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This Is How People End Up On Nancy Grace

I was looking through some rough drafts I wrote last week and came across this gem that I wrote after my post on kitchen decor.  Clearly my medication had worn off at that point…

Crap. I just looked up The Four Manners of Death on the internet. Now I know someone near me is going to be murdered and I’m going to be implicated and my computer is going to be confiscated.

The detectives who hack my highly sophisticated security system (named Wonderbutt) to access my search history aren’t going to believe that I couldn’t remember that when you just die all on your own it’s called “Natural Causes” and I needed to know that so I could give the cause of death of my refrigerator.

Plus, I keep mentioning terrorists in my posts, which is sure to raise some red flags – even though I am warning you about them, not supporting them (at least not that I know of).

Oh. My. God.  I just did it again.  I was trying to find something to rhyme with “flag” because I wanted to put a little twist on that expression, and I found bag, and then I thought, “What are the bags they put dead bodies in called?”

And I SEARCHED for it.

Stupid because A. Duh, they’re called “body bags” and 2. NOW THERE IS MORE EVIDENCE AGAINST ME.

And III. I noticed some kind-of-interesting titles in the search results.  AND NOW I WANT TO GO BACK TO THAT PAGE.

So, basically, I’m going to end up on Death Row because I have a bad memory and an insatiable curiosity for weird things.

And I live in Texas, where everything is bigger – including the number of executions each year.

Would someone please take this keyboard away from me before I implicate myself into my own body bag?



Does Harry Potter Have to Get a Driver’s License?

“All you do is walk straight at the wall between platforms 9 and 10.  Best to run if you’re nervous.  Good luck.” ~ Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

9+10=19.  That’s important for later…

After witnessing what happens at the Department of Motor Vehicles to creatures who have the gall to go to the front of the line without the appropriate paperwork, I was even less confident about my 3 measly papers and my increasing proximity to the front desk.  Especially as I took some casual peeks at my fellow line companions, and realized that many of them had file folders bursting with paperwork.  I told myself that if anyone showed up with a piece of rolling carry-on luggage, I was going to leave.

Finally, it was my turn.  I slunk to the counter with my three pieces of Proof that I Exist and I Did Not Come to this Country by way of the Rio Grande.

The woman barely glanced at them.  I told her that I needed to renew my license.  After two other questions that I don’t even remember, she gave me a ticket and told me to go sit down.

I was not turned back!  No one put a bowl over me and took me outside!  This was progress, indeed.

My number was 12.  The DMV branch that I had chosen has a very organized approach to calling numbers.  They are announced over the intercom, and then they are displayed on a screen.  If no one responds to either of these alerts, then a very nice lady comes into the room and calls the number a few more times before they call Time of Death on the number.

Number 2 did not respond.  I was flabbergasted.  How can you make it so far, and then disintegrate before you cross the finish-line?  And then I had a sobering thought.

Maybe the mouse was #2.

After what seemed like a ridiculously short length of time, number 11 was finally called.  I put away all electronic devices, and sat up straight in my chair.  This was it!

#450 was called next.

What the heck?

Oh, yes.  I vaguely remembered, before the mouse, reading a poster with some kind of translation of the numbers – indicating that higher ones were for commercial drivers.

Okay.  Tantrum averted.


Now I was worried.  Did they skip me inadvertently?  Or, worse, did they skip me on purpose?  Did one of the supervisors see that my DMV Employee did not demand more Proof from me and that I did not carry an Important File Folder Full of Proofs, and revoke my number?  Without telling me?

Then I noticed something even more worrisome.

#13 was supposed to report to station 19.

There is no Station 19.

I looked everywhere.  No Station 19.

Is Station 19 the bathroom?  Or, where the mouse went?  Or, some kind of magical Harry Potter destination?

How am I supposed to cope with a crazy DMV that has psycho mice, switches required paperwork, and calls people to report to non-existent stations?  And where the #2 person in line suddenly disappears?!!!!!!


Oh, yay!

Please go to Station 12.

The mouse bowl station.


I timidly crossed the floor to Station 11.  I handed the woman my ticket, and made small talk, hoping she would not notice that I was under-paperworked and decide that she should put a bowl over my head and “release” me.

“Do you get mice in here often?”

“Huh?  Oh, no.”

“Well, you guys handled it well.”


I attribute the fact that she gave me my temporary driver’s license, complimented me on the astounding resemblance of myself in my new picture to my 29-year old self in my old picture, and promised me a new license in the mail in two weeks, to my superlative small talk.

I exited the DMV.  It opened at 8 A.M.  I left at 8:20.

Mission accomplished.

I went home and spent the rest of the day obsessing over Station 19.

Poop Bugs

We interrupt our laborious Labor Day weekend posts to bring you a docublogumentary post from the elusive Cap’n Firepants.  My husband, who usually has to force himself to show any interest in my blogging world, for some reason took it upon himself to provide me with a topic that he thought would fascinate my readers – The Amazing Poop Bugs of  Southeast Texas.

Every time we go to The Ranch, our citified group cannot get over the miraculous work of the dung beetles in the yard.  We usually have a combined total of at least four dogs when we all converge on The Ranch – and four dogs make a lot of poop.  But, no scooping is necessary because these little insects remove it faster than we can.  Well, faster than we, who have absolutely no desire to spend our weekend of relaxation scooping poop, are inclined to do.

This time, the Cap’n decided that the 10 other people who read my blog might actually want to know about these creatures – and would like photos.  So, I give you some morning coffee worthy pics of bowel movement-dozing beetles.  You can thank the Cap’n for this educational post.

Approximately 5.1 billion beetles converge on a poop pile in the middle of the yard.
photo credit:  Cap’n Firepants


Vladimir Pooptin assigns each beetle a ball of poop twice as high as itself to roll across the yard to the Designated Poop Beetle Warehouse, which we still have not discovered.
photo credit: Cap’n Firepants

Rebel Poop Beetles, looking for political asylum, roll their poop balls out of the yard and onto the concrete patio.
photo credit: Cap’n Firepants

In about an hour, the pile of poop is gone.  No sign that it ever existed.  I’m not sure where it goes.  But, as long as it isn’t in my suitcase, I’m good with this process.

We’ve talked about bringing a pack of Poop Bugs back to our house, so we would never have to scoop Wonderbutt’s Poop Pen again.  We’ve talked about breeding them, and marketing them to pet owners and parents of potty training toddlers.

But none of us wants to touch them.

So, instead, for twenty years, we have watched the Poop Bugs perform their magic, and dreamed of making millions of dollars off these remarkably disgusting, but industrious little creatures.

Just one of the many highlights of our weekends at The Ranch…


On Monday, Dimples and I began our Spring Break Adventure with the Globetrotters.  (Dimples is my 9 year-old daughter.  The Globetrotters are our world-traveling relatives, who live in Houston.  The fact that they travel a lot is ironic, when you think about it – since the actual basketball playing Globetrotters are probably not allowed to “travel”.)

Dimples never seems quite certain about my navigation skills. I try to tell myself that it is not me that Dimples lacks confidence in, but that it is the Houston drivers.  Of course, that doesn’t explain her saying, 5 minutes after I have backed out of our San Antonio driveway, “Are you sure you’re going the right way, Mom?”  But I think most people would forgive her for tremulously asking, “Do you want me to read the directions to you?” as I glance down at my trusty Google print-out on the seat beside me once I reach Houston, and the windows of our car begin to vibrate while cars whiz past.

If you have never driven in Houston, you must try it some time.  It will make you appreciate the love that Texans have for concealed weapons.

While we were in Houston, we learned that it had just been named #3 of the Worst Places to Drive.

Mrs. Globetrotter hails from St. Paul, MN – coincidentally chosen by the same magazine as the home of the best drivers.

You can see how driving in Houston might be frustrating for Mrs. Globetrotter.

“I hate Backer-Inners!” she seethed as we were hunting for a parking place on Tuesday at the Houston Galleria.

I have to agree.  Backer-Inners are very irritating.  I do not understand the need to spend 10 minutes to back into a parking space so that you can quickly whip out of it when you are finished with shopping.  I am pretty certain that, if you did the math, it would take you less time to pull in forward, then back out quickly over the crowds of shoppers when you are done.  Then you have the extra bonus of having rid the world of a few more Real Housewives of Houston.

But, neither Mrs. Globetrotter or I am from Texas.  So we apparently are unable to understand the logic of Backer-Inners.

We also saw Backer-Inners at Target, the underground parking garage for the 3-story Restoration Hardware, and the Kemah boardwalk.

The only time I have been jealous of Backer-Inners is when we are leaving a concert at 11 P.M., and they have the advantage of Forwarding-Out into the line of traffic that has wound around the 10 levels of the parking garage while we stare at the wall and forlornly turn on our car lights hoping that someone will take pity on us and patiently hold up the rest of the line while we try not to hit poles or other cars as we counterintuitively reverse into the traffic.

I don’t know if Backering-Innering is what put Houston close to being the best at being the worst, but considering that the majority of drivers are maneuvering oversized trucks into spaces designed for compact cars, the mystery becomes even more confounding.  Everything is bigger in Texas – except the parking spaces.

Dimples never questioned the driving of Mrs. Globetrotter while were in Houston, so I suppose that’s a sign.  I don’t know why the kid thinks I’m a bad driver. Her aunt is the one with the nickname “Crash”.  And I did not learn how to drive in Texas. I learned in New Orleans, Louisiana, where the drinking age is 3, the driving age is the first time your dad passes out at the wheel, and there’s no need to park when you can get drive-thru daiquiris.

Now, why would you want to back in and deprive passersby of this bumper sticker masterpiece?


The Secret Behind the Job Growth in Texas

It is now legal to noodle in Texas.  I don’t know what you think that is, but I’ve certainly learned some new things since the law went into effect on September 1st.  If you, too, are in need of information on this topic, you can watch this video of noodling in action:

To be honest, I kind of feel sorry for the catfish.  But I guess it isn’t any worse than getting a hook stuck in the roof of your mouth.

Another new law in Texas allows hunters to shoot feral hogs from helicopters.  I could not find a name for this type of hunting.  Although I like the alliteration of “hunting hogs from a helicopter”, that does not conjure up the same imagery that noodling does.

So, hunters now seem to have it made in Texas.  Come on over, y’all, if you like the thrill of a good hunt.

Of course, if you have kids you hope will graduate from high school with a diploma, you might want to try living in one of the 49 other states plus D.C. who ranked higher than us.  And if you want them to do well on their SAT, well go on then.

Vote Perry for President and it won’t matter where you live – you can do all of the noodling you want.

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