Monday, August 30, 2010

My bad. . .

So, it hasn't been very long since my last posting . . . but I've been joking and texting with my mom, telling her that me being broke or hungry is funny to read about. Then she comes back with "Yeah, but people will think your starving to death and you have mean parents!" Ooops. My bad.

Just so we're clear, I'm not destitute, not yet anyway. I've managed to hold my own this past year even though it's been tough. It's only in the last couple months that somehow the money seems to go faster than it used to. And my parents aren't mean. In fact, they are quite the opposite. They're possibly the best parents a kid could ask for. Yes, I'm biased. Now that we're past that, my parents have always been there for me, even if it included a lecture. Just in the last month my parents have helped out enormously, more than I can say. Now it's up to me to get back on track, and try to make my money last a tad bit longer. If it means I have to shop at the worst store in world (aka Walmart), so be it. If it means I have to start coupon cutting, fine, break out the scissors.

There are people that are far worse off than me. Those without a job, for instance. Considering unemployment rates are in double digits pretty much across the country, I'm well off by some standards. I have a job. Check. I have a place to call home. Check. I have a car to get from point A to point B. Check. Car sleeps well in case I lose said home. Check. I'm not in danger of losing my apartment, nor am I in danger of losing my car. I'd use Homeland Security's color code system but I have no idea what colors they actually use. So, pointless, I say.

When I look at what I pay out, I've cut back on pretty much anything I don't require. The last couple months, I stopped eating out. At best, I think I've cut it down to maybe $20/month. I don't even have cable anymore, that's $70 I don't have to give to Comcast anymore. Anything I can cut a corner on, I've pretty much done it. Thanks to my job's effort in making it look like it's losing money out the wazoo and making us fill out reasons why we have any OT at all, and making sure it's "justifiable". (Side note: wazoo is an actual word. Had no idea! LOL).

So, I just wanted to let everyone know that my parents won't let me pan-handle on the streets for my grocery money. Even if things are tight for them, they're happy to help out in any small way that they can. And while I hate to continue to ask for their help when times are tough, I know that if even if all they can offer me is some cheese for my cheese quesadillas, they'd give me their cheese.

Plus, they give great hugs.

Broke. Hungry. Two things that should never go together.

It's occurred to me recently (as in the last 24 hours) just how broke I am. In my last post I wrote about my work and how I used to be able to rack up the OT without really getting yelled at. I mean, really, who doesn't just love 16 hour work days?

Over this past weekend, I basically did nothing. I went to my volunteer gig on Saturday (it's actually voluntary folks, it's not for to pay a speeding ticket or anything), and went to work Saturday night. But on Sunday, I stayed in my apartment, the only thing costing me money was running my air conditioner. I started watching X-Files online at Netflix (from the beginning might I add, because I don't think I ever saw the first two or three seasons; and David Duchovny is still hot), cleaned the apartment, read my book, and in general, did nothing of any importance. Of course, while doing nothing, it's amazing how one can work up an appetite. And not having any money forces you to make shit up as you go along. I have enough money to buy very little, bare minimum basics if you will. That will be done today . . . at some point. The next paycheck, I'm going all out when it comes to grocery shopping, because I'm pretty sure I'll still be starving. They say never go grocery shopping when your hungry . . . but what if you don't have much choice?

Saturday night I ate a $2 meal from Taco Bell, not bad, actually fills you up. Amazingly enough. Sunday morning after work, I needed gas for my SUV . . . I got said gas. Got home and realized I have rent to pay and can't afford anything else. Probably should have waited on the gas, but that last half goes a hell of a lot faster than that first half. Unfair, party of one. So on Sunday, I literally stayed home. And it hit me. Hunger. I had finished off my last three cinnamon roles after work Sunday morning, because I was, like, you know, hungry. So I lasted all day, not really hungry until about 5pm. Then all of a sudden, my tummy was very upset. It wanted food. I looked around the kitchen. These were my thoughts:

"Corn dogs could work. But I have no chips or soda to go with them. Last resort."

"I'm tired of cheese sandwiches, I had them for lunch at work last week."

"Chicken fingers. When did I get chicken fingers? In other words, I must ask myself, how long have those been in the freezer???" Also, "I have no ranch dressing to eat them with."

"Pasta Roni! Yum! Oh, wait, I have no milk. Never mind."

"I could eat my last two eggs, some bacon . . . wait, I've been eating that after work all week. I'm tired of breakfast."

"I have frozen meat! I can have burritos or tacos! Yeah! Shit, no sour cream. What the hell is a burrito with no sour cream??? Nasty, that's what. Moving on."

Standing with the fridge door wide open, I finally think, "Cheese quesadilla. Fine. Hmm. I have some sourdough still left unfrozen, I could have garlic bread. Cheese quesadilla and some garlic bread. Sounds just gross enough to be filling."

So my "dinner" consisted of a cheese quesadilla and some garlic sourdough bread from the toaster. My last thought while in the kitchen preparing my interesting dinner was this:

(with evil grin) "I should call mom and ask her how to thaw half a loaf of sourdough bread, just for kicks." More on that later, a different post. Promise. ;o)

And now for breakfast, I shall probably either have the last two eggs with some bacon, or another cheese quesadilla and garlic bread. Or hell, maybe I will have a corn dog.

Hey, anyone know how to play the lottery without actually playing? Because it costs money to play? Such a ripoff.

Friday, August 27, 2010

I love my job, I love my job, I love my job . . . Nope, still not working.

J-O-B. Even though it's three little letters, it's definitely a four letter word (if you get my hint). If I didn't have bills to pay, I wouldn't drag my ass out of bed every evening for a job. I've pretty much always had a job, since the day I turned 18. Every job had it's problem, whether it be the job itself, a co-worker, or the boss. Unfortunately, life is full of these horrific things called "bills", and they come every month like clockwork. Oh how I wish they'd all take a vacation.

My first job, there was a little "tiff" between some co-workers and the line was drawn in the sand. It made everything extremely uncomfortable for the last few months that I worked there. Just goes to show sometimes it's best if you don't hang out all the time with your co-workers. My next job was okay, although I kept getting told I wasn't dressed professionally enough. Dude. I was 18. They were lucky I remembered to show up. The job after that was my first vet clinic job. I enjoyed it, learned a lot. But I wasn't really fast enough (hmmm...because I was new at the whole thing??), and he wanted more bang for his buck (for lack of a better term, he needed someone better at the job for the money he was paying considering he just built himself a snazzy new clinic). After that I worked at the admissions office at the community college in town. Decent gig, saved on gas since I had to be there for class anyway. However, while I thought everyone was really nice and wanted to help me get where I needed to go, it turns out we all got a surprise. Most of the details turned up after I had moved to Chico State, but it started during my last few months there. One of the counselors apparently started hitting on some young girls, myself included. I kept passing it off as he was just over-eager in wanting to help me. That is, until he offered meeting for coffee in Chico to "hang out". I'm sorry, on what planet do I want to go "hang out" with a college counselor? Then it just got all kinds of creepy. Turns out, he'd been doing a lot of that, eventually I was asked to give a statement, and after several months of investigation the man was arrested. I think drug dealing was also involved. Yeah. Great counselor.

Once in Chico, I worked for a vet clinic, that after about 6 months the manager seemed to have a serious problem with me. I don't know why, but suddenly she's keeping me there until midnight telling me I've missed a spot on the all behind the door, or how the wall under the front counters looked like it hadn't been cleaned in weeks, there were finger prints on the reception counters (gasp! say it isn't so!!!), a dust bunny stowed away in a corner, the cats had the nerve to shit in their litter boxes in the 10 minutes since I'd been gone, and the damn dogs in the kennels and the nerve to move their bed from the front of the kennel to the back. Guess who had to fix it all again before I left? Yep. Me. After a full month of this crap, she calls me a liar to my face, and writes me up for "animal neglect". When asked if I'd like to defend myself, I agreed and basically said something along these lines: "I've owned dogs, cats, rodents, horses, goats; house-sat for my friends and family members; worked for several other vet clinics, and in my 21 years, I have never ever once been accused to animal neglect. I cannot help it if the cats drink all the water in 8-10 hour period that no one is here, especially considering the small size bowls we give them. I cannot prevent the cats from using their litter boxes in that time either, nor can I prevent the dogs from defecating their kennels once I leave. Once I've clocked out and locked the door behind me, it's out of my hands." She then handed me my written notice to sign and date with a fucking smile. Bitch.

Moving on from there, I went to Petco. Shock, I went to another animal job! No, I was never accused of neglect at Petco. Actually, I learned a lot by working there. I got over my fear of some reptiles, and learned about fish and birds. I eventually became the Small Animal Specialist, and became in charge of a department. However, pet stores are always in for a profit. Yes, we all cared about the animals and we all did what we could to make sure all them were healthy. There were times that our store budget was severely cut (once because we were forced to purchase a new printer) and we didn't have enough money left over to buy enough food and supplies for all four departments. So I had to "store-use" everything. And customers would constantly complain about nothing being on the shelves and how many times they were coming in to check. At one point I finally stopped skirting the issue and lying and started telling the truth. While they were upset, they thanked me for being honest. I was as professional as I could be about it, and then told them if they felt compelled to complain to please go to the website or call and talk to our manager, but "please don't mention my name". LOL

Now I work graveyard for a veterinary lab. I'm still in the animal industry, something I've always taken great care to do. I like what I do. The hours, however, suck. And like every other job, sometimes situations arise that really just make you shake your head and want to go home and crawl under the covers until it's all better. I've learned a ton of stuff since I started work at this company 6 years ago. And before you ask, yes I've been on graveyard the whole time. Yes, I'm nuts. Thanks for reminding me. I've learned how to fix our machines when they go down - which depending on their moods, can be often. And again, before you ask, yes machines have "moods". If you told me 10 years ago I'd be doing this and fixing all these things, I would have told you that you were crazy. Now, I can only do so much with the machines before I have to call in the big guns - our service guys. They are very lucky. They get to come in 8-5 to fix stuff for us, so most of us on nights never get to meet the service guys. The exception is Gabe, who works on our big chemistry machine, and has been nice enough at times to stay until 2AM to make sure it's fixed, (I wrote a blog about that machine and us having to pump water), who is, as we girls like to call him, Mr. Hotty-McHotHot. Seriously, this guy is gorgeous. For those that read this that know of Carlo, this guy is hotter than Carlo. Yeah. Seriously. I have to go stick my head in the freezer now. Anyway, moving on - since the economy went south, our bosses have been cracking down on the OT. I used to get all the OT I wanted, and I loved those paychecks. Suddenly I'm being told that I can't have any OT, and my bank account is whimpering. Suddenly, we're being told by a bunch of people who sit behind desks and have never done our jobs that we're over-staffed and OT should never happen. We lost one girl a month ago to a departmental transfer. We just lost another girl to school starting up again (you go SSHAW, you rock that nursing school!). And we don't get to replace either one. So guess who found out she gets no time off for Thanksgiving? ME. Guess who's pissed off? ME. Why? Because one person requested the damn week off before me. So because one person gets vacation, the rest of us who have to travel get screwed. Right now I'm picturing using this person's head as a soccer ball. Then, I get told that I have to "tweak" my vacation for Christmas, because it's my turn to work Sundays. I currently have two soccer balls. We can't give people the vacations they've requested because 1) We don't have the staffing levels anymore to allow more than one person off at any given time; 2) We're constantly having to send people to our TN and FL locations because apparently they're worse off than we are (hard for us to picture, obviously). So, because some paper-pushers make the decisions (from 3000 miles away might I add), we don't get to have nice comfy staffing levels. Because our company is so broke (which is major sarcasm btw, as our company continues to rake in the profits all over the globe) we can't afford to hire a few part-timers to help out. And let me tell you, in this economy, there are people who would kill for a part-time job to put food on their tables. I seriously love corporations. I want to hug them and squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeze them tight. Really tight. Especially when you consider, our industry hasn't taken near the hit as most other industries have. We've been going steady and strong since the economy took a nose dive.

So, here's to the turkey dinner I will more than likely be sleeping through, if I can actually go anywhere for a turkey dinner. And here's to the Christmas vacation that ends on Christmas.

I fucking love my job.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Pet Peeves

We all have our own pet peeves; things that annoy us to the point of sheer aggravation at the mere thought. I shall be listing some of mine here today.

1. Messy Bathrooms: Now, this is mostly for public bathrooms, however, if someones personal bathroom is too messy, that's a problem, too. What I'm talking about is simple and super easy to clean up. Excess water around the sink. Dude. Clean. It. Up. You're using a paper towel to wipe your hands off, yes? Before you toss it, wipe up around the sink! This happens a lot at work. I walk up to a sink and wind up having to stand a foot from the counter to wash my hands because the counter surrounding the sink is basically flooded with water. I've watched people wash their hands. These are the steps they follow: wet both hands, drip water all over to get to the soap dispenser to find it empty then traipse water all over finding the next full soap dispenser, suds up the hands, rinse, shake shake shake shake shake, and with hands still dripping wave their hands in front of the towel dispenser, dry hands, then shut off tap. Damn folks. Here's how I do it: turn on tap with left hand, wave left hand in front of towel dispenser so there's one ready and waiting for me, get soap with right hand, get left hand wet, suds hands, rinse, shake a little, grab ready towel, turn off tap. Hardly any water on the counter. This also brings me to . . .

2. Water Wasting: Seriously, folks, do you realize what state you live in? California. If you ever want a fight, what do you fight about in CA? Water. NorCal and SoCal will always be in a fight because SoCal wants more and more water from NorCal and anyone else they can sucker into it. By the way, that's what you get for living in a desert. Anyway, I see people leaving the water running, walk away for several minutes . . . several gallons wasted . . . turn off the damn tap!!! Rinse the sink, and turn off the water. California is basically in a perpetual drought. We might get enough rain one year to "help", but the crisis is never really over. A year or two ago, water was so tight, the district my parents live in had to issue water restrictions to all their users. 50 gallons per person in each household per day. (Think of the households who have kids with bath times, and serious loads of laundry and dishes, plus yards to water. It starts to add up.) My parents had to read their own meters every day for several months just to make sure they didn't go over and get fined. The water district also refused to let anyone set up a new agriculture-related business because there simply wasn't enough water. I grew up with these ideas: Don't wash your own car, go to a car wash because they recycle their water; Showers are 10 minutes or less; Turn off the tap when not in use.

3. Disney Sequels: Ok, this may be a lame soap box, but I always felt that Disney films are of the "and they lived happily ever after" variety. I don't need to know what happened to Prince and Princess Charming after the wedding at the end of the film. What really irks me is when they make sequels to movies that are, ohhh, I don't know, 6o years old. Um. Really? Now you want to find out what Bambi and friends are up to? And what's worse? They don't just continue. At the end of Bambi, he's all grown up, found himself a girl to settle down with, and whatnot. The sequel? Oh no . . . he's back to being a fawn again. Yeah that makes perfect sense. Let's not confuse the poor kids. "Oh no, honey, Bambi has some of Harry Potter's anti-aging potion".

4. Screaming at work: Unless there is some emergency (like, say, a fire, or another employee has gone postal), screaming should not really take place at work. We should all use some form of our "inside voice". Now, some people (um, like me), who are (unfortunately) naturally loud. I know I'm a constant work in progress. My talking or talking volume has been on nearly every report card since I was of the age to get report cards. I come from a talkative family. Sue me. However, at work, some people have a tendency to scream people's names from their office instead of using the phone or walking to their doorway and asking the first person they see if they could ask Bob to come over. Here's the problem. When said person is screaming someones name, all we hear on our end is a small portion of said name, but mostly it's just the sound of the voice. We're having to hear this over very loud centrifuges and machines humming away, a radio, and us as we're talking about work or the latest movie we saw. Screaming is not effective. Save your vocal cords and use the damn phone. This would also be nice, even if you're attempting to have a (screaming) conversation with the person in the office next to yours.

5. Naive/Stupid People: Some people are smart. Some are rocket scientists (literally). Some are average. Some . . . well, let's just say it's a low wattage bulb hanging out in there. Some things are common knowledge, some things not so much, and then there are reason why we have Ph.D.'s. There's something for everyone, right? Now, I do realize that we all have a moments or days where we feel incredibly stupid, but it's not all 365 days. In all of my jobs, classes, and life in general, there has always been someone to prove to me that some people are a few sandwiches short of a picnic. For instance, I worked for Petco for 3 years; I once had a gal ask if she could put a boy and a girl hamster together and not get babies. Um, no. One guy asked if he could put "sticky paws" on his car to keep the cats off the car (btw, "sticky paws" are a product you place on your couch to prevent your cat from scratching your furniture). I couldn't necessarily refuse him the product but I blatantly told him Petco wouldn't be responsible for the products damage to his paint job. (Turns out his daughter scolded him and forced him to return it! lol). I had several people (mostly adults) who couldn't comprehend the difference between freshwater and saltwater fish. Kids I can understand. Adults? No. One guy was even snickering at his wife because she really didn't get it. I wanted to slap his face so freakin' hard. And don't even get me started on the people that would sit in the back of the store for hours making a huge disastrous mess trying on clothes on their damn dogs. One gal I lived with for a year believed that my 12 inch oscillating fan took up more energy than running an A/C. People, I cannot make this shit up. I'm not sure if she fully believed that, but she was the kind of person who would argue til she was blue in the face just to prove she was right even if she was wrong. Same person would "dry" her clothes for two days because she'd keep forgetting them in the dryer and apparently had never heard of the damn fluff cycle. Same person also called her mom one night while cooking herself dinner and asked point blank "Mom, how do you boil a hot dog?". Seriously folks, I can't make this shit up. A week later, she boils the hot dog on her own but has to call mom to ask "how you do thaw a hot dog bun?" (of which she had done this by herself the week before). Being around these dim people really puts a strain on your psychological health. Stay away at all costs. I repeat, stay away at all costs.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Oh yeah, btw, did I mention I'm Charlie Brown, too?

So, I've been doing this blogging thing for, like, a month it looks like, and I have yet to explain the title of my blog. Not that I really have to, but I'm sure most people would figure that Charlie Brown is not my real name. Most would probably think "Peanuts" comic strip right off the bat. Well, you're right. About both.

My name is nowhere near Charlie Brown, and it has everything to do with the Charlie Brown of the "Peanuts" comic strip. First off, the "rambling" part of the title is pretty self-explanatory, considering I'm typing about anything I see, hear, think, or feel. My little corner of the World Wide Web to tell folks about the odd or funny things that happen at my job, my life, my neighborhood, or with my friends and family. All parts of life are fair game. The second part, regarding the adorable "Peanuts" character, is my family nickname. One might wonder, "How did a girl get the nickname of Charlie Brown?", and that is a good question. I get to thank my Granddad for the nickname. For some reason, as a baby, I seemed to remind him Charlie Brown, the poor kid who was suckered by Lucy during the entire run of the strip in trying to kick that damn football. And it stuck. For 30 years, I've been Charlie Brown to my dad's side of the family. And I always will be. :o)

Yes, I've had people look at me funny when there hear my nickname and how I received it (probably as you're doing now). And I've had people who just simply don't get it. One of my ex-boyfriends really didn't get it. He simply couldn't fathom the idea that I am a girl, and Charlie Brown is a boy. Apparently the explanation that boys have girl names and girls have boy names didn't seem to ease his pain at all. It kind of aggravated me that he just couldn't accept that it's a nickname. No one has to call me by it, it's a term of endearment amongst my family and my closest friends. He finally said, "Whatever. I'm never calling you Charlie Brown, though." Like I said he had to?? Sheesh.
Charlie Brown is now a huge part of my life. My mom and I went to Santa Rosa a few years ago during their tribute to Charles Shulz and Charlie Brown. I have little Charlie Brown figurines (not tons, but a couple), a large print by Tom Everhart of Charlie Brown and Snoopy, and even the Charlie Brown Christmas Tree. I am not joking. My mom bought if for me a couple years ago as a joke. Turns out, I actually used it last year as somehow in my last move I lost my Christmas tree stand and I couldn't find any in stores. So, in an effort to have a Christmas tree, I used my Charlie Brown tree. It's quite cute, actually. Stop laughing. It is cute. OMG, dude, stop laughing. Seriously.

So, my blog is about the ramblings of a different sad little Charlie Brown who never did get to kick that football and has a dog that constantly wants cookies. This Charlie Brown works graveyard shift and owns a cat that sheds enough every day to make another cat.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Oldies but Goodies? Or Oldies and Badies?

Over the weekend, I looked through Netflix to find a TV show that I could watch "instantly" online. I like to have a show or something that I can watch while waiting for movies in the mail, to pass the time. I've come across some good shows, shows that I have no time in reality to watch. Reason being is that I work graveyard, and thus I am either sleeping or having to get ready for work while normal TV is on. Why don't I use a DVR, you ask? I don't have one. I also don't have cable. (Stop looking at me like that!) My reason for canceling cable was that I was paying $70 a month for crap. Literally. I watched reruns of shows I'd already seen a hundred times, some I even own on DVD. Yeah. Sad. I agree. Anyway, I've really come to love and rely on my Netflix account in the last year. And the $20 a month is waaaay better than $70 a month. I'm just sayin'.

As I was saying, I've come across good shows that I remember hearing about, but never had the time to watch. Pushing Daisies was a cute, funny, quirky show that I seriously enjoyed and was completely crushed to find out it was canceled after only two seasons. I'm now trying Dead Like Me, which is pretty good. I've gotten caught up on Bones - a show I can barely live without. I saw Veronica Mars all in order instead of a random show in reruns now and then. The other day, while searching for a new show to watch instantly, and trying to decide amongst the hundreds that are available (seriously, everything from Colombo to Lost and all in between), I literally gasped when I saw an oldie from my childhood.

Have you ever come across a show that you watched when you, like, 13/14 years old, and you wanted to watch it for old time's sake? I did that. And I realized how cheesy it all was! LOL It's like me watching a movie that my parents saw as kids that was terrifying to them, like the original War of the Worlds. My mom tells me that it was a very scary movie. For them. I laughed because when I saw it, I was like "Oh my God, how on earth could anyone think this is scary????" (I also basically thought that about the remake with Tom Cruise). I mean, the special effects were basically non-existent. Anyway, the show I was gasping over was called SeaQuest DSV (DSV stands for Deep Submergence Vehicle, in case you weren't in love with Jonathan Brandis and never saw the show). And I watched it because, well, I was in love with Jonathan Brandis, who played a whiz-kid who gets a ride on a huge submarine called SeaQuest, while it's out on peace-keeping missions in the world's oceans. Why may you ask? It's set in the "very near future" (so, I have no idea when they actually set it for, because they never gave specifics), and people are now colonizing the world's oceans. And of course, there are pirates. In submarines. And no, in the future, they don't say "Arrgh". So, for nostalgia, I watched the pilot, which was apparently an hour and a half long. I soooooo don't remember that. By the end of the show, I was like, "wow, that was cheesy." It was made in 1993. And it was cheesy. I mean, they had a talking dolphin named Darwin. Anything on a computer screen made less sense that the stuff you see in Star Trek. And all their whosits and whatchamacallits where enormous. (Just a side note, whosits comes up for spell check issues and whatchamacallits doesn't. LOL WOW I had no idea it was a real word. I learn something new every day!) And on Saturday, I learned how cheesy SeaQuest was. Anyway, Jonathan Brandis was still completely adorable, obviously, but the rest of the show . . . not sure what I saw in it. But then again, it was 1993. I was only 13, I had no idea that the show was horrible! LOL

Just goes to show, hindsight is always 20/20. Although I did get a huge kick out of the fact that Jonathan Brandis, in the pilot, wore a Florida Marlins jersey - from the 2010 World Series. Obviously it wasn't set that far into the future. LOL

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Dude, be careful what you say.

Have people not died protecting our many freedoms? Including the freedom of speech? Now, I understand not wanting to offend others - to a point. There is simply no way you will offend anyone in your life. That is why people will sometimes say, "I don't want to offend you, but...." even though it's potentially a very bad way to start a conversation. But sometimes, there are just no ways around it. That is why Political Correct speech showed up. However, I come to find that sometimes trying too hard to nevernot offend ends up being . . . well, offending. Now that I've had that little say, here's something else. The other night at work I was reading the paper and came across an article that astounded me. Shocked me. Literally made my jaw drop, and made say, "Whaaaaat?????"

In the Sacramento Bee the other day, there was an article regarding the Roseville Galleria and a pastor being in a lawsuit. Apparently, this nice young man was placed under "Citizen's Arrest" by a security guard from the Galleria until the Roseville PD showed up to take him to the station and book him. Why, you might ask, did this nice young man get arrested?

He spoke to a couple young people that he had never met, and whom had agreed to talk with him. The kicker? Security placed him under arrest for talking to these strangers about things other than the mall. I'm dead serious. Google "Roseville Galleria" and it'll pull up the info.

According to Westfield Galleria of Roseville, (and I'm taking this from the article by Denny Walsh): The specific rule at issue prohibits a person in the center's common areas from "approaching patrons with whom he or she was not previously acquainted for the purpose of communicating with them on a topic unrelated to the business interests" of the mall or its tenants.

Anyone else finding this an extremely ridiculous rule? So, quite literally, if your shopping and the lines are long (or sitting on a bench for a few minutes to rest your feet) and you're bored, you're not allowed to turn to the person behind you or next to you and ask about the latest baseball scores. Or the new fall line-up on TV. Not even the weather. However, as with just about any rule on the books, there is an exception to the rule: (again, taking this from Denny Walsh's article) Another rule requires written applications for permission to make such contacts "to be submitted to the mall's security office four days in advance. Mall management will review the application to determine if the proposed activity is permissible."

(Insert picture of me rolling my eyes) I'm sorry. Four days in advance? Kiss my ass, folks. Now, on the other hand, I can understand that rule if you're applying it to groups/organizations who want to set up a booth, like Relay for Life, the Humane Society, etc. But to restrict normal, every day patrons from speaking to strangers, if it's not mall related, is completely stupid, ridiculous, unconstitutional . . . need I go on? And it gets better. (I know, right?) Apparently, the Galleria's spokeswoman says this: "We are disappointed that the court … determined that the rules in question did not satisfy the required legal standard for reasonable time, place and manner restrictions. We are reviewing the court's decision and will consider our options … including appeal to the California Supreme Court."

Awwww. The courts hurt their little feelings. For Pete's sake, people. How on earth can you possibly prevent strangers from talking to one another in a mall? You'd have to have a lot of security. Oh wait, they must, they're just following all the youth pastors because those are some shady characters. I think security needs to pay closer attention to those who actually look shady, like the kind of shady that shoplifts from little old ladies. Not the kind of shady who asks others if he can talk to them about God; especially if said "others" agreed to the conversation.

So, morale of the story? Make sure you take a friend to the mall - that way, you can talk about whatever you want, like it's your constitutional right to do so. If you go alone, be careful of the wolves out to get you if you need to ask a stranger for the time, or (God forbid) how to get to the hospital. Or . . . better yet - learn sign language. Security will have no idea you're not talking about the mall.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Medicating the cat

After hearing from a technician just how difficult your cat is to medicate, one expects the worst. Especially when the tech tells you how to she wrap the cat burrito style, and have two assistants to make sure the cat doesn't attack anyone tiger-style.

So, when I medicate her myself, and I still have all my fingers, and there have been no attempts at my jugular, I start to wonder: how daring are those techs?? Obviously not very. I mean, don't get me wrong, Harriet still gives the laser death ray stares and meows and growls a little. And what makes the medicating easier is that it's liquid. Of course, she foams a little at the mouth afterwards. And no, I don't wrap my cat up like a burrito. In fact, no towels are involved. Except for the paper towel I use to wipe the foam from Harriet's mouth. It does, however, involve me on all fours trapping the cat between my knees. But no burrito-wrapping. And I don't have to call in the National Guard for assistance.

Me thinks those techs need some dare-devil pills.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Tales from the Vet

It's fun to rehash stories with the vet techs in your local vet clinic about dealing with the animals - like medicating, for instance. Medicating your pet. Hearing how your super-friendly cat scratched the hell out of the poor innocent tech, who was just doing her job. And how the poor innocent tech tried to wrap the cat like a burrito, and had two helpers, just to get some meds down the cat's throat. I, in turn, made this gal laugh by telling her how I shoved pills down Harriet's throat two years ago and nearly lost fingers in the process. For those who are not cat people, and have never had the pleasure of medicating a cat, let me enlighten you.

It sucks. Cats hate restraint, and they most definitely hate being forced anything. Even love and attention.

This poor innocent tech told me how "pleasurable" my cat was for the two days she was there. Meowing, or hollering, her protests. Scratching the techs that were attempting to medicated her. Swatting them. Hissing. Basically just shy of going for the jugular. And then I was regaled with the stories of Harriet and the cone. You know the cones they put around the heads so pets won't be dumb and lick their open wounds. Apparently, Harriet does a sort of a jackrabbit-type move and nearly chokes herself to death by trying to push it off with her back feet. Apparently death is preferable to not being able to lick her own ass. I was also asked about the cat litter I use. I told her I use Fresh Step, and she says, "Hmmm. Interesting." When I inquire, she says that Harriet has refused to use the provided litter box during her stay with them. Instead she turned her cage into a very large litter box, so that the nice kennel techs would have something to do when they got in in the mornings. And then, she even had to ask me to the back to get Harriet into the carrier to take her home today. I get in the back, and I'm definitely hearing one pissed off kitty. I get to her cage, and she's hunkered down, growling. Seriously, she was growling. The look in her eyes said, "F@#* off, bitch". I manage to get her in the carrier without incident - just vocal curses.

I get her in the car, only getting a few odd stares from strangers. The cat sounds like she's dying, that the world is ending, that I'm torturing her. And people stare. I stick her in the back seat and two seconds in, I smell something. Something bad. Somebody was just so freakin' happy to be going home that she pissed all over the carrier and even flung some on the seats. Yeah. I had to stop at PetsMart on the way home to get kitty bath wipes because I knew she'd be covered in her pee. Because why? It's FRIDAY the 13th. And, bathing a cat is extremely not fun. I value my sad little life, and I don't want to be found mauled to death because I was trying to clean my cat. I get home, with a loud, smelly kitty, while neighbors are staring out windows wondering why a cat was being tortured. I get out an old towel, and open the wipes and catch the cat before she bolts for the bedroom. I hold her by the scruff, and start wiping. By the time I was done, Ms. Harriet smelled like "herbal mint". With a hint of cat pee. A strong hint. The carrier is still sitting on the balcony, soaking in 409, hoping it will stop smelling of Eau d' Harriet. Since then she has bathed herself to her own content and I no longer smell cat pee the second she walks in the room. And yes, two days ago I was going to be evil and take pictures of a shaved butt. However, the vet didn't shave all that much hair off and well, it's a bit uglier than I thought, and I really don't think the world needs to stare at an abscessed anal gland. Although I do wish I had a picture of the look I was greeted with this morning. Oh man, if looks could kill, all of Natomas would be dead. Piles of human ash would be all that was left.
And if I survive, the next blog shall be about how I survived giving her the medication prescribed. I barely made it out alive two years ago. I'm going in this time with a healthy fear for my life.
Harriet at her sweetest. Asleep.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Home again, home again, jiggity jig

Some say you can never go home again. Well, I say they're full of crap.

Last weekend, I drove up to Old Station, CA for the weekend to help my parents with their high school reunion. Actually, it was more a "birthday party" for Burney High School, as it was turning 40 this year, and the reunion included the first 5 classes that graduated. But, I digress. I grew up in this dinky town (seriously, you blink, you miss it) of maybe 300 people (and that's probably including the summer campers). Definitely one of those towns where everyone knows everyone else, and you can't get away with anything. My parents owned a restaurant in Old Station, Brangus Burgers, and there were probably a total of 10 kids that lived there year-round while I lived there. I doubt that's changed much. What's wonderful about small towns is that change takes a lot longer than it does in a city. Cities are constantly tearing down and building up; sirens blaring off and on all day long (and all night); smog blanketing the area; businesses are open 24 hours, and no one cares who you are.

Small towns are special. People are friendly, the air smells of pine trees (and no, it's not because of air fresheners), sirens are rare, there's a chance someone there has never heard the term "smog" (unless their car requires a smog check), and the town shuts down by 9/10pm. And there's history staring at you everywhere you go. Old Station got it's name from being an old military station, the original cabins the army stayed in are still there, now rented out for travelers. The military guarded the road, as Old Station was a pit stop for those traveling by stage coach between Sacramento and Yreka. It sits with Lassen Volcanic National Park in it's back yard. It's direct neighbor is a large lava tube, dubbed The Subway Cave, which was formed by the local lava eruption from nearby vents. Great place to go on a hot day. Not kidding. Hat Creek runs right through it, perfect for fishing. It's where I learned to fish. Not that I still do. I stopped once I was old enough that I required a license. But I do remember putting worms on my own hooks! And the beautiful Burney Falls are not far, either. Rumor has it, Roosevelt called it the unofficial 8th wonder of the world.

Being up there last weekend brought back a lot of memories from a very happy childhood. I hadn't been back up there in probably close to 10 years. I've driven through Burney and Fall River on my way to my grandparents ranch, but hadn't really spent time there. I remembered the 1.5 hour bus ride to and from school (yes, I'm serious), spending hours at my parents restaurant entertaining customers or visiting with family friends . . . or making them my "special" pies (you know, the kind of pies a 3 year old makes), camping under the stars with my parents, learning how to fish, and Halloween parties held at the fire hall (conveniently located right next to our restaurant).

Nature's air fresheners - pine trees.

Our old restaurant, now called JJ's Cafe.

Looking down on Burney Falls. The hike down . . . beautiful. The hike back up . . . pain in the ass. ;o)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Introducing Ms. Harriet

Normally, end of vacations are ruined by the simple fact that you have to return to work the next day. Knowing that you have to go back to the grind, deal with the drama, or other situations in which you feel that all your doing is banging your head on a wall, is all it takes to ruin that last moments of your vacation.

Others, like myself, come home to find a sick pet. I own a cat, Ms. Harriet. Aptly named, too. She's long haired . . . black . . . sheds so much she should be bald . . . getting the picture? I picked up my gate opener and spare key from my cat-sitter, who informed me that Ms. Harriet hadn't been eating much the last couple days. I start inwardly freaking out, thinking that it could be her mouth again (she had a dental two years ago - gum infection, had to pull two teeth). Come to find out, my poor kitty developed a large sore on her butt, and I nearly lost fingers by the time I reached that end to figure out what might be wrong. I dropped her off at the vet this morning, and hopefully they'll call soon with details as to what's wrong, what they'll do, and the most important part of all: how much this damn cat is gonna cost me this time? Although I have it on pretty good authority that my cat will come home with a shaved butt. And a cone around her head. And yes, I'm evil - pictures will follow.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Haircut

Everyone gets their haircut. It's a fact of life, folks.

Some do it to try a new hair style. For some, it's just a way to monitor the length, pure and simple. And still others see it as a way to make a statement (colored mohawks, anyone?). So, why do some make an effort to make a simple haircut noticed? Especially when they haven't changed styles, really, just length. It's a little sad, annoying, and yet . . . somehow still comical.

Last night, a gal from work shows up, and it's obvious she cut her hair. Now, in the past, she has always made a point of flipping it, talking about it, and in general making it widely known that she's cut her hair. Even though it's, like, obvious. And last night really was no different. Except that, after all the crap through the years, most people refused to say anything. Which made it even funnier. (Seriously folks, invite only party in my little corner of hell). I heard her talking to one person about her hair. From what I could make out without just walking over there and listening to them talk, here's what I heard from haircut lady:

" . . . yeah, it's nice. I woke up late and I didn't have to do anything to it. It's so nice now."

I had to actually turn away to keep from being noticed . . . from laughing. "I didn't have to do anything." Really? Because when it was down to your waist you styled it every night? You curled it, you straightened it, you made it all pretty.

Um. No. Not a chance in hell. What she did before? nothing. That's it. Nothing. No, really. I'm serious. Ponytail or crappy braid. Those were the only two options that rat nest ever had. So really, her hair styling hasn't changed, just the length. And folks, it's still ugly. So in all reality, nothing has changed. So why am I (and everyone else) supposed to take notice and compliment her on her pretty new haircut? Am I supposed to be obligated to compliment on something I don't think is nice anyway? Didn't Mom always say, "if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all"? Funnily enough, my mother did, at least until I turned 18. Then it sort of turned into, "Don't have anything nice to say? Then come sit by me!" Anyway, I won't be complimenting this new haircut, because if I'm going to compliment someone, it's going to be because I like them, I think they're nice. And I like what they did with their hair. But not this time. No, sireeeee. Especially because she's looking for it.

Hehe. Invite only party, people. Invite only.