Monday, March 31, 2014

Dear Snow: What. dafuq. already.


Saturday, I went for a walk.  We had had a warm (HA!  Mid-forties. WARM. Sh*t.) few days, so I figured that most of the snow would be off the trails.






Yeah.

My boots were so wet I was sloshing by the time I got back to the car.  Good times.

But!  Saturday night was the trivia fundraiser, and that WAS fun.  One lucky member of our group won the best prize of the night, hands down:




Screw the cash, give us the booze.

After the first round, we were in third.  After the second round, we were in eighth (out of twenty teams) with no statistical chance of winning, so we bet it all and lost on a stupid, STUPID question about playing cards.

Sunday I took Sodapop to the vet for his annual checkup, and I really timed this whole cat-vet thing wrong, because having THREE cats who are ALL due for their annual vaccinations at the SAME time of year is a massive pain in the a**. 

And then I made sausage with peppers and onions for dinner and now my whole house reeks of onions, and tell me, is this an aging thing?  This whole sensitivity-to-smells thing?  Because I don't LIKE it.

And then?  And then?  Just for a change of pace?  It SNOWED.

You're shocked, I know.  Tell me that it's nice and warm where you are.  Please?













Friday, March 28, 2014

Gowanus


Okay, so, let's go back to the Johnson Museum.  Heh.

Here's a painting named Gowanus, after the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn.  I dunno - if I was Brooklyn I'd be kind of pissed.  Can you spot the cat?





Here's a close-up:




Here - have a statue:




This is a carved oil lamp:







I always wonder how they had the time to make stuff like this, in between trying to find food and avoid plagues and fight their enemies and stuff.  I guess they had people who were assigned to create the art?  Pretty sweet job.  Unless you, like, pissed off your benefactor and got beheaded or something.  "That sculpture looks NOTHING like my concubine!  Off with your head!"

 In one room of the museum, there was an interactive exhibit where you held clear plates over openings of light to watch movies about endangered species.  And there was another exhibit where they were showing a short film about sulfur miners in ... Peru, I think.  These dudes would go down INTO a volcano to scrape the sulfur off the walls. 

Part of the museum was closed off for construction, so I'll have to head back in a couple of months to see what I missed.

And the soft-serve stands along the route ought to be open by then.  That'll justify a trip, right there.







Wednesday, March 26, 2014

I broke up with my insurance agent, and it kind of sucked, but not really



While we're on the subject of all things automotive, my car insurance policy was coming up for renewal at the end of the month.  It had been a couple of years since I comparison-shopped, so I called the agency that handles my work's insurance, and asked them to quote me on auto/homeowner's.

Lo and behold, they could save me a hundred bucks a year.

Hmmmmf, I thought.  Is it really worth the hassle of switching over for a lousy hundred bucks?

HELL YEAH.

And you know, I probably wouldn't have, even so, except, well, the last time I had to deal with my current insurance agent, his office f*cked up a very simple transaction involving a vehicle identification number. 

And I still had lingering resentment from back in 09, when I bought the house, and found out that the flood insurance was going to be astroNOMical, except then I started doing some research into flood vents and elevation certificates and blahblahblah, and when I called the agent, instead of being all, "Let me get right on that for you!," he was all, "Well, go ahead and look into that, and let me know what you find out."  As in, "Do my job FOR me, little girl." 

And THEN, after I DID all the research and the work and got my flood rate cut in HALF, he was all, "Wow!  Next time I have a client with a similar situation, I'm gonna use all your research!"

Yeah.

So a couple of weeks ago, I went ahead and signed up with the new agency, who thankfully offered to send my current agent a "Dear John" letter.  Whew!  No nasty break-up call necessary!

And then, I got home from work last night, and there was a message on my voicemail from the old agent.  A LONG message.  A reaaaaalllllly long message.  And I swear, the dude sounded almost tearful.  And he's all, "You know, you were with us for almost twenty years!  Wow!  That's a long time!" and "I'm sorry that my agency was no longer to meet your needs."  and "If you need anything, anything at all, please give me a call, any time ..."

And all I could think was, "Where were you when I was researching FLOOD VENTS, motherf*cker.?"

So yeah.  It was kind of hard.  But not really.  And hopefully, the next time his office has to enter someone's VIN  into a computer, they'll manage to input all 17 digits.

Christ.



Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Where the hell do they have to send it to - Korea?!



So, I bought my little Hyundai Elantra back in October, and it's been a fine car, except for one annoying thing:  The odometer display would fade out as I was driving.

It would start out nice and bright, and then start to dim, and after about a half an hour, I had no display at all.  Not really a problem, unless you need to know, oh, how FAR it is to someplace, and then you're SOL.

Because the car is still under warranty (thank GOD), I took it to the dealership this morning to have the problem looked at.

Well, it's the speedometer cluster, whatever that is.  They'll have to replace it.  They have the part right there on the shelf!

But.

There's always a "but", isn't there.

Because the odometer is involved, the new part has to be calibrated to the old part.  And they can't do that at the dealership.  Both the new part and the old part have to go ... someplace, where the new one will be calibrated to the old one, and then the new one will be shipped back to the dealership.

In two-and-a-half to three WEEKS.

Dudes. Duuuuuuudes.  What the F*CK?!

The dealership dude talked me down off the ledge.  It's under warranty!  They will give me a loaner, free of charge, to use while my car parts are in Korea!  All is well!

Except.

There's always an "except", isn't there.

They don't have any long-term loaners available right now.  They won't, until probably ... APRIL.

Repeat:  What the F*CK?!

But!  The dealership dude reminded me that, well, April is really only a week away, and why don't we set up a date when you can bring the car back in then, and in the meantime it's a good thing you brought it in today, because it just happens to need an alignment and some brake work and ...

*sigh*

If it ain't one thing, it's another.  Holy cow.







Monday, March 24, 2014

I'll have you know that it's the HERBERT F. Johnson Museum. Sheesh.




I trekked up to Ithaca Saturday - I was jonesing for a visit to the Johnson Museum (heh).

Some of the classical exhibits were under renovation, so I hit up some of the newer stuff.



Ummmm ... okay?  That thing hanging in the middle there is supposed to represent the Everglades, all burnt out.  Got it. 

This next painting was actually created in the 1800s (if I remember correctly), but it's pretty creepy all the same:



No, I wasn't drunk.  I have no idea why half these shots are so skewed.  It's probably because even though photography is allowed in most of the museum, I always get nervous that a guard is going to come yell at me, so I try to be quick with the pics.

Of course, I had to go up to the fifth floor for the view.



Can you spot the student tour group in this next pic?  Ah, to be young and smart and have parents who can afford to send you to Cornell:



Finally, this one has to go in the "But is it art?" category:



It's the trunk and roots of a giant tree.  The artist made his student interns spend months cleaning all the dirt and crap out of it, then he shellacked the whole thing - voila! - and probably sold it to the museum for a boatload of bucks.  Smart guy.

I've gotta figure out how to get in on that action.




Sunday, March 23, 2014

We just got back from the vet ...




... and Ponyboy would like you to know that he is exHAUSted.



(Don't worry - he's fine.  Just routine vaccinations and a re-check on the pinkeye.  It takes a lot out of him, poor boy.)


Friday, March 21, 2014

Ballpark Geese


I know it's Spring when the geese are back on the ballfield next door.


I like to think it's the same pair each year.  As soon as the ice on the creek breaks up, the first two come.  Soon they'll be joined by others, and then my cats will start indulging in wild goose chases, and then Little League will start up and the geese will move on, closer to the river.

But for now, they're here.  Spring has sprung.  Halle-freakin'-lujah.




Thursday, March 20, 2014

A little help, here




I'm getting together with some people from some other local rescues to enter another rescue's bar trivia night contest.  Any ideas for a group name?

The best we've come up with so far is Altered All Stars.  Got anything better?


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Onion's behind this, right? It's gotta be The Onion



So, after The Voice last night, I'm reading a book, with the TV still on, when an ad for a trade school comes on.

And I'm really, really not paying attention, except I kept hearing "UTI!" "UTI!" 

Okay, they got me.  I looked up to watch the ad.  and found that there's a trade school called UTI.  No, I'm not kidding.




I ... I don't know what to say.  Except .... HAAAAAAHAHAAHHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAA

"UTI gives real-world, hands-on training."

"The best brands in the industry partner with UTI."

"UTI grads get jobs in their field of study."



FINALLY.  A laughable UTI.



Tuesday, March 18, 2014

It ain't what you know ...



Okay, so,  I'm watching The Voice tonight, and two things strike me about this competition.

a.  Already, this early on, some really talented singers are getting eliminated.  Unlike on American Idol, where most of the season is spent weeding out the chaff,  The Voice has an advantage , talent-wise, because the show allows in the pros.

b.  It really is "who you know".  Why some of these contestants, who are spectacularly talented, toil in the shadows while auto-tuned dipsh*ts like Miley Cyrus rake in the bucks, is proof that the world is not fair.

Gotta go - They're about to do "Cold as Ice", which is evoking MASSIVE teenage memories.  (you know that you are ... cold ... as ... ice... AS COLD AS ICE TO MEEEEEEEEEE)




Friday, March 14, 2014

Survey SAYS ...



Okay, first off, scroll down to the leggings post so you have some idea what I'm talking about.



Now!  Here is something that never even occurred to me until this afternoon:  Am I too old for leggings?

Here's why I ask.  I had some errands to run for work this afternoon, errands that took me downtown.  Me and my leggings.  Me and my legggggggings, strolling down the avenue ...

Okay, THAT little reference just dated me, didn't it?

So!  I'm downtown.  First off, a young woman yells across the street to me, "I love your outfit!"

Was I pleased?  Why yes, yes I was.  Validation!

But then, I had to go into a meeting with my company's insurance broker, who said, "My daughter would love those leggings!"

Um ... this insurance broker is a woman of approximately my age.  While the comment didn't seem snarky, did it imply that there is some unwritten fashion rule of which I am in violation, wearing leggings after fifty?  Like, they would be fine for her daughter, but not for ancient me?

I mean, frankly,  I don't really care.  I loooove those leggings.  I don't care if it's forbidden, I'm going to keep wearing them.  (UNDER skirts. or dresses.)  I may even ... gasp ... go buy more.  And it's not like I'm going to start wearing Hello Kitty pants or something.

But if I'm violating some Fashion Law, here, I'd appreciate it if someone would fill me in.

And!  After that last post and the comments, I've done some thinking, and I think that leggings pass muster if they are worn UNDER something that covers up (a) your butt, and (b) your ... frontal area. ( I mean, OBVIOUSLY I'm going to be covering up much MORE than that, but I can safely say that butt/front is a minimum for appropriate coverage.  In The World According To Me.)

Oh, but wait ... I just saw a pic on line of a girl wearing leggings under short-shorts.

NONONONONONO

I'm never gonna understand leggings, am I?


Leggings are not PANTS



I wear tights to work pretty much all winter long, in an effort to keep from freezing to death.  I work with men, whom I am convinced would b*tch about it being too hot if we were all working in an igloo.  Thus?  I bundle up.

I've never worn leggings, though.  I actually kind of have a thing against leggings, because of all the women I see out and about wearing them in lieu of pants.

LEGGINGS ARE NOT AN ACCEPTABLE SUBSTITUTE FOR PANTS.

I saw a lot, a LOT of this when I volunteered at Petsmart - Women strolling in with a winter parka, ugg boots and leggings.

NO.

Leggings are supposed to go UNDER something, like a dress or a damn SKIRT.  UNDER.  Not INSTEAD OF.

Wow.  Can you tell I feel strongly about this?

So no.  No leggings for me.

And then.  I was in the Coat Factory the other day, and I saw a rack of leggings.

Pretty leggings.  Leggings with floral patterns, and oh, they were cuuuuuuuute.






Yes.  I succumbed.  I succumbed to the Call of the Leggings.

But!  Please see that I am wearing them WITH a skirt.  The way God intended.  (And no, that skirt is not anywhere NEAR as short as it appears in that pic.  It was the photo angle that makes it look like I'm wearing a miniskirt.  I am not.)

And rest assured, I will never, ever wear leggings INSTEAD of a skirt. or a dress. or pants.

'Cause that sh*t just ain't right.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Maybe it's just me, but ...




... any time I see an article about Neil Young's new music system, PonoMusic, I read it wrong, and think, "PornoMusic?  Why on earth did he name it PornoMusic?"

Bow chicka wow wow, baby.

Similarly, I kept hearing ads for something called "Salonpas" on the radio, and assumed it was some kind of mani/pedi treatment for pets - Salon PAWS.  Durrrrr.

And now that I think about it, I actually have a long history of these kinds of  f*ckups.  I remember when I was a little kid, and learned (God only knows where) the term pubic hair, except I read it as "public hair", and I was actually indignant, all, "Why on earth do they call it PUBLIC hair?  It's anything BUT public!"

Yeah, I am not making these up.  All those years I laughed at the Roseanne Roseannadanna skits on SNL, never realizing that I *was* Roseanne Roseannadanna.

*sigh*




Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Dearly Departed



Okay, first off, this post is going to refer to the fact that cats, left to their own devices, will hunt and kill small animals.  If you are squicked out or angered by that, feel free to skip this.



Enough of the snow has melted so that I was able to deer-net some of the front gardens last night.  Every year I put it off, and every year, by the time I get around to it, perennials have already come up and been chowed down by the deer.  This year, I vowed, would be different.  This year I was going to net the gardens before stuff started coming up.

First I had to wait for the foot of snow that's been on the damn ground since JANUARY to thaw.  There's still a few inches left, but most of the gardens were clear, and we're supposed to get MORE snow tonight, f*ckyouverymuch, so I had to act fast.

And you know ... I had forgotten about the corpses.

Whenever the cats bring in a mouse or a mole or a bird or whatever that doesn't ... make it, I pick up the remains, take it and/or them out back and down along the brush line, tell it and/or them to Rest in Pieces, and give it and/or them a little fling into the brush.  Not as festive as it sounds, really, but somehow I can't quite bring myself to put bodies in the trash with the coffee grounds and the pizza crusts, and it would be impossible to dig a damn grave if I wanted to, this time of year.  Yeah, I could store the bodies in the shed until the weather warms up, but ... no.  Not even I'm that damn crazy.  I don't want to make the local news broadcast.  "Woman found with nine million corpses in shed" ... NO.  And then, come spring, I'd need a frickin' excavator to dig a big enough hole, so no.

But!  Sometimes, when it's brutal cold and dark out and there is no way in HELL I'm going out in my PJs with a flashlight to the brush line, I just ... open up the front door and do the fling.  Into the front gardens.

And by the time I actually start working in the gardens come spring, everything has decomposed and Circle of Life and Elton John and blahblahblah, so we're all good.

Except ... for this year.  When I decided to up my game and actually net off the gardens before anything could start gnawing on the daylilies.  So I was giving the gardens scrutiny they usually would not get for another month or so.  Add to that an exceptionally cold winter, which is not conducive to decomposition, and ... well ...

That little shoot of red plant I excitedly saw poking up?  Was, in fact, a cardinal's beak.  Attached to its head.  But that was it.  Just ... the head.

A few feet away?  A mouse.  Or, you know, what remains of a mouse after the spirit has departed but the flesh has been left behind.  Weathering, so to speak.

You guys, my front gardens are like something out of a Stephen King novel right now.  I laid out the netting as fast as possible and beat feet out of there.  Thank goodness for that fresh layer of snow we're about to get tonight.  Funny how that goes, isn't it?  When I first heard the weather forecast, I was all, "Oh no, NOOOOOOO, no more snoooooowwwwwww,"  and then I made some, um, discoveries, and I'm all, like, "Please snow please snow please snow."

I need something to cover up the remains, after all.




Sunday, March 09, 2014

Sunday afternoon, Part II








Yeah, we're just regular balls of fire around here ...





It's a party a minute ...





Hang on, hang on, things are about to get busy around here ...



zzzzzz .... wake us up when The Amazing Race comes on, okay?



Sunday afternoon




Saturday, March 08, 2014

Four Have Homes



Another Saturday, another adoption event at Tractor Supply.  Gotta keep those cats movin'!  As has become the custom,  potential adopters were waiting for us when we got there.  It's amazing when the crates of cats come through the doors and people start oohing and aahing and I swear they'd rush the gates if the store had them.  It's like I'm escorting a rock band.  I cannot even  imagine what the upcoming kitten season will be like - we'll probably have to sell tickets or something.

Sammy and Mr. Cuddles (two adult cats who were adopted together!), and Gucci and Angel now have homes.

Yippee!


Thursday, March 06, 2014

Th'ufferin' Th'uccotash!



Okay, first off, when I left the house this morning, it was five below.  Tuesday?  Seven below.

Dear Mother Nature:  CUT THE SH*T.  It's March, for Pete's sake.

You know, I consider myself tough, but this weather is going to break me.  I didn't sign up for this.

Oh, and speaking of tough, is anybody else watching that Nat Geo show, "Life Below Zero"?  There's this woman on there, Sue, who lives, like, two hundred miles north of the Arctic Circle.  Alone.  She once lay injured after a grizzly attack for ten days before somebody found her.  She swears like a sailor and drinks scotch and smokes cigars and I'm pretty sure I want to marry her, except then I'd have to move north of the Arctic Circle, so f*ck that sh*t.


Anyway! When I was grocery shopping last weekend, I saw bags of succotash in the frozen veggie section.  The pic on the package showed lima beans and corn.

Really?  I thought.  I'd never actually given succotash much thought, but I thought it was like ... grits?  Or hash browns made of vegetables?

Yeah, I don't get out much.

Anyway, I bought a package of succotash, took it home, opened it up, and

yep.

Lima beans and corn.

Tasty enough, but somehow not as exotic as I'd always pictured it.

If you guys know of any foods that I may have missed and should give a try, please let me know.  I'll consider it my Endless Winter of 2014 Culinary Enlightenment Project.







Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Butter Update!



Butter, that ungrateful wretch, is currently not happy with life on the Inside.  He is spraying (yes, even neutered cats can still spray), and flinging litter all over the place, and talking angrily non-stop about "let me OUT of here dam it right now!  RIGHT NOW!  There are ladyfriends I need to see!  I want a lawyer!"

Poor Butter.  He doesn't understand that the ladyfriend thing?  Yeah, not so much anymore.

But!  His foster mom, who is displaying much more equanimity and patience than I ever could, says simply, "No worries!"  Bless her.

Needless to say, the rescue will be waiting for Butter to calm down before contacting any of the wait-listers.

Get it together, Butter-boy.  Your audience awaits you.



Tuesday, March 04, 2014

That's one life-like looking stuffed bird






Except, of course, it wasn't stuffed.

I thought it was, at first.  I do have some fake stuffed birds around the house, the ones you buy at A.C. Moore to decorate wreaths and things with.  And when I got home from Saturday's adoption event, I didn't even notice it.  I took off my coat and my shoes, fed and played with the cats, then sat down in the living room and fired up the laptop, when I noticed that Bindi kept staring up toward the ceiling.  Turning around to see what she was gazing at, I saw the bird, and thought, "Gee, that's really realistic looking."  Then I thought, "I don't remember buying a fake bluejay, though."  THEN I thought, "Oh, sh*t."

(a) I have no idea how one of the cats managed to wrassle a large, live, uninjured blue jay through the pet door.  (b) I knew that butterfly net I bought at the dollar store would come in handy.


Monday, March 03, 2014

The Ballad of Butter



So, I mentioned the other day that I was on Butter Watch at work.

Meet Butter:



Butter is a stray in my office building's neighborhood.  Butter is not fixed, and would come around anytime one of the other local strays came into heat.  For a while it was thought that the crazy cat hoarder lady in the house on the corner owned him, but she denied it.  Butter was a friendly dude, more than willing to come into the office for some petting and cat food.

I tried to get him into rescue care last summer, but the group for whom I was volunteering at the time said "no".  Which is one of the reasons I no longer volunteer for that group. *cough*.  Last fall, a different group told me that they would take him into the fold as long as I was willing to foster him, which I couldn't do at the time because my foster room was full.

Complicating the matter was the fact that Butter would often disappear for months at a time, show up for a day or two, and then disappear again.

Last Monday, Butter started hanging around the office again.  I talked to my vet about making arrangements for an "emergency neuter", so that I could take him in as soon as he showed up, as opposed to trying to make an appointment for days ahead and then hoping he'd show up on the assigned date.  The rescue group for whom I am now volunteering offered to take him into foster care (YAY) as long as he was neutered, and *I* agreed to pony up the money for the neuter, vaccinations, etc.

And then Butter disappeared again.  Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday ... no Butter.  Was he off on one of his jaunts?  Would he spend the next couple of months impregnating half the cats on the East side before I could get him vetted?

And then, on Friday ...






I grabbed that cat.  I set him up with a pet bed, fed him, gave him catnip, called the rescue to alert them to clean out a room for him for the weekend, and tried to teach him the rudimentaries of the file system:





(The first two pics were taken last summer.  The bottom pic was taken last Friday.  You can see what a winter on the streets did to that poor cat.)

Butter went into temporary foster care Friday afternoon.  I picked him up this morning and got his wormy, flea-ridden, ear-mite-ridden, scrawny butt to the vet, who pronounced him "adorable".

Providing all goes well at the vet's, Butter will go back into foster care this afternoon.  He will be loved and cared for and petted and belly-rubbed (he LOVES it), until we are able to find him his Home That Is Meant To Be.

And that is the Ballad of Butter.





Saturday, March 01, 2014

Six have homes



Well, today was another adoption event for our rescue group at the local Tractor Supply.

Emma Sassy-Pants, Janie, Armani and Bobby Faye are now settling into their new homes!

Evan and Winter will be going to their new homes tomorrow.

Six cats.  Six adult cats.  Six adult cats who, not very long ago, were struggling on the streets.

Hot damn, I love this volunteering stuff.