Wednesday, April 26, 2006

I TOLD You There's a Reason Why!!

Taken from a recent conversation with my mother:

Last week after putting in a 16 hour day I decided to stop in and say hi to my mom. She was sitting in her bedroom with the lights off playing Mahjongg on the computer and listening to the BYU (church) channel on TV. I came and fell onto her bed and we started talking. At one point I looked up and noticed that the program that she was watching/listening to was discussing the growing, harvesting, packaging, and preserving of mushrooms. Yep. Mushrooms. I have no idea why anyone would find this interesting enough to dedicate an entire program to but what can I say...

So anyway, I innocently made the comment that she was watching probably the only channel on television that could air that particular program and not be in danger of being sanctioned or shut down. Only in Mormon Land would a program like this not be considered something strange (and I say that with all the love in the world... really!).

Mom turns around and says "Why? What's wrong with mushrooms?"

"Ummm... are you serious?" Keep in mind that my head is pounding and the two brain cells I have aren't currently speaking to each other.

"Yeah... why wouldn't I be?"

"Well you know, there is the whole mushrooms being used to get high thing... you know, Magic Mushrooms... similar to LSD... A lotta people would probably take issue with this show, they'd probably feel that those two things were somehow related, or something" I mumble with my head buried in my arms. I'm laying on my stomach trying like hell to keep the light from reaching my eyes.

"Andria, can I just say again how much I HATE it that you know things like that?!" she says while continuing to play her game.

I look up at her to try and tell if she's serious. "What do you mean? It was your generation that made that information common knowledge." It's not like this is job related info or anything!

"MY generation?!! So it's all MY fault? Like I had anything to do with drugs! And what do you mean by that anyway!?" She sputters getting increasingly upset (and loud). (Personally I think she's overly hostile because she knows that I know that there was a time that she smoked pot and basically partied her ass off.)

"Oh you know, there was that whole movement that began in the 60's with that musician... what's his name? You know the one, long beard, tie-dye, dancing bears... Oh come on, I can't think of his name right now but you must know who I'm talking about. Someone auctioned off the man's toilet seat here recently, for heavens sake!" I now have a sinking suspicion that this conversation is quickly going to make me wish I had just gone to bed. For whatever reason, maybe just in an attempt to convince myself that my mother has in fact lived on the same planet as the rest of us, I decide to stick with it a little longer. I now have a full fledged marching band playing in my head.

"Andria, I have no idea what you're talking about! Dancing bears and a toilet seat? What does any of this have to do with growing mushrooms?" She asks laughing.

"Oh hell. Come on mom, work with me here... what WAS that man's name?" I'm frantically wracking my brain at this point. "Garcia... Garcia something... Jerry Garcia! That's it! The Grateful Dead was led by Jerry Garcia back in the 60's and 70's and amassed such a cult following that you can still find bumper stickers with dancing bears and the word 'Shrooms' on them all over town. I think our next door neighbor's car has one on it. Surely you know what I'm talking about now, right?" I'm totally thrilled that I managed to remember the name and totally thinking at this point that she'll figure out what I'm talking about and laugh it off. WHEN will I ever learn??

"The Grateful Dead?! What kind of name is that anyway? I think it's offensive! No respect for all of those who died!" She says self righteously.

"!! Are you serious?!"

"Yeah. I am. I remember hearing the name of them back then but my friends and I were good girls. We never actually listened to music like that. We stuck with more wholesome activities. And besides, what does any of this have to do with mushrooms?"

*sigh* "Nothing mom. I'm sorry. I must have been confused. I woke up to a headache this morning. You know how I get sometimes. I think I'm gonna get in the bath and then head off to bed."

"Okay honey. I hope you feel better. Is there anything I can do?" She asks with genuine concern.

Laughing quietly I manage to respond "No... I'm good. You've done enough. Thanks."

Really, is it any wonder that I'm warped?
Bless her heart! Gotta love her!

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Ready to Fight

TV Guy came over to the house yesterday to pick me up for a visitation that we both needed to attend. He knew that The Brain was going to be the one to answer the door so he assumed a fighting stance using his umbrella to be funny.

He was stunned when The Brain opened the door in a fighting position holding a large stick.

Neither of them planned on the other being ready to fight.

TV guy believes that The Brain may very well become Kato to his Inspector Clouseau.

Why do I foresee an ER trip in my future?

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Ho Hum...

I'm still here... sort of. The Brain has been sick and work has been tough. What can I say? It's just another day in the neighborhood.

I met with someone (again) from the place that I'm hoping to be hired on with. I think this was the last hoop to jump through... God I hope it was anyway! I should be hearing something within the next month or so. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

The weather has been beautiful if not a little on the warm side and Easter was good.

All in all not a whole lot to blog about. I'm feeling lazy and ready for a vacation to somewhere different. I'm thinking Europe... wouldn't that be nice?

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Drivin' in the Fast Lane

So last night I was on my way to meet a friend for dinner. I was running late (as usual) and was speeding a little more than I probably should have been. In my defense though I really had no idea how fast I was going. It was late and I was in an area with no traffic whatsoever.

It was just me and the cop who pulled me over.

For driving 58 in a 35.


I was gonna get a ticket (he had it written and in hand) until he realized that he worked with my old partner.

I may have a date next week.

Did I mention that he was cute? And single? And straight?

It almost would've been worth the ticket!

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Are My Cheeks Red?

It's come to my attention that I'm not as worldly as I thought. Geez! In the last day or so a friend of mine has sent me a couple of links... apparently she's become concerned about my self imposed celibacy and thought that she'd put her two cents in.

Before you click on these, please make sure that no kids are around... Lord knows I have enough to feel guilty about without adding the corruption of minors to it!

This first one amazes me. Honestly I just don't get it. It's not porn, at least not in the strictest sense of the word, but if it's not, then what the hell is it?! I'm no prude, really I'm not, but I think if I ever accidentally saw myself orgasm I'd probably never have sex again. I'd be mortified, yet here are countless people that have opted to video tape it and submit it for strangers to watch.

I must be slow.

The second one is supposedly written by a married couple that like to share details of their personal lives. Hey, more power to them. After reading a couple of their posts I have to say that while not really my speed, it's not all bad either. I just don't understand what conversation could have possibly led them to that decision. Hey honey, last night was really great! Hey, I have an idea... let's tell everyone ALL about it. Right down to the smallest detail. Then we can sit back while perfect strangers praise us!

So there ya go, even after working in law enforcement for waaay to long, I can still be surprised. Who knew?

Now excuse me while I go research the latest in kid blocking technology.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Food for Thought

I stumbled across this today and thought it worthy of posting. It is (in my humble opinion) very well written, it made me tune in and stop and think for a minute or two. I decided to repost it in the hopes that whether you agree with it or not, that it will make you stop and think too.

I regret I couldn't discern the author.

Proud of your country? Your leader?
Date: 2006-03-21, 4:38PM

I am ashamed. I am ashamed of this President. Aren't you? After watching his press conference today, a sense of shame overtook me. I'm ashamed that he took to the podium today as if he emptied out a container of laughing gas. I'm ashamed of a President who has the temerity to laugh when asked a question about war. I'm ashamed of the whores of the fourth estate who care more about having the honor of being the butt of one of the President's jokes than about exposing the truth to the American people. I'm ashamed that millions of my fellow Americans are so scared and so desperate for leadership that they believe the President's bullshit.

I am ashamed. I'm ashamed of this President, this megalomaniac hellbent on leaving his assprint on the map of the Middle East, no matter how much destruction is wrought and no matter how much blood flows in the streets of lands that never threatened us. I'm ashamed that when I see the American flag waiving, images of flag-draped coffins flash in my mind. I'm ashamed of Freedom's March. Ashamed when I see villages reduced to rubble. Ashamed when I see the tiny little corpses. God, they're so painfully tiny--lined up in a row, little angels wrapped in colorful blankets that starkly contrast against their gray-tinged faces. Ashamed when I see wailing Iraqis slam their hands against plain, unvarnished coffins, over and over, asking "Why? Is this democracy? Why?" When I see those image of funerals, of broken families, I want to crawl into my TV, I want to go to them and grab their slumped shoulders and scream "I'm sorry, good god, I'm so sorry. I want to leave, I want us to leave, believe me. But they won't listen...No one listens anymore."

I'm ashamed that the word "massacre" is even uttered in connection with our actions in Iraq. I'm ashamed it's not just one massacre that is alleged, but two. I'm ashamed it's gotten to the point that I can't even tell this little voice inside of me to shut up, that little voice that says maybe, just maybe it could be true. That the impossible may be plausible. Before this war, I would have rejected such claims outright. But that voice of plausibility is the consequence of those black hoods. It's the consequence of those leashes, those snarling dogs. It's the consequence of those detainees chained to bedframes. Of naked pyramids. Of forced sex acts. Of beatings and blood-streaked floors.

I am ashamed. Ashamed that Justice is no longer blindfolded, but gagged. Ashamed that in America, in AMERICA, I can only protest in "free speech zones" the size of postage stamps. Ashamed that by the time I'll take my oath as an officer of the court to support the Constitution, I'll be swearing to uphold a tattered document that has managed to survive over 200 years only to be shredded by this President in less than eight.

I am ashamed. Ashamed that in America, I see bearded men panhandling in the street, holding cardboard signs that read "U.S. Vet, can't work, need food. God bless." Ashamed that somewhere, in our America, a grandmother is sitting alone at her kitchen table, crumpled bills clutched in her thin hands, agonizing over the choice before her: medicine for her pain, or food to keep on living. Ashamed that there is a child who will go to sleep tonight on a cot in an orphanage, with no one to read him a story, no one to stroke his hair and kiss him goodnight, because the American Taliban thinks gay Americans can't love, can't parent, can't provide.

I am ashamed of my fellow Americans. Ashamed that they haven't flooded the streets. Ashamed they care more about Brangelina than the Bill of Rights. Ashamed that they're seemingly ok with the subtle but steady transformation from democracy to dictatorship. Ashamed that they are so gullible.

I am ashamed of myself. For not having the courage or the strength to do anything else but sit here and blog. I write. I protest. I vote. And yet, I'm impotent. Stuck in a unrelenting cycle of hope and despair and hope and despair. What a curse it is to be 23 and want to change the world. What a curse to be so disillusioned so early in life. What a curse to want to change a world that will not change...that cannot change? That cannot change as long as we sit and wait for others to change it. That cannot change as long as our elected Democrats refuse to take a principled stand. That cannot change until they--until we--appreciate the gravity of the situation before us: we are losing America.

This is not America. I refuse to accept it. America doesn't torture. America doesn't jail people incommunicado for years. America doesn't sit idly by as an entire people are exterminated in Darfur. America doesn't stifle science. America doesn't conduct massive, secret spying on innocent citizens. America doesn't believe the individual is an annoyance, an impediment to supreme government power. This isn't the greatest democracy on earth. This isn't the nation that pioneered human rights. This isn't the America that leads the world, that leads humanity towards a greater good. No, I refuse to accept this America of shame. This is not my America. It is an America perverted by Republican stewardship. A nation that under GOP rule has abandoned its founding ideals of freedom, liberty, and justice for all. True Americans--coast to coast, young and old--now bow their heads silently in collective shame for a nation that has lost its way.

Original URL:

Interesting, huh?

Sunday, April 09, 2006

More Storm Pictures...

Right before severe weather comes it's not unusual to see these clouds. They're called mammatus clouds and they hang on the underbelly of the anvil. Typically if you see an anvil you know you're screwed for severe weather. If you see mammatus clouds you know hail is coming. Still, pretty cool looking clouds...

The winds pick up and the sky starts turning colors. Sometimes it looks brown and sometimes, like in this picture, it looks almost purple. I've heard it's because the wind kicks up the dust from the dirt (aka Alabama Red Clay) and it gives this effect. Whether that's true or not, it never fails to creep me out!

And then the hail comes...

I'd hate to be hit by those! The hail we usually get isn't any bigger than nickels. This storm spat out golf ball size hail all over the city. We were lucky not to see any of it. These pictures were taken less than 10 miles from my house... did I mention we were lucky?

Here are a few miscellaneous pictures that people have sent in since I posted yesterday. I'm only posting pictures that are within 30 miles of where I live. Some of these are really cool looking.

I'm just glad it's over.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

After the Storm

I've lived in the South on and off for the last 23 years, I've been through enough tornado seasons and severe weather to know when to worry and when to go to bed. My best friend's home was destroyed by a tornado when we were in high school and my mom and brother were almost killed by one when I was growing up. That time, it took my dad and I almost 6 hours to find them. We're veterans.

After all of that, I'm not sure I have ever been as concerned about the weather as I was yesterday and last night. For the better part of 8 hours we were bombarded by storms. Not one, not two, but so many individual storm cells that the weather men couldn't keep up. At one point they were tracking a tornado on the ground 10 miles from my house, headed straight towards us. No big deal, right? Wrong. At the same time there were reports of funnel clouds (by professional spotters) on the other three sides. We were literally surrounded. Did I mention it was dark and we couldn't see a thing??

I got The Brain dressed and mom and I got out emergency supplies and bags and got everything into the bathroom and we waited. The wind and rain were such that it sounded like the roof was going to peel off. Through it all we listened to the TV and radio broadcasting up to minute coverage of where the storms were.

It was the night that seemed like it would never end. But it did. We were sooooo fortunate! No real damage to speak of, and though there were several confirmed tornados in my city it appears that they never went below the tree line. While some areas lost power no nothing was really damaged. A big chunk of my city was taken out by a F-4 in 1989, that's the one that my mom and brother were in. Last night, one of the tornados eerily tracked the exact same path that the one in 1989 took. Listening to the radio was like traveling back in time into a nightmare.
I am including several pictures that were taken last night and posted on one of the local sites here. I am only including pictures taken in my city to give you some idea of what we were dealing with last night.

Say a special prayer for all of those families that were not so fortunate yesterday. Tennessee was hit hard and loved ones were lost. It's easy to forget that.

This picture was taken off one of our downtown parking garages right as the first storm began entering the city.

Pictures of the wall cloud as the second wave of storms came in. The closer the storms came the darker it got. These pictures were all taken within about 30 minutes of each other. People around here know that when you see a wall cloud that looks like this you take cover.

And then it got dark.

Like I said, it was a long night.
When it's dark you have to rely on lightning to show you what's going on. It's scary.
We were so lucky!

Friday, April 07, 2006

Gotta Go

Just a quick post to say that I'm not going to be around today. The schools have closed early and the base is practically shutting down as we speak.

Severe weather is on it's way. The last time we had a set up on the radar that looked like this an F-5 landed in Birmingham.

This could be really nasty. I'm signing off now to prepare, gotta get the candles, emergency supplies, etc. out and check in with the other people that work in this area doing what I do. Lots to do...

I'll try and post later when it passes.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Congratulations Amanda!!

Yesterday was a huge day around here. My oldest friend in the world and the person I consider to be the sister I never had, Amanda, got engaged. Thank God!!

She's been with her guy for about four years now and despite his claims to the contrary, I think we were all beginning to give up hope. He wasn't dragging his feet out of reluctance or anything, he lives with and cares for an elderly maiden aunt and wanted to wait until she'd be alright with it. Who can blame a guy for that?

I couldn't be happier for her, it was really nice getting good news for a change. We went for a drive and giggled and talked and hashed and re-hashed the big moment over and over and over again. What he said, how he said it, how he looked when he said it, where he was standing, what he was wearing, what she was thinking, what she said, what she thought, how she feels, and everything in between. Twice!

It seems like for the last couple of years there have been an inordinate amount of funerals and wakes around here. As a matter of fact, the last three times I have seen her fiance' has been at funerals or visitations. Her engagement is really good news, and I for one am really looking forward to having the whole next year filled with happy, fun, and yes, frustrating moments.

We plan on starting the whole thing off right on Monday with coffee and dress shopping. I can hardly wait! She's going to be a beautiful bride.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

I'm So Excited!

Last night I discovered that my and thousands of other people's prayers have been answered.

It appears that scientists have been able to grow new organs using the patients own cells. This has been done 6 times successfully with bladders and they are in the process of continuing experimentation on other organs as well. You can find the article here.

If you've never had personal experience with organ transplantation or you have never known anyone who has you can't possibly know what this means.

When my father received a heart transplant it gave him a chance to live another eleven years. I am profoundly grateful for those years but I wonder at the price he had to pay to have them. The toxins he took in the form of anti-rejection med's along with the myriad of other drugs that he took twice a day to counter the effects of those toxins was astounding. It used to take me a full hour to make up his medicines for just one week. Over 60 pills in all he took, every day for eleven years.

We were told when he received the transplant that he was buying himself about 10 years. We were very, very blessed. Knowing what I know now though, if I could go back I honestly don't know if I could ask him to do it again. He got his heart, but he also got cancer, renal failure, diabetes, and a ton of other things on the side.

The transplant medication prolonged his life but destroyed everything inside of him. Every drug has side effects. Try and imagine the side effects of all of the drugs he had to take and then consider how each of them react when taken with all the rest.

My dad was just one of millions world wide facing these types of problems. Consider little Annika, the recipient of not one but two liver transplants, now in need of another. Her parents have been told that she's simply not strong enough to withstand another surgery right now. They are praying she can hold on long enough to regain her strength and that their insurance will hold out to pay for her care. She wants to start Kindergarten in the fall, doing so might cost her her life.

Personally I don't care how it happens. Stem cells, cloning, or the way it seems to be happening now. Having the ability to receive a new heart, kidney, lung, whatever that was grown by your own body would be the equivalent to winning the lottery. No anti-rejection medicines, no side effects. A real chance at life.

I am so excited!

Donations are accepted at The American Society of Transplanation.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Sleepy Spring

I love summer. I'm a true Southern gal at heart. Warm weather, BBQ's, days spent out on the lake, fireflies at dusk, lemonade on the front porch swing, the whole deal. I love that it's almost 9 when it gets dark by the end of July.

Having said that, damnmit if I didn't hate getting up this morning! The Brain did too. When I turned on his light I heard a muffled "you're jokin' right?!" from beneath his pillows and blankets. I only wished that I were.

I worked until almost 4am this morning, trying frantically to get caught back up. I've submitted most of my February cases now and am now starting on March. Hopefully by next week if I can keep up the pace I'll be ready to begin April. Ugh. I need a break.

To those of you who have emailed me over the last month or two, I'm not ignoring you, I promise! I'm trying to do the best I can to keep my head above water right now, I'll try to be better about it soon!

For now I think I'll take my lunch outside and enjoy this beautiful weather. Have a great day!

Sunday, April 02, 2006

I'm Back

I'm sorry that it's been so long since my last post. It seems sometimes that when it rains it pours and lately it feels like I haven't been dry in months!

For all of that, nothing really has changed all that much around here. My job has kept me insanely busy, the weather is warm and beautiful, and The Brain is as busy as ever keeping me on my toes.

There is a certain amount of reassurance to be found in that I guess. The knowledge that regardless of how much time goes by, in many respects things remain the same.

I am currently trying to determine where we will move this summer. Most of the time being a single parent isn't that bad, but this is one of those times that I miss having someone to bounce ideas off from. Trying to determine the balance between what will ultimately be best for our family against what is best for my career. These two things are irrevocably bound. I have to work if we want to eat. Eating doesn't seem all that important if I lose the respect of my son along the way. What to do, what to do.
Things will work themselves out in the end but I'd be lying if I said that I wasn't ready to just fast forward to that point. I just want to be able to sit on my front porch swing and watch my son play in the yard and know that we are where we are going to be for a while. Big dreams...

Anyway, Kdubs was asking for pictures of some of the flowers in my yard so I'll take this time to pass these along now as well.

We spent yesterday afternoon working in the yard, pulling the autumn flowers out and preparing the ground for the summer ones. This is a picture of the birch tree in my front yard. Pretty huh? I still need to bring it in a little so you can see the river rock underneath that mess!

My mailbox... please overlook the garbage can and junk in the picture, like I said, we were working when I took these.

The Brain and his cousin had a good time playing with the discarded flowers, he's so good with her. She worships him and he just loves her! I hope that we can stay in this area so they can remain close. She's turning 3 in June and he'll be 10 in July but that doesn't seem to matter. They love playing together!

I took a couple of pictures of my back patio too. Again, needs a lot of work, but beautiful nonetheless. It smells wonderful this time of year. It blooms twice a year, once in spring, once in the fall. The butterflies love it and it just makes the whole yard seem cheerful.

Anyway, there's more work to be done before I can rest for the day so I'll close for now. Maybe someday life will be a little slower for us all... but not today!