VirgoVoice

I'm just sayin'

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I was really frustrated with a web site yesterday. I was just trying to place a photo order and I have never used the company’s web site before. After all the uploading and order placing, I got to the page where I clicked ‘order’. After I clicked ‘order‘ it kept asking me how many recipients did I want to send this order to and it wanted to import their addresses. I DID NOT want to send it to any one. I didn’t want it importing my contact list. I just wanted the order to come to ME. To my house. That’s it. Seemed simple. Well, I suppose it was if you consider yourself, the person ordering the item, a recipient and not customer.  AAAAYYYY! Once I added my name to their request for a recipient, it took me to the name, address and credit card info. It took me several tries – which doesn’t seem like much except every time I would start over, the website wanted to re-load all the photos I had uploaded. So you see my frustration here?

I am surprised that we don’t hear of more computer rage. I can picture some body losing it one day and smack their monitor around a bit. You don’t want to do it too hard and have to replace it – and really it’s only the messenger. It’s the CPU that’s screwing around with you. But mess with that and you have messed with your life. Your pictures are on there, your ability to Skype is on there. What about your banking? Ordering your pizza? How about flowers for your mom or fruit basket for your Aunt Rita? And then there’s that part you need for the dishwasher.

I bet the onset of computers changed the lives of many agoraphobics. Agoraphobics have a fear of open spaces compounded by social anxiety. That is why so many agoraphobics are captives in their own homes, tethered there by fear. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agoraphobia  But imagine how a computer would change the life of an agoraphobic. I suppose some one would have to get a computer to them in the first place since they’re not going out to buy one. It would certainly be difficult to have a support group for agoraphobics. Whose house would they meet at? And would it really be therapy if they Skyped their meetings? But this got me to thinking.

Really, in today’s computer world what would I be missing if  I never went outside again? I can have my groceries delivered. I can watch movies on my computer and or television. I can order anything on line. I bet I could order alligator burger meat. There are advantages to not leaving home. I could sell my truck and not have vehicle expenses; gas, maintenance, insurance, licensing. I could work from home and not have to spend money on wardrobe. It’s not as though I’d stop all contact with the outside world. I can have company. I’m just not leaving. If people want to see me they’d have to come over. I wonder how long it would take before a self  imposed ‘agoraphobic-like’ person could stay at home without leaving their property. Hey, I think that could be a reality show. It couldn’t be worse than Toddlers & Tiaras. I’m just sayin’, see how long it takes before somebody cracks and just has to go for a walk or see the beach in person or dine out in a seaside restaurant. Or they run out of wine and can’t get it delivered until the next day. Okay. I’m going to start working on that.

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R I P Tinker

October 21, 1994 – September 22, 2012

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It’s A Threepeat…

…not a Phil Jackson kind of threepeat when the Lakers won three championships in  a row. But a  (insert drum roll here) snake kind of threepeat. Yep, it’s another snake story. What are the odds I would find another snake on my property in such a short time. It isn’t as though I live in the Congo. I live in suburbia. One MAJOR difference about this snake – well, in my book it’s major, the difference was it was in my HOUSE!!! Slithering across my kitchen floor. WTHell? But once again, it was the cutest canine cop, Phoebe Rae, who alerted me to something awry in our house. Her bark was so intense, not the ” how dare another dog walk past my house” bark. I knew something was different. I had been enjoying the evening sunset from my patio when she started barking fiercely enough for me to find out what her problem was.

Well, her problem was a snake in her kitchen. It was a teeny, tiny snake. However, it appeared to have the same markings as the Western Rattlesnake in my backyard last week. Okay, I admit I sort of freaked out. I have never forgotten an article I read stating that baby rattlers are more venomous than the adults. Some kind of Mother Nature protection system. Honestly, I don’t know if that’s true, It’s just what I remember. So, of course one might jump on the counter to get a bird’s eye view of the snake. There were two of us – one went to get a bucket to put over it until further decision as what to do next. And the other took a picture! I did that after sequestering the dogs in another room. As I was taking a picture it started to move. HELP! I did not want a rattle snake meandering around my house, moving about like it owned the place. Hell No. It was about 7:40 in the evening, I called animal control thinking they had an emergency number. ‘Cause I was thinking this was an emergency. A Rattle  Snake in my house. I called and got a recording, that asked if this concerned a wild animal, an injured animal, an animal that has come in contact with a human, the list went on –  I figured a snake in a house had to fall in there somewhere. So I pushed #2  and got someone right away. I told them I had a rattle snake in my kitchen. “I’m going to transfer you to that line.” What? There’s a special line for snakes in the house? That line had a recording informing me, “There are two calls ahead of you.” Who knew that late in the evening there would be two other wildlife emergency’s at the same time? Eventually, I spoke to a live person and told her I had a  baby rattle snake  trapped under a bucket in my kitchen.

The animal control agency told me the responding officer had two other emergency’s in front of me so she would be there, it would just be during ‘extended hours’. I didn’t care of her hours were extended, I suppose that will justify her overtime, just get here at some point.  So now we just wait. I blocked off the doorway into the kitchen with a baby-gate and let the dogs out and Phoebe laid on her dog bed on the this side of the kitchen door and just stared at the bucket. Lassie would have been proud of her the way she had communicated to me, ” Mom, come here. Hurry. Hurry.” It was Phoebe’s way of saying, “Timmy’s in the well.”  (You’d have to remember Lassie on Sunday nights to know that one.) Two hours later and scores of checking to be sure the bucket was still in place the animal control officer finally showed up. I directed her to the bucket, assured her it was tiny, but I was pretty sure it was a rattler. Well, not exactly. She lifted the bucket and said, “Oh, what you have here is a Garden Snake.” I told her I thought it’s markings looked just like a rattle snake. She said that is its defense; resembling a rattler to keep predators away. But wouldn’t you think that being mistaken for a rattle snake has more disadvantages? Maybe not in the wild, but in someone’s kitchen. The officer picked it up with one of those snake picker-upper thingees and took it outside and released it in my front yard. Well, not before I got another picture. I feel a lot better knowing it wasn’t a rattle snake. However, I have been hesitating before I enter a room. It hasn’t even been 24 hours. Not sure what can happen next in this household… I’m just sayin’.

WARNING: Snake pictures below – you tell me, don’t you think the Garden Snake looks similar to a Western Rattle Snake?

The way you can tell a Garden Snake from a Rattle Snake when they are babies is the Garden Snake has a pointed tail and the Rattle Snake will have a rounded tail. So if you are close enough to a snake to see if its tail is pointed or round you can decide to either run like the wind or just admire nature’s beauty; a Garden Snake.

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It’s Not The End, But You Can See It From Here!

Well, here we are nearing the end of the Virgo cycle of astrological signs. And it’s my birthday; Happy stupid Birthday. Growing up in the 1960’s I never thought I’d live to be 60. Well, that day is here. Sixty. 6-Oh. I heard 60 is the new 40.  (The person who told me that is racing towards the 60 goal line – of course they would want to believe that) Perhaps, that’s right, though. Just this past weekend I was hauling rocks  – not like on a chain gang, but relocating them from one part of the yard to another. I don’t think my mom would have been doing that at 60. Actually never. But she wasn’t a Virgo – the most desired astrological sign. Research shows that September has the highest birthrate.  Some say it’s August ( those are the premature September births) Virgos are born nine months after the New Year. I guess that’s because no one has any money left after Christmas so they ‘entertain’ at home. I’m one of the lucky ones! As a matter of fact I am a very lucky Virgo. According to the Chinese Zodiac, different than the western zodiac, I am a Dragon. A Virgo Dragon. Who could ask for anything more? Strangely enough, of all the Chinese signs – which are all ‘animals’ the Dragon is mythological. But to be born in the year of the Dragon is so desirable – and 2012 is the year of the Dragon.  It has been reported that millions of Chinese were trying to conceive in 2012. I wonder how that has effected the Chinese economy. Are people staying home more? Or has Rice Wine sales excelled? Incense sales up? According to the Chinese Zodiac, the Dragon is the mightiest of the signs. Yep, the mightiest. The Chinese believe Dragons symbolize such character traits as dominance and ambition. Supposedly, Dragons prefer to ” live by their own rules and if left on their own, are usually successful. They’re driven, unafraid of challenges, and willing to take risks. They’re passionate in all they do and they do things in grand fashion.” Grand fashion? Hummm. I’ll have to think about that.

It is believed that in the western world astrological beliefs correspond between celestial observations and terrestrial events. Millions of people entrust their lives and daily decision makings according to their sign. There is so much to know about one’s sign; are you an earth , water, fire, air?  There has to be something to the ebb and flow of earth’s gravitational pull; farmers have used the moon to determine plantings, explorers have used the stars to direct them to unknown places. So it isn’t unreasonable that at some point humans have used it to base their destiny by celestial observations. Evidence has shown, on cave walls, that these observations were noted as early as the second millennium bc. It all provides an interesting read – Virgo’s are noted to be organized, neat and orderly and baby-steppers in decion making. Am I going to buy stock based on my horoscope? Am I going to end or start a relationship based on my sign? I think not. But I am going to do as I please today.  I just have to narrow it down. Perhaps in true Virgo fashion I’ll put my ideas in a bowl and pick one out. I’m just sayin’.

 

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Well, It Happened Again. Sort Of.

There I was minding my own business, hanging laundry out to solar dry in my own backyard when I heard a noise. I thought the noise was my neighbors sprinkler system about to come on – then I saw my little precious dog, Phoebe Rae take a jump back. So I had to look what had her startled and lo and be hold a rattle snake! Yep, a rattler just 5 feet away from me and only a foot or so from Phoebe. Holy mackerel! I swooped her up and ran for the house with tiny Bubbles, my neighbor’s Yorkie, right behind me. I locked them in the house and shut the gate I share with my neighbor so their Golden Retriever wouldn’t wander in to the yard. And then I called Animal Control, just like the time I called when I was held hostage in my own house by a gopher snake next to the driver door of my truck.

The difference this time was I knew it was a rattle snake – it rattled, which really sounded like sssssssss – like water bubbling to push up a sprinkler head. It didn’t sound like a rattle snake in a cartoon where it sounds like a egg-shaker instrument. Nevertheless, I don’t think I’ll be confused in the future when I hear that noise. Anyway, when I called animal control and told them I had a rattle snake in my backyard they of course I asked what color it was. WTHeck? Color? “Uh, rattle snake color,” I said.  Okay, so she wanted something more defining than that. I have to go out in the back yard again to look at it and check out it’s color. In order to get to the area, leaving a large berth between me and the ivy covered fence it was up against, I had to duck under an orange tree. All the while I was on the phone explaining to the animal control lady where I was headed. As I ducked under the tree, the leaves brushed my neck and I did a little dance and squeal brushing away whatever I thought was touching me – just a natural reaction. I think?  When I got to where I thought I had seen it, it wasn’t there. Knowing there’s a snake on your property and you don’t know where it is, I think is worse than knowing you have one and knowing where it is. But I looked further down the fence line and found it still curled up sun bathing.

I told the animal control lady on the phone it was earth tone with cream like circley-things outlining the earth tone part. I did remind her it made  the rattle noise. She said, “We’ll send an officer out there as soon as we can.”  That was it. Triple AAA asks me more questions about my safety when I’ve locked my keys in the car. Sigh. All righty then, I guess I won’t be doing that yard work I had planned for my morning before-it-gets-too-hot-activity. However, I did use the time to go back in and grab my camera to see if I could get a picture of it. Two reasons I wanted the picture; 1. Why not?  2. Proof. If that snake slithered away before the officer would arrive I wanted to show him a picture on my camera that I indeed had a rattle snake in my backyard. I didn’t want to get on some wacky, crazy-woman list at the animal control facility. I have made several, okay, maybe half a dozen or so calls to them, justifiable calls, over the last couple of years. I don’t have a problem utilizing my tax-paying right to ask them to come to my property and remove a dead coyote or an injured bird or stray dog. It seems as though when I call them, I am in “the system”. They call me by name. Oh, I also called them when a neighbor continually let his dog poop on the SIDEWALK in front of my house. That is not okay. Believe me, I asked him once nicely to pick it up when I caught him red-handed – or I should say caught his dog in the middle of doing his business, this time at the top of my driveway, on the cement. Crazy weirdo. So I need to have the animal control people on my side. I wanted proof the rattle snake was there. And when I went out to ‘shoot’ it, luckily it was still there. Yep, I got a picture. I didn’t get real close – used a little zoom. It wasn’t a very big snake. It was probably about 20 inches – maybe two feet long.

Finally, the animal control guy arrived, actually pretty quickly. I had enough time to call my cousin Smitty J, to tell her about the snake. The officer arrived while I was still on the phone, so not too long. I led the way to where I spotted it and again I couldn’t locate the snake right away. This time it had moved back a little so it was a little more camouflaged but still there. The officer had his pole with a pincher-like thing to pick it up with. I don’t think he thought I was correct in identifying it as a rattle snake. But when he saw it he went back out to his truck to get a large plastic bag to put it in. He had  pretty good reflexes, nabbing it on the first try. That went pretty quickly. I’m not so sure you get a second try – I think it would take off after a miss. Safely in the bag I looked a little closer at it. I asked the guy if they relocated the snakes. Uh, no they don’t. Oh. Now I felt a little badly for the little fella. He wasn’t even big enough to make a hat band out of. Not that I would have…But I didn’t really think they executed them. I wonder how they do that? Do they take ’em out back and shoot it? Yuk. Well, I guess we’re back to survival of the fittest theme. Sorry little snake but I have dogs and friends come to visit with their dogs and the neighbor’s dogs visit. I’m not sure when I will ever get the yard work done. I’m a little gun-shy! It’s kind of difficult raking and looking around to be sure the snake’s mom isn’t gunnin’ for me.

Contra Costa Animal Control Officer

 

For the faint-of-heart and the interested a snake picture is below!

A Western Rattle Snake, found in my backyard. It was about 20 inches long.

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Where Were You…

Eleven years ago today life as we knew it changed. The actions of Osama Bin Laden and his band of  terrorists on September 11th 2001 had a tsunami size ripple effect in our nation. Well, all over the world for that matter. Bin Laden is a household name now, whereas not many had heard of him before the attacks on the World Trade Center. It is one of those incidents in life that you will always remember where you were, what you were doing when you heard the devastating news, just like the John F Kennedy assassination. I was in school, in the sixth grade, when I heard the news of our president being killed in Texas. I’m curious at what age news such as that is memorable to a kid.

On 9/11, as we all call it now, I was on Long Island, New York with plans of flying home to California later that day.  Obviously, that didn’t happen! At the time of the first plane flying into the WTC, which was early in the morning EST, I was watching Dora the Explorer – not by choice 🙂 with my two little nephews. Their mother called me on her way to an appointment and said, “You have to turn on channel seven. A plane just flew into the World Trade Center.” So, I turned to channel seven and about that time the second plane could be seen heading towards the burning tower and the news commentators where talking about something having gone awry with a satellite navigational system. They didn’t know, they were fumbling for theories as to what went wrong. Then as we all were watching, some on the streets of  NYC, some in nearby high rises and those of us watching live broadcast, the second plane hit the World Trade Center. “Holy Moly,” I said. Or something close to that! I could hardly believe what I just witnessed. I knew this was huge, I called people in the Pacific Standard Time locations because most of them were still in bed, it was about 6 a.m.

While I sat mesmerized by the news, my niece’s husband came home from his office and walking in the door he said, ” This has got to be Bin Laden.”  Honestly, that is the first time I remember hearing Bin Laden’s name. Although, it definitely will not be the last. This event has surely been written into school children’s history lessons. Right?  So, between watching the news and hearing speculations who my family knew that might have been in the city that day, I wondered how the heck do I get home. I was on an island with no flights any time soon, couldn’t rent a car because I would have had to drive via the city to get out of the state, no buses could go that way either. Maybe take a ferry up to Connecticut and catch a bus from there. Who knew how long everything would be shut down? And at that time we still didn’t know for sure what went wrong. And when they did figure it to be terrorists nobody knew if there were other plans of attacks such as the train system the freeways, who knew?  Well, amazingly I was able to get on a plane 4 days later. But let me tell you, the airports were a madhouse. The passengers traveling on my flight were huddled near the gate waiting for affirmation ‘everything was a go’ –  it turned out we had no crew. We had passengers and a plane but no one to fly it or serve us our peanuts. I don’t remember who told us why we were just waiting there but shortly after our crew showed up the crowd cheered. Nobody’s ever done that for me when I’ve showed up for work!

Some of my fellow passengers were concerned about flying. But I believed that the same case scenario could never happen again. I don’t think anybody, able-bodied, would let it happen. I’m not saying somebody wouldn’t try to do it again, but nowadays, I’m pretty sure any ruckus on a plane would have even Al Roker’s mom beating them with an umbrella. My heart is heavy with thoughts of those closely affected by the tragedy. And I’m sorry for all the changes that have come because of it. I know the new rules and guidelines are necessary but every time I have to take my shoes off at the airport I am reminded as to why we  have to do it. I hope all those who lost their lives rest in peace and their families have some peace in their hearts.

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