Wednesday, August 31, 2011


On Saturday, before the rains came, I went for a walk.

The woods were full of fungi. I was gonna make a joke about "the fungus among us", but even I'M not that lame. Yet.

Check this dude out:

I don't know what this stuff is:

This looks like coral:

Oh look! A caterpillar:

And this looks like ... could this be ...

... a hornet's nest! RUUUUUNNNNNNN!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Babysitter

One of my co-workers has lived with his girlfriend for several years, and they have a one-year-old son.

And I'm not even going to get into the whole, "if your live-in girlfriend starts popping out your kids, it's time to put a damn ring on it" thing.

No, the thing that gets me is this: On evenings when his girlfriend goes to her part-time job and he is home with his son, he refers to it as "babysitting", as in, "I've got to leave a little early - I'm babysitting tonight".


Really? Taking care of your own son is babysitting?

At first I thought he was kidding around, but no. Every time he talks about being home with the boy, he calls it babysitting. "Yeah, I had to babysit this weekend - Susie was helping her brother move."

And I just ... I ... is this normal? I mean, I kind of doubt that when his girlfriend is home with the boy, she thinks of it as "babysitting". So why does he?

Okay, ladies and gents, let's hear your opinion. Ladies, do your husbands refer to caring for your children as "babysitting"? If you're going out with your friends for the evening, do you ask your husband to babysit? And gents, how about you? Do you think of taking care of your kids as babysitting?

I'm really curious. Because I'm hoping it's just this one dude that I work with who does this, but I'm getting the feeling that maybe it's not.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Up and down

The park next door, on Saturday:


This morning:

The water comes up, and it goes right back down.

This was looking out my bedroom window, Sunday morning:

Sorry about the screen in the way. You can see the garden in the lower right - that fence ended up about fifteen feet down the yard. The water at that point was about ten feet away from the side of the house. I am sure it got closer, as the water continued to rise, but I was not about to hang around and see how close it got. When they got ready to close the road in front of my house, I skedaddled.

So! That's what five inches of rain does to my neighborhood. Flippin' weather.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Goddam Irene

I am writing this from a safe location, i.e., someplace that isn't flooded, unlike my neighborhood right now.

Yep, Irene got me.

As of eleven this morning, when Little Girl and I headed for the hills, we had gotten over four inches of rain. The creek made it all the way across the park and into my side yard, and that's when I decided to split.

From what I understand, the street in front of my house flooded, but there were no evacuations, so I'm hoping ... well, I'm hoping. My garage is at grade level, but the house is itself is up eighteen inches on a crawlspace, so ... I'm hoping.

I'll kept you posted as I can, but I probably won't have internet access again until sometime tomorrow, so don't worry if you don't hear anything right away.

Talk to you soon.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Hillkitty Handfishin'

I guess technically it should be "pawfishin'", but whatever.

Hello? Hello? Anybody home?:

I know you're in there, dammit:

Maybe ... maybe if I try a different angle:

Okay - that's it - I'M COMIN' IN:


I'll just wait for them to come out ... that's the ticket:

She never gets tired of Hillkitty Handfishin'.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Pulled pork

Last Saturday, the annual local community picnic was held. It's in the park next door to my house, so I kind of feel obligated to go.

On Friday night, I made up a big plate of deviled eggs, which is always my go-to dish to pass, because (a) they're easy to make; (b) they're cheap; and (c) who doesn't like deviled eggs?

And on Saturday, I headed over to the party. Not that it's like a chore, or anything. I get to chat with my neighbors and eat, with an emphasis on the "eat". On Saturday, I had a pulled pork sandwich and baked beans and tossed salad and cornbread and pink lemonade, while watching the little kids dunk-tank each other. Two years ago, I remember there was a minor emergency when they tried to fill the dunk tank with water from a fire department tanker truck that evidently had been filled in, like, April, because the water came out green and slimy and oh no there will be no dunk tank this year! until a neighbor came over with a garden hose and filled up the dunk tank and saved the day.

And I chatted with my neighbor L.* and the people who run the maple syrup farm up the road and some more people who I have no idea who they were but we all sat and ate together and howdy, neighbor! And I stopped and chatted with my neighbor T. who just got back from spending two months in Oregon with her son's family and I will not even confess here how many times, while she was gone, I thought about going over to her empty house and cutting myself a bouquet from her beautiful gardens and ...

... okay. Getting off track here. I had pulled pork and then I went home and mowed the backyard and then sat in the sun and listened to the radio and read the paper and did not do any of the ten million things on my to-do list.

That was my Saturday. Not too many summer Saturdays left, now. Time to take it easy.

*We are currently on Blacktop Watch, Day Two. For those of you keeping track.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

August 24, 2006

Yep. It's been five years since I started writing here.

One thousand, five hundred and eighty-six posts later, I'm still going.

My niece S. and I are the talkers in the family. Conversation lagging at a family gathering? Ask one of us how we're doing, and we're off to the races.

And the funny thing is, while S. has always been a talker, I didn't used to be that way. Until I started blogging, and now when somebody asks me what's up, I just think about what I've written about on my blog lately, and away we go.

Well, except for all the stuff I write about my crazy-ass family. That all stays right here. A couple family members know that I have a blog, but they don't know how to find it. Except for Texas, of course. Hi Tex!

So! Thanks, Blogger, for prompting me with conversational fodder for boring-ass family dinners. And thanks to my readers, for helping me through some really trying times.

Here's to five more years of bitching and laughing and crying and posting cat photos and bitching some more. Gosh, this is fun.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Holy CRAP didja feel that?

We just had an earthquake! Here in Upstate New York!

It was about 1:55. I felt dizzy for a couple of seconds, and I realized my chair was swaying. The pictures on the walls started to jiggle. Everything moved for about fifteen seconds.

Reports right now are of a 5.8, possibly centered in Virginia.

So how about that? Didja feel it?

History repeats itself

You guys remember last summer, right? When the neighbors had their driveway redone and parked in my driveway for weeks while their driveway "set up"?

Well. Last night, my neighbor L. came over with a plate of stuffed peppers and mashed potatoes and corn on the cob and

you see where this is going, right?

They are having a second coat put on their driveway. L. asked if they could park in my driveway until theirs has "set". Again.

Ay caramba.

Those were pretty good stuffed peppers, though.

Oh! And in other neighborhood news, I had a fox in my backyard this morning. So that was kind of cool. And scary.

What's up in your neighborhood?

Monday, August 22, 2011


The in-law (I'll call her "D" here) I was talking about last week, the one who is ill?

Has been diagnosed with lung cancer.

The doctors tell her that it's not operable. They say that, with chemo, she can probably live for a year or two.

Everybody is heartbroken. We all love D. She's gentle and funny and kind. When her mother developed Alzheimer's, D took care of her for years. D's daughter is expecting her first child, D's first grandchild, in the spring.

And there's an elephant in the room. There's something nobody's talking about, because to do so would be ... unseemly, somehow.

D. is a smoker.

She and her husband were both smokers, until her husband quit, over two years ago.

I often thought that it must have been difficult for him, to quit smoking while she kept on. But he did it. And she didn't.

And now she has lung cancer.

If she had quit when he did, two years ago, would it have made a difference? Probably not. Two years of not-smoking is not going to magically erase the lifetime of smoking that came before.

And that's something all of us smokers and former smokers understand: The damage has been done. If you've smoked for any length of time, you know that there is a ticking time bomb inside you. All you can do is hope for the best. Hope that you quit in time.

And oh! If you've ever smoked, you know darn well that once you pass away, no matter WHAT you die of, people will say, "Well, she used to smoke, you know." That just comes with the territory.

I always say that the reason I quit when I did was because I didn't want the day I quit smoking to be the day I sat in a doctor's office and listened to him tell me I had lung cancer.

And now D. is going through exactly that. I can't even imagine. I hope I never have to.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Stuff I've learned .......

...... another post in which I go all Andy Rooney on you! Here we go ......

Rice cakes are a waste of time. This is a lesson that I have to re-learn every few years. Seriously, the first few bites are just stale "meh", and from there, those suckers manage to go even stale-er at the speed of light. Don't bother.

Sometimes the squeaky wheel gets the axe.

You have to set up a fish tank and let it run for a few days before adding fish. In other words, you can't buy the tank and the fish at the same time. Word.

You can take more than two aspirin every four hours. You can take four, or hell, even six, if the headache is really bad. If six doesn't do the trick, check to see if you've got, like, an arrow sticking out of your head or something.

When someone shows you who they are, believe them. Trite, but true.

If you attempt to clear the snow from your windshield by turning on the wipers, there's a pretty good chance that all you'll accomplish is to fry the wiper motor, which is a three hundred dollar part. Get out and brush that shit off, you lazy bastard.

Do not buy dollar store cat food. Your cats will eat it, because it tastes good, but nutritionally it's like feeding them a diet of Cheetos. You don't have to splurge and buy the Iams; just don't go any cheaper than, say, Friskies or Nine Lives. Note: Nine Lives will not actually, you know, give your cat nine lives or anything. Just in case you were wondering. Oh! And buy the flavors whose first word is an actual animal product, like "Beef" or "Chicken". "Supreme Supper" is the scrapings off the slaughterhouse floor.

"Imitation is the surest sign of flattery" is bullshit. Imitation is the surest sign that you're an asshole who can't come up with any ideas of your own.

Don't freak out if you forget to remove the bag o' giblets and liver before cooking the turkey. We've all done it at least once - it's no big deal.

Do not ever, EVER, give a pet an emptied-out can of food to "lick clean". The edges of some of those cans can be incredibly sharp. Don't believe me? Run your finger along the edge of one. And then go to the ER for stitches.

Be on time. It might not mean much to you, but it's a deal-breaker for some people. It won't kill you to get there when you're supposed to, and you look like an uncaring, pompous jerk if you're late all the time.

Working with all men is a lot like working with a bunch of small children. You don't really want to get down to their level, and if you try to engage them it's just a giant pain in the ass, so you're better off staying out of it. Let them figure out how to do their jobs.

Don't worry about what other people think. They're just as likely to be wrong as you are, so who cares?

Insurance agents are idiots. Seriously. They were the jocks in high school who were too stupid to succeed in college, so their rich dads bought them insurance agencies to give them a way to make a viable living. Do not ever, EVER take the word of an insurance agent. They don't know what they're talking about.

Okay! That's what I've got! Anybody else?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

A little bit lighter now

Just up the street from my office ...



And all this time I thought it was like angels on clouds and shit like that.

Holy Mary Mother of GOD

Warning: This post involves the death of a child. I'm not even kidding, here, so if you have young kids you probably shouldn't read this.

There was a little boy in my neighborhood who lived one street over. His parents bought him one of those kid-sized electric motorcycles, and he rode it all over the place, including places he was not supposed to be, like all through the park (no motorized vehicles allowed), up and down people's driveways, and across people's yards. (Hey! Kid! Get off my lawn!) He seemed awfully young to be gallivanting about the neighborhood unsupervised. I know that some of the neighbors were annoyed that his parents didn't keep a closer eye on him.

And he wasn't very careful about riding in the road, either. Granted, our neighborhood gets very little traffic, but many times I saw him pull out into the road from a driveway without even glancing to see if a car was coming. A couple of times I thought about going and talking to his parents about how he needed to be more careful, but I thought they'd probably tell me to mind my own business. I figured that the kid was going to be a handful as a teenager.

Last weekend?

His family went camping. And they took the motorcycle. And the little boy took it and went riding about, just like he did in our neighborhood.

Except he wasn't in our neighborhood. And he rode into the woods and over a cliff and into a creek and he's dead.

And I don't even know what to say about that. It's awful? I'm sorry?

Yeah, I got nothin'. I hope the family's faith - they belonged to the neighborhood church - is a comfort to them. I hope they are able to make it through this intact.

And I sure as shit hope that death stops hovering around the periphery.

And you know what? I'm still here. Little Girl's still here. And all the grief in the world won't change what has happened. Maybe I need to start being glad for what is now, and stop mourning what was then.

Because I don't know what else to do.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Two cool things from the past weekend

First, on Saturday I got to watch my all-time favorite House Hunters International episode.

Okay, FIRST first, I have to get something off my chest: I can. not. STAND the "regular" House Hunters show. The one that's based in the States. There's just something about watching twenty-something hipsters who are prepared to fork over half a million for a house in Baltimore that drives me INSANE. WHERE are these children getting that kind of money? Arrgggggh.

Back to House Hunters International. Which I LOVE. Because it's okay to drop half a million on a house if it's in, like, Aruba or something. And oh! I love it when they go to, like, Hong Kong or someplace, where the housing prices are INSANE, and yet still people buy places. And it's fascinating (to me) to see what the housing market's like in Croatia or Slovenia or someplace. Overall? Prices in Europe are NUTS. HOVELS go for two hundred grand.

So! My all-time favorite HHI episode is .... drum roll please .... the one where the young woman is looking for an apartment in Paris, France. She brings along her mom to help her choose.

And they want to keep their budget under $200,000.00, which here in Upstate New York would buy my little house almost four times, but in Paris?


They look at one apartment that is 86 square feet. That's right, 86. That's just a little bit over 8' by 10'. Total. Asking price?


Oh my GOD I love that show.

Okay! Thing number two from the weekend: I saw a hummingbird stick out her tongue.


And really, really strange.

Anybody else seen anything cool lately?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Mighty Hunter

The other night, I came home from work to find Little Girl standing guard over a magazine rack. I figured she had trapped something behind it, took a look, and sure enough, there was a little mouse in the corner. So I grabbed Little Girl, shut her in the bathroom, caught the mouse and released it in the brush next to my lot.

I went back inside and let Little Girl out of the bathroom, and she promptly took up her guard duty again, not having figured out that the mouse was gone. By this time she getting a little bored with the whole thing:

A few hours later:

Boy oh boy, that guard duty is tiring work.

Oh! And you should see how she catches the mice! I call it "Hillkitty Handfishin'". Her brother used to do the same thing: They find a mouse hole out in the yard and stick their paws in, right up to the shoulder sometimes, and rootrootroot around, periodically pulling their paw back out to see if they've snagged anything. If that fails, they just park themselves next to the hole and wait for the mouse to come out.

I still haven't figured out how she gets the birds, though.

Monday, August 15, 2011

You can't make this shit up

"World's Largest Stove Destroyed by Fire".


Aren't stoves made out of, like, metal? Isn't the whole point of a stove, well, the oven part anyway, to make fire?

And yet, the article says that the stove, built in 1893, was made of oak.

who the hell makes a stove out of wood?

Oh man. I just don't understand.

In the garden

Things are staring to wind down. Right now it's mostly lilies and hibiscus.

Double orange daylily:

Red/yellow daylily:

Butterfly on tiger lily:

Stargazer lily:

Pink hibiscus:

Red hibiscus:

Rose of Sharon:

I actually bought a couple of mums at the grocery store, although it seems way too early. I use mums like annuals, to provide some late-season color; I've never had a mum come back for a second year.

Oh! And I've got lots of tomatoes on my one tomato plant. I've already had a couple of ripe ones, which I gave away because I don't like tomatoes. I KNOW! Sacrilege! Why do I grow them, then, you ask? Got me. Because I can?

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Under water

I'm going hide this post a little bit, I think, because I realize that I've been on quite a downer lately, and I know you guys don't want to read depressing shit day after day after day. But it's been on my mind, so here goes.

After The Runt died on April 21, it seemed there was a rash of pet deaths in the Blogiverse. Blogger after blogger, it seemed, was writing about the death of beloved Frisky or Moo-Moo or Whiskers.

Coincidence. Like when you've got a cold, and all of a sudden every blogger has a cold.

And then death started creeping closer.

A walk in the woods revealed the skeleton of a fawn.

A woman up the street passed away.

I watched, horrified, as a guy in a car purposely ran over a pigeon who was hanging out in the road. He could have swerved, but he didn't.

Yesterday I was walking by the creek and came across a couple burying the corpse of their child's beloved guinea pig.

And this morning, in my inbox? An email from a relative. An in-law is very sick and in the hospital. Could be lymphoma, could be lung cancer - they don't know yet.

I feel like I'm underwater, and kicking as hard as I can to get to the surface. I'm pretty sure I can make it. But I'm scared.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Well, THAT was awful

I just took Curious George back to the shelter.

I felt like it was the only thing to do; if he had passed his illnesses on to Little Girl, I never would have forgiven myself.

To their credit, the shelter was completely understanding about the return. They said they thought he had escaped the respiratory crud that the rest of the cats had. I find that hard to believe, seeing as how he was WHEEZING by the time I got him home last night, but whatever. They were surprised at how bad his ears were, which - does anybody ever LOOK at these cats? They said that they would have him checked by the vet in the morning, and they offered to hold him there at the shelter and treat him until he was better, so that I could try again, and


I said no.

I cannot do this anymore. I cannot stand in shelters and sob as I return a cat who I thought was going to be a life-long friend.

I hope nobody thinks that I'm doing this cavalierly, like returning a t-shirt that doesn't fit. I will certainly take the responsibility for New Kitty, as I should have realized that a kitten, even a mostly-grown kitten, would be too aggressive for Little Girl. But Curious George scared me. I cannot go through that again.

I wish I could say I feel relieved, but I don't. I just feel awful.

It looks like it's gonna be just Little Girl and me.


Curious George is sick.

And I am angry.

I told the people at the shelter, repeatedly, that I had a cat with chronic health conditions and needed to adopt a healthy cat.

And they assured me that George was healthy.

And then I got to the shelter last night, and they said that there was a virus going around, and that George had sneezed, "once". "But we really don't think he's got it, and we'll give you some pills to take home, just in case he might come down with it."

Well. I should have known right then, but foolishly, I thought, "ah, what's one little sneeze?"

Within five minutes of getting George home, it was obvious that he had an upper respiratory infection. The wheezing is a pretty sure sign. And then, I noticed that his ears were badly gunked up. And oh yeah, his one eye is all cloudy.

Jeezus Christ.

The shelter was closed last night, but I called this morning and left a message on their answering machine. A message stating that George was sick and would need to come back to the shelter.

Because what part of "my other cat has a chronic medical condition and cannot be around sick cats" did these people choose not to understand?

I have George sequestered in the spare bedroom, so hopefully Little Girl will not catch whatever he's got before I can get him back to the shelter, but man, I am not a happy camper this morning.

I am angry. And that shelter's got some goddamn explaining to do.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Tonight there's gonna be a jailbreak

Pssst ... help a guy out, would ya?

Don't worry, Curious George. I've even got the bail money, so we can walk right out the front door.

This ... should be interesting.

NOBODY's really that stupid, are they?

I was watching last night's Teen Mom, which I'm fairly sure was a rerun, but I think it was a new-ish rerun, although who knows, what with MTV's effed up programming schedule, and

... where was I? Oh yeah, Teen Mom, and you know what drives me CRAZY? The one girl who named her kid Bentley. Whaaaaa? Why not just name him Rolls Royce or Lexus and be done with it? Sheesh.

What's that? You said you named YOUR kid Bentley? LOVELY NAME.


ANYWAY, I was watching Teen Mom, and Farrah bought a puppy. Which ... great idea, Farrah! You're already overloaded with a two-year-old and school and an overbearing mom, so sure! Add a puppy to the mix! With that set of judgment skills, I can see how she got knocked up.

But! The best part? The part that I am still having trouble believing?

She didn't understand that the puppy had to go outside to do his business.

THE ENTIRE EPISODE, she's chasing the puppy around her apartment, cleaning up his poop and pee, going, "Why do you keep DOING this?", never ONCE taking the poor thing outside.

At one point, oh hahahahahahaha I am not even kidding, she held the puppy over the toilet, urging him to go to the bathroom.

Which, I mean, it COULD work, in the same way that a broken watch is right twice a day, but STILL.

By the end of the episode, she had the dog in diapers, it evidently still never occurring to her that the dog had to go outside to poop.

My head hurt. This woman is raising a child.

Summer TV! Ya gotta love it.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Breaking News!

The shelter just called - after FIVE DAYS of waiting, the board has approved my application. Tomorrow afternoon, Curious George will be coming home with me.


And because I am a glutton for punishment, I have been googling "cats getting along", to read heartwarming stories of cat BFFs.

And what I am finding instead is story after story about cats who hate each other, about cats who have been fighting for YEARS, about how Princess has the living room and kitchen but Buster has the bedrooms and the basement, and


LOOK. I KNOW that cats can peacefully co-exist. Little Girl LOVED her brother, and she is fond of all the cats in the neighborhood. My sister Ditzy at one point had FIVE cats, all of whom got along. It's just that, well, reading all these internet horror stories about cat wars is starting to freak me out.

SO! I need your help. Please tell me your stories about cats who get along. About cats who enjoy each other's company. About successful shelter adoptions.

Because I could use a little reassurance right now.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Recently Read

While I wait to hear from the shelter (whistling aimlessly) (FIVE DAYS?), let's do a Recently Read.

As always, skip it if you want to.

1. Listening is an Act of Love - Edited by Dave Isay. True stories from the StoryCorps project. Interesting, but not as compelling as a similar book, "I Thought My Father Was God" from the NPR Story Project.

2. Confessions of a Failed Southern Lady by Florence King - Memoir. This woman obviously thought she was the smartest person around, which irritated the hell out of me. I didn't finish it.

3. No Biking in the House by Melissa Greene - Memoir about a family who adopted several children from foreign countries - Interesting and funny.

4. You Can't Drink All Day if You Don't Start in the Morning by Celia Rivenbark - Funny essays about the South - cute. I also read Belle Weather by the same author, which was just meh.

5. Bronx Primitive by Kate Simon - Memoir of a young girl growing up in the Bronx in the twenties - Interesting for the period detail.

Let's do some movie reviews! "Salesman" was a doc made in the sixties about door-to-door Bible salesmen - I thought it'd be interesting, but it was boring. Similarly, "Bingo: The Documentary" was about as exciting as it sounds. At least it was only an hour long.

One more book:

6. Fair and Tender Ladies by Lee Smith - Novel about an Appalachian woman - told entirely in letters-to-friends format, of which I am not fond. Still, it was an entertaining book.

I have just started "Full Dark, No Stars", by Stephen King, for which I have high hopes. And I STILL have not read "The Help", which ... I guess it's a little late, seeing as how the movie version is now coming out, but then again, I probably won't see the movie either, so maybe it's not too late for the book ... has anybody read it? Is it any good? Any other good books out there?

I can't help it if I'm scared of heights

Okay! While I am waiting for the board of the shelter to determine whether or not I can take Curious George home (humming Jeopardy! theme song), let's discuss something else, shall we?

I like to walk. I walk on hiking trails. A lot of hiking trails lead to a scenic outlook, meaning they are up high.

And I am scared of heights. I may have mentioned this before.

I like to think of it as self-preservation.

Take, for example, this picture:

See the dirt part? That is the trail. See the edge of the trail? That is a dropoff. Of approximately one hundred feet, ending in the creek bed below. If you trip over one of those tree roots? And you fall? You are dead.

My hands were shaking just taking that picture. Note the utter lack of guard rails of any kind. This is a public trail, in a Pennsylvania state park. Little kids walk that trail all. the. time.

Here is a trail which literally goes up some waterfalls:

See that couple? They are taking their dog up the falls. And right ahead of them was a group of people with several small children.

Dogs can do that trail. Small children can do that trail. I? Cannot do that trail. Because it goes up high.

You could make fun of me all you wanted, you could tease and taunt and wiggle your fingers in your ears, and I WOULD NOT DO THAT TRAIL.

Because I don't want to die.

So tell me? Is it just me? Could YOU walk up that waterfall, no problem? Because I'm starting to feel like the world's biggest sissy, here.

Or, okay - If you could walk up that waterfall, is there something else that you're afraid of? Something you're afraid of, that doesn't bother most other people?

Just making sure I'm not alone, here.

Monday, August 08, 2011

Mailbox Beautification Program

So! While I am waiting to hear about my suitability as a pet owner as judged by the board of a local shelter *drumming fingertips on desk*, let's talk about something else, shall we?

As I bitched about previously, the newspaper route that my house is on has been switched from a carrier to a motor route. And they came and plunked down a god-awful newspaper box in my front yard, just far enough away from my regular mailbox that I cannot fit the lawnmower in between. *&^%$.

So, I was stuck with this plain-jane paper box in my yard, next to my plain-jane mailbox.

I decided that some changes, and a quick trip to the dollar store, were in order:

And how cool is the giant fish wind sock:

I picked that up on my way back from Ithaca a couple of weeks ago, for a cool $2.50. Actually, come to think of it, that was a pretty good trip, seeing as how I also nabbed the fairy/slug house for five bucks, and grabbed a two-story, carpeted cat condo at the Ithaca Sal for - are you ready for this - two dollars and fifty cents. MAN. When you're on, you're on.

And I have kind of fallen in love with that god-awful giant fish wind sock, to the point that I may be on the hunt for more wind socks, which is good because it will give me something to obsess over other than cats for a change.

So! Anybody know where I can pick up some wind socks, cheap?

Saturday, August 06, 2011

You guys ...

... I picked Curious George.

I don't know how to explain it ... he was just so CALM and so FRIENDLY and so ...

... crammed into a cage in which he could just about turn around.


It was, in the end, a process of elimination. Scooter was in the shelter where he could walk around and play and snooze where he chose, so I felt like he was less in need of a jailbreak. Linus was adorable and small and he's going to get adopted real soon anyway. That left Curious George and Turtle.

Turtle was in a big cage, so he had room while he waited for his new home. He was also a little bit ... hesitant with me. I don't know, I just really got the feeling he was waiting for someone else, not me. And he was a BIG cat. I was scared he would intimidate Little Girl.

So George it is.

This is by no means a done deal. My application has to go before the board of the shelter for approval(!). And I do let my current cat outside, and I understand that one of the members of the board is vehement about keeping cats inside, so that could stiff the deal.

So we will see, George and me.

I'll keep you posted.

Friday, August 05, 2011

Like I said, it's not about the names, per se ...

I have a confession to make. I have been cheating on my shelter.

Trying to find a match for Little Girl, I've been back to the shelter several times. Things are getting ... odd there. I'm NOT going to go into details: Let's just say I've visited another shelter.
And right now, between the two shelters, there are four possible matches for Little Girl. They are:

1. Linus

Linus is a medium-sized cat who is two years old. He was found hit by a car. The shelter's vet says he will be fine. He is friendly and relaxed, although he looks like he's about to have a panic attack in that photo. (Photos are not mine.) He looks a little bit like The Runt.

2. Scooter. I do not have a picture of Scooter. He is a very friendly, medium-sized tabby cat who gets along with other cats and is two years old. Actually, Scooter looks a lot like:

3. Curious George.

Curious George is six years old and is friendly and, well, curious. He has been at the shelter since July.

4. Turtle.

Turtle is a big, two year old cat who is described as "the most laid-back cat at the shelter". He has been at the shelter since April. The only downside to Turtle is that his size might intimidate Little Girl. Then again, virtually any cat except for a kitten is going to be bigger than Little Girl.

Complicating things, because with me things ALWAYS get complicated, is the fact that three of these cats are in a shelter that keeps their cats in individual cages, meaning the poor things have no room at all to run or play. The fourth cat is in a shelter where the cats are kept in "runs", meaning he has room to walk about or play as he chooses. The rescuer in me is saying to jailbreak a cat from the individual-cage shelter, but I also feel that with the cat from the "run" shelter, at least I already know that he can get along with other cats, although then again, some of the cats at the "run" shelter seem to have developed aggressive traits as a survivor mechanism.

Frankly, I feel that ANY ONE of these cats would be a good match for Little Girl.

Gah. Making decisions is HARD. Feel free to advise me in the comments!

This is NOT, I repeat, NOT, a "name-the-cat" contest

... However, I would ask that you pick one of the following:

1. Linus

2. Scooter

3. Curious George

4. Turtle

Just pick the one that's calling to you, okay? And leave your choices in the comments. Thanks.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

I have a question

Because I am ancient, I have the local daily newspaper delivered. It used to be a high school kid from up the street who did the route, and every month when I mailed in my payment, I included a tip for the kid. It was only, like, a buck-a-week tip, but I figured if the kid had forty people on his route, and they were each tipping him a buck a week on top of what the newspaper paid him, that wasn't too shabby.

But! About a month ago, I got a message on my voicemail saying that my route was being switched to a motor route. Last week, they came and put a newspaper box out by my mailbox, which kind of sucks, because now, instead of just opening up the door in my PJs and grabbing the paper off the porch, I have to walk out to the street in my PJs to grab the paper from the box. Kind of like the walk of shame, but for a paper. And no, I don't bother to get dressed first or anything. If the neighbors don't want to see me in my PJs with my hair standing straight up on my head because I haven't showered yet, they can look away. Although I predict that I will be wearing more clothes on the walk to the paper box come January.

But! Back to the question! Okay, so, now, instead of the high school kid up the street delivering the paper to my door, there is a grown man in a beatermobile with a VERY LOUD MUFFLER driving down my street in the early morning, shoving papers into everyone's paper boxes without even getting out of his car.

Am I supposed to tip him?

I mean, OF COURSE I tipped the high school kid. That poor bastard had to make his way up everybody's yet-unshoveled driveways half the damn year. And, I mean, he was a KID, so the paper probably wasn't paying him all that much.

But what about the grown dude in the car? Is paper-delivery like being a waiter, where your base pay is less because they know you'll make it up in tips? Or does this guy already make a fair base pay, in which case I don't think a tip is expected. Is it like the mailman, who you just give a gift to at Christmas? And let's factor in that the paper dude's not coming to my door, he's not even getting out of his car, but just putting the paper in my paper box.

Any former (or current) paperboys out there? I need to know what to do, here.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Tater Tot Casserole

Okay, so, I was going to ask a question about tipping today, but then I watched last night's episodes of Nineteen Kids and Totally Insane and got sidetracked.

Did anybody else watch that? Where they go to New York, and Dad Duggar is amazed at how much everything costs, and I'm, like, dude, it's totally cheaper when you don't have twenty freakin' kids! Jeez.

Oh! And then! And then! Dad Duggar is FREAKING OUT over taking the kids on the subway, and he's all, like, "If you don't get on when the rest of us get on, and GET ON QUICKLY, you will be LEFT BEHIND (ah hahahahaha) and we will NOT BE ABLE TO FIND YOU and ..."

... and all I could think of was that old song, oh what's the one, the Kingston Trio sang it ... "And he never returned, no he never returned, and his fate is still unlearned (poor old Charlie) ..." The M.T.A! That's the one! The one about the Boston subway system!

Anyhow, none of the kids got swallowed up by the subway system, and that was a damn shame, because that would've been one VERY SPECIAL EPISODE of Nineteen Kids and Totally Insane.

Oh! But then! At this point I wasn't paying an awful lot of attention, but they go on some talk show, and somebody asks Michelle Duggar if she's going to have MORE KIDS (!), and she's all, like, "If it's God's will ..." And I'm all, like, "LOOK, honey. That last one almost KILLED you, and the KID doesn't look too damn healthy EITHER, so JUST STOP, already."

But of course, from what I understand the Duggars are part of that crazy-ass Quiverfull movement, where the whole POINT of a woman's EXISTENCE is to pop out as many boy kids as possible for the coming war against the heathens, i.e., anybody who doesn't believe just exactly what they do, so I guess stopping is pretty much not an option for her.

Oh! And the baby! I wanna know who paid the kabillion dollars in medical bills when that kid was born, like, a year and a half premature. What does ol' Jim Bob DO for a living, anyway? Does he have private insurance? Somehow ... I doubt it. I mean, I know the kids all got their orthodontia done on a quid-pro-quo thing because their dentist is a crazy Quiverful dude, but what about all the ICU care that baby needed? Who PAID for that?

Waaaaaaaaiit a minute ... I wonder if TLC, the channel who airs the show, paid for it? Ya think? And now that I think about it, when Dad Duggar was bitching about the high cost of everything in NYC ... I wonder how much that family's getting paid for the show? Enough to pay for those subway tokens, I'll bet.

Look. I love watching the Duggars. It's just a nice, calm show, where nothing ever really happens, and none of the kids are at each other's throats, and they're not fighting about boyfriends or cell phones or what's on TV, and while it remains unsaid, you KNOW that they're convinced that the rest of us are going to fry like bacon come judgement day.

And oh my god holy shit did anybody catch that part where Michelle is talking about "fun training" her kids, which is basically, "Shut up and use sign language, so I DON'T HAVE TO LISTEN TO YOU, you little shit". THAT was kind of a jaw-dropper. She is training her kids to be SILENT, which ... well, I mean, it's good for HER, but the kids have got to be a little ... stifled, is all I'm saying.

Okay! So! Time to wrap this up. I love the Duggars, as long as I don't let myself think about their basic philosophy, which I pretty much totally disagree with. Summer TV viewing at its finest.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Sunday walk

Oh! It was a gorgeous day. There was pretty scenery:

Majestic hawks:

Okay, okay, they were turkey vultures. Jeez.

Leetle fawns:

and ... and ...

Hoo boy. I want to meet whoever put up this little art installation. As a matter of fact, I almost knocked on the nearest door, just to say, "You rock!" but, well, houses were few and far between in that neck of the woods, and nobody knew where I was, and ... yeah ... I chickened out. But I am DEFINITELY going back on Halloween.

Or ... not. Maybe if I can get somebody to go with me. Anybody game?

Monday, August 01, 2011

Good News

So! I stopped by the shelter on Saturday morning to see if they needed any help, and ... no. They had all the volunteers they needed for the day, which ... I have to admit, getting turned down to volunteer stung a little bit, but oh well.

And! Guess what! New Kitty has a new home! She was adopted by a family with children, which means that she'll get to grow up with kids, which, how cool is THAT? She's such a playful little thing.

Unfortunately, Momma did not go with her, but she's hardly more than a kitten herself, and the shelter is hopeful that she'll find a home soon.

Since the shelter didn't want me on Saturday (rats), I decided to head up to Ithaca. Where I found this:

Get out of the way, Little Girl! Sheesh.

Here ya go:

Because evidently I am six, this just tickles me. And by yesterday afternoon a couple of slugs had moved in, which is kind of gross, but everybody's gotta live someplace, right?