Saturday, September 22, 2007

Turning Forty

The boy and his dad and his dad's best friend went camping this weekend. I'd planned on cleaning up the house and getting some projects done plus painting and writing. That didn't work out for various reasons--dogs running off, a visitor from out-of-town, much needed mom/daughter time (we were bad and shopped)--but it was still a good weekend.

With a milestone birthday coming up I've been feeling weird. Not mortal weird--that happens all the time and I'm used to that. Not crisis weird either. If I had a word for it I'd name it but I don't so I'll just make one up. I feel dooblesh. Dooblesh involves sensations of wasted time or time going by too quickly interspersed with a craving simultaneously for healthy food and chocolate. Dooblesh has me yearning to write but, despite having time to do so, I end up on the couch with my daughter watching I, Robot. Later I watch an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer while munching on squash, chocolate, chicken strips and drinking a glass of wine. I get a bag of popcorn but I end up not popping it. I wash one pot and give up on the rest of the dishes immediately. I stop by my barely-begun self-portrait--watercolor on yupo, of course--and pick up a brush, but then put it back.

It might be turning forty, or it might be autumn. Autumn is the wandering. I got a good whiff of actual crisp morning. It's on the edge of uncomfortable to sleep with the windows open, though it's better now that I've added a second comforter to the bed. I'm wearing sweaters. I'm both restless and aimless, something that happens pretty infrequently. I'm usually simply one or the other. Restless Kami does chores, or paints, or gardens. Aimless Kami does sudoku or writes or gardens.

Hmm. I'm seeing why I garden a lot.

It's a good time to go on vacation, but I'm woefully unprepared. Programming Hell happens this coming weekend and I'll be in Canada for it, something I dread. I'll have to put together instructions for the convention's programming staff, CC everyone and hope that the critique sessions, manuscript crit and submit panels, hands-on mini-seminars and the open read-and-critique sessions all end up where they need to be with the people who want to be involved with them. On the 26th, I'll consider it out of my hands. We won't be gone yet, but I'll be too busy prepping to spend any time dealing with convention stuff. My focus will shift to the family, and sleeping in, and wandering.
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketOh yes, this is good timing, unintentionally so but the chance to drive away from it all when the wind and the chill and reddening of leaves all play a traveling tune is magic. My feet can skip to the music and the landscape can move all around me, taking me everwhere, which is sort of like everywhere but quieter and less fussy. My family and I will adopt gypsy hearts, or maybe we'll become something even less tame and more playful, otters with wings or things with starlight shining in our eyes.

Rory's encouraging me to bring along paper and paint and brushes. That's going to be a big bag, but I think he knows that. Good good. They can plant me in a park or a garden somewhere and go play while I drip and stroke and splatter and flood colors onto paper. I like the idea of them having fun together someplace as much as I like the idea of being alone for a while among strangers in a strange place. Maybe someone will come up and talk to me, or maybe they'll avoid me, not wanting to disturb a work in progress even if it's weird art that doesn't suit their tastes. Meanwhile the fam will be mom-free. Everyone needs a break from the mom now and then, just like the mom enjoys an occasional break from them. I wonder if it's possible to be non-mom-like around them, and for them to be non-husband and non-child-like around me. I think it might be too intense, or a difficult or silly game that leads to secret names, asking questions and spying, or something unexpected and silver-bright.Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

It's late, and I'm not forty yet. The morning alarm is set, the dogs are home, clothes are tumbling in the dryer. It's quiet and I'm the only one awake. Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket I'm definitely doobleshing. I thought that the restlessness was wearing off, but it's not. I really want to get up and try painting again. I thought maybe the aimlessness had gone, but I have a feeling that I won't actually paint. I'll look at the painting, and pick up a brush, and then think better of it and move on. I don't mind so much. I don't mind feeling dooblesh. Windy impulses will carry me along until I get blown up against the bed (out of the gutter, you!) and then I'll sleep, one dream closer to forty.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Wizard's cure

Wizard's procedure went well yesterday, or so I hear. I wasn't able to be with him. In fact, I had to abandon the poor thing at the vet for the day because I had to go to work.

Wizard is so sweet, quiet and mild-tempered it's easy to forget that he was half-wild. Easy, that is, until you try to get him into a cat carrier, succeed, and then leave him with a stranger. He's never bitten or scratched us, something I find miraculous considering his trust issues, but he can wrestle like a Gracie on steroids. The power in his body is just amazing. Arnold would be jealous of his musculature. The cat knows how to struggle and get away.

I was ready for him, though. I had a good grip on him and took advantage of the fact that he won't claw or bite the cat carrier either, which might have given him better purchase. It was still a good fight, embarrassing considering that I weigh about 154 pounds and the cat weighs somewhere around 12-15 pounds. Once I got the door shut he did a quick 360 flip and proceeded to panic. No way out! His eyes got wild and he attacked the door, clawless again but with a good two-paw punch that rattled the whole cage. I spoke his name and he calmed and settled--settled, that is into yowling.

He yowled as he had not yowled since we first caught him and took him to the vet. I'd forgotten he had this ability to pierce human skulls with his voice alone. Murmuring comforting words, I carried him out. He'd completely reverted to wild by then, and didn't recognize the dogs. When Finn nuzzled the cage in inquiry, he hissed, spat and growled as if he'd never deliberately jumped into the puppy enclosure when they were tiny to flirt with the dogs.

I checked him in and left him. It seemed like only a short while later they called to let me know I could pick him up, but I couldn't, not until 3:30, a lifetime later for my poor cat. Verdict, abcess, and they irrigated it and put him on antibiotics because his body wasn't fixing it on its own. He still isn't sick-sick from it, but neither is it healing. Hopefully now the healing can finally start.

He was yowling when I picked him up, yowled all the way home, and then as soon as I let him out he ate food and became his quiet self again. I imagine this all baffles him. I'm sure his leg bothers him, and now that he's had this procedure at the vet's, his leg, well, still bothers him, except now he has to take medicine.

Humans are so weird.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Sometimes They Break Your Heart

Wizard's abcess or wound or whatever it is just isn't getting any better, so it's off to the vet for some antibiotics. They'll probably irrigate his wound too, so he may have to be anesthetized. Poor baby. No food since last night. He's been running around the house like a crazy man this morning, twining around my legs and generally acting as cute as possible hoping that I might feed him.

Two of our cats are missing. Mistah-fluff aka Misty has been gone for over a months. Claire now is missing too, for just over a week. I'm hoping both cats are fine and have moved over to the neighbors, who feed strays at their back door. Knowing Misty's love of attention and her hatred of our other cats, she may have literally gone in there door and moved in where there are no other indoor cats around. This is my fantasy. I've asked the kids to ask Tony about it (he drives their bus) but I think they keep forgetting. Just as well. If he says no, poof, there goes my hope.

In other bad news, yesterday I found one of our chickens dead. She may have died of natural causes, or sickness. It's hard to tell. The water was pretty dirty. I talked with Andrea and found that the animal care situation wasn't as dire as I'd believed when I looked out there. The water was low because she'd been using a smaller bucket to carry it (we're out of 5 gallon buckets. They get used a lot and that busts them up.) She changes it every other day. It's still possible the hen died from drinking dirty water, which transmits a nasty little bug called coccidiosis (sp?) but it's also possible that she had an egg impaction or her heart gave out or any number of reasons. Anyway, I buried her near the old henhouse and struggled with guilt.

Sometimes keeping animals just breaks your heart. At least the dogs and goats all are doing great. Brian is gorgeous, and will probably end up on the dust jacket of Rory's book. Heh--not by himself. Though that would be funny.

Meditations on Violence by Brian Miller. Woof.
As for the culprit, Rory saw a fox the day before yesterday. I love foxes. They're so beautiful. But ... yeah.

So I've told the kids that if they want to adopt another animal, it's going to have to be a small companion dog. No more cats. It's just too dangerous. We did fine for years out here, but with the 'scaping of our garden we're increasing diversity in all the wildlife, and that has brought in much more than the racoons. My mom thought she might have seen a weasel when she was here last. They're pretty nasty customers too. Yes, we could have indoor only kitties but honestly our catboxes--ugh. Three is enough.

I miss our kitties so much. I'm praying they're safe. Three is enough, but I'd just soon have too many, thanks very much, and have our fluff and hairless Claireness back.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Too many good things

After a feverish few days of putting together a bid to chair OryCon 30, Kai Jones aka snippy and I managed to dodge becoming chair and co-chair. If that makes no sense, bear in mind that very few who have taken on a major role in the convention do so again. Even more rare is the individual who chooses to chair a second time. I've seen aspects of the job, and they're no fun. So why in the world would I go for it? Because I knew of only one other bid, and that came in after I decided to put in a bid myself. When I first made the decision no one had stepped up, and if no one steps up, there's a serious possibility that there will be no OryCon.

Meanwhile, the writer's workshop deadline arrived and went, and along with that came the usual mad flurry of emails. I've spent more time in front of the computer today than I have in ages, and none of it has been spent writing. That twists my panties into a knot, but hey, I signed up for this. I have no one to blame but myself.

Which brings me to the third situation: easystreet, grr, has changed its email system. If you're reading this update my email to and pass the word along. There are some fabulous perks associated with this, the best being that I now have spam filtration and I haven't got a single piece of spam all day. The downside, major downside, is that I don't seem to be able to send out email, and for whatever reason Rory's email doesn't work at all despite my duplicating the changes I made to my account. In order to fully appreciate this problem consider that I can't email everyone in my address book to update their address books with my new email address because I CAN'T SEND OUT EMAIL!

So if you've emailed me and you haven't heard back, well, that's why. I've most likely gotten your email and have a response queued up in my Outbox.

I haven't found the end of my rope yet, but it seems like I have a lot of rope above me and I'm pretty sure there's not much left. Hopefully all these good things going on will eventually settle down and I can get back to what I love the most, well, second most--writing a good story. Okay, fourth most. Maybe even eighth most, because I love my dogs, even if they're playing that stupid you can't get me through the fence game *again*. And I love my cats too.

But you get the idea.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

She Who Returns

The front door swings open and it's her again, She Who Returns. She gives me a sweet smile. She has her usual prop, her grandson (if that's who he really is) and that's all he seems to be to her, a prop and a bit of a bother but cute enough to divert attention from her, She Who Returns. And of course She Who Returns (henceforth known as SWR which also serves as a fine acronym for Single White Refundee) doesn't simply flash her card and get ding donged in. Nope, she plops a bag onto the counter. "I have a return and an exchange."

Hmm, the exchange part piques my interest. "Okay." I get out the refund slips, trying not to grit my teeth. "What have we got?"

SWR removes the items, and along with them comes a receipt, but that's just her schtick. Naturally it's not a receipt from our store. It's from Safeway. "Oh, she said she put the receipt in there, but this is for the Starbucks."

It's never for our store. SWR is nothing if not a creature of habit. She's always nice, always smiles, always has this child who she places strategically so that he can grab at things, and always brings a receipt that oops, is not the right receipt. I want to go all tired, bored cop on her but I'm trapped by my sworn oath to deliver excellent customer service at all times. Now if I were so foolish as to manuever myself into a supervisory position I could ask a few questions and maybe even deny her this return. But no, I wear the chains of a servant.

Two items pour out of the bag. I grab an RF (secret decoder laser gun, zap zap, take that evil SWR!) and scan. And of course, one of the items comes up worth more than $20. Otherwise this game wouldn't be worth her while. Meanwhile, my initial interest has waned. These are both returns. She doesn't want to exchange a faulty product for one that works. Nope, she hasn't even opened either of the packages, as usual.

I'm not entirely certain what the game is. Maybe it's small potatoes, something she does for pop money, purchasing things in Oregon and then getting the return along with sales tax in Washington. Or maybe they're stolen outright and she gets the whole shebang. As always, the seals are untouched. Both packages are sparkling clean straight off the shelf. Last time it was an ear thermometer. This time it's a wart removal kit and blister bandages.

Helplessly I get the requisite initial because my super is on the way out the door and there's no subtle way to tackle her, wrestle her to the CSM and whisper surreptitiously the whole story of SWR. But I have a backup plan. Besides, SWR might be an actual paying customer (ha! But I must allow for this possibility) and no single super will take her on without The Mighty One's approval, except maybe for our musical second in command, who is not at the store at this time, and this super who wants nothing more than to go home and not get chewed out for unnecessary overtime.

Once SWR is safely away with her return slip I summon The New One. The New One is wise and clever, but new and therefore must certainly consult The Mighty One. However, The New One will be in the store in the morning, as will The Mighty One, and he can collect data from me and spew it on The Mighty One right after coffee. I tell him that I've personally written three or four returns and the routine is always the same. The last time I wrote a note and stuck it in the CSM. And aha! There is SWR in line. I point her out. She notices us, and although The New One turns his back it's not in time, she's made eye contact and her expression is guarded. She may have realized that we're onto her.

But never mind that, for if she is a thief we don't want her to come back anyway. The New One takes the returned items into his lonely citadel and analyzes them. He asks questions, I answer. At last, we have begun to collect real evidence that might prevent yet another round of 'oh gee, I thought I had the right receipt with me.'

So should SWR ever return, then mwa ha ha, she may be met with a gracious smile and-- "I'm sorry, I can't accept this return without a receipt. Could you bring it in with you the next time you come in?"

Take that, SWR!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Bring her home

There are no such things as ambulances for animals, at least, not to my knowledge. Sometimes I wonder if there ought to be. Fortunately we didn't need one last night.

Rory heard Nikita moaning, thank goodness, before he went to bed. She'd gotten stuck under the porch, probably wanting to hang out with the young whipper snappers that like to hang around and dig and wrestle and get dusty under there. Or maybe she wasn't feeling well and wanted to hide. Either way, there she was and Rory crawled under there to help her while I herded the sea of unconditional love into our upstairs bathroom so they wouldn't 'help' too. After much coaxing and help as he could offer her, Nikita finally emerged but she couldn't stand up on her hind legs. She was in obvious pain. While Rory comforted her I got her medication and we gave her a double dose. I volunteered to drive her in so that Rory could sleep, as it was now 10:30 pm and he had to go to work at 5am. We had no idea what they'd say. Maybe it was her time.

I didn't want it to be, but I recognized the selfishness in that. Keeping her with us while she was in horrible pain would be beyond awful. On the other hand, she might be willing to endure that pain to remain with her pack. We've been together for sixteen years. She's seen other dogs come into the pack, and die, and new ones rush about oblivious to things like loyalty, duty and the steadfast protectiveness she's always honored us with. Beast might run off for five days like an idiot and come back wondering what all the fuss was about. Nikita will not wander more than a hundred yards from the house, because she might be needed at home, and the only reason she'd leave would be to investigate potential trouble, which more often than not translated into looking in on the neighbor's dobermans of whom she always took a dim view, them being inclined to bark at her people. Barking at her people is not acceptable. They are also owned by He Who is Not to Be Trusted. I'm not sure why she never took a liking to Chuck, but there you have it.

But I digress.

Rory helped load Nikita into the car with the firm admonition of 'you call if you need help with her.'
"I'll bring her home," I promise.

So on the way to the emergency clinic I sing "You're My Best Friend" by Queen and "Wanderlust" by Heather Alexander. I think about passing on, and how lonely that is and I hope with all my heart that in whatever existence she finds herself in after this one she'll not be by herself but with someone or something loving. I wonder if Frey might not be waiting for her, and it chokes me up to hope that he might be waiting for us both, with his big, goofy grin and his shock of dark brindle fur, the love child of a teddy bear and a huge ball of lint who was never convinced he was a dog, like our others. He was a man, and he sat in a chair like a man, and he had his own ideas about everything. He wasn't a fool or disobedient like Beast. He was independent without being aloof, and self-reliant while being a complete slut for attention. And he was never pushy. He was always nearby, just in case you might be inclined to pet him. His head would be right under your hand.

When I'm on the freeway my hand nestles into Nikita's fur while I sing and tell her she's a good girl. She relaxes, and her breathing softens. The only reason I know she's still with me is because her head is leaning on the car seat rather than lolling over. It's good that she feels warm and that she's not shivering in pain.

Finally we reach the clinic and I park. I try to get her out, but she's a large dog and I'm afraid she might have broken her hip, though she doesn't seem to be in that much pain. I settle her back on her side and close the door. I lose my prevailing cool as I enter the emergency room. "I need help with my dog!"

"How big is he?"

"She's about eighty pounds and I'm afraid I might hurt her."

They get a stretcher and a muzzle. The tech is so good--a tall, slender blonde woman with a firm but compassionate voice. Nikita is typically mistrustful of strangers, but this woman she accepts as someone who's okay. "I get along with big dogs," the woman tells me.

It takes me coaxing Nikita and two techs to get her maneuvered onto the stretcher. They strap her in so that she can't get up and take her away. I can't go with her, just like with a person. I have to stay behind and do paperwork while the doctors do their thing. And then I wait. It won't be long, the nurse says, but even a short wait takes forever. They put me in an exam room because they know. Now that I have nothing to do, the tears will come and it's good to have privacy for that. I don't cry but tears trickle down my face and my eyes feel hot and swollen and my throat is cramped tight around the anger and resentment I've grown toward mortality. It's not fair to Nikita, who loves us. She shouldn't have to be separated from us. Screw grief, screw our pain. What really pisses me off is that she deserves to be with her packmates as long as she wants to be.

The vet comes in and she's smiling. A sense of calm settles in. Good news is coming. We've had a reprieve.

"I can't believe she's sixteen years old," the vet says. "She's in such good shape." And then we talk dog. The vet probably knows this role well. All she has to do is sit and listen to me brag about my dog and spill my little guilts about not grooming her and how she hates to be groomed and how we have these humungous puppies who are both a boon and a bane as they lavish her with attention and in so doing knock her down. She talks back to me in all the right places. The verdict, probably soft tissue damage from being stuck. "When I saw her my first thought was this is an old dog with weak hind legs," the vet tells me. "There's no evidence that anything's broken, and she let me move her legs through a full range of motion. There's no guarding in the abdomen, she's well hydrated, no sign of internal bleeding or shock. It looks like she's going to stay around a while longer. If you'd like, we can keep her overnight, take X-rays just in case ...?"

"She's going to want to go home," I say. "She'll be less stressed if she's with her family."

"Does she have somewhere comfortable to sleep?"

"A carpeted dog house."


She gives me a prescription for a pain medication and anti-inflammatory that can piggyback on Metacam safely, and then I go home with my dog. Rory comes out and asks about her. "I brought her home. She's okay," I tell him. "You can go back to sleep."

We can all sleep easy now, at least for a little while. Nikita is home.

Friday, September 07, 2007


Today on the way to work I felt that distinctive itch. Yep, it was in fact a flea, in my car, feasting on my ankle. Balancing driver safety with angry vengeance, I shocked myself by actually capturing the little bastage. I opened the window, and something like a person dumping a problem raccoon in the wild (also known as ditching a raccoon in an area where it can do even more damage) I flicked it out onto the highway. Ha! Take that evil flea! Try to find your way back from *that!*

Which of course will lead to the flea version of Homeward Bound.

Later, I was planting bulbs feloniously in my garden. Well, semi-feloniously. I've cut back massively on plant purchases and I felt okay about spending a few dollars on cheap bulbs and three mums at the store after work. Anyway, I was planting these bulbs when I felt something prickling on my shoulder. I looked and ack! Big bug! I brushed it off my shoulder before my mind fully processed what kind of bug it was.

Praying mantis. I love praying mantids and this one was relatively small still and bright green. I found it again, made sure it wasn't hurt to the best of my ability (it wasn't missing any limbs and wasn't leaking goo which is more like a catastrophic injury than what a human knows as 'hurt'--what does a minor injury look like on a bug and would we notice?) and then transferred it to a rose, which I knew wouldn't get weeded, like, ever. The thing about praying mantids about the garden is that weeding potentially kills them, as well as some caterpillars who happen to adore young daisies in their immature rosette form (where the plant is basically a small flush of leaves and nothing else.) These caterpillars are majorly cute, like teddy bear caterpillars except blonde and fuzzy instead of brown and black and fuzzy. I'm not sure what the praying mantids like but they seem to end up on me when I'm near the wild evening primroses and/or the butterfly bushes. It's something tall, because they end up on my arm or my head or my back. I partially smushed one and I felt very bad about it--still do. They're very expressive for an insect. They appear to have the ability to hood their eyes, or maybe at certain angles it looks like they have a structure like an adjustable eyelid. Anyway, they can look mean, or serene, or very wide-eyed and, well, buggy. Their legs too fold up in interesting ways that hints at how aggressive or how passive they are at the moment.

So I hoped that he would stay on stuff that I wasn't planning on weeding until late winter during those rare times when it's nice out but not uncomfortably chilly and the ground is dry enough to weed. During those times I'll have to watch for egg sacs. Hopefully we'll have lots of babies next spring, voraciously gnawing down our pest insects.

Which reminds me. Our beautiful purple beech tree has whiteflies. They're not particularly problematic, mostly unsightly, though they can severely damage young plants. They love the beech, and apparently, finches love the whiteflies. A whole flock of birds came in to clean the leaves off a couple of mornings ago. I went out to see what the noise was all about, thinking I had some migratory birds picking around the birdfeeders. Nope, it was our local finches flitting about the beech leaves like oversized, super-clumsy hummingbirds. One of our hummingbirds wasn't amused by this activity and kept buzzing the finches.

Yep, it's been all about bugs lately. As for the flea--

Crawl crawl crawl crawl--
ZOOOOM! (as a car zooms overhead)
Spring! Spring spring spring! (runs out of hydrolic energy in its brief flea panic)
Crawl crawl crawl crawl crawl ....

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Getting their goat

So I went down to the vet the other day to get advice on what shots to give my girls prior to breeding them for the first time and to hopefully get a lead on a buck to borrow. The pre-breeding advice took all of five minutes. As for the lead on a buck--man, you'd think it would be easy to find a buck, especially since we don't need champion lines.

But maybe it's not so surprising. The thing about bucks is that when they go into rut, they pee on their forelegs and faces to smell sexy for the gals, and apparently this drives the female goats into a sexual frenzy. It drives humans into a frenzy too, but not the same kind. More of the OMG what is that smell?!! kind. They also tend to be more adamant about getting out of fences to wander about hoping to find even more females than the ones that are in the immediate vicinity whether they've bred them all or not. I knew this, hence our not having any unaltered males of our very own, and yet breeding happens around here. It must. We're coming up on October sooner than we'll be ready for it--is there no one willing to pimp out their billy?

It's tempting to drive around the neighborhood and knock on the doors of people with male Boer goats out in their pasture. (There's no mistaking the boys even if they aren't in rut--those balls look like they belong on an Angus bull rather than a goat.) "Hey, I like the balls on your goat. Mind if I borrow him for about a month? I have cold, hard cash for the priviledge of being around his magnificent stench for the duration."

Such is life on the little farm. Sometimes it's hard to get someone's goat.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Maybe I should cast a spell

It turned out that the store was hopping on Monday as well. Apparently not quite everyone had made it into the store on Saturday, plus, many needed something more on Monday. We didn't have as many customers, but to make up for it, several came in quite a few times on Monday because they forgot something or something wasn't the right size or what they bought turned out to be defective and had to be swapped out for a different one. We ran out of defective slips. The door went ding dong solid all day. The boss had to close off my lane when my drawer got full because there was no 'quiet time' when he could just wander over and do the pick up between customers.

Among the customers I had Belligerent Man. It's quite possible that Belligerent Man has shopped at BiMart many times before, and I hadn't noticed him. He certainly hadn't noticed my ring before.

"Your ring. What's that mean?" he demanded.
"My husband is Irish," I told him. "He gave me this ring."
"Oh come on," he said, turning red. "I mean really."
At that point I started to feel really uncomfortable. I don't like lying, and I felt like he was calling me a liar. Later on, of course, I came up with all kinds of comebacks. "I'm sorry, but that's a bit personal," headed the list. "Would you like my supervisor to explain my ring to you?" "It means I worship God. And Goddess." And possibly my favorite, "Do you want someone else to complete your transaction today?"

Instead (sigh) I said "it means I'm Wiccan."
"Wicked?" he and his friend say in unison.
"Wic-can," I say slowly, trying not to sound defensive while still being loud enough to be overheard over the constant ding of the registers. And remember, too, I'm trying to do my job here. Efficient and accurate. Stop distracting me angry man!
"What's that mean?" he blustered.
Look it up on the internet, geep, unless you think the internet is evil, in which case, rot in ignorance. "It means I respect and honor nature," I say.
"Do you cast spells?"
Okay, now I have to laugh. "No. We honor the seasonal festivals, you know, solstices and equinoxes."
"Would you tell me if you did?"
Wow, he's really into trying to catch me at being evil. Later, boss man had to admit that when he first started working at our store, he recognized that of all the employees I was the one to fear. Yep, I told him. I'm evil.
And I hesitated because for a moment I wasn't sure that I would tell him if I cast spells, which I don't. But that wasn't what he'd asked about. He wanted to know if I'd admit I'm a liar. Huh? Wait a second. This makes no sense.
"Spells don't work," I told him.
"Do you cast spells?" he demanded.
He started to walk away. I don't know what possessed me, but I added, "and my husband really is Irish."

It made me realize that I wanted him to feel okay about me, but I'd never change his mind. And why would I really care what he thought? In order to not make waves in his part of the world? What a wuss I'd been. And now he probably thinks I cast spells and I'm a liar. But honestly, I don't cast spells. You can't get something for nothing. The trouble with 'spells' is that saying things in latin and dancing in a circle three times singing woogy woogy woogy doesn't work, especially if you read it out of a book and try it without having any understanding of why the author put those elements together (which unfortunately is all too often because it sounded like a good idea or s/he thought it looked awesome.) What works is will. What works is pure intent, knowledge of how things operate, skill to operate those things and enough understanding, communion if you will, to direct the energy the way you want it to go. It doesn't really matter whether it's a goverment, someone operating a machine, or a circle focusing their living energy to heal someone. Now if 'spells' worked, witches would rule the Earth and Christians would have to practice in secrecy. But I may just be mincing words when I separate spells from rituals. To me it's always been like the joke of the kid who watches the woman rubbing her naked body in front of the mirror for three nights in a row saying "I want a man, I want a man, I want a man" and then the fourth night she's in bed with a man and they're having raucous sex. So of course the next night the kid is in front of his mirror rubbing his body all over moaning "I want a bicycle, I want a bicycle, I want a bicycle."

It does occur to me that I might be doing it wrong. It may be that all the lottery winners *and* everyone who's made it big in Hollywood is into witchcraft and cast spells for their fame and fortune. Dangit, I knew I should have gotten a real raven's wing to fan my incense. Doh!

So as I left that night I looked out at the parking lot, wondering if he might not be out there with a shotgun, rocking in his pickup chanting "thou shall not suffer a witch to live." He wasn't there. Geh, I don't like this feeling, waiting for the reappearance of Belligerent Man. But maybe he'll never come back. After all, I'm clearly an evil witch. He might warn all his friends not to shop there.

Now wouldn't that be nice!

Monday, September 03, 2007

Little Known Fact

A disgusting, little known fact about my office:

Often I write late in the evening and the computer is the only articificial light shining in the house. This attracts any insect that happens to be in the house to the office, and the most noticeable of these are large flies, most often the irridescent blue kind. I have pads of paper around my desk for taking notes. When a fly lands on my screen, I swat it with the pad and then peel off the paper and throw it away.

So the smears on my computer screen are fly guts.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Let's Go Shopping!

One of my favorite belly dance ensembles, Gypsy Caravan, has a couple (at least) of numbers where one of the musicians cries out 'Let's go shopping!' and the dancers do a basket dance or a piece where the movements suggest shopping in a bazaar or at a souk. The music is always lively, the dancers wear infectious smiles and I too want to jump up and go shopping.

Well, someone must have started the music and made the announcement, because everyone in the known universe went shopping today, and not just all over, but to our specific store.

At one point, flabbergasted by the sheer volume of customers, I wondered aloud "I thought that during Labor Day weekend everyone went out of town." And then I realized, also aloud, "Oh yeah, for a lot of folks, we *are* out of town. I guess."

During a typical day, I will spend part of my time facing nearby aisles, pacing, sweeping my area and the surrounding areas, wiping down my counter and counting my media, among other chores. On a busy day, several times during my shift my line will be three customers deep. I'll have only a few minutes here and there to count my media, and I might spend five or ten minutes here or there putting back returned items or facing end caps.

Today was, well, chaos. It felt like frickin' Christmas, except that there were only four of us with two backups instead of eight all-day checkers, so technically we didn't have as much volume as the pre-holiday rushes. But still, sheesh! I mean everyone was shopping at our little store. I was not at all surprised when Thor showed up. He'd just gotten back from Norway. (I'm not making this up.) His neighbors were there as well (of course they were, because everyone was at our store, remember?) and they introduced him to their parents/in-laws, who were of course also there with everyone else. Apparently Thor is a construction manager for a local municipality--this makes perfect sense to me.

People from Hawaii were in our store. They kept going through the lines over and over because they'd remember one more thing and they were very excited about our low prices--well, I think about every place has low prices compared to Hawaii.

All day I was happy if I could check fast enough to have no more than two transactions backed up in my lane. I was lucky to be in Lane 1 which has a little secure side counter where I could dump my media, which must be kept secure at all times. That way I could count the media during the very rare times when I managed to clear out my line and had about fifteen seconds before the next person rolled their cart up. Now mind you, I'm not complaining. We must have had an incredible day at the store. The day zipped by very quickly. And I had no nasty customers, at least, not that I noticed. I personally rang through enough fishing and camping gear to outfit a nice little tackle shop, including the live nightcrawlers and extra mantles for gas lanterns. We ran out of weird things, like parakeet food (more should come in on Tuesday!) It was fun.

But by the time I got home all I wanted to do was sit, have a glass of wine, and drool while staring at the view from the deck. I didn't actually *see* the view from the deck, but staring in that general direction was satisfactory. I couldn't hear the ding dong of people coming into the store. The printer was no longer printing reciepts and detail tapes. I didn't have to say all my lines four times a minute. Paper or plastic bags? Did you find everything okay?

Welcome back from Norway, Thor. You were missed. Tomorrow, let's not go shopping, though. Let's stay home, where it's nice and quiet.

And on Monday, back to work. I wonder if it'll be busy, or if once again someone will announce, "Let's go shopping!"