Monday, March 26, 2012


This was me doing my work
while a film crew was trying to
capture the workings of of the
clerks who kept the courtroom
up and going.  (Yes, that is my
real hair!)
Back in the mid 70s I worked as a Courtroom Clerk at the Culver City Municipal Court.  At that time it was a small court with only one judge and one courtroom.  In the clerk's office there were 6 women who did the business end of the court; all the way from traffic tickets to small claims and civil law suites.  Once in a while we had an arraignment on a major crime, but mostly it was the small stuff that went through out court.

All of the women worked very closely together and we became kind of like a family.  We ate lunch together, bowled together and often went out together.  Each year one of us was rotated into the "PARTY PLANNER" position.  It was this person's job to put together a birthday party for for each lady's birthday.  It was held in the break room during the afternoon breaks.   As a perk, the "PARTY PLANNER was given the whole afternoon to set up and break down the party.  My second year at the court I suddenly found myself in that position.

In two years, the gals in the clerk's office had enough time to get a read on me.  They knew I was accident prone, was a tad unpredictable, and was not beneath playing a practical joke now and then.  Bottom line was to unanimously DRAFT KAREN!

As for me I really didn't want the job because I knew that I would end up working my heart out making it something EPIC each time;  and I did.  Every party I threw had a theme based on what I knew about the person of honor. All of the decorations were hand made and colorful.  And, here's the clincher, each party incorporated a practical joke into the mix.

The first party started off with a bang (or rather a "slumphhhhhh!").   The break room was beautiful. Hand made paper flowers made a gorgeous center piece.  Each person had their own hand made paper corsage and BIB (key word).  Also, at the place of honor sat a  beautiful, home made cake.  We also had ice cream and a bowl full of punch.  Everything looked NORMAL.

We always did the cake cutting at the beginning of the afternoon  breaks so everyone could be there to sing happy birthday and watch the blowing out of the candles and the cutting of the cake.  I remember Mary sitting down while everyone sang happy birthday to her.  

Now, Mary was the #2 head honcho, very quiet, prim, and proper.  I began to feel butterflies in my stomach as this was a SPECIAL cake that I had baked and decorated myself.  I held my breath (and backed up a little) as I handed Mary the cake knife.  You see, Mary's cake was booby trapped.  There was a balloon neatly tucked into the center of the three layer cake with thick yummy icing spread over it's bulging top.  I had made sure that Mary had a large bib to cover her clothes as she dressed meticulously.

Mary leaned forward with an intent look on her face and placed the sharp cake knife in the dead center of the cake.  She gently pushed down (I stepped back a little further).  But, instead of the POP I expected there was a sloughing sound as the balloon collapsed.  The weight of the icing caused it to implode and sink into the void left by the balloon.

Mary's mouth was hanging open as a look of disbelief spread across her face.  For a brief moment everyone in the room had a mixed assortment of facial expressions, not quite comprehending what they had just witnessed.  Then the whole room erupted with laughter.  Actually, I was relieved, because I didn't know how far a POPPED balloon could fling icing.  I quickly pulled out the real cake and a good time was had by all (including the judge who had come out of his chambers to see what the uproar was about.  And I might add, from then on, he took a recess for each party so he could participate).

Well, at this point the cat was out of the bag so I had to be more devious.  I knew they would be expecting something so for the next party I put those trick candles on the cake and Betty thought that was the surprise.  However, as Betty put the knife into her cake she soon found out that she, also, had been had.

The knife went in smooth as silk, and then Betty went to pull it out.  The cake remained on the knife and as she pulled the knife up and away she found herself sitting there with a piece of beautifully iced styrofoam raised into the air.  

The neat part about my parties was to watch the look on my victims faces as they would go from flummoxed to flabbergasted to flat out hysterical.

I let one birthday go by without any cake shenanigans.  I had set the break room up with children's tables and chairs.   It was decorated like a play room.  You should have seen these prim women and marshals (packing heat) sitting gingerly in the small chairs.  It was a hoot!

The last cake I did was frozen and the gal wielding the knife was about 6 foot tall and muscular.  She bent the darned knife as she stabbed it into the cake.  People were lying on the table laughing with tears running down their faces.

They asked me to take the party planner position again the following year, but I declined.  I said that I had run out of ideas and my parties were too rowdy for the courthouse.  My only regret is that I didn't take pictures.

kt 2/26/12

Monday, March 19, 2012



KIT (bird watching)
One night, not too long ago,  I had a sore throat and huge dose of NyQuil rendered me zombified the next morning .   Barefoot, I schlepped into the kitchen and  stepped squarely into a fairly large pile of what, I thought, was regurgitated dog food (Toby overeats once in a while).

I immediately thought to myself, "This just might make it to BLOG status."  Thank God there was an empty baggie setting on the table.  I quickly stowed the offended foot in the baggie and made my way to the bathroom by the kitchen (while trying not to step squarely on the foot).  I adopted a kind of hop-drag type of gate which drew a playful attack from Toby.  He tried to wrest the baggie from my foot and I had to fight him to maintain ownership of the protective cover.

Once there, I stuck the disgusting foot into the toilet and graced it with a "swirly."  In fact, it got two!  Then I sprayed that miserable extremity, profusely, with lysol and deemed it once again acceptable.  From there I raced to my computer and started writing.

Once finished with my intro, I went back to the kitchen and stood there contemplating how to best clean up the disgusting pile of glop.  Kit,  my cat, nonchalantly strolled by.  She stopped,  stared blankly at me, turned up her nose, flipped her tail in the air, pointed her backside to me, and strolled off.   

Ok, so, when I finally had a plan formulated (that did not include leaving it there until it dried) I armed myself with plastic gloves, throw away wipes, Lysol spray, another baggie, and a face mask.  Kit came by again, froze in mid-step, and giving me a wide birth dashed through the room; and hid.  She knew by experience that seeing me in such garb was a signal that it was unsafe for anyone to be around.

I guess it could have been worse.  I could have found the muck on the floor of one of the many carpeted rooms in the house.  But the mental gags going on in my head made it hard to clean up no matter where it was.

This is where I apologize to Toby.  You see, it wasn't his mess.  Upon closer inspection (much to my chagrin) there was fur and guts  (yuck) in the gastronomical gift.  (Way to go Kit!)  Not only did she leave the nasty carcass of a mouse on my front porch for me to find earlier, but she gifted me with the rest of it a day later.

Aren't you glad I elected to forgo the attachment of a (before and after) picture for this entry!

          #222-THE PARTY PLANNER

kt 11/4/2011

Monday, March 12, 2012



"You would have thought she learned a lesson from her experience in 1968.  
But apparently, with the passage of time,
 her brain does not process old lessons into useable knowledge. If you didn't
read that post, here is the link.  Just click on it."

I was living in Missouri, again, after moving my children and myself from California.  I had been divorced for about 7 years and had purchased my first house.  I was so proud of myself and so proud of my new property.  The house sat on 3 1/2 acres of land in a small rural town of about 6,000 people.  The house had once been a farm house which was built back in the early 40s.  It was sturdy, well built, had two bedrooms, a very large front room, dining room, kitchen and bathroom.

One Saturday morning in 1977 I was out front doing yard work.  There was a lot of that kind of work to be done on my new place, but I was joyfully mowing, cutting, trimming and in general doing a bang up job preening my new home.

Plopping down in front of a crepe myrtle (a beautiful plant by the way) I started to pull weeds and trim around the base of one of the myrtles.  Out darted this cute little snake about 6 inches long and about as big around as my pinkie.  I quickly slapped my ungloved hand down and caught it by the back of the neck.  At the time I was thinking, that my son, Gene, would probably like to have a pet snake (de' ja vous).

Fortunately, (not necessarily for them) there were some men across the street in my neighbor's back yard.  They were digging a pit in which to fashion a storm shelter.

I walked across the street and into the yard with my newly acquired friend dangling from the thumb and forefinger of my right hand.  I stepped up to the edge of the hole (which was about 6 x 6 x 6) held my hand out over the pit (great choice of words, right?) and asked, "Do any of you guys know what kind of snake this is?" (Nope, as my friend said at the beginning of this post, I didn't learn a thing from before).

Other than at a sporting event, have you ever seen men jump six feet into the air, up and over an obstacle?  Well, I had the pleasure of seeing 2 men levitate almost straight up and out of that hole in a split second.  This not being the big city, but being a town with a church on almost every corner, they weren't shouting obscenities.   It went more this, "Dang lady!"  "Woah there, girl!"   "For heaven's sakes, woman!"

Yes, you guessed it.  I had found another Copperhead.  Only, this time it was a baby.  Yes, it had a beautiful pattern but it was more black and grey and did not have the bright copper color as yet.  But, I was puzzled by their reaction to this cute little guy/gal until one of them calmed down enough to tell me that the little guys were almost as venomous as the big ones.

"Are you reading this, Sisssssy?
Can you believe that she has gone and done it...
At that point I became concerned.  Here, I had it by it's neck.  I didn't want it back in my yard because of my children and pets.  In fact, I didn't want to turn it loose at all.  That is when my neighbor suggested that I just go into the street, drop it and run.  He would then chop it into pieces with his shovel.  So, that is what we did.  I dropped the sucker and ran.  He chopped away and dispatched it post haste.

My neighbor stood there for a minute and staired at me (by that time I was up on my porch).  He smiled, shook his head, turned, and headed back to his yard.  For months, when ever he saw me he would smile and shake his head.

And this is not then end of my snake stories.  I have at least two more coming up in the next month or so.
See if you can pick them by the coming attractions I will end each post with.


kt 8/11

Monday, March 5, 2012


When my children and I first moved to a small town in Missouri (the end of the world, according to my children) we decided to have all of the animals around us that we could not have while living in the city.  First we set up a coop and filled it with chickens.  Next we decided to have ducks.  I swear, they are the nastiness, dirtiest, and stupidest animals I have ever had the misfortune to own.
Animated Duck walking in rain

Big beak

We set up a kiddy pool (you know the kind with the hard metal shell and a plastic liner) and we put them up in the chicken coop each night.  We assumed that, eventually,they would put themselves away at night like the chickens.  NOPE!  They plopped themselves down right where they stood when it got dark.  This became a real pain (for us and the ducks) because my kids and I would have to run around in the dark looking for them.  Often we found them the hard way (when they squawked after being stepped on).  They never learned.  I found this to be incredibly stupid since there were all kinds of animals around that would enjoy a nice duck feast.  
Duck eats fish

We did have fun with those ducks (Daffy and Doris).  We even purchased fish to turn loose in the pool so we could watch them dive for them.  However, one afternoon the sky clouded over quickly, as it often does in Missouri, and, without a doubt, we were about to have a severe storm.

The INTELLIGENT chickens had already noticed the impending danger and had quickly headed for their coop.  But, not the ducks, no, THEY WERE STILL SWIMMING IN THEIR POOL!  My son, Gene, and I tried to get them out of the pool, but they would just gaily swim out of our reach as if it was some kind of game.  
The thunder and lightening began to make an ominous approach.  Each time the lightening would flash those STUPID ducks would dive under the water to escape (DUH!).  I began yelling, "YOU STUPID  DUCKS GET OUT OF THE WATER BEFORE YOU GET FRIED!"  At this, I stepped into the pool, and scooped the ducks up in my arms.

That is when my 12 year old son put his hands on his hips and calmly said, over the rumble in the sky,  "MOM, NOW WHO'S THE STUPID ONE?"

PREVIEWS OF MONDAYS TO COME: (quick quiz...can you guess which of these posts have to do with a snake?)




kt 2/18/12