Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Dogs Can't Eat Tacos

Man oh man, what a crazy past couple of days. Our dog Ben has been sick since Sunday night, but it looks as though he's going to make it through.

Apparently on Sunday afternoon Frankie fed his dog and our dog a taco from Taco Bell. Now, I have stuffed my face with Taco Bell tacos on occasion. Usually the circumstances prompting a visit to the Bell involve a good buzz and a very late night. Sometimes nothing quells the drunk munchies like crunchy tacos with that oh so greasy "meat". Typically however, I never eat at Taco Bell because it's disgusting. Every time I've eaten there I end up with a tummy ache I swear that this time will be the last. I do not want my dog eating Taco Bell, ever. And it's particularly disturbing that Frankie often feeds Ben people food without asking us if it's okay.

So you can imagine how unhappy I was when Ben spent the entire night on Sunday puking his poor little guts out and ending with a finale of bloody shit all over our bedroom carpet. It was impossible to be upset with Ben because he was a complete mess and it wasn't his fault to begin with.

He was drinking a lot of water, but was still vomiting and shitting blood on Monday. By Monday afternoon we feared that he had been poisoned rather than just the taco effecting him. I was seriously worried he was going to die. He wouldn't move, Husband had to carry him out to the truck to take him to the vet. The vet was quite certain that it was the taco that did it. Some dogs can handle food like that, especially if they've been given it their whole lives, i.e. Frankie's dog. Ben is barely a year old though and we have made a pretty strict rule about people food. He doesn't get to have it. I will occasionally give him meat juice on his dog food, perhaps some rice or chicken, but not junk. So Ben is not used to digesting the crap that Frankie gives his dog. In dogs like Ben, the pancreas will inflame and cause the vomiting and bloody shit. It can become a very serious problem, so we're lucky that we took him in right away.

The vet had to give Ben a liter ("Liter's French for gimme some fucking cola!") of fluids because he was severely dehydrated, poor guy. Anyway, he came home with us that night and finally stopped puking. His shitting problem had already stopped prior to the vet, and it didn't come back. I stayed home with him yesterday to make sure that he didn't get worse and to give him the proper food and medicine.

The funny thing is that when we brought him home from the vet, Frankie was flabbergasted that dogs can't eat tacos. No, they can't. They also shouldn't eat bacon or other pork products, jalepenos, really spicy or rich foods, in general people food. He was asking us what he could give Ben to eat after the poor dog just spent two days puking.

What's with people wanting to give dogs food? They'll be just fine living on dog food, I promise. Dogs are not people, they have different insides. Their tummies work differently than ours. That's why dogs get dog food. You're not abusing your dog by not giving him people food. You're prolonging it's life. You want to kill your dog? Fine by me. But leave my doggie alone.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Friends, How Many Of Us Have Them?

I just got off of the phone with our friend KB. Our conversation prompted me to ponder the true nature of friendship and what it means to be a friend to someone. I started thinking about who among our "friends", aside from KB, hadn't taken advantage of us in the past few months.

Friendship is an interesting and delicate dicotomy. On the one hand, as a friend, I feel that it's important to do everything possible to help, support, care for, encourage and otherwise uplift my friends. The other side of that is it's very easy to be taken advantage of. I give of myself, Husband and I both give of ourselves freely and without any thought of a prid pro quo. We enjoy being able to play a positive role in people's lives. We feel like we have been blessed, although we have very little, and we feel compelled to share our blessings with those we care about.

However, there comes a point when you must look and evaluate a situation for what it is. When one is in the position of being taken advantage of, it is in one's best interest to put an end to the circumstances by which that is occurring. Case in point; we have had our "friend" Frankie living with us for the past two months. He lost his job and was kicked out of his place at virtually the same time, and we offered our home to him so that he would not be homeless. Now, he does have family nearby that he could stay with, and why Husband has not demanded that he do this is beyond me. Well, he's got a very kind and generous heart, that's mainly why. Frankie has not worked in the past two months. A job here and there, he's a plumber, but nothing steady. He does do quite a bit around the house, but not enough to justify sponging off of us for the past two months. I mean, I'm cleaning the house and doing all the laundry today for the love of God. So in addition to the whole ex-Roommate drama, we've been supporting Frankie as well. And for whatever reason Frankie is very comfortable with things the way they are. There is no urgency for him to find gainful employment and move out. And it's not just Husband and I who are supporting him. KB is the only other friend we have with an actual full-time job. We carpool to work often and he doesn't expect gas money from us. Why? Because I cook dinner for him most nights, for everyone who's over and we let him do laundry here, etc. But he brings beer over, buys groceries, does the dishes, so it works. But Frankie drinks the beer and eats the food, as does everyone else who's over here, and no one else feels at all compelled to assist in any manner. So I wonder to myself, what makes a friend.

Obviously Husband and I have put ourselves into these particular circumstances, and I'm not complaining in the least. Just pondering. I feel as though I should be processing and thinking deeply about what's going on because there is a lesson to be learned in it all.

It's quite depressing, though, to realize that the friendships you thought existed are mear illusions. The friends we care so much about care only about themselves. But what to do? Isolate ourselves from all those who would use us? I think perhaps the answer is to be more guarded and more careful and less giving. It goes against our natures to behave that way naturally, so we will have to make an effort to do so. How unfortunate that you can't just trust people to do the right thing and be responsible for themselves.

Well, happy Friday! I hear laundry calling my name and a dust rag begging to be used.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Lemon, Ramen Noodles?

Before Husband and I started dating we hung out a lot. We did everything together. We were, and still are, best friends. Husband took me on my first backpacking trip. All it took was one time and I was hooked.

In high school Husband used to backpack with a group of friends to a place called Mumford Bar. Mumford has a long and sordid history. It is situated along the river and was once a mining claim. Now it serves various purposes though it's not frequently used. Legend has it that Old Man Beatie (not sure of the spelling) moved his family down there and his wife went somewhat mad from the isolation. So he started hiking them out but they were too slow. So he left them down there where they died. I believe it's haunted. I've seen way too much weird shit there. It's either haunted or there are hill people living in the woods.

The trail to Mumford Bar is three and a half miles long and descends over three thousand feet. For you math wizards that's about a thousand feet per mile. Steep. It's okay on the way down because, well, you're going down. (Something I'm particularly fond of, but that's for another time.) The hike out kills you though. Switchback after switchback, you reach a point where you think it's not going to end. Why you ask would I put myself through the torture? The reward, my friends, is isolation in one of the most beautiful places I've ever been.

When you reach the bottom it's like you walk into a circus tent of green. The forest canopy is so dense and moss covers everything around you, it almost hurts your eyes. The forest hasn't been logged or really touched since probably the late 1800's. I've never seen another person down there, no one I wasn't with anyway. The river changes with the seasons. Sometimes it's so loud you have to shout to have a conversation. Other times it meanders over the rocks, lazily flowing through the canyon. It's just an amazing place, indescribably beautiful. But it's a hell of a hike and just beats on your body.

Husband really wanted me to go with him to see Mumford Bar, so we planned a weekend trip. We had a friend who was selling his backpack so Husband bought it for me. This was in 1998 and I still use that pack to this day, it's a great pack. We packed up some food and what we needed for the weekend and headed out. Husband was certain he would catch fish, so we were counting on eating that one night. This was my first trip and I was not very sure of what to pack or how much, so feeling somewhat unprepared I began the grueling three hour hike.

When we got to the bottom we found a wonderful place to set up camp. It was right near the river and had a perfect place to cook and a flat spot for the tent. Perfect! We'd purchased some freeze-dried meals, which are yuck by the way, and I was all excited to cook and have the whole backpacking experience. At that time we didn't have a water filter so we relied on boiling the water to clean it. That works okay, but investing in a filter was the best thing we did.

Husband caught no fish. He was very disappointed because he felt such a strong need to provide for me and was really concerned that I was going hungry. It was very sweet. By the end of the weekend we had one package of ramen noodles, powdered eggs, and a lemon. I made the "eggs" for breakfast and found them to be inedible. So gross. Do yourself a favor and do not ever eat powdered eggs. Husband wasn't especially fond of them either, and was still starving after we ate. The problem was that we had a really long and difficult hike ahead of us. Climbing over three thousand feet in three miles takes a while, and we wanted to have more energy to do it. But alas, we had limited provisions and just had to suck it up.

Before we left our camp I watched in awe as Husband ate an entire lemon peel and all. He was so hungry he ate a lemon. I still laugh at that. We hiked and hiked for hours until the pains in my stomach were too much to take. We pulled the package of ramen out, split it in half and gobbled up the dry noodles in the middle of the trail. That was enough to give us the energy we needed to finish the hike. I won't lie, I was miserable. I was tired, my legs hurt, I was starving, felt like I was going to vomit, miserable. But I made it through and the trail did finally come to an end. My heart sprang up at the site of the truck waiting for us. Once I got my pack off and sat down for a second I did start puking. Nothing serious, just from hunger and over-exertion.

We stopped at the first gas station we came to and Husband got some beer. A tip to backpackers, always leave a couple of beers in the truck in an ice chest so you can drink them when you're done hiking. It makes life so much better. Our next mission was food. What do you suppose I was craving? Ah, sweet sweet Whopper with cheese. Fortunately when it comes to Whoppers Husband and I share a brain. We found the next Burger King and got our heart's desire. It was the best Whopper I'd ever eaten and I relished each bite, practically making love to it.

That first backpacking experience prompted me to pursue the art of gourmet trail cooking. Since then we've taken countless trips and I have mastered the cooking. I'm the designated camp cook, always. I love it too, it's great to figure out how to convert meals from home to trail. We have much better equipment now, which really helps. But from the first trip I couldn't get enough. To be able to pack into complete isolation with everything you need on your back is the best feeling of independence and freedom. It's also great exercise.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Blown to Bits

Well, it's all over folks. While part of me is disappointed I won't be able to use my personal drama as writing inspiration, I'm very relieved that the end to it all is in sight.

I'll give you a brief rundown of the events over the weekend. A personal highlight for me was getting kicked out of the bowling alley, which has absolutely nothing to do with ex-Roommate. For me, getting actually kicked out of anywhere is ridiculous, but especially a bowling alley. How embarrassing. I lost my ID several weeks ago. I have not replaced it yet because that means I have to go to the DMV and deal with that nightmare. And yes, I'm a procrastinator of the highest degree so I'll be surprised if I have a new ID by summer. The problem is I'm 31 and could easily pass for 16. And where we live I don't really need an ID anymore. Everyone knows who I am and I'm on first-name basis with practically every bartender in our town. Except in the bowling alley.

So I go up to the bar with Husband and the bartender asks for our ID's. There is a sign posted over the bar that clearly states they won't serve anyone without a scannable ID. I told her my dilemma and she very rudely told me that she can't serve me. I responded, politely, that it was no big deal, I'd seen the sign and not to worry about it. We had a group of seven, all of whom were drinking beers. So while we were bowling, and without really thinking about it, I was drinking Husband's beer and probably other people's too. I think now is the time to mention that I'd had a couple of shots of tequila before we left. So we're into our second frame, had just started it actually, and the owner I guess he was came over to me and said, "You don't have ID to be drinking here." The way he said it was kind of framed like a question so I said, "I lost it. I told the bartender that." He said, "If you don't have ID you can't drink." Then our friend KB chimed in, "Dude, she's 31 years old, she's okay." And I said, "I'm not trying to screw you dude. I'm legal, I just lost my ID." And then the owner got kinda pissed and said something like I needed to stop drinking since I didn't have ID, maybe threatened to kick me out at that point. Well, Husband came over to find out what was going on and when he found out he said, "Forget it. We're done. We're leaving. We just spent a grip here and they're trying to give you shit now? Forget it." So we packed up our stuff, stopped our game and went to the counter to return our shoes. As we were standing there, KB was attempting, again, to politely explain to the owner that I was legal and they were really making a big deal over nothing. Our friend Kevin, visiting from out of town, another friend and I were talking about what happened and the bartender lady, who as it turns out is also an owner, came over to where we were standing. Apparently she didn't like what she was overhearing because she snapped, "Do you want me to call the cops right now?" I snapped right back, though not rudely, "Go ahead and call them. I'm not doing anything wrong. They can pull my license number and check my age." That's when the bartender lady actually came unglued and spewed, "I want you out now!" So I left.

I guess the moral of the story is don't argue with bowling alley owners, they'll kick you right out.

So ex-Roommate got released from the hospital and stopped by the house on Sunday to collect some of his things. Now, I've been under the impression the whole time that he understands that he's moving out. And I learned some things over the weekend that have transformed my anger into abject hate. The short version is that he's talking shit about me to Husband, actual shit. I mean, you can guess right? I'm an evil bitch, I overreact about everything, I'm disrupting the "vibe" of the house, etc. In addition he's stolen money from us that he's said we'll never get back. So fuck him.

Anyway, he got to the house on Sunday and informed us of the following, "Yeah, I'm probably going to move out. I don't feel comfortable here anymore."

I'm thinking to myself as he's saying it, yeah no shit. If I had talked as much shit about the people in this room and stolen from them, I probably wouldn't feel very comfortable either. But also I'm thinking, probably, what are you talking probably? You're GONE!

A few minutes later he informed us that he probably wouldn't have his stuff out by the first, hopefully by the fifth.

Wait just a second, I thought, you're going to tell us when you'll have your things out? Huh uh. How 'bout we'll give you a date and that's when you'll have it out or it's out on the street.

But did I say any of these things? No, my friends, I did not. I held my tongue so as not to make things worse and continued playing my game of Clue. I was playing with other people, not just by myself.

Well, Husband and Roommate have been exchanging messages and with each one Husband has gotten progressively more angry. Last night Husband called him because we found out that Frankie had let ex-Roommate inside while we weren't there to get some things. Not only did he get some things out of the bedroom, but he went downstairs and collected some plants, which he also took. Not cool. So he stole from us again, first money now plants. It's getting better all the time, no?

So Husband called him to basically ask him what the fuck. Well, as you can imagine, it escalated quickly to a shouting match, which escalated even further to ex-Roommate telling Husband these exact words, "Fuck you you piece of shit, I never want to see your face again." That just pissed Husband off even more. And in the midst of his rage I wondered aloud, then when will he be collecting the rest of his belongings? So Husband called back to ask him just that and ex-Roommate, all puffed up now, said he'd be bringing a gang of people over to get it. Now, if we though for a minute that ex-Roommate had a gang of people to bring over we might have been a bit worried. But we know he doesn't. We were his gang. But just that he said that was enough to get Husband in the bedroom packing everything up. Thankfully we had some friends over, per usual, and everyone helped us pack up his shit and put it outside.

And outside is where it remains this morning. Yes, Husband covered it all with a tarp when it was clear that ex-Roommate's posse either had previous engagements or were, in fact, non-existent.

There's still the matter of the money, but I have a feeling we'll be eating that. It's sucko, but I guess it could have been worse. I'm still trying to process it all and figure out what went wrong. Living with friends is difficult, though it can be done effectively. I wouldn't have pegged ex-Roommate for the kind of guy to steal from people though. I guess maybe I need to get a better character reader installed.

But that's it. That part of the drama is over, for now. Now we can move on to bigger and better things. You'll be able to read all about the chess games and Risk games. I'll give you the play-by-play action. Very exciting. Just kidding. Now that my head will be more clear I will entertain you with my travel stories perhaps.

Everyday is a new day, with new possibilities, new adventures and new stories.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

All Too Much

Sometimes I feel as though I'm going mad. It's as if the entire structure of life as I know it has collapsed around me and I'm the only one who's unaware. Yes, my friends, the Roommate drama continues. However, I've not the strength to discuss it presently. I would like to tell happier tales than those of the lying, shit-talking piece of human waste that was our Roommate. I will tell you right now that he has moved out, thank heaven. Well, kind of. His shit's still there but he is not.

So what shall we discuss today? The weather? Our snow is gone. It's unseasonably warm, although everyone keeps saying how cold it is. What are you gonna do? California weather is finicky.

Shall we discuss the changing face of modern religion and it's progressive movement away from the ancient religious structure? We could include in this discussion, of course, ancient religions and their impact on those of the modern day.

Perhaps alchemy, the Philosopher's Stone, angelic language?

Would you like to hear about how I almost drowned on a backpacking trip in Alaska? That's a long story, perhaps for another time.

I'm listening to my favorite morning talk radio program right now, and they are discussing the academy Awards. There's something I could not get less excited about. First of all, we don't go to movies. I won't. Ever again. Not until they allow me to take in some sort of either stun gun or taser or cattle prod, with which I can electrocute those total assholes who insist on talking, answering cell phones, taking fucking 10 minutes to open the damned plastic on your SnoCaps for the love of God! I can't take it. It's as if every noise is magnified in the theater and all the loudest people are sitting in the five seats directly around me. Second, I hate Hollywood. I hate actors, actresses, movie producers, what Hollywood stands for, all of it. It sickens me. I mean, sure, Husband and I watch movies at home. We sometimes rent them or purchase them on pay per view. But if it's got Tom Cruise in it, forget it. You can't pay me to watch it. Anyway, Oscars Schmoskers.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Brain Damage

Ugg! On days like this I'm thankful that I don't work on Fridays. I am suffering from a slight hangover, though I didn't drink very much. Must be the not-eating thing, it gets me every time. Husband, KB, Frankie and I were invited to go bowling last night. I don't bowl. I've bowled maybe once in my life when I was a child. Husband on the other hand was in a bowling league for years, and is still really good.

I had the best time! Not only did I break 100, I bowled 4 or 5 strikes and I actually learned how to bowl correctly. I've got to work on my speed a little. I'm not very fast, but my approach is good. So we bowled and drank beer and had a great time. It was a nice change to be out of the house and with friends. No drama, no shit-talking, no problems.

I'm suffering the consequences of my decisions today though. I'm bleary-eyed, tired, and I have that fuzzy feeling in my head, like I'm not quite awake yet. So now I have to think about tonight. Since I don't work tomorrow today is technically my Friday. The question is do I muster the strength to start drinking again well into the night when I finally go to sleep at 3:00 am, or do I attempt some semblance of responsibility and go to bed early? I have a feeling it will be somewhere in between. KB has requested that Frankie and I practice tonight. Have I mentioned that I sing? I sing. Not professionally or anything, though people tell me I should. My response is that I love to sing. If I did it for a living I probably wouldn't love it anymore. Anyway, Frankie is an amazing guitar player and we are trying to learn some songs together. We just have fun mostly.

I have learned that Mama is creating a page on myspace where she will display the many pictures and videos documenting Roommates attempted suicide. As soon as I have details I will post a link here. Until then, patience!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Helmets for the Handicapped

Alright, alright, alright. I've calmed down a bit, today is a new day and a new topic of discussion. An interesting thing happened on Sunday, and it continues perfectly our ongoing saga with Roommate. It is also a warning to those possessing Liquid Courage, and an example of what happens when your last words are "Look at me!"

Roommate, Mama, Papa and Husband went snowboarding on Sunday. I was supposed to go but due to circumstances beyond my control, I couldn't. It was Mama and Papa's one-year anniversary so they were going to celebrate that and party it up. When Husband called me at around 10:45 am they had only taken two runs and had been drinking vodka-RedBulls throughout the morning.

As it neared closing time they took their last run of the day. Because Roommate thinks he's a bad-ass, he's trying to impress Mama and he's drunk, he decided it was a good idea to launch off of a jump. Roommate has been snowboarding for about two years. Husband has been skiing and snowboarding for over 15 and he's worked at more than one resort. He's an excellent skier/boarder. He wouldn't even take that jump because of the icy conditions and because he knows his limitations. But, since Roommate is like a professional, basically, he can take jumps like that, easy peasy lemon squeezy. Well, he can take them all he wants but it doesn't mean he can land them. Roommate didn't so much launch off the jump as fall off of it. They got it all on video, so we were able to see it probably a dozen times when they got home. The lip on the top of the jump threw Roommate backwards (well that, and he didn't even hit it right, his stance was all wrong) and caused him to land upside down on his neck and shoulders. His nose and ears started to bleed and Husband radioed Ski Patrol.

I guess an hour later they finally had Roommate down the mountain and in the Ski Patrol office. The doctor checked him out and declared a broken sternum. From what I was told when they got home, Roommate was offered ambulance transport to the hospital but they decided to just go in the next day. So four Vicodins and a belly full of booze later, Roommate and the rest of the crew get to our house, completely interrupting my nice quiet evening, all of them drunk off their asses. Roommate would not lie down, he had to make sure everyone saw his unfortunate accident at least six times, and kept replaying it until someone had to tell him to stop. I'm suffering from terrible cramps, that's why I didn't go, and I now have like 10 people in my house (did I mention some other friends dropped by before the crew got home?) drunk and loud. After we'd seen the video, the shit-talking I discussed yesterday commenced, there was some drama, and I'm sure it had nothing to do with the consumption of alcohol.

Yesterday Mama and Papa drove Roommate to the hospital where he learned that not only does he have a broken sternum, but also a vertebrae that's broken in three places. He's going in for surgery this morning. Details are sketchy, but it's obviously bad.

Now the more astute among you are no doubt asking yourselves, "Doesn't Roommate have big dog? Doesn't he move furniture for a living? With the surgery, he's certain to be out of work for a long while, how will he pay rent? What does he plan on doing when he's released from the hospital? Will he still move out?"

Allow me to ease your minds as I have already given much thought to these questions and I believe I have answers. Roommate will not be staying with us during his recovery. I don't know if he's even thought about the fact that he may never go back to his job moving furniture, but that's really no concern of mine. His mom lives like five minutes away from us and that's where he will return. We will probably need to move his bed and belongings out, which I am happy to do. But he needs to be cared for while he recovers, and as I am not his mommy, I think it's best for him to be with her and allow her to care for him. As for the rest of his life, what can I say? When you act like an asshole and try to do stupid shit, bad things happen. I wish him the best, but Husband and I can't be responsible for him, his dog, or his lack of income, which is imminent.

So please let this be a lesson to you. If drinking, semi-dangerous or somewhat risky activities, and jackasses are involved you should steer clear. Bad things are bound to happen, and you don't want to be around when a stupid drunk snowboarder falls from the sky and lands on top of you.

Monday, January 15, 2007

One of These Days I'm Going to Cut You Into Little Pieces

What I'd like to do now is to have a discussion about why it's so incredibly difficult for people to mind their own business. I feel as though I was transported to a parallel universe last night, and I think I'm about to have some sort of mental or emotional breakdown.

Why would someone, anyone, a person, talk to the husband of someone about their concerns about the faithfulness of the husband's wife? Why would this happen? Why is it that people are so interested in other people's relationships, interested enough to forcibly insert themselves into it and spew forth their advice and opinions? Again with the unsolicited advice and opinions!

Let me ask you this, do Husband and I look or seem to be that incompetent? Do we really not seem capable of dealing with our lives and our relationship? Is it the nine years we've been together, the four years we've been married, the almost total lack of arguing, the constant support and encouragement, or the complete trust that we have in each other that gives you this impression?

Why, knowing that Husband is a sensitive if somewhat insecure man would someone purposefully plant ideas in his head about me being unfaithful to him? Why? Why does it seem like our "friends" desire to create drama in our lives? Why are our "friends" so concerned about our marriage? Is it because we never have problems and you think we need some? Are we being sabotaged, taken down from the inside? Are you people that petty and jealous that you can't believe Husband and I are the real deal? Don't you all have other things to worry about than us?

I'm so pissed, hurt, confused, sad I could seriously drive through a wall right now. I love it. We open our home to practically everyone on the planet. We cook for everyone, clean the house, make sure bills and rent are paid, buy beer, buy cigs, smoke everyone out, always have a bed to crash in or somewhere to sleep, let people stay with us for months without giving us money, in general give of ourselves completely, and you sorry bunch of fucks repay us by talking shit about me. And not just shit, you accuse me of cheating on Husband, with our friend. And you share this with the friend and Husband. Share, please. You gossip, you poison minds with this shit. And thanks, by the way, for the vote of confidence. It's so nice to feel like people think well of you, that you're a stand up person. Lord knows I'd never want people to think that, hmm, cheat on my husband for instance. Fuck You!!!!

I'm done. Done! I feel like digging a hole, crawling inside and never coming out. If I never see our "friends" again, I think right now I'll be okay with that. But how about this as a general rule of thumb, unless you are a person whom I am giving money to for the purpose of discussing the issues in my life, in which case I am paying you for the service of providing me with your advice and opinions, STAY THE FUCK OUT of my business. Keep your opinions and shit talking to yourself. Keep it in your fucked up brain where it belongs.

Friday, January 12, 2007


Perhaps because it's Friday, perhaps because we're gearing up for a bitterly cold weekend, I thought I'd share my recipe for beef stew. It is the best beef stew ever, hands down. I love making it on cold days, it's such a great way to warm up. It makes a ton and freezes well and only gets better as the days go by. Obviously use your judgement and don't keep it for too long without freezing it. This recipe has been in my family for at least a few generations, with my changes being the only ones I know about. Although it's a simple recipe it is absolutely delicious. Hope you enjoy it!

Beef Stew

1 1/2 - 2 lbs. beef brisket, cut into large cubes

4-5 large carrots, cut into big pieces

8-10 medium to large potatoes, cut into big pieces (this is something you can totally adjust, along with the carrots. If you like lots of potatoes, or lots of carrots use more.)

1 bay leaf

1 large can or 2 smaller (15 oz.) cans beef broth/stock

about 1/2 - 1 C. red wine

salt & pepper to taste

Dust the beef with a mixture of flour, salt and pepper. Heat a large pot on medium-high and add just enough oil to lightly coat the bottom, about 1 tbsp. You will probably have to cook the meat in two batches, depending on your pot size. Brown the meat on all sides until it has a brown, cruchy exterior and the interior is still uncooked. Remove meat from pot. Pour wine into hot pot and scrape the bottom with a wooden spoon to remove any browned bits. Allow wine to reduce slightly and add meat back into pot. Pour in all the stock and supplement water if you need additional liquid. There should be enough liquid in the pot to cover the meat by several inches, plus enough to cover the vegetables when you add them. Add the bay leaf, turn down the heat to simmer and cover with a lid. Allow the meat to simmer for one hour, then add the vegetables.

The vegetables will take about an hour to cook. Again, depending on how you like them cooked this will determine when the stew is finished. But the most important thing is that the beef is very tender. There will be a period of time when the meat will become very tough and you will think something is wrong. Be patient. When the meat has cooked long enough it will fall apart easily with a fork and will be very tender to eat. I always let the stew sit for a couple of hours and then re-heat it before serving. For some reason it's just better that way. I serve it with a big piece of toasted bread, sometimes cornbread. For those of you who are curious, I added the beef stock and the red wine. My mom always made it with water only. I find the stock gives it a very nice flavor.

I'm thrilled it's Friday, even if it has been a somewhat sucky one. My weekend should prove interesting given the situation at home. Hopefully it will at least give me some good stories.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Oh, I'm the Jerk?!

The drama continues my friends. As some of you are already aware, Husband and I have been dealing with Roommate issues. Behind The Camera already suggested that we kick him out, stat. Well, it's finally come to that. It's a fairly humorous story and just happened yesterday. However, I'm suffering from a terrible cold, and in my sickened, weakened state I hope I'll do it justice.

So for the sixth month in a row now we have had to ask our 35 year-old roommate for rent money. It's only $300, a third of our rent. He's got his own room, with cable (even Husband and I don't have cable in our room), he really doesn't have to clean, well he doesn't anyway, he's got a pretty descent situation. All Husband and I ask is that he pays his rent and bills on time. It is none of his business, nor does it effect when he needs to give us money, if we have made arrangements with our landlord as to when we're paying rent. Our arrangement with our landlord is our business, Roommate is not on the lease. Roommate's agreement with us is just that, it's between us and his obligations are to us.

So for the sixth month in a row now(I know, deja vu) Roommate doesn't have rent money when it's due. He swears up and down that he's some "playa", just rolling in bills. HA! You know the types, they like people to think they're big pimpin' but they're just liars. But when it comes to getting us the money he owes us, he never has it. It's like pulling teeth.

(An aside: Husband and I met some really cool people at our New Year's party. They live close to us, they're our age, we're really excited to get to know them and hang out. Well, Roommate has decided that he's into the wife, let's call her Mama, and that Mama's into him. Papa, that's the husband, told all of us just last weekend that meeting us was perfect timing for them because they hadn't been doing well, their marriage hadn't been doing well, Papa was depressed, etc., and it was great for them to meet us when they did. Okay, in my mind, when someone tells you their marriage is having problems, if you're a friend you do everything you can to support it and encourage it's success. Roommate has a different strategy. Marriage troubles to him mean hone in on the wife and try to break the marriage up. So he's been relentless in his pursuit of Mama and I'm terribly concerned that it will hurt our brand new friendship. At this point I'd deny knowing the guy.)

Roommate got home the other night and Husband again asked him for the rent money. He still didn't have it. Husband got pissed, told Roommate so, and pretty much laid into him about screwing us on rent. Roommate promised to have the money to us the next day. I was in bed, having found the solace of my poofy comforter by 7:30 that evening due to my cold. At about 11:45 pm I woke up and subsequently woke Husband up. I asked him if Roommate had given us rent, to which he responded no. Well that just set me right off and I proclaimed, "That's it! I want him out!" And Husband and I decided at that point we would be telling him to find other accommodations. I told Husband and our friend KB that before I start to hate him, he needs to leave. I still wanted to be his friend, but I wouldn't be if he kept living with us.

Yesterday afternoon KB was over as well as our friend (who is also staying with us for a bit, no I swear we don't run a youth hostel) Frankie, when Roommate got home. Husband gave him a minute to get settled and they made small talk. Now, I'm already upset about the money thing, and I'm unhappy about what his intentions are with Mama. Not to mention my weakened and sickly condition. So when Husband finally asked Roommate for rent, which he had promised us by yesterday, and Roommate says, "Well, I've got it but there's a slight problem." I was ready to throw down, and here's how it went:

R: "Well, I've got it but there's a slight problem."
H: "Well we're fucked dude. Our check's gonna bounce."
R: "No, listen, it's only a slight problem. The check that I got today isn't going to be good until tomorrow at 9:30. So I'll be able to get you the money tomorrow."
H: "That's not gonna work man, I mean, you're really fucking us here."
R: "Well if someone had told me that they were gonna pay it I could've maybe gotten the money sooner."
Me: "Roommate, rent is due on the fifth, it's always due on the fifth. I'm sick of having to ask you for money every month!"
R: "You don't have to ask me for money every month! You guys keep changing your mind about when you want the money. I was told I had until Friday."
Me: "I know I didn't tell you that. And I know that Husband didn't tell you that. In fact, he told you something quite different than that, so don't start making shit up."
R: "I'm not making shit up!" Storms off to his room and slams the door. A few minutes later he comes out with his checkbook and begins to write a check while also beginning to talk shit.
R: "You all need to get your shit together 'cause you're telling me to pay rent by the fifth, and what, you motha - when did you pay rent, today?" Please note that yes, he was about to call us motherfuckers, motherfuckers, after everything we've done, our kindness - bah!
Me: "Roommate!! That's none of your fucking business. Your obligation is to us, this is our house, you're not on the fucking lease!! We have an agreement and rent is due by the fifth! Whether you like it or not, your agreement is with us and every month now we're begging you for money."

(Another aside, Roommate, Husband and I also went in on kind of a business deal, we propagated some plants, which we were going to harvest and sell to supplement our incomes. It didn't go exactly as planned, and I was worried from the beginning that Husband and I were going to get screwed. Well, like January 2 Roommate gave some of the harvested plants to a "buddy" to sell. He told us that we'd have rent money from the sale of the plants. We still have not seen any money out of it.)

R: "You don't have to beg me for money! I have money for you every month, you just keep changing your minds about when you want it."
Me: "Roommate, you're an adult. We shouldn't have to ask you for money at all! You should have it in your hand ready to give to us when it's due!"
R: "Well, it's not my fault that my boss is in the hospital and her husband is dying and she can't pay me."
Me and H: "It's not our problem either! Now it's our problem because you've made it our problem." Me: "None of your personal bullshit is our problem Roommate. Whether it's the shots for the dog or your boss, it's not our problem!!"
Roommate tries to start yelling things at me at which point I said: "Oh, what Roommate, you wanna go? You really wanna start that shit? 'Cause I'm ready to go!"
R: "Well this check will be good by 9:30 tomorrow morning . . ."
Me: "Yeah, just like the money from the plants, that was supposed to cover rent and we haven't even seen any, and I'm not really expecting to!"
R: "Is that right?"
M: "Yeah Roommate, that's right."

It's important to note that I am yelling, no, screaming at this point and have been through most of the conversation. I know, it's not the most mature, or the best way to deal with things. What can I say, I lost it.

R: "Fine, if you're not expecting it then you won't see it. But don't try to accuse me of anything."
Me: "I'm not, all I want is rent and bills paid on time! You have a responsibility to us, like it or not. And guess what, if you don't like it, you know where you can go!"
R: "Yeah that's fine. I'm outta here. I'll start looking for a place and be out by the end of the month."
Me: "Probably a good idea."

Roommate storms back into his room again where he remained for the rest of the night, only coming out to use the bathroom and make it clear that he's the pissed off one, the jilted one, the hurt one, the victim.

Now clearly I could've dealt with that whole situation a lot better. The problem is people who refuse to take responsibility for themselves and insist on always blaming others for their fucked up lives just set me off. I've been dealing with Roommate's bullshit for over six months and I'm just done. So maybe part of me wanted it to go down like that, just to be rid of him. I really hate getting that out of control though. So consequently I spent the rest of the night apologizing to KB and Frankie for my horrible behavior, or at least for scaring them by yelling so loud.

To be continued . . .

Monday, January 08, 2007

Have You Seen The Baby?

There is a mystical force effecting people, mostly women, who have children that compels them to wish children upon everyone else, particularly women. I don't think I will ever fully grasp this phenomenon, perhaps when I have children the mystical force will effect me too.

Husband and I have no kids. We would like to have them someday, Husband probably more so than I do. Don't get me wrong, I like kids. I think I'd be a pretty cool mom, and I know Husband would be a great dad. For one reason or another we just don't have any yet. It's interesting because we have friends with and without kids. Some of them have kids that live in another state, some are divorced with kids, some are married with kids and some have none. It's been my experience that there are several different attitudes people have about their own kids and then also about childless couples. First let me just say to all you people with children who have friends with none, please stop asking us when we're going to have them. Number one it's none of your business. Number two, you clearly have no idea how condescending and de-valuing it is; like we're somehow not really valid until we have kids. Number three, you also clearly have no idea that there could be serious problems or not so serious problems that prevent people from having children. This is not necessarily the case with Husband and I, but it's very insensitive to assume that we're just not trying hard enough or don't know what we're doing. Take into consideration that every time you ask that question, the couple you're asking may be dealing with a recent miscarriage or perhaps they just found out they're infertile. Just think before you speak.

It's amazing to me how often people take their own children for granted. I know that not every day with your children is puppy dogs and ice cream. But when I hear people talking about their kids with disdain or actually calling them "dummy" or "loser" or any number of other names, joking or not, it breaks my heart a little. Kids are going to get enough of that throughout their growing up. They should never hear that coming from the mouths of their parents. My other favorite thing is when people talk about their kids with the tone of someone who would rather have their fingernails pulled out with pliers. Like their kids are so much of a burden, and if only they'd done things differently they could be doing more, have a better job, have more money, whatever. Hey, guess what? You didn't do things differently. You made kids whether or not you meant to. Buck the fuck up and appreciate the fact that you've got a life to mold into something productive and we'll all be grateful when you raise a person who can contribute positively to society. Sorry you chose to burden yourself with the precious gift of life. How about you stop complaining about it? Now obviously the flip side of this attitude is one of gratitude and overwhelming joy at the ability to bring a child into the world. To those parents who are doing their best and loving their kids, thanks.

The hardest part about dealing with people who have kids is wading through the self-righteous bullshit that is their vast knowledge of child-rearing. I understand that I'm so far behind the curve when it comes to dealing with children, not having any of my own, and that I couldn't possibly understand the intricacies of raising kids. I get that. But when, and if, Husband and I do have kids, our experience will be totally different from anyone else's. Every time I hear, "Oh, when you guys have kids . . . " I just want to shove knitting needles in my ears. You don't know what it will be like when us guys have kids.

In general it seems that people with children view childless couples with a certain degree of suspicion, maybe even resentment. I think in that depths of their minds they wonder, do we not like children? Does that mean we don't like their kids? Are they communists? Satanists? Why would someone not have kids? I believe this is what prompts the unsolicited advice on how exactly to go about making babies. Please, spare me this advice. I've had lots of experience when it comes to the whole baby making process. I don't want to know about your turkey basters, standing on the head, putting your feet in the air theories. I'm pretty sure that when I'm meant to get pregnant, it will happen. I'm not trippin' so why are you? It's as if people have an active interest or investment in my pregnancy, much more than I do. I have expressed to exactly no one that I'm sad, concerned, disappointed or otherwise upset about not having a child yet. And that's what makes me think, perhaps they are resentful. Their lives were drastically changed, some of them without warning or desire, and they never got to have the life they truly wanted. They see Husband and I living basically how we want to, we don't have to worry about a sitter or taking baby stuff with us, or planning things to accommodate children. If we want to do something, we do it. And maybe this is slightly irritating to people with children. Maybe they miss that lifestyle and so they wish upon everyone else they kind of life that they have now.

Mostly though, I hate, hate, the feeling of being discounted because I don't have kids. Discounted as a woman, as a wife, as a person. During the last several days it seems like the kid thing has been hitting me in the face. One friend swears I'm pregnant because (hand to God, I'm not making this up) she just found out that two of her other friends are pregnant and pregnancies always come in three, and she's been having dreams that I'm pregnant so it must be true. She is the queen of making comments that on the surface seem like just innocent comments, but really are meant as an under-handed put down. These comments are typically directed at me and usually have something to do with why I'm not dealing with a particular body issue or other since I haven't had kids yet. She has to eat all the time or she gets cranky. I usually don't eat anything until 3:30 or 4:00 in the afternoon. Well, since I haven't had kids yet I can do that. I've been put on notice that this will change when I finally get pregnant.

Not having children does not make you weird. Having children does not make you better. I am not less of a woman without kids. And I know most of these comments are made out of concern, good intentions, and curiosity, and carry with them no ill will. I will continue to handle them like I always do, with grace and civility. But this, like so many social curiosities, has everything to do with people dealing with their own lives. Unless I ask for your opinion and advice, I don't want or need it. Please, handle your own business, deal with your own life and let me deal with mine.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

The Butcher

As you may have figured out, I have somewhat of an imagination, and I enjoy creating stories and telling them. So it should come as no surprise that I craft stories about people in my daily life with whom I have little to no interaction with. Take my neighbor for instance. Well, back up. Mountain communities are notoriously close-knit, and many of them don't adjust well to people moving there from the valley. When Husband and I moved into our neighborhood we weren't exactly welcome with open arms. We still aren't especially popular with our neighbors due in large part to the fact that we party it up on weekends and we're on the younger side and we don't have kids. We're always respectful of noise levels at night, but some of our neighbors think that since they live in the mountains it should be quiet all the time. Well, we live in a neighborhood just like in the suburbs. If there weren't huge trees everywhere and they sky weren't so blue you wouldn't even know you were in the mountains. If you want solitude you need to buy property to insure that you won't have neighbors close by. Okay, now you know about our neighborhood. It's our across the street neighbor who is the subject of this story.

Since we moved in the neighbor across the street has always struck me as odd. And I don't know that any of my suspicions are correct, but it's so fun to speculate! When you move into a new neighborhood you try to meet your neighbors, in the very least you wave to them and say hi. The neighbor across the street, hereby known as The Butcher, has never acknowledged my numerous attempts to say hi and wave to him. That's the first oddity. The Butcher drives a very small car, two wheel drive, with at least five antenna on top of it. The reason I bring this up is because it snows where we live, and having four wheel drive is practically a necessity. The Butcher has a huge truck. But rather than drive the truck he uses it to back up and down the driveway when it's snowing to plow a path for his Geo Metro. The Butcher will spend upwards of 45 minutes carving tracks into his driveway. And when he drives the Geo through the snow, forget about it. You better watch out 'cause he ain't. He drives like a madman! During the summer The Butcher will open his front door and turn his music up so loud that we can hear it clear as day inside our house. Sometimes it's good music so we don't mind. But regardless, it's just kind of odd behavior yet again.

So I had been observing the comings and goings of The Butcher for a couple of months upon moving in to the house. He kept strange hours, coming and going in the middle of the night, sometimes being gone for a couple of days. Then one sunny summer weekend I was gardening in the front yard. The Butcher had several long plastic tubes, like one would use for plumbing or maybe a swimming pool. These tubes were very long though, and The Butcher doesn't have a swimming pool. I continued to watch trying to figure out what he was doing. It appeared that he was cleaning the tubes out, and doing a thorough job at that. The wheels in my head began to spin and a story was weaved out of whole cloth. BUT . . . it's a story that makes more and more sense with each passing day and new discovery.

The Butcher keeps a dungeon under his house. The dungeon is full of young women, teens and early twenties. They are chained up and tortured until The Butcher is done with them, and then they are unceremoniously dismembered and either 1)kept in large fridges to be distributed as meat for human consumption 2)kept in the same fridges until The Butcher eats them or 3)somehow disposed of by means of a wood chipper or acid vats.

See, he turns up the music when he's torturing them so no one will hear the screams projecting from the basement. He may also use this technique when he is chopping them up. There is still some argument as to whether he uses a chainsaw or carving knife. Now he may use an electric knife, but that wouldn't require loud music to mask the sound. The tubes are used probably to drain the blood from the dungeon. There is some speculation that they may also be used as a conduit for poison, which is what actually kills the girls.

At this point you may be wondering, where and how does he get these girls without being seen? Ah, my friends, this is where it gets interesting. Also in our neighborhood there lives a man who purchased a stretched Hummer limo, which he chauffeurs to make money. I have seen this very limo, on many occasions, full of girls in their early twenties who are drunk off their asses. Limo man just happens to be friends with The Butcher and often drives the limo to The Butcher's house. Not to go for a drive, Limo Man just parks it there while, I don't know, they have tea and crumpets.

Last night our power went out for several hours. The entire street, the entire neighborhood was dark. Every house, that is, except The Butcher's. As soon as the power went out he had his whole-house generator running. Why? To keep the fridges cold of course! You can't go to all that trouble to cut up dead bodies and store them in cold storage just to have the power go out and ruin everything. He also may have some sort of forced-air system for the dungeon to keep the girls either too cold or too hot.

Of course I have no proof of these allegations. That's why I observe. I'll tell you what though, when they find the dead bodies buried in the back yard, or the vats of acid with pieces of bone floating in them, and the cops come to question us, I won't be that person who says, "He was such a quiet man who kept to himself. I just can't believe he would do this."
I'll be the one who says, "I knew it all along."

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

The Happiest New Year

What an incredible weekend I had! I'm absolutely exhausted today, but it's well worth it. It started out on Friday when I dislocated my shoulder while going down a slide. I don't work on Fridays, which is great obviously. Last Friday though, shit hit the fan and I was required to work for a few hours. KB didn't have to work but he had to pick up his check. KB's work and my work are very close together so he gave me a ride down to the office on his way to get his check. After we were all done KB bought me lunch and we went to the park to eat. I wanted to play a little on the playground when we finished eating, and KB joined me. I went down the slides a couple of times and climbed around a bit. I went down the tunnel slide again, KB was standing on top of it, and something went terribly wrong. I suppose I was going too fast and I was slammed against the wall of the tunnel slide with incredible force. I ended up coming out of the slide head-first with a horrific pain in my right shoulder. The look on KB's face I will never forget. He was really worried, as was I, because I couldn't move my arm. I was trying to figure out what I was going to do if my shoulder was broken. KB asked if I wanted to sit down and I told him that I just needed to walk it off. Suddenly I felt the bones in my shoulder shift and everything just popped back into place. I've never dislocated anything before and it was the grossest thing I've felt when it popped back. Friday night we had an impromptu gathering with a few friends. Suffice it to say, tequila was consumed, fun was had by all, I passed out on the floor sitting up against our friend KB's legs. Husband eventually escorted me to bed without incident.

The next day Husband had to work. We've been putting off getting firewood for several weeks now so KB and I decided to go while Husband was gone. Several miles down an unpaved, muddy, bumpy road lives KB's friend Mountain Man. Mountain Man started building a house a few years ago and has not finished it yet. It is a very cool house. It's three stories and all of them have a deck the entire way around. MM lives on five acres and has a couple of horses and lots of dogs. One of the dogs, a hound, had puppies four months ago and they are the cutest pups I've seen. They're a mix of hound, lab and husky. KB and I took our dog and our friend's dog to MM's, so all told there were seven or eight dogs running around. It was great. They all got along really well. The pups loved playing with Ben, our dog. The mom seemed to be sizing Ben up, figuring out if he'd be a good dad to them. Unfortunately for her, Ben's chopped.

MM also has a huge tractor thing. I know it's not a tractor, it's a frontloader or something. That thing makes really quick work of getting wood. It pulls the trees out in seconds. The hardest part, really, is finding trees to cut up. There's all sorts of rules about what kind of wood you can take out of the forest, so you have to be mindful of them. KB took me to see an amazing view of the canyon and the mountains. The sky was just beginning to darken so it had an almost purple hue. The mountains, now snow covered, peeked over the top of the canyon ridge. They looked so close you could touch them. It was a calm evening, barely a breeze.

We ended up with both of the trucks full of wood and made our way back home in the dark. Husband was home with the rest of our crew. Most of the guys played a game of Risk and we just hung out for a while. We ended up playing music and drums and singing into the night and stayed up way too late. We had to get the house ready for the New Year's party the next day. So we had a slumber party in the front room, I think four of us ended up sleeping out there, and woke up blurry-headed and unmotivated to clean house.

The party was planned on very short notice. One of our friends from down in the valley called a couple of weeks ago to find out what we were doing for New Year's. Husband said, "I don't know, I guess partying with you guys." And then we were having a party. Roommate had a couple of friends come from out-of-town and we were expecting a bunch more from the valley.

Roomates friends, goodness, what can I say about them? Rough around the edges to say the least. We'll call them S&T. S is a study in human development. I'm sure that she could be studied for years and the researchers would still have unanswered questions. S is an extremely apologetic person. She says she's sorry for everything. I have trouble with this kind of person because at some point, they're not really sorry. You can't be sorry for everything, it's impossible. Being sorry indicates that you are at fault for something. I hate it when people use words to the point of rendering them useless. Anyway, she's sorry for everything and likes to tell extremely detailed stories. I like detail as much as the next person, and I obviously like to tell stories. The difference is, I'm writing something that people can choose to read or not. I don't corner people at a party and tell them, in excruciating detail, about the death of my parrot and how it related to my bad marriage, divorce and subsequent move. And I don't keep repeating myself while I'm telling the story. So we have one sorry repeater, if you're keeping track.

T and S are together but not married. T is a one-upper, class A one-upper. He's not only done what you've done, but he's done it better, faster, longer, more often, whatever. Not only is he a one-upper but he fancies himself to be quite the comedian. And here's another one of my peeves, people who make themselves laugh. Now, I'm known to be a laugher. I love laughing, love making people laugh, I love being funny. But if you're talking and you say something that only you are laughing at, it's probably not that funny. And when you do this like every two minutes and you also have this maniacal, high-pitched, insanely annoying laugh, I don't like you. Yes, just like that, right off the bat, you and I will never be friends. That's not to say I'm going to kick you out of the house, I'll be polite. But you are not my friend.

Eventually we rallied and started cleaning, which actually went fairly quickly. Husband and our friend Stretch went to the store to get supplies for the party. My request? Snacks to feed people since I wasn't making dinner or anything. While the rest of us were cleaning Husband and Stretch were really doing a great job on stocking up with necessary supplies. They did bring back beer, enough beer for a good party. Their snack of choice? The snacks they figured would feed at least 30 people who were driving for over an hour to get to our house? A single, small box of Chicken in a Biscuit. I'm sorry, come again? Yes, that's right. A small box of chicken flavored crackers. So I though of various serving ideas for the Chicken in a Biscuit, perhaps putting them individually on trays with a sprig of parsley and passing them, very classy. We managed without many snacks, thankfully. People brought stuff with them and there was enough for everyone to eat. I made two pans of "special" brownies so that helped.

The fun really began once people started showing up. There were many people from the valley we haven't seen in a long time. There were new people we'd just met that night. It was a great group of people though. Everyone got along and there was no drama. That's all I cared about. At some point during the night I was talking with an old friend from the valley when I thought I smelled poo. I looked at the carpet and saw what appeared to be poo. I asked the valley friend, "Cas, does that look like poo?" The lights were down and it was hard to tell what it actually was, but she thought it had the potential to be poo. So I grabbed my CSI flashlight and lit it up. Sure enough it was poo, not only in one spot, but tracked through the entire living room in a neat little line. Door to door poo line. Of course, it had to be cleaned up. After I picked up the big chunks, I got the cleaner and a towel and then S decided she wanted to clean it up for me. She made a big production about how she was cleaning it for me and pretty much stopped the party to clean up the poo. Me, I probably would have kept it more on the DL, but what do I know? After the poo was cleaned up I announced that we were having a poo crisis and could everyone please check their shoes so we could avoid another poo emergency.

Not ten minutes later I looked down and saw another suspicious brown spot on the carpet. Could it be? Yes it was, more poo! After cleaning it up I finally found the source of the poo. There was a big glob of it on the front porch. Why I was the only one to find this is beyond me. After removing the poo from the front porch I was confident that we'd have no more poo disasters. But no, my friends, there were four more poo incidents that night. Periodically I would scan the room with my CSI flashlight and on each occasion I was face-to-face with more poo on the carpet. Between the poo and all the people spilling beers I was cleaning most of the night. At one point late into the night, KB spoke up and announced, "Okay people! You all need to start checking your shoes and stop spilling your beers. This lady needs a rest!" Of course all of these incidents were highly amusing and I could hardly contain my laughter long enough to scrub poo out of the carpet. It was funny, or at least we made it funny.

The night climaxed with a lengthy drum circle session, it was awesome. I'm sure the neighbors weren't thrilled, but it was great. Husband was playing his harmonicas, there were like five or six drums being pounded on, the energy was amazing. Roommate was out of his head on miscellaneous drugs and alcohol and fell into the fire pit outside. Lucky for him there was a metal cover on it so he only got badly burned rather than char-broiled.

All-in-all the party went off without a hitch, well except for the poo, and everyone said it was the best one yet. Who knows, maybe we'll make it a tradition. I hope you all had a great New Year's and you're ready to take on this one. Cheers 'till next time!