Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Back in a Few

I'm off to go get drunk celebrate the New Year! I hope everybody has a happy one, and I'll see you all on Monday.

If you're looking for reading material, you can scroll down to read about my embarrassing dessert obsession, or scroll down even further to read Possibly The Longest Post In The History Of The World, which could very possibly take up your entire weekend (warning: it's about cat toys). (Congrats again, Bridgett!)

See you Monday!

(YET ANOTHER gratuitous cute kitten pic. Hey, it's MY blog. Heh.)

My Secret

Confession time - I spent last evening making my absolute favorite dessert of all time - Jello Crown Jewel Dessert, as prepared from a recipe from my Mom's old "Joys of Jello" cookbook.

I wish I was kidding, but I'm not. This is probably the most complicated thing I make (which says something about my culinary skills, I'm afraid). The "total time" listed for the recipe is nine hours, forty-five minutes, which is freaking insane. I guess people had more time back in the fifties, when this recipe first appeared. Granted, that time includes the jello setting time, but still. Realistically, you have to spread this sucker out over three days. Day one: Make jello and let it set. Day two: Assemble and let the whole thing set (that was last night's job.) Day three: You FINALLY get to eat it.

This recipe takes four different kinds of jello, pineapple juice, graham crackers, and a shit-ton of Cool Whip, among other things. And when assembled, it kinda looks like somebody already ate it once and puked it back up again.

Sound nasty-ass? Oh yes it does. But I kid you not, this is the absolute best dessert ever. I'm sure it has something to do with the fact that I've been eating this stuff since I was a baby, and my Mom always made it for my birthday, and .......... memmoorrrrrieeeessss ....... light the corners of my miiiiiinnnnddddddd................. *snif*

Seriously, I love this dessert, and when the clock strikes midnight tonight, I'm gonna have a big old plateful of it right in front of me. That's a promise.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Cat Toy Review! - Updated!

Disclaimer: If you do not own cats, this will be the most boring (and longest!) post you've ever read. Of course, the same may also apply if you DO own cats, so whatever, you've been warned.

The other day the cats broke their Cat Attack toy - just snapped the wand off right at the base. This toy was battery operated so that the wand would swing around by itself for the cats to bat at. And while they liked it, it was by no means their favorite toy - it would hold their attention for a few minutes, and then they'd wander away.

So I got to thinking about all the cat toys I've bought over the years, both for these guys and other cats, and decided to do a little review. Here we go!

1. Cat Attack (see pic above)

Cost: Approximately twenty bucks when I bought it several years ago for Rocky, which was the most I'd ever spent on a cat toy.

Description: Battery operated. Round base with a wavy wand thing that would randomly wiggle around. Also came with a remote control so you could make it run around on smooth surfaces, i.e., the kitchen floor.

Did they play with it? Sometimes, more so when they were kittens. They preferred to have it placed on an elevated surface so they could leap for the wavy wand thing. Overall, mostly a "meh".

2. Cat Track Cat Toy

Cost: Around ten bucks.

Description: Basically a hollow round plastic tube with a ball inside and openings for inserting paws to bat the ball around.

Did they play with it? For about thirty seconds, until they realized they could not actually get the ball out of the tube, and then interest was lost.

3. Cat Play Cube

Cost: $3.88 at Walmart.

Description: Kind of a pop-up tent, for cats.

Did they play with it? All. the. time. They especially love for me to dangle a toy into one of the openings, so they can pounce on the cube and collapse it.

4. Pure Commotion

Cost: $24.99 at PetSmart, although I later found it on line at Walmart for $14.99. Figures.

Description: See picture above. Battery-operated and timer/speed controlled, with a feather that flings around.

Did they play with it? Little Girl enjoys it for brief periods; The Runt has been more or less ignoring it. And they knocked the wand off the base, so I glued it back on; then they knocked it off AGAIN, so I super-glued it on; then The Runt gave it a body check and knocked the wand off again, so I electrical-taped it back on. The wand is staying on for now.

5. Cat Dancer

Cost: Around three bucks.

Description: Piece of flexible wire with cardboard chew-things on each end.

Did they play with it? This is their absolute favorite toy. They LOVE for me to drag it around the house so they can chase it and pounce on it.

6. Piece of Yarn

Cost: Free, if you've got some yarn lying around.

Description: Yarn. duh.

Did they play with it? Oh, they love for me to drag a length of yarn around for them to chase, but after pulling several inches of it out of The Runt's mouth after he decided it would be a good idea to eat the yarn, I've been a little wary of this.

Wow, this is taking a while. Anybody still there? Hello?

7. Soda bottle tops, crumpled-up cigarette packs, etc. Aka: Stuff that's going in the garbage, with a quick fling past the cats first to see if they're interested.

Cost: Free, by the time it gets to the cats.

Description: Stuff that's going in the garbage, with a quick toss past the cats to see if they want to play with it.

Did they play with it? They'll play with anything, as long as it's moving. Once the movement stops, they're not interested.

8. Ba-Da-Beam laser toy

Cost: Around seventeen bucks, if I remember correctly.

Description: See pic above. Battery-operated toy emits a laser light beam that circles around for the cats to chase.

Did they play with it? Yes! This is one of their favorites. I set it so the light circles around on the wall, and they love to jump after it. And it has a timer, so if you forget to turn it off, the batteries don't run down.

9. Hand-held laser pointer.

Cost: Around five bucks.

Description: Laser pointer, like you'd use in the office.

Did they play with it? Oh, they love for me to go room to room in the apartment, shining the light around, so they can bounce off the walls, the furniture and each other trying to "catch" the light. A big success, if tiring (for me).

10. Fling-Ama.

Cost: About twenty-five bucks

Description: This is a vertical toy that hangs from a doorknob. It has a motorized track with a string that runs around and around for the cats to bat at.

Did they play with it? I got this for them for Christmas, and right now, they think it's the greatest thing since sliced bread. They play with it and play with it, and I'm afraid that The Runt's gonna break it pretty soon because he's so rough with it. The only downside is that there's no timer; if you forget to turn it off before you leave the house, you're coming home to a dead battery.

11. Hartz Cat Activity Center

Cost: Around eight bucks

Description: Crinkly plastic mat with wand-type toys sticking out of it.

Did they play with it? Let's insert a big bronx cheer here. They totally ignored this thing.

12. Crackle Chute Play Tube

Cost: Eight Bucks

Description: Flexible tube made out of some type of crinkly material that sounds like plastic bags being scrunched up.

Did they play with it? Oh yeah, they like to ambush each other by waiting until one of them's in the tube and then pouncing. It's about four feet long, though, so it does take up quite a bit of room. But they enjoy it.

13. Motor Mouse

Cost: $18.00 plus tax

Description: Like the Cat Track Cat Toy (#2 above), but battery operated and with a mouse that runs around inside the tube (see pic above). The mouse is free-spinning, so they can play with it even when it's turned off.

Did they play with it? Oh, they were fascinated when I first brought this home, and I thought I had a huge hit on my hands, but then they lost interest. And that's when I finally figured it out: These guys only have an attention span of about three minutes; that's the longest amount of time they'll play with ANYTHING before giving in to their ennui.

Updated to add:

14. Undercover Mouse
Cost: $30.00 *gulp*
Description: A circular plastic mat with a battery-operated wand underneath that scurries about.
Did they play with it? Oh yeah, they like this one. For now, anyway.

So in conclusion (whew!), their favorites are the hand-held laser pointer and the Cat Dancer, because they can chase them all over the apartment (as long as I'm on the other end, of course.) They also love to pounce on the cat play cube, and play with the Fling-Ama. About the only thing they wouldn't play with at all was the Hartz Cat Activity Center. And again, keep in mind that their very short attention spans mean that NOTHING will hold their interest for very long.

If anybody has a cat toy that can hold the cat's attention for more time than it takes to poach an egg, let me know!

Oh, and if anybody's actually made it to the end of this thing, CONGRATULATIONS! You deserve a prize or something .......... wait! That's a great idea! The first person to make it to this part and leave a comment will get a fabulous! prize! (not a cat toy, I promise.) Yippee!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Guess What Santa Brought Me for Christmas?!

A new downstairs tenant. Who likes to crank the bass on his stereo really, really LOUD. All. The. Time.

Folks, I'm done fighting this fight. I've had it. Listie, I think it was you who mentioned that your mother was a realtor and could possibly help me find an agent in this area - does that offer still stand?

The Mansion

A while back, I was at the local museum, which is housed in a formerly privately-owned mansion, taking more pictures of the stained glass. This statue is positioned in front of the big windows. There is a plaque on the statue, but it's too dark in that part of the mansion to read it, so I don't know the provenance.

Can you imagine living in a house with windows like that? And statues like that? Too cool.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas, 1966

That's me in the front. Check out my haircut - can you tell that Dad really, really wanted another boy? Nice sideburns, for Pete's sake! That's my Dad kneeling behind me - he was the present giver-outer. And with six kids, that could take a long time. Oh, and my Dad always wore those plaid shirts - always. No solid colors for him! And that's my brother in the back - nice widow's peak, bro! I think he actually has more hair now, forty years later, than he had back then.

Thanks, everybody, for reading all my stuff this past year - it still amazes me that anybody actually reads this blog, and it's the best Christmas gift I could hope for.

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

"Want some lichen-flavored gum? It'll perk you up!"

The only Christmas TV special that I watch anymore is "Olive the Other Reindeer", simply because it's the most twisted Christmas cartoon I've ever seen. Some of the characters are drawn positively picasso-esque, and any special with a cameo by Michael Stipe as an angry reindeer is okay with me.

As far as the others - Rudolph, the Grinch, etc. - meh. I used to watch them every year, but a few years back, I realized that once you've seen a show ten or twenty times, it's really no longer required watching.

I like the 1970 movie version of Scrooge, with Albert Finney. I've got an old tape of SNL Christmas skits that I usually watch every year. And I usually watch "The Homecoming", the original "Waltons" movie, every Christmas. Oh, and "Love, Actually", because while it's not actually a Christmas movie, it is set in the Christmas season, and it's really cute.

How about you? What's your favorite Christmas TV special/movie? Least favorite?

The Big Reveal!

Oh Stabby Tree, Oh Stabby Tree,
How prickly are your branches!

And no, it's not really crooked - blame the photographer.

And yes, that IS a Bill's banner in the window - Hey, it was a game day!

Oh, and I discovered that for whatever reason, there really IS a live tree shortage in this area this year! Several people I talked to had the same problem I had - none of the usual tree-sellers had any trees.

So that's my excuse for the Charlie Brown tree. Take it or leave it.

Movie Review - "The Orphanage"

Or, "El Orfanato", in its native Spanish. No spoilers ahead; it's okay to read this if you haven't seen the movie yet.

This is a thriller about a woman whose child disappears, and the lengths she goes through to find him. I thought it was really creepy, and the ending was a knockout. There's almost no gore, but I still wouldn't let the young'uns watch this one, as I think the subject matter would freak a kid right out. Oh, and it's in Spanish with subtitles, if you're a subtitle-hater.

I enjoyed this one; I'd like to watch it again, because I think I missed some of the subtler stuff on the first viewing. Recommended!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Three Days to Go .....

..... and I'm almost ready. I just have to go to the grocery store, go to the pet store to pick up some Greenies for the cats (Yes, they will get treats, and more toys, for Christmas - Shut up!), wrap the office gifts, and ........ bake a birthday cake? WTF?

Somehow, I got talked into baking a birthday cake for the in-law who gets all pissy if his birthday is not properly acknowledged - on Christmas day.

I think the last time I tried to decorate a cake was when I was in junior high - and I misspelled the word "Valentine's". I could be in trouble here.

Hope you're not expecting too much, in-law.

Just Happy To Be Here

With the exception of The Runt, everybody in my household almost met their makers this weekend.

On Saturday morning, I discovered that the spike bar that supplies power to the fish tank had come unplugged, and the tank water was down to 66 degrees. The fish were sluggish, but recovered once the tank got back up to temp.

On Saturday afternoon, I made possibly one of the worst decisions of my life by deciding to take a back road home from the grocery store. I had assumed that the town would have plowed and sanded this particular twisty, turny, extremely steep road by then; I was wrong. Suffice it to say that I was shaking by the time I finally got off that hill.

Yesterday, Little Girl disappeared for several hours in the snow and cold and wind. I finally found her in the garden, snuggled next to Mr. Z (a garden statue) underneath his tarp.

So this morning, when it's seven degrees out and windy? That's okay. We're all still here.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it -

........ um, guys? L'il snowflakes? You can stop now. You've worked hard all morning, and you've already laid down several inches of the white stuff, so it's okay to knock off and call it a day.

....... what? WHAT?! Whaddaya mean, SIX TO TWELVE INCHES?! You say your contract calls for six to twelve today? Come on, we all know that the maximum required output is half of the minimum forecast, and you've already put down at least three, so it's time to quit! I mean it!

....... what? You say you're going to start snowing harder?! You say you're trying to improve your job performance? And you're gonna do it again on Sunday?

Guys, this isn't funny anymore! Knock it off! STOP SNOWING!

Snowflakes. They never listen.

This One's for the Haters

Thinking about Stabby, the Homicidal Christmas Tree, got me thinking about the word "stabby", which pretty much describes some of us this time of year. So I came up with the following song, sung to the tune of "Have a Holly, Jolly Christmas":

Have a stabby, jabby Christmas
It's the worst time of the year
I don't know
If there'll be woe
But I'm sure woe is near

Have a stabby, jabby Christmas
As you're driving through the sleet
Say, "Hell, no,
I just won't go
To one more meet-and-greet."

Uh, oh, I broke my toe
Struggling with the tree
At least nobody's sick
Wait - was that a sneeze?

Have a stabby, jabby Christmas
Better drink a ton of beer
Oh, be crabby
Have a stabby, jabby Christmas this year!

Thankyou. Thankyouverymuch.

But wait! I've got more ......

Said the night fart to the little lamb,
Do you smell what I smell?
Bringing tears to eyes, little lamb,
Do you smell what I smell?

I guess I'm still stuck in sixth grade .......

Thursday, December 18, 2008

And It Wasn't Even On My List!

Guess who just got a raise?!

A week before Christmas, no less!

Thanks, Santa! Boss!

Late Last Night, Upon the Stair ........

Well, not last night, but a couple of weekends ago, I finally met my new neighbor, who moved into the vacant apartment next to mine.

And it's really weird, because as it turns out, he had actually moved in a few days before I met him, and I had no idea that anyone was even living over there because he's so damn quiet.

A quiet neighbor! Finally! It's a miracle! A f*cking Christmas miracle! I hope he never, ever moves out. We've talked a little bit; he's originally from Pakistan, and moved here from The City (what us hicks call NYC) to take a job with a local company.

And then I started noticing the coins. Pennies, dimes, sometimes quarters, scattered on the back porch by his door and on the stairs. At first I thought he was just accidentally dropping some change as he dug for his apartment key. And I picked up the change, because The Runt will attempt to eat just about anything, and I didn't want to be finding coinage in the litterbox. But the coins have started to occur more regularly, and I'm starting to wonder. Is this some sort of Pakistani custom? Is he purposely scattering the change to tempt the gods to bring him luck or something? Because if so, I don't want to be spoiling the tradition by picking up the coins; The Runt'll just have to take his chances in the gastrointestinal department.

I tried looking on line and couldn't find any info. Has anybody heard of coin-scattering as a tradition?

(More) Recently Read

Standard disclaimer: Feel free to skip this.

The Story of My Father by Sue Miller - Memoir about a woman caring for her father who has Alzheimer's disease. Mesmerizing. My Mom has Alzheimer's, so I could really relate to this book. At one point she talks about how her Dad thought his vision was going, when he was actually losing his ability to read - my Mom went through that exact same thing.

Tomato Girl by Jayne Pupek - Novel about a young girl with a troubled family. A little bit over-the-top, melodrama-wise, but still a good book.

And I Don't Want to Live This Life by Deborah Spungen - Memoir from the mother of Nancy Spungen, who was killed by Sid Vicious of the Sex Pistols. Just sad.

I'm Looking Through You by Jennifer Boylan - Non-fiction about a pre-op transsexual growing up in a haunted house. Should have been really interesting, but I found it just so-so.

Her Last Death by Susanna Sonnenberg - Yet another "My mother was a monster; it's a miracle I'm normal" memoir. If this was the first one of these I'd read, I might have found it fascinating, but I'm getting tired of the genre and quit after about 90 pages.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows - Novel about the lives of people living on Guernsey Island during and after WWII. Normally novels written entirely in correspondence drive me crazy, but this one was really good, if a little hokey. Recommended.

Back to the Damn Soil by Mary Gubser - About a small family farm in the late 30s/early 40s. A quick read. Okay.

Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson - This came highly recommended, but I just ...... no. I didn't like her writing style and gave up.

Lately I feel like I'm quitting more books early than I am finishing them. But! To end on a bright note:

I Thought My Father Was God by Paul Auster - Oh, I love this book! I've read it several times. Basically, the author/editor asked people to send him their (true) stories, and they did, by the thousands, and he picked the best/most interesting ones. It started out as an NPR project, and then he made it into a book. I can't recommend this book highly enough; the stories are just fascinating. Read this book!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Stabby, the Homicidal Christmas Tree

See the beginning of this story here.

Once I had the tree up and in the stand, it was time for the lights. I got out my strings of lights and tested them. The first string was fine; the second string only had about half the lights lit. So! Time to start testing lights. Bleecccchhhh.

I only had to test about fifteen lights before I found the bad one. Insert new bulb, and voila! Two operational strings of lights.

It was when I started putting the lights on the tree that I realized just exactly how pokey this tree is. Its needles jabbed me, and jabbed me, and jabjabjabjabOWWW! I have no idea what kind of tree it is; I'm guessing it's of the SHARP variety.

Oh! So then I get all the lights up (ow ow ow), and it's time for the big reveal. I plug the lights in, and ......... only about half the lights lit up. Now there was no way that I was going to start testing lights again, and these strings of lights are older than dirt anyway, so I thought I'd call it a day, and go out Sunday morning and buy new lights.

But! As I was putting the drop cloth back in the attic, I discovered a brand new box of lights which I had forgotten I even had, evidently some post-Christmas-sale purchase of years past.

I grabbed the box, took it downstairs, opened it up, plugged in the lights, and ..... success! I took down the old lights (jab jab jab) and put up the new lights (ow ow ow) and was ready for ornaments.

And if I thought I'd gotten poked (heh) putting up the lights, putting on the ornaments was a fresh new circle of hell. I tried wearing gloves, but I kept dropping the ornaments, and so I finally had to grit my teeth and put the ornaments on bare-handed, ow ow ow-ing all the way. Merry Christmas!

Oh, and as I'm typing this, I'm all, "ow! ow! OW!" because my fingers are full of pine-tree-needle punctures. Band-aids don't seem to be helping, and it looks like I stuck my hands in the office paper shredder. *sigh*

Paging Charlie Brown ........

....... I think I've got your tree!

Saturday morning was "tree day". I like Douglas Firs, because their needles are soft and non-poky. I used to make a big deal out of going to various tree lots, comparing trees, blah blah blah. For the last several years, I've just been going to Lowe's. They always have a good selection, the prices are reasonable, and they'll put a fresh cut on the trunk, bale the tree, and pop it in/on your car. Piece of cake!

So I cleared out the back of the wagon Saturday, threw down a drop cloth, and headed for Lowe's, thinking I could be back home in half an hour. I got to Lowe's and ........ it was a ghost town. There were only about ten trees, covered in snow and ice. And it was about fifteen degrees out, meaning that all that snow and ice would have to melt off inside the house. Shit!

I knew that Home Depot sold trees, so I headed there, and ...... same story. Just a few sad, ice-and-snow-covered trees. There was a cub scout pack selling trees down the street from Home Depot, so I stopped there. And there were some decent trees, but when I hoisted a couple, it felt like they were made of lead. I needed something that I can haul up the stairs, so ..... no.

Next stop, Agway. Same story. I was beginning to wonder if there was some sort of Christmas tree shortage of which I was unaware. Then I remembered a sign that I had driven by countless times while running errands. A local Lions club sells trees for one day only each year, for nineteen bucks for any tree on the lot, starting at one o'clock. And Saturday was the day they were selling the trees.

I figured that if the trees were halfway decent, the place would be a mob scene, so I got there right at one. And it was what I imagine the wedding dress sale at Filene's Basement must be like...... utter chaos.

But! There were lots of nice volunteers. Unfortunately, there were no Douglas Firs. At this point, I just wanted a tree, any tree. So, trying not to get elbowed by any of the nine million other people who were storming the lot, I picked out a tree, had a fresh cut put on the bottom, and headed for home. Whew! Mission accomplished.

To be continued .............

Monday, December 15, 2008

(More) Gratuitous Cute Kitten Pics

Last Thursday night, we got our first appreciable snowfall of the season. So when I let the cats outside on Friday after work, I kind of wondered what their reaction would be, as this was their first snow ever. Little Girl, being the more sensible of the two, took a couple of steps into the snow, then decided that the porch was the place for her. The Runt went flying out into the backyard, skidded to a halt, and then tiptoed around for a little bit.

By Saturday afternoon, they were both running around in the snow, coming inside periodically to warm up.
I have a feeling that this tree may be on the floor by the time I get home from work today:

Here's The Runt, being tutored by Little Girl in ornament destruction tactics:

And yes, I went ahead and set up (a part of) the creche:
Pretend not to notice the suspiciously brown needles on the tree, ok? (Have I got a story for you.......)

Friday, December 12, 2008

The Groove Tube

Does anyone else remember that movie? It came out in the seventies, and was basically a series of satirical skits.

I remember watching it in the living room with my sister Ditzy, who is eight years older than me, and some of her friends. I must have been twelve or thirteen at the time, and I guess the movie must have gotten a little racy, because my Mom finally said, "Okay, Rockycat, enough of this movie for you", and sent me off to bed.

And I remember being secretly glad, because even though I didn't understand all of the innuendos, I understood enough to know that I was really embarrassed by what I was seeing.

As a kid, whenever a tv show would show two people kissing, or (gulp!) in bed together, I'd get all embarrassed, squeal "Ewwww, love junk!" and leave the room.

I guess I was a little, erm, prude-ish. And up until my Mom got Alzheimer's, which left her unable to understand the content of anything on tv, I would get embarrassed if we were watching tv together and "love junk" would come on.

So tell me: Do kids still get embarrassed by "love junk" on tv, or are they so overexposed these days that it fails to register? Is there anything that you're embarrassed to watch with your Mom?

Just curious.

Oh! And when I was in high school, I pawing through the bookshelf in the dining room one day, looking for something to read. And my Mom handed me her copy of "The Thorn Birds" and said, "Here, try this one - it's really good". And, well, if you've ever read "The Thorn Birds", you know it's got some parts that are a little steamy. And I was reading along, and I was all, like, "Oh my GOD my MOM read this!! And TOLD ME to read it! She KNOWS I'm reading this! Eeeek!" Heh.

The Cards Are On Their Way!

When you receive your card (if you asked for one, that is!), here are some helpful hints:

If the card is stuck shut due to overapplication of glue during the assembly process, just pry the darn thing open.

Alternatively, if pieces have fallen off due to underapplication of glue during the assembly process, try to think of it as a fun! Christmas! puzzle! to put together.


(obviously, I'm not so good with the glue.)

(and I'm blaming the shaky handwriting on the kittens - they kept batting at the pen as I tried to write.)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A Little Introspection Can Be a Dangerous Thing

I was in line at the post office, waiting to buy stamps for my Christmas cards. The choices this year are "nutcracker" (kinda weird-looking and scary nutcrackers, if you ask me, but then again, aren't all nutcrackers kinda weird-looking and scary?), and a portrayal of the Madonna and Child. (And why are the Christmas stamps always lame? Postal Service, get on that, would ya?)

I was thinking, "those nutcrackers are scary; maybe I should go with the Madonna/Child", but then I thought, "well, I'm not religious, so Madonna/Child is probably not the best choice", and then it hit me:

Wait a minute! Why am I, a non-religious person, even sending out Christmas cards to begin with? As far as that goes, should I even be putting up a tree? Or decorating the porch?

And then I thought, "well, you can still celebrate Christmas without being religious, right?"

Um, well, technically, ......... no. I'm pretty sure you're supposed to be a Christian in order to celebrate Christmas.

But I'm gonna do it anyway. The cards, the tree, the whole nine yards - because it's a tradition that I enjoy, and it helps get me through the winter.

"Hypocrite" - it's my middle name.

Oh! And it's not to0 late to get your card! (hee!) Hurry hurry!

Department of Unneccessary Products

Introducing ....... the Scotch Gift Wrap Cutter!

Just in case you haven't yet mastered using scissors.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Must .............. Resist ..................

Oh, I'm sorry, but I'm losing this battle. I have got to put up these pics from Behold!

funny pictures of cats with captions

more animals

more animals
funny pictures of cats with captions

more animals
funny pictures of cats with captions

Some days you just gotta give in .............

Chewing Gum and Cigarettes

I sorted through my VCR tapes (yes, I am old) the other night, and tossed a bunch of stuff that I hadn't watched in ....... oh .......... YEARS. But I did find some stuff that I had forgotten I had, so I've been taking a little trip down memory lane watching these old shows that I taped.

And the other night I was watching some tribute-charity-concert-for-Queen (the band, not the monarch) thing that I taped back in the stone age, and Def Lepard came out. And the lead singer was bouncing around the stage, and playing air guitar, and wailing his little heart out. And then they did a close-up, and he was ........ chewing gum.

And I was all like, Duuuuuude! I know it's your JOB and all, and you've sung these same songs a bazillion times, but are you really SO BOOOORRRRRRRRED that you have to chew gum?

And I was actually a little, well, insulted. You are supposed to be entertaining me! Spit out the damn gum!

And then, later on, Slash was on stage, and he was ripping up a guitar solo, and .... smoking a cigarette. And I was like, can't you save the smoke for later?!

And I kept hoping that the singer dude would be halfway through a high note, and choke on the damn gum, and get all red-faced and keel over, and the roadies would have to come out and give him the Heimlich maneuver, and the gum would come flying out and hit some poor kid in the front row in the face, but then the kid would hold it up over his head like a fly ball and the audience would roar and ........... that didn't happen.

Those tribute concerts. They're never as good as you hope they will be.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Cards here! Getcher cards here!

Having OCD is hard, especially when it comes time to do the home-made Christmas cards. Add in some neuroses and a bad case of perfectionism (which really sucks, as I NEVER get anything perfect, or even close), and I begin to wonder why I even started this project.

But! I am pressing on! I was just going to go the store-bought route this year, but I was at a flea market a few weeks ago and found some great old pictures. Here's my favorite:

Look! Santa finally brought him the pony!

I am taking the pictures, adding some snark, and making Christmas cards! And now I find that I've made more than I need, and I don't think I'm going to be able to stop any time soon (thanks, OCD!), so if you would like a home-made Christmas card from yours truly, just e-mail your name and address to me*. (If you have a blog, put that address in there, too, so I can check it out!) My email address is rockycat 24 AT yahoo DOT com. I will email you back within a couple of days to confirm, and then, voila! A Christmas card from me will show up at your mailbox! Hopefully before Christmas.

Now, don't embarrass me, guys. At least one or two of you would like a card, right? Right?

*Of course, all addresses will stay strictly confidential. And I'm not a scary stalker, so don't worry about me showing up at your door.

Voicing Her Opinion

Don't worry, Little Girl, I won't make you wear them. Well, maybe long enough for a picture .......

Friday, December 05, 2008


So yesterday morning I wrote a post about poverty (see below), and when I got home from work last night, there was a sign on the downstairs neighbor's door. It was an eviction notice. The last time he'd paid the rent was in September.

Updated to add: And yes, I am ready to put my money where my mouth is and see if this guy needs some help. But here's the thing: He doesn't know that I saw the eviction notice*. (He wasn't home at the time.) So will it be weird when I ask him if there's anything I can do for him? Should I just put an anonymous card with some money in it in his door?

* no, I was not snooping. I have to walk past his door to get to my place, and the notice was in GREAT BIG LETTERS.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Poverty Porn

I watched some of "The Secret Millionaire" last night. The show takes millionaires and plops them down "undercover" in poor communities, where they have to live amongst the poor people and then give some of their money away at the end of the show.

And it was kind of funny, because at first the rich people were all, like, "Oh my God, people live like this?!" I mean, the first rich people, a guy and his son, had to find a low-rent apartment, and they were shocked, shocked, to find a place with holes in the walls and exposed wiring and bugs in the sink. And I was thinking, "Shit, I've seen worse than that. Hell, I've lived in worse than that." And then the second rich couple, a husband and wife, were amazed to find out how much groceries actually cost, because, after all, they had someone to do their shopping for them.

And I was thinking, I'll bet a lot of people are kind of relieved watching the poor people on this program, because they're thinking "Hell, I might be bad off, but I'm not that bad off." And then I thought, well, you know what? Even if you're not living in poverty right now, it's right next to you. In case you think it's far away, it's not. Think about the change jar next to the cash register at your local convenience store with the picture on the front of a little girl with heart problems whose parents have no health insurance. Think about that elderly widow living next door who's on a fixed income and can't afford to hire someone to shovel her sidewalk.

And then I was thinking, Why should needy people have to hope that the producers of some tacky TV show drop down out of the sky to save their lives? I guess that's why poor people buy the most lottery tickets. Because they know that a bolt out of the blue, no matter how unrealistic, is their only chance.

And it shouldn't be that way. And before anybody starts going on and on about how these people just need to pull themselves up by their bootstraps and blah blah blah: Yeah, some of them do just need to get their shit together. But some of them can't. Are you going to tell that 80-year-old widow next door to go get some job training? Tell that sick child's parents to just get some better damn jobs so she can have health insurance? Do you think they're not already trying?

And here's the sad thing: The government won't help these people. It could, but it won't. Oh, our fine representatives on Capitol Hill can bail out the investment banks and the big three automakers and anybody else who contributes mightily to their campaigns, but it looks like little Betsy's gonna have to pay for her heart surgery with the proceeds from bake sales.

And it's not right. It's just not. But you know what? The government won't help these people, but you can. They're right there, right next to you. You can drop a quarter in the change jar; you can shovel your neighbor's walk. Until we get people in power who have some idea of what real people are going through, it's up to us.

They're right next to you.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Movie Review - "The Strangers"

No spoilers ahead - if you haven't already seen it, it's okay to read this.

"The Strangers" is a typical "scary movie". Young couple, isolated house, menacing people outside. That said, there are some (fairly) interesting twists. This is one of those movies that actually got a little better upon a second drunken viewing. And "Mama Tried", which I had not heard in years, was on the soundtrack, so that's a plus. Also, it's got a really short running time, so by the time you're getting exasperated with the ridiculousness of it all, the movie's over! And there is not a lot of gore, so you don't have to spend a good chunk of the movie with your hands over your eyes.

All of which, unfortunately, cannot outweigh the fact that Liv Tyler can't act. At all. Watching any movie in which she appears, at first you're just taken in by her beauty. That face! Those legs! But after a while you're wincing, because Jeeezus Christ, that girl couldn't act her way out of a paper bag.

So! Do I recommend this one? Sure, go ahead. It's no classic for the ages, but it is watchable, which is more than can be said for most horror movies.

Oh! And if you've already seen it: WHAT IS THE DEAL with that nightie her boyfriend gives her? Is it supposed to be sexy? 'Cause it looks a lot like something my gramma used to wear.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008


I'm reading "Of Human Bondage"* during my lunch breaks at work**, and I'm at the point where Philip is about to literally starve to death, and I'm so worried for him! Granted, it's mostly his own fault, after blowing all his money on bad investments and Mildred the hooker, but still!

I hope he makes it, poor kid.

*I freely admit that before I started reading it, I assumed that "Of Human Bondage" was about African-American slavery in the 1800s. Oops.

**No, I'm not a pretentious jerk (I don't think so, anyway) - just trying to read some of the classics that I never got around to when I was younger.

Boys .......

Last night when I got home I let the cats out. And within an hour, I heard what sounded like an epic cat fight going on in the neighbor's backyard. Little Girl came tearing up the stairs, flew into the house, and stayed in the rest of the night. The Runt came in a little later, minus his collar and with a bloody paw.

My last cat, Rocky, was a fighter. And while rabies shots are generally good for three years, I don't think even a year ever went by without him getting a rabies booster, as the vet would give him the shot as a precaution each time I brought him in for post-fight repairs. That cat probably had enough anti-rabies serum in him to keep four cats vaccinated.

Rocky didn't care who he fought with. Cats, dogs, woodchucks, skunks - it was all the same to him. Although as far as I know, he only tangled with a skunk once before learning that particular lesson. And he didn't stop fighting once he was "fixed" - he kept fighting his entire life.

I am hoping that The Runt learned a lesson last night, and will stop messing with other animals. But I'm not counting on it.

Get Ready ......... Get Set ............

I had this dream last night ........

(click click click clickclickclickCLICKCLICKCLICKCLICK)

(That's the sound of everybody clicking over to other sites at the mention of SOMEONE ELSE'S DREAM, for God's sake.)

ANYWAY (heh), I had this really scary dream about zombies. Normally, zombies are not in the top ten list of things I worry about, mainly because THEY DO NOT EXIST, but I dreamed about them anyway, and it was one of those dreams that was so frightening, I woke up and was still in the dream for a moment, wondering how I was going to get rid of the damn zombies.

So! That's the last "dream post" I'll do, oh ......... ever. I'll get something else up here real soon so everybody can come back.

Monday, December 01, 2008

How to Remove Stitches from a Kitten.

Tools required: Cuticle scissors, flashlight, steady hands.

1. Wait until she's sleeping.

2. Move very, very quietly.

After deciding there was no way in hell I was going to try and take those stitches out myself, I stopped by the shelter on Saturday to make sure someone was available to remove them before I brought Little Girl over. And, well, they didn't want to remove them on Saturday as it was only Day 9 after the surgery, as opposed to Sunday, which would be Day 10. Except, whoops, they're closed on Sunday, and oh yeah, they're closed on Monday too ...... So on Sunday, I took the stitches out myself.

Now I know how to remove stitches from a kitten. I guess it's just one of those skills, like changing a flat tire, that you hope you never have to actually use.

3, Oh, and if the kitten wakes up mid-procedure? Just keep going. If you're fast enough, you can have them all out before she realizes what's going on.

Friday, November 28, 2008

I'm Fairly Certain Alcohol Will Be Involved At Some Point

I'm stuck at work today (not really, as I volunteered to come in), and I'm looking forward to the weekend, a very special weekend, as Tomorrow! Is! My! Birthday!

As a kid, having a birthday right after a holiday kinda sucked, because everybody was still recovering from Thanksgiving, most of my little kid friends were out of town visiting the grandparents, and who wanted to think about planning a birthday party when Christmas was right around the corner?

But! I could have it worse - I know two people (not including Jesus, heh), who were born on Christmas. And seriously? If I had been born on Christmas, I would just change my birthday. To, like, June 16 or something, a nice warm day with no major holidays around.

Oh! And one of the people I know who has a Christmas birthday is a total snot about it. This is a grown man, and he throws a little hissy fit if he doesn't get birthday cards! and presents! and a birthday cake! On Christmas Day. Buddy, word up: You're fighting a losing battle.

I hope everybody had a happy Thanksgiving, and for everybody who got up before dawn this morning to go shopping, all I can say is, better you than me. I hope you got some great deals!

Oh, and one of my birthday! festivities! involves taking Little Girl to have her stitches removed. Party like a rock star, indeed.

A Cautionary Tale

On today, Black Friday, I thought I would relate a tale my niece tells at the dinner table every Thanksgiving.

Her friend, Tracy, was shopping at CrapMart with her two kids and got into a disagreement with another shopper, who also had children. I believe the words "trailer trash" were involved, along with much swearing. After the manager broke up the little altercation by escorting the other woman out of the store, Tracy finished her shopping and headed for her car. The other woman was waiting for her in the parking lot and coldcocked her in front of the kids, breaking her nose. Unfortunately the other woman picked the wrong gal to mess with, because when Tracy came to, she got up off the pavement and beat the shit out of the other woman.

Be careful out there!

I Survived!

My future as a seer looks bleak; #2 (see below) was the only one that turned out to be correct. I have discovered that when it comes to these holiday gatherings, "Last in, first out" is the best policy. I was gone before they even sliced the pie (and before anybody could stuff a dishwashing rag in my hand). Success!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Here's my predictions for tomorrow:

1. I will show up at my sister TIB's house with pies and whipped cream as requested, and she will make a snotty/snide/catty remark to start the festivities. (My favorite so far? "My God, you've still got that ratty old purse?"* (btw, the purse was old, but it was NOT ratty.))

2. Dinner will be ready approximately one and a half hours after the advised time.

3. Somebody will get drunk and belligerent. Everyone else will ignore that person, unless more than one person gets drunk and belligerent, at which point all bets are off.

4. At some time my niece L. will show up, coked out, and will be all lovely and smiles and hugs until the drugs start to wear off and she morphs into a seething mound of anger, throws an honest-to-god tantrum, and storms out the door. This usually occurs before dinner, but sometimes after.

5. My Mom and I will get stuck doing the (5,000) dishes, as everyone else will suddenly remember pressing engagements elsewhere as soon as the dishwashing liquid appears.

6. I will drive home, exhausted and very, very glad to have survived another holiday with the family.

Hope your Thanksgiving is calm, peaceful and bright!

*And yes, at that moment there was NOTHING MORE I WANTED IN THE WORLD than to snap back, "My God, you've still got that ratty old face?" But while baiting TIB into a snarling, spitting frenzy can be highly entertaining in a mean-spirited way, the fallout from a TIB explosion drifts like ashes onto everyone in the family, so I keep my mouth shut.

Okay, okay, I admit it ......

...... I watched "My Shocking Story - Octopus Man" on TLC last night.*

And Pauline, I'm pretty sure it's got "The Day the Whale Exploded in the Street" beat. I mean, I'm not sure how you top an ex-carnival freak show worker, hiding from debt collectors, who just happens to have some extra arms and legs.

Further proof that I will watch anything.

*Followed by a chaser of "The Secret Lives of Women - Child Brides" on WE. Which was unintentionally hilarious.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Game? or Lame?

Another blogger (I'm sorry if it's you and I don't give you credit; I read a LOT of blogs) recently wrote about leg warmers. And a light bulb went off over my head! I hadn't given much thought to leg warmers since around, oh, 1985 or so, but living here in the frozen Northeast and wearing skirts/dresses to work on occasion, I thought leg warmers were a brilliant idea.

So! I went on line and bought some leg warmers, did the whole ship-to-store thing, and picked them up two days later. And now my knees will be nice and toasty on cold mornings.

But! As I said, leg warmers scream "Flashdance" to me. Although I really don't care if I'm twenty-odd years out of style, as long as I'm warm. So what do you think? Are leg warmers a great idea or a really lousy fashion choice? Game? ...... or lame?

Monday, November 24, 2008

Another Mall Thing .......

There was a sign in Sears that read, "Don't just give a gift, grant a wish". But on first glance, I thought it read, "Don't just give a shit .........." And I was like, "Wow, Sears! Edgy!". Until I read it again, that is.

Seen at the Mall

I succumbed and went to the mall on Sunday. In my defense, it was cold and crappy out, and hunting season (which means stay out of the woods) is here, and hey! Walking the mall still counts as walking, right? No? Here are some of the things I saw:

1. Two girls, I am guessing eleven or twelve years old, shopping together, in their PJs. I must be officially a million years old, because all I could think was, where are their parents?

2. You would never guess that the local population is mostly geriatric, because at least 70% of the shoppers were under twenty. And the local mall is chock full of teen/tween shops. I guess the kids are the only ones with discretionary income to blow these days.

3. An Asian woman who loudly and rudely accosted a sales clerk about a price differential. (Why is a seemingly identical item priced more in "petites" than it is in "misses"? It's called marketing, honey.) Sales clerks must loathe the holidays.

4. Lots of guys in shorts. It's thirty degrees out, fellas! Put on some pants! Please!

5. Santa was already in center court, and it's not even Thanksgiving yet. Although he could have been there since Halloween, for all I know. Pretty soon they'll just have him there year-round, with a one-month break for the Easter Bunny.

6. Lots of local college students, flinging around their credit cards and their Long Island accents. There's something about a Long Island accent that makes my head hurt.

7. (This bullet point deleted by the author, for fear it might get her hunted down and killed.)

8. Thank God, I think the mall finally outlawed "heelies". The last time I was there, several months ago, there were a ton of kids wearing heelies. And I wanted to brain each and every one of them, and their parents for letting them wear their heelies to the mall.

So! I guess you know why I try to avoid the mall - it irritates the shit out of me. And I did not find the one thing I was looking for (an air purifier with a replaceable/washable HEPA filter -know anyplace selling them?), so the whole thing was kind of a bust. But! I did get a blog post out of it, so there's that.

Sugar Cookies

Does anyone have a good sugar cookie recipe? The one I've been using for years just isn't doing it for me anymore. Granted, I only make cookies once a year, if that, but I'd still like a good recipe.


Friday, November 21, 2008

About Last Night, Part Two

Last night after work I went to the shelter vet's to pick up teh kittens.

(Oh! And I had to draw a line in the sand with my boss. I had TOLD him earlier in the day that I could work no later than 4:30, my normal quitting time, because the shelter vet's closed at five promptly, and it's a twenty-minute drive to the vet's. At 3:30, the boss decided he wanted to do a big report that *supposedly* had to go out that day. I reminded him again that I had to leave at 4:30, and he started to hem and haw, and I said, quietly, that I would get as much done as I possibly could, but I WOULD be walking out that door at 4:30. And I did. Ahem.)

So! I got the the shelter vet's (with a whopping ten minutes to spare! Woot!), and teh kittens were all grogged out in their carriers. The vet tech was explaining their care for the next few days ("keep them quiet"? Reeeallly?), and then said that Little Girl would have to come back in ten days to have her stitches removed. "Or", she said cheerily, "I can show you how to take them out, and you can do it yourself!". Um, NO. Not gonna happen. I'll bring her right back to you, thankyouverymuch.

We got home, and The Runt staggered out of his carrier, ready to rock. But he was still so groggy that he kept listing from side to side. Little Girl came out of her carrier much more slowly, and was obviously in quite a bit of discomfort. Which was not helped, I am sure, by her brother, who kept going over and poking at her with his paws, trying to get her to play. At one point I looked over and LG was laying on the floor with The Runt STANDING ON HER STOMACH, poking at her. So I kept distracting him, trying to keep him away from poor LG, who just wanted to rest.

This morning The Runt was raring to go, and while LG was still obviously in pain (poor thing), she was able to move about a little less stiffly. They were both eating and drinking and using their litterbox, so hopefully all will be well.

Should be an interesting weekend!

Oh, and The Runt doesn't have to have stitches removed, because he doesn't have any. The guys always have it easier, it seems. But how, I wonder, do you cut an animal's nuts off and not have to put in at least a stitch or two? Is a mystery.

About Last Night .......

You know those stories that go around about how there are body organ thieves operating in third world countries? And there's an interview with a supposed victim, who's all, "yeah, I was just walking down the street, minding my own business, when something clonked me over the head, and the next thing I knew, I was waking up all groggy in a dingy hotel room with a big incision in my side and I don't know what happened ............"

I'm pretty sure that's how The Runt and Little Girl felt last night.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Profiles in Kittens

While the kittens are at the vet's today having measures taken to ensure that they do not beget kittens of their own, I thought I'd jot down a few memories. Hard to believe that they're six months old already.

The Runt:

When The Runt was younger, he was the instigator of the litter. He'd stir up trouble with the other kittens, then saunter out of the room, leaving them to take the rap.

He has really large ears. When he was teeny, he looked more like some kind of alien being than like a kitten. And now he's really long and lean.

He will tolerate being held, although he doesn't really seem to enjoy it. If I pet him, he gets up and moves, which - honestly? Hurts my feelings, just a little. He only purrs when spending quality time with his nuk-nuk towel.

Little Girl:

She likes to sleep curled up against my head at night, which is fine until I roll over in my sleep and get a face full of kitten. And lately, her favored play time seems to be four a.m., when she wakes up, goes down to the foot of the bed, makes a flying leap, and lands square on my head. Her attitude seems to be, "If I'm awake, everybody's gonna be awake!"

When you first pick her up, she lets out a wail, like she's saying, "oh my doodness! OH MY DOODNESS!" Then she calms down and starts purring.

She still has googly eyes. I'm hoping these straighten out, as it's really disconcerting. Although as I've said, it doesn't seem to bother HER at all, so I guess I should just calm down.

The two of them:

They both love to be outside, running around the backyard as fast as they can. They will chase anything that moves, including rabbits bigger than they are. Oh, and The Runt finally seems to be learning "the rules" about tree-climbing, i.e., don't climb any higher than you can turn around and jump down from.

When they are together, I can easily tell them apart. The Runt is bigger and has darker fur; Little Girl is more compact and is lighter and more stripe-ier. When they're apart, well, honestly? I have a hard time telling which one's which. Sorry, guys. They're now wearing different-colored collars, which should help some with ID.

They remind me of my sister Alabama's sons, V and M, who are eight and ten years younger than me. I swear that V was born with a furrowed brow; he was a serious, worried little kid who grew up into a serious, worried man, sometimes taking breaks from the seriousness of it all to get himself into almost unbelievable amounts of trouble. M, on the other hand, was a smiling, friendly little kid who grew up into a smiling, friendly man. When he was younger, we used to joke that he would grow up to be either a bank robber or a bank president, because he could talk himself out of just about anything. (For the record, he grew up to use his powers for good.) The Runt is very much like V - Serious, with splashes of "oops!". And Little Girl is just like M - smiling and sunny and very likely to have a trick or two up her sleeve.

They are both fearless. They are not afraid of loud noises, of water, of anything. They are not even afraid of the vacuum cleaner.

How they got their names:

These two were part of a litter of four, with their mama, whom I started fostering when they were four weeks old. None of them had names when they came from the shelter, and I had to call them something. I named their sister and brother Fluffy and Tuffy, for the obvious reasons. The Runt was the smallest of the litter and the first to get kicked to the curb when they were all nursing; thus, "The Runt". Little Girl was the last to be named, and I really never did come up with anything formal. I just started calling her "Little Girl", and it stuck.

And incidentally, I really thought about calling her Sandy, because her fur is the color of a Pecan Sandie cookie, but everytime I thought "Sandy", I got a visual of John Travolta singing, "Oh Sandy baaaayybeeeeeee, soommedaayy, when high-eye-school is through...." from "Grease", and that sort of scotched that idea.

Good luck at the vet's today, guys! Full food bowls and a warm bed await you when you get home.


The Runt and Little Girl have been safely delivered to the vet, where they will have their bidness taken care of.

And they were so good this morning! They were obviously perplexed by the lack of breakfast, but happily played with their laser toy instead. When I put the carriers up on the bed, they hopped into them before I could even get the towels in.

Goooooood kitties. See ya tonight!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Ho, ho ....... ho?

There was a "Party City" flyer in the paper yesterday, with a section of "Christmas Costumes". And I was thinking, why on earth would anybody dress up in a costume for Christmas? And then I was all, well, yeah, if you get roped into playing Santa at the company Christmas party, you'd need a costume. And the flyer showed some elf costumes, and I was, yeah, okay, if it's a BIG enough company Christmas party, the head honchos might want some elves to go along with Santa. And there were shepherd costumes, presumably for the kiddoes' Christmas play. But then, tucked into the middle of the line-up, was this lovely costume:

It's Tiffany, the Christmas Ho!

I don't even know what to say about this. It's got all the classic "skank costume" elements: Low-cut, lace-up bodice; skirt that you don't want to bend over in (although, if you're actually wearing this, you probably DO want to bend over in it), thigh-high, horizontally-striped leggings, and f*ck-me pumps. Oh, and Party City? I think maybe whoever designs your costumes is a tad misogynistic, because anybody who weighs more than, say, one of the Olsen twins is NOT gonna look sexay in horizontally-striped leggings. Just sayin'.

I've been trying to think where one might wear such a costume (outside of the boudoir, that is), and ......... yeah. I got nothin'. Although I WOULD be willing to wear it to Christmas dinner, just to watch my sister TIB's face turn purple. Totally worth it.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Nervous and Jerky

So! The Runt and Little Girl go to the shelter vet on Thursday to get neutered and spayed, respectively. And while I am immensely relieved to be getting this over with (they ARE, after all, a boy and a girl, and from what I understand, cats don't really have a taboo about incest), I am also a little nervous.

First off, let me say that the people at the local shelters are doing great things. They are EXTREMELY dedicated, considering that they are (almost) all volunteers.

That said, these people are also EXTREMELY disorganized. It's like a Chinese fire drill, all the time. Nobody knows who's doing what, nobody knows what's already been done and what still needs to be done, etc.

So I'm just a little nervous about leaving the cats there on Thursday for their operations. I am sure everything will be FINE, and other than printing my name in Sharpie marker on their carriers I'm not sure what I could do to make the process smoother for them. And so I'll be nervous and jerky for the next couple of days.

Oh! And I've got a question: What is the recovery time for neutering/spaying? I remember when I had Rocky neutered he was basically fine once the anesthesia wore off, but the last time I had a female kitten spayed, many years ago, I seem to remember that she had a much longer recovery time.

Nervous. and Jerky.

Finding New Ways to Get into Trouble

On Saturday night, The Runt came around the corner from the kitchen into the living room with a piece of yarn in his mouth and a funny look on his face. You know when little kids get into trouble, and they realize they've got to tell their parents, and they get that look on their face, and they go, "" Yeah, that look.

So, I went over to see what was up. I figured maybe he wanted to play with the piece of yarn he was carrying. This yarn string is several feet long; the cats like me to drag it around the house so they can chase it.

Can you see where this is going? I tugged on the yarn, gently, and discovered that The Runt had swallowed some of it. So I pulled again, very gently, and pulled, and pulled, until the several inches of yarn that The Runt had swallowed were safely outside of his body again. I felt like a magician (a furious magician, heh, sorry, Dooce) pulling scarves out of somebody's pocket.

The LaSouer Pea Syndrome strikes again.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Ha! I TOLD you so!

On Friday's Young and the Restless, Marge's ghost showed up at Katherine's funeral. And then went to the riverbank where Katherine's body lay undiscovered*, and somehow, well, incorporated herself into Katherine. And the last thing they showed on Friday was Katherine's hand, twitching just a little bit.

So now the question is whether Katherine will come back as Katherine, or as Marge. And I hope it's not Marge, because the actress who portrays Katherine/Marge (and god bless her, she's been on the show for thirty years) cannot do a Southern accent for shit.

Such duh-rama!

*Not pretending to understand this. Nikki and Jill found the body, for Pete's sake. Oh, and wait! According to the local paper, "Jill got news that Katherine died in a car accident, unaware that it was really Marge." Huh?

It's Been Seven Hours and Fifteen Days ........

Since they took my floor away ........


Friday, November 14, 2008

The Young and the Restless

I kicked my Y&R habit several months ago, but I had heard that this week was going to be Katherine's funeral, and they were going to be bringing back some old characters, so I watched a couple of episodes.

And here's the thing about soaps: Nothing ever really happens. And when something does happen, they draaggggggggg it out. A fistfight between two characters can last, like, a WEEK on a soap opera. I expect that Katherine's funeral will last a month or so.

Which makes me think of my favorite line from a TV show, ever. On an episode of The Golden Girls, one of the women was talking about a soap opera. And one of the other women says, "Why, I haven't watched that show in years! What's been happening?" And the first woman says, "Well, it's later the same day ............" Heh.

Oh, but there is one MAJOR exception to this rule: Rapid Aging Baby Syndrome. Take, for example, the character of Noah on Y&R. When I last tuned in, a few months ago, he was around 10 or 11 years old. When I tuned in this week, he was 15. And in Paris with his girlfriend, who turned out to be Michael Baldwin's long-lost half sister. And that's another thing about soaps. Unknown relatives tend to spring out of the woodwork. ALL THE TIME, like once a week or so.

Oh! And let's talk about Victor for a minute. The character of Victor Newman has been on Y&R since the beginning. And a few years ago, Victor started to, well, expand. Now, the actor who played Victor prided himself on his physique, and they used to show him on the show all the time working out in the gym. Evidently as a little treat for teh ladies. But! When ol' Vic started to pack on the pounds, pretty soon they weren't showing him at the gym anymore. Then they weren't showing him in profile in any of his shots. At his, well, weightiest, they were only showing him from a distance. And they'd put him behind chairs and stuff. I shit you not. But I guess the producers sat the actor down and had a little chat, because lately they've been showing the whole Vic again. And he's definitely lost some of that weight.

But! I was amazed to discover that Victor and Ashley are back together. Bleeearrrggghhh....

Now, I have no intention of re-upping with Y&R. As I said, I'm just watching this week for Katherine's funeral. But here's another thing about soaps: Even death cannot kill these people. I mean, you can have a character get blown up in a nuclear blast, and a few years later they'll come back on the show, suffering from amnesia and explaining how they woke up in Spain and had to regain their identity but ......... here they are! Good as new!

So even though they showed Katherine's dead body in the car crash, and the funeral is this week, and they will presumably bury a casket with Katherine in it, it's anybody's guess as to whether she's actually dead or not. She may show up in a few days or weeks or months or years, brushing the dirt off her shoulders and wondering why everybody's so freaked out to see her.

Or, she could come back as a ghost. Hey, it worked for John Abbott! (Another Y&R character who passed away and is currently haunting his son, Jack.)

Oh, and Katherine has an alter-ego, as well - Marge, I think her name is. A gum-chewing, wise-cracking truck stop waitress. I wonder if Marge is dead now, too, or if it's just Katherine who croaked. Hmmmm....

Thursday, November 13, 2008


I just ordered myself a birthday present. (Why, yes, I DO buy myself birthday presents. Hey, SOMEBODY'S gotta do it. SHUT UP.) (And no, my birthday is not today. No need for birthday wishes. It's in a few weeks.)

Anyway, I went to Cafe Press and ordered myself a sweatshirt with this logo on it:

I just made my day!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Dear Rocky,

It's been several months now, and I just wanted to let you know that I miss you and think about you every day.

I have your ashes in a pretty container in my living room, along with some photos of you and a clipping of your fur.

It was a good fifteen years, wasn't it? All the adventures you had, and we had together. You were the best cat I ever had. I hope you enjoyed having me as an owner as much I enjoyed having you for a pet. You were truly one in a million, and I love you very much.




There is a client in our office right now who is wearing SO MUCH PERFUME it is making me gag. And it's that perfume, I can't think of the name right now, that smells like lilacs, but with a little, well, acrid tinge to it, so if you wear a little of it, it smells pretty, but if you BATHE IN IT, it smells like bllleerrrrgh.

Helpful hint from RockyCat: When you are putting on perfume in the morning, spray a little bit of the perfume into the air in front of you, and then walk forward through the spray. THAT IS ALL THE PERFUME YOU NEED.

Excuse me while I go open a window.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Blog Etiquette

Or would that be, "bletiquette"?

Anyway, I was reading someone's (honestly, I don't remember whose) blog the other day, and she was talking about people who read her blog but never comment.

Oh! And let me say first off, I was FUH-REAKED OUT when I first discovered that you could put a thing on your blog that would tell you who was reading it, and when, and for how long, etc., etc. Because sometimes I will click on a blog, and the phone will ring, and a client will come in, and the computer will go to screensaver, and I'll come back, like, two hours later and still be on that blog. And now I'm all, like, "Oh my God! These people think I'm insane! They think I've been reading their blog for, like, two hours!"

And also, sometimes if I get really really bored, I'll start clicking on random blogs over and over, just to see if anybody's updated in the last, oh, half-hour or so.

So when I found out that PEOPLE KNEW WHEN I WAS READING THEIR BLOG, I was all, "Great. Just great. Now they think I'm an insane stalker who reads their blog for HOURS and checks back nine million times a day."

But! Well! Okay, back to the bletiquette thing. I'm relatively new here, and obv I still don't know all the rules, because I had NO IDEA that if you read someone's blog, commenting was mandatory. I thought you could just read along, la la la, and if a post really spoke to you, or if you had something of value to add, then you could comment, but it was strictly optional.

And while I do comment on some of the blogs I read (hi, guys!), I don't comment on all of them. I don't think I do, anyway. Actually, it never even occurred to me to keep track, until now. And I almost never comment on the really popular blogs, like Dooce, unless they're running a contest or something, because honestly? Comment #853? Who cares?

Oh! And also! Having you ever been reading a blog, and the blogger will post a pic of, oh, I don't know, their butt-ugly nephew or something, and you want SO BAD to comment something along the lines of, "That's the ugliest damn kid I ever saw! What did your sister do, mate with a freakin' MONKEY or something?!" No? That's just me? Okay, then. Moving on ........

Or what about when someone is making a reallllly bad decision (I can claim my fair share of those, believe you me) and all of their bloggy commenters are supporting them, and you just want to comment, "Nooooooooo! Don't listen to them! They're idiots!" But you don't, because you know that all of those other commenters will turn around and shoot you down in hot hot flames. Folks, believe me, if you see me about to commit a grievous error (and like I said, IT HAS BEEN KNOWN TO HAPPEN), please let me know.

So! Well! Okay! Running out of steam, and time, here. So I guess here's my bletiquette question for the day: If you read a blog, are you SUPPOSED to comment on it? Or is it optional? And how often are you supposed to comment? Every time you stop by? Or just once in a while?

Oh, and for the record, I do not have one of those site meter thingies here. Frankly, I don't want to know who's coming here, and why, and how many times a day, and for how long, and which search terms they used to get here. Even though this is my personal blog, I somehow oddly feel like it's none of my business if you're stopping by, and so I'd just as soon not know. Ignorance is bliss, and all that.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Five Months

I just looked out my window, and it is snowing out. And it is quarter to four, and already getting dark.

I loathe winter. I despise winter.

Earlier today, I had to run an errand for work. I looked out my window, and it was sneeting out. (Sneeting = snow/sleet combo. The word sounds cute, but trust me, SNEET IS NOT CUTE.) A co-worker happened by and said, "you've got the saddest look on your face!" I am sure it was true.

Here in upstate New York, drivers lose their ever-lovin' minds the first time it snows. It's like they totally forget how to drive in the snow, when let's face it, the last time it snowed was not all that long ago.

I will have hat hair for the next five months. It will snow and be dark and cold for the next five months. I will not be truly, truly happy again until, oh .... April.


Weekend Stuff

I had sweet potato pie for the first time - it tastes just like pumpkin pie!

After watching the latest installment of "Crossroads", I am in love with Taylor Swift's butt. I do not ordinarily spend a lot of time looking at women's butts, but the cameraman kept swinging around behind her and, well ..... that's one cute little butt!

If you get a chance to see "Young @ Heart", please do. It's a documentary about a senior citizens' choir doing songs like "Schizophrenia" by Sonic Youth. It's touching, sad and uplifting - the best thing I've watched in while. If you don't cry at least once watching this, you're .... well, you're not me, 'cause I cried twice. ("Forever Young" and "Fix You", for the record.)

Because my apartment did not have enough crap in it already, I picked up this at a local thrift store:

I'm pretty sure that I paid money for some elementary-schooler's art project, but that's how I roll. And after getting this thing home and realizing the crap overload potential, I rounded up some other stuff and took it back to the thrift store. Recycling!

Mom and I continued our World Tour of Local Diners yesterday. And here's the thing: I had always thought that the word "gyro" was pronounced "hero". But a while back we were at a diner, and I overheard a waitress pronounce it "gyro". So! Because I would much rather look like an idiot for asking than look like an idiot for mispronouncing, yesterday I pointed to the word on the menu (oh yes I did! I'm one of those people - you know, bumpkins) and asked the waitress how to pronounce it. Her response was a cross between "hero" and "euro". Sort of "heeuhrow", with a rolled "r". So now I know. Except I'm not gonna roll the "r" when I say it. That would just sound pretentious. A greek waitress sounds cool when she rolls her "r"s - I would just sound like a jerk.

The Runt loved the leaf piles so much when I raked the other weekend that I raked one up yesterday just for him:

He likes to tunnel around in it, surfacing periodically to look for things to chase.

Oh, and I think I may have killed my camera. I downloaded some pictures this morning, and now it refuses to turn on. I'm going to try new batteries tonight, but if that doesn't work, I think I'm screwed.

And you may not want to order a greek hero sandwich unless you really, REALLY like feta cheese. Word.

Friday, November 07, 2008


I was out walking last weekend when I saw this little guy fluttering around:

Better get a move on, fella!

THAT'S Entertainment!

There was a knock-down, drag-out FIGHT downstairs last night.

P., the only current downstairs tenant, had a bunch of his drinking buddies over. Which is usually not a problem, because although they may hoot and holler, they're a bunch of lightweights, and everybody's usually passed out by ten or ten-thirty, and then all is quiet again.

Well, last night, they all got drunk and loud, a disparaging comment was made about someone's sister(!), and the shit hit the fan.

And! Due to the odd acoustics of the building, if I go into my bathroom I can hear EVERYTHING that goes on downstairs. Although, granted, listening to a bunch of drunks argue tends to get old pretty fast.

But! Then! There were crashes and bangs and cries of "look what you did to my door, you m*therf*cker!", and then the fight SPILLED OUT into the front yard and I was sure the cops were gonna show up any minute, but then two of the drunks went running off down the street, P. hopped into his jeep and took off, and all was quiet again.

I noticed this morning that P.'s storm door has been completely kicked in. I don't know what the inside of his place looks like, but I think he's gonna have some 'splainin' to do to the landlord.

And, truly, there's something ..... well ....... ridiculous about grown men punching each other out. I mean, really, guys? REALLY? You couldn't find ANY OTHER WAY to settle your argument other than to punch each other's teeth out? Come on!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

A Little Scare

(Note: My oldest sister's pseudonym on this blog is "Texas". So when I talk about "Texas", I'm talking about my sister, not the state.)

My sister, Texas, accidentally left her phone off the hook.


I got an e-mail from her friend Mo, who lives in North Carolina, yesterday afternoon. Mo explained that she had been trying to call Texas since Sunday and kept getting a busy signal. She wanted to know if I had the phone numbers of any of Texas's local friends, so that someone could go and check on her. (I live in upstate New York and Texas lives in, well, Texas; it's not like I could just pop over to her place.) She had an e-mail address of one friend of Texas's, but she didn't know how close that person lived.

I didn't have any of Texas's friends' phone numbers, so Mo said she'd try the e-mail address that she had. In the meantime, I had the phone company test Texas's line; the test showed that a phone was off the hook. Which was not particularly reassuring; who leaves a phone off the hook for FOUR DAYS?

I went online, did a reverse address search, and got the names and phone numbers of some of Texas's neighbors. Then I got the number for the local PD, just in case.

Mo e-mailed back right before I left work and said if she didn't hear from her e-mail contact in a couple of hours, she'd give me a call at home and we'd go from there.

Right after I got home last night, the phone rang. It was Texas.

It turns out that Mo's e-mail contact actually lived over an hour away from Texas. But! She had e-mail addresses for some of Texas's golfing buddies, so she e-mailed them and one of them went over to check on Texas and tell her to put her damn phone back on the hook, for Chrissakes!

All's well that ends well. But, Texas? Buy a new phone. Please.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

What Lies Beneath?

Okay, first off, I would like to congratulate President-Elect Obama. Mr. Obama, we are counting on you.

One thing that he said last night stuck with me. He said, "I will always be honest with you about the challenges we face."

And you know what? I believe him. I didn't believe a word that came out of George Bush's mouth, but I believe Obama. Of course, I believed Bill Clinton, too, and we all know how THAT went, but I think that Obama is going to treat the office of the presidency a little less, well ..... cavalierly than Clinton did. And I believe that he will try his damnedest to get this country headed back in the right direction.

Now: Back to our regular blog schedule: Kittens, whining, and malfunctioning bathrooms!

What lies beneath?

Why, THIS. THIS is what lies beneath my bathroom carpeting:

Stunning, no? I particularly like the nine million nails that have been randomly pounded into the linoleum. And the different-colored tiles. And the carpet-backing remnants that refused removal. Look at Little Girl in that pic; she's like, "Oh, SNAP, that is one fucked-up floor!"

On Saturday, the toilet-fixer-person came over. What's that, you say? He was supposed to come over last Wednesday night? Why yes, yes he was. Did he show? Do you even have to ask at this point?

But! He did finally meander on over on Saturday afternoon, bringing a "helper" with him. As far as I can tell, the only thing the "helper" did was pull up the toilet-fixer-person's pants, when they had slid SO FAR off his butt that they were in danger of falling off entirely. (I know we have talked about this before, but WHY do these men REFUSE to wear belts? I think there's some passive-aggressive exhibitionism going on here.) And after installing a THIRD wax ring underneath the toilet, the toilet-fixer-person decided to pull up the carpeting to judge the state of the floor underneath it, which has been water-saturated for, oh, SEVERAL WEEKS now.

And lo! He determined that the floor was shot. And would have to be replaced. But not on Saturday, oh, no. And not Sunday, or Monday, or Tuesday either, because his "guys" are really busy. Maybe Wednesday. Oh, but wait. TODAY's Wednesday. Possibly NEXT Wednesday?


Tuesday, November 04, 2008

I Voted!

And I felt like I was helping make history.

And I felt like I was on the side of the angels. Like I was voting for joy and hope, instead of anger and vindictiveness and spite.

And my dinky little polling place, which is usually deserted, was swamped with people.

And it felt great!

I voted - now it's your turn! Go vote for the candidates of your choice!

Monday, November 03, 2008

Quick Question

A lot of states now have early voting. What happens if you "vote early", and the candidate you voted for drops out of the race (scandal, illness, whatever) between the time you voted for him/her and the actual election day itself? What happens to your vote? Does it just not count? Does it go to whomever steps in to take the (former) candidate's place?

Just curious.

Updated to add: Okay, I've had a little time to think about it, and I guess that was a stupid question. I mean, say I'd already voted, and this afternoon the person I voted for went batshit crazy at a campaign event, did something unspeakable, and dropped out of the race. Of course my vote would not count, because the candidate I'd voted for was no longer running.

But what happens then? Does the VP candidate automatically become the presidential candidate? Do they just scratch the whole thing and start all over again?

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Recently Read

Standard disclaimer: Feel free to skip.

1. Verbena by Nanci Kincaid - An enjoyable light read, but I could have used more ... explanation ... about the ending. What, exactly, was Lucky's illness?

2. Beautiful Children by Charles Bock - Novel about a boy who disappears in Vegas. Downer subject, but interesting book.

3. The Rolling Years by Agnes Sligh Turnbull - First published in 1936, this is a good, old-fashioned read which I thoroughly enjoyed.

4. Once Upon a Day by Lisa Tucker - Novel about a man who "disappears" with his two kids, and what happens when the kids grow up and discover the world - very good.

5. Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brasheres - Sure, I'll admit it - I read this one, and it was enjoyable, if slight.

6. The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff - Novel about polygamist Mormons. It got good reviews, but it didn't hold my interest. I got a hundred pages in, realized I had four hundred more to go, and gave up.

7. In a Pickle by Jerry Apps - Novel about farmers in the 50s - meh.

8. Made in the USA by Billie Letts - Novel about two kids in Vegas - darker than her other stuff - entertaining.

9. Away by Amy Bloom - Novel set in the 20s. The main character, who is trying to get to her young daughter, whom she thought was dead, sticks with you. (Sorry about that mess of a sentence. I'm too lazy to clean it up.)

10. The Flying Troutmans by Miriam Toews - Novel about an aunt taking her niece and nephew on a road trip - good.