Friday, December 31, 2010

Freaky Friday: So I went to see a lady about a porcupine edition

Oh peeps, it is a long, LONG story involving lots of twists and turns, but suffice it to say that I am now the proud owner of a three-feet-tall, eighty-year-old taxidermied porcupine.

Betcha it's the only one in town.

"There's a reason for that", you're all saying.

I know.

Happy New Year!

Notes from New Year's Eve at the office

1. Oh, shit, didn't we just do this?

2. My boss is an asshole. He thinks that by forcing his employees to work on holidays, it makes him look powerful. Actually, all it makes him look is like an asshat, but you can't convince HIM of that.

3. I KNOW that every other blogger in the free world is doing that boring-ass "Shit I did in 2010", 9,000 item list, and if YOU did it on YOUR blog I'm sure it's lovely, but frankly, I'd rather watch the religious channel than do that shit. And I have YET to make it past item seventeen or so on somebody else's list. Frankly? I don't care who you know who gave birth in the past year. I DON'T KNOW THEM. Jeezus. But! Because I am a giving person *cough*, here are just a few brief updates on things I've mentioned here recently.

- The toe. As it turns out, I can blame Jillian Michaels for this one, just as I can blame all my woes on Ms. Michaels. When I went up to Level 2 in the Shred, I discovered that it has an ass-ton of plank work, which basically forces your toes into a tip-toe position, except the rest of your body is horizontal instead of vertical. Fun! Bottom line: It's f*cking up my feet.

- The Runt's allergies. Some of you may remember how the vet and I struggled all summer and fall to get The Runt's digging and scratching and licklicklicking under control. As it turns out, a month or two of freezing cold weather is all it took to calm things down. Evidently his main allergy is to something that grows outside. He's completely off the steroids, and only has to take Chlortrimeton twice a week or so. Now we just have to wait and see what happens comes spring. Oh! And last night he hopped up on the bed next to me and was just purr purr purring like a loud little motor, which was just charming, truly, because The Runt is not a purr-er.

- The jaw. Remember that post I wrote about letting go, about having to learn to deal with chronic pain? A few weeks after I wrote that, the pain started to ebb, and I am almost back to normal now. I have no idea if the diminishment of pain had anything to do with my determination not to let it take over my life; somehow I doubt it, but I'll take whatever works at this point. Whew!

Okay! So! For all of you who were clicking around the blogosphere this morning, going, "Where the hell IS everybody?", here I am! You're welcome! Stay tuned, 'cause I'll be back a little later with a Very Special Episode of Freaky Friday, now with more porcupine!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Et tu, FitTV?

I'll admit it; I've been known watch FitTV from time to time. I like watching the yoga gals do their impossible poses, and I like watching that insane workout chick, I can't think of her name, the one with the brown hair who looks kind of like a buffed-up preschool teacher, lead the Cardio Blast.

Have you ever watched Cardio Blast? It's like the most intense workout show EVER, where they're all up and down and up and around on their little step thingies and they're lifting weights and I keep watching to see if someone's heart is literally going to explode out of their chest. Seriously.

So! Imagine my dismay when I discovered that, after the first of the year, FitTV is no longer going to be airing the yoga gals and Cardio Blast and the other workout shows in prime time.

What will they be showing instead, you ask?

"Untold Stories of the E.R." "Born with Two Heads." "8-Limbed Boy." "17 Kids and Counting." "Dr. G: Medical Examiner."

AND, perhaps most hilariously, " World's Fattest Man."

Oh, FitTV, I could watch that schlock on ANY channel. I counted on YOU to at least SHOW me how to exercise, even if I wasn't brave enough to attempt Cardio Blast without medical supervision. I even taped some of the tamer exercise shows, one of which, an ab workout, is in regular rotation in my exercise schedule. (Not that I really HAVE a regular exercise schedule, who am I kidding here, but HEY! I DO that ab workout! Occasionally. Sometimes.)

"Half-Ton Teen"? REALLY, FitTV?

I think you've lost your way. Time for an Intervention. Oh, wait, you're showing that at ten?


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Maybe I really AM sleepwalking to the bathroom

I woke up in the middle of the night last night because my big toe was killing me. KILLING ME. I fell back asleep and woke up a couple of hours later still in pain. I stumbled to the bathroom, downed a couple of Advil, and went back to bed.

I woke up this morning, and that toe feels just exactly like it's broken.


Please don't tell me it's possible to break a toe in your sleep.

I got no other explanation. Yes, I've been exercising, but I didn't have a major exercise malfunction involving my TOE. I haven't even STUBBED the damn thing lately.

And yet here I am, stumbling around the office like a drunken sailor, because THE TOE. IT HUUUURRRRRTTTTSSSS.

The mystery of the broken toe. Hmmmm.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Dr. M

With my health insurance, I have to have a "primary care provider", a gateway doc who refers me, when necessary, to specialists. I call him my "doctor-doctor", and I go to Dr. G.

Except when Dr. G is not available, and then my health insurance allows me to go to another doctor in Dr. G's medical group.

For the last couple of years, whenever I called to make an appointment, it seemed that Dr. G was never available. But another doctor in his group, Dr. M, always was.

And I didn't mind. I really liked Dr. M anyway, so much so that I was considering making him my doctor-doctor.

Until I found out why he was always available.

As it turns out, twenty years ago, Dr. M admitted to exposing and fondling himself in front of a female patient in an exam room.


Man, that's just ... skeevy. Pervy. Extremely disturbing.

And you know what? You know what the first thing I thought was?

"Oh, well, maybe it was a consensual thing that got out of hand. I mean, it's not like he's an ob-gyn; she wasn't up in stirrups or anything. Maybe it was just a misunderstanding. Or maybe she was an ex-girlfriend with a vendetta."

Oh my dear lord, I was making EXCUSES for this dick-pulling perv.


If some dude pulled that shit in front of ME, the first thing I'd do is kick him in the nuts so hard he wouldn't be using his equipment for the foreseeable future. Then I'd run screaming out of the exam room, making sure EVERYBODY in a hundred-yard radius knew EXACTLY what just happened. Then I'd make sure charges were filed. Then I'd probably take out a BILLBOARD to let the whole town in on it.

And yet here I was, making excuses for this doctor. Because I liked him. He was a nice doctor. And after all, it was twenty years ago and he was young and



Monday, December 27, 2010

Guess what I got for Chrismas!

... a summons for jury duty!


Like it wasn't sucky enough that I had to work on Christmas Eve, when I got home there was a cuddly little jury duty summons waiting in the mailbox.


Oh! But on the way home I saw a bald eagle, so THAT was pretty cool. He was in a tree by the side of the river, chowing down on a big ol' fish.

In other news, I found out over the weekend that a couple of weeks ago, my niece drank her way into the hospital, again. I should probably differentiate, here, seeing as how I have TWO nieces with drinking problems. The one with alcohol-induced pancreatitis I'll call drunk-blond-niece; the one with two DWIs in two years I'll call drunk-brunette-niece. Just to keep them straight.

I don't know about you guys, but I'm about ready for the holidays to be over. What's left? New Year's? Okay, let's hit it and get it, and onward toward spring.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Freaky Friday: Nativity Edition

Okay, let me say right up front, I don't even begin to understand some of the stuff they sell at the dollar store.

Take, for example, this charming little porcelain nativity scene.

Cute, right? But wait - what's that little bow in the front? Are you supposed to open it?

Why, yes; yes you are. It's a nativity that doubles as ... a trinket box? A used gum holder? A place to stash your coke?

The possibilities are endless.

Let's take a closer look at the baby Jesus, shall we?

"What child is this", indeed. What the hell? Is that ... is that blood on his little cradle?

Oh, great. Now all I can think about is that old movie It's Alive. Thanks, Dollar Store!

May visions of cheesy seventies horror films dance in your head.

Merry Christmas, everybody!

Notes from a Christmas Eve at the office

1. I could be asleep RIGHT NOW. *sob*

2. At least the commute was clear. Because NOBODY ELSE IS WORKING.

3. I passed a statie on the way in, parked on the side of the highway with his radar gun. Merry Christmas - here's a speeding ticket, motherf*cker!

4. I got here promptly at eight a.m., despite what may or may not be a hangover from the Christmas-Eve-Eve imbibing. My boss, who INSISTED I be here this morning, will wander in around ten-thirty*, and then promptly leave again to finish his Christmas shopping. Trust me on this one.

5. Oh! Oh! The office Christmas luncheon yesterday! Dear co-workers: If your boss is nice enough to take you to a mid-level restaurant for lunch, for the love of CHRIST wear something other than ratty flannel shirts and baggy-ass jeans. You looked like a bunch of FARMHANDS. Or crackheads.

6. Continuing on with the luncheon: I am happy with myself. When the boss made some weird comment about being proud that all HIS employees (all three of us) owned their own homes, I resisted the urge to say something like, "If I own my own home, it's IN SPITE of what I earn here, not BECAUSE of it, dipshit."

7. We did our Secret-Santa exchange yesterday. Anybody want a - wait, let me check the box - "ScentSationals Fragrance Hearth Wax Warmer (Not a Scentsy Product)"? It's free!

8. On the other hand, my boss DID come through with a hefty bonus for me. Which goes a long way toward explaining why I'm sitting here RIGHT NOW.

9. I hope some other bloggers are posting today, 'cause I've got a lot of time to kill, here. Get to work!

10. Stay tuned for Very Special Christmas Edition of Freaky Friday, coming soon!

11. I could be sleeping. RIGHT NOW.

*Better make that eleven. Or noon.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Rather spectacularly uncoordinated

So! After almost a year of intermittently, half-assedly doing Level 1 of the Jillian Michaels Shred DVD, last Friday I went insane and stepped it up to Level 2.


And you know what? It didn't kill me. It was a harder workout than Level 1, but not on, like, the quantum level I had been expecting.

But oh! The plaaaaaanks. Level 2 is just chock-full of plank work, which is basically where you get in push-up position and then do all kinds of funky shit.

That came out wrong, didn't it? We are talking EXERCISE here, peeps. Minds out of gutters.

And Jillian is evidently STILL trying to blow my knees to smithereens, because a quite a bit of Level 2 is not exactly ... hmm ... knee-friendly. At least not to MY old four-years-of-high-school-marching-band knees.

And! Here's the thing: There's this one exercise in Level 2, I forget what Jillian calls it, because she gives ALL her exercises weird-ass names like "Hammer plank side turn jack-ups", which, I don't know, maybe that's standard gym-talk, which I would know NOTHING about having not been in a gym since high school, and even then it was just for, like, dodgeball and rope climb and

where the hell was I? Oh! This one exercise, where you are supposed to point your bottom half one way and then point your top half the other way and then alternate! Like you're doing the Twist! Come on baby, let's do the Twist!

Except my body refuses to mis-align itself, and I only get, like, three twists in before my top half and my bottom half are all, like, screw this! And everything's pointing in the same direction, and I have to STOP and MIS-ALIGN myself and start over and NOPE everything's right back in sync again and

it's like when you rub your tummy and pat your head? Except I can actually DO that.

Good thing "The Twist" went out of style, like, fifty years ago, 'cause I'd be screwed on the dance floor.

And if you ever want to laugh your ass off, come watch me exercise. Seriously, I should sell tickets. I exercise in the living room, which faces the front yard, so I could just set up rows of bleachers out front.

Another genius idea!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Taughannock Falls

Oh, first off, yes I DID go see a lady about a porcupine - seeing as how you'd all been asking. *cough*

And now for something really cool. Click here:

Taughannock Falls Rock Slide - Photos, Information

I have been at the base of those falls, many times, although never in the spot where the giant piece of rock landed. And now I'm thinking I will never go anywhere NEAR the base of those falls.

Holy cow!

Monday, December 20, 2010

I guess she's forgiven me over the whole "pizza allergy" thing

My neighbor T. invited me over for coffee and cookies last night. My other neighbor, L., was there, along with a couple of their friends whom I had not yet met.

One of their friends made a comment about remembering something that had happened when FDR was president, and I laughed, thinking she was making a joke about her age.

She wasn't kidding.

Folks, this lady is in her NINETIES, and she still lives on her own in the family farmhouse, drives everyplace (her son just bought her a new car), and mows her several-acre lawn. She was talking last night about the books she's reading, and the lawn ornaments that she decorates for every holiday, and how she really needs to take her car to the car wash.

Man, if I can age as gracefully as this woman has, let me at it. It doesn't look so bad, if you can do it her way.

Movie Review: Trick 'R Treat

Look, I'm so far behind on movie reviews it's pathetic, so let's just go for it, okay?

Here's a review from two months ago. Sorry about that.

I'm not usually a fan of scary movies, but I figured I'd get one to watch on Halloween, so I put "Trick 'R Treat" on my Netflix list.

"Trick 'R Treat" came out a couple of years ago and features Anna Paquin. It's basically a series of interwoven stories taking place in a small town on Halloween night.

And it's really good!

It reminded me a lot of the old "Tales from the Crypt" series on HBO, in that the scares were mixed in with a whole lot of camp. Even when it got violent and/or bloody, it was so stylized that timid me didn't get grossed out. Well, not TOO grossed out, anyway.

Recommended! Especially for Halloween.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Random on a Friday afternoon

First off, yes, there IS a Freaky Friday. Scroll down. Now on with random:

1. I can deal with the snow. I can deal with the cold, and the crappy driving conditions, and the unrelenting deadness of winter. What I can't deal with? The dark. Get up in the dark, go to work in the dark, come home in the dark, shovel snow in the dark, darkdarkdarkdarkdark. Makes me want to drink. Got a beer?

2. Everybody in my office is ready to kill each other. Should make the Christmas luncheon next Thursday interesting.

3. I loathe Christmas Eve parties. Loathe them. If you are planning a Christmas Eve party? Rethink it. All anybody wants to do on Christmas Eve is relax at home. Well, that's all I want to do, anyway. Because you know what's really sad? The local neighborhood dive bar is not only open on Christmas Eve, it's usually packed. Even sadder? It's open on Christmas Day, too.

Well, that's it from me for this week. Tomorrow, I'm gonna go see a lady about a porcupine. See ya Monday, probably with a tale to tell.

Freaky Friday - Birthday Edition Part 3

Sometimes you need a parrot watch, is all.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Three Days of the Condo

Here is the old cat condo. You can see how The Runt is kind of scrunched into it. It was really made for smaller cats:

I love how he's all suave and debonair in that pic. Helloooo, ladeeeez.

Now, for the new cat condo.
First off, YOU try wrestling a forty-five-pound, six-feet-tall, multi-level cat tree out of a station wagon and into a house. The things I do for these cats.

They'd better be getting me something amazing for Christmas, is all I'm sayin'.

Okay, here's The Runt, whose opinion on this little endeavor was critical. I hadn't even gotten the thing out of the kitchen when he stared exploring:

Look at the muscles on that cat! I think he's been doing my shred DVD when I'm at work.

Level Two:

That's Little Girl on the bottom, and The Runt on the second story.

Level Three:

I was a little worried about how they were going to get up there. Okay, mainly I was worried that they were going to try climbing the Christmas tree and then jumping over to that top level. But The Runt just climbed the post all the way to the top. Oh, and that's a six-and-half foot Christmas tree, so you can see how gigantor the cat condo is.

I'm pretty sure they like it.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Survey SAYS ...

Okay, so we had two yeas and two nays, so that means ...

... you should SEE what's in the back of my car!

Seriously, I am more than a little abashed at spending this kind of money on a cat tree. But I knew the old tree wasn't going to last forever, and to buy this kind of thing in a pet store would cost easily TWICE what Big Lots was asking, and {justify justify justify}

man, I'm lame.

But anyhoo, because I am apparently incapable of doing anything without making a big proDUCtion out of it, I had to turn this into a GREAT BIG THING.

I didn't want to go back to the FIRST Big Lots, the one I went to yesterday, because like I said, it is skeevy, and it's impossible to find an employee to actually HELP you with anything there. But! There is ANOTHER Big Lots on the other side of town, so I went to that one. Where they didn't have the cat tree in question. Nope. Not at all. And they were sure there weren't any in the back, nope, and NO they couldn't order one, and NO.

So. Back to the skeevy Big Lots. Where they had one of the cat trees on display, and I was assuming (ahahahahahahaaaaaa) that they had more in the back, in, like, BOXES, which I could load into my car, take home, and assemble.

When I finally managed to corral an employee, she informed me that nope, that one on the floor was the ONLY ONE they had. But they would be glad to sell it to me! All six feet and several levels of it!

"You got a truck?" she asked, as she loaded it onto a wheelie-thingie.

Um, no. I do not have a truck.

Two Big Lots employees, one wrenched knee, and much cursing later, the cat tree is in the back of my wagon.

And how I'm ever gonna get it out of there, God only knows.

Oh! And provided I DO ever get it in the house, the old tree will definitely be going to a shelter, if they want it. And if The Runt DOES decide he can't part with the old one, the new one will go in the spare room, because I do plan on fostering again, and when I do, the fosters will be staying in there.

See that? I can turn an ordinary shopping expedition into a several-day, angst-ridden, drama-filled extravaganza.

I think there's something wrong with me.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

To buy or not to buy

Okay, so I'm posting like crazy today, so try to keep up, okay? :)

Remember, back a few posts ago, now I explained that I have a really bad habit of finishing up my Christmas shopping and then just ... keeping shopping?

It's happening again.

Big Lots has this giant cat condo/tree thing on sale for EIGHTY-EIGHT bucks.

I went to check it out at lunchtime, even though the closest Big Lots to my office is skeevy and awful and occupies some weird level of shopping HELL, and the cat tree is ...

... really nice. Well-built and sturdy and HUGE (it's taller than I am) with three napping levels, and it's even Made! In! America!, which means it's probably the only thing in the entire STORE that's made in America, with the possible exception of some of the employees


my cats already HAVE a cat tree. Granted it's old (a hand-me-down from a former neighbor) and kind of worse-for-wear and a little tippy, but The Runt looooooves his cat tree.

And what if I get the NEW cat tree and the cats don't like it?


Eighty-eight bucks down the ol' drain, that's what!

But I already shorted them out of their window seats, so surely a new cat tree is a reasonable purchase, right? RIGHT?

Oh, the dilemma.

You guys know me. I'm really, really good at justifying purchases, especially at this time of year.
So help me! Post a comment on whether I should buy the condo/tree or not.


The mysterious case of the shrinking toilet paper

Okay, so I've used Quilted Northern toilet paper for ... well, for as long as I can remember. TMI? Sorry. I do have a point. Lately, I was noticing that it seemed like I was buying toilet paper a lot more often.

And when I finally started keeping track of HOW often I was buying toilet paper (because I have nothing better to do with my time, OBviously), I discovered that I was buying a four-roll-pack of toilet paper ...

... once a week.

Whaaaaaaaa? Peeps, I live alone. It's just me. HOW ON EARTH COULD I BE GOING THROUGH A ROLL OF TOILET PAPER EVERY OTHER DAY? I mean, it's not like the cats are using it or anything. And it's not like I've got any sort of ... health problem or something that would make me go through more toilet paper.

I actually started to worry that there was something wrong with me, like I had some rare condition that caused me to sleepwalk to the bathroom in the middle of the night and ... I don't know, stuff paper into the toilet or something.

Hahahahaha sorry about THAT little mental image. I'll bet you're sorry you started reading this post now, aren't you?

ANYhoo, I had to consult with Google this morning, because, COME ON, toilet paper isn't exactly CHEAP, and I discovered that

it's not just me.

Oh, man, at least now I know that I don't have some weird sleepwalking disease or something.

What a relief!

Oh, and I'm now accepting toilet paper recommendations. Any brands out there that last more than a-roll-every-other-day? And that aren't, you know ... scratchy?

Inquiring minds want to know.

Pour some sugar on me

Bridgett called this one - everybody needs to be watching this season of The Sing-Off. Last night, watching the show, I was all, like, they can show this on network TV?

And now that they've delving into cheesy eighties rock, somebody really, REALLY needs to do The Reflex.

You've been notified, NBC.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Mouse! Rescue!

Oh boy, that was the big news around my house this weekend - the successful rescue of a field mouse! I've learned that the easiest way to do it is to wait for the cats to corner it, then go in with a cup and a piece of cardboard. Cup over the mouse, cardboard under the mouse, and you're off to the great outdoors.

Yesterday's rescue also involved a butterfly net*, which DID seem to make the process a little easier.

Oh! And I went for a walk yesterday and came back with a plant stand. I think I should audition for American Pickers.

And Saturday! I was driving on a two-lane road in a little nearby town when the cars ahead of me slowed and then came to a halt in both directions. I don't know if there was a fenderbender or WHAT, but all of a sudden people were jumping out of their cars and yelling at each other! It was very entertaining. I rolled down my window so I could hear better, OF COURSE, hoping no weaponry was going to be involved, but by then everybody was back in their cars and on their merry way, just like nothing had happened.

Kate, you KNOW what town I'm talkin' about.

Oh, and after seeing a giant stuffed gnu head this weekend, I think I'm gonna have to go see a lady about a porcupine.

How was YOUR weekend?

*Why do I have a butterfly net? For situations just like this. DUH.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Is it just me, or ...

First off , there is TOO a Freaky Friday! Scroll down, peeps!

Second: It's snowing outside! At this time of year I still like to watch snow fall; it has a certain novelty to it - Hey, snow! Haven't seen you in a while! You're looking very pretty, I must say!By March, I'll be ready to scream at every flake.

Now, let me expose for you a few of my little "quirks" *cough*. Because I'm wondering if I'm only one who does this shit ...

1. After a concerted push the last two nights, all gifts that have to be shipped are now on their way, and all Christmas cards are in the mail. (It's still not too late if you want a card! Email me! rockycat24(AT)yahoo(DOT)com!) And here's where I get into trouble: Christmas is still two weeks away, and I'm all done, meaning I will have to fight MIGHTILY not to just keep shopping. Because honestly? Christmas is the one time of the year when the pursestrings get loosened and money gets spent on things wanted, not needed*. For the love of Pete, somebody keep me out of that antiques store!

2. "O Holy Night" is one of my favorite Christmas carols. That whole "fall on your knees" thing just slays me, the idea of something being so awe-inspiring that it drops you to your knees. But every single time this song runs through my head (which is A LOT, this time of year), I think of it as "O Holy Shit". I don't think there's any hope of this changing any time soon.

3. I am re-thinking the whole "tip-your-paperboy" thing this year. I was GLAD to do it when the carrier was one of the neighbor kids, but now that it's some dude on a motor route who was late with the paper THREE TIMES this last week, well ...

4. Ditto the mailman. I mean, come on, he doesn't even have to get out of that little truck, and he keeps delivering stuff addressed to the previous owner, which, COME ON, dude, it's been a year and a half! Get with the program!

5. I keep finding excuses not to do my Jillian Michaels workout. Last night, I shit you not, I was doing the jumping jacks, and the ornaments were bouncing around on the tree from the earthquake caused by my exertions, and I was all, "WELL! OBviously I cannot work out again until after Christmas! I'm BOTHERING the TREE!" Lame.

6. Now dish: What's your quirks?

*Freaky Friday-type items are a NEED, not a WANT, at any time of year. SHUT IT.

Freaky Friday - Birthday Edition Part 2

I don't know why I like cigar boxes; I just do.

I like the idea of having a box to store your treasure in.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Oh, man, I know I'm gonna catch a bunch of shit for this ...

... but something about an event named the "Arizona Burns and Trauma Festival of Trees" just sounds a little ... off ... to me.

Happy ... um ... holidays?

Recently Read

As always, skip it if you wanna.

1. The Blue Cotton Gown by Patricia Harman - Memoirs of a midwife. Interesting.

2. Still Life with Chickens by Catherine Goldhammer. I got about a third of the way through this one before realizing I'd read it before. It's a memoir about a woman who, among other things, raises a few chickens. Good if you want to learn about chicken-raising.

3. Sweet Tea and Jesus Shoes by various authors. A collection of adorable short stories about the South - recommended.

4. Whitethorn Woods by Maeve Binchy. Ah, Maeve. I love her books - you just sit right down and sink right in. This one is about a little town in Ireland and its inhabitants - very entertaining.

5. Letters of a Woman Homesteader by Elinore Pruitt Stewart - Self-explanatory title, there. Good book.

6. Leave the Building Quickly by Cynthia Kaplan - Vignettes and stories from the author's life - Interesting and very funny.

7. A Good House by Bonnie Burnard - Novel detailing 50 years in the life of a family. I never did get into this one, mainly because the author seemed detached from her characters. I finished it, but I can't recommend it.

8. Welcome to Utopia - Notes from a Small Town by Karen Valby. The author went to a tiny Texas town and wrote down the stories of the people who live there - very good.

9. Charming Billy by Alice McDermott. Novel about a beloved drunk. I'll bet English Lit teachers love this sucker, but I was bored and quit about sixty pages in, mainly because I know too many drunks to find anything about them "charming".

10. The Wedding Dress by Carrie Young - Short stories set in the Dakotas - very good.

Okay, so right now I'm struggling my way through The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James, which made a lot of "100 best books" lists, and all I can say is, Really? Woo boy, so far it's just a bunch of proper people sitting around talking, and maybe it was, I don't know, scandalous for its day or something, but I really don't care about a bunch of self-important twits out in the English countryside, so whatever.

What are YOU reading right now? Is it any good?

I'm probably reading this wrong, but ...

... I was in the shower this morning, thinking about the famous woman who died yesterday. The politician's wife, who fought cancer for the past several years before finally succumbing.

And everybody's talking about how great she was, because she was selfless and caring and forgiving, and you know what I see?


She gave up her career to help her husband run for president, and what did she get for it? He cheated on her. So she forgave him, and what did he do? He knocked up the other woman.

The cancer was just an extra added turd bonus from the universe.

You know what? I spend the first half of my adult life acting a lot like this woman. I let people walk all over me and forgave them. I gave and I gave and I gave, and what did it get me? A shitty ex-husband, a lousy ex-boyfriend, and a bunch of people standing around with their hands out waiting for what I'd give them next.

So about fifteen years ago, I made a sea change. I cut off all the people who were only there for the good times, meaning about ninety percent of my friends and relatives.

And it felt GREAT. For the first time, I wasn't worried about making anybody happy but myself. And no, I didn't start taking from other people, I just stopped giving MYSELF away.

And now I'm happy as a pig in shit. My real friends are still here. The chaff got left by the side of the road a long time ago.

Selfish? Maybe. But I'll tell you what right now, the woman who died yesterday spent her whole life making other people happy, and what did it get her? Dead. Oh, sure, people are calling her great and selfless and caring and forgiving, but I can't see that her sacrifices got her a whole hell of a lot, other than a lot of kind words at the news of her death.

And you know what? Maybe she wanted it that way. Maybe that's what made her happy, giving her whole life to other people, and if that's the case, great! It's all about what makes you happy. That's the point.

Personally, I don't care if people call me selfish and grinchy and not a team player. Because I'd rather die happy than be called a great person, and I would not die happy if I gave up my life for other people.

I'd rather live happy.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

A note about cat window seats

First off, scroll down to the previous post for the scintillating details about how to score a Christmas card!

Go on, I'll wait.

(tapping fingers on desk)

Okay! Back already? Here is a quick (okay, really, really LONG (you've been warned)) story about cat window seats, aka "perchs" ("perches"?), for anyone who may be googling them trying to decide which one to pick.

I thought I'd buy my cats window seats for Christmas.* You know, those ones that attach to the windowsill and have a nice fluffy cover on the seat part?

So I started googling and discovered that a halfway decent one would run about thirty bucks, at which point I figured that the cats could flippin' well SHARE and decided to buy one seat instead of two.

I went to PetSmart last night, picked up a thirty-dollar Lazy Pet Kitty Window Perch**, took it home, got it out of the box, grabbed my cordless screwdriver so I could bolt it to the window frame, and discovered ...

... it attaches to the window frame with Velcro and tape. VELCRO and TAPE.

What. The. F*ck.

Look, I don't know about your cats, but my cats are pretty enthusiastic and energetic and klutzy. I'm guessing it would take about two days of cats jumping up on that thing for the Velcro and tape to give, and for it all to come crashing to the floor. And then I'd be left with a nice wide strip of tape goo on my windowsill as an added bonus. And possibly also a vet bill.

Well. Maybe it's some sort of super tape!, I thought. Maybe it DOES hold and not peel off the sill.

So I went on line and started googling.

Hah! Fail. The tape does not hold. I THOUGHT SO.

But! All is not lost. There is another type of cat seat, called the Cat Napper Window Perch, which evidently comes with optional bolting screws so you can SECURELY ATTACH the damn thing to the windowsill, as opposed to giving your cats a complex on the fateful day that they hop onto their window seat and send it, and them, crashing to the floor.

So! Am I going to return the Lazy Pet Kitty Window Perch and replace it with a Cat Napper Window Perch?

Not exactly. Because while I was perusing the ads in the paper today, I noticed that Dollar General has adorable little fluffy comfy cat beds on sale for five bucks each.


I am going to return the thirty-dollar velcro-and-tape kitty-window-perch-collapsing-travesty, and replace it with two five-dollar fluffy comfy cat beds, which I will then place on top of the dressers in the bedrooms so the cats have a nice window view. And I'll put some of that dollar-store shelf-liner-gripper stuff underneath the fluffy comfy cat beds, so they don't go flying off the dressers when the cats jump into them, although frankly I would probably pay to see something like that.

There ya go. Total savings? Twenty bucks. And I get two beds instead of one. And I don't have to worry about the cats getting PTSD from having a window seat go crashing out from under them.

Ta Da! End of story! People who got here by googling "cat window seat" or "cat window perch", you're welcome. Come back any time. Here's a cat toy review I did a couple of years ago, if you're interested.

To my regular readers who just wasted ten minutes of their lives reading about cat window seats and are now pissed, I am sorry. I'm performing a public service here. I should get an award, for Pete's sake.

See you tomorrow!

*Yes, I DO buy them Christmas gifts. SHUT IT.

**It just about killed me. I am CHEAP.

It's the most wonderful time of the beer

... erm, YEAR, that is. I meant "year". Sure I did.

But! Christmas cards! It's time for Christmas cards!

If you got a Christmas card from me last year, don't worry, you're still on my list. If you did NOT get a card last year and would LIKE a card, email me your name/address to rockycat24(AT)yahoo(DOT)com and you'll go on the list. If you DID receive a card last year and DO NOT WANT ANOTHER ONE, EVERRRRRRR, let me know that, too. Oh, except for Fish. Fish, your card already went out, 'cause I wasn't sure how long it would take to GET there, so if you didn't want a card this year, too bad.

I'm doing a mixed bag last year - some snarky, some scenic, and some store-bought, so it's hard telling what you'll get. Luck of the draw! You'll definitely know if you got a homemade one, seeing as how I've got the crafting skills of a preschooler. Just ask anybody who got a card from me LAST year.

Christmas cards!

Monday, December 06, 2010

It's beginning to smell a lot like Christmas

So, I went to a tree lot yesterday (okay, okay, it was Lowe's) and grabbed a Doug Fir and took it home and wrassled it into the stand and hauled it into the house and set it up in front of the living room window, and man, I'll tell you what -

There is nothing like the scent of a real live pine tree in the house.

Yeah, yeah, technically the tree is dead, and I don't know how politically correct it is anymore to cut down a living thing for my own personal enjoyment and let's not even think about the carbon emissions required to get it to the store and

My GOD I love that smell.

Here comes Christmas!

Friday, December 03, 2010

Freaky Friday - Birthday Edition

Okay, so DESPITE the fact that evidently nobody except for Faithful Reader Rob is reading today, I am going to keep posting. Because I'm generous like that.

Here we go with Freaky Friday:

I had a birthday this past week, and per usual, I bought some presents for myself.*

This is the Infant of Prague.

He'll be a companion piece to my terrifying statuette of Saint Jude.

His eyes aren't really that wonky; it's just a trick of the light. Although he does look ... rather ... peaceful, doesn't he?

*What? Of COURSE I buy presents for myself. Somebody's gotta do it.

Seriously, I have two boxes in my bedroom closet - One marked "birthday", and one marked "Christmas", and throughout the year, sometimes when I see a little something that I like, I buy it and it goes into the boxes. And because my memory is shot, by the time the day rolls around, I've forgotten most of what I've bought, so it's Surprise! Surprise! Surprise! Look what I bought for myself!

Oh, come on, it's a GREAT idea. Admit it.

Santa Claus is Coming to Town: I'm Confused

Okay, so I SWEAR there's a Freaky Friday coming up, but I've gotta talk about Santa first.

As explained in the previous post, last night, I watched "Santa Claus is Coming to Town", the Christmas cartoon. Don't judge; there was nothing else on.

Now, I don't really wanna talk about the creepy way Kris Kringle's pupils kept changing size, and I don't particularly care to discuss the oddness that is the Burgermeister Meisterburger, but I've gotta say ...

... I watched this sucker for the first time in well over thirty years last night, and not only did I remember the salient plot points, I also remembered the lyrics to a disturbing number of the songs.

"It's ... a ... difficult responsibility (doodle-oodle-oodle-oo), when you accept an appointment from his majesty (doodle-oodle-oodle-ooo) ..."

Wait. What?

Keep in mind that there were no VCRS or DVDS or TV On Demand back when I was a kid. The Christmas specials came on once a year, ONCE, and if you didn't catch them when they aired, you were SOL until the next year. So I saw this special ... let's see ... MAYBE a total of ten times, over thirty years ago, when I was a KID, and yet I remember "accept an appointment from his majesty?

Why can't I remember how to conjugate French verbs with such clarity? I don't even remember the first time I had SEX all that clearly, and yet I can remember "accept an appointment from his majesty?"

Man, the brain is a funny thing.

Now please excuse me ... I have to go accept an appointment from his majesty.

Oh yeah! And according to this special, the reason we decorate Christmas trees is ... to commemorate Santa's marriage to Mrs. Claus? Now I've got a headache.


Okay, first off, yes there will be a Freaky Friday up here at some point today, and I'm probably going to wander into a dissertation on "Santa Claus is Coming to Town: The Cartoon" before that, but first let's talk about lavender.

Wait, let's talk just a little about "Santa Claus" first. So, the mailman is explaining the chronological history of Santa to the little kids, and he explains that the foundling who became Santa was found with a little tag reading "Claus" (how convenient!), so that was his last name, Claus, and one of the little kids pipes up and says, "But why do they call him Santa? Because he's good?"

"Ex-ACTLY!" the mailman smugly says, and the plotline moves on.


Okay, I get that "Santa" means "saint" in spanish, and I guess you could equate "saint" with "good". Or maybe "saint" means "good", literally? But then why not just call him "Good Claus"? Where the hell does Spain (or, you know, Mexico) come into the picture?

I'm confused.

But anyway, I'll get back to the Santa Claus cartoon later. Today's burning question is: Why does lavender make me have crazy dreams?

A while back, I was having trouble sleeping, and somebody (one of you, maybe?) suggested lavender. And somewhere I heard that if you rub lavender on your feet before you go to bed, you'll sleep like a baby. So I bought some lavender moisturizer, and rubbed it on my feet, and ... I had the weirdest dreams I've ever had IN MY LIFE. At first I thought it was a coincidence, but it's not. Every blessed time I use that moisturizer before bed, I have kookoo-for-coconuts dreams.

Maybe Santa knows why. Being a saint and all.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Our Little Felon

So! The big news around the Thanksgiving table this year was that my sister Ditzy's daughter S. just got her second DWI.

In three years.

Oh, and not ONLY was she driving drunk, she was speeding at the time.


Have fun at the Big House, little girl.

It cost Ditzy a cool grand to bail her out of jail, which, personally? If it was me? I would've let her sit there. The lawyer wants twenty-five hundred up front, to try to keep her ass out of the pokey. And because she refused the Breathalyzer, she's automatically lost her license for a year.

You know what? Maybe she should lose her license permanently. Obviously, she is unable to restrain herself from drinking and driving; therefore, the state should make that decision for her and pull her license for good. Or at least for a good long time.

Oh! And Ditzy (her mother; my sister) was mining the situation for sympathy. She was all, "How will she get to work? She was going to move to Poughkeepsie! How will she do that now?"

Well, she won't do that now, is the answer. She ain't getting any sympathy from me. Drinking AND speeding?! She could've killed someone.


Wednesday, December 01, 2010


Dudes! The weird noise is back.

I was sound asleep and dreaming about going to a ballgame when I was jolted awake at 5:30 this morning by a loud noise. Except instead of sounding like a radio, like before, this time it sounded more like what I imagine it would sound like to stand next to a power plant or a hydroelectric dam. Kind of a "whhmmmmmWHHMMMMMMwhhmmmmmmm."

Almost like a hum that kept changing in pitch. And it would get louder, then softer, then louder again.

It sounded like it was coming from the hillside across the creek. I could only hear it on the side of the house that faces that way. But when I left for work, I couldn't hear it outside at all. Of course, it was raining pretty good out by then*, so that could've masked the sound.

WTF? I know we talked before about what it could possibly be, i.e., auditory hallucinations, radio transmissions, etc. I just hope to hell I don't hear it again tomorrow morning, because I NEED MY SLEEP. Jeez.

*Let's not talk about the flood watch on for today, shall we? LALALALALA not talking about it at all ...