Saturday, August 27, 2011

Automatic Pilot

When your brain is on automatic pilot, and you say things you're supposed to say without really thinking about it, funny things can happen.

I wasn't the one on auto pilot; it was the person I dealt with.

A couple of days ago, I was at Smith's (a grocery store). They have one of those shopper's cards to get sale prices (and to accumulate points to get a better price at the gas station that's part of the store). I always give the card to the cashier as she (or he) begins to ring up my groceries, before she can ask, "Do you have a Smith's card?".

But the other day, the cashier's brain was definitely on automatic pilot. I handed her my card and she scanned it. As she handed the card back to me, she asked, "Do you have a Smith's card?" I answered, "Yeah, it's in your hand." We both laughed and so did the guy behind me in line. She said something about being having to say that all the time.

At least I was laughing as I left the store instead of grumbling about the long lines (they weren't long this time) or grumbling about them being out of the sale item I wanted (they weren't out this time).

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Whole Lotta Shakin' Going On

We're living on an unstable planet.

I had that thought last night and it was confirmed first thing this morning. Then it was really confirmed about an hour ago.

In the last 24 hours, there have been several earthquakes in the same small area near the border of Colorado and New Mexico. The largest was about 5:00 this morning (Mountain Daylight Time) , a 5.3 magnitude. We didn't feel it, but our friends in Raton, NM felt the one yesterday evening, which was only 3.5. I'm sure they felt the one this morning.

Click here for a very cool map of the US, showing recent earthquakes.

Then this afternoon about 2:00 (Eastern Daylight Time), there was a 5.9 earthquake in Virginia, near Richmond. Of course it was felt in Washington, DC and New York City. The people in DC, especially in the Capitol, had an initial reaction that it was a bombing or some kind of terrorist attack when the building began shaking. They were relieved to find out it was an earthquake. But a 5.9 is huge for an earthquake, especially in a region not used to earthquakes.

The quake was felt all along the east, and according to some reports, as far away and as far west as Detroit!

To make things more interesting, while CNN is doing their usual non-stop coverage of the quake (stopping only for commercials, of course), their news crawl along the bottom of the screen included this: "Entire east coast should prepare for Hurricane Irene."

See what I mean about an unstable planet?

I'll post updates to both quake regions as I hear them.

In the meantime, did any of you feel the quake? Share your story.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Comments 101

Last week, one of my readers asked me (over the phone) about how to post comments here, so here's a little tutorial.

First, I want to clear up a misconception. You DO NOT have to have a Google account to post a comment. You don't even have to put your real name. A couple of my readers have used the "Anonymous" option and then signed the comment with their pseudonym (screen name).

People who read blogs generally like to read comments, too. But that only works when people leave comments.

And people who write blogs LOVE to read comments.

And leaving a comment is easy.

At the bottom of each blog post there will be a bit of text that says "0 comments" or if I'm lucky "1 comment" and that text is actually a link. Click on it and a box will appear. Above the box it will say "Leave your comment" so type a comment in the box. It doesn't have to be long, just a little something.

Below the box it says, "Choose an identity" and this may be where the confusion is. There are four choices and if you don't have a blog or a website (or a Google Account), just choose Anonymous. You then have the option to preview your comment before choosing to publish it.

Your comment then goes to my email so I can approve it before it's posted to the blog for all to see (that's just a security measure to weed out spammers, although no spammer has found me yet).

That's it; it's easy! And you can comment on previous posts, not just the current one.

Part of what makes blogging fun is feedback and interaction, and you can comment on the comments, too.

So let's get some interaction going.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Animal Stories

After living with our animals for so many years, I know not to leave certain foods unattended on the kitchen counter for very long or they will disappear. It doesn't even have to be left near the edge of the counter; King is so tall he can reach anything in the middle of the counter. Remember the banana bread? Any kind of meat will be gone faster than you can believe. Butter? Forget it; King will gobble it down in three seconds.

But raw macaroni? Seriously? Yup. Thursday evening I cooked some macaroni and forgot to put away the bag containing the rest of the raw macaroni. When I got home from work Friday morning, the empty bag was on the floor in the living room, surrounded by a few stray pieces of raw macaroni. The rest, of course, was gone. I couldn't believe he (all the dogs are male, but I bet it was King; he's usually the culprit) would eat raw macaroni!

Yes, we feed the dogs dog food, probably a little more than they need. None of them are skinny. But when we first got King, he was emaciated with his hip bones sticking out. And that was after he'd been at the shelter for a few weeks, after someone rescued him from being caught in a bear trap, where he'd been for who knows how long. So I think that experience of starving had an impact on him and now, even after all the years he's been with us, he still wants to eat anything and everything whenever he gets the chance.

But raw macaroni?!?


Meanwhile, the hummingbirds are eating us out of house and home. Or at least out of sugar. Plus we've added a fourth feeder. Ron saw it in the clearance bin at WalMart and bought it. We didn't even hang it up for about a week, but when I realized how often I was refilling the three we had, we hung that one up, too. I think it just encouraged more hummingbirds to our house, because I'm still filling the small and medium ones every day and the bigger ones every few days.

They'll only be here for another few weeks and then they'll head south for the winter, flying along the Rio Grande. They'll probably be "stocking up" the energy for their flight, though.


The Hotel Where I Work is once again trying the cat solution to deal with the mice. Thursday night when I got to work and went through the kitchen on the way to clock in, a quick movement of black at my feet startled me. I thought it was a cat (or a very large rat), but I wasn't sure until a few minutes later, when I saw the golden eyes of a cat. At least this cat is skinny, which means it's hungry; maybe it can catch some of the mice running around the kitchen.

Speaking of which...

This past Monday morning, when I was cleaning at home, I discovered the fresh remnants of a mouse that one of our cats (my money is on Satchmo) had killed and partially eaten, leaving only the head, the tail, and a bit of fur connecting the two. It had to have been one of the cats; a dog would have swallowed the mouse whole. The rest of that day, Satchmo walked around the house, looking like he was on the prowl for another mouse. That's why I think he was the culprit. Good kitty.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Night Shift

Sometimes when I'm at my night hotel job, I think about getting a daytime position with a lot less stress.

Like an Air Traffic Controller.

In Chicago or Atlanta.

Photo from