Wednesday, April 27, 2016

... and the names are! ...

Well, these cats weren't going to name THEMSELVES, ya know. :)

Last Sunday, I took mama and the litter to the local adoption center for which I am fostering so that mama could be leuk/FIV tested (negative!  Yaaaaaaay!), everybody could be wormed, and I could have my suspicions confirmed as to the gender of the kittens.  I THOUGHT I had one boy and four girls, but I am ... not the best when it comes to sexing kittens (Yes, that's what it's called.  I KNOW.), so I thought I'd have the woman who runs the rescue give them a quick once-over.  Sure enough, it was a boy and four girls!

When mama got leuk-tested, they needed a name for the records.  Like, they needed a name RIGHT THEN.  "Ummmmmmm..." I stammered.  "How about ... Lightning?  Because she has a lightning bolt on her face?"

Lightning it is.

I had a fairly good idea what I wanted to name a couple of the kittens, but nothing was set in stone, and I had NO idea what some of them should be named, so I outsourced it to Facebook.  And the names are:

Dora the Explorer:

Little Bit:


Sophie Tucker:

and the only boy, Calvin!:

The Spring 2016 Foster Campers now have names!


Monday, April 25, 2016


Every year there is a Turtle Day, the first warm Spring day when the turtles come out to sun themselves. This year, Turtle Day was yesterday.


Doing turtle things!

*sigh*  I love Turtle Day.

Friday, April 22, 2016

How to remove a makeup pencil from a bathroom sink drain

Yes, as I mentioned in yesterday's post, I somehow managed to drop a 6" long makeup pencil straight down the bathroom sink drain yesterday morning.  I could SEE it there at the bottom, stopped in its journey by the trap, but it was down too far (WAY too far) for me to reach it and pull it up.

So here is a step-by-step tutorial on how to remove a makeup pencil from a bathroom sink drain.

1.  Borrow a pipe wrench from a friend, because you have somehow managed to make it through fifty-odd years on the planet without having to disassemble a pipe.

2.  Take the wrench home and decide you want to wash up before tackling the project.

3.  Wash up in the bathroom sink, where the drain is running slow BECAUSE THERE'S A GOTTDAM MAKEUP PENCIL IN THERE.

4.  Watch the running water start to back up in the drain pipe.  Watch with amazement as the wooden makeup pencil FLOATS UP the drain pipe on the backed-up water.

5.  Keep the water running, and wait until the pencil is at the very top of the pipe, at which point you grab it and thank your lucky stars that for ONCE in your life, a home repair was actually EASIER than you thought it was going to be, instead of a billion times harder.

6.  Return pipe wrench to friend. 

7.  Consider making a shrine to the makeup pencil, because the whole thing was just so freaking amazing.

8.  The End.

9.  You're welcome.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Old and Random

Does anyone besides me remember typing correspondence on a typewriter?  Remember when fax machines first became available, and they seemed like a flippin' MIRACLE?  "Waaaaait a minute, you mean I just feed the document in here, dial a number, and it SHOWS UP SOMEPLACE ELSE?!"  Remember when printers used tractor feed paper?  Yes, I am old.

There's an old City DPW garage around the corner from where I work which is about to be demolished.  I wanted to get a picture of the Sign Shop door before it's gone, because it makes me smile:

Two reality TV shows I can highly recommend:  "Alone" just started its second season, Thursdays on the History channel.  This show takes a bunch of outdoorsy people and drops them, one by one, into remote Alaska locations where they have to survive on their own.  They are equipped with video cameras and have to transmit videos every day to the people running the show.  Some of the people crack and give up right away, some last for a few weeks, and last season's winner lasted for something like sixty-three days before he was the last one standing.  Watching the people start their downhill slides is absolutely fascinating; I probably shouldn't like this show as much as I do, but man, it's some pretty compelling watching.

On that same track, "The Last Alaskans" has started a new season, Tuesdays on the Discovery channel.  I've written about this show before; it chronicles the last people allowed to homestead on a remote Alaskan wildlife refuge.  Very, very good.

Riverdance is apparently coming to this area, because ads for it have been all over local media.  Riverdance is one of those events that I can say with confidence I would not attend even if it were free.  See also:  Any type of Renaissance Festival.  *shudder*

I've had a sore thumb joint for a few days, and I couldn't figure out what I'd done to it, until I went to take my Celexa this morning.  The package the pills come in is this funky thing where you have to press down on one end and then pull the pill card out from the other end, except I always get it wrong and have to wrestle with it (relaxing!  not at all stressful!), and this morning I realized that the reason my thumb was sore was from struggling with pulling the pills out of the package.  I have a brand-new medical condition, heretofore unknown to science!  "Celexa Thumb".  Ha.

There was a panhandler in front of the Dollar Store where I went on my lunch break this morning, and I always tell those dudes "nope, sorry", and then I feel bad about it.  I mean, I KNOW they're just going to use the money for drugs and/or alcohol, so I don't know WHY exactly I feel bad, just that I don't feel bad enough to give them any drug money.

I dropped a makeup pencil down the bathroom sink this morning.  I guess I'm going to learn how to take a sink trap apart tonight. *sigh*

 And finally, a ticklish kitten:

What's old and/or random with you?

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Meal time!

It starts with just a couple:

Then someone else wanders over.  "Hey, what's going on over he-  Move over!"

And pretty soon the whole crew's on board:

Sometimes they push each other out of the way:

But in the end, everybody's got a full tummy.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016


It's kittens!

I got a call from a local rescue yesterday afternoon. They had gotten a call about a litter of young kittens that were living in someone's garage and needed a foster home immediately; could I help?


And THIS group of Foster Campers came with their own Head Counselor:

Mama cat!  She is a very loving, extremely friendly young cat who obviously belonged to a family at some point.

Eating lessons:

"I got claws and I ain't afraid to use them, lady ... zzzzzzZZZZzzzzz ... "

Skeptical kitten:

Foster Camp is now in session!

Monday, April 18, 2016


I'm relieved to be able to report that it was considerably warmer out this weekend.  So warm and sunny, in fact, that I even managed to get a little bit sunburned yesterday, which, sunburned in April?!  In upstate New York?!?  I don't even understand this world anymore.

It was so warm that I decided to bring my buddy out of the garage:

Hello, NEWMAN.  Ha.

I am pleased to report that after some initial hesitation, the mower started right up and ran just fine.  Whew.  (and to be fair, this particular lawn mower has never been a problem.  It was the mower I had BEFORE this one that was a POS.  I'm afraid that my current lawnmower is being unfairly maligned for actions of  its predecessor.)

Little white flowers blooming in the woods:

The hunters continue their assault on any and all metal signs:

One of these trees is not like the others:

Do you see that?  That tree in the middle, all bent over?  At first I thought that it was being held down by another tree's branches or something, but no.  THEN I thought that maybe the top end of the tree was somehow held down by ... something ... but when I checked it out, the tree was free to be upright; it just ... wasn't.  Mystery!

The kitty cabana came out, and Pop-pop wasted NO time hopping on for a siesta:

Yep, it sure is the life, Sodapop.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Okay, all you financial whizzes, let me run something by you

Disclaimer:  Money talk ahead.

When my mom died a few years back, I inherited a bit of  money.  Let's just say it's more than fifteen thousand, and less than twenty thousand.  Okay?

I promptly invested that money in an investment fund, a mix of stocks, bonds, and overseas investments with a "moderate", middle-of-the-road strategy - nothing too risky.

The damn thing's been losing money ever since.  Nothing much, but it's two years on, and instead of making money, I'm down by a few hundred bucks.   The fees are eating up any gains that I make.

So what I'm thinking is, instead of letting that money sit there and stagnant, hoping that at some point the fund will turn the corner and start earning me some interest, I should take that money and pay down my mortgage.

My mortgage interest rate is currently 5.75%.  I've been paying extra on the principal every month for the past couple of years, and if I continue at that pace, I'll have the thing paid off in eight years or so.  If I take the money out of the fund and put it against the mortgage, I'll have the mortgage paid off much, much quicker.  (If I put the fund money against the mortgage, it'll bring the remaining mortgage down to 14K.)

But!, you say.  Your job situation is not stable!  Yes, that is true.  HOWEVER, I do have other savings, which will carry me through if necessary for several months until I get find another position, and in the meantime,  I feel like I would sleep easier at night knowing that my mortgage was practically all paid off, PLUS the fund money, instead of making me zip-zero-nada, would instantly generate a return of 5.75%, or the interest rate on the mortgage.

I ran it by someone IRL who I trust very much, and they said it sounded like a solid plan.  Now I would like to know:  What do YOU think?  Enquiring minds want to know.

(And I've been thinking about this for some time now, so no, it's not the meds talking.  I've also been thinking about this since before the whole my-boss-is-a-lunatic thing, so it's not *just* the job situation talking.)

Let me hear it!

Monday, April 11, 2016

Pics from the weekend

Saturday was a crap day.  Snowing and blowing and cold.  Everybody did a lot of snoozing:

Tinks would like me to point out to you that he's not fat, he's fluffy.  Seriously, he weighs just the same as the other cats; he's just got fur that's about six times as long as the others'.

Soda's favorite spot:

And Ponyboy, enjoying the break in fosters to nap in the foster room:

On Sunday, it was still cold out, but the sun was shining, so I bundled up and headed for a park.

Um ... where is everybody?:

The docks are waiting for warmer weather:

And SO AM I.  Dressing like Nanook of the North just to spend a couple of hours outside is BOGUS, as far as I'm concerned.:

Heavy socks, long johns, jeans, t-shirt, sweatshirt, turtleneck ski jacket, neck gaiter, Elmer Fudd hat topped with blaze orange knit cap, and heavy gloves.  *sigh*

There was less snow around the lake:

And more snow in the woods, where some emerging spring plants were giving a hearty "eff you" to the weather:

There was still ice on the beaver pond, but running water coming through the dam:

And hopefully, the NEXT time I go walking, it will be a little (or a LOT, come ON) warmer out.  Sheesh.

Friday, April 08, 2016

Southern Culture on the Skids

Last weekend, I met up for lunch with a friend of mine, who was kind enough to pick up the tab because of my might-soon-be-uncertain employment status, so thank you, Laurie!  I owe you one.  ANYway, we had been talking on the phone earlier in the week, and she was telling me about some weird dessert concoction that is a holiday tradition in her family, and she brought some along for me to try.

It was Southern Pineapple Casserole.

It tasted ... odd, but not as odd as one might think a dish made with pineapple and cheese and Ritz crackers and butter (erk) would taste.

But it got me thinking ... it tasted really, really similar to another dessert I had tried before ... one with, like, pineapple and cake mix and butter ... what was it, what was it ...

And then I remembered:  Dump Cake!  I had once made a Dump Cake that tasted really similar to the casserole.  Time to google, where I found an old favorite website, but only if your stomach's not feeling queasy ...

The Southern Culture on the Skids recipe site!

Let me warn you again ... do not click on that if your stomach is under par or if you are a delicate flower, because some of those recipes are a little dubious.  And feature roadkill.  But if you could use a laugh, click away!  And I gotta say, the Dump Cake recipe is not half bad.

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Stone Art

While I was engaged in my effort to hike-away-the-pain (ha) two weeks ago, I came across quite the collection of stone art at Salt Springs.

I absolutely love this kind of stuff; I think it's cool.

I'll bet it's very relaxing to stack stones.

Monday, April 04, 2016

Update! (Believe me, I'm as tired of going through this as you are reading about it)

  So, I started taking the Celexa (10 mg, if anyone is interested in details, and what the doc told me is a very small dose) daily on Saturday.  The doctor had told me that it might take several weeks for it to "kick in", which is why she had given me the Zanax (.25 mg) to take if I got overwhelmed in the meantime.

On Sunday, I woke up with the old brain just a-churning, so I thought I'd take a Zanax, just to see if  it would calm me down.  It calmed me so far down, in fact, that I just wanted to sleep all day, but I had a lot of stuff to get done and managed to stay awake.  I got no type of "high" whatever; just felt kind of peaceful.  And sleepy.  And it did "turn down" my thoughts.

Went to work today, and blahblahblah drama, so an hour before the boss was scheduled to call, I took half a Zanax.  (yeah, a regular pill-popper, that's me.)  It was enough to calm me down, but not enough to knock me out, and I was able to handle a conversation with the boss (about the Project from Hell, don't even get me started) without panicking or wanting to pass out.  I was able to perform competently and without the overwhelming dread that has dogged my recent days.

So!  Waiting for the Celexa to kick in, taking the Zanax as a stop-gap (and yes, I know that both are habit-forming drugs which iare in no way, shape or form to be taken long-term or in excess), and hoping for the best.

I'll keep you posted!  And thank you for your patience as I continue on my quest for equilibrium.

Sunday, April 03, 2016


I was just sitting here watching TV when I realized that it was seven years ago today that I quit smoking.

I can't even tell you how many times, over those seven years,  I've gone through something really stressful and thought, "well, if this doesn't make me start smoking again, I guess nothing will", and probably never so much as in the past few weeks. 

Sorry, just couldn't let the date go by without giving myself a shout-out.

Dammit, I may fail at lots of things, but turns out I'm actually good at quitting smoking. :)

Friday, April 01, 2016

Medication FTW!

Well, despite those of you who seemed determined to label me a hormonal, post-menopausal whack job (AHEM) (Seriously, guys, the only way it could've been worse would have been if you'd suggested I was upset because I was "on my period", so to speak) (JAYSUS CHRIST), the doctor thinks it's a problem with my brain chemistry, which got knocked right the eff out of whack when I was repeatedly exposed to an unmanageable situation.

She wants me to start taking Celexa (sp?) daily, immediately, and Zanax (sp?  I haven't picked up the prescriptions yet) on an as-needed basis when I start to panic out.

And I sure hope I start feeling better, because I'm getting tired of feeling like I'm about to be run over by a train.


(Sorry.  I know hormonal imbalances can and do wreak havoc.  But for me, hearing someone being called "hormonal" seems to imply disdain, like that person can't handle something because they're a woman.  See Donald Trump and his "She had blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her ... wherever" bon mots.  Just ... don't.)