Friday, March 29, 2013

Time for a pop quiz!

Planet Zella has memed me with the most dastardly, time consuming challenge EVER.  Thanks, Zell!  :) 

Okay, here we go. *rolling neck* *cracking knuckles*

First off, I am to share eleven random facts about me.  Hmmmm ...

1.  I was blond as a child, but as I've gotten older, my hair has gotten browner.  Dammit.

2.  I loathe cold weather.

3.  I almost joined the Air Force straight outta high school.

4.  I have never traveled outside the country.

5.  I was married.  Once.

6.  I am a Notary Public.  It actually has much less practical application than you'd think.

7.  I am a cat person, not a dog person.  Dogs are pains in the asses.

8.  I do not eat beets.  Or liver.  Or kale. 

9.  I never went to college, unless you count vo-tech as college, which I do not.

10.  I used to be able to play piano.  And flute.  And piccolo.  And drums.  I have forgotten all of it.

11.  I watch a lot of crap TV.

Okay.  Part Two.  Dammit, Zella, this is hard! 

I have to answer the following questions:

1. If you could gather three known persons (celebrities, politicians, artists, etc.) for dinner with you, who would they be?  I am assuming they have to be currently alive.  Let's see ... Barack Obama, Bruce Springsteen, and Stephen King.  Wouldn't that be awesome?

2. You are told that you will have to go back to school and study a new profession; what will you study?  Medicine. 

3. The classic question: you will be sent to live on a deserted island for six months -- which five things will you take with you ? Not allowed: cell phone, computers, radio, other people.  A house, a fully-stocked grocery store, a library, a swimming pool (I don't care for ocean swimming), and a bicycle so I can tool around the island.  (Is that answer "cheating"?  Tough.  This sh*t is HARD, y'all.)

4. Sexiest song you know?  Father Figure by George Michael. I KNOW it's kind of skeevy, but it gets me every time.

5. What makes you cry?  Oh boy, you name it.  I cry at sad TV commercials, for Pete's sake.

6. Apple or Microsoft?  Microsoft. 

7. You have to leave your country of birth (or the country you're currently living in) -- which country would you move to and why?  Oooh, someplace warm ... but well, civilized.  I don't want to get murdered in some violent uprising or something.  British Virgin Islands, maybe?

8. Four toppings on your pizza, what are they?  Easy-peasy.  Pepperoni, sausage, onions, green peppers.

9. If you were forced to have a piercing, where would you have it?  I would LOVE to have pierced ears.  Sadly, my ears will have none of it.

10. What are you proud of ?  Working hard enough that I was able to buy a home.

11. If you could change anything about yourself, what would it be ? Physically or personality/qualities..make your pick.  Oh man, I wish I wasn't such a know-it-all. I have tried and TRIED to work on this.  Hopefully I'm getting better. 

Okay, next up.  (Zella, I thought you LIKED me!)  I have to come up with eleven questions for other bloggers.

1.  What is one thing you failed at?

2.  What is your favorite season?

3.  Do you ever wish you were someone else?  If so, who?

4.  Is one of your children your favorite?

5.  How often do you change your sheets?  (Hey, I'm just curious ...)

6.  If you won a hundred million dollars, what's the first thing you'd do?  (Besides call a lawyer, obv.)

7.  What is one thing you're afraid of?

8.  Do you have a family member you argue with?  Other than the spouse/kids?

9.  Have you ever intentionally physically hurt someone?

10.  Ever broken someone's heart?

11.  What do you regard as the happiest moment of your life?

Almoooooost dooooooone.  Oh, Zella, you are pure evil, you are. :)  Now, I am supposed to tag three bloggers to take on this challenge.  I tag ... EVERYBODY.  If you don't want to participate, you don't have to.  If you wanna, go ahead and take this on.    You need to:

1.  Link to this blog.  (Or not.  I'm easy. Just let me know if you're going to do it, so I can read your answers.)
2.  Share eleven random facts about yourself.
3.  Answer the eleven questions above.  (NOT the ones I answered; the ones below that.)
4.  Make up eleven questions for other bloggers to answer, and tag three people.

Ready?  Set?  Go!  (If you wanna.)  And Zella, don't think I'm gonna forget about this any time soon. :)

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Maybe I'm overthinking this

Okay, so, there's a quote going around right now, sometimes attributed to Katie Couric, but I think it originally came from Madeleine Albright, which says,

"There's a special place in hell for women who don't help other women."

And at first I was all, "YEAH!  Girl power!  Booya!"

But then I was all, like, "Um ... ALL women?  Do I have to help a person just because she's a woman?"  Because there are some women out there that I do not care for all that much, personally.  Sarah Palin springs immediately to mind.  Do I have to help out Sarah Palin because I'm a woman and so is she?

And THEN I was all, like, "What if the quote said, "There's a special place in hell for white people who don't help other white people"?   Is that okay?  But wait, white people are generally considered to be not in need of help.  Okay, so, what if the quote was, "There's a special place in hell for disabled people who don't help other disabled people"?

Again, not ALL disabled people are nice people.  Do other disabled people have to help THEM, just because they're in the same boat, so to speak?  And hell?  Really?  If I decline to help another woman (or disabled person, or whatever), I'm going to HELL?  That seems a little ... harsh.

I don't know, guys, maybe I'm reading this completely wrong.  What do you think?

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Misguided Product Review

(Yes, Zella, I AM working on your dastardly challenge.  I should be done ... sometime.  Maybe tomorrow.)

Okay, time for an entry in the "Dubious Products" division:

"Vaseline Spray & Go Moisturizer"

Yeah, I can see how this made it into the marketplace.  The ads show a woman aiming the moisturizer spray squarely between her shoulder blades, the one area we dry-skinned women have the hardest area reaching.

But.  When I put on my moisturizer, it's first thing in the morning, right after I towel off from the shower.  And I'm really not awake yet then.  So I can totally see myself mis-aiming a squirt and hitting the back of my hair, or even worse, the floor, so that I would then slip and fall and sue Vaseline for a million dollars ...

... oh wait ... did I call this a misguided product?  I was just kidding.  Vaseline,  send me a case right now, okay?

Monday, March 25, 2013

I didn't even know he HAD a sense of humor

First off, I may be absent for a few days.  Zella has handed me a devilishly time-consuming meme, so I'm currently working on that.  Thanks, Zella!

Okay, so, I was listening to some show on NPR the other weekend, and Huey Lewis was the guest.  (Oh, come on, you remember ... Huey Lewis and the News?)

So anyway, somebody asked him what it was like to participate in the recording session for "We are the World", and he was like, "Oh, it was amazing!  I was at the food service table standing in between Ray Charles and Diana Ross, and then later I was chatting with Bob Dylan about golf, and at one point Paul Simon said, "If a bomb goes off in here right now, John Denver's back on top.""

HAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAA I always thought that Paul Simon was kind of an insufferable prick, but now?  He's okay in my book.

Friday, March 22, 2013

How is that even possible?

Okay, so, I realize I may be a little late to the party on this one, but I was just listening to this thing on the radio about the hunger strike at Guantanamo.   And I thought I heard the reporter say something about how some of the detainees had been held for eleven years without a trial.

Eleven years.

"That can't be right," I thought.  A little on-line digging did not reveal the eleven-year figure, but it did show that Guantanamo opened in 2002, eleven years ago.  And that the prisoners are being held there without even being charged with anything.  FOR YEARS. 

And nobody even knows how many people are in there.  Or who they are. 

Am ... am I the only one who finds this a little ... troubling?

Look.  Some, if not most, of them are terrorists.  Bad guys.  I get that.  But unless and until the legal system can come up with enough evidence against them to bring them to trial, produce some concrete charges, how on earth can they be held for years and years and years?  How is that okay?

I'm really hoping one of you guys can explain this to me, 'cause I ain't getting it.

what? NO, I'm not making it UP!

Dudes.  Duuuuudes.

As you may know, I've been doing Jillian workouts since December.  I strive for three workouts a week, and sometimes I actually make it. 

I haven't really seen any big transformation, other than that I can (usually) now get to the end of a workout without collapsing onto the floor.  My arm muscles (biceps?  it that the name?  I DON'T EVEN KNOW WHAT THEY ARE CALLED, oh my God I am lame) are a little firmer.  I actually snort when, during one workout, Jillian barks, "If you're on Week 3, you should be seeing a six-pack right about now!", because the only six-pack I'm gonna see is in my fridge.

and then ... and then ... the other day, I got out of the shower, and I was toweling off, and I happened to look in the mirror, and ...

my stomach looked ... different.  There was ... a definite area of difference in the middle of my stomach.

guys.  I think I'm growing my very own six-pack.

Oh, it's still pretty doughy, and while I've got some vertical ... indents ... going on, I CERTAINLY do not yet have the horizontal ... creases ... that mark a true six-pack, but holy sh*t you guys IT'S WORKING.  THE JILLIAN WORKOUT IS WORKING.

I have to say I never saw that coming, given my half-assed approach to the workouts and the fact that I still drink a lot of beer (maybe the six-pack is just osmosing from the inside to the outside?), but I am inordinately pleased to actually see some results from my efforts, which honestly tends not to be the case in a lot of areas of my life.

Dudes.  I HAVE A SIX-PACK.  What can I say?  Call me Jillian.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Biggest Loser

Yeah, yeah, I watch it.

I always try to do a Jillian workout when I get home on Mondays, so I don't feel guilty later in the evening when I'm parked on my chair, drinking beer and eating fries and watching The Biggest Loser.

And I was glad that Danni won.  But, frankly, the thing was rigged.  Before this season even started, there was talk about how guys almost always win (because they come in weighing more, and thus it's easier for them to drop more), and how this season there would be a woman winner, to keep the audience watching future seasons.  And voila!  Danni wins.

And she lost ... as much as I weigh right now.  She lost ME.  In six months.  But she wasn't even the one who lost the most weight - the one guy lost a hundred and eighty-one pounds.  IN SIX MONTHS. 

I still can't figure out how they do that.  How the show can take these grossly overweight people, work them like dogs, practically starve them, and not have anybody keel over from a heart attack.

I wonder how many of them keep the weight off?  I mean, I hope they all do, but realistically?  Once they're back home, without a trainer riding herd over them?

Oh, heck, maybe I'm just being cynical.  I mean, if I can quit smoking and STAY quit, anything can happen, right?

So.  The Biggest Loser is over.  What the heck am I going to watch on Monday nights now?

Monday, March 18, 2013

The ballad of Frank and Mary

You would not beLIEVE the drama that goes on in rescue groups.  And I'm not even talking about the saving-animals part.  I'm talking about the people drama.

Okay, first of all, this post is entirely TL;DR, so feel free to skip to the last paragraph, where I've got a question for ya.  Feeling brave?  Read on.

I would like to say that I really, really enjoy my time volunteering.  It's a ton of fun and really rewarding.  It's just that some of these people are CRAZY.
The most recent drama involved two long-time volunteers, Frank and Mary.  They are a married couple, I'm guessing early sixties, and they volunteered for a couple of different local rescue groups.  They did one evening shift and one daytime shift at the adoption center, and they did adoption events for another group.

The problem was, Frank and Mary were ... well ... let me be blunt here ... useless.  At the adoption center, Frank would spend his volunteer time either reading or sleeping in his chair.  I'm not talking dozing here; I'm talking full-on sleeping, complete with snoring.  He was gruff and loud (when he was awake).  Mary?  Mary ... hoo boy, blunt time again ... Mary ate her way into a wheelchair.  And she would park that wheelchair, and her considerable self, smack-dab in front of the cages.  Anyone who actually wanted to SEE a cat had to crane their way around Mary to get a peek.  If someone wanted to visit with a cat, Mary was unable to help, and Frank was usually asleep.  I cannot TELL you how many people would come in the day after one of their shifts, explaining that they had come in the day before wanting to visit with a cat and had been told to come back the next day.  And both of them were ... dirty.  Like, food-stained clothes, unwashed-hair dirty.  Were there mental-health issues at play?  Yeah, I think so, especially when a volunteer who had visited their house said that they were full-on hoarders.  Do they need ... help?  Yes.  Yes they do.  I hope they get it. 

And Mary liked to gossip.  Loudly.  She would tell anybody who would listen, including stray passers-by, all about the latest tidbits, whether they knew any of the people involved or not.  She would bad-mouth other rescues.  She would give incorrect information about adoption procedures.  She ... yeah.   Why these two were volunteering at all, I have no idea. 

So.  The rescue who runs the adoption center had a leeetle problem.  They were getting complaints from the management of the pet store, from shoppers, and from other volunteers about Frank and Mary.  Frank and Mary had to go.

And then, a couple of months ago, a big adoption weekend was coming up at the adoption center.  The volunteer coordinator emailed Frank and Mary, asking them to "take the weekend off".  (She didn't want them in the store during such a major weekend.)  And Frank and Mary BLEW UP.

They showed the email to the pet store management.  Who DID NOT WANT TO HEAR THE DRAMA, and told the rescue that they'd better lose Frank and Mary if they wanted to keep their spot in the store. Ouch! The volunteer coordinator, fed up and trying to ease them out gently, told them that they could keep their evening shift, but their daytime shift was being given to other volunteers.

They quit.


and then they promptly sent a nastygram email to the coordinator, who just as promptly posted it on Facebook, which wasn't very kind, but frankly, I think she was trying to get revenge on Frank and Mary for showing one of HER emails to the pet store management  and

holy sh*t, it's high school all over again.

and this crap goes on ALL THE TIME with these people. 

Tell me, what are your experiences with volunteer groups?  Do the people act like adults, or does it descend into ridiculousness on a regular basis?  Is it just the animal rescues?  Or does this kind of stuff happen with all kinds of groups?  Enquiring minds want to know.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Now, THAT'S just mean-spirited

License plate seen in traffic yesterday:


Talk about kicking a guy when he's down. er ... dead.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Age Discrimination

A few weekends ago, I worked an adoption event.  My last for that particular group, as it turned out.  I'm still at the adoption center with a different rescue; I'm concentrating my efforts on that group for now.  A group with fewer crazy people, if ya know what I mean.

Anyway, this is the time of year when we generally don't have any kitten-kittens, just older kittens, so things are usually a little slow.

But!  A lovely elderly woman was smitten with Moses.  Remember Moses?  He'd been in foster care for a while, and was turning from a kitten to a teenager.  So I was really, really glad when this woman expressed an interest in him.

She had a six-year-old cat who had passed away unexpectedly a few weeks ago.  She lived alone, and all of a sudden her apartment was awfully quiet.  She was looking for a cuddly, affectionate cat, which describes Moses to at T.  He had gone from being a shy little kitten to being a friendly, almost needy young man.  Perfect match!

She filled out an application, and I called the FC to let her know.  Imagine my surprise when I was going through emails that evening, and saw this email, to the FC, from another volunteer who attended the event:

"An older lady filled out an application for Moses. She seemed quite taken with him and he seemed to like her. I'm a little concerned about her age and his habit of winding his way through your legs. I would hate to see her trip and break a bone.  I also don't know what would happen to him if she passes away. I wouldn't want to be in your shoes for this application."


As I've said before, during The Great Catnip Toy Debacle of 2013, I'm not sure I'm cut out for this volunteer stuff.  ARE THESE PEOPLE INSANE?

My reply:

"I think Moses would be fine for this woman - her cat who passed away was fairly young (six years old), so it's not like she wasn't used to having an active cat around. She loved to take it to the community room in the complex so the other residents could play with it. And the woman's sister also lives in the same apartment complex, so it's not like the cat would be deserted if the owner passed away. And the woman's daughter was with her today - there are plenty of people to care for the cat, if something should happen. And the woman is still active and driving - it's not like she's an invalid.. I just feel like turning somebody down because they're "too old" is, well - I just don't agree with it.  Just wanted to add my two cents - "

LOOK.  I think it's perfectly fine to ask an elderly person who wants to adopt, "Have you thought about what might happen to your pets if something happened to you?"  I think it's alright to ask that of EVERYBODY, as far as that goes. I DO NOT think it's alright to have an "age limit".  Oh, some shelters and rescues do.  Some of them cut people off at age SEVENTY, which is CRAZY.

You know what?  *I*, at the ripe old age of 50, might get hit by a truck tomorrow.  Hey, it could happen!  And yes, as you age, your odds of, well, dying, increase.  But to say to someone, "No pets for you!" because they've "too old" is just plain nuts.

As a matter of fact, at that same adoption event, I was chatting with the local librarian, who happened to stop by.  And she was talking about how her father-in-law had just adopted a cat to keep him company.  His age?  Ninety-three.  You know what I said?  Yippee!  Good for him for adopting an companion animal.

Does he need to make provisions for the cat in case something happens to him?  Of course.  I did it for my pets.  (They will go with one of my sisters.  We have a reciprocal pet agreement.)  We all need to make plans for our pets in case of our deaths.  That said, you make the provisions, and then life goes on.  For all of us.

I do not understand these crazy-ass cat people.  I just don't get it.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013


A few weeks ago, I got an email from a local arts council.  They were looking for submissions for a fundraising show.  The show would be non-juried, meaning no possibility of prize money, but it was a fundraiser for the council, and heck, I hadn't done anything "creative" for a while (short of bullsh*tting clients  on the phone about why my boss hadn't returned their calls yet), so I thought I'd give it a shot.

The catch?  All artwork submitted for the show had to be seven inches square.

 Sh*t!, I thought.  That eliminated me pulling something old off the wall, dusting it off, and sending it in.  I'm pretty sure that's why they popped in that qualifier, come to think of it.

Seven inches square.

I pulled out a piece of foamboard and cut a seven inch square.  I thought about just cutting a photo enlargement down to size, but nobody wants photos.  Too easy.

Collage, I thought.  Also easy, but I wasn't getting paid for this, so whatever. 

I dragged out my boxes of artsy crap and got to work. 

Well, it ain't much, but it got me back in gear again.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Lady of Spain, I adore you

That's Allie, my latest foster, on the left, and Sodapop on the right.  They are faaaaaaaascinated with each other, but I am keeping her separated from my guys until she shakes whatever bug she's got.   (There's plastic sheeting on that door.)

It should be interesting when they finally get to meet.

Friday, March 08, 2013

Such! Excitement!

So!  Last night around ten o'clock, I'm wrapping things up, getting ready to head for bed, when I see lights reflected on my living room walls. 

Red and blue lights.

"What the ..." I wondered, and pulled aside the living room curtains, to discover three fire engines, five emergency response vehicles, and a cop car pulled up in front of my house.

Turns out my neighbor B., he of the dipshit variety, had started tinkering with his gas furnace, got into trouble, got scared, and called 911.

The 911 operator, evidently thinking that ol' B. was about to blow up the neighborhood, sent everything she had.

Thankfully, the neighborhood did not explode, and I am beginning to think that ol' B. may not be long for the nursing home.

And!  ALSO last night, I got a call.  There was a cat! emergency!  One of the cats at the adoption center had gotten sick and needed to be pulled out, pronto.  Could I keep her in my spare bedroom for a few days while she recovered?

Yep.  Sure.  As of this morning, pretty Miss Allie is gracing my spare bedroom, with her meds in my fridge.  Welcome, Allie.  I was actually really glad to get her, because she has been struggling at the adoption center, and I think she could use a few days of R&R.

And!  In breaking news of the much better kind, this Sunday will mark the one year anniversary of Pony and Soda coming to live with me.  Maaaaan, has it been a year already?  Time flies when you get old, I guess. 

Any big news in your neighborhood?

Thursday, March 07, 2013

... and now I know it is SURELY Spring ...

... because a cardinal was singing outside my bedroom window first thing this morning.

Okay, okay, cardinals don't really sing, they do that swoopy-chirp thing, like little ray guns, "pew!  pew! pew!", but hell, it was a bird making noise, and I haven't heard much of THAT since last summer.  Sure, the cardinals are here all winter, but they only start to sing when Spring is here.

And then!  and then!  On my way out to the car, I could've sworn I heard a red-winged blackbird.

And the daffodils are poking up!  Which means I'd better get the netting back on the garden beds, pronto, before the a**hole deer eat half my flowers, like they did last year.  Jerks.

I think I'll just ignore that pesky weather forecast calling for two to four inches of snow tonight.

How about you?  Is it Spring where you are?

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Isn't it good Norwegian Wood

Okay, so, the cat I talked about in this post, who hissed at everyone who passed the adoption center?

I had a family who was interested in her on Saturday, her first day there.  They were willing to look past the fear and the hissing, and wanted her very much.  They filled out an application, and I gave them a recommendation in the volunteer notebook.  I assured them that they were "first in line", and then I checked the rescue website the following day, and that very same cat had twenty-five on-line applications.

Curious, I checked her site description and discovered that she had been listed as a "Norwegian Forest Cat".

Holy sh*t, marketing in action.

Honestly, I have no idea what a "Norwegian Forest Cat" IS, but evidently they are really, really popular, because this rather non-descript, long-haired, anti-social cat is the hottest cat in town right now.

Buyer beware, guys.  Rescue groups will label a cat with a breed name if the cat in question bears even a faint resemblance to the breed.  Any long-haired cat is a "Maine Coon".  Any light-colored cat with dark facial features is a "Siamese".  And people lose their ever-loving shit if we put up a "Ragdoll".

Jeezus, I mean, whatever it takes to get these cats into good homes.  I just wish sometimes that people could look past the "status" labels.  But since they seem to have a problem doing so, I thought I'd come up with designer names for some of the less-popular cats.

For a long time, rescues have been calling black cats "house panthers".  We could call orange cats "house lions", although frankly, the orange guys don't need the help.  They're the second-fastest to be snapped up, right behind the white cats.

Let's see.  Mackerel tabbies (the ones with the stripes) could be called Zebra Cats.  Cow kitties (black-and-whites) could be Mini-Moos.  Tortoiseshells could be Egyptian Tortoise Cats.   

Anybody else?  Let's think up some new breed names!

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

It must be Spring ...

... because I had a Girl Scout at my door last night taking cookie orders.

Maaaaaaan, I just finished up the Halloween candy, too.  (There was a lengthy side foray into Christmas cookies in December and January.)  Looks like I'm in trouble again ...

Monday, March 04, 2013

It's nice to hear

I was at the adoption center this past weekend, out front with one of the cats.  A passing shopper paused, touched my arm, and said, "You're doing a good thing."


Every so often, I get a comment like that.  "Thank you for what you're doing."  "You're making a difference."  Even, "God bless you", which, hey, I'm an atheist, but if you want to bestow your god's blessings on me, I'm down with that.

And while I certainly don't need the praise, it's nice to hear once in a while.  I mean, I'm standing out there like an idiot, hour after hour, chatting with people and answering their questions and showing them cats and even walking the cats on leashes (well, the mellower ones, anyway).  And sometimes I feel like the world's craziest cat lady, or some kind of chump, volunteering all these unpaid hours.  And then someone comes along and says, "Thanks",  and I don't feel so bad.

It kind of balances out the other comments.  "I can't stand to see cats in cages." (ME NEITHER, LADY.)  "I can't BELIEVE how much you charge for a stupid stray cat."  (It's eighty-five bucks, dude.  You spent more than that on weed last week.)  "The Chinese restaurant called - they'll take all the cats you have."  (HA HA HARRRRRRR.) 

And it helps to make up for the scratches (my hands look like I plunged them into a rose bush) and the hisses (we have a cat right now who HISSES at any passer-by, including small children, which is a big hit as you can imagine) and the cats who fight tooth and nail to prevent being put back into their cage.

So yeah, if you see someone busting their butt out there volunteering, it's okay to say "thank you".  It's nice to hear.