Monday, December 31, 2012

I Thought of Two Favorite Things For This Year

I finally thought of two favorite things to post this year:
  • the strawberry rhubarb Private Selection Pie Filling from Kroger. I haven't used it as pie filling yet, because I like it as jelly for my toast. It reminds me of the jelly that my mom made when I was a kid.
  • Prima Flowers in the Botanical Mix: I got these from AC Moore on a whim and just LOVE them. They are paper flowers. Some are printed and some are solid colors, and they come in all different sizes. If you get the right colors and shapes going in a layer, they are so cute on cards and in scrapbooks.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Before I Die, I Want To...

I am, once again, totally ripping off another source for tonight's entry. A few days ago, CNN ran an article online with the same title as this entry.

"On a quiet August day I lost someone I loved very much. Her name was Joan and she was a mother to me for 15 years. Her death was sudden and unexpected, and there were still so many things she wanted to do: Learn to play the piano, live in Paris, see the Pacific Ocean.

"I spent a long time full of grief, and then I felt gratitude for the time we had together. I thought about death a lot, which brought clarity to my life, the people I want to be with, and the things I want to do. But I struggled to maintain this perspective. It's easy to get caught up in the day-to-day and forget what really matters to you," wrote Candy Chang, a TED Fellow, is an artist, designer, and urban planner who explores making cities more comfortable and contemplative places.

I'm not going to copy the entire article here, but what I am going to do is write my bucket list. It's a combination of short term and long term things.
  • I will get a job at some kind of animal shelter, and I'm going to be damn good at whatever I end up doing there.
  • I will get at least one old, beat up piece of wood furniture, save it from going to the landfill, and refinish it.
  • I'd like to go on an LCAC ride with my husband before he transfers to his new command.
  • I will go to see the Booth Trail in 2013.
  • I will go to Natural Bridge, VA and the Shenandoah Valley and stay in a cabin in the woods in 2013.
  • I will go to Hiddenite Gems, an emerald mine open to the public, in NC in 2013.
  • I will go to the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. in 2013.
  • I want to go to Tokyo some day. I would like to go to Hiroshima as well, but I've heard that Americans are unofficially unwelcomed there, and I don't blame the Japanese people if that's true.
  • I want to see the pyramids and sphinx in Egypt.
  • I'd love to see the Mona Lisa (she's in the Louvre in Paris) and The Scream (there are a couple, two of them are in Munich).
  • I want to go to London, and maybe look for the TARDIS and the Doctor.
  • I want to go to San Diego to see my best friend, go to Comic Con, wear a costume, take lots of photos, find an awesome looking Spider-Man so I can give him a hug for just being Spidey, and then walk a beach on the Pacific Ocean, looking for shells.
  • I'd like to go to a taping of "The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson" if we ever go to California.
  • I want to have at least one great, wildly creative crochet pattern published in a real book somewhere.
  • I'd like to have our yard be featured for our Halloween decorations with a local tv station, so people might understand you don't have to spend big bucks on decorations and still put together a great display (I say this because we don't go as crazy for Christmas decorations).
  • I'd like to win a challenge on Craftster.
  • I'd like to compete on Craft Wars on TLC.
  • I will finish the Jedi costume finally and I will join the Rebel Legion in 2013.
  • I will finish the doll house I started several years ago.
  • I want to go to Ohio and see Ralphie Harper's house from The Christmas Story.
  • I want to see Weird Al Yankovic in concert, and maybe even the Bangles if I ever get to California.
  • I want to see the Barenaked Ladies again, the next time they come to Hampton Roads.
  • I want to take my friends to the Virginia Safari drive through park in Stanton, VA.
I can cross off two things that would have been on my bucket list, but I already got them done. They were both concerts. I have always wanted to see Billy Joel and Huey Lewis and the News. I got to see Billy Joel in Virginia Beach in 2008 with my husband and Nicole the Knitter. I've seen Huey Lewis twice: once in Norfolk (this was a free USO concert) in 2005, I think, and once at the oceanfront in Virginia Beach in 2007. I wouldn't mind seeing them again.

I Think I Need to Make This Purse


I saw this purse on Yahoo! Fashion this morning: "Fashion That Makes Us Sad: The Worst of 2012." I know it looks like something that should be on "What Not To Crochet" but I really dig this design for a purse! It's a Dolce and Gabbana Miss Sicily Crocheted Bag that costs $2,895.

I think in different colors, this could be a kick ass purse and I think I need to make it. I'm sure it's lined, and I know I could get purse handles at any number of places. The front flap is obviously just six little granny squares. along with rows of granny clusters for the front, and probably the back. The sides are just single crochets and turned on the sides. The more I look at it, the more I think that front flap is probably double sided with something inside of it to give it some strength. The same probably holds true for the sides: even with the lining, there has to be something else inside it.

Yeah, I think this could be an awesome project after I get the Doctor Who scarf finished. I'll have to post my pattern when I finish it.

Monday, December 24, 2012

A Yarn Bombed Tree

We drove past this yarn bombed tree on Main Street in Marion, IA when we were back home last. It was right at a stop light and I missed it the first time because the light wasn't long enough. My husband actually circled the block for me and stopped so I could get out and take some decent pictures. Gotta love that man. :)

Sorry but for some reason, I can't get the images to rotate correctly. They are each saved in portrait  orientation but it just isn't taking.





Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Got a Little "Bah Humbug" Going On

I feel like this Christmas, I'm having a hard time getting into the spirit of the holiday. Hell, I even felt like this at Halloween but not Thanksgiving for some reason. I think this might be the first time I've ever had a case of the Christmas blues. Hell, I can't even come up with a good post for "My Favorite Things" like I've done here for the last two years. It feels kind of trivial.

It's been kind of a shitty year, to say the least. We lost my husband's mom unexpectedly earlier this year, and my mom became sick again but at least her chemo is working. I think a big part of my problem is not having Jeanie around any more.

Shane told me earlier this year that he wanted red and white rope lights for the front tree, and red lights for the tree he planted in the front yard for his mom. I got a bunch of lights and it took me forever to get off my ass and actually put the damn things up. Shane came and helped with his mom's garden's decorations. When I finally finished the the peppermint lights for tree, I was alone in the yard. I stood out there in the dark and started to cry over the damn things. Red was his mom's favorite color. I got myself together, went back in the house and never let on how I was feeling.

I didn't even want to put up a tree this year. I was going to bring down the little ceramic Christmas tree that my grandma made in 1977 for the family and use it instead. I asked Shane last week how he was feeling about Christmas this year and he said he was doing fine, and then asked me why. I told him I wasn't really feeling this year, but I didn't go into great detail. I figure it's probably better for me to try and be strong where his mom is concerned, at least for him, anyway.

On Monday afternoon before I got home, I got a photo sent to me from Shane. It was a picture of Cujo sitting in our driveway next to a Christmas tree. Shane wrote that he took Cujo with him to shop for a tree and let Cujo pick it out for me from the church down the street. I thought that was wildly sweet and sad in a way, because it means that no matter what Shane is going through, he's still thinking about me.

So we've got the tree, it's decorated, I have my Santa's scattered throughout the house, and I need to bring Snoopy and his house downstairs from the attic to the front yard. Maybe if I fake Christmas spirit, it'll work out.

I was listening to the radio this morning on the way into work, and the question of the morning was, "What was the hot toy at Christmas when you were a kid, and did you get it?" There were Cabbage Patch kids, of course, but I didn't ask for one. One of my aunt's actually made me one and I liked it better than the store bought one. I asked my mom where it was, earlier this year, because I wanted it. She said she gave it away because it was old. Bummer.

The one toy that sticks out in my mind (and I just texted my sister to see if she knew where it was) was my stuffed Chewie. I saw him in K-Mart one day while I was with my mom. It must have been about 1977 or 1978, pre-Christmas.

I lost my mind when I saw the Wookie. There were boxes and boxes of them on the shelves. I believe it was a blue box. He even had his ammo belt on. He was wonderful. I needed my own Chewie, even though as a kid of 4 or 5, I knew a person couldn't own a Wookie, because they weren't meant to be pets, but you could be best friends with a Wookie. Hey, I understood the logic of Star Wars, even at that tender age. Droids were for owning, not Wookies.

So there in the middle of the toy section, I remember telling my mom that I neeeeeeeeeeded a Chewie for Christmas. She said no, I didn't need any more toys for Christmas because I was going to get plenty. I insisted. She resisted. And that's when she told me I lost my shit in the store. I started shrieking that I'd ask Santa Claus for it then, because SANTA would bring it to me since SHE wouldn't get me a Wookie!!!!!!!!

Guess what was under the Christmas tree for me that year. There was an inflatable lightsaber, an inflatable R2-D2 punching bag...and my very own Chewbacca. He was as perfect in real life as he had been on the shelf, with a face so furry, you couldn't see his eyes. Mom even trimmed the fur around his eyes and nose for me, so you could see those big brown wise eyes. She told me later on, that normally she would have gotten after me for pitching a fit in public like that, but I was so adamant about neeeeeeeeeeeeeeding that Chewie, that she just couldn't say no.

I loved that damn toy. In fact, as I think back on him today, I think I'm going to check eBay later on, just in case my original Wookie is long gone from my parents' house. The only thing there is that maybe some little kid got my Chewie and my Cabbage Patch Kid from the local Goodwill store.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

A New Magazine to Check Out

My mom gave me a couple issues of a new magazine called Love of Crochet. With the Winter 2012 issue, they are now a year old and can start offering subscriptions. Previously, they had only been available to purchase each issue individually.

I have the Winter 2012 and Holiday 2012 issues. They do have some cute patterns in them, but I am not impressed.

As far as the types of patterns go, you'd really find mind more and better free patterns on any of the yarn companies' sites, Craftster or Ravelry. Hell, there are some bloggers out there that have come up with better quality patterns, either for how the project finishes up or how clearly the pattern is written.

Don't get me wrong...like I said, there are some cute patterns in these issues that I want to try out, but I don't have much faith in them. I don't know how well they are checked for accuracy. For example, the "Urban Chic" cap pattern (Winter 2012, pg 28-29) is listed as being an intermediate skill project: at row 5, it stops making any sense. I don't know if it's me or it's because of how the pattern is written.

I guess the reason I'm so critical of the Urban Chic hat is because it looked like a good chemo cap option for my mom. She said she'd like something with a slightly open weave so her head doesn't get too warm. Even though she has a couple from the hospital, I wanted to make her one.

G sized crochet hook and about 3/4 of a skein of Premier Yarns in Mega Brushed in color 51-225. You can see the start of another (smaller) version of this hat on the side, that I'm making for my niece.
But since the Urban Chic pattern didn't really turn out, I looked through the Holiday issue and found the "Christmas Cuties" pattern (pg 40-41). It's a granny square-style of hat for a little girl and one of her dolls. I obviously increased the overall sizing of the hat, using own head as the model. I just hope having hair on my head didn't screw up the sizing for my mom's head.

The good thing about the patterns in the magazine is the yarn definition. They break down the best choices for each project as what to buy if you want to save some money, if you want something nice, or if you want to really splurge and buy something awesome. I thought that was a nice touch.

Personally, I think that with the number of ads and the quality of the patterns, this is a magazine I will be skipping.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Where I've Been On The Internet Today

Took part in Carolyn Hax's online chat this afternoon. Someone posted, "...I pride myself on being a person that doesn't get emotional and can logically work through any problems that life throws at me. But I have no idea how to get through my current situation. My Dad is dealing with serious health issues that his doctors haven't been able to diagnose yet (but they have mentioned ALS as a possibility), my Mom (divorced from my Dad) is bipolar and suffering from major anxiety to the point she can't travel for the holidays and my Grandmother is currently recovering from cancer surgery. I have no idea how to help my family members deal with their health problems and I'm scared of how helpless I feel. Any recommendations for support groups or advice to help me get through things one day at a time?..."

I posted a response that actually got used towards the end. "Hopefully it doesn't come to this, but if Dad does have ALS, the daughter should contact a local hospice in her area and ask if she can be a part of their grief counseling sessions. They might be able to help her, and it would include a local clergy member and a social worker..."

I get so busy and involved with some of our own hospice patients that sometimes I forget there are support groups out there for so many different illnesses, which it was a good thing Carolyn pointed it out.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

We Need More NEW Superhero Movies

The newest trailer for Superman: The Man of Steel is out.



In a way, it reminds me of The Amazing Spider-Man trailer. They both seem a little dark and bleak, in a way.



Despite my great, almost life-long love for Spidey, I had no desire to see that latest movie. The same goes for Superman next year. I think it's because they are both origin films AGAIN. Plus, I will admit that Tobey Maguire and Brandon Routh are both cemented in my head and heart as the modern Spidey and Supes, but I understand the concept that superheroes are like James Bond: they need to be updated for each era.

But mostly, I don't need another origin movie for those characters. I know there are movie-goers that would see these trailers and be interested in them because they have no knowledge of the characters and don't know their stories, but Tobey's Spider-Man movies came out in 2002, 2004 and 2007. Christopher Reeve's Superman movies came out in 1978, 1980, 1983, and 1987. Brandon's turn with the cape was in 2006. And don't forget, there are comic books, cartoons and even series for these characters. There is a LOT of origin information out there.

If Andrew Garfield and Henry Cavill could have gotten these roles, but with continuing storylines from the previous movies, then I think I would be more interested. Spidey could still fight the Lizard and Captain Stacy could probably still die, but let him have more to do than rehash high school and his transformation into a hero AGAIN. Superman could do battle with General Zod, having broken out of the Phantom Zone, save Lois and all the inhabitants of Earth, and we don't have to rewatch Jor-El and his wife send baby Kal-El away on a spaceship to Earth, the destruction of Krypton, or his first time meeting Lois and Perry White.

By the way, is this version of General Zod going to remind us of Loki from the Thor and Avengers movies? And how kick ass is it that Laurence Fishburne is going to be Perry White??? I love Laurence Fishburne; he's one of my favorite actors.

Don't get me wrong: some revamped movies are awesomely done, in my opinion: Rod Zombie's Halloween movies and JJ Abrams' Star Trek come to mind, because even though each filmmaker changed the continuity of the subject matter, they each expanded on it so much, making the characters more than what they were before. But three words: Han shot first. You can't go back and change a plot line after the fact, just because you didn't like it.

But why are certain characters so hot for origins right now? Why does Hollywood keep releasing the same movies, over and over? You just know that in a couple years, there will be a revamped Batman trilogy, starring someone besides Joseph Gordon Levitt. For the record, I haven't seen the last Batman movie. The first two of Christopher Nolan's Batman movies bored me to tears. No real chemistry, no real emotions, they are all just so flat, much like Kate Bosworth as Lois in Superman Returns.

I'd like to see a Wonder Woman movie. Hell, even Green Lantern with Ryan Reynolds wasn't that bad, and I don't even like RR or know squat about GL, but I still enjoyed it as a film. The Flash has lots of fans. The X-Men movies have all done pretty well. How about a Spider-Woman movie, for God's sake? Give us origin movies on new and different characters, or give us one shot graphic novels as movies, like The Watchmen. I know there won't be another Watchmen movie, and I'm fine with that, because that one film was pretty much all I needed in a superhero film that came from a graphic novel I've never read.

Moviegoers who are fans of certain genres are all armchair quarterbacks, myself included. We are fickle and angry and we could always do it better than the filmmakers could.

--For me, I wouldn't have started Daniel Craig's run as James Bond with having Judi Dench as his "M." I would have gone straight to Ralph Fiennes. Having Judi Dench as his M was a little weird, because it felt like a hold over from Pierce Bronson's days as Bond.
--It would be fun if there could be one Bond girl that James was trying so hard to snag and he just doesn't win her over.
--Kate Bosworth wouldn't have EVER been Lois Lane. I probably would have gone with Amy Adams immediately. Dye her hair brown and get her started! And Kate's take on Lois? Too much of a bitch.
--For Man of Steel, I would have Clark Kent try to move on from being "dumped" by Lois and introduce Lana Lang as his love interest. That would create a little bit of jealousy on Lois's behalf: Clark wants the small town girl over the big city reporter? WTH?
--For the original Spider-Man trilogy, swap out Mary Jane Watson for Gwen Stacy. Minor changes and it still would have worked. Instead of being a struggling actress, she'd be an overworked college student.
--Denzel Washington as GL John Stewart in a sequel.
--As much as I don't like Christian Bale, I think he might make a decent James Bond (because of one scene in one of the Batman movies he did, where he's stashing people throughout his apartment, he comes out with a weapon and it reminds me so much of Pierce Brosnan in "Goldeneye.") But I'd also like to see Clive Owen (because he reminds me of George Lazenby in "On Her Majesty's Secret Service) or Michael Fassbender as Bond (because of the bar fight scene in "X-Men: First Class").
--Each actor/actress gets to be only ONE superhero. No more dual characters (Chris Evans, Ryan Reynolds, Halle Berry).
--Halle Berry would have kept the African accent when she was Storm, but then again, I wouldn't have cast her as Storm. Angela Bassett, Vivica Fox, Vanessa Williams or Iman would have been better choices. For God's sake, RUPAUL would have been a better Storm!

It would be nice if Hollywood would listen to some of us, sometimes.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Why Delta Airlines Sucks

Until my last trip back home, I never had an opinion on which airlines(s) I liked or disliked. That has changed...I now have an opinion. I don't like Delta and I won't be flying with them ever again.

Just because I'm feeling snarky, here's the text from an email I sent to Delta Airlines' Customer Service department (ContactUs.Delta@delta.com, if anyone ever needs it) last night.
--------------------
Good evening. I'm writing with a complaint about our recent Delta flights (Flight Confirmation Number removed), as listed below. Please note, these are the original flights that we BOOKED, not the flights we actually flew.

--DECEMBER 1, 2012
-Flight 1233 out of Norfolk, VA, Depart 12:10 PM , Arrive 2:02 PM (ATL)
-Flight 5068, Depart 3:10 PM, Arrive 4:22 PM (CID)

--DECEMBER 8, 2012
-Flight 4144 out of Cedar Rapids, IA, Depart 10:15 AM, Arrive 12:57 AM (DTW)
-Flight 116, Depart 1:35 PM, Arrive 3:39 PM (ATL)
-Flight 1012, Depart 4:35 PM, Arrive 6:19 PM (ORF)

On 12/01/12, our flight from Norfolk, VA was delayed for 50 minutes because of an electrical issue with the first class bathroom. (The bathroom light wouldn't turn off.) That delay in departure made us miss our flight from Atlanta to Cedar Rapids. Priceline was able to automatically re-route us from Atlanta to Chicago to Cedar Rapids. Somehow, our one checked bag didn't actually leave Atlanta with us, and arrived the next day when we were in Waterloo. To ensure that we actually got it, my husband drove 120 miles, round trip, back to Cedar Rapids because there wasn't anyone available in Marion, IA to have it delivered to. We also had to go shopping for some essentials to tide us over.

On 12/08/12, again, we were delayed in our departure from Cedar Rapids because of de-icing and washing of the plane. The plane was there at the gate, two hours before the scheduled take off time, but no one bothered to de-ice it before then. The crew waited until the time the plane was scheduled to take off. Again, we were 50 minutes late in taking off from Cedar Rapids, which made us miss another flight in Detroit. Again, Priceline was able to reroute us, with an 8 hour layover in Detroit to take us straight to Norfolk., At this point in our trip, we had two checked bags. The larger of the two actually arrived in Norfolk BEFORE we did, and we had to find someone in the Delta baggage office to release the bag to us. The smaller bag was delivered to our home in Norfolk today.

The numbers from our baggage tag were:
[removed]

Almost no part of our trip went according to what we scheduled, because of time management and baggage issues on Delta's behalf. For what it's worth, we spent about $50 to replace items that we needed from our first lost piece of luggage from 12/01/12. I want the three checked baggage fees that we paid ($75) reimbursed to us. We paid by credit card on Priceline's website.

What is Delta going to do about this? 
--------------------
I really thought this was going to be a cut and dried thing to resolve.

I actually got a response back today.
--------------------

Thank you for writing about your recent flight experience.  On behalf of Delta Air Lines and our Delta Connection carrier, Pinnacle Airlines, we sincerely apologize for the inconvenience you experienced due to the irregular operation of our flight, rebooking option received and for your delayed baggage.

I understand the frustration you experienced when your plans were disrupted due to the delay of our flights for mechanical reasons.  I am truly sorry your travel was adversely affected.  It is concerning to know that both your outbound as well as return flights were irregular in their operation.  Further, I realize the inconvenience you were caused with your baggage.  Like you, we certainly wish that instances of mishandled bags never occurred.  I can only imagine your disappointment when your bags were delivered the next day and you had to buy essential items.  However, I need to decline your refund request. I apologize as I understand that this was not the answer you were anticipating.

Also, I realize your disappointment with the alternate arrangements provided during our flight irregularity.  Be assured our goal is to route our passengers to their destination in a timely manner and with the least disruption possible.  Your comments regarding the handling of your disrupted travel have received close attention. 

Therefore, as a gesture of apology for the flight delay, I have issued two Electronic Transportation Credit Vouchers (eTCVs) in the amount of $75.00 each.   Please note the voucher numbers and associated Terms and Conditions will be arriving in a separate email within 24 hours.  I encourage you to add Delta Air Lines to your receiver list so the voucher documents are not misdirected to your spam folder.  Please keep the voucher numbers and the Terms and Conditions since the numbers are required for redemption.  It is also important to mention that there is no Direct Ticketing fee for reservations confirmed online at delta.com.

Ms. Kelly, I thank you for the opportunity to address the inconvenience you experienced due to the delay of our flights.  As a valued Delta customer, your future business is important to us, and I hope you will continue to choose Delta for your air travel needs.

Sincerely,
Sylvia M. Thomas
Coordinator, Corporate Customer Care
Delta Air Lines
--------------------
Vouchers for future flights? I don't think so. I emailed Sylvia back and told her I didn't want $150 worth of vouchers for future flights. I wanted $75 credited back to me because of their fuck ups and that I won't be flying with Delta again. (I had flown on Delta in May to get back to Iowa when Shane's mom passed without any problems and on stand by. The way home was a whole other story and I tried for 1 1/2 days to get on a Delta flight. I finally had to buy a one way ticket on United to get back here.)
--------------------
Thank you for expressing your concern regarding the Transportation Credit Voucher issued to you. On behalf of Delta Air Lines, I appreciate the opportunity to review your request.

I am truly sorry you were dissatisfied with the Electronic Transportation Credit Voucher (eTCV) provided.  The gesture extended was not meant to place a value on your experience; rather it was an attempt to make amends for your disappointment with our service.  I once again apologize for your delayed baggage and the difficulties you encountered.

Respectfully, additional consideration and the refund of the baggage fee would not be due.  I apologize, as I understand this is not the answer you were hoping to receive.

Ms. Kelly, I know your request differed from what I have provided and trust you will understand our position.  Your business is important to us and given the opportunity of serving you in the future, I am confident Delta will not only meet but exceed your expectations.

Sincerely,
Sylvia M. Thomas
Coordinator, Corporate Customer Care
Delta Air Lines

--------------------
Seriously, that last sentence makes me want to retch. "Your business is important to us and given the opportunity of serving you in the future, I am confident Delta will not only meet but exceed your expectations." Please. Hell, I've flown to Honduras and to Vietnam, and I never lost any freaking luggage on either of those trips. But I fly from Virginia to Iowa and bags get lost both ways.

I actually had a flight attendant get nasty with me at one point when I used the bathroom on the plane while people were boarding. The bathroom hadn't been closed and we were sitting in the back of the plane anyway.

From now on, my husband and I decided we are going to split our packing: half of my things go into his bag and vice versa. 

Sunday, December 9, 2012

The Tunnel at the Detroit Airport



This is not my video, but rather one I borrowed from YouTube. This is the tunnel at the Detroit Airport. It connects Concourse A with Concourse B/C in the McNamara Terminal. Light patterns along the tunnel are choreographed with music.

"The B and C concourses are connected to the main terminal building and the A Concourse by a pedestrian walkway under the Airport ramp. This walkway, known as the Light Tunnel, features an elaborate multi-colored light show behind sculpted glass panels extending the entire length of the walkway, as well several moving walkways. The light patterns are synchronized with an original musical score composed by Victor Alexeeff, which runs for nearly a half hour before repeating. This installation, one of the first large-scale uses of color changing LED lighting in the United States, was produced by Mills James Productions with glasswork by Foxfire Glass Works of Pontiac, Michigan. The display won multiple lighting design awards including the prestigious Guth Award of Merit. For passengers who are prone to medical conditions such as seizures, there are buttons at each end of the tunnel that will suspend the light show for five minutes so they can pass through with no adverse effects."

I really think this is not supposed to be relaxing or invigorating, depending on the travelers' moods, just for the sake of relaxation. Don't get me wrong: it's pretty cool to watch and listen to, but I walked through this damn thing so many times yesterday on our way back to Virginia, I think it's a way to either:
--exhaust the travelers so they are subdued and well-behaved on the planes (Detroit has a HUGE freakin' airport) or
--it relaxes the irritated and angry travelers that have been screwed over by the airlines for any number of reasons, so they are subdued and well-behaved when they FINALLY get to make their flights.

Friday, December 7, 2012

The Scarf Continues to Grow

The Androids of Tara
"If you keep burning my scarf, you're going to have to kill me!"
The guard had zapped the Doctor's scarf with his nifty electric-sword-thingy, and the Doctor was just *not* having that!

Just a quick little blurry cell phone picture of my Doctor Who scarf. I've taken to rolling it and using binder clips on the ends to contain it as I work on it.

Here, you can see, it almost stretches as long as my mom's living room. The leg on the upper left is my husband's. The legs in the bottom are mine, and I'm sitting with my back up against the lvoe seat in her living room, which is up against a wall. I haven't taken an actual measurement of it yet. My mom just asked if it ever gets cold enough in Virginia to ever wear a scarf like this. When I said no, she asked why I would make something like this.

I've changed the grey yarn into navy blue, because I had navy blue and I thought it would match the other warm tones of the yarns better than the grey would.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

I'm At Antique Archeology, Bitches!!!!

On this trip home, I told my husband I really wanted to go to LeClaire, IA to the Antique Archeology shop. I didn't get a chance to head out that way the last time I was home.

This is, of course, the home base of American Pickers on the History Channel.

I got a little excited when I saw the Studebaker sitting out front. I had high hopes of a Danielle sighting, but alas, it was not meant to be.

When you go inside, it's mostly stuff on display that they've bought (the "smalls") and souvenirs for sale. You can also buy some of the stuff they've picked. There is a second story inside, so obviously, that's where Danielle works, because downstairs in the gift shop area, there's another chick working that I've never seen before. For what it's worth, I heard that Danielle was in Chicago, and "the boys" were out picking. And realistically, you can't expect Danielle to be able to run the gift shop, find leads, sell stuff, and deal with lookie-loo's like myself.

If you look closely at the picture, you can see an open back end on a blue van in the parking lot behind the Studebaker. There were two guys inside, trying to sell something. The other chick told them that she could take a picture of the item (some kind of old heavy wooden box with something in it that was more female related) to send to Mike's phone but he'll just lose the picture. So, she was going to call Mike's brother, Rob, down to the shop to take a look at it. If it was something Rob wasn't interested in, then she was going to direct the seller to another antique seller/appraiser in town named Mushroom, and he'd probably be interested in it. For the record, we didn't stick around long enough to see the contents of the box.

Random Dumbness

This is an actual conversation I had with my sister last night (she's five years younger than me). We were sitting in the kitchen with my mom, getting ready to break the wishbone from the turkey my mom made. We had an early Christmas while at home.

Lissy: Now listen up, we have to wish for the same thing, because I really need my wish to come true. (She was standing next to me, looking dead ass serious, like she was holding the wishbone hostage, clutched tightly in her hand, out of my reach.)
Me: (I was sitting at the kitchen table.) Oh hell no, I want a chance at my wish. Gimme! (I reached for the wishbone before she had a chance to complain.)

We crack the wishbone. I got the bigger half and should have won my wish.

Lissy: God damn it, what did you wish for? I wanted to wish that Lilly would get better! (Lissy had recently got a new kitten named Lilly, that appeared to have had a stroke because she started dragging one of her hind legs.)
Amy: A new job.
Lissy: What? (Kind of pissed off.)
Amy: Look, I'm gonna kill someone at work eventually, so I need all the help I can get to get the hell out of there!

My mom was leaning up against the kitchen counter, listening to all of this. She started to fake indignation.

Mom: What the hell, did I raise a bunch of selfish dorks?

We both look at her.

Me and Lissy together: What?

Mom: (Gesturing at herself.) What about me? ONE of you couldn't wish for my cancer to go away???

The three of us actually laughed and laughed over it.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Sometimes, Holistic Methods Just Don't Work

A quick entry today, reporting in from my family's homes in Iowa. About four days before I left on this trip, I caught a cold. I think I've narrowed it down to 1 of 3 suspect co-workers, one of them being a nurse who can't afford to go to the doctor because her insurance hasn't kicked in yet (oh great, so this stupid cow is going to make her patients even sicker, never mind the fact they are already on hospice, and their families sick as well).*

Anyhoo, I've been drugging myself up like crazy, and in an effort to get rid of this cold and NOT pass it along to my mom, I'm trying something new. I'm still using throat lozenges, DayQuil, NyQuil, Breath Right Strips, and guzzling green tea, I've added apple cider vinegar into the mix.


"Drink it! Yes, that may seem radical or unappealing, but it only takes a teaspoon of it a day. Mix it in some juice or tea and you might not even notice. The benefits of apple cider vinegar are so great that a little distaste shouldn't steer you away," according to one of those eHow pages.

I gotta call bullshit on this. I've been drinking a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar, mixed with a couple tablespoons of honey, for four days now. It's done nothing for me except make my stomach hurt. The taste, even with the honey, is horrendous and it doesn't hide the vinegar taste/smell. My cold is the same now as when I started the vinegar. I think this is what evil must taste like. Or maybe the sweat from Osama Bin Ladin's beard, once the seawater from his burial at sea has been rung out of it.

I think I'm going to stick with the drugs and just ride this cold out.

*An after thought here: I know I have the kind hearted blogger badge on the blog here and calling her a stupid cow is the opposite of being a kind hearted blogger. But come on...we have those doc in a box places all over the place out here, Patient First, that she could go to. She tried telling us they would charge her $400 before even touching her and they had to be paid in full.** That's something else I call B.S. on, and so did some of our co-workers. Instead, she's STILL walking around with a germ filled hanky, held over her mouth, coughing into it like she's trying to expel the Devil from her lungs. For a while, she didn't even have a voice but continued to try talking, or squawking or rasping or however you would describe it. That's the kind of nurse we are sending into people's homes.

**I've been to one of those places once. They treated me and sent me a bill afterwards. 

Monday, November 26, 2012

The 12 Shots of Christmas


Wow, found this old thing too. I wrote this in 2005...what the hell was I thinking to write something like this???

For the first shot of Christmas,
my bartender gave to me
DeKuyper Harvest Pear schnapps.

For the second shot of Christmas,
my bartender gave to me
Two spiced rums
And DeKuyper Harvest Pear schnapps.

For the third shot of Christmas,
my bartender gave to me
Three French cognacs,
Two spiced rums
And DeKuyper Harvest Pear schnapps.

For the fourth shot of Christmas,
my bartender gave to me
Four Old Tom Gins,
Three French cognacs,
Two spiced rums
And DeKuyper Harvest Pear schnapps.

For tha’fiff shot of Chrissmas,
my bartender gave ta me
Five goldschlagers,
Four Old Tom Gins,
Three French cognacs,
Two spiced rums
And some Pear schnapps.

For tha’sis, sis, sixth shot of Chrissmas,
my bartender gave ta me
Six Irish whiskies,
Five goldschlagers,
Four Ole’ bastard gins,
Three French cognacs,
Two spiced rums
And the schnapps.

For tha’seventh shot of Chrissmas time,
my barftender gave ta me
Seven agave tequilas, 
Tequila!
Six Irish whiskies,
Five god damn schlagers,
Four Old Tom Gins,
Three Frenchy cognacs,
Two spiced rums
And schnapps!

For tha’eighth shot of Chrissmas,
Lemme tell ya what tha’barftender gave ta me
Eight Russian vodkaas,
Tequilas!
The whiskies…tha’wuzz damn good whisky too, I tell ya, 
Five gol’schlagers,
Four Ole Tom Gins,
Fee French cognacs,
Two spiced rums
And schnapps!

For tha’ninth shot of Chrissmas,
my barften’er gave ta me 
Nine…



THUMP!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Turkey Pot Pie Recipe

I looked up a recipe for Chicken Pot Pie tonight because I wanted to have one more night of turkey for supper. After tonight, the leftover turkey went into the freezer.

My first thought was to to go the Bisquick site, because my box of Bisquick didn't have the Chicken Pot Pie recipe on it. I found out you need to have a username and password to see recipes at the Bisquick site and that irritated me. You haven't always needed one there.

So I kept looking and found the recipe here. But like most everything else in my life, I had to make changes, so here is how I made Turkey Pot Pie:

Ingredients: 
--2 cups cooked turkey, cut into bite sized pieces
--1 2/3 cups frozen vegetables, not thawed (the mix of corn, peas, carrots and beans already diced)
--About 10 oz leftover chicken gravy from Thanksgiving
--1 cup Bisquick baking mix
--3/4 cup 1% milk
--1 egg  (left out the egg because I didn't have any)

Directions: 
1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
2. Mix chicken, veggies and cream of chicken soup together and spread into bottom of non greased 9-inch round glass pie pan.
3. Mix remaining ingredients (Bisquick, milk and egg) and pour on top of chicken mixture.
4. Bake in oven for 50 minutes or until top turns golden brown. The original recipe called for 30 minutes, but that only cooked the top of the Bisquick mix. When I stuck in the serving spoon, the mix underneath was still doughy.

Came Across an Oldie But a Goodie

I was cleaning off an old hard drive, looking for something else, when I came across this old short story that I wrote in 1999. I think I actually wrote it right after high school, which would have sometime between 1992 and 1994, and I rewrote it in 1999.

Who knows anymore why I wrote it. The more I think about it, the more I think it was a high school writing assignment (pre-1992). It was back in the day when I thought I'd become a world famous writer.

Anyway, it's called "Two Weeks."
----------------------------------
"We interrupt this program for an important news bulletin," announced a serious sounding, faceless deejay. The bulletin had come in the middle of "The Dr. Demento Show" during a chicken song by Ray Stevens.

Viktorya Morgan groaned. There were already too many damn commercials on the radio as it was. The announcement would probably be for some anniversary sale at an auto dealer or a furniture store. It interrupted her concentration on her physics assignment that was due the next morning.

She threw down her pencil in disgust and sat up from her stretched out position on the floor. Viktorya looked over at her radio, sitting next to her on the floor, as if it were a television set.

"FM HOTT, 95.6, bringing you this special news bulletin," intoned a new excited sounding deejay. "The Cheyenne Police Department has just issued an all points bulletin on Harold Bailey, a patient of the Wyoming State Mental Health Institute. Bailey was reported missing from his room earlier today. After an extensive search of the institute's premises, Bailey was still not found, and has since been reported missing. Police believe that he has escaped and warn all residents of Cheyenne that if you spot Bailey within the 10 mile radius of the Mental Health Institute to not take action or confront Bailey, but instead-"

Laughing, Vikky snapped off her radio with a turn of her wrist. What a hoax! The deejays at 95.6 FM were pretty well known for their April Fool's Day jokes. And the listeners always fell for them. They were always carried out so well. Year after year, people gullibly believed the different stories: bags of diamonds falling out of passing airplanes, famous singers giving impromptu concerts in farmers' fields, false and bizarre celebrity obituaries.

Vikky checked her bedside clock. But why wait until so late at night to pull off that joke? It 10 PM. Usually they played the jokes during the morning drive-time.

Vikky thought for a moment. Sure, those kinds of jokes were funny but provided only a minimal amount of inconvenience for those stuck in the middle. But a story about an escaped mental patient? In her silent bedroom, Vikky thought, People could take offense to something like that. Probably not a wise move on the radio station's part to do something like that.

She shrugged and went back to her physics without much more thought.

"Hey Vikky," her mother called from the downstairs, "Do you want some popcorn while you study, or did you go to bed already?"

"No, I'm still up. I'll be down in a sec," she called back. She closed her physics book and left her assignment unfinished for the time being, forgetting all about Harold Bailey until she read about him in the morning's newspaper.

* * * * * 

Carel ran up to Vikky's locker in the crowded hallway. "The cops still haven't found Harold Bailey yet," she announced. "Now how safe to you feel, all alone, just you and your mom, in that big farm house out in the middle of the sticks?" Carel Cox was Vikky's best friend. She was known, in their circle, as being somewhat gullible and very flighty.

When Vikky's parents divorced, Sarah and Vikky had more room than they knew what to do with. Sarah had gotten the house. It was located near Interstate 80, with the other older farm houses. 

"Don't tell me you actually believe that!" As she turned again to her locker, she gently jabbed an elbow into Carel's ribs. "It's just a joke! Yesterday was April Fool's."

Carel's face fell into a frown and she shook her head in disbelief. As she did so, her long black pony tail slapped her cheeks. "Oh no," she gasped, "You really haven't heard, have you?" She thrust a newspaper into Vikky's hands. A banner headline yelled, "Bailey still missing." Then, a sub-head advised, "Doc warns patient prone to violent acts."

As Vikky started to read the article, Carel told her, "I know what you mean. was listening to 'Dr. Demento' last night too when I heard the announcement. I thought it was just part of the show, but it was the first story on the local news this morning. You know the news is too serious for something like that, so it MUST be true!" There was a silence between the two girls, despite the yelling and slamming sounds of a typical high school going on around them. 

Vikky calculated the distance, in her head, between her house and the institute. Both were out in a sparsely populated farming area. It was about eight miles. The radius the police was watching was 10 miles. Sensibly, she pushed the idea from her head that Bailey would just happen to pick her if he decided to do something. The odds had to be astronomical. There were a few other people living between her and Mom and the institute.

Carel pointed to the black and white institute identification photo of Bailey on the front page. "Check out those eyes!" They stared blankly up from the paper. They were dull and stupid looking, as if there were no life in them. "He is one creepy lookin' dude!" He had long, shaggy, unkempt hair. "He makes Norman Bates look like a kitten." His lips looked cracked and chapped.

Before Vikky could say any more, the five minute bell rang. The halls were quickly emptying as stampeding students hurried to their classes; cattle going off to the slaughter. "Look," she said in a hurry, "I'm gonna be late. Can I read this during first hour?"

"Sure, but I need it back for third hour. I'm doing m y current events presentation today. My topic is mental patients ... can they be trusted?" 

* * * * * 

"No," exclaimed Vikky's mother, Sarah.

"But Mom," Vikky protested.

"I don't care! That freak could still be out there. You're not going camping with your friends tonight. It'll just have to wait."

"Awwwwwwww Ma! You already promised!" Vikky wailed like a pouting child. She had to go. The trip was important. Her and her girlfriends were going to meet some guys. If Sarah knew the real reason behind the trip, she'd probably call all their mothers, and the trip would be canceled: Bailey or no. "The police think he's probably out of Cheyenne already." He'd been missing for two weeks. "Besides, we won't be all alone. We're going to the campgrounds. We'd be safe!" 

"Oh, suuuuure you would!" Her mother wasn't convinced. "The police think he's gone, but they don't know for certain. I'm not taking any chances. I'm sorry, but you're more than welcome to invite your friends over here and spend the night. Won't that be just as much fun?" she asked, trying to compromise. She thought the girls just wanted to go camping to prove they could take care of themselves in the wilderness. 

"No." Vikky paused. "Just forget it, Mom." She was disappointed, and it showed. "I'll call Carel and the others and tell them I'm out."

"Alright. Suit yourself." Sarah sounded apologetic. But it was mostly just for show. She knew she wouldn't be able to convince Vikky it was for her own safety.


* * * * * 

"What?" Carel screeched in Vikky's ear. Wincing, Vikky moved the phone a few inches away. When the noise stopped, she moved it back into place.

"I told you. I'm not going," she repeated. Leave it to Carel to make the biggest fuss out of the group. That's why Vikky had chosen to call her last. The grating screeching quality of her voice was getting on Vikky's nerves.

"No, wait ... this can't be. That guy, Christopher ... no ... this god of maleness only wanted to meet you. There has to be some way around this, ya know?" Carel had an excuse and an angle for every situation. Vikky thought she'd make a pretty good politician.

"I don't think so," Vikky replied glumly. 

There was a long pause while Carel sat on her end of the phone line and thought of a plan. "Yes, there is," she yelled suddenly. More calmly, she continued. "Tell you mother there's been a change of plans. We've decided it's too cold out tonight to go camping, and so we're all coming to my house for the night. Then we can go meet the others at the camp ground. My mom thinks that weirdo is long gone, and since she's the only parent who knows the real reason we're going camping, she can cover for you in case your mom calls."

"Alright! This is too cool. I never even thought of that! Give me 20 minutes to get my stuff together, and I'll be ready to go!"
  
* * * * * 

Amity took a deep breath and said, "Smell that fresh, clean air. Better than that old city air." The air in the KOA Kampground was untarnished and pure, with the heady scent of pine all around them. In the air, their breath was only light puffs of steam.

Petra groaned and announced, "Well, Miss Girl Scout, one more time and I'm leaving," Ever since they had gotten to the camp, Amity had been reveling in stories of past camping trips she'd been on. But there was always one in every group, and then there was always one like Petra, who only went camping if she was forced. Amity wanted to be a conservationist. She got claustrophobic, she said, if she stayed indoors for too long.

Carel asked Petra, "I didn't know you don't like the outdoors. Why not? Don't tell me you're having second thoughts about coming to meet these guys! From what I heard, the guys from Horse Creek are really HOT, if you know what I mean!" The girls had met most of the guys after a football game between their two high schools, hitting it off right from the start.

"Look," Petra tried plaintively explaining, "This has got nothing to do with the guys. I don't like the woods at all, if you must know. There are bugs, creepy animals, no electricity, and strange sounds in the middle of the night!" Petra dreamed of a job indoors, something safe: she planned on being a cosmetologist.

Vikky stretched and looked around. The black night sky was cloudless and full of twinkling pin-pointed stars. It was the perfect night. The gossip of Harold Bailey had stopped days ago. No body believed there was a chance of him returning to Cheyenne. Vikky bet her mother before leaving for "Carel's" that he was out of the state already, if he hadn't gotten lost and died somewhere along the way.

To break up the bit of silence that had began, Amity asked her group, "Do any of you know what tomorrow is?" There was a strange smile on her face, and the flames from the campfire created ghostly shadows on her face. The effect was eerie: it was like watching a human chameleon change colors right before your eyes. Amity went from flesh-toned to orange from her seat in front of the campfire.

"Saturday, right?" Vikky answered the question with a question of her own. It was just plain old ordinary Saturday, no birthdays or holidays. Nothing special.

"Nope. Tommorow is Saturday, which made today Friday the 13th. That means anything can happen before midnight!" She cackled and said, "I'll get you my pretty ... you and your little dog too!" She cackled again.

Carel checked her watch as she ignored the various stories going on around her of Friday the 13th's of the past. It was 8:45. Damn, where were those guys? The girls had gotten to the campgrounds at 6:30. She had even called the guys right after that and talked to James. He'd said they might be a little late because of a hockey game they were playing. Carel didn't think they would be THAT late. She wondered if she and the others were going to be stood up.

Petra must have been reading Carel's thoughts. Shivering in the night breeze that was picking up, she commented somewhat sourly, "Man, I don't think those guys are ever going to show. In fact, I'm starting to think we never should have come ourselves. We probably should have waited until we found out for sure what happened to that Bailey dude." 

Vikky was surprised to hear Petra say that: it was the same way she was feeling. But she didn't say anything in agreement with Petra.

No one else commented on that either. Instead of playing it safe like they should have, they decided to act like a bunch of gutsy dames; something they weren't. The group could have easily returned to Carel's house, but they each knew that no one would want to suggest it. None of them wanted to lose face with the others.

It became silent again. Uncomfortably, Amity stretched her hands out to the fire, palms out. Her blonde hair turned gold in the light. Petra brought out a bag of marshmallows from her olive green backpack. "Does anybody want some?" she asked, holding the mallows out, her voice pinched sounding.

Only Amity replied. "Sure!" She even had enthusiasm in her voice. She was a bottomless pit. Nothing could ever spoil her appetite, yet her figure didn't show it. She eagerly took the mallows from Petra's purple gloved hands, and then began rummaging around in her own bag for the graham crackers and chocolate bars she brought along. After she had her small feast laid before her on the blanket, long tined fork for roasting included, she looked around the group and asked, "Does anyone want me to make them one?"

They just mumbled their "no's" in unison. 

"Ah, you guys are a bunch of sissies," she playfully admonished.

Amity was the tomboy of the group. She got serious for a moment and looked at each of them. "I just wanted to let you all know, I don't think there's any reason to worry. Nothing bad is going to happen tonight." Having said that, for the good of the group, Amity flipped her short cropped hair out of her eyes, and decided she no longer wanted to use the fork she brought from home. If she was camping, then she'd use a stick to make her s'mores. She got up silently, looked around their area. 

In the clearing they'd taken, there was only the fire, burning brightly in a circle of softball-sized stones. Their tents were nearby. Off in the near distance, the land was littered with similar scenery
of other campers, and two restroom/shower buildings.

The others looked around with her, wondering what she was searching for.

Finally, Vikky broke down and asked, "What exactly are you looking for, anyway?"

"Trees, for a good marshmallow roasting stick," came the answer. The girls looked around in confusion.

There they were, in the middle of a forest, and Amity thought she needed to look for trees. No one said anything, but Petra put her hand over her mouth and began to silently shake with laughter. The others followed suit. It was just the thing to lighten the tension. Even Petra seemed to forget about the miserable time she was having: her eyes were tightly closed and her entire body shook with laughter as she kept her hand tightly plastered against her mouth to keep in the soft choking sounds she made when she laughed. Nobody wanted Amity to know they were laughing at her when she was being serious.

"I need to find a decent tree," she explained. "I think white birch would be the best. That's what they make toothpicks out of, you know." Without another word, Amity began hiking off into the woods, hot on the trail of the perfect marshmallow roasting stick.

Rachel Meyers called after her. "Hey Mit!"

"What?"

"Be careful!"

"Yeah, yeah." She undauntedly disappeared into the shadows made by the trees as they grew above together in the sky, their gnarled limbs entwining like snakes.

The remaining girls sat around the campfire, huddled in their down jackets. They looked like brightly colored fat canaries, plumped up in their feathers, ready to stick their heads under a wing and go to sleep on their perches. For April, the weather was cool, but no more so than what was usual for Wyoming. Vikky reached into a pocket and pulled her black earmuffs over her ears. She looked back up at the sky again. There were a few dark clouds blowing quickly into view from the west. It looked like rain was on the way.

Carel's stomach made a gurgling sound. She reached over to Amity's spot and grabbed one of her chocolatenbars. Embarrassed by the sound of her stomach growling again, she explained, "I haven't had anything to eat today."

There was no response from anyone. Still kind of uncomfortable, Carel pulled the brown wrapper and silver foil from the bar and threw them into the fire. She raised the candy bar to her lips, and suddenly an ear piercing scream filled the air. In fear and shock, Carel dropped the bar to the ground. Soon, a swarm of hungry ants would overtake it. All their heads snapped in attention to the way Amity had gone. The scream quickly turned into a short drawling whine, and dwindled away to nothing.

Carel's face had gone pale. Vikky jumped up and screamed back, "Amity?AMITY?! Are you alright?"

The only response came from the wind whispering through the trees around them. Rachel began whispering to herself. "Oh Mary, mother of God, please save us. Our Father, who art in Heaven-" She was a devout Catholic.

"Shut up Rachel, this instant!" snapped Vikky. Her head started to throb and she couldn't think with Rachel muttering to herself like that. Vikky ran from the group for a few short yards, the same way Amity had gone. She called out Amity's name again. Still, there was no answer. Anxiously, the eyes of the other girls were on her, wondering what Vikky would do. She returned to the group, and took charge. "Alright girls, listen up!" When she had everyone' attention, which didn't take long to get, she announced in a frightened voice despite the front she was putting on for their benefit, "That definitely was Amity, I'd recognize her voice anywhere. Something's happened to her: it may have been one of the guys playing a joke on us, or it may have been her by herself.
Remember how she mentioned tomorrow is Friday the 13th?"

The girls all nodded their heads in agreement. "Good. I'm gonna go out there and look for her, and I-"

Carel cut her off. "What? Look, you can't just go out there! What if that Bailey lunatic is still out there and got Amity?" As Carel said that, Rachel shrieked once in horror, her fist pressed tightly against her open mouth.

The others began a chorus of "Yeah, what if's" and "She's right's."

Their shared fear was finally admitted and, possibly, a reality. It looked as if they might not let her leave.

"Maybe it was just a loon," Petra suggested frantically, "I hear they sound like a woman screaming." No body seemed to buy it.

Carel grabbed Vikky's arm. Forcefully, she told Vikky, "You're not going back out there until we hear from Mit." She looked around the group. "Nobody leaves. We stay together!" Vikky shook her off.

"What if Amity can't answer?" she challenged. "Do you just want to leave her out there," Vikky demanded, pointing to the woods, "Or do you want to wait until the guys show up, or even until it's dawn?" She didn't give her friend a chance to answer. "I'm going out there, getting Amity, and then we're getting the hell out of here and going home!" Vikky wasn't afraid anymore of finding Bailey lurking around out there, but she knew she should be. "If I don't return in," she said, checking her watch, "10 minutes, I want all of you to go to the nearest ranger station." It was about a half mile away, lit by electric lanterns along the trail. Vikky knew they'd get there safely.

Without another word from anyone, Vikky took off running. As she ran, she heard Rachel call out, "Good luck, and God bless!"

She had been running about two minutes when she started to wonder how far Amity had gone. She must have been moving at a pretty steady pace. It was then Vikky tripped over a rock she didn't see, that she realized she'd forgotten to grab her flashlight. She stumbled forward, and caught herself from landing in her head.

The whole time, she'd been calling out Amity's name, over and over again, hoping for a reply. Her mind was racing with possibilities for the scream: Amity could have tripped, sprained her ankle and couldn't walk; she tripped, hit her head and was out cold; the guys showed up, found Amity alone in the woods and scared her; she was trying to play a joke on them. Well, Vikky didn't really believe the last one. Whatever it was, it just couldn't have been a joke on her part. That was a real scream, of pain.

Through the budding branches, the moon shone down as white ribbons on the ground below. Along the path, every shadow was illuminated. But of course, Amity being who she was, she didn't take the path. Instead, it looked like she had chosen to go the beaten path. Vikky could see her footprints in the mud as she'd left the path, and started to follow them. That area to hike must have been popular. Along with Amity's prints, Vikky could see others. 

Up ahead was a fallen log. Not thinking much about it, Vikky leapt over it as she ran, as graceful as a running doe. As she landed on the hard earth, her foot caught on a smaller log, and she rolled over. Her hands groped in the darkness for the same log to help herself up. She found it, and strangely enough, it was smooth and cool. Metal? Vikky picked it up and squinted at it in the dark. It was Amiy's flashlight. She saw the switch on the side and flicked it on.

As Vikky swept it over the ground, she wasn't prepared for what she'd find.

The log she'd so easily flown over was Amity, laying on the ground on a layer of leaves, on her stomach. Vikky figured she was just unconscious. Overjoyed and relieved, she turned Amity over, but then screamed louder than she ever had before.

There was a sharp branch plunged deep within her heart. The blood had seeped through her shirt and coat, and began to puddle on the ground beneath her. The earth couldn't drink in the scarlet liquid fast enough, taking life from Amity where she lay. Her face was frozen in a look of complete horror: her mouth still wide open in a silent scream, her eyes open so wide that she had to have seen everything, her hands layed out before her, trying to defend herself.

Amity's horrified eyes stared up at the cloud filled sky above. Her forehead had been crushed. Dirt was scattered across her face finely, like black freckles. It was even in her eyes, mixed with the blood that had poured from the wound. Bits of white and grey poked through the wound on her forehead, but it no longer bled. The blood was still moist on her skin. The bloodied rock that was used to do it was laying only scant inches away. In the cold night, Amity was already starting to turn a pale shade of blue, her lips and fingernails first.

Vikky's mind couldn't comprehend what she was seeing. As her cold tears began to spill from her eyes, Vikky turned away so she couldn't see Amity's face. But it was too late. The image stayed in her mind. Vikky's own heart pounded thunderously within her chest. Palpitations made her breath come in short quick gasps. Her chest hurt. She kneeled, not to pray, but to vomit, over and over again. Her throat burned, and she thought she would choke to death. It all came up, hot and acidic, food and emotions.

Vikky got up from the ground, trying to scream again to release the emotions that were building up inside her, stumbling backwards the entire time. She tried desperately to get away from Amity's dead eyes. They seemed to follow her where ever she went. She backed into a tree in her haste. Vikky turned around to grab at the trunk, but saw the eyes of Harold Bailey looking down upon her. His towering height of almost six and a half feet tall made him a giant, despite the narrow, bony shoulders. Had he been dressed in colonial garb, Harold Bailey would have looked a lot like Ichabod Crane from "The Headless Horseman." But instead, he still wore the mental institute's scrubs that all the patients were issued. After two weeks on the run, they were dirty and torn. He smelled like sour sweat and body odor. As he panted, looking down on Vikky, even his breath was heavy and putrid.

Vikky opened her mouth to scream again, her arms flailing wildly around her, trying to fight off an attack that hadn't happened yet. No sound came out of her windpipe. She was completely dry, already screaming her vocal cords and throat to the point of strain.

It was then Bailey seemed to come to life, but his eyes still seemed as lifeless and dull as Amity's. It was a totally animal-like reaction: the ' thrill of the hunt finally come to a climax' Harold smiled widely at her, showing his pink, toothless gums. He grunted almost happily, and spit ran down his heavily stubbled chin. His tongue licked over his chapped lips and wet gums hungrily.

Mortal fear overtook Vikky completely. Her body froze and her lungs locked up tight. She knew her air and her fate were sealed off completely. At his towering height, the last thing Vikky saw was another rock like the one Bailey used on Amity. He raised it high above his head, the night breeze picking up the flaps of his ragged Institute shirt, he didn't even seem to be cold without a jacket or decent shoes

Vikky continued to silently scream, her body shaking, close to the point of throwing up again. She was too far gone to even consider running away. She closed her eyes as the rock came crashing down above her by Bailey.

                                                               * * * * * 

From the Cheyenne Crier, Saturday, April 14, 1991: pictures of Vikky, Amity and Bailey accompanied the article

Bailey found, presumed killer of two
by Phil Edwards

Cheyenne--Harold Bailey, of the Wyoming State Mental Health Institute, was found last night by park rangers at the KOA Kampgrounds in Cheyenne. Instead of being returned to the Institute after being missing since April 1, Bailey was taken into police custody, for the alleged murders of Amity L. Mitchell, 17, and Viktorya Morgan, 18, both of Cheyenne.

The girls' bodies were found in the woods after being reported missing by friends. Bailey was found nearby, with the blood of both girls on his clothing and hands. A large bloody rock was found nearby with Bailey's fingerprints on it, presumed by police to be the murder weapon. Mitchell and Morgan were camping at KOA Kampgrounds with friends last night. When Bailey disappeared, the police department originally announced he'd been left in an unlocked room, judging it had been
accidental on the part of an orderly. That orderly has not been identified by the Institute. After his escape on April 1, police set a 10 mile radius around the Institute as a danger area.

"For the sake of the families, we will not be releasing any more information at this time," said Cheyenne Police Chief Michael Keene, after Bailey's apprehension just after midnight.

Bailey will not be readmitted to the Institute, despite requests by Bailey's doctor and lawyer.

"Right now, Mr. Bailey needs to be in a caring environment where he can be looked out for," said Dr. Kenneth Thoma. "He has the mind of an impaired child and doesn't know right from wrong. He'll surely suffer if he thinks he is being treated unfairly."

Bailey's Institute-appointed lawyer, Robert Smith, agreed. "Mr. Bailey's rights of freedom are being unjustly ignored. Right now, the murder charges are only alleged. Why should a suspect be taken into custody?" Smith asked.

Sarah Morgan, Viktorya's mother, was admitted to Grace Hospital last night following the police taking in Bailey. The parents of both girls declined to comment on the situation. The Institute reports Bailey has no known relatives. Chief Keene has set up a press conference for 9 AM, Monday morning at City Hall.