7/31/09 – Friday

So, it being the last of the month, did anyone notice that the banner at the top of the page has changed throughout the month? (Thanks again, Jean!) There’ll be a new banner up over the weekend (Aly, I’m using the one you sent me back in June!), but if anyone is feeling creative and … Continue reading “7/31/09 – Friday”

So, it being the last of the month, did anyone notice that the banner at the top of the page has changed throughout the month?

(Thanks again, Jean!)

There’ll be a new banner up over the weekend (Aly, I’m using the one you sent me back in June!), but if anyone is feeling creative and wants to send me one for future use, feel free to!

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Yesterday morning, I went out to the garden. Fred’s been complaining for some time that he can’t even walk between the two rows of tomatoes, and Wednesday morning he outright asked if I’d get off my lazy ass and get out there and prune the tomato plants (well, not in so many words, but he got the point across). I told him I would, so yesterday morning I rubbed a Bounce fabric softener sheet over my arms and legs (to repel mosquitoes – and it worked GREAT, I didn’t get bitten one single time!) and headed out there.

At the beginning of every summer, it’s my intent to keep a close eye on the weeds, to work in the garden for some time every morning and help keep it under control. That usually lasts about three days before I hit the “fuck it” wall, and stop going out there.

(Weeding is BO-RING.)

So yesterday morning, I went out there, and I carefully stood back from each tomato plant, and I regarded it closely before carefully pruning what needed to be pruned.

That lasted about ten minutes. Then I started just randomly hacking at the plants, and an hour and a half later, I’d made multiple trips to the mulch pile (where I was stacking the tomato vines I’d pruned away), gotten a bushel full of decent green tomatoes (the cracked and split tomatoes I tossed to the chickens and pigs, and then onto the mulch pile because there were a LOT of fucking cracked and split tomatoes), and it was possible to move between the two rows of tomatoes. I knocked a shit ton of cherry tomatoes onto the ground between the two rows, and I have to say that stepping on green cherry tomatoes feels kind of like stepping on bubble wrap – you get that same cool popping sensation under your feet.

(Really, I should have taken before and after pictures, because the difference is amazing. Didn’t think of it, though!)

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Fred had to take Sugarbutt and Maxi to the vet yesterday. Someone’s been leaving blood-covered poops in the litter box, and it wasn’t until yesterday morning that Fred discovered Sugarbutt was the culprit. And Wednesday night I’d been petting Maxi and realized she had a nasty-feeling spot on the top of her head. She didn’t like having it touched, and when we looked at her straight-on, we could see that the area around one of her eyes was swollen.

It’s her M.O. to come inside in the morning to get something to eat, then disappear for the day. She disappeared yesterday morning, and then I got nervous that she wouldn’t come around again in time to go to the vet, so I’d periodically go outside and call for her. She didn’t show up and didn’t show up, then about 20 minutes before Fred got home from work, I went into the back yard to brush Tommy (he hates the Furminator, but I can usually get a good swipe or two in before he grabs my arm and sinks his claws in (as long as I don’t pull away, I don’t get injured, and he lets go pretty quickly)), and Maxi was hanging out right outside the fence. I coaxed her into the yard and brushed her, and she put up with quite a lot of brushing with the Furminator before she ran off and rolled around in the grass.

I carried her inside and shut the door so she couldn’t disappear again, and she seemed to think there was nothing strange about that – she ate, then went and sat patiently by the door for me to let her out.

Fred arrived home, boxed up Maxi and Sugarbutt, and headed off to the vet (I stayed home and fed the pigs, which is usually what he does when he gets home from work).

An hour later he came home. Sugarbutt’s fine, just needs antibiotics – go figure, since I’d already decided he had cancer and was going to spend the next several months wasting away.

Maxi, on the other hand, had a raging abscess on top of her head. Fred said that when the vet started shaving her head, pus started coming out of the abscess, and kept coming and kept coming. We theorize that she got into a tussle with another animal, and it got her on top of the head and near her eye. We have to give her antibiotics twice a day, put ointment in the hole on her head twice a day, and put some stuff in her eye two or three times a day.

She was so freaked out by the whole vet thing that she peed in her carrier several times on the way home.

Poor Maxi.

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Last Thursday, I downloaded the second season of Gossip Girl from iTunes so that I’d have something to keep me entertained on the trip to and from Pennsylvania. I paid for it with my debit card.

(Aside: Is it just me, or could Serena and Nate practically be twins? Sleeping together was pure narcissism on their part.)

Over the weekend, Fred bought a new driveway alarm from Amazon and used a Bank of America card to pay for it.

Tuesday morning, when I checked my email before we left for the airport, I had an email from Bank of America, saying that there was potentially fraudulent activity on the card, and Fred needed to log on to the website. I forwarded the email to him and asked him to see what was going on. When I landed in Detroit, I had a text message from him, telling me that the charges were from iTunes, and had I used the BoA card to pay for iTunes purchases?

I had not, so I texted him back “Absolutely not.”

Turns out those several iTunes charges had been made from another country, in foreign funds. Fred notified the BoA people, who shut down the account and are sending us new cards.

Wednesday and Thursday morning and afternoon, we got automated calls from BoA, attempting to locate Fred and alert him to the fraudulent activity. At the end of the call, after they’ve given the number for Fred to call ASAP, they say “If you’ve already logged onto the web site or talked to customer service, please disregard this call.”

How about “If you’ve already dealt with this shit, hit “8”, and we’ll stop harassing you”? How about that, Bank of America?

I’m not really complaining, though – I suppose I’d rather be alerted too many times as opposed to not at all.

I just think it’s weird that I downloaded stuff from iTunes, and then a few days later fraudulent charges were attempted at iTunes, using a card I have never used there. What are the chances?

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Do you prefer the food in Maine – restaurants and stuff – to the food in Alabama?

There are certain foods – lobster, whoopie pies, Italians from the Kitty Korner – that I like a lot and have to have every time I visit Maine, but for the most part I find that most of the food I eat in both places is pretty similar. Plus, I can always get lobster and whoopie pies if I miss them that much. (Not the Italians from the Kitty Korner, though. Those are a Maine-only thing!)

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I love Nance’s kittehs. How do you not abduct them when you leave? Julie and Waldo anyway. Ungrateful Maddy would have to come around to you a bit more!

Oh, are you kidding? Julie would DIE without her DADDY. Our assholes would pick on Waldo. And Maxi, Kara, and Stinkerbelle provide plenty of evil – if we added Maddy to the house, I’m pretty sure it would burn down late one night, and we’d all perish in the flames o’ hatred.

(Did I mention that Maddy allowed me to pet her, though? Could have knocked me over with a feather!)

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I don’t receive the notifies anymore… Any idea why?

I responded to Stephanie directly on this, but I’m posting the question just to say that I don’t really mess with the notify lists, so if you suddenly stop receiving your notify email, it’s probably either bouncing or going into your spam folder. If neither of those is what’s going on, then I just don’t know. Sometimes unsubscribing and resubscribing can make it work again (kind of like pounding on the side of the TV when it’s messing up.).

And anyone who wants to join the notify list, you can find instructions here.

Alternately, I do not gaze lovingly upon the list of subscribers to my notify list daily, I don’t get notified when someone joins, and I don’t get notified if someone leaves. I really have no idea who’s subscribed to the notify list and who isn’t, so you’ll never receive an email from me asking why the hell you’re not on the notify list. If you’re receiving a notify and it’s become a pain in the ass to you, go ahead and unsubscribe. You won’t hurt my feelings, I promise!

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Did you think to buy some Trader Joe snacks to take home to Fred? I’m thinking he’d like the Snap pea crisps. Just wondering if you bring him a care package after your trips. 🙂

I did not buy any Trader Joe snacks to bring home, because there’s a Trader Joe up near Nashville that I keep intending to drive to, just haven’t gotten around to it. (Also, I only brought one small suitcase with me and didn’t have room to stuff bags of snacks in there.) I don’t generally bring home anything for Fred from my trips unless I stumble across something (usually a t-shirt) that I think he’ll really like; I didn’t this time around.

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Completely off topic but couldn’t help think of you when I got my latest cross stitch catalog. Do you get the Stitchery catalog? I thought you needed the Picasso rooster. T63-752 I saw a million kitty ones too I would get you if I had extra money floating around.

I don’t get the Stitchery catalog anymore because I haven’t ordered from there in a long time. I do still have some of their old catalogs laying around with about a billion pages dogeared to mark the patterns I love, though! I’m currently in a downswing as far as the cross stitching goes – I stopped about halfway through a picture I was working on, and haven’t had the get up and go to pick it up again, even though it’s sitting on the couch glaring at me every night.

(That said, I really like this one and this one and this one… So many cross stitches, so little time and motivation!)

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Have you seen Drop Dead Diva on Lifetime? I planned on hating it due to the conceit that anyone who woke up in a chubby body would be horrified even though the body belongs to a funny, talented and smart person. But dang it I like this show.

I have not. What’s the consensus, everyone? Do I want to give it a try? I taped More to Love this week, but haven’t watched it yet and am not sure whether I want to.

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I’m slightly disturbed by the fact that you hadn’t had a chili dog prior to turning 40. Also – you bought tiny plates and don’t know what to do with them? Hello?! Tiny kitty mouths to feed.

Yeah, Fred’s weirded out by the fact that I’d never had a chili dog before. To be fair, I didn’t even know I liked chili ’til I moved to Alabama, so I never would have even thought to give a chili dog a try before!

And the tiny kitty mouths have 10,000 plates to eat from already.

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That looks like you all had enormous fun. Poor old Fred, left at home to mind the menagerie!

Oh, please. Don’t cry for him, Argentina. He’d be miserable if I made him leave the farm for longer than a few hours!

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I am so jealous of how perfectly Nance rocked that hat! That is not any easy style to wear-I used to be a major hat person and could never pull that off. How does Nance eat the stuff she does and stay so thin? You would NEVER know she was ever heavy if someone didn’t tell you.

Doesn’t that hat look perfect on her? She actually tried on another hat that looked even better, but the picture came out blurry.

As far as how she stays so thin – she really doesn’t eat that crap all the time. We just eat a lot of junk when we’re together, because we let our inner fat chicks out to play. 🙂

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“Did not enjoy the trip to the vet, THANK YOU.”

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2008: Getting the crap ball rolling, so to speak.
2007: Pictures from around Crooked Acres.
2006: But I’ve been secretly calling it hepatootis to myself.
2005: No entry.
2004: Hawaii recap.
2003: No entry.
2002: Around the neighborhood.
2000: All hail Dumbass Bitchypoo.

7/30/09 – Thursday

There’s a new Simon’s Cat! * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *   So, I am home again – I didn’t post yesterday because I had to whip this house back into shape (I did … Continue reading “7/30/09 – Thursday”

There’s a new Simon’s Cat!

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So, I am home again – I didn’t post yesterday because I had to whip this house back into shape (I did some housework on Tuesday, but since I was running on, literally, two and a half hours of sleep, I spent most of the afternoon napping). It’s amazing how much work needs to be done after only four days away.

When we got to the airport (AHEM, SLOWPOKE NANCE) Tuesday morning, the security line was very very long, and it made me nervous. Then I tried to use the kiosk to get my tickets, but when I punched in that I was flying via Delta (which is what my itinerary was showing me), it kept saying that another airline was handling the flight. I was all “What the fuck?”, until an agent wandered by, and I grabbed him and threw myself upon his mercy and he was all “Dumbass, you’re flying NorthWest.” DIDN’T SAY THAT ON MY ITINERARY, FUCKERS.

So I got my ticket and then went to stand in line to turn over my luggage, and I was four or five people back in line when they called my name and destination, and I reacted by bellowing “HERE!” and waving my arms. Which is when the ticket agent looked over and told me to go OVER to where they were calling my name.


Then Nance and Rick hung with me while I stood in the security line (which was moving a lot faster than I’d expected) until they could go no further, and I got my hugs (Nance hugged me. I about fell over from the shock; Nance is not a hugger, as she’ll tell you herself!) and went through security lickety-split. The security agent barely even glanced at me as I walked through the metal detector. I found my gate, got some breakfast, and pretty soon boarded the plane.

The rest of the trip went smoothly except for the part where we boarded the plane in Detroit, they shut the door, and then we sat there for twenty minutes waiting to push back from the gate. Turned out, they’d had maintenance come in and fix a microphone, then needed to wait for the okay from Memphis (where the plane operates out of? I guess?) to leave. Which took multiple faxing of the paperwork by the pilot or the gate agent.

(It blows me away that they had to FAX PAPERWORK before they could get the okay. What fucking century is this??)

On the flight to Huntsville, I was lucky enough to have an empty seat beside me so I stretched out and watched Gossip Girl on my iPod, and just basically chilled (literally, because it was motherfucking COLD on that plane).

So, it’s good to be home, of course. I had a great time in Pennsylvania, though, and I have to say that Nance, Rick, Shirley, and Trey really know how to treat a guest. I got home and was like “What? You mean I can’t just sit on my ass on the couch and surf the web on my laptop? You want me to do WORK? No fair!”

I finally got to see Shirley in her tube top, which I didn’t even realize at first, and it was NOT the horrific sight Nance makes it out to be, I promise you.

I’ve stolen some pictures from Nance for your perusal, and you can scoot over to her site to see more pictures in this entry and this one.

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Fancy Nance, trying on hats at the antique mall.

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Nance was taking a picture of the game, and this guy was standing there, and apparently the flash was just a wee too bright for his princessy eyes. He made SUCH a big deal of how the flash had hurt his eyes, and how no one ever takes pictures in there. Total princess, this one. I’m surprised he didn’t fake a faint. We were unsympathetic.

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Trey and I after our ride on the Pitt Fall (the ride where they hike you up six miles in the air and then drop you for ten minutes). See that little girl in the tie-dyed t-shirt? She was on the ride with us (there are four seats, and with Trey and Rick and I, there was an extra seat; she was apparently going to ride by herself) and she was appalled at the fact that I screeeeeeeamed and then took a long, gasping breath and then screeeeeeamed again. I’m a very loud screamer.

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Trey and I on one of the roller coasters. I don’t know who that guy behind me was, but he was certainly giving Nance the eye.

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Rick and I went on this one. It goes upside down, but it goes upside down slowly, and then you hang there, and you’re sure you’re going to fall out, but then it goes swinging all the way over. It was awesome – my favorite ride, for sure.

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SO smug ’cause I got TWO baskets and won Shirley a Steeler’s bear (I choked on the third basket, though, damnit). Note that Trey is completely underwhelmed by my basket skillz.

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I’d like to blame Nance for getting awful pictures of me, but apparently I stand around looking like an idiot all the time. I wish I had Brittany’s skills (she’s Alex’s girlfriend) – any time a camera was pointed in her general direction, she grinned prettily. Not a bad picture was taken of her.

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Ice cream sammiches! Nance is all “Hellew, luvah.”

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Note that Rick and Trey are mildly amused, and I’m guffawing like a loon. Which I did the entire time. Poor Rick – the ride totally tossed us against him, and he got squished.

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Country bumpkin in the big city.

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Trey and I rode this one. TWICE. I do not care for the sensation of lifting up off the seat on the downhill section of this ride, thank you. In fact, I believe I bellowed “OH SHIT!” a few times. Trey totally tattled on me to Nance.

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Dorks on parade.

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“Oh, were you gone? I hadn’t noticed. Is it Snackin’! Time! yet?”

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2008: Creating a Monster.
2007: Now THAT is a signal I understand.
2006: No entry.
2005: No entry.
2004: My crap, is my scalp FRIED.
2003: I’m still thinking of killing her.
2002: Getting impatient, because Fred hadn’t carried the bag of food upstairs and poured some fresh food for his majesty, Tubby started bitching “Give me food, damnit!”
2001: “Remember when you moved that dresser? That was cool.”
2000: No entry.

7-28-09 – Tuesday

This’ll be a quick one – we’re leaving for the airport soon. I can’t believe my time in Pennsylvania is over already. The time has flown by so fast, and I’ve had a total blast! Yesterday morning we left out of here shortly after 8 (“we” being Nance, Rick, Shirley and I), ran a few … Continue reading “7-28-09 – Tuesday”

This’ll be a quick one – we’re leaving for the airport soon.

I can’t believe my time in Pennsylvania is over already. The time has flown by so fast, and I’ve had a total blast!

Yesterday morning we left out of here shortly after 8 (“we” being Nance, Rick, Shirley and I), ran a few errands, and then headed to West Virginia for the Homer Laughlin China Company, where they make the Fiesta Ware we love so much.

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We did a tour of the factory, which was very interesting (what I could hear of it, that is; it gets pretty loud in that factory), and then we got to eyeball the museum.

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If you’re interested in Fiesta Ware and within a day’s drive of Newell, WV, I think it’s worth the drive. You can get some really good seconds at an amazing price. After the tour of the factory and the eyeballing of the museum, I must have spent a good solid hour digging through stuff in the seconds room. I got a TON of stuff, but of course didn’t think to get a picture of it.

We left there and got lunch – would you believe that before yesterday, I’d never had a chili dog? It was really damn good, too.

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We went over to this HUGE antique mall, and spent a long time poking around. I ended up with a few small pieces of Fiesta Ware, and a couple of bowls to add to my Fire King collection, and I saw a creamer that was exactly like one Debbie and I used to play with when we were little.

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We left there and went to the Hall China Company, and I picked up a yellow serving bowl and some cool little plates. I don’t have any idea on earth what I’m going to do with those little plates (no picture of those either, sorry), but at $1.50 each, I couldn’t resist.

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We left there and made several more stops – I honestly don’t remember all the places we stopped. I know there was a visit to Starbucks, and we stopped and got ice cream, and a stop by a bakery. Oh, and Wal-mart, which surprisingly enough was not so different from our Wal-mart at home. Go figure.

When we got home, Nance presented me with something they’d bought for me on the sly while I wasn’t paying attention, to commemorate my visit to Pennsylvania, and I was thrilled like you wouldn’t believe.

Very me, don’t you think?

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And now I’m headed home. There might be an entry tomorrow, or there might not – there’ll definitely be something up on Thursday, though, promise.

Of course, I’ll be Twittering all the way home.

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Maddy does not approve of this “Twitter” nonsense.

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2008: Oh tomatoes, how you PISS ME OFF.
2007: No entry.
2006: Y’all are good for my yellow ego!
2005: Maine recap.
2004: Hawaii recap.
2003: Maine recap.
2002: No entry.
2001: No entry.
2000: The cats are suddenly deciding to take closed doors as a personal affront.

7/27/09 – Monday

We had waffles for breakfast, and then hit the road yesterday morning. And then I set foot in a theme park for the first time in well over 10 years. I rode a ton of scary rides, and I had a BLAST. We got to Kennywood, and it was rainy and overcast, and Rick pointed … Continue reading “7/27/09 – Monday”

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We had waffles for breakfast, and then hit the road yesterday morning.

And then I set foot in a theme park for the first time in well over 10 years. I rode a ton of scary rides, and I had a BLAST.

We got to Kennywood, and it was rainy and overcast, and Rick pointed out a roller coaster and suggested we give it a try. I shuddered like the delicate creature I am, and said “After all these years, I should start with something a little tamer…”

And then Rick and I went on this.

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You get in these seats – there’s nothing under your feet – and they hoist you way up to the top of this tower, and then you hang there for 20 seconds or so. Just as you’re starting to think “Okay, I think we’re stuck. How the hell are they going to get us down?”, they drop you.

I screamed at the top of my lungs, and then I took a gasping breath, and I screamed some more. I did a LOT of screaming yesterday, because we rode a lot of rides, and except for the carousel, they were pretty freakin’ scary. Rick and Trey and I rode a good number of the rides in that park, some of them twice.

Nance only rode the carousel – the rest of the time, she waited for us to get off rides, and snapped pictures, and carried all our shit around.

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She’s a very good pack mule (I didn’t get many pictures, because she carried my bag around most of the day, and my camera was in it).

We played games, and to Nance’s everlasting shock, I am not completely horrible when it comes to getting a basketball in a basket. I got the first basketball in, and I won a small prize. I got the second basketball in, and traded up to the medium prize. Then I choked on the third one, which is probably a good thing because Nance had to haul the medium prize (the Steeler’s bear sticking out of her KATG backpack, which I won for Shirley) around all day long.

We played other games, too, so I’m going home with a couple of small stuffed animals.

Did I mention that I had fun? Because I had a LOT of fun. The last time I remember setting foot in a theme park is when the spud was about 3 years old and I weighed over 300 pounds, and my ex-husband and I got on a roller coaster to ride it, and the bar couldn’t go down far enough because I was too fat for the ride, so I had to get off the ride with thirty zillion people watching.

Although I had no problem fitting on the rides yesterday, I was paranoid that the bars wouldn’t go down far enough. They did, though – and I didn’t have to do the Walk of Shame. THANK GOD.

Today, we’re off to the Fiesta factory to see how Fiesta Ware is made, and so that I can spend the gift certificate I got for my birthday. I know I’m a total dork, but I can’t WAIT.

(I’ve already told Nance and Rick I’m coming back next July and escorting them to Kennywood. They were thrilled, of course.)

7/26/09 – Sunday.

Yesterday, we just sat around Nance and Rick’s and shot the shit (also, there might have been a nap or two involved), and I don’t remember the last time I laughed so hard. I’m sure everyone’s seen this video, but on the off chance you haven’t, check it out: Nance played that thing no less … Continue reading “7/26/09 – Sunday.”

Yesterday, we just sat around Nance and Rick’s and shot the shit (also, there might have been a nap or two involved), and I don’t remember the last time I laughed so hard.

I’m sure everyone’s seen this video, but on the off chance you haven’t, check it out:

Nance played that thing no less than 4 times yesterday, and I had never heard the song before, but now it’s bouncing around in my head. Nance has decreed that either Alex or Trey (or both!) must do something like that when they get married, so she can dance down the aisle.

In the evening, Alex and Brittany and Regan showed up, and I don’t remember everything we talked about (truly, we need to live-blog one of these gatherings), but I do recall a discussion wherein Shirley asked if stillborn babies are insured and they must have talked about it for twenty minutes.

And no one was even drinking!

We sat outside and took turns playing Cornhole (a game wherein you toss beanbags into a hole in a board – or at least tempt to) and I am not talented when it comes to that game BELIEVE ME. Trey kicked my ass.

They have ten million fireflies here in Pennsylvania. I thought we had a lot at home, but there must have been a million of the damn things lighting up the night. I’m jealous; I love fireflies.

We have fun, fun plans for later today – but you’ll have to wait and hear about that tomorrow!

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Julie lets her hillbilly roots show.

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Nance in her fancy new sweater. (70% off!)

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7-25-09 – Saturday

So yeah, I’m in Pennsylvania. I wasn’t really trying to pretend you guys wouldn’t know where I was going – honestly, when I travel, I go two places: Maine and Pennsylvania. I knew you guys would figure it out with no problem. Though I suppose I could have been going to BlogHer (not really my … Continue reading “7-25-09 – Saturday”

So yeah, I’m in Pennsylvania. I wasn’t really trying to pretend you guys wouldn’t know where I was going – honestly, when I travel, I go two places: Maine and Pennsylvania. I knew you guys would figure it out with no problem. Though I suppose I could have been going to BlogHer (not really my thing) or Comic Con (ditto).

My flight left Alabama at 6:15, right on time, landed in Charlotte a little early, took off from Charlotte right on time, and landed in Pittsburgh a little early. It could not have been easier OR any more different than the last time I flew. I’m always going to fly out on early morning flights from here on out, I swear it.

Nance and Rick met me at baggage claim, we got my bag, and we were on the way!

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We had lunch at Mineo’s – pepperoni pizza – and it was SO good. We checked out the sights, went over to Prantl’s to buy ladylocks, and I am ruined. I shall never eat another creme horn from the grocery store again, because it couldn’t possibly ever compare to those fabulous things.

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We walked around some more, checking out the stores. We went into Sephora, and like I told Nance as we walked out, it was like the opposite of the mothership calling me home. Sephora is not my people. We went into Williams-Sonoma, which IS my kinda store, and then we went into the Apple store, which I swear to god smelled just like new car.

2009-07-25 (2)

I SO want an iPhone, but I SO do not need one.

We stopped in a few more stores, and then went to Trader Joe’s, where I’ve never been before. I really liked it. If it’d been closer to home, I’m sure I would have stocked up on a ton of stuff!

We came back to Nance and Rick’s, and Felina and I bonded. I took a nap for a while, and then we sat around and shot the shit. Nance made dinner, wings and loaded potato skins, and I made a salad, and boy – those wings were SO FREAKIN’ GOOD. I told Nance I was going to marry those damn wings. She also made cupcakes, and they were also SO FREAKIN’ GOOD.

2009-07-25 (6)
The barking’s been at a minimum this time around – she’s even let me hold her a few times!

2009-07-25 (8)
Maddy actually APPROACHED me this time, sniffed my hand, rubbed up against me, and let me pet her! It was a little scary, actually – I was afraid she’d turn back into a demon and take my head off.

2009-07-25 (10

2009-07-25 (9)
Pretty Waldo.

2009-07-25 (11)
Julie wuvs her Daddy.

2009-07-25 (12)
Sweet Sadie.

They feed me well in Pennsylvania. And the funny thing is that I always eat a lot when I’m here, but invariably when I go home, I’ll have lost a couple of pounds. I must work off weight with all the talking. Heh.

We sat around and talked for a few more hours, then a little after 11 I was ready for bed, and I slept like a log.

You can go over to Nance’s and check out the HORRIBLE pictures she took of me. I think her camera’s broken, it only takes bad pictures of me. It couldn’t possibly be the subject. HEE.

(Actually, I really like her camera, it’s a Nikon D40. It’s simple to use, takes good pictures (except of ME), and it’s lighter than our Sony. Maybe I’ll harass Fred into letting me sell the Sony and getting a Nikon instead!)



2008: You’ve got questions, I’ve got answers.
2007: Evan Rachel Wood! You are throwing away your youth and beauty on a talentless freak! You are wasting the pretty! Stop it right now, young lady!
2006: No entry.
2005: Home again, home again.
2004: I am a SUCKAH for the bullshit claims on bottles of lotion.
2003: Momma always said, stupid is as stupid does…
2002: No entry.
2001: Oh joy.
2000: I’m such a wimp that even a confrontation on TV ties my stomach in knots.

7/24/09 – Fridayyyyyyyyy!

I’m off to SOMEWHERE SPECIAL (no, NOT BlogHer! I actually only realized yesterday that BlogHer was going on this weekend.) where I will hang out with cool people, attempt to pet animals who hate me, and I understand there will be cupcakes and mockery (always my favorite combination). WOOT. You know I’ll be updating from … Continue reading “7/24/09 – Fridayyyyyyyyy!”

I’m off to SOMEWHERE SPECIAL (no, NOT BlogHer! I actually only realized yesterday that BlogHer was going on this weekend.) where I will hang out with cool people, attempt to pet animals who hate me, and I understand there will be cupcakes and mockery (always my favorite combination). WOOT.

You know I’ll be updating from my super-secret special location. But to tide you over ’til then, I have for you your Friday Comment-Answering Extravaganza. Who loves ya???

I’ll be Twittering from the road, I’m sure. Maybe even blogging – depends on if anything interesting happens on the way!

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Go make yourself some Chocolate Zucchini Cake while you’re not doing anything. It’s reallllllly good.

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What I find most stunning about this (aside from the jaw-dropping boredom of it) is that Gwyneth Paltrow would even touch chicken.

I would have guessed for sure that she’s one of those raw food loons. Maybe she doesn’t actually eat the chicken, just taunts her husband and kids with it before she tosses it and serves them chopped lettuce and lettuce chunks wrapped up in lettuce leaves?

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I don’t always read Bitchypoo comments, so perhaps someone else mentioned this. The Animal Rescue Site is offering money to shelters this summer which can be obtained by voting. I would like to vote for your no-kill shelter, but need the name and city in order to do so. Maybe you can ask your many readers to vote too.

I had not heard of that – so how about it, you guys? Go to The Animal Rescue Site and vote for Challenger’s House, in Toney, Alabama, won’t you?

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This is not nearly so fun, but I dreamt last night that your litter bucket with the hive in it was in my apartment, and I spent most of the dream wandering around trying to figure out what to do with it. I am TERRIFIED of flying stinging things. Long story, bad experience in childhood.

When I was a kid, I was terrified of flying things – any kind of flying bug – I called them “beechies”, for some reason. As my mother tells the story, we were stationed in Indiana, and I went running out onto the front lawn and a swarm of locusts flew up into the air and I ran screaming back into the house howling “Beechies! Beechies!” at the top of my lungs.

I’m still not fond of any flying stinging bugs, but I’m more relaxed about it than I used to be – at least ’til one flies at my FACE.

Also, I’m “glad” to hear that Stinkerbelle is so mean. I have a mean cat- he’ll let me pet him, but when he’s done, he’s DONE- and will haul off and snap. Or if he’s hungry and I’m walking in the opposite direction from his food area, he’ll yowl and attack the backs of my ankles (he never attacks from the front, so I’ve been known to back warily around the house). But I love him. He’s my cat. People think I’m nuts, but there you are. I’m glad that you, the cattest person I’ve ever heard of, will still keep a meanie.

I will tell you that the only reason we adopted Stinkerbelle is because Fred loves her SO MUCH, he thinks she is SO PURTY with her big blue eyes. I can see her for what she really is, which is THE EMBODIMENT OF EVIL.

Actually, I think that she’d probably like to be a friendly lapcat, but she was so feral when she was young that she’s still got that ferality (is that a word? It is now!) ingrained in her personality and she just can’t get past it. Over the past few weeks she’s coming down from her perch atop the bookcase in the front room more and more, and in fact the last few evenings, she’s curled up on the back of the couch. Not close enough to be petted, but if you hold your hand out to her and move slowly, she’ll allow a few seconds of petting.

(But I don’t trust her at all. I pet her once or twice and then move on before she takes my hand off at the wrist.)

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Isn’t it annoying to have a cat who is mean and won’t let you pet her? I think I would resent having to feed and care for someone who gave me no affection in return. (but what do I know, I don’t have any cats!)

I try to think of her as refreshingly unneedy!

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Is Dwight still available? I believe that was the one who adored Fred. He is adorable… and orange too… and let’s not forget oh so loveable. *grin*

Dwight is NOT available – he got adopted last Friday evening. And none too soon – if he’d still been available this week, who knows what would have happened?? Creed got adopted, too, and now sweet little Phyllis is the only one left behind. I have faith that she’ll be adopted soon.

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Ah, Shortstop is a beauty. Would he be the only long haired cat at your place?

We do not have any long haired cats at present. I told Fred the other night that Shortstop is so pretty and laid-back that maybe he could be our Charlene Butterbean!

(Charlene Butterbean is the grown cat at Itty Bitty Kitty Committee headquarters who adores kittens. I want a grown cat who adores and will play with kittens, damnit!)

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That typo guy should hook up with the idiot who reads the same books I do from the library. She (yes, I *can* tell by the handwriting it’s a she) corrects the “error” and writes whole paragraphs in the margins explaining the rules. I’d love to find out who it is so I can tell her she’s a fucking idiot for not understanding that a character’s dialogue doesn’t have TO USE PROPER GRAMMAR!!!!!! ASSHOLE!

Ok, I’m ok now.

I’d totally report her to the librarians. She’s interfering with your enjoyment of the books and defacing library property, damnit!

And Leonore said:

Okay, writing in library books is completely obnoxious and yes, the book defacer does seem to miss the idea behind dialogue, or perhaps, style and diction as a literary device. Having said that, those typo hunters? They are my people! I want to join the rebellion and become a crusader for good grammar! Hell, for good proofreading! I’m so tired of “Ladie’s” rooms or seeing the emphatic quotation marks (So those “real boiled” peanuts are really fried macadamia nuts or something?), or “Ten items or less” signs. I was watching Bridezillas (what happens on bitchypoo.com stays on bitchypoo.com…)and the producers were kind enough to inform us that the week’s brow-beaten, broken groom and his controlling, manipulative bridezilla who is holding his balls had gotten “pregnat” 6 months after the episode had aired. Please!!! NO ONE CAUGHT THIS??? Sure, I can try to get through to my students and get them to correct their more egregious errors, but it’s all just a drop in the bucket. Nice to see the typo hunters fighting the good fight! 🙂

God yes, the emphatic quotation marks. My favorite, seen in a store window, being:

“Checks” are not excepted!

as seen in Gatlinburg, years ago.

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Is it wrong when Fred made mention of the potential threat of blackhead – I immediately thought of them all getting zits? And now i have to go google blackhead/chickens/turkeys to find out what the hell he’s talking about. Thanks, Fred. Ya fucker.

That’s Fred – forcing people to educate themselves against their will. 😀

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Hey Robyn…what’s the deal with tipping when you get crap service? Is that just what you do in the States? Forgive me, but we don’t usually tip here in Australia, only when the service is very good. So leaving a tip when you’re really unhappy with the service just seems counter intuitive to me. I understand that the wages of the staff are lower, and understand that their tips are supposed to make up the difference, but seriously. I just can’t tip if I’m given bad service. Am I just a bitch?

And Leonore said:

As for tipping, as a former waitress and bartender, I will tip very generously if the service warrants it, but I will also be more willing to tip a bare minimum if the service is bad for no reason. If the restaurant is slammed and the wait staff is trying not to break into a run in front of customers, then that’s one thing. But if we are one of two tables in the whole restaurant and my wait person is standing around taking up oxygen rather than, say, doing their work, then I have no reason to believe he or she deserves anything but the minimum since that is what I am getting in return from that wait person.

I believe – and y’all can correct me if I’m wrong – that tipping 10% as a bare minimum for poor service, 15% for adequate service, and 20% or above for good service is what’s widely accepted as what you’re supposed to do in the US. I know that people believe that poor service should equal no tip at all, but I’ve only once or twice left a restaurant without tipping; I just can’t bring myself to do it. I was a waitress when I was a teenager and got stiffed on the tip often enough when I KNEW the service was good that as a result I overtip.

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I love to check out garage sales, but I hate when people exaggerate the size of their sale. Multi-family! Gigantic sale! And you get there and it’s a couple of lonely tables and a sad-looking pile of clothes, manned by a woman and her elderly mother.

That drives. Me. NUTS! There should totally be a law against that. Sheriff Mama could go around and inspect yard sales and kick ass, if need be.

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Off topic question for you and your readers (if you don’t mind) – do any of you have pet insurance? What do you think about it – good to have or waste of money?

With as many cats as we have, I think we’d end up paying more for insurance than our vet bills cost us. I’ve never really read anything that has convinced me that pet insurance is worth the price.


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Never thought of dehydrated zucchini slices. Are they a little like a thick potato chip or more like the banana slices? I like sweet so I think I would like them.

They’re a bit thicker than potato chips – though I imagine you could slice them thinner and end up with dehydrated slices that are comparable to potato chips if you’d like.

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my attention span & eye for detail are very slack–so if you already talked about this, sorry. do you plant broccoli? I’ve planted it the last several years & it is awesome because it produces for a long time & even makes it through the first couple frosts.

We don’t plant broccoli, though we both like it, and when I asked my gardener why we don’t grow broccoli, he informed me that he thinks the summers get too hot to successfully grow it. Though I’m thinking that as mild as this summer has been so far, we should have given it a try!

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And you don’t need just one shelf for the kittens…you need to convert your whole house to be “cat-friendly” 🙂

In my dreams!

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The local nursery here has what I believe to be the best cherry tomatoes ever! They are called Sweet 100s and they are so tasty and sweet like the name says. Each plant makes tons of fruit… hence the name Sweet 100s.

I’ve added that to my list for next year. Have you ever tried Sungold cherry tomatoes? They are fabulous! I think ours drowned this Spring, because we’re not getting any Sungolds (or possibly the seeds we got weren’t true Sungolds), but I’m putting them at the top of the list for next year. SO good!

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Am I being dumb when I ask, how do you rehydrate zucchini? 😀

You take them to the hospital and request an IV for them, of course. 😛

Actually, you soak them in warm water for a bit. Ten minutes to half an hour so usually works for me.

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Have the cats decided who the head badass is now?

I think Sheriff Mama is the head badass for now, due to the fact that she does NOT back down. She gets RIGHT in the face of whoever’s displeasing her, and she’ll let them KNOW how it is. I don’t know that she’ll always be the head badass, things are still getting worked out, but she’s the interim badass for the time being at least.

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Do you still like/use your Roomba? Most of the online reviews show that people love them at first, but then the Roomba starts to malfunction after about a year. If you still use it, are you able to use it when you are not home or does it get hung up on objects?

I do like it, and I do still use it – I probably don’t use it as often as I did in the beginning, because the room where I use it the most is the kitchen, and that’s close to the computer room, and listening to it run and run and run annoys me. If I’m going to be in another part of the house or listening to my iPod or running out to do errands, I’ll start it up.

As long as I check the floor for cat toys (or anything that might get hung up in the Roomba) and make sure the floor is clear, I don’t have any issues. Every once in a while if I’m not paying attention, the batteries in one of the virtual walls runs low, and the Roomba gets past it the virtual wall into the rest of the house. For some reason, it tends to end up in the guest bedroom under the bed when that happens. I’m not sure why it always heads that way or why it runs out of steam under the bed. Maybe it’s hiding from me.

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how much money do you think you & Fred save on groceries every month now that you produce so much of your own food? You’ve got quite the little farm going!

I really wish I’d kept better records before, regarding how much we spent on groceries on a monthly basis. If I had to guess – and this is just a ballpark guess on my part, I have no hard facts to back up what I say – I’d guess we’re saving in the area of $150 a month. We never have to buy pork or chicken, only occasionally buy beef, and have to buy the occasional vegetable here and there. Mostly our grocery money goes towards stuff like shredded wheat, oatmeal, condiments, frozen fruit (very bad year for fruit for us, this year. Due to the rain, we ended up with no fruit from our trees at all.), cottage cheese. It’s really nice, not having to run to the grocery store and load up once a week the way we used to, that’s for sure!

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2009-07-24 (1)
Smilin’ Joe heads across the back yard to look for TROUBLE, I’m sure.

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2008: So my question to you: when the Alzheimer’s gets really bad, would it be better to feed him to the pigs or just chop his head off with the hatchet?
2007: (Yeah, yeah, har. I am HILARIOUS.)
2006: No entry.
2005: No entry.
2004: No entry.
2003: No entry.
2002: “You mean Todd Beamer wasn’t the only one on that flight?”
2001: That’s it, that’s all the Miz Poo stories I have at the moment. I hope that’ll hold you.
2000: At the end, after having achieved a size 8, Jemima porked ALL the way back up to a 10, the cow.

7/23/09 – Thursday

Milenka says: We are still stuck with our strays from November, thanks to a Michigan (US, really) recession that includes rescue groups. We have a gorgeous and friendly long-hair boy that we call EvilPants. Our 2.5 year old twin daughters call him Pants. He is so freaking friendly that I could die for him, but … Continue reading “7/23/09 – Thursday”

Milenka says:

We are still stuck with our strays from November, thanks to a Michigan (US, really) recession that includes rescue groups. We have a gorgeous and friendly long-hair boy that we call EvilPants. Our 2.5 year old twin daughters call him Pants. He is so freaking friendly that I could die for him, but he wants to play with every single cat he sees. It’s a bother, to be honest, even if my husband hadn’t essentially lost his job months ago. I have posted Pants and the other stray (known simply as Girl Cat because I told myself in early November 2008 that I wouldn’t bond and would place them quickly) at least a dozen times on craigslist, buyandsell, etc. No one even asks about them, and I cannot find a no-kill with room for them. I don’t suppose you have any Michigan readers who have room? We have a total of 11 cats, of which at least 4-6 need homes because we cannot afford to feed them and keep up with their vet care. I would rather not feed myself than send them to be euthanized, and so here were are, in a bad situation since January. So, yes, I am not ashamed to beg. Michigan Bitchypoo readers…please let me know if you have room for a cat or two! They are all sweet and wonderful, and I would be happy to supply all of the info I have as well as records and photos!

And Kristina said:

Milenka –
I am not sure of what part of MI you are from but there are a few excellent no kills in NW Ohio. I formerly volunteered for one (fostering dogs, I am allergic to cats). Maybe you have tried this already, but here is a suggestion. When contacting a shelter in your area and they say they have no room, have you offered to be the foster to the strays that you have? It doesn’t take much to register as a foster, especially if you already have the animals. I have seen this done with dogs quite frequently. The finder would sign up as foster and then bring the dog to adoption events to try to find a home for the animal. They could at least register the cats and list them to try to find them homes, which would be a load off of you. Also, the shelter (at least the 2 I am familiar with) will provide vet care and provide you with food and supplies to take the financial drain off of you. If you are close to NW Ohio or want me to help you check around for other shelters, let me know.

So if anyone in the Michigan area would like to help out, let me know and I’ll forward your email to Milenka!

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Click here and get your free book!

(Thanks, Nicole!)

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I made it to Wal-Mart before the hordes descended yesterday morning – in fact, it was pretty dead for Wal-Mart, and I got a parking space right up front. The fact that it was raining could have had something to do with it, I suppose. I got everything on my list, along with a very uncomfortable pair of sneakers, which will be going back the next time I venture that way.

I didn’t do anything noteworthy during the day, except go out and check on the turkeys, who are still babies (Fred said the other day that they probably should be in a brooder, they’re still so young, but they’re pretty happy being able to go outside. AND they’ve already learned that when they see me coming, there’s a better than average chance I’ll toss them some food. They are very fond of tomatoes.) and I was concerned that maybe they don’t know how to get out of the rain. They were huddled under the rain shelter, and I tried putting them back into the coop so they could stay dry, but they were having none of that. So I left them alone, and by the end of the day they seemed none the worse for wear.

I made a casserole for dinner last night – we got our first full-sized eggplant (Fred planted a bunch of Japanese eggplant plants this year, and I do not care for the Japanese eggplants, not because I am anti-Asian, but because the damn things are long and thin and you need 45 of them to get a decent amount of eggplant to do anything with), so I sliced it and oven-fried it. Then I browned some sausage and onion, drained and rinsed the fat off that, mixed it with Ragu, diced zucchini, and chopped cherry tomatoes. I put a layer of oven-fried eggplant, a layer of Ragu/ sausage mix, a second layer of eggplant, a second layer of Ragu/ sausage mix, and then topped it with cheese and slapped it back in the oven ’til the cheese melted. I’ve gotta say – it was pretty damn fine. Especially with a side of oven-roasted yellow squash.

I have sprouted six zits in the last 24 hours, just because. I don’t even think it’s a hormonal thing, I think it’s just a my-goddamn-skin sort of thing. The tube of Neutrogena whatever-the-fuck it is that I picked up at Wal-Mart, that SWEARS it’ll “contain” breakouts in 8 hours is doing nothing for me. Anyone out there have a foolproof way of getting rid of zits superquick? This shit’s for the birds. I AM FORTY-ONE. I SHOULD NOT HAVE TO BE WALKING AROUND LIKE AN OILY TEENAGER.

I am getting low on the anti-aging crap I use on my face, and I came thisclose to buying the Burt’s Bee’s anti-aging regimen, and then I added it up and that shit is FUCKING EXPENSIVE and I’ve used the expensive shit before and I will tell you that I have never ever noticed any difference between that and the Oil of Olay I’ve used in the past. I think maybe I should just slather my face in olive oil and call it good enough.

I bet THAT would really help the zit situation, wouldn’t it?

Last night, Fred colored my hair for me. I didn’t think it necessarily needed it – the gray was starting to show, but only a little – but I got my hair trimmed last week, and I’m trying to not let it go for too long between coloring. This time around I decided to go with L’Oreal Medium Chestnut Brown – fuck if I know what I went with last time. I think it might be a bit reddish, but not too much.

Think I’ll go stare in the mirror at my hair and my 300 zits and make faces at myself.

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2009-07-23 (1)

This little finch adores the finch sock right outside the side door. He drives Sugarbutt NUTS, and at least once a day Sugarbutt tries his very best to catch the finch, launching himself at the door. He hasn’t gotten the finch yet – but there’s always time.

Another week, it’ll be time to get out the hummingbird feeders. I hope the mild weather doesn’t mean they’ll show up later this year. I love those damn hummingbirds, and I can’t wait to subject y’all to tons of pictures of the cute little bastards.

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2009-07-23 (3)
It’s a Newt! In a box! A Newt crammed in a box – what more could you possibly ask for?

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2008: Grrrr.
2007: No entry.
2006: No entry.
2005: No entry.
2004: I really REALLY want a monkeypod tree for my back yard.
2003: Bonus entry, just for you!
2002: Sit on it.
2001: Packing, packing, packing.
2000: No entry.

7/22/09 – Wednesday

Okay, I need to run to Walmart and the grocery store, and I want to get it over with early (before the hordes descend upon Walmart), so this’ll be a quick one! Someone asked about dehydrating zucchini slices in my comments yesterday. Because I am SO VERY helpful and needed journal filler, I have for … Continue reading “7/22/09 – Wednesday”

Okay, I need to run to Walmart and the grocery store, and I want to get it over with early (before the hordes descend upon Walmart), so this’ll be a quick one!

Someone asked about dehydrating zucchini slices in my comments yesterday. Because I am SO VERY helpful and needed journal filler, I have for you a quick step-by-step instructional pictorial on the dehydrating of zucchini slices (which can also be used for yellow and pattypan squash).

1. We use a dehydrator, bought it the year before last at someone’s suggestion. It’s an Excalibur 2500 (the price has actually dropped since I bought ours). It’s super-easy to use and super-easy to clean. Ours has five trays, which is just perfect for us – there are dehydrators with more trays, but it’s rare that we get so behind that produce sits and waits to be dehydrated – probably because I freeze quite a bit of it, too. It comes with a booklet, but really all the information you need is in the handy little chart near the temperature control.

2009-07-22 (2)
(Ignore that pile of canning jars to the right. I’m using a lot more quart jars this year than pint, so the pint jars are sitting and waiting to be used.)

2009-07-22 (1)

2. Slice your zucchini approximately 1/4 inch thick. You can go thinner or a bit thicker if you want – they don’t have to be exactly 1/4 inch thick, that’s just something to shoot for. It doesn’t have to be perfect.

2009-07-22 (4)

2. Place your slices on your dehydrator trays. Now, you CAN buy sheets to put over the plastic bottom of these sheets, and they’re sized specifically to go on these trays. But all they are, these sheets, is heavy-duty parchment paper. I bought 100 of them directly from the people who make the Excalibur dehydrators, and not only are they handy to protect the bottoms of the trays if you’re dehydrating stuff that’s drippy (shredded zucchini) or sticky (cherry tomatoes). They’re reusable, and I reuse the hell out of them, but when they’re gone I’m going to most likely switch over to plain old parchment paper, cut to size. It’s cheaper.

(That said, I don’t use the protector sheets on the bottoms of these trays with zucchini or squash slices, because they’ll dry faster directly on the mesh plastic.)

ALSO, some places online will tell you to blanch your veggies before you dehydrate them. If you’d like to do that, you go right ahead. I refuse to do that because it’s a pain in the ass.

If you’re going to eat your zucchini as zucchini chips, you might want to experiment with different flavorings and spices to make things exciting. I haven’t done that because I came late to the realization that zucchini chips are yummy. Next summer, I’ll try different things – I’ll go sweet with a sprinkle of sugar and cinnamon on the slices before I dehydrate, and savory with some of the popcorn toppings Fred has bought in the past. I’m sure I’ll report how that works out for me.

3. Put your tray in the dehydrator. Turn the dehydrator on (the chart on the dehydrator tells me to dehydrate between 135 and 145, so I split the difference and turn it to 140).

4. I would tell you how long it takes to dehydrate zucchini slices, but I honestly don’t know. Usually if I put them in the dehydrator in the afternoon and leave it running overnight, they’re done when I get up the next morning.

You’ll know they’re done when they’re brittle and crispy. You don’t want them to be flexible at all, you want those things DRY. Turn the dehydrator off and let them sit for fifteen or twenty minutes. I don’t like to put them in a container while they’re warm.

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5. Store them in an airtight container. I’m using big jars because they were on hand. You can use ziplock bags, plastic containers – really, whatever you have around that’s airtight. Keep an eye on your container for the rest of the day (or the next day) and make sure there’s no condensation showing – if there’s condensation, everything didn’t get completely dry. If you catch it quickly enough, you can lay everything back out on the trays and run the dehydrator for a while longer.

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6. Bonus! Since I had a couple of larger zucchini, I shredded them to dehydrate. This winter I’ll toss them in stews or spaghetti, or rehydrate it and make zucchini bread or cake.

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And there ya go. How I dehydrate zucchini and how I store it.

Exciting, no?

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Sheriff Mama would like you to know that she’s not only a badass, she’s also beautiful.

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2008: It’s a rough life, but someone’s gotta live it.
2007: No entry.
2006: Maine facts.
2005: No entry.
2004: No entry.
2003: “Okay, first of all she wasn’t married to Frank Gifford, that was Kathie Lee, and secondly FRANK GIFFORD ISN’T DEAD!”
2002: “Hallo, Clarice,” he said.
2001: No entry.
2000: No entry.

7/21/09 – Tuesday

Just as I was afraid we were going to get overwhelmed by summer and pattypan squash, the plants started getting really buggy and unhappy looking, and mildew started spreading. Fred yanked them all up – and I took a look in the freezer to reassure myself that we have enough squash put away until next … Continue reading “7/21/09 – Tuesday”

Just as I was afraid we were going to get overwhelmed by summer and pattypan squash, the plants started getting really buggy and unhappy looking, and mildew started spreading. Fred yanked them all up – and I took a look in the freezer to reassure myself that we have enough squash put away until next year.

We do indeed.

I don’t feel like we got enough zucchini, and I prefer zucchini to yellow and pattypan squash, because I think it’s more versatile and less seedy. I’ve made a note in our half-assed gardening notebook that next year we should plant a lot more zucchini and maybe less summer and pattypan squash. Of course, last year I made a note that we should plant only one row of tomatoes, and this year we planted two rows, so god knows what’ll happen squash-wise next summer.

The tomatoes aren’t coming in nearly like I expected, despite all those damn plants. We had a very wet spring and then it got really dry, and then it rained a few days in a row, so we ended up with about twice as many split tomatoes as tomatoes we could use. The split tomatoes got chopped into quarters and tossed into a bucket, and the pigs and chickens are enjoying them. I’ve got to say that I think I really prefer cherry tomatoes to their larger brethren. They’re easier to just wash off and toss in a bowl, and I’ve been eating them every day with lunch (with little chunks of mozzarella), and just grabbing a handful of tomatoes every time I go by and snacking on them. SO GOOD.

I made a note in the notebook that next year we should have ONE row of tomatoes, and 2/3 of that row should be cherry tomatoes. We shall see about that.

The cucumbers are gone – I made a couple of batches of sweet pickle relish and some pickles (and really, how many pickles do we need? We’re not really big pickle eaters.), and then the bugs started taking over.

Fucking bugs.

We’ve still got green beans coming in, and peppers, and one of these days we’ll possibly start getting eggplant. Okra’s coming in in dribs and drabs. I wait ’til I have a good handful of okra, then cut it up, oven-fry it, and let it flash freeze and toss it in a bag. I want to get a gallon bag of oven-fried okra, and I’m only about 1/3 of the way there.

All in all, this hasn’t been the best garden year as far as everything but the squash goes. Our second planting of corn will hopefully pan out better than the first planting. And hopefully we’ll keep on getting cherry tomatoes for a good long time.

Which reminds me – I have a new discovery this year. Dehydrated zucchini slices are REALLY good. They’re a little sweet, and Fred thinks they’d be good dipped in something (bleu cheese or ranch dressing, perhaps). I got a couple of large jars full of dehydrated zucchini chips, and wish I had more. I’ll have to keep that in mind for next summer.

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It’s my goal, before the summer’s over, to get the foster kitten room whipped into shape. Now, I know the kittens don’t give a damn what the room looks like, but I do. It’s like when you have a baby – you decorate it for yourself, not really for the baby. Babies don’t give a shit whether they wear the same onesie every day and sleep in a drawer; they don’t need the $40 outfits and the $3,000 cribs, but we’re suckers, aren’t we?

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My plan is this: I’ve already got the new chair for the foster room, and that was step one (by the way, that chair? Spanky thinks it’s THE BOMB. He spends a lot of time curled in the cat bed on that chair. He’s going to be a sad boy when there are kittens in there and the door is closed.).

Next, I want to get the walls decorated. I’ve started going through pictures of the fosters we’ve had, and saving some of the best pictures to print out. Originally I was going to frame them and hang them on the wall, but the idea of trying to keep all those picture frames straight makes my eyes cross. So I bought this tacky stuff that you can afix to the back of pictures (or whatever you want to mount) and hang it directly on the wall. That was my plan until last night when Fred and I talked about it, and now I’m thinking I might just do a collage on a piece of posterboard. I want to use at least one picture of every foster we’ve had, I think that would be neat.

There are a lot of cat wall decals available on Etsy, so I think I may pick a few of those to put on the wall and see how that looks. Maybe some bird decals for up high, and/ or some mice decals to put along the baseboard.

Then I want to get some curtains up in there. Actually, I’d like to get shades hung in there (blinds are nice, but I don’t like the cats messing with the strings, I don’t want them to hurt themselves with them, and when we have blinds in there, I tend to yank them all the way up so the sun can show through. With shades, they can roll up out of the way and look okay) and then some curtains. I’m sure I could find some cute cat-themed fabric with which to make curtains. I’m not looking to make anything fancy, surely I can get something passable sewn? How hard can it be to sew a few straight seams, right?

(Don’t answer that. Let me live in my dream world.)

And then I’d like Fred to make me something like this. Wouldn’t that be neat?

So yeah, I have plans. I don’t know that they’re all going to work out the way I want, but I’m going to give it a try and we’ll see what happens.

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It still blows me away that when we first met Newt, he wouldn’t let us touch him at all. Now he’s the most relaxed, laid-back cat in the house. He loves to be petted, and he makes himself at home wherever he goes. He’s more of an inside cat than Maxi is, actually. The other cats pick on Maxi (well, to be completely truthful she’s the one that starts 9/10ths of the battles with her hissing if anyone glances in her direction), but Newt they pretty much leave alone. I guess it’s hard to pick on a cat who says “You want to kick my ass? Sure, okay. Wake me up when it’s over.”

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2008: Out of curiosity – anyone still think we won’t eat those pigs?
2007: No entry.
2006: No entry.
2005: No entry.
2004: No entry.
2003: Handwritten.
2002: No entry.
2001: No entry.
2000: Jemima J.