No More Empty Fortune Cookies!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

NES - You Bastards! My rebuttal to an excessively high electric bill

There's a few things on my mind tonight, one of which is the extremely high electric bill we received in the mail today followed minutes later by a segment on the news about how Nashville Electric Service has issued a 6% decrease in the fuel surcharge on our bills. Oh reaaaaaaaly NES?
Because you sure can't tell it by my bill. And I promise you, it's not from using my heat in excessive amounts since it's been so cold. Why, you may ask? Because Wifester is the Heat Nazi. Just ask our friends Lilley and Cole. Poor Cole shivers, actually shivers when she's visiting here. But don't take me, Lilley and Cole's word for it, here yah go, I'll even provide solid, tangible evidence. For those of you who may be like me, and need that evidential proof, I offer

See that?? And may god, allah, buddha, jehovah, krishna, kali, and ani difranco help the poor soul who tries to ebb the thermostat up past the 65 degree mark.
Now, I don't expect you to take a single piece of evidence as proof beyond doubt that my electric bill must be wrong, so I offer you

This is me, right now, at my computer blogging, under the covers of a blanket because the heat nazi, I mean my lovely wife becomes possessed with the spirit of a heat loathing demon if the heater comes on. It's not pretty, trust me. We build fires and snuggle under blankets and keep warm that way.
So my bill to the firelog people being exceptionally high right now I accept, my light bill? Not so much.

We're in the middle of a recession and the utilities are going to stick it to us like this? Disgusting. More people have lost their jobs than any other period in my lifetime and I read today that the murder/suicide rate in families has increased dramatically recently. They attribute it to the increased number of job losses leaving people distraught, hopeless, and they end up killing their families and themselves. That makes me so sad.

Just since Monday, 100,000 people have lost jobs in this country. 100,000! That's 50,000 people loosing a job per day. What? Outrageous. Now The post office wants to cut delivery of mail back to 5 days a week.

and this just in...the house just passed $819 Billion on the stimulus plan. No one yet has been able to provide a reasonable explanation as to where in the hell this money is coming from I guess we all need to get us one of those printers that the Fed seems to have gotten their hands on.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Two for One WWCs?!

I totally missed out on posting last week's WWC, and that blows chuncks because I made a pinky promise to myself that I was gonna be better at this keeping up with the blog stuff this year. Sigh.
Well, I also made a promise that I would catch up this week and post a double whammey WWC, then I nearly let today pass me by without getting one, much less the two I owed posted. But here I am, at the last minute uploading photos and keying faster than my fingers can keep up, trying to get this done before my preconcieved "too late" hour. I know, I know. But I kind of like my neurosis. It makes life more interesting.
So, without further delay, here's my attempt at cramming in two weeks of Weekly Words Challenges in to one post.
As we all know, when we cram, we don't get the best results, just enough to get us by. I'm still working on figuring out how to better manage my time.
For those of you who may be new around here, the WWC is a photo meme hosted by our delightfully ingenius hostess, Tink, from Pickled Beef. If you think you want to join, stop on by and visit Tink. Oh, and don't forget there's a Flickr Group for the WWC too.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Mellow Yellow Monday


Oil on Wood

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Going Organic

First off, let me say I did indeed participate in this week's WWC, however, I've been a bit under the weather for the past few days, and have fallen behind, I'll post my WWC , along with this week's WWC on next Tuesday. Sorry for the delay.

On to the pressing issue of the day...

So I've been doing a bit of research on the Sunny Dog's itchy skin condition and from what I've found, in most cases, this stems from a food allergy. We've tried almost every commercial brand of doggie food on the market, and none have completely relieved her issues. So we've been reduced to feeding her benadryl every day. As you can imagine, tons of benadryl daily makes for one sleepy puppy.
Since we've decided to go with the organic options, home made meals vs pre packaaged, more veggies, less meats and so on, we've decided that it would benefit the Sunny-dog too, to have the same organic food options. I've been doing a lot of reading and found some cookbooks with organic recipes for dogs and cats. Complete with everyday meals and treats and even biscuits.

From what I've read, most meals and biscuits can be prepared in advance and frozen for longer storage, then thawed and fed to your pet when appropriate. I LOVE this. Home made food, I know whats going into it, no processed crap and no more worries about toxins in the food.
Even Pedigree, which has been our trusty standby, now has a salmonella recall.
My friend, Snappy, lost one of her dearly loved pups during that whole massive dog food recall two years ago when there was some toxin in everyone's dog and cat food. Her's was a case of an already elderly and diminished health pet who was subject to the toxic ingredients and it was just more than the little gal could handle. I most certainly don't want to risk that with my Sunny-dog.
I've found many reasons to go the all natural, organic route, among the top are :

1. Reduction of skin ailments and allergies.

Organic dog food may provide your pet with the best chance combating skin infections and allergies long term. It is free of artificial colors and flavor enhancers, chemical additives and toxic pesticides that could be the source of your dog’s allergies. Organic dog food contains quality protein and grain sources of exceptional nutritional value. This supports your dog’s immune system to help build resistance to skin infections.

2. More energy and a healthy weight.
Plump pups and fat cats may be cute, but when they suffer from diabetes, organ failure, a back ailment or hip dysplasia, it is a serious, heart-breaking matter. Like humans, overweight pets tend to have less energy for the exercise that could improve their health and physical condition. Once again, it is the superior nutritional value of organic foods that can make a difference. Since it is naturally more nutritious, many owners report their pets eat less organic food than other commercial varieties. Organic food doesn’t contain bulk-fillers, so your pet consumes only what it needs to maintain healthy energy levels and life functions. It probably tastes better too! Dogs feel more satiated eating smaller amounts of tasty, nutrient-dense foods. An organic diet can help your dog (or cat) lose weight and exercise more.

3. Fewer digestive disorders.

Superior sources of grains and proteins and a lack of chemicals and artificial substances makes organic dog food more digestible. (If your dog vomits occasionally after meals or commonly experiences gas, bloating or diarrhea, check with your veterinarian for underlying illness. ) Easily digestible oats, barley or other natural whole grains and human-grade turkey, lamb or chicken make a tremendous difference to your dog’s digestive system. Rather than consuming corn or other bulk fillers and chemical additives, dogs will ingest only what it needs for healthy metabolic functioning. Pets eat and consequently eliminate less when they are on an organic diet. They tend to have more predictable bowel movements with firm, less smelly stools.

4. Better overall health and stronger immunity.

Even if you dog doesn’t suffer from skin ailments, obesity or digestive problems, an organic diet can still be of benefit.
Although nearly every brand of dog food claims to be “nutritionally complete,” most veterinarians still recommend “premium” brands of dog food over “grocery store” varieties. At the heart of the matter is and always has been the better nutritional value of the premium brands. Organic dog food provides better quality sources of nutritional substances than even the non-organic, premium brands. It is more digestible for dogs. One final, key factor is that because it is more digestible, dogs are likely to absorb rather than eliminate more of the nutrients they require to maintain a healthy immune system. Boosting your dog’s immunity may help prevent costly infections and illnesses that require veterinarian care.

5. Quality of Life and Longevity.

Just as the quality of your diet affects the quality of your life, what you feed your pet will have a direct impact on how he or she looks, feels, and acts. By feeding organic food you can help ensure your four legged friend lives a long, happy and healthy life. A luxurious, shiny coat, energy to run and play, a healthy weight and a strong immune system can maximize your dog’s life expectancy and quality of life into old age.

Photo from

That all sounds like good stuff, doesn't it? I think the Sunny-dog will appreciate it, and I'll keep you posted on any progress made in her allergy condition.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Mellow Yellow Monday #2

So I missed the first installment of Mellow Yellow Monday, but here's my photo for this week...

I took this one when Wifester and I visited the aquarium, in Chattanooga, for my birthday. Isn't he just lovely?
If you want to join the Mellow Yellow Monday Group, go see Drowsy Monkey, at People with Cameras.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Progress in process?

He's not done yet, but this is what I've been working on today

Progress in process

He's not done yet, but this is what I've been working on today

Hope of A Nation acrylic, mixed media on 18x24 canvas

Friday, January 16, 2009

In Absence of Macey

To spend my time
with brushes in hand
and puddles of brilliant color
splattered across my pallet
Shaping acrylics into forms
of Divas long past
or landscapes I've yet to witness
except in dreams
The canvas breathes life into creatures
who but for it, would not exist.

Yes, to spend my time
brushes in hand
hues smeared 'cross my face,
my cheek,
my hands...
A big yellow dog draped over my feet...

...When I can not be in her arms
This is my refuge.

Angela J. Schleicher © 2009

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Do Ask, Do Tell

image from

I was never a big fan of the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy, implemented by former Pres. Bill Clinton. Over the years I've often found myself at the epicenter of some hotly contested debates with some of my fellow homosexuals on the subject. To me, it just seemed redundant, seemed to be that if the military didn't want to ask, they didn't and if a soldier didn't want to tell, they didn't and everyone kept to their closets, just like the military wanted them to. Sure, there was some gay bashing going on, but there are a signifigant number of heterosexual women who are raped and beaten by their heterosexual male colleagues in the military all the time too. That seems to be much more of an issue than does consensual sexual contact between two parties. Besides, when one finds themselves out on the battlefield, with bullets whizzing past and mortar shells exploding just feet away, I'm pretty sure another soldier's sexual orientation is just about the penultimate thing on the mind. My first thought would be "why in the hell am I out here?" Eh, but that's just me.
Besides, it just seemed to me that Don't ask Don't tell was a bit of a slap in the face, it was a way of perpertrating bigotry, and at the same time calling oneself progressive.

It appears that with the drain on our military due to the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and fewer and fewer new enrollees, the military is in some dire need of assistance in the form of warm bodies to carry guns into the battlefield. And just in time, Barack Obama has announced that he will be ending the archane Don't ask, Don't Tell policy, that's if he can get it past congress. I must say I applaud him for the gesture, however, the timing seems to be, well, suspect. I mean, really, now that you've got no one else to fight Bush's war, you want us gays? Hurumph.

One of my promises for this year is to be more positive, so I'm going to look at it from a positive perspective and simply say HOORAY for the progress, with minimum reservation in regards to the motivation.

Now, Mr. Obama, whatcha gonna do about this One Man, One Woman silliness?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Bush : "Et tu, House Judiciary?"

My friend, Phil-the-builder, who has a knack for making and building beautiful homes, passed this on to me and I was so riled up by it, I had to share it with you.
It seems that with just days left in the Bush-era, the House Judiciary has made its voice heard loud and clear about the appalling conduct of the current administration, saying, among other things

In keeping with its imperial aspirations, the Administration went to extraordinary lengths to hide its conduct from scrutiny and avoid accountability. Thus, the White House refused to respond to congressional subpoenas, and insisted that presidential aides – and even former aides – are immune from subpoena, even though numerous presidential aides have testified under congressional subpoena during past administrations, as every citizen is legally obligated to do. Here, too, the Administration was following the example set by Richard Nixon. When President Nixon suggested such a claim, Senator Sam Ervin responded: “That is not executive privilege. That is executive poppycock.”

All I can imagine Mr.Bush to be thinking is
"Et tu House Judiciary? Et tu?"


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

WWC and Bossy's Featured Gay is ME!

It's that time once again for the WWC and this time, Tink, over at Pickled Beef, has asked us to showcase our favorite photos from 2008. Easy as pie - NOT.
But I'll do my best. Before that, though, guess what? One of my favorite bloggers, Bossy, from I am Bossy, has me featured right now as one of her featured gays! Ole'!
Thank you Bossy! Much bloggy love back atcha!

Now, on to the WWC, and for those of you who may just be popping in from Bossy's, the WWC is the weekly words challenge, brought to us by the talented and newlywed Tink, from Pickled Beef. It's a weekly photo meme in which we are asked to share our photos that represent some pre assigned words for that week. This week, as mentioned earlier, Tink asked us to bring our favorite photos from last year. Here's some of mine.

From WWC

From WWC

From Gatlinburg

From . . . No More Empty Fortune Cookies

From . . . No More Empty Fortune Cookies

From . . . No More Empty Fortune Cookies

From . . . No More Empty Fortune Cookies

From . . . No More Empty Fortune Cookies

From . . . No More Empty Fortune Cookies

And last, but certainly NOT least is this one, because it was one of the last photos taken of Max before he became sick from cancer...I miss his head-butts. It was really difficult to set the timer on my cell phone camera to catch this one, but I got it and I sent it to the Wifester at work to show her how busy I was at home back when I was unemployed.

From . . . No More Empty Fortune Cookies

Monday, January 12, 2009

Come out, Come out, where ever you are

according to
In Internet culture, a lurker is a person who reads discussions on a message board, newsgroup, chatroom, file sharing or other interactive system, but rarely if ever posts or participates.

The term dates back to the mid-1980s. Because BBSs were often accessed by a single phone line (frequently in someone's home), there was an expectation that all who used a bulletin board would contribute to its content by uploading files and posting comments. Lurkers were viewed negatively, and might be barred from access by the sysop, if they did not contribute anything but kept the phone line tied up for extended periods.

By contrast, many modern Internet communities now advise newbies to lurk for some time to get a feel for the specific culture and etiquette of the community, lest they make an inappropriate or redundant comment, ask a Frequently Asked Question, or incite a flame war. This leads to the tongue-in-cheek command to "lurk more", often intentionally misspelled as "lurk moar". The verb to "de-lurk" means to start contributing actively to a community having been a lurker previously.

There are also some who lurk on a forum habitually, and rarely, if ever, contribute. It is generally difficult to guess how many such lurkers are present, due to their silence. In flame-wars, a participant who is losing an argument will sometimes claim to receive email support from lurkers. This inspired Jo Walton to write a filk on the subject entitled "The Lurkers Support Me in Email"

My buddy, Tink, over at Pickled Beef, reminded me that today is Delurking Day!
Stop by her place and leave a comment and you may just win a much coveted Golden Spork!!!

Me? I'll come by your blog and snoop around, leaving some witty, or not so witty to anyone but maybe me comment. If I really like what I see, I'll tell everyone about you. Deal? So come on and delurk yourself today!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Cleveland at Night

Cleveland by Night Acrylic on 16x20 Canvas

Cleveland Bridge at Night
acrylic/tissue on 5x7 canvas

The Final Countdown & Happy Blogoversary to Me!!!!

Psssst! Hey you! Yeah, I'm talkin' to you. Wanna know something cool?
*clouds part, angel sing, trumpets sound*

The final countdown is on! That's all I'm gonna say about it.
(insert my BIG CHEESY GRIN here)

In other news, I have some new poetry posted here if you care to check it out.

And last but certainly not least,
♪ ♪ Happy, Happy Birthday Baby! ♪♪

Yes, I'm allowed to sing to my blog today, it's our Blogoversary! Leave us alone. We're settling into our relationship and finally a bit more comfortable with each other.
I've learned when to just walk away until I have something positive to say, and Bloggy, in return has shown me such compassion and love. We've been through a lot this past year you know. The loss of a dearly beloved pet, the loss of a job, the finding of my voice in the blogosphere, standing witness to the loss of my gardner's appendages, and becoming more eco friendly as my blog helped me to create Green La Vergne. To top it all off, it even let Wifester in on the fun once! Now that's really being a good sport, if you ask me. (wink, wink) I have the best readers and bloggy-buddies in the whole blogosphere, and I even had the wonderful opportunity to meet one of my favorite fellow bloggers and take an art class with her.
I truly am one FORTUNATE COOKIE.
Way back when I was a strung out, wasted youth on the fast track to nowhere, I never once would have thought that the life I have today could ever be possible. In fact, I would have laughed in your face if you would have told me that this would be where I would end up. That's if you could have caught me coherent long enough to comprehend what you were telling me.
I am so grateful today for my life as it is, my wonderful Wifester, my voice through this blog and YOU GUYS and GALS who make my day every day!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Joy and Sorrow

On Joy and Sorrow

I thought too much of you
Or perhaps, not nearly enough of me
Either way
The critical mass erupted in
my broken heart,
broken home,
broken life...

Though there's truth in what's said:
The greater the heart aches,
The greater its capacity for joy
And for that, I must say "Thank You"
For today my joy
Overshaddows any grief that
that my encounter with you ever caused
And I no longer think so little of me.

Angela J. Schleicher © 2009

Thursday, January 8, 2009

And then she asked me to strip

See that? That's the beautiful Tahitian Pearl that Wifester gave me for Christmas. My little phone doesn't do it justice, but for this story, it'll suffice.
The other day, at the end of a long day of work, Wifester phoned to say she was on her way. I packed up my belongings, shut down my computer, and headed downstairs to wait for her by the doors. It was cold and rainy, so I didn't want to stand outside or begin walking toward her as I did when the weather was nicer. I had been there a few minutes, when I instinctively reached up to ensure that the clasp of my necklace hadn't made it's way to the front, as it seems to like to do, when I realized that it had in fact come unclasped! I grasped my necklace into a tightly clenched fist and gently removed it from my neck, realizing it was to no avail, the pearl was gone. GONE. My beautiful Christmas present, my prescious.
In a panick, I felt all through my hair, I checked my sweater, I even looked on the floor where I was standing and, just in case I'd been so lucky, the open compartment of my purse. Who knows, maybe my prescious has good aim. Alass, it was no where to be found. I was nearly in tears as I dialed Wifester's number. When she answered, I said as calmly as I could muster, "Honey, I'm going back upstairs, my pearl is missing from my necklace, so when you get here, that's where I'll be."
"I'll be right there." she said with a gruff tone that only partially reflected the frustration I could easily envision on her face.
Meanwhile, I backtracked, retracing all my steps, except the one elevator that I had ridden down would not come available, so I could not get in there to check it. I just knew that my prescious had fallen off in that damned elevator and some grimy, greedy, low-life from the second or third floors had surely snatched it up by now. The mind goes to some dingy places when it's panicked.
I went to my desk, the breakroom, I even checked out the restroom and all around the coffee area. I found George, the mail room guy and asked him if he'd seen it laying around, I mean, he travels the whole building, so he'd come across it if anyone would, right? But no.
I headed back downstairs, to check one more time by the doors I was standing by when I realized it was gone, when the Wifester pulled into the parking lot. She came in to help me look and straight away asked if I had checked in my clothes.
Yes, I said, I did. And I had. I had even felt myself up a bit, just to make sure.
We checked the same path I had already checked, and some extra areas, then the Wifester said, "Well, did you take your sweater off and check?"
Did I strip at work? No. I did not. I felt around, It's not there.
"You need to go in the bathroom right now and take your sweater off." It came out with such sternness and authority, I just did it.
I flipped all through my sweater and nothing, then I thought, you know, I have some mammoth boobs here, let me look one good time in my clevage, now that my sweater is off...
Seems my prescious knows just where to go. Right between two nice pillowy breasts. She is the perfect pearl for me!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

New Year, Same Ole' Me?

First things first, you all have heard me talk about Wifester's wonderful mom, right? Besides being wonderful and sweet and loving, she and her business partner started this awesome business to teach builders how to build green buildings! Come on! How awesome is that? Well, the other day she had an accident while at a restaurant and broke her arm, way up between the elbow and the shoulder, OUCH! She's 600 miles away from us, so it's not like we can just hop over after work and check on her. So if you could send her some good, healing thoughts, I'd appreciate it, and I know she would too!

Thanks! Yall rock too!
Now, on to the New Year post...
I woke up on January 1st with a start. I wanted to jump back into the painting I had started on New Year's Eve. I'd stayed up until 3am, much like New Years past, except this time it was to work on a painting instead of a buzz.
Two paintings, actually. Then on the 1st day of the new year, I began some more. Hopefully this pace will sustain itself throughout this year, and I can turn out some decent work, I'm hoping to rent a booth at the Pride festival this year and sell my art, or at least try to.

As I painted, I thought about last year's new year's eve, and reminisced that was the day that Max died.
It wasn't too long after that I started this blog. So my
bloggaversary is rapidly approaching! As a matter of fact, I believe it's this Saturday! I'll have to whip up something special for that.

2008 went by so fast, with so many changes, good and bad, its like a blur. I think I adapt relatively well to change, I've had to learn to with my crazy and ever evolving life, but I watch others greet change into their lives like a negative magnet greets another.
I welcome it. I enjoy the newness of fresh paint on the walls, different people, alternate menu choices.

I don't like to make resolutions, because they seem like unrealistic goals that I later beat myself up for not accomplishing, however, I would like to set some standards for myself for this year. I won't call them resolutions, just a few key points that I plan to address in 2009.

For example, I will make a conscious effort to be even more welcoming to change in my life.
One change I want to make is a dedication to pursuing my art. I truly enjoy it, and I would much rather spend my time painting than calculating invoice
discrepancies and filing fraud claims. It makes me feel happy, whole, and fulfilled when I paint. So why not do it more?

I also am making an effort to be more attentive to my blog, because it relaxes me and brings me so much pleasure. I seem to have a tendency to deny myself the joys of life and that stops here.
I've decided to cut way back on eating things that once had faces. I may find that I go back to being a vegetarian, but I do love fish, and they have faces, so I can't promise that. I just feel so guilty every time I eat meat, and I think "look at that carcass." It really freaks me out. I think I can make do with tofu from here on out, besides, it's leaner and healthier, and I could certainly stand for a healthier diet. Last year Wifester and I dedicated ourselves to omitting fast food, and we achieved it. I am so proud of us for stopping the weekly visits to Sonic and Wendy's. Those are not easy habits to break, let me tell you. Why not take it one step further this year, right?

So that's about all I've got for now. What are you doing this year to welcome change into your life?

Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Year, New Creativity

New Year's Eve brought out a two for one, I guess it was the wine and champagne...

Cleveland in Winter Mixed Media on 16x20 Canvas
acrylic, tissue, epoxy, soy wax
It still needs to be glazed and I think I'm gonna splatter some soy wax on it to help with the snow effect.

While doing that one, I kept thinking about another one I've had my mind and heart set on doing, so as soon as I could get it to a drying point, I set it aside and started on this one:

she's still a work in progress, but Bettie Page has been on my mind ever since I read she had fallen ill and was hospitalized, and subsequently, her passing.
I've wanted to create my tribute to such an iconic figure in America's sexual revolution

So I combined some of my favorite images of her into a collage paying homage to The Pinup Girl Queen