Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Wednesday words of wisdom

Drink plenty of water....
And remember to dry your whiskers!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Muddy paws...

...the Breakfast of Champions!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

"Here comes the sun..."

There's still plenty of snow left over this morning, but the sun is out and we're supposed to get above freezing today (a little), so there should be more melting going on. Here's Minnie, cooling her bum in the snow as she catches up on the smells, sights, and sounds she's missed over the past two days of Snow Lock-Down. Look how sparkly the snow is in the sun!

Minnie came in shortly after I took this pic; no matter how starved she is for an outing, it's still dang cold out there! I went out after breakfast to shovel the snow off the porch and de-ice a pathway. Egad, that's a lot like work....

By the way, have I mentioned how grateful I am to have gotten my camera and computer back after the burglary? I am. Veryveryvery.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Snow day, play day

If Minnie can't go outside, she goes stir-crazy, so I played with her an extra lot yesterday. I will today, too, because it's still a snow-covered world out there! In these pix, she's attacking (or dropping) her catnip carrot. As you can see, the carrot lived to fight another day.

Merry Christmas, everybody! Hope you have lots of toys to play with!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Snow--and lots of it!

Here are some pix from about 8:30 this morning--we had a pretty respectable snowfall last night, and it was still goin' & blowin' when I took these photos. Of course, the sun was out by 10am, so it'll probably all be melted by 5pm, but it was sure an impressive sight. Even my car was covered, which is very unusual, considering that the carport is protected on three sides by houses and a tall fence. The snow must have blown like mad last night.

Here's my driveway and the street from my carport, all covered in snow.

Look how the snow is piled up in great domes on everything! The lump in the foreground of the picture above is a photinia bush.

Minnie was burning up to go outside this morning, despite the arctic conditions, so I let her out to do her business in the carport. In the photo below are her snow-tracks. You wouldn't think a cat would plow so boldly into the cold stuff, but with her fluffy winter coat and fur-tufted feet, she's built for it.

Minnie didn't stay obediently in the carport, naturally. While I was taking pictures, she trotted off to check out the winter wonderland. She even hopped over the carport fence into the backyard, completely ignoring my protests.

I came back into the house and wrestled the sliding glass back door open to get more pix and reclaim my kitty. Check out the dome of snow on the doghouse! And there are more Minnie tracks, of course.

Minnie didn't spent much time outside--she circumnavigated the enormous, snow-covered pampas grass, then zoomed back into the house as soon as I got the door open, knocking over (into the house) a drift of snow that had built up against the glass door.

By the time I got Minnie inside and finished taking pix of the backyard, there was snow packed in the sliding door channel, so I had to clean that out (while more snow was blowing in!). Naturally, the snow on the cold metal had compacted into ice, so I had to get my hairdryer after it before I could get the door closed.

And why are there no photos of Minnie gallivanting about in the snow? Because she was never in any one place long enough to take a picture! Anyway, we were both glad to come back inside and warm up our frozen toes.

About an hour after I got up, the kids across the street came out to play in the snow, laughing and shrieking as they tried to bean each other with snowballs. The snow was so dry, it didn't make very solid snowballs, so after a while they just contented themselves with slinging mittenfuls of snow at each other like kids splashing in a pool. They were having a blast--it was fun to see.

Boy, am I glad I didn't have to go to work today!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

"Mom, you're bugging me again."

Minnie loves the flashy box. Really.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

New door on the way, new cats in the yard

Nope, the photo is not of my house, but the door in the pic looks a lot like the one I officially ordered today (except mine will have aged bronze hardware, bought separately, and screens). The guy who'll be doing the installation came out Tuesday afternoon to measure and inspect the space, he sent his info to Home Depot, and I just went there to review the specs and drop a bunch of money I don't have (yet--pending 2009's tax refund). The door might be in as soon as Jan. 2!

As expected, there's some rotted wood and shingles that will have to be replaced when the new door is installed. One thing This Old House has plenty of is rotted wood!

On the kitty front, Minnie disgraced herself today by growling and hissing at a newcomer to our feral food station--an orange-&-white kitten, three or four months old. (I'm really not sure how old he is, but he was steady on his pins and eating solid food.) He sure wanted in, but I resisted the cuteness. It was not easy. But I was afraid Minnie would tear him a new one. She's a one-per-household cat.

Another new visitor showed up recently, this one an adult male, sorta white (or a very dilute cream), with Siamese heritage showing in his crossed blue eyes. He's a lot more skittish than that kitten was today, but he's becoming a regular at the food station. I don't see any others regularly; if there are any, they come at night.

Oh, and somebody disassembled a bird in a big way recently--feathers everywhere. Ick. I don't know whether it was my little huntress or one of the feral boys.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Unrelated stuffs

  • Following two recent trips to Oklahoma and a West Texas mudstorm, I finally gathered my courage and took my Prius to a car wash where the vacuum-and-wipe-dry guys drive your car into and out of the wash tunnel. I'm happy to report that they handled the Prius's little oddities (Park button, hold-for-a-few-seconds neutral shift, stepping on the brake before pressing the Power button to turn it on) without a problem. I'm very glad, because those guys do a lot better job of washing my car than I do.

  • I measured my old sliding glass patio door and ordered my new French doors today, including installation. The guy in charge of installation should be calling tomorrow to do his own measurements and "work-site inspection", then we'll get this show on the road. In the meantime, I have a steel bar jammed crosswise against the handle of the old sliding glass door in hopes of deterring particularly lazy burglars.

  • I was sure nervous about another break-in while away from home over the weekend, but everything was fine when I got home.

  • I also missed my kitty, but she had a good time with her babysitter.  :)

  • Leo is still missing.  :(

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Toe-freezing Tuesday

A view of lacy snow-and-ice-covered tree branches from my backyard this morning.

Minnie's pawprints in the snow on the doghouse outside my back door.

She didn't stay outside for long!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Odd dream

I dreamt last night that Minnie acquired four siblings--four cats that I discovered living in a cabinet under my kitchen sink (along with a box of neatly lined up mouse heads--yes, just heads). There was a mama ginger cat with two kittens and an unrelated dilute calico or gray cat. Don't ask me how I know the gray cat was unrelated to the ginger kitties--in dreams, you just know stuff. Minnie actually sought the other cats out and was friendly with them. That's in the dream, of course. In reality, she would be highly incensed at the intrusion into "her" territory.  ;)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Sing hallelujah!

I got my toys back (most of them) this afternoon, I just put my computer back together, and it's all working! I am one lucky niña! What a relief!

The netbook is still missing, as is my backup thumb drive and a wireless adapter, but I can live with the loss. The desktop computer was the most important part to me.

Somewhere in the world...

...Leo is officially four years old today. He still hasn't turned up, though. I hope he's OK wherever he is.

I haven't gotten my stolen computer/etc. back yet, either--I've been trying to catch the Sgt. in charge of property crimes, as he's the only one who can authorize giving me my stuff back, but haven't had any luck yet. Trying again today, of course.

It drives me nuts that my computer--which I really need to finish a project really soon--is just sitting in the police property room a mile or two from my house, and I can't get it outta there!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

"We wuz robbed!"

Really--no kidding. Some asswipe broke into my house while I was at work yesterday and rifled the place. When I got home, Minnie was outside; I was sure I remembered leaving her inside the house, but maybe I was forgetful....Then I went into the house and there were cabinets open that I never leave open...and I knew even before I saw the sliding glass back door left wide open that my computer was gone. DAMN IT!

Drawers and cabinet doors all over the house were standing ajar where the thief had looked for valuables. Fortunately, I don't have that much expensive stuff, but he did get my computer, a netbook I've had for all of a month, two modems, my digital camera, the cords & chargers that go with all that stuff, and two flash drives (all my memory backup, in other words). And lest we think him all about electronics, he also took the cover off my sewing machine, a pillowcase, and a large red duffle bag to put all the other stuff in, as well as a little butter tub full of pennies, my wee collection of coins, and a $2 bill.

I sincerely hope Minnie pooped on the burglar's shoes, but she was more likely hiding under the furnace.  >:-(  But she's OK and thank goodness for that.

Ready for the weird part? The police found some of my stuff before I even called in to report the burglary! I was describing to the officer what all was taken and came to the part about the red duffle and the cop finished,"Yep, in a red duffle bag." Apparently, a neighbor woman had looked out at the alley because her dogs were barking their heads off and she saw a suspicious person near a dumpster; plus the police have been following some rotten little high-schooler they suspected of various burglaries. Turns out the little creep put the duffle bag with my stuff in the dumpster to come back and pick up later--the cops said burglars do that a lot. Yeah, I wouldn't want to inconvenience them with the weight of my goods or anything....

So the cops got my stuff out of the dumpster and checked it into the property room, and then later comes my call about the burglary, and the same cop comes to take my statement. I was floored when he told me they already found my stuff!

He said I could go to the property room this morning to identify and pick up my stuff, but the guy there said they had to get the reporting officer to verify that Report A (stolen goods) corresponds to Report B (person from whom said goods were stolen), and the officer is already gone for the T-Day holiday. So I have to wait until Monday to find out what the stupid thief left me.

It's a good thing I didn't run out and drop a bunch of cash on a big new flat-screen TV when everybody else did, because that'd be gone, too.

Anyway, the officer and the property guy both said my main computer was among the things found, so I count myself very lucky. I won't bother filing an insurance claim on the rest; I'm sure my deductible is much higher than the value of what's still missing.

Helluva day.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Leo's still AWOL

That's three days without any sign of Leo. He grew up in my backyard and I don't think he's been absent more than a few hours at a stretch since his cat-mom carried him in by the scruff of his neck. This is not a happy development.

Yella Dog hasn't reappeared, either, so I guess the Animal Control officer found him.

I do still have one food-station customer--Mickey, the cream-colored shorthair feral. He popped out of the pampas grass this morning looking for breakfast. Leo always chased him off and/or tried to pick a fight with him, so Mickey got to eat the whole bowl of food this morning uninterrupted.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Spoke too soon

OK, the neighbor guys have not adopted Yella Dog, so one of them told me, despite the fact that I saw the dog in their backyard twice last week. So that guy's a big liar, and Yella Dog is still homeless. And now Leo, my feral cat, is missing--haven't seen him all day. And Yella Dog isn't being fed by people. I'm a little worried about Leo now.

I had to be gone for several days, so today's the first I knew of Yella Dog's status since my last blog entry. I saw him early this afternoon, still as friendly as ever, but now his right rear foot is hurt somehow--I couldn't see what the problem was, but he was limping a bit--and he was very hungry. I had just brought home a salad and I gave him all the chicken off it; he hosed it down in the time it took me to fetch a bowl of water for him. I had nothing else but cat food, so I brought him a cup of that, and by the time I got it out there, the entire bowl of water was gone! So I brought more water. I wanted to keep him in my carport so that Animal Control could find him easily. Yes, I called Animal Control--I just didn't know what else to do for him.

By the time the Animal Control officer got here (quite soon after I called), Yella Dog had vanished, of course. The officer said he'd drive around the area looking for him. I haven't heard back, so I don't know if they found him. Poor dog.... He is a handful, but he just needs attention & training & space to run. And food--lots of food. I'm afraid he won't ever get that chance, though.

And, no, I cannot keep a dog. My yard belongs to the feral cats, and I don't know the first thing about dogs except that you have to walk them in all kinds of weather.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Confirmation :)

Yella Dog does indeed have a new home next door. He started pawing at my fence "blockade" and whining as soon as I came out to feed the ferals this morning, so I went over and petted his head when I was done, then pushed him back through the fence and told him to stay. I'm sure he paid close attention...oh, yeah.  :D

Wow, does that boy ever have big feet! Wonder if there's some Great Dane in there somewhere? Whatever his breed, he's a very friendly pup, and I'm so glad the neighbors adopted him.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Happier tail today

I went out this morning to feed the feral cats and who should come bounding over to me but my little yellow friend from yesterday! He'd gotten into my backyard somehow...and I hope it was through a hole in the fence between my yard and my neighbors, because that would mean the nice boys next door have adopted him! (They do need to fix their fence, though.) I'll try to find out for sure after work today.

The dog seemed a lot happier today--tail wagging a mile a minute, snuffling everything, and doing that funny play-with-me front-end dip that dogs do. Since I had food in hand (albeit cat food), I set it down to see what he'd do. He just took a sample bite, didn't snarf it down as if he were starving, so someone has fed him. I got him to follow me to the gate into the carport and let him out of my yard there, then stacked an old gate and a bunch of cinderblocks in front of the hole in the neighbors' fence. He's a big, muscular, solid dog, so a bit of piled-up junk probably won't do much good, but at least it'll remind me to ask the boys to get their landlord to fix the fence.

As I was leaving for work, I saw the dog snoozing on the neighbors' porch, looking a lot more content than he was yesterday. I hope he's found a forever home.

Oh, and I did fetch new food for the ferals and gave Leo lots of calm-down lovin's.  :)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Dog tale

Some people aren't worth the skin they walk around in.

This morning, there was a dog without a collar curled up in the neighbor's yard by the curb. Looked like some mix of lab and sharpei, gold-colored, with long legs and big feet, so I think he's still quite young. When I opened the kitchen door (which opens into the carport) to let Minnie out (something I quickly rethought!), the dog got up, wagged his tail, then sat up attentively. He was practically radiating "I'm a good dog." And I just knew that his worthless owner had dumped him there sometime last night.

I checked on him now and then while I got ready for work. Every time a car drove by, the dog would stand up, watching with anticipation, as if expecting his owner to return for him. I could be totally making this up, but that was the impression I got. When I pulled out of the drive to go to work, he trotted right toward my car, tail wagging, and went around to the passenger's side as if hoping to be let in. I couldn't, of course. He followed me for a few steps as I drove off, then went back to his spot in the neighbor's yard.

My neighbors, who live in the house in whose yard the dog was sitting, seem like good boys. I hope they want a dog. I do not want to call animal control on this fellow because I know exactly what will happen to him.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Cat = center of universe

I'm doing a time-consuming computer setup and brought out my old playing cards for a few rounds of solitaire while the computer did its thing. After a bit, Minnie arrived, hopped right up on my desk, had a sniff at the cards, and promptly lay down on them. Clearly, Mom's attention was not being directed toward useful pursuits. Why mess about with silly little paper things instead of showering Miss Minnie with lovin's? Why, indeed? So, of course, I did.  :)

Please observe the magnificent whiskers and bountiful toe fluff on this fine specimen of cat-hood.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Contest results

Well, I got third place in the Halloween costume contest, but I had fun putting my costume together. And it was a good opportunity to start relearning how to use a sewing machine.  :)

Next sewing project: canvas tote bag. (You weren't expecting me to say "diamond-studded ball gown", were you??)

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Here's my costume--a Pioneer woman! I got the bonnet from a lady on eBay who makes them for re-enactors, the dress from my favorite fat-lady store, the apron from my sister (who made it herself), and the boots online for a clearance price. I added the extra ruffle on the bottom of the dress to make it long enough to reflect pioneer days--that was my first sewing-machine project. I also tucked in the wing collar and fixed it in place with a few tiny stitches so it would look more like a banded collar--again, more appropriate to the time. All in all, I think it turned out pretty well, and I got a lot of compliments on it. We had a costume contest at the office party (for the few of us who dressed up), so who knows--maybe I'll win! (I voted for myself. Is that crass? Too bad!)

Note the long apron strings. I discovered that if you don't tuck those apron strings into an apron pocket when you go to the bathroom, they might get dipped where you don't want 'em dipped. Nuff said.

Below are a couple more pictures. By the way, I have no idea who that fat lady in my dress is. An interloper, I would guess. Surely, she'll return my formerly svelte self one of these days.


Sunday, October 25, 2009

Sewing project complete

Gotta say, I like my beginner sewing machine a LOT better than the big, bad version I had to use in high school. My first sewing project, adjusting my Halloween costume (won't tell ya what or how yet), is complete and turned out pretty well. It also went a helluva lot faster than if I'd tried to hand-sew the thing. However....

Note to beginning seamstresses (and seamsters?): Do not choose something with gathers (e.g., a ruffle) as your first project, especially if you're pressed for time. I managed it, but, sheesh, it took half a day--half of a long day--to figure it out and get it done! I have some beginning-sewing books coming and I'll be interested to see if my solution matches their instructions.

One dumb mistake I kept making was forgetting to set the presser foot down before I started sewing--DOH! Oddly enough, you don't accomplish much when you do that.... And, as I discovered to my dismay, it's possible to get the thread tangled up in all the mechanical bits inside the machine when you do it, because the tension isn't right. I think I'm over that particular mistake now.

Oh, and working on a voluminous garment with a curious cat in the house is a real interesting proposition:

"No, Minnie, you can't be up there."
"Minnie, don't sit on the pins!"
"Minnie, stop, that's not a toy."
"Watch out for the needle, Minnie."
Pick up the cat, put her on the bed instead of my fabric.
Stuff the leftover bits of thread way down in the trash so Minnie doesn't eat them.
Pick up the cat, put her on her scratching post instead of my ironing board.
Bribe the cat out of the sewing room with treats....

Oy. Fortunately, the weather was gorgeous and cool this weekend--Minnie's favorite--so she spent a lot of time outside (her preference--she's an indoor/outdoor kitty).

On another kitty subject, I met my regular cat-sitter's helper this evening; she'll be taking over for my "main gal", the Critter Nanny, for a few days while Nanny's out of town herself. Imagine--after two or three years, she thinks she needs a vacation! The nerve!  :D  Minnie was a little nervous with the helper at first, but got over it--especially when treats were produced. Anyway, she's very nice and seems quite responsible, so I won't worry (too much) during those few days.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Sewing 101

I've been assembling this year's Halloween costume lately, with the help of No.1 Sister. I couldn't make it work on my own unless I spent a fortune, and I wasn't about to do that for a silly Halloween costume. My sewing skills are pretty limited: I can sew on buttons, repair split seams, and do a little patching; I even converted a big denim futon cover from the thrift store into a Lazyboy chair cover, although it took ages because I had to hand-stitch the whole enormous thing. But I don't know how to make anything even as simple as an apron (Sister A. did a fabulous job on it, BTW!). It occurred to me--not for the first time--that a person of my (reasonable) intelligence and (vestigial) creativity ought to be able to learn how to use a sewing machine well enough to make throw pillows or simple garments. So, dang it, that's what I'm going to do.

I did take Home Ec in high school and used a sewing machine there, but that was [mumble, mumble] years ago when dinosaurs roamed the earth, and I didn't do a very good job on the plain little shirt I made. The machine seemed to want to run like it was in the Indy 500--made me nervous. Anyway, I do remember a few things from sewing class, and from watching my mom sew, so that ought to help. And, of course, there are books for dummies.

I found a "beginner" sewing machine at WalMart yesterday that came with a DVD showing how to do all the basic things and went through that today. My wee machine did not try to run away from me, so obviously not all sewing machines are as touchy as the one I used in high school. I sewed lines and zig-zags and learned to reverse a stitch to finish it off. I Googled for instructions on how to do the particular thing I need to adjust my costume, and I've got print-outs for that (I love the Web). So now all I need to do is measure, make the pattern, cut the cloth, and give it a whirl. If it turns out ugly, well, it's just a costume, and I can restore the garment to its original state with my handy-dandy seam-ripper.

Such (sedate) adventures I have....  :)

Saturday, October 10, 2009

It's rather frustrating...

...when you've got a Friday night with no big work project scheduled for the next morning, and you put all your warm blankies on your bed, and you're looking forward to a nice long sleep...and then you don't get it. Can't blame it on the cat, either (well, not entirely). I woke up at 3am, then kept dodging in and out of sleep until 7am, when I totally gave up. Don't know why--just pure cussedness, I guess.

On a happier note, I did my weekly weigh-in and I've lost another pound, for a total of 12 down. Slow progress, but (I hope) steady from now on. Now that my tooth is fixed, I can go back on my normal, high-fiber, nearly-vegetarian diet.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Dieting is a slooooow business

Of course, it might be a little faster if I'd (a) quit snarfing cheeseburgers & Dr.Peppers and (b) get off my ass in the evenings instead of doing endless crossword puzzles. I like crossword puzzles, but that's no excuse.

I misread the scale time before last and I'm only 11 lbs. down from my top weight, not 15. So I've got a ways to go still. Steamed veggies, water & tea, little meat, protein water, yogurt, fiber-y snacks.... Gotta get back to it.

*le sigh*

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Looking for prey in all the wrong places

Warning, Mama: this post is about a b-i-r-d.

I was mowing this morning, and had finished the front yard and moved the mower around to the back. It's pretty warm today, so I was already sweaty and tired. I picked up the cord (my mower is electric) and was taking it into the house to plug it in, when here comes Minnie galloping toward the house. I smiled, slid the screen door open just as she hit the back step, and she zoomed through into the house without a pause, screeching "TWEET TWEET TWEET!"


Oh, shit.

Sure enough, Minnie (aka "DammitCat!") had slipped in with a bird gripped in her teeth. I shut the door quick and went to grab Minnie before she could let go of the bird, but she easily eluded me and zipped into the bathroom, where she dropped the bird and it proceeded to flap and shriek and hide behind anything and everything. Little bird feathers littered the floor, and Minnie spit out a couple more for good measure. I got a tissue and tried to grab the bird; no dice. I tried to encourage Minnie to pick up the bird again and take it outside, but since when do cats listen? Anyway, she was in stalker mode--she didn't want to kill it, so much as poke at it and bat it around if possible. *shudder*

I picked up all the stuff the bird was hiding behind. Minnie moved toward her now-exposed target, and the bird flapped toward ME. Big Tough Mom squealed like a six-year-old girl and darted out of the little bird's path.

The bird flapped into the hall and toward the bedroom, where there are plenty of things to hide behind, which it proceeded to do--I couldn't even spot the thing by the time I got in there. I ran to fetch a flashlight and looked in every nook big enough to hide a wee bird (which adds up to a lot of nooks), but couldn't track it down...until I noticed that Minnie seemed unusually interested in the area under the nightstand. I pulled the nightstand away from the wall, shone a flashlight under it, and sure enough, there it was, blinking its beady little black eyes. I pulled the nightstand off the bird completely and tried to grab it again...and squealed like a little girl again when it shot toward me.

Under the furnace it went, straight into Minnie's favorite hiding place, and Minnie skittered under there right on the bird's tail. I moved around to the other side of the furnace "hidey hole" and shone the flashlight all around the space, trying to find the bird. It obliged me by flying straight into my face.


Needless to say, the bird got away again, this time streaking off toward the even-more-plentiful hiding places afforded by my office/guestroom, and straight into a nice, cluttered closet. By now I was pissed, and after trying to poke it out with a flyswatter (no, I did not swat it), I smacked a chair with the flyswatter and blued the air with curses. Minnie doesn't see Mom angry that often, but when she does, she very wisely skedaddles. I dove into the closet and started flinging crap out of it left and right--boxes, bubble wrap, a roll of brown paper, an exercise mat, stray chunks of cardboard, etc. Finally, I got all the junk out, spied the bird trying to burrow into a corner, and found a small box to drop over it. I slid the business end of the flyswatter under the box to trap the bird in there, and speed-walked to the back door to set it free. It flew away from me quick enough, so its wings weren't injured by the ordeal--but the stupid thing landed in the yard, which is probably where Minnie grabbed it in the first place! Whatever--Minnie was inside, her erstwhile prey was safe, and my house was once again bird-free.

I'm not sure what my furry little twit did for the next several minutes because I was busy getting my breath back. Half an hour I chased Minnie and the bird. And I still had to finish mowing. Good grief....

Must remember to always, ALWAYS check Minnie's mouth before letting her into the house!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Minnie & Mickey

Ladies first, of course. This funny computer-generated icon is from a Facebook game called Yacht (based on Yahtzee). Minnie looks quite the old salt, doesn't she? LOL!

The pic at right is of Mickey, my newest feral, leaving the food station this morning. He was skinny as a rail when he first showed up, but I think he's starting to fill out a little. He's a dilute orange tabby with white feet. Leo apparently hates his guts--he starts that weird guttural chattering of his every time poor Mickey shows up when Leo's home. No wonder Mickey's so thin and skittish! Good thing Leo was absent at this particular time or Mickey wouldn't have gotten a single bite.

That's Minnie in the foreground, of course, keeping an eye on the interloper. And, no, they're not boyfriend-girlfriend cartoon mice.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Mirror Minnie

"Mirror, mirror, on the wall..."
"Who's the biggest goober of all?"
Minnie likes this spot on the dresser. There's plenty of room to stretch out, and she always gets a primo cat-massage here before bed...or any other time she wants it.  :)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

"Crown me!"

I am the Queen of Crowns. I already have four, and now, thanks to another broken tooth, I get to buy another (with money I don't have, as usual). I swear, all I was doing was chewing a piece of gum when it suddently went CRUNCH! Gum doesn't generally do that. Sure enough, out came several pieces of tooth and ancient filling. Joy. And, of course, it's a top tooth, toward the back, so I get to spend an hour or so basically standing on my head in the dentist's chair. I'm just glad it doesn't hurt, because my dentist appointment isn't 'til Monday.

This'll be the first dental procedure I've had since the Meniere's started up. Hopefully, I won't have a fit of vertigo in the dentist's office.

And, yeah, I might be able to chalk up this little incident to tooth-grinding from stress.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Toward a cat-filled Internet....

Don't hate me because I'm beautiful.

Just shower me with treats.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Phew! Heading down again

The needle on the scale is finally heading back in the right direction--down. I'm back to 15 lbs. down from my starting point. Twenty-five to go! :)

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Elegant new visitor

This beautiful Siamese cat turned up in my backyard yesterday morning and again today; I hadn't seen him (or her) before that. (Pardon the dirty window I shot through; didn't want to alarm the cat by cleaning it first.) Absolutely gorgeous creature--surely he/she belongs to someone. But he stopped for a meal in my food shelter, anyway, and was quite welcome to it. Well, I didn't mind a new visitor, but Leo wasn't too pleased about it. You can see his fat tail below as he stalked after the departing Siamese (it was quite a bit fatter earlier!).

And because it's been so long since I put up a picture of Minnie, here she is tucked into one of her favorite hang-outs, a tiny space in my bedroom closet between a small chest of drawers and the heat pump. I think she likes that spot for the gentle draft of air over her fur when the AC's running.

Minnie needs a Siamese pal, doesn't she? Wish I could talk Miss One-Cat-Per-Household into it....

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Citizenship: Beating a Dead Horse

In the backward burg I presently call home (aka "Conservatives-R-Us so don't you dare disagree or we'll shoot you with our Constitutional right to bear arms"), our congressman recently held a Town Hall meeting, and some nitwit brought up--yet again--the question of President Obama’s citizenship...about which, by the way, there is no question. Here are the facts:
  • Barack Obama was born August 4, 1961, in Honolulu, Hawaii. Hawaii became a state August 21, 1959, nearly two full years earlier.

  • He was born on American soil, so he's an American.

  • If that's not enough, his mother was also a natural-born American.

  • His father was from Kenya, and under Kenyan law, that gave Barack, his son, Kenyan citizenship, as well, which meant he had dual citizenship as a child.

  • This dual citizenship lasted only until young Barack's 21st birthday. Kenya recognizes dual citizenship for children, but Kenya's Constitution specifies that at age 21, Kenyan citizens who possess citizenship in more than one country automatically lose their Kenyan citizenship unless they formally renounce any non-Kenyan citizenship and swear an oath of allegiance to Kenya.

  • Obama neither renounced his U.S. citizenship nor swore an oath of allegiance to Kenya; therefore, his Kenyan citizenship automatically expired on August 4, 1982.

  • President Obama IS a natural-born citizen of the United States--a citizen of ONLY the United States--whether some folks like it or not.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Informal mousie poll

Minnie is partial to pink mice--I have no idea why. Cats don't see color--or, at any rate, they don't see the full range of colors. I think scientists are saying now that they see a sort of green-blue world. Anyway, they don't see pink. So why favor pink toys? Maybe the dye smells particularly delicious. any of your kitties have a favorite color?

Saturday, August 22, 2009

I'm still working off my overtime from staying home to supervise the bathroom remodel, and working six days a week has long since passed the point of Major Suckage. I've sorta lost track, but I think I have to keep this up through the second weekend in September, depending on how often I have to mow the lawn between now and then (because, see, I take mowing as an excuse not to work at the office, onnaccounta I have to sweat like a pig for hours in my yard in the heat instead). Anyway, when I'm not working at the office, I'm rushing through a regular weekend's chores in one day, so whenever I get any downtime, I collapse on the couch with TV and crossword puzzles. FORGET having any other sort of life. I'm grateful my cat still remembers who I am.

On the other hand, I have managed to find time to become a little bit hooked on Facebook and its dadgum FarmTown game. I spend half my lunchtime now checking on my virtual crops and working at other people's farms. I study the store's seed prices versus maturation rates for the best return. I've set aside a section of my "acreage" for the little house I'll be able to buy someday (with virtual coins, not real ones!). It's completely ridiculous. I resisted invitations to play at first because it seemed like an enormous time sink, all that plowing & planting & harvesting & whatnot...but it isn't that bad, really. And it's kinda fun.

And at least I don't hafta get sweaty.  :D

Friday, August 14, 2009

Once-yearly naughtiness

Oh, the diet fell down and went boom yesterday--I treated myself to loads of shrimp scampi and angel hair pasta at my favorite Italian restaurant. Wow, I'm not used to eating like that anymore--I feel like my stomach is still working on getting it all digested! But it sure was gooooooood.  :)  So I've decided that I can have shrimp (which are basically little cholesterol bombs) once a year on my birthday. Which I did. I might add another occasion later, if I can think of something special enough.

But I think I'll be cooking my own shrimp & pasta at home next time. My version is much simpler and lighter...and, of course, comes in reasonably small portions for which I don't have to pay a small fortune.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

"Welcome to my nightmare..."

Recumbent exercise bike
Originally uploaded by lasmyth
OK, not really, although this thing does make me work, and from all the huffing & puffing I do after a session, you'd think it was killing me. It's a recumbent exercise bike (as opposed to a regular upright bike) which allows me to pedal away without putting strain on my back or knees. This is my latest "weapon" in the Fight Against Flab. Note the stylish brown-paper-and-masking-tape accessorizing. That's to keep Minnie from chewing on the wires that control the computer, which controls the variations in intensity (how hard it is to pedal) during the exercise programs. That'll do until I can get some tough plastic cord covers. This is the first exercise machine I've had where the computer is actually integral to the machine's function (usually, they're just cheap bits of crap that stop working after two weeks and you don't really care because they didn't add much in the first place).

I'm also getting my diet back on track. It sorta went to hell during the remodeling, so I have bad habits to break again.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Well, nuts...

I've gained back 4 of the 16 pounds I lost--way too many Dr Peppers and not enough exercise lately, no doubt. Now that all the remodeling work is done, I guess I'd better go back to exercising. Jeez, I hate exercising--it's so BORRRRING, all that pointless, going-nowhere movement. But I guess it isn't really pointless, and if you want to think of it as going somewhere, you could say you're moving toward a healthier "you".

Still. Hmpf.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Another hybrid in the fold EEvil plan is working--another hybrid just appeared on our office parking lot! Yesterday, one of my coworkers bought a shiny new silver 2010 Toyota Prius and I got to see it today. He said, "It's the weirdest thing I've ever driven," but he likes it big-time. Of course!

Friday, July 24, 2009

One more bathroom pic

Sister A. made this nice sheer ecru shower curtain for me with a fancy checkerboard-pattern border at the top which echoes my glass tiles. I put a thin ecru liner behind it, which really enhances the color (and, of course, keeps the shower water in the tub). I likes it.  :)

One of my workmates, upon learning that my cat's name is Minnie, just asked where Mickey is (har har). You'd think one of the many ferals to pass through my yard since Minnie became my housemate would have wound up with that name--but, nope! Well, I've got a skinny "blond" feral now for whom I've been trying to think of a name. So he's Mickey now.

BTW, Minnie acquired her name because she looked like a miniature Maine Coon. Turned out she was just slinking around with her belly low to the ground before she became confident of her safety in my yard. But her name suits her.

Foggy Friday

It was actually sunnier than this photo shows, but I was shooting straight into the sun and my camera's just a lil ol' point-&-shoot. (Click photo to biggify.) This is the Ranching Heritage Center next door to my office parking lot. I love fog....

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Post-remodel rest

Even though work drives me nuts sometimes (especially while I'm struggling to catch up after three weeks off to supervise remodeling), and despite the fact that my back has been a pain for several days, this week has been an oasis of rest. I'm even almost looking forward to working Saturdays for the next month and a half to make up for all the time I was out (almost--not quite). On the other hand, if I'm not going to be slaving over a hot bathroom anymore, I guess I'd better start exercising again instead of lazing on the couch with TV and crossword puzzles. But not right now--next week is good.  :)

Leo certainly got his exercise this morning. He caught and dispatched a mouse somewhere and had a ball tossing it around for quite a while before finally settling down to snack on it. And to think I used to get in trouble for playing with my food....

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Before and after

Here are the final photos of my finished bathroom. I thought a little "before and after" comparison would be fun. The difference between them is staggering....

There were some boo-boos, of course--the shower head and water handle line up with each other, but they don't exactly line up over the faucet and overflow plate in the tub--they're a bit far to the right. By the time I noticed that, it was too late to fix it, but it's fine--I'm pretty sure Martha Stewart won't come "git me" because of it. And in my rush to get the trim painted, I completely forgot to sand the rough edges of the new wood--oops! I'll take care of that someday (maybe). Also, I haven't put the robe hooks up on the back of the door yet, but I'll get to it soon. Just not today, onaccounta my back totally gave up on me as soon as I got home from running errands this morning. Owwww....

Saturday, July 11, 2009

End of project--for real

Oh, man, I am so glad to see the end of this remodeling project. And I'm delighted with how my bathroom turned out, now that everything is painted and cleaned up. I'm even pleased with the additional window frosting--Stella the Stand-in tested it for me after dark and found it perfect.  :)

Pix tomorrow--I'm too pooped to pop tonight.

Friday, July 10, 2009

One more day...

Tomorrow should--no, WILL--be the last day I have to work on my bathroom. I'll paint the door and one little bobble on the side of the vanity, and spray-frost the edges and sides of the window a bit more (where the frost is a bit thin for me), and that will be IT. A little cleaning, then I can totally relax, at least where the bathroom is concerned. I'm so glad, too, because my back and knees are really tired of all this climbing & standing & bending over & squatting to paint.  :P

Minnie is sure having fun with the new sink. I've gone into the bathroom in the morning and she'll already be sitting in the sink, cat-loaf style, with only her eyes and ears poking up over the edge, like some furry Kilroy. It's so funny!

I've needed that funny, too--this has been a fractured, chaotic, stressful week, for some reason. Misalignment of stars, no doubt....

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Painting is done (for now)

All the trim painting is done, hallelujah! Boy, am I wrecked--two and a half days of painting will do that to ya. During this phase of remodeling work, I learned that blue painter's tape will, indeed, pull latex paint off the walls--not everywhere, but enough to keep you dabbing spots with a tiny brush well after the main job of painting is done. Apparently, even a week isn't long enough to ensure that the paint won't come off if you have to tape over it. Most annoying.

I still need to paint the outside of the door and the trim around it, but I've got to do first-of-the-month and regular weekend stuff with the remainder of this day, so door-painting will have to wait until next weekend. A little rest would be nice, too. And a SHOWER.  :P

Friday, July 3, 2009

Busy three-day weekend

If it's possible for a cat to meow incredulously, Minnie did this morning. She woke up from her morning nap, came into the bathroom to see what Mom was up to (and maybe cadge a drink of water from the spiffy new faucet), and uttered a loud, prolonged mmrrraaaoowwww! that sounded like it might translate thusly:

"MOM, what the heck is this?? More blue tape? More stinky smells?? Didn't you finish with this already? When are you going to quit messing with stuff in here and get back to our proper routine???"

Sorry, pussycat--the work is still in progress. I did take several evenings' rest during my first work-week back on the job, but it was back to the fixer-upper today. This weekend's project: putty and sand the last few holes, tape everything off, paint behind the toilet with a very loooooong-handled roller brush (which worked great, Sister D.!), do other touch-up painting here & there, and, finally, paint all the trim, three coats, starting with primer. Working all day, with a longish lunch break, I got through the primer stage. Ye gods, am I tired now! I also went back to my second home (Home Depot) and got more handy-dandy little foam brushes, foam roller brush heads (love those things!), a garden hose (the contractor somehow crushed the nozzle on my old one), and a new color of paint for the outside of the bathroom door. That last thing, of course, started something.

The trim throughout my house is a sort of terracotta color, a bit on the dusty-pink side, which I don't really care for anymore, and which really doesn't go very well with my new bathroom tile. I compared my paint chips and tile with several Behr alternatives and chose Sunset Beige instead (go to and use their Virtual Color Center to see a sample). That'll go on the outside of the door (Cotton Fluff, the trim color, will go on the inside). Well, you know what happens if I change the color on the outside of the door--eventually, I'll have to repaint all the trim throughout the house. So I got a big ol' can of Sunset Beige and will paint trim elsewhere in the house whenever the spirit moves me. :)

Gotta finish the bathroom first, of course.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

OK, fine....

Sister A. swears the window frosting is fine, that I won't be visible to anybody walking by casually. I must admit, I got right up on the window sill outside to peer in at Stella the Stand-in. So I'll quit kvetching.

Today has been cloudy, rainy, mostly quiet...perfect for dozing off on the couch with a kitty, which is what I did for a couple of hours instead of working. Oh well, I needed the break. I did get some cleaning done in my wreck of a kitchen and sealed the grout on the bathroom floor. I'll probably do some more grout-sealing in the shower/tub area this evening, just so I'll feel virtuous about my progress.  :)

Friday, June 26, 2009

Meet Stella the Stand-in

Sexy, huh? And I bet you thought I was joking about putting up a naked-lady picture in the window to test the opacity of the spray-on frost. Good thing I did, because the spray stuff doesn't quite work. It seemed all right at first, but when I went back inside to take down the masking and clean up, there was all this loose powder on the window. That would have come down the minute any shower water hit it, so I brushed it off carefully, then set up Stella again and went outside for another look. Most of the lines of her figure were still obscured, but I could definitely see her "Delta of Venus". Not good.

So I need another solution. I tried the adhere-by-static window film before this, actually--trying to avoid having to use this messy spray--but it didn't work. I might be able to use the self-adhesive, Contact-type window film that I bought for the dumb little window in the door of my office (jeez, can't a person go unobserved even at lunch??); it works fine for my office, but I'm not sure if it would work for a bathroom. Will have to research this. In the meantime, I'm showering only when it's too light outside to see through the window!

Frosting on the cake

...or, rather, on the window. This photo was intended to show you a newly spray-frosted window, but that's basically showing you a blurry nothing, so instead you may admire my masking efforts. It took two cans of Rustoleum spray-frost, but I think I got the window opaque enough for my modesty. After dark, I'll hang a big drawing of a naked lady in the shower and go outside to see if I get a peep show.  :D

Sure hope that stuff doesn't come off in mid-shower. I'd much rather have bought a window with factory-etched glass, but I didn't have time--the leaks that I thought were caused by bathroom-related piping shoved my remodeling timeline way up and I had to make do with an in-stock window and do my own "etching".

So that was my morning project. My afternoon and evening project is to CLEAN UP!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Day 14: And we're DONE!

Well, the contractor is done with his part, anyway--I still have painting and window-frosting and grout-sealing and a massive house-cleaning to do, but there'll be no more workmen occupying my days! Everything's built that should be, and all the leaks are stopped (rubbing lucky kitty feet that they stay that way). And I'm so tired, I can't see straight. I'm going to shower and crash early tonight so I can start fresh on the cleaning tomorrow morning. Painting will be done on successive weekends. Pix of the day's progress are up on Flickr. The photo here is of one corner of the glass tile he put up along the top of the other tile on the window-wall; it shows his stairstep design. I forgot to take a picture of that yesterday. Ignore all the tile-settin' goop, that's all been cleaned up and grouted over now.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Day 13: Ceiling fans and more glass tiles

My contractor had hoped to finish today (me, too), but he arrived late, so he'll be back tomorrow--early, so he doesn't get roped into other business first. But he did get this lovely crowning strip of glass tiles put up:

It really finishes off the shower/tub area nicely.  :)  Pix of other work are up at Flickr, as usual.

He also put up the new ceiling fans in the living room and bedroom, replacing fans that had died years ago and I never got around to fixing them (round tuits being rather thin on the ground). And he started fixing the door to hang from the opposite side. I'm going to Home Depot, my second home, this evening for hinges and other let's-get-it-finished little stuff.

The glass tiles are freshly up and will be grouted tomorrow, so I have to put off frosting the window another day or two. No biggie--I'll just keep taping trash bags over the window when I take a shower.  :)

Now for the bad news: my AC developed leaks again and the plumber is coming to yank the coil unit (or whatever it's called) to clean it thoroughly tomorrow morning. Here's hoping nothing else goes wrong with it and we get the AC back the same day.

Wordless Wednesday: Teh floof--I haz it.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Day 12: Separate efforts toward a common goal

My contractor decided to cut the shelves and build the water heater closet door (made to look like two or three cabinet doors) at his place today. Meanwhile, at my place, I painted the outside window trim and, between coats, cleaned the bathroom minutely: went over all the tile looking for misplaced grout blobs to remove, checked the fixtures, vanity, and sink for similarly wayward substances, chipped about 30 years worth of petrified caulk off one edge of the tub (the tiled wall sits back an inch from where the ugly old masonite wall was), and cleaned the rest of the old appliqué gunk off the tub floor (along with blobs of grout, paint, and general crud). I also made a quick trip to Home Depot for stuff to put up the shelves in the medicine cabinet and put all the knobs and the drawer pull in their respective spots. Getting that old caulk off occupied at least half of my workday, but I finally got it all, and exercised the old abs as a bonus.  :D

Next step: frosting the window. But that'll wait until tomorrow, after the contractor has finished all his final tasks.

On the kitty front, Minnie's presents arrived today: two new cat trees (well, one tree and one perch) from Feline Fanatics. They both go in the bedroom between the tall dresser and a window. The perch replaces a cardboard box that has been serving in that capacity for about three years (such elegance, I know--how could I bear to part with it?). I got the tree to allow Minnie easy access to the top of the chest of drawers--she loves high places. She's already put her mark on both trees, scratching enthusiastically. Here are some pix of Her Cuteness enjoying her new trees.

"Whoa, coolness!"

"It's MY tree! MINE!"

Minnie digs into the new tree.

She also likes the perch--hopped right up on it as soon as I got it out of the box. I just didn't have my camera handy.  :)