can imagine a carnivorous island, but one where the trees spit the unedible bits (teeth, etc) out as fruit? Not sure on that. I guess the point of the story is that you may as well believe the animal version. It's nicer in so many ways.

I really enjoyed the way the author dealt with religion. He seemed fairly objective, if writing from the stance of an open-minded, non-practising hindu. I just loved the confrontation with his parents, the priest, the mullah and the hindu leader on the walk; such good points were made about non-exclusivity of other faiths.

It does make me wonder which parts of the book were "true" and which were "artistic lisence." I may have to do some research. But not tonight.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Some Notes

First the quick and dirty:
I'm in the very beginning of Life Of Pi and loving it. I'm surprised at the religiousness, if you will, of the book. For some reason (lack of research? Probably) I hadn't expected to find religion discussed in it, and so far have not been disappointed in what has been said. Maybe it's because after A Heartbreaking Work Of Staggering Genius, and its noted lack of anything religious, I had forgotten that some authors actually do speak of faith.

I was listening to NPR this morning and they were discussing the case involving the Supreme Court's decision in favor of a man who charged that he had not been given a fair tribunal. (In summary: Big business runs small business out of business; small business sues; jury awards small business millions; big business appeals; judge, who received millions for his election campain from big business is assigned case and refuses three times to disqualify himself from hearing the case, and finds in favor of big business and un-does the jury's decision; Small business claims he wasn't granted a fair tribunal).

This raises a couple of really basic questions for me. The first question is, Should we, the People elect our judges? Not electing judges means they'd have to be appointed, which could very easily turn (even more) into a good ol' boy system, where the status quo is maintained through the ages (or until a new official is elected), and the doors for corruption are wide open. But if we elect our judges, that allows for the selling off of seats in courts through campaign funding, which we're already seeing. Campaign fundraising has already reached $168 million since 2000. Frankly, this question is still unanswered in my mind.

How can we insulate our judicial system (assuming we're in one of the 39 states in which judges are elected) from lobbyists? It seems to me - as an over-simplification - that if you have an election, the guy with the most campaign dollars is probably going to win. Who gives to campaign funds? People who support the candidate and have a ton of money. This isn't a problem if the candidate is a politician - he'll work (presumably) to give his constituency what it wants. But judges... I mean, fair is fair, right? Regardless of how much money you contributed. But then there's loyalty. If some one gave me a few million, I'd want to keep them happy, too. If we've decided to elect judges (and I think this applies to politicians, too, though I'm not ready to think about that yet), is it fair to cap campaign spending? Or contribution amounts? I think it would be fairest to cap campaign spending at a relatively low amount across the board... but that still allows for plenty of loopholes (support from private organizations, for example). This may read pretty jumbled. It's jumbled in my head, too.

I guess no system, no matter how great, is completely safe from corruption; ours is no exception.