Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Every year, it's a new critter at the Tyrant's house.

Squirrels that don't belong
Birds that lose their heads
Cats that dig up stuff
Frogs that get tangled in my weedwacker (somewhere there's a post about that)

This year, I've got rabbits.

This is the big one. He bops around my backyard. I will call him Bopper. There's also at least one other tiny one. They seem to live underneath my shed.

I just want it to be known that at the time of this posting (and at the time of this photograph) the rabbit was alive and well. I am going to GREAT LENGTHS to be in no way responsible for any untimeley catastrophe that could possibly happen to these rabbits, should anything happen.

In fact, the other day I went so far as to stop my car in the street a few houses down from my house, get out of my car, and personally walk the tiny one to the curb because he refused to get out of the road.

I saved his life that day.

Remember that. Always...

I swear I am a friend to the critters.


Monday, May 29, 2006

I like old stuff
A few weeks ago, my parents and I took a roadtrip to visit my Mamaw. She decided it was time to go through the stuff in her house. So, we went to help her clear out some stuff and get organized.

Here we are.

This trip was actually a lot of fun for me. Well, maybe not so much the part where I got to climb around in her attic with the spiders and endless boxes and bags of Christmas decorations that I'd never seen before...

But, it was fun to see and touch our family history. And funny to watch my Mamaw try to come up with a reason why she keeps all the random knick-knacks we sorted through.
I'm telling you, BOXES and BOXES of stuff she didn't know she had.

A few things are really memorable. Mamaw keeps an envelope of all the notes and cards each of her grandkids have sent her over the years. I don't think she had all of them, but she still had quite a lot of them. My sister's envelope was the biggest. She was great about writing notes and sending drawings and stickers. All of her stuff was VERY decorated and much of it made very little sense. But, to my sister when she was a kid, I'm sure it all made perfect sense and was something very important that she needed to communicate to my grandparents.

My envelope was a decent size, but with MUCH fewer notes than my sister. An obvious testament to who the people person was in the family. All of my notes were meticulously printed out, with the exception of a few notes in cursive. Obviously practicing the fine skill of perfect cursive writing.

I sat with my Mom and Mamaw and read through the notes. They are HILARIOUS. I started almost all of them with the flat statement "I want to tell you this." And then I go on to state something very matter of factly - whether it was the big news of the day, or what I want for Christmas, or whatever. No stickers. No drawings. Nothing fancy. All very brief. Not sure when I learned the art of LONGWINDED writing, but it certainly wasn't during my elementary school years.

Apparently 1982 through 1985 were big years for losing my teeth. I sent a note to my grandparents for every big tooth-losing event. One of the notes ends with "My daddy is the toothfairy, but he says he isn't." Nothing gets by me! Sorry, dad. I knew all along...


Then there was a dry spell of notes from me until, um, just a few years ago. My Mamaw loves notes from her grandkids. I need to send more notes. I know I'll get them all back one day, but they make her happy now.

I also uncovered what may be my earliest recorded poem. But, I'll save that for another time.


We went through boxes and bookcases and closets and cabinets. Pretty much every little thing in the house. My Mamaw would tell stories about all of it. It was a nice walk through family memories.

Plus, I came home with some pretty sweet stuff. Like I said, I like old stuff. Preferably old stuff with meaning. One really cool thing about my house is that a lot of my stuff is family stuff, and that means it has a story.

Of course, my Mamaw knows I like old stuff. So, it was tough to not come home with everything that was old, just because it is "old". She would come out of the back of a closet with some old piece of junk, just to ask if I wanted it because it's old.

It's important to clarify. I like old stuff that is good stuff. Don't dump your junk on me.

Among the coolest stuff I brought home are some of the toys that all of the grandkids used to play with. I remember playing with this stuff. My Papaw used to build stuff in his woodshop - furniture, toys, stuff. He also had a friend who made some toys for us. I found some of them in the attic. One is a red barn. It still had all of the animals and pieces.

I brought home a couple of wooden puzzles that my Papaw made. One of them took me awhile to put back together when it fell out of it's rubber band that was holding it together. My Papaw was one smart dude.

A couple of items are now lawn decorations in my backyard. One is the baby buggy my mom rode in as a baby. It doesn't have the basket part, so really it's just the wheely part. But, now it's a flower holder thingy on my patio.

The other is the first watering can my Mamaw bought when she and my Papaw had their first house with a yard. I planted Brown-eyed Susans in it, also now on my patio.

I scored one of my Papaw's watches, some of his achievement pins from when he was in highschool, and the stone from his Masonic ring (which I may use to write a novel about a code and Da Vinci or something).

I also ended up with a few of my Papaw's pocket knives. I'm not exactly sure why, but I've been really fascinated with these. It just kinda personifies my Papaw. He never went anywhere without this one specific pocket knife and a tiny wrench in his pocket. I have both of those. Plus a larger knife. And then, there was this knife:

It surprised me to see it sitting in a box full of his pocket knives. I'd never seen it before. Neither my mom nor my Mamaw can remember him having it or ever using it. The knives he used were Old Timer brand knives - good, America knives. A Swiss Army knife is out of character for him.

The knife is used, so it would seem he did used it at some point. I've cleaned it up. I've also contacted Swiss Army to see why my name is on it. They say the only way an official Swiss Army knife can be personalized is through a company ordering personalized gifts for employees. Not sure I buy that, but whatever.

My Papaw had Parkinsons for several years, and he's been gone for about 7 years. So, the knife has been around for quite awhile. I don't know how he came by a knife with my name on it, or why he never gave it to me. But, it's pretty cool to have it now.

Otherwise, I ended up with some sweet old books, the world's largest and oldest dictionary (apparently there used to be more words in the English language and we have since decided we don't need that many anymore - but I intend to use ALL of them for Scrabble), some sweet thermoses, some old flashlights (that still work - they are probably 50 years old) from the paper mill where my Papaw worked, the meat grinder my Mamaw's mother used in her kitchen, the wooden paddles from my Papaw's fishing boat, and some other random stuff.

I like bringing home pieces of family to my home. Makes my home feel more like home.

And shoot, who couldn't use a few good pocket knives? For bear hunting and whatnot.


Sunday, May 28, 2006

Not that I've ever put any serious thought into how I would go about burying a body in my backyard, but over the past month or so I have spent some quality time in my yard, digging holes to plant things, moving other plants around, and generally playing in a lot of dirt.

Today I moved some bulbs from one place to another. This required digging some holes.

And today, I came to the conclusion that I could never kill anyone and bury them in my backyard. Or in anyone's backyard, for that matter. Because quite frankly, digging is really, really hard. And I'm not good at it.

Digging is a skill that I did not realize is hard to come by. As much as I putter around in my yard planting things, you'd think I'd be a much better digger.

I'm not.

A hole for a plant is (depending on the size of the plant) not that big. Today, after digging a few holes for some bulbs, I realized that if I had to dig a hole 6 feet deep and just as long, I'd never make it. It just wouldn't be possible.

I don't know why I thought about this, except that it dawned on me that it would be fun if my neighbors were watching me dig all over my yard, wondering if I was perhaps, burying someone. Like in the classsic Tom Hanks movie The Burbs, or something very Desperate Housewives.

But I'll tell you right now, I don't have the energy, nor the attention span to dig for that long. It was tough enough planting all those bulbs today.

So, if you ever wonder if the Tyrant has ever killed anyone and buried someone in her backyard (or any backyard, for that matter), rest assured that I have not, will not, cannot.

If someone you know is missing, don't look here. I'm terrible with a shovel.


Thursday, May 25, 2006

Deodorant Update

Degree Super Duper Really Little Black Dress Clear Extra Protection Pure Rain scent


One down, 108 more to go.


Monday, May 22, 2006

So.... deodorant
We all need it, but who among us actually likes it?

There comes a time in every young girl's life when eventually her deodorant will stop, well, deodoranting. Our pits grow accustomed to whatever brand of deodorant we have used thus far, and it becomes time to do something we ALL dread...

Find a new deodorant.

First, deodorant is a very personal thing. It's a preference. We choose a scent we like, a brand we like, a type we like (gel, solid, semi-solid). All of these factors work together to create our personal comfort in the pit department.

You can't have a deodorant that doesn't work. We can't go walking around in tank tops and sweaty armpits. You can't have a deodorant that smells stronger than you do. Nobody likes smelling your deodorant before we smell you. It should be a silent, trusted, hidden, non-confrontational partner in the neverending quest for good hygiene.

So, when your trusted partner suddenly fails you one day, it creates a situation in need of attention. It's tough to let go of the one we've trusted thus far. It's disappointing. It's heartbreaking. You feel betrayed and abandoned. But let's face it, it's not like there aren't a million other options out there to take the place of a deodorant gone bust.

For guys, it's pretty simple. You have much fewer options:

scented, nonscented, and Old Spice.
Blue can, red can, or Old Spice.
spray, nonspray, or Old Spice.

For the ladies, much like most other things in our lives, the deodorant department provides TOO MANY options. It's ridiculous. And, difficult.

For one, there are too many scents. Seriously, people. Who sits around and thinks up these scents for deodorants?

Baby soft
Shower fresh
Sporty clean
Peachy keen
Raspberry delight
Raspberry delight lite
Daisy fresh with a hint of herbal mint

And honestly, NONE of these smell like anything I want to smell like. Sporty clean? What does that even mean???

So essentially, choosing a deodorant scent that is something you can live with is really just picking the lesser scent of a 108 more evil scents, and hoping whatever body wash or perfume you wear can out rank it.

And really, you have to try just about ALL of them to find one you can live with. You have to spend days, even weeks, smelling weird and tempting your armpits to freak out and be sweaty at the most inopportune times, all for the sake of adjusting to a new deodorant. You can't raise your hand if you are not at all sure that your test run of Degree is really going to work out for you today.

And see, "shower fresh" for Secret is not the same as "shower fresh" for Lady Speed Stick. Yet, I was pretty comfortable with Secret shower fresh, so is it a safe bet that Lady Speed Stick shower fresh is comparable?

You'll never know unless you try.

Now, this whole business of "sheer", "clear", "ultra-clear", "little black dress approved", and "see-through" is just crap. Sure, deodorants have come a long way from the days of flat white chalk that gets on everything in a ten mile radius of your armpit. But seriously, you have to wear a nonexistent layer of ANY deodorant for it to come even close to testing as truly "clear". And I'm here to tell you that it takes just a bit more strokes of the deodorant to keep these pits dry.

Can I get an amen?

It takes a very special balance of not too many strokes of the deodorant versus enough for it to actually work all the livelong day. It takes years of practice to accomplish this. Clear, sheer, or otherwise.

Don't tell me it's clear unless I can pretty much put on 10 or so layers and still see right through me. Ladies, to whoever can invent a TRULY white-proof deodorant, you will be my hero forever.

So, how do we choose a new deodorant? What's the process? It takes a serious combination of determination and perseverance. But basically you have to start with buying 10 to 12 different brands, varieties, and scents of deodorant, then begin testing a new one for a few days, one by one, until one is "the" one.

If one works, but smells weird? It's OUT. If one doesn't work, but smells okay? OUT. If one works, smells ok, but leaves white marks all over your black shirt like when your highschool teacher used to transfer the chalk from her hands to the butt of her pants EVERYDAY... it's OUT.

There's no easy way to get results, people. You just have to save up some money, and dive in.

And what do you do with all of the sticks of deodorant that don't work? Nothing to do but make a very careful list of the failed products (and possibly a chart and a graph of the results) and then trash them.

Sad, but true. It's not their fault. I'm sure they work for armpits somewhere in the world.

But not mine. Not today. Not ever.

And yes, I just wrote an entire blog about deodorant. Read it, learn it, love it.


This post came to me while at church
Sometimes I blog in my head. But that doesn't mean I'm not listening. Make of it what you will.

I've realized that being labeled a "Christian" doesn't necessarily make us better to our fellow human beings than those who might not consider themselves "Christian". We still hurt those around us. We are still hurt by those around us. To quote Eric tonight, we are imperfect people loving each other imperfectly.

I struggle sometimes. I want to hold "Christians" to a higher standard. We don't get to treat people that way. Jesus told us not to. Is that fair? We preach what is good and right and love. Yet we still fail people in what is good and right and love.

I leave church, and I still yell at people who cut me off on my drive home. That is neither good nor right nor love.

We don't know all the answers. We don't do everything right by each other. We don't even know what we mean, or even all agree upon what is good and right and love.

But we have to forgive others who have hurt us. And we have to forgive ourselves for hurting others.



Saturday, May 20, 2006

Dear Capital One No Hassle Card,
The fact that I get an application from you to sign up for you at least every week of my life.... THIS SERIOUSLY IMPEDES YOUR CLAIM OF BEING 'NO HASSLE.'

You might consider a name change. Or stop hassling me with your credit card applications all the livelong day.


Thursday, May 18, 2006

I have to give props
I haven't been able to blog much lately because my internet at home is on and off the fritz at random. I should get that fixed...

But tonight while I can take a few seconds to blog from an undisclosed location, I choose to use this valuable time to give props to my dear friend "I'm kinda over softball" Kerri.

Tonight, on a night when she wasn't even going to play (she tried to back out last minute....), she showed up, swung the bat twice and HIT THE BALL TWICE. Then she topped even that much amazingness by CATCHING A FLY BALL IN THE OUTFIELD like it was no big deal.

I was so happy, I forgot to keep playing and I ran out and hugged her. Then we realized the ball was still in play.

It didn't matter.

Kerri, way to finish a random season and a random rain-out make-up game. You out-played us all.

Looking forward to more of the same next season.


Monday, May 15, 2006

I'm still mad about gas prices
I went on a road trip with my parents over the weekend to visit my Grandma. More on that later.

But, I just need to tell everyone that I found gas for $2.69 in several places, one of which was Tyler, TX. Yet when we got back home, gas was still $2.95 here.


There is no reasonable reason in the world why there should be a 30 cent difference in gas prices from one city to the next.

And the sad thing is, we were really excited to find gas at $2.69, as though that is cheap.

It's not cheap. It's ridiculous.


Friday, May 05, 2006

I talk about moggy Africa, too
This will make my dear Friend SJ's head explode.

So I met someone from Capetown, South Africa this week. In Chicago, of all places. We had some lovely chats. I learned a bunch of fun phrases. I liked to hear her talk. It was almost Britishly, which I love.

Moggy = crazy (ie: She's gone quite moggy.)

Loo = Bathroom (I already knew that, but she used it in sentences like it's not a funny word)

Knickers = underwear (ie: I went to this place called Victoria's Secret, and I spent $108 on two bras and some knickers.)

Blast = some sort of curse word, I think (ie: Blast! Why do knickers cost so much in America?)

Conversely, when I talked about cracking the window in my hotel room to let in the cool air from outside, she was quite concerned that I'd actually cracked (broken) a hotel window. I assured her the window was fine.

That's pretty much it. I just wanted to be the one talking about blastin' Africa for once.


Get Milk
This is a public service announcement.

If you live in Texas (or anywhere that has a little ice cream chain called Braum's) and you do not buy your milk at Braum's, you are both wasting money and buying inferior milk.

A coworker of mine turned me on to the wonders of Braum's milk. We will call him Coworker A.

I resisted for awhile. It's an extra stop after I've already been to the grocery store, and I just don't readily try new things. But I tried it once a few months ago and I quickly found out that the pros FAR exceed the cons. In fact, there aren't any cons to buying your milk at Braum's.

1. It's cheaper.
Today I paid $1.54 for a half gallon of milk. Genius.

2. It lasts longer.
The date on the carton is May 18. I bought it today. That's at least a week longer than any date I could find on a carton at the grocery store. So, I paid less for milk that will last longer. Yup.

3. It's on my way home, and even if I leave from my house, it's right around the corner.
This may only be a pro for me, but it's a dealmaker. It's closer than the grocery store, and I only have to go there about twice a month anyway, since the milk lasts much longer than grcoery store milk.

And I don't even drink milk. But I tell you without hesitation that Braum's milk makes my cornflakes taste like little flakes of heaven. Or manna from heaven. Whatever.

It's GOOD.

5. Customer service.
I walk in, I am greeted by the sweet Mom or Pop that runs this particular franchised store. I grab my carton of milk, I head to the counter. They put my milk in a PAPER bag. They send me on my way with a smile.

In and out of the store in 30 seconds or less, PLUS it was a pleasant experience. Very small town here in the big city. When is the last time the milk guy at your big chain grocery store said anything to you??

So, there you have it. All the right reasons to stop buying your milk at the grocery store and start buying it at Braum's.

Great taste, less expensive, lasts longer.

Do it now.