Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Parking Lot Bingo

As I entered the WalMart parking lot this morning I thought,"What if no one paid attention?" The parking lot is always filled with shoppers. But there are other things going on too. Every day there are several big rigs parked in the lot. I can only assume they picked the lot because it is large, making it easy for them to park so they can take a nap. So what if they are blocking the view of drivers trying to get into or out of the parking lot.

Almost everytime I go or leave WalMart, I have to watch the traffic more closely than I do driving the streets. With several entrances, it is frequently a game of chicken. People drive around the lot without paying attention to where anyone is going. A Houston traffic cop could not keep up with the random comings and goings. I don't know how many times I have nearly met disaster because I am going down the lane and someone is driving all the way across the parking lot with no regard as to traffic patterns. The farther down the lot you get, it seems to become a free for all as to who is going where. No wonder there are always several wreckers parked in the lot. Easy pickings for them. And they don't even have to disturb the "real" traffic. This morning I did get a laugh as I looked at a wrecker driver taking a snooze waiting for the coming crunch.

That doesn't even include the guys racing each other as they grab the shopping carts. Somehow it doesn't matter how many cart parking spots a store has, the carts always end up all over the place. So, I guess the employees have to race to get these carts back inside. We certainly don't want a shopper not to have a cart.

Then of course there are the parking space predators who cruise the lot looking for a spot up front. During peak shopping times it is a contest to get the best one. As soon as they see a shopper putting bags in their trunk, they swoop in and wait right behind the shopper. Hurry, hurry they seem to be telling the shopper as they lay claim to the space. Traffic jams have occured because several people want the same spot. They don't believe that walking is good exercise. Then they have the nerve to get annoyed when a mother with three kids takes too long to get the bags and kids loaded up.

Just watching all this activity can be not only annoying but tiresome. No wonder the wrecker guy was taking a nap.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Just Goes to Show You

For Valentine's Day one of the local tv stations decided to play matchmaker. The morning hosts asked men and women to send them why viewers would like to be matched up, sort of like the computer match making services. The morning hosts would go over the applications and try to match couples. They would be featured on tv as they embarked on their "Cupid" trials. So, as things went on some couples were interviewed about how everything went on the dates and so on. This sounded like a fun thing. Quite a few people were interested in this.

So was a sex offender. Imagine that! This guy was looking for prey under the guise of a match making special. Well, the lady he wanted to see and the tv station discovered that he was not who he said he was. After doing a background check it was discovered he was a sex offender and had some other felony problems. Luckily the woman's intuition warned her that something wasn't right. Next thing you know, there is a reported at the man's door. He admitted that he is a registered sex offender. Oops!

One can only wonder if the tv station will try matchmaking again. Just goes to show you that things (or people) are not always what they seem. Even a tv station can be fooled. At least nothing serious happened.

Friday, February 23, 2007

It's Friday and...

As I sit here I wonder how the day will go. After all it is only 7:22 in the morning. At least the week is almost over. Jimmy will be happy about that. He will be on the computer playing poker most of the weekend. I just hope there will be something to watch on tv. When I gets into poker he is lost in his own world.

The Houston Rodeo parade is Saturday morning. Not being a livestock or rodeo fan I don't plan to watch the parade. Then again the weather is supposed to be bad. Of course it always seems to rain on the parade. Ho hum.

I was watching Court TV yesterday when the judge in the Anna Nicole circus made his tearful decision to award her remains to the attorney for the baby. I heard that the judge was looking for a gig as a "People's Court" type tv show. Good grief! Judge Judy he isn't! I can just see Judge Judy crying in the court room. This guy is just unbelievable. He is as much a nut job as the characters in the trial. Somehow he doesn't seem to represent the judicial system very well to me. I wonder what the Florida legal and judicial people think of him.

I think it is time for me to try to clean out the mess that is described as a garden along the front of our patio. Someone had an idea to plant airplane plants in there. I have no idea how long ago that was but they have become a jungle. Man, they are thick. What a mess. Apparently nobody around here has taken any kind of care of the gardening and landscaping around here. I use that term loosely. There is not much grass in the back and all the shrubs need to be pruned.

Now I am irritated because the coffeee has grounds in it. Apparently the paper filter folded over itself . Now there is a nice little mess with coffee all over the counter and coffee grounds floating everywhere. Ugh! I hope this isn't a bad sign.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Thanks, Craig

Finally a tiny voice has been heard. Craig Ferguson has vowed not to make any more jokes about Britney Spears. Good for him. I know that she has been fodder for a lot of jokes. I, myself, have laughed at them. But then there comes the point when you realize these jokes are about another human being in trouble. Mr. Ferguson and many other famous people have had their demons with the bottle or drugs. Just look at Robin Williams, Drew Barrymore or Robert Downey,Jr. They are painfully aware of the glare of the spotlight made even harsher because of bad behavior. They have seemed to learn their lesson. At least they say they have.

We have to remember other people have problems too, maybe in our own families. Do we laugh at them? No, hopefully we try to help and support them. Being famous is no different. It is just more "big screen". Money and fame make things more available not necessarily better. The teen drinking the parents vodka is just like the star doing coke, just on a smaller scale. Somehow they all must hit bottom. Then they can climb back to sanity.

Bravo, Craig! The Britney jokes were getting a little hard to take. It takes one to know one so they say. Ferguson nearly ruined his life, so he understands. After all, remember that old saying,"people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones"?

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Good Luck With That!

My four year old granddaughter recently asked her parents to have her ears pierced. Hum... I know that her mother had wanted to do it earlier but daddy said wait until she asks. Well the question has been asked. Good luck with that mom. I just hope that the four year old will be more patient (and still) that her older sister was. Man, just brushing the hair of the older sister was a major pain (at least Chey thought so). So much drama and crying and screaching and crying...Well you get the picture.

Now let's consider a four year old with a jewelery box and earrings. How many of those tiny things are going to end up sticking a foot or toe? And of course this will be followed by loud howls of pain. And that is from the mother! Within a few weeks how many pairs will still be together?

Will the young one be able to sit still for cleaning and so on? Considering the blood curdling screams this little girl can make, will the neighbors move? So much whaling about so little. Then will there be some rivalry about who wears what earrings? Of course the older girl should have control of her own earrings. But I know the little one...Sneaky is one word that comes to mind.

And of course there is the weekend scene. Mom and dad sound asleep early in the morning. The blast of the vocal talents of such a little girl are about to become evident. Mom, I can't get these in!" There will be no peace in the house until it the earrings are in place. But for how long? Mom only thought she was going to get some extra sleep.

Little girls and earrings. As Dr. Phil would say "How's that working for ya?"

Monday, February 19, 2007

Stop That TrainWreck, Never Mind, Too Late

It is bad enough that there is a trend growing in the celeb circuit to go to rehab, sort of. I find it hard to believe that they get much help when they check into the poshy spa type places. Who are they kidding? Rehab is not something to play at or come and go to. Rehab takes work and blood, sweat and tears. What is up with the drive thru therapy? Apparently now it is "fashionable" to go to the "trendy" type of rehab. Rehab should be hard work, not a vacation.

Just look at Britney Spears. (Do I have to?) Does she not have anyone she can trust or who cares enough to tie her up and make her listen? Where is her brain, or does she still have one? In a way I really feel sorry for her. She has gained a lot of fame for her music. But her personal life and her choices have overshadowed her life to this point. K-Fed is not the brightest bulb in the lamp, but Britney is going overboard to destroy what credibility she had.

Let's see-rehab, tats, and baldness in a weekend. That must be a record. I have one kid who has not seen the need for tats. The other three all have mulitple "artwork" in various locations on their bodies. They all "forgot" to tell me about them, cause they know how I feel. Maybe be they were afraid of "Mother's Wrath". Some of my family have crawled out of a bottle on occasion. At least they didn't have half the photographers in the world watching.

Somebody needs to get that train off the tracks before there is another wreck, this time a serious one. And would someone please get that girl a wig! And make her wear it! Swoosh- there went that train again...

Friday, February 16, 2007

Politics Not as Usual

Maybe it's just me but I have noticed something a little different in politics. When I was growing up no one ever thought of a woman running for President. The stock line of why not had something to do with "hormones". No woman was strong enough or smart enough to do that job. They were supposed to be housewives, not President of the United States. Very few were doctors or lawyers. How times have changed. Women are doing all sorts of things from being jet pilots to engineers and even politicians. Hormones don't seem to affect their jobs at all. Let's just say that the "women's movement" phrase "women belong in the house..and in the senate" is going strong. I guess the political "glass ceiling" has cracked. Now will we elect the nation's first woman as President? Only time and mis-statements will tell.

There is also another thing that would have been inconceivable years ago. Another step up the ladder with Barack Obama running for President. What this outcome will be is another question. He hasn't been in the US Senate for that long. That seems to be one of the issues about him. Not enough experience seems to be a question about him. He doesn't have any real foreign policy experience. But he is an eloquent speaker who seems to inspire many people. I remember when people were inspired by John Kennedy. But many black people are not endorsing him. In fact many are lending their support to Hillary Clinton. Politics aside this is a question.

Time was when blacks all get behind a person like him. They would be proud of a person like him getting so far in so little time. But not now. Is he not black enough? Obviously he is a still short on experience. He is very passionate about his ideas of how to improve our country. But could he be elected? That is a big question since lately so many people are not endorsing him.

Funny how things have changed in this country. Franklin Roosevelt served four terms as President. That was quickly changed. Now two terms is the maximum. Truman dropped the Bomb. No-one would consider that today. Kennedy was a Roman Catholic. Some people felt he should not be President for that reason. They felt his religous beliefs would interfere with his ability to govern the country. Now we have moved on to a wide open race for the White House. Seems like everybody from both parties is running. It is almost easier to count who is not running rather than name who is. So why is there so much focus on who would be better-a black man or a white woman. Or a man versus a woman. Obviously this is a Democratic Party issue. Maybe they will choose neither. The Republican Party has a long list of candidates also. Who will they choose? After all the Democrats have already beaten them, in a manner of speaking. They do have the first black and the first woman running for President. Anything different on the Republican side? We shall see.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Valentine's Day is Over, Time to Get Serious

Now that we have the holiday out of the way, it is time to start thinking about a few things. I'm sure people up north are thinking about the snow. I just can't imagine that much snow. Around here there are two major topics of discussion warming up the days and nights. Spring training for the Astros and what will the Texans do with David Carr. I saw a bit of an interview with Andy Pettitte, traitor, I mean former Astro. He was excited to be back with the Yankees. So much for the hometown connection. At least with spring training starting, can the season be far behind? I, like every one else wonder about Roger. I think he'll be back. The question is if he will be any benefit to the team. Half a season is not really going to make much difference. After all there is an old saying about dancing with the one who brought you to the dance. If we get lucky and the young guys step up and out of the shadows of the likes of Clemens, Bagwell and Biggio, we might not need him and he can retire, again.

What to do with David Carr is another story. There don't seem to be a lot of good quarterbacks entering the draft. The Texans higher ups are now hedging their bets on Carr. Some say that with the right line he could be a good but not great quarterback. Others say he doesn't have the heart. So Bob McNair and company will have some tough decisions come draft time. Do they look for someone to help the offensive line and give Carr a chance, or give up and look for a stopgap like Jake Plummer until they can find and groom a new QB. Only time will tell. Somebody better tell David not to hold his breath.

The Rockets are actually doing rather well even without Yao. I don't care much for basketball but I have been to a couple of games. Some people think the baseball season is too long. Basketball seems to go on forever to me.

The next thing to get serious about is cleaning out our old storage building so that we can save $150 a month. That is going to be about as easy as pulling a mammoth out of the La Brea Tar Pits. Motivation is the key and I think someone lost that key.

Then when it gets closer to spring planting season, I want to clean out all the airplane plants that are in the front of our part of the building. I wonder who was the nut job that thought they would make a great border? The Texas- Mexico border should be that tight. They are really thick.

Well it's time to get serious and fold the laundry. Somethings just never end.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

The Big Metal Monster

I've always been interested in planes and helicopters. As a child I considered myself lucky to see the Blue Angels planes at their base in Pensacola, Fla. To a kid they really looked big. How often does a kid get to touch these planes? I wish I could fly every day. But I missed my chance. When I was growing up girls were not considered for pilot training. Stewardess was the only way to fly. I didn't really want to be one.

But my love of airports and aircraft has stayed with me. I could be happy wandering around an airport all day. I love to watch the passengers and crews as they go about their business. I enjoyed watching planes take off and land. To me the 747 is a beautiful plane. Looking a little like a dove, it is hard to believe that something weighing over 750,000 pounds could get up into the air.

Then there is the helicopter. From Da Vinci's first crude drawings to today's models, I find them fascinating. From the little two man choppers to the large search and rescue ones, I can't help but watch. Around Houston it is not uncommon to see various helicopters almost daily. But I didn't expect to see the LifeFlight helicopter land almost in the back yard. While watching tv last night, we heard the thundering noise of the chopper as it landed in the parking lot of the fire station in front of us. I've seen these before. It is still hard to believe how big they are and how much equipment they carry. They are literally a flying emergency room. Of course at night, it is quite a sight to see the big metal monster so close. What ever the emergency was the chopper was on the ground for over an hour. Most of the time on the ground was spent stabilizing the patient from whatever had happened.

Finally, the unmistakable roar of the engines and the blades was audible again. I went outside to watch it take off. Soon I saw it rise from behind the building. Rising into the night sky like a huge metal monster. Four bright lights under the belly lit up the dark as I watched it lift ever so gracefully into the black of the night. The vibrations could be felt on the ground. The roar of the great monster was very lound. Chills went up my spine as I watched it lift off and turn toward it's hospital destination. With help from the big metal monster another life may have been saved. Fly on Big Metal Monster, fly on, God Bless.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007


Here I sit trying to get up courage. I applied with a company to do customer call center work from home. I did all the homework and checked it out. It is one of the ones suggested on Good Morning America. I filled out the information and took the first part of the test. That was fairly easy. Two simple multiple choice questions and a short essay, no problem. I got the email from them stating that I am now in their data base and giving me instructions for the final step in the application process. I have to call a number, give them a code and do something they call a voice audition. I sit here and look at the phone, but every time I start to dial the number, my courage fails me. Why? I don't know why this is so hard for me. I've done enough phone work in the past. I've even done community theater. So why am I so reluctant to dial the number? Is it fear of failure? Maybe. Fear that I won't get the job? Yes. I haven't worked at all in over six years. The last time I applied for a job, I sent out over thirty resumes and got four calls, but no offers.
I don't know why I am having such a hard time taking this last step. In the back of my mind I think either the dogs will bark or the parrot will screach. Doing the call center work requires a quiet work environment. Just what I need, chaos when I am trying to speak to someone about a job. It shouldn't be this big a deal, right? I'm only looking at a part-time position, not brain surgery. What is keeping me from from dialing that number? My anxiety is showing...

Monday, February 12, 2007

I Smell a Rat, No, That's Just the Garbage

There are three fourplex townhouse buildings here at the entrance to the neighborhood. I have been wondering why we have not had to pay for garbage pick-up. I just put my garbage at the curb like everyone else. Last week the garbage truck did not pick any of our garbage. Twelve families put garbage at the curb as usual. Now the garbage collection company, Republic Waste, has decided not to pick up our garbage unless our cans have a Republic Waste sticker on them. They left little neon green tags on the garbage with no stickers. They even put tags on plastic bags. The tags instructed the garbage owners to call the company and make arrangements to put stickers on the cans. I had the same company at the house where we used to live. They require prepayment before they will pick up the garbage. Funny, this was the same company the got in trouble with the City of Houston for charging the city for garbage that did not belong to the city. One of the local "undercover"tv reporters did a series on them. So, I guess as a result of that, Waste Management need to make sure they only pick up garbage from their customers.

When we first moved to Houston we lived in a fourplex in a similar residential area. The difference was that the building owner paid homeowners dues so we could use the pool and they also paid water and garbage bills. We just took out the trash and it was picked up. Not here. The question is who will blink first? One of our neighbors noticed that the trash had not been picked up and asked if we knew why. When she was told that she would now have to pay for it she was not happy. Good Christian girl that she is, her comment was "Hell no, we've been here for three years and have never had to pay. That garbage will sit there until they have to pick it up. So there it sits. This could get interesting, or at least smelly. And what about the animals that roam around at night? They will tear up those bags. And so the standoff begins...

Friday, February 09, 2007

Attempted Robbery

All was quiet as I and the dogs were the only ones here. The tv was on as I listened while roaming the web. It was early and I didn't have the light on over the computer. As I looked at the screen, my stomach let me know the undeniable fact. Hungry, hungry. Ok, while another page loaded I made some toast. Not exactly the way I like it, but it would have to do. I like my toast crispy but since the smoke alarm is so close, I can't eat it that dark because the smoke alarm would go off. Ah yes, finally it's ready. After smearing butter on the two pieces I sat back down to continue surfing. I set the toast on the desk and proceeded to eat while surfing. Don't we all? Suddenly, out of the corner of my eye, I saw motion. I was about to be robbed. Without thinking I reacted. That's MY toast, you thief. I caught the robbery in progress! Daisy had snuck up to the desk and stood up to grab the toast. My reaction was faster though. I slammed my hand onto the moving piece of toast. Caught it just as it teetered near the edge. Now, should Daisy go to jail or get probation?

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Phallic Symbol, Maybe or Maybe Not

I'm beginning to think that people must have way too much time on their hands. There has apparently been a lot of discussion about the Prince half-time show. Seems some think that during his "Purple Rain" song his guitar was used as a phallic symbol image. Was it? I did notice the way he held the guitar and the shadowy look could be looked at as that. But is this intended as "Rolling Stone" seems to think or something else? Do we read more into things than there actually are? Maybe, since it was raining, the guitar just slipped into that position? Maybe, maybe not. Then again, maybe CBS or the NFL are trying to stur up some more controversy. Let's face it no one seems to want to watch squeaky clean half times like "Up with People" anymore. Next thing you know there will be a disclaimer before the start of the half time show saying "viewer descretion advised". Where is Perry Como when you need him?

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

But It's Your Meter!

I got my electric bill the other day. I usually cringe when I see it. $200 here, $400 there. Since just about every place I have lived in Houston is less than energy efficient I constantly fight to keep costs down. As usual it seems to be a losing battle. The electric company always wins. So, when I opened the bill I was shocked, $5.12. Yeah, right. I have never had that low a bill. So I grab the phone and call Customer Service. The woman I spoke with was nice but not very helpful. She said that maybe they estimated the bill instead on reading the meter. Huh? I explained that I was concerned because I didn't want to get a huge bill somewhere down the line because they figured out they screwed up. So she had me go outside and read my meter. I gave her the information and she put me on hold while she "analyzed" the information. When she came back she told me that currently they were showing usage that would be about $40 to this point. When I questioned her about why the bill was only $5.12 , she told me that maybe the meter was going bad. Ok, so can you have somebody check it? That would result in a charge of $67. What? Why do I have to pay for the electric company to check it's own equipment? Maybe they don't have the manpower to do preventive maintance. Surely they know how old their meters and and when they were installed. But in order to find out if the meter is working right I have to pay them $67 regardless of the outcome. Maybe I'm crazy. I didn't buy the meter. I don't have a choice of which meter to buy. To me, making sure the electric company's equipment is their job. After all, it's their meter. I just use the electricity that comes through the lines and they bill me for what I use, right? Hey, Reliant, it's your meter! Fix it yourself. Or is this a way to get more money from the customer?

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Grilling 101

Cooking food on the grill is a art according to some people. I am beginning to agree with that. There is nothing so mouth watering and enticing as the aroma of a steak being grilled outside. That is unless the person doing the grilling as poured so much charcoal lighter fluid on the coals that all you smell is the starter fluid. Ugh! Set up the grill, put in the appropriate amount of charcoal and a little fluid to help start the fire. Do not drown the charcoal! Why do people think that they need to pour so much charcoal starter on it? I've had food cooked outside which tasted more like charcoal starter than the food. This is in addition to the smell wafting through the air. Come on people! It's a steak, not a NASA rocket! Patience is an important key to outdoor grilling. Get the fire going and wait for the coals to get nice and hot. Steak tastes much better with out the fire starter marinade! Jeez!

Maybe some one should go tell our new neighbor the art of the grill. Both the new guy and the previous guy use so much starter that the smell permeates every bit of the air both outsde and into my house. I'm not a fan of the smell of charcoal starter. I can taste it on the food if we use to much. But the smell while the food is cooking is enough to gag a maggot! Come on! Less is more! Treat the steak with respect and it will be a wonderful experience. Learn the art of grilling, please!

Monday, February 05, 2007

What Did You Think?

We watched the sloppy, wet Superbowl yesterday. I am glad the Colts won. But, I really wanted to see the new ads. Yes, I've been hooked into the hoopla every year. Which ad will be the winner and which will be the dud. For some reason I was more underwhelmed than impressed. Oh sure, there were a couple of nice ones. I liked the one with the rabbits and the mouse, and of course the heart string tugger with the Budwiser dogs. I even liked the one with Charles Barkley. But to me, most of the ads did not live up to the hype. The Coke one that showed the guy helping others was nice, but the ones done by the non ad people were just as good, maybe better. Then maybe I'm a little jaded, I usually channel surf when the commercials are on. This crop of new commecials didn't really inspire me. So after checking out the new ads, guess I'll keep surfing.

So football season is, except for the Pro Bowl over. Can baseball season be far behind? Sorry, I just can't get that into basketball... Come on spring training-Go Stros! How come there aren't splashy ads during the World Series? Too many games I guess...

Friday, February 02, 2007

Your Repair Has Been Completed

Yesterday afternoon the phone rang. So, fool that I am, I answered it. As I said "hello" I realized that I was speaking to another automated message. It was ATT calling. The recording said the telephone repair had been completed. Yeah, I already knew that. Then it continued with a series of questions about the person who repaired the problem. For this I was to rate the repairman from 1 to 5, with 5 being the best. Hum. The questions ranged from "Was the repairman neat in appearance?" (Couldn't tell, he was wearing rain gear). "Was he professional in attitude?" (uh, at least he said yes ma'am and no ma'am). "Did he expain to you what he was doing?" (yeah, he said the phone jack had an exta line which wasn't working on it, he'd replace it.)

Yeah, ATT understated the obvious. Imagine the hospital calling after you get home with your new baby. "Hello, your birth process has been completed." Thanks, I wondered why you sent this screaming baby home with me. Or what if the car mechanic calls after you have driven your car home to tell you the repair was complete. Yeah I know and it only cost me $800!

I guess it is progress of a fashion to ask about a service. But after rating the service, what does ATT do with the information? Is this used for performance evaluations for the employees? If the repairman gets a bad review,what happens? On the other hand maybe other companies should consider the customers viewpoint. It couldn't hurt.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Captive Audience

As I write this it is 8:39 am. The significance of this is the ticking clock. The wonderful ATT repair people will be here today between 8am and 7pm. Gotta love those repair people. I still can't call out or in , nor do I hav a dial tone. But I have internet. hum... I had to use a cell phone to call in for service. I hate those automated systems. Are you calling about your internet, press 1, are your calling about your phone, press 2. Please enter your phone number. Thank you, please wait while we check blah, blah. Then the system asks to describe the problem. Is the problem, 1 no dial tone? 2 Can't call out? 3 Can't call in? Well gee, if I get no dial tone I can't do 2 or 3. Then the system asks for a number where I can be reached. Uh, what if this is the only phone? What did we do before cell phones? I guess we went to the local pay phone or called from work.

So here I sit, a captive audience. At least I have laundry to do today. Daisy is not too happy because we usually go for a walk about now. Of course it is raining, again. That always makes both Daisy and Lady less than enthusiastic about going outside.

The clock is ticking. I'm waiting.

Finally the phone company guy showed up a little after 11am. That is early is some circles. Well, the phone is up and running again. Yipee! Just only problem, it was nothing outside which would have not cost me any thing. The problem was inside, but of course that is going to cost me about $100. I'll worry about that next month... Seems that whoever was here before had two lines wired in and left the wire connected which was causing the problem. Now I get the chore of trying to find a job to pay for all the stuff that has gone wrong! At least the phone works.