Friday, February 28, 2014

My neck of the woods

I guess I'm the only one who wasn't amused by that viral video of middle-school kids wiping out on an icy sidewalk.  All I could think was, "Why isn't the guy filming this helping those kids?"

Similarly, there are currently several local Craigslist postings from people seeking to rehome their pets because their kids "play too rough" with them.  Why don't they teach their kids how to be kind to animals?

Churlish.  Churlish is what I'm feeling.  Must be the weather.  Seven below this morning.  Can't I just fast-forward through the next couple of weeks?  I swear, if I had someone to watch the cats, I'd be hopping on a plane and heading South RIGHT NOW.  It's been a few days since the local airports have been closed due to blizzards, so I'd actually have a chance of making it.

Every time I see a pair of shoes in a store ad and think, "OooOOOoooh, cuuuuute!," it turns out they're kids' shoes.  *I* want a pair of Mary Janes with rainbow sequins, dammit.

I am on Butter Watch at work.  I can't say anything more about it right now, but I'll let you know how it turns out.

Foster Bindi is starting to come around.  She is definitely a tortie, in that she can only handle so much attention before she flips out, but her "flip-outs" consist of yelping and running away. I've fostered torties in the past whose "flip-outs" involved teeth and claws, so Bindi is doing fine by me.

I can't believe I'm saying this, but I miss my Jillian workouts.  I really need to get back into that.  And no, it doesn't have anything to do with Butter Watch.

Why is the buffest guy on Survivor on the "Brains" team?  Is he an astronaut or something?  I don't get it.

I'm betting that the daffodils are starting to poke up through the garden soil right now.  I just don't feel like shoveling the snow off to find out.

How about you?  What's going on in your neck of the woods?

Wednesday, February 26, 2014


Tinks, Destroyer of Worlds, Shredder of Toilet Paper.  (You can see Bindi slinking out of the room in the lower right corner of the pic above, all, "I didn't see NUTHIN.")

Yes, cabin fever has set in.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Chocolate Raspberry Cake

So, I went to the bakery outlet yesterday to pick up some bagels and walked out with a chocolate raspberry cake.  I don't know why Entenmann's has it in for me.  I actually had a dream last night (I know, I KNOW) that all of my jeans fit really, really tight, which will come true shortly if I don't lay off the cake.

And in other Sunday news, I was lying in bed yesterday morning, looking out the window and contemplating maybe sort of rolling out of bed, when I saw Soda go darting past the bedroom door with something rather ... large ... hanging of his mouth.

Yes, I'm out of bed NOW, Soda, thankyouverymuch.

It was a mole.  A BIG mole, and still very much alive, which was proven when Soda promptly dropped it and it went scurrying off, causing a mad dash as the cats went after the mole and I went after the critter container so I could scoop it up.

(The critter container is just a Cool Whip tub with a piece of cardboard to put on the top.  I keep it in an easy-to-reach spot in the kitchen to deal with the unending number of small animals that my cats insist on bringing in through the pet door.)

So!  I went from lazily dozing to full-on animal control mode in about thirty seconds.  *sigh*  But the mole was captured, and appeared to be in fine spirits, considering, so I took him out back and released him into the brush.

And in other cat news, I was gifted a giant lion statue (by someone who couldn't bear to put it out to the curb.  Yeah, my home is decorated in Early American Curb.).

Cats, meet your new overlord:

I'm thinking that I'll put him out in the garden with Mr. Z. come spring, and then all I'll need is a statue of Marlon Perkins and I can recreate classic Wild Kingdom episodes right in the front yard.

Yeah, my neighbors love me.

Oh, and I have to admit to being a little befuddled by the Amazing Race last night, when one of the contestants had to drop out due to illness, and they pulled another contestant out of thin air to replace him.  I don't know if she was, like, literally waiting in the wings, or if she got a phone call from the producers along the lines of "Get your butt out to L.A. right now and you can be on the show!", but, well ... don't any of these people have jobs?  How are all of these people available to just drop everything and go fly around the world?

I guess I'm just jealous.

Although, I don't know.  I'd only do the show if they skipped all the tightrope-walking and eating-five-pounds-of-haggis stunts, so I don't guess I'll be on there any time soon.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Me and Dad

When I was going through my photos for the memory board for Mom's funeral, I found this Polaroid of me and my Dad, dated July 1969.

Looks like we were both a little fashion-challenged.

The boat to the right is the Wanderer.  It was a big old fiberglass tank that was always full of spiders.  That's the boat we took up the Saint Lawrence Seaway and through the Rideau Canal one summer.   To the left is the Lovely Lady, the boat my Dad bought after he sold the Wanderer (and its spider population).  The Lovely Lady was built before WWII and was all teak and mahogany - a beautiful boat. 

Oh, and now you can see why my nickname was "Bowl Bean" as a kid.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Always, always, always ... and then never again.

I always put collars on my cats.  Because they are indoor/outdoor, I just feel like it's a smart move.  People will see a cat with a collar and know it's not a stray, and they will check a collar for ID.  I buy stretchy, breakaway collars, so that should one of the cats get "hung up", the collar will either stretch enough to pull over their head, or snap apart.  I print my phone number on the collars, so that should they wander, there is an easy way for whoever finds them to contact me.

Until tonight.

Tonight,  I got home from work, and discovered that Pony had somehow gotten "hung up"  on his own collar.  He  had gotten his collar caught in his mouth, so that it was in effect acting like a horse bridle with a too-tight bit.  I don't know how long it had been that way, but at that point I had been away from home for nine hours, and he had drooled and slobbered and at some point vomited and generally worked himself into a panic, trying to get that collar off.

I will tell you right now, this house smelled like cat fear.

As soon as I saw what had happened, I bent down and unsnapped  the collar.  I have no idea why it hadn't come off during his struggles; the elastic portion was still stretching, and the breakaway function was working as designed; it must have been something about the angle of the collar that prevented it from releasing.

That poor cat.

Of course,  all of the other cats were upset, too, from watching  Pony struggle.

Thankfully, Pony is alright.  As soon as I got that got-dam collar off, he started to groom himself.  Then he got himself a big old drink of water, and ate plenty of food, and just in general decompressed.  Everybody decompressed; there's some heavy-duty cat-napping going on right now.

And I will never collar a cat again.  After I made sure that Pony was okay, I took off Soda's collar.  And then Tinks'.  They are microchipped,  so there is still a way to ID them.  I simply can't take the risk of what happened today ever happening again.

Pony, I am so, so sorry for what  happened today.  You and your brudders are nudists now; try not to end up on any sketchy cat-porn websites, okay?


So, I know I talked the other day about being happy despite the cold, but you know what?  I've discovered that it's a whole lot easier to be happy when it's not below zero outside.  When I got up this morning, it was 18 degrees outside, positive eighteen degrees, and I was practically grinning.

Pony had to go to the vet last night for a recheck on his pinkeye, and at this point it's amusing me to call him Bob Costas, although I don't think that he's amused, and I doubt that Bob would be amused if he knew.  The vet says things are looking better, although I have to continue with the pinkeye drops until they run out, which, judging by the amount left in the bottle after the first two weeks of treatment, ought to happen around May or so.  But!  Pony is a trouper, even though he does tend to run and hide when he sees me coming lately, which is not exactly an ego booster, although the two ferals have been running away from me for months, so I really should have a thicker skin by now. 

Olympics!  Is anyone watching them?  I try to get interested, I really do, but it's just ... like ... take ski jumping, for example.  A dude comes down the hill, flies off the ramp, goes really far in the air, and lands.  Then another guy comes down the hill, flies off the ramp, goes really far in the air, and lands.  Then another guy ... you get my point.  Oh, sure, there's the occasional wipeout thrown in, but isn't that like watching NASCAR for the crashes?  I mean, a lot of people do that, too, but it's just not my thing, is all.

I finally got around to watching Les Miserables, the 2012 version, and all I can say is, couldn't they have given poor Jean ValJean a girlfriend?  I mean, the dude never caught a damn break his entire life - did Mr. Hugo really have to make him celibate, too?  It just seems a little much.  And yeah, Anne Hathaway or whatever her name is acted her little heart out, and I actually cried through more of the movie than I would care to admit, which ... I thought musicals were supposed to make you happy.  But!  I enjoyed it, and I'll probably watch it again to catch the stuff I missed, because two-and-a-half hours of anything is hard for me to pay attention through, so I'll hang onto the Netflix for a while.

I got in a rather heated argument with a co-worker the other day, which, all I can say is, the entitled little sh*t had it coming, but still, the f-bomb was probably not my wisest choice of words, although my boss did everything short of shake my hand afterward, so I think my job is secure.

And!  My boss, who is a conservative white old man, has been taken great pleasure in telling the employees that thanks to Obamacare (spoken with a sneer), we would have to start reporting our employer-paid insurance premiums as taxable income, so it I was glad to be able to find the time to do a little actual, you know, research the other day and prove him wrong.  Stop listening to your conservative white old man friends, Mr. Bossman.  They don't know jack.

So!  That's what I've been doing.  How about you?

Monday, February 17, 2014

Oh, and I forgot to tell you ... Pony has pinkeye

Yeah.  I didn't even know cats could  get pinkeye, but there ya go.

And it's contagious, and I currently have FOUR other cats in the house, two of whom are feral and therefore not treatable should the need arise.  

And poor Pony (we're all about the alliteration around here) is now on two different kinds of eyedrops - the pinkeye drops, and the drops he was already on for the lingering effects of kittenhood herpes.

You know what?  Sometimes I look at my life, and I don't know how I ended up here.  And I'm sure that if my cats could do that, they'd think the same.

And yet here we are.  Kittenhood herpes and ferals and below-zero temps and all. And happy as clams.  Go figure.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Three! Three! Three cats in one!

First off, happy Valentine's Day, for those who celebrate it.  Personally, I bought myself a heart-shaped box of chocolates, which I plan on enjoying all by myself.  Eff that boyfriend sh*t.  But!  If you are planning on being on the receiving end of some Valentine's swag today, congrats!

Okay, so I talked the other day about how the person who adopts Bindi will actually be getting three cats, because of her multi-colored coat.  Here's proof:

Bindi's been quite the gal about town lately.  Here she is, tormenting her sister and Pony on the cat condo complex:

I love how Callie's got her paw on her head in that pic, like, "D'OH!  Will you stop BUGGING me?!"

Here's Bindi with Tinks:

And of course, bird-watching is a big hit this time of year:

I love how Callie plopped down on top of Pony's tail in that pic, all, "Excuse me, pardon me, excuse me, PLOP."  Good-natured Pony don't care.

So!  Bindi and Callie.  Available for adoption. Call me!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Doo, doo, doo, lookin' out my front door

I do love that door.  The snow can go ... well, you know what the snow can do.

(p.s. That's Mini-Z, a plastic kids'  ride-on horse, on the porch, in case anyone's wondering. He's wearing a snow crown.  And probably wishing he was in Florida right now.)

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

If I wanted to live in Siberia, I'd f*cking well move there.

Dudes.  Duuuuudes.  I just can't with this weather anymore.

When I got up at six this morning, it was eighteen below in my backyard.

I actually woke up at five, and listened to my furnace running for an hour, because I wasn't sure if it could handle the predicted cold.  When I bought the house, almost five years ago, I soon discovered that the super-duper, high-efficiency, gigantic furnace was actually too big for the house, and thus incapable of running for more than about thirty seconds before choking itself off.  (Insert *choking itself off* jokes here.  Go ahead.  Is fun.)

Five years, three HVAC techs, and many dollars in repairs later, the furnace still struggles to keep up on cold days.  Throw in eighteen below, and you've got one furnace, three space heaters (including one in the marginally-heated garage to keep the pipes from freezing), and one knock-off Edenpure all going full blast, along with one anxious homeowner who wakes up every time the furnace kicks on, i.e., every thirty seconds.

And by the time I left for work?  It had dropped to twenty below.

Let's see.  In the last five days, we have had morning lows of minus 10 (Saturday), minus 3 (Sunday) minus 4 (Monday), minus fourteen (yesterday), and the ding-dong bell ringer of twenty f*cking below, this morning.

Will someone send me a plane ticket, please?  I would gladly go to HELL right now, if it was warmer.


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Recently Read

As usual, skip it if you wanna.

1.  A Friend  of the Flock by John McCormack - Memoirs  of a country vet.  I read his book "Fields and Pastures New" and enjoyed it, and  this one was good as well.

2.  The Maid's Version by Daniel Woodrell - Novel based on a true incident of a southern dance hall burning down  in the twenties.  This book got great reviews, but I couldn't really get into it, and I didn't finish it.

3.  Movie review!  The Sapphires is a movie "based on a true story" (meaning, "Well, it COULD have happened") about a girl-singing-group in 60s Australia.  It was enjoyable enough, but I tried to get all the way through and never quite made it.  I think that when you're going through tough times personally, it's just hard to get into any kind of pass-the-time recreation.  I'll have to give The Maid's Version, and this movie, another shot down the line.

4.  Back to books.  The Tenth Circle by Jodi Picoult is a novel about a high school girl who says she was raped, and the boy who says it was consensual.  Jodi Picoult sells a ton of books, so I thought I'd give one a try, but I was not impressed by The Tenth Circle.  None of the characters were particularly likeable, the plot was one we've all seen before, and the writing was not particularly memorable or smooth.  I didn't finish it.

5.  The Silver Star by Jeannette Walls - Novel about a pair of young sisters who go to live with their uncle when their mom flakes out.  I LOVED this author's memoir,  The Glass Castle, but this book just rang false to me.  Told from the viewpoint of the younger sister, it almost seemed like it was written by a twelve-year-old, and not in a good way.  Meh.

6.   The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon - I know, I know, I'm late to the party on this one. This is a sprawler of a novel about comic-book writers in the thirties, also including subplots about WWII, the Golem of Prague, and tons of other interesting stuff.  Very good.  It's a "guy book", in that I'm thinking that men would really enjoy it, but I liked it, too.

7.  The Egg and I by Betty MacDonald - This 1945 memoir, about a sophisticated woman who finds herself on a chicken farm in the Pacific Northwest, was made into a movie starring Claudette Colbert back in the day.  While the book was funny, I found the author's attitude toward some of her "lesser" neighbors mean-spirited, although I shouldn't be one to talk when it comes to dissing one's neighbors.  *cough*

8.  Movie review!  I had to Netflix "Phantasm", a low-budget indie horror film from the seventies, to confirm my suspicion that one of the employee's at my mom's nursing home looked just like the funeral home dude from the movie.  Survey says?  Dingdingding we have a winner!  Anyway, the movie is really pretty good, horror film-wise,  with some good special effects for its time/budget, most noticeably the flying spheres.  I liked it, and I don't generally go for the genre.  And holy sh*t, that guy who played the funeral home dude is now working in a local nursing home, I'm convinced of it.

So!  That's what I've been reading, and watching, lately.  How about you?

Monday, February 10, 2014

One big-ass dog

On Saturday, we had an adoption event.  The most notable part had to be this visitor to the store:

That, my friend, is one giant dog.  The pic really doesn't do him justice; he had to go about two hundred pounds.  My boss used to have a lab who weighed one-thirty, and this dog was WAY bigger than him.

Sunday I did a local home visit for a far-off dog rescue, and the cats did this:

They were watching the birds at the feeder, which is hung right outside the window.

And see all the snow on top of the shed?  Yeah, that just keeps happening.  Come soon, Spring.  We're waiting for you.

Friday, February 07, 2014

Foster update

Now that the fosters are out and about, they've decided that the new cat condo is the greatest thing since sliced bread.

Pretty Callie:

And Bindi, giving me the ol' side-eye:

While Bindi does have some tortie-tude going on, she is absolutely the more tolerant of people of the two of them.  I'll have to get some better shots of her coat; if you adopted her, you'd be getting an orange tabby, a black cat, AND a white cat, all in one compact package.

The permacats are fine with the fosters; they're used to having other cats in the house.  Five cats IS an awful lot of cats, though, and I AM rather badly outnumbered should a mutiny occur.  Fortunately, as the only one in the household with opposable thumbs, they need me to open the cat food cans, so I think I'm safe for now.

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Even the deer are like, "yeah, eff this sh*t"

We've got about nine inches so far, with more to come.

Back to shoveling ...

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

What it feels like.

Ever been stone in love?  Head-over-heels, breathtakingly, hopelessly in love?

Maybe it was your first high school crush.  You couldn't wait to see him; everything came to life when the two of you were together.  Oh, sure, you had your family and friends, but nothing, nothing, came close to the feeling of being with that guy.

The absolute head rush of just the thought of him was incredible.  The giddy, dizzy feeling of actually spending time with him.  That stomach roll when you'd see him.  The idea that you'd do anything, anything to see him again, as soon as possible.  Because life was just plain old, boring life, but time spent with him?  Was incredible.  Technicolor.  The best thing ever.

That's what an opiate addiction feels like.

I wasn't going to add my two cents to the whole Philip Seymour Hoffman thing, but then people started talking about how he threw his life away.  How he had everything to live for; a family, money, fame, a career doing what he loved; and he just tossed it away for heroin.  Hell,  *I* was thinking that.

But when you are addicted, when you are in the grip of a drug, nothing feels as good as doing that drug does.  Nothing ever could.  And sure, you've got your wife and your kids and your fabulous job and your famous friends, but unless you can break the grip of the addiction, and stay that way, you will always throw it all away in a second for your true love.  

Even if you don't want to.  Even if you hate doing it.  Even if it's been twenty damn years. You can't help it.  Because nothing feels as good as doing that drug does.

So as much as I hate what happened, I do understand it.  Some people just aren't strong enough to beat it.  Sad, but true. 

Just say no, kids.  Just say no.

Monday, February 03, 2014

Fun with schematics

I bought a cat condo on ebay.

I never learn.

Much, much later ...

Yes, that is Tinks,  in the old condo back in the corner, there, ignoring the new one.


But!  I moved the new condo closer to the old one, in preparation for moving the old condo into the foster room, and as of this morning, all five cats were exploring various aspects of their new climbing apparatus.


And if anybody's got some cat furniture they need to have assembled, I'm available. 

And yes, I did say "all five cats".  My three, plus the two fosters, who are now fully integrated into the house, and who will be here until they are ready for adoption, which, at the rate we are going, ought to be oh ... five years or so from now.  Send help.