Saturday, December 7, 2013

Been a Long Few Months

Or almost a year.

I am horrible about this blogging thing, so early resolution - try to keep up on it.

Lately, it seems the end of 2013 has been just horrible for my friends.  Several friends have lost beloved pets, some have had issues with job or life in general, and others are sick - so sick that they can only be treated for pain.

2013 - you have three weeks left.  Let's try and be a bit nicer, lest you are forgotten quickly and quietly as the new year starts up.

Stop the antics.  You have been warned.

"Either shape up or I shall taunt you a 
second time!"

For me, the past several months have been really good and some bad.

The good and mostly awesome:

I accepted a job in Detroit, and now live in Michigan.  While I still love and miss Indianapolis, I love my job and really enjoy the area.

I have the most amazing friends who have helped me out during rough times

I have money to go and see my family at the holidays this year

Tanwen was having massive anxiety issues and I was trying my best to not give her up because she was peeing on the carpet.  After several months, I found the answer - anti-anxiety collar.  It only lasts two weeks instead of the promised 30 days, but hey, I'll take it.

Several friends had new babies this year.  I live vicariously through them.

I am cooking a lot more than I was last year.  I hope at one point soon to try making bone broth.

The needs-work-soon:

I've fallen off the weight loss bandwagon

The "well, shit.  Life does happen":

Been diagnosed with degenerative arthritis in my spine and discs.  I start PT in January, and am still trying to figure out how to use all of my personal training sessions that I've been missing as we figure out what's going on with my back - without aggravating the back.

And just for everyone who doesn't like to think on it:

Elian Gonzalez turned 20 the other day.

This is about how I felt when my friend mentioned that 
in conversation and someone else said, "Who?"

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Best laid plans..

I lied.  It's been over a week since I last posted.

I created a pizza crust that while edible, was about as tasty as some cardboard slathered with kitty litter.  You figure out how it tasted, but I assume my face was somewhat like the one below.
I'm not exactly sure what I just tasted, but I think I might need to 
wash my mouth out.  With bleach.

So, back the drawing board.  No recipes from me today.  I know you are all just crying in despair.

In other, more exciting news, I got my tax return.  When one gets a tax return, is it just me or does one tend to run around like a rabid squirrel on crack.  If you don't know what I mean, go watch a Foamy the Squirrel episode that features Pilz-E.  He's pretty much what I have in mind.

Protip:  Foamy is not for children, not for people who may be offended easily, or have no sense of humor.  Just FYI.

I did go buy a computer, and as soon as I got it home, my cats were all over it.  The box at least.  They couldn't have cared less about what was *in* the box.  Except that they were whining at me to get the computer out of it, so they could play.  

And then the little terror (henceforth named Gozer for reasons that will become clear down the line) decided that he would rather follow Tanwen around and when she sat down, sit down on her.  Because he can.  My oldest cat, Corrigan, was having none of it and perched herself high above the ruckus.  Which is good, because the ensuing mess only contained two types of cat fur, instead of three.

Vacuums hate me.

Just sayin'.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The more things change...

It's been a year since I've posted on here.  (As an edit, I just realized that this is not really a funny post.  Read the ones from last year for something with a side of snarky humor.  Or what I think passes for it - I can never tell!)

First, I don't even know how one gets followers.  I'm not exceptionally funny, or exciting, or living a life that other people want to read about.  I have friends that have exciting jobs that can come with funny quotes, or have husbands/children they can blog about endlessly.  Me?  Unless you want quips from the Technical Writer world, or pictures of cats (which, well, let's be honest, the internet was made for), there's not much here.

Unless you need something to read to fall asleep with.

I'm still working the same job that I've been doing for over a year.  Though they've changed what my job entitles.  Now it's mostly pushing electronic documents through a system.  This is my life.  (Until I can find a new job that is).

That and surfing the web for cute pictures to toss up on FB or tumblr or whatever.

There have been some changes, however, and this year I'm hoping in between the snark and the commentary, that I can put some things up of interest.

First:  In the past year, I've become gluten-intolerant.  This was discovered when my stomach started giving me the worst feedback ever (to be polite.  The non-PC way of saying this is that I could empty rooms of people with the reactions and might have at least once, but I wasn't about to ask.  Last thing you want to do in that case is raise your hand and say, "My bad...").  I eliminated a few things from my diet to see what might be causing it and lo and behold...gluten.  The interesting part about this - I had a rash that was on my chest area that we could not figure out what was causing it for the longest time.  It had been there for about two years.  Once I stopped eating gluten, it has all but vanished.  So, the current thinking is that my body had been somehow developing a reaction to it, and it started with my skin, moving onto my internal systems.

With that, I hope to post some recipes I've tried that have worked - some of these recipes are ones I found online and made some minor changes with, others are ones I've reworked because while the originals were okay, they were lacking...something.

First up, I hope to get up here in the next week is my sugar cookie recipe.

I have a bread recipe I'm going to try and play with tonight, to see if it works as well.  Here's to hoping.

Secondly, I am being more open about dealing with depression and crippling social/general anxiety issues.  Why?  Because having any type of mental illness is seen as a stigma, and it's wrong that it should be.  It's wrong that people can't get the help they need when they need it because to most people, mental illness is just something "in your head" that you "need to get over".  They do not seem to understand that with a mental issue, the brain does not work the same way.  You can't just "get over it".   Mind you, I will never have the popularity or the readership that the amazing Jenny Lawson (aka TheBloggess, and if you don't read her, you should.  Really --->  link is to the side) does, but any voice helps I think.  Even a tiny one that might be read by someone, somewhere.

(Also, I am a gamer with horrifyingly bad social issues.  Figure out THAT one and get back to me when you have an explanation because I still can't come up with one).

Third, I have cats.  There will be cat posts and cat pictures.  Deal with it.  Or not.  I may post pictures of sloths if I am so inclined.

Fourth, I may go and try speed dating or something.   If I actually get the gumption up to try this (see the above anxiety issues) there may  be stories.  Some of these may be hysterical.  Possibly.  Considering my current requirements for dating is that he has a pulse, a job, and general good hygiene  you'd think I'd have a lot of options.  Not quite that easy when you are too shy to actually TALK TO PEOPLE without thinking you just shoved your foot in your mouth and down the throat.

That might be it.  Anyway, let's see if I can get this to at least one post a week.  We will see.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

No, no, I haven't forgotten

My loyal readers (all or two of you!) - life just cut in and told me "Get off your lazy ass and try and get your act together!"

Well, I got off my lazy ass part down.  Getting the act together..maybe not so easy.

There is so much stupidity in the world that I can't even figure out the proper topic to discuss these days.  So, let me hop on the speeding train that is questions for those with children.

Now, I am not a parent.  I have plenty of friends with children.  I know what you are thinking, "That doesn't make you an expert, you twit!"

Well, no, it doesn't.  And to add to this, I never did have the "Carry this egg for 30 days and pretend it's a baby" class in school either.  I'm losing points, aren't I?

I'm going to ask questions here because I'm not in the mindset to be able to answer these, but, here goes:

Why do parents let their children throw food at another table in a restaurant and when the customer at that other table asks them politely to stop their children from doing so, the parents act as if it's all the customer's fault?   I mean, I can see it if the customer was doing something that would scare a small child trapped in a chair, like wearing a mask of a clown or Newt Gingrich, but seriously folks.  It's not that difficult to stop your little spaw---angel from tossing their half-eaten mac-n-cheese into my hair.

The neon-yellow color doesn't look good with my dark locks.  And it's hard to get out.

And on that thread, why do parents sit in restaurants and chat on cellphones while their children run around screaming? (Caveat here, sometimes work does call)  I've run into this more times than I care to count; and it's one of those issues where I'm tempted to buy something loud and obnoxious and give it to the child, so they can play with it and ruin Mommy's gossip time.   Sadly, I can't toss rocks at other patrons.  Otherwise that' be a great game:  Hit the bullseye on the back of the gossiping goose in the corner booth.

No prize, maybe some jailtime depending on how much of a storyteller you are.

Speaking of screaming children - parents, please, answer me why you let your kids run rampant through stores, malls, whatnot and when they run into someone, they don't even say "Sorry", they just glare at you as if you were in the way.  Look, I have two cats that glare at me when I'm walking through my apartment and just happen to get in the way of their crazy-time.  I run to the store/mall/car show to escape those glares because let's face it, kids and cats can both give you the glare-of-I'mPlottingYourDeath(tm).

Example one:  Angry child
Example two: Angry cat  

Now.  Look at those two facial expressions.  Tell me they aren't the exact same.  It's enough that my cats glare at me on a daily basis, I really don't want children plotting my death because I was reaching for some toilet paper while they were racing down the aisles.

And my last peeve - if you take your child into a bathroom or dressing room, teach them to NOT peer underneath the doors.  There's nothing worse than sitting there and conducting business, and having a set of wide eyes looking at you.  Suddenly you hear, "MOMMY, she's NAKED!"

And the angry gasp from the other stall/dressing room makes it feel as if it's my fault.  Look, if you don't want your children to have nightmares, don't let them do this.

It will do so much for both my sanity and the sanity of your little ones.  Because I truly care.

Otherwise, I will start handing wearing clown masks when I go to use the public toilets or dressing rooms in malls.   Now *that* would give them something to yelp about.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Belated thoughts on Halloween

When I was a kid, Halloween the anticipation for Halloween was almost as much as the anticipation for Christmas morning.  Dressing up and going out in packs of children around the neighborhood, stalking people who had the poor idea to leave porch lights on, and basically being grumbly when we'd hit the one or two people that gave us an apple or a toothbrush was just so much fun.

Seriously - did you ever hear a pack of children grumble at the same time?  It's like walking towards an ongoing avalanche.  The sound gets louder and louder, and it fills your ears.  Only by backing away or getting in a building can you shut it off.  And we as kids would all know it was coming because you'd hear the really fake-attempt at being happy, "An APPLE!  GEE THANKS MR. JOHNSON!" said in the loudest voice possible, so that kids on the other side of the neighborhood would know that Mr. Johnson was not giving away the coveted candy, he was giving away something *gasp* healthy.

And usually as suddenly as it started, the droves of children would vanish.  It would be as if someone switched all the kids to off.  Inside houses, I assume everyone had the same thing happening - children dumping out their baskets or bags, and going through what they liked versus what they'd try to pawn off on their siblings or pets.

"Peanut butter cups, keep.  Milk duds, give to cat.  Popcorn toy.  Snickers, keep.  Chocolate, keep.  Apple, give to guinea pig.  Gum, dump in sister's bag when she's not around, and swipe tiny hersey bars."

Everyone won.  Well, except that sibling that ended up with suddenly double the gum they had when it started.   And my parents when the cat barfed up half eaten milk duds.  And the guinea pig when he couldn't eat the whole apple at once before it went brown....okay, maybe just I won.  And the cat because the popcorn ball *did* make a nice toy.

Here's the thing - we all went around in groups, after dark.  Depending on the age group, there would be a parent or two there with them.  There was never a set time to trick or treat, there was never a set place or date.  It was *always* on the 31st, no matter what day of the week it fell on.  There was no "be done by X" time.  There was no driving to "better" areas to trick or treat.  We just walked around the neighborhood and hit every house we could.

Today, I get depressed when I see people try to switch the date of Halloween to a weekend night.  Or decry Halloween as a holiday for the devil, or use it to attempt to convince us we are all sinners and will all go to hell.  Or set times for trick or treating (it must start exactly at 6 pm and end exactly at 8 pm.  Period.  No exceptions...) or get angry at the guy who sets up his house and scares kids outside in the dark during trick or treat time.

Yes, we live in a world where it's 24-hour media coverage of *everything*.  Sure we had the needles in the apples stories and the poisoned candy stories, but it was just something covered in a few minutes on the news.  I'm convinced that the amount of bad incidents hasn't actually gone up over the years, it's just with the era of everything now and at the touch of a finger, and the love of people for listening to anything *bad* that does happen, it's all we ever hear about. And that leads to us being paranoid that something will happen.

As a kid, I ran around a neighborhood that was on the edge of Baltimore City.  (and not the good edge).  The only bad thing that happened was someone swiped our bikes off our porch when I was about 10.  Someone else's house was broken into when I was much younger, but we would play in the woods, run around to each others' house, and just generally be out and about.  We didn't have the 24 hour news channels telling us every bad thing that was going on.  We had an Atari 2400, a Coleco game and 4 TV channels.  (Plus the new cable).  And I'd frequently walk home in the dark, right next to woods.

I understand the need for safety, but there are times I think that the all-news-all-time reporting on the internet and cable has killed our idea of "this could be fun".

I think when I have kids, I'll still let them run around after dark in the neighborhood, and ride their bikes in the woods.

After I give them mace and a cellphone pre-programmed with 911.  Just in case.

Friday, October 28, 2011

You know you are an adult when..

You are excited about vacuums.  I will admit, I'm quite hard on vacuums.  I have two cats.  One of which sheds hair like her life depended on it, and the other, while not shedding nearly as much, has her days.

Obviously, this leads to a lot of cat hair.  A lot.  (Which is another post and another story for a later day).  And that cat hair tends to clog up vacuums, leading to very short life spans.

Also, on my end, for some reason, the vacuums seem to die odd deaths.  The last major vacuum I had, had the piece that holds the roller on somehow burn itself off.  Even the Kenmore people had no idea what happened.

So, my last vacuum died after six months - well, it is in the process of.  Every time I try to use it, there's a smoking and burning smell.  Even for me, this is way less than normal time.  Usually I get about a year or a year and a half out of them before they become recycled somewhere.

This vacuum, a brand name bagless, has me tinkering with it in many ways in an effort to get it to work again.   I did research, called the help line and they suggested it was the belt.  So I grab a new belt and get to work.  Nope, no belt.  I clean the roller brush.  I remove all parts that can be removed, clean the stupid thing and put everything back together.  (With nothing left over!)


So I call.  This is the conversation between me and the ever-so-helpful CSR rep and then her manager:

Me: Hi, I have an odd situation with my vacuum.

CSR: Of course!  How can I help you?

Me: I bought this six months ago and currently I think the motor has burnt itself out.  Which shouldn't be happening.

CSR:  You're right, that shouldn't be.  Are you sure it's not the belt?

Me:  I just checked the belt.  The roller bar.  Every piece that I could.  It's not that.  I just need to know if it's still under warranty and where I can take it to be repaired.

CSR:  Did you check the roller bar?  Sometimes hair in the roller bar can lead to a burning smell.

Me: *trying to not let my frustration show*  Yes.

CSR:  Okay, well that shouldn't have happened.

Me:  I know.

This conversation goes in a circle for about two more minutes before she suddenly says, "Let me get my manager on to help you."  I think I had confused the poor girl by knowing what I was talking about, or else she really wanted her manager to talk to the nutball on the phone for laughter later.  One or the other.

Manager:  Hi, how can I help you?

Me: The motor on my vacuum is burnt out.  I am just trying to figure out what it would cost to get it fixed or if it's still under warranty.

Manager:  You bought it six months ago?

Me:  Yes.

Manager:  That shouldn't have happened.

Really?  Why thank you Captain Obvious.

Manager:  Are you sure the vacuum didn't get any pieces of towels or blankets lodged in the motor?  Anything that it shouldn't have sucked up?

Me:  Well, if it had started to eat a towel, I would have turned it off and pulled the towel back out, so no.  As for anything else, I don't own any small animals that could have been sucked into the vacuum, and both of my cats are still here.  Mind you, I've tried, and the hose is way too small for them to fit into and they keep running away from the sound of the vacuum.  You should look into fixing those issues.  Though I have thought of cleaning my cat with a vacuum.  Obviously, if I could fix mine, I'd try it, but the motor is burnt out.

Manager: ......

Me: Some cats like being vacuumed to get the extra hair up.  I just have never had a chance to try it yet.

Manager:  Ma'am, I'm not sure we can help you here.  Here's the number for one of our repair centers.

She hung up shortly after that.  I think I had stunned her with my brilliant wit.  Or else she wanted off the phone with the crazy lady who wanted to vacuum her cats.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


I live alone.  I live alone in a nice apartment by a large lake with my two cats.  Sometimes I'll see a spider here and there, usually far away from me.  My motto with spiders:  Leave me alone and I'll leave you alone.

Unless they are daddy long-legs.  I'm sorry, but have you SEEN those things?  First off, there is never just one.  They come in packs.  Even if you only see one, there's about 50 lurking just outside of your view.  They are waiting and watching and I know they are making plans for world domination.

"Ceiling spiders watching you sleep."

When you see one, just remember to look all around you for more.  And for God's sake, whatever you do, don't forget to look up!

But back to the original story.  So last night, I'm playing my turns on Kingdom of Loathing when I see something to my left out of the corner of my eye.  I pause and look over.  It's a wolf spider.

Now, something else to know about spiders.  They come in multiple sizes, that can be described as thus:

Tiny:  This is the spider you see on your car windshield and just notice before the wipers make it paste.

Small: Enough to make you look twice, but never really that bothersome.

Medium: Okay.  Look.  You can stay and eat flies, but don't come out of that corner.

Large: If I ignore it, maybe it will go away.  Pleasepleasepleaseplease don't come near me.

Humongous (Or as I call it - Jesus Christ, it's going to eat the children!):   Let me just have this tiny corner of YOUR room and please don't kill me while I move all my furniture into a 1x1x1 area.  Okay?  Okay.

The wolf spider was about medium size.  I was okay with it, it was ignoring me and moving in the other direction.  Awesome.  I go back to running turns while trying to keep my eye on it, just in case it decides it would rather try tasty human flesh versus fly tar tar again.  

While this happens, a flash of gray zips by to the other side of the room.  From where ever my gray cat, Corrigan, had wedged herself, she had spotted something that caught her attention.  

My first mistake was looking.  With a yelp that probably woke dogs in a 2 mile radius of my apartment, I was out of my chair and backing up into the coffee table.  With what I could only assume was the mac-daddy of all wolf spiders, a humongous wolf spider was on the OTHER side of the living room from the smaller one, sitting by the cat tree.  (Now we know what the smaller one was running away from!)

Me:  OH crap.  OH crap oh crap oh crap.

It was about this time that I started looking for something to smash it with, because while I do have a live and let live policy, but I swear this guy was looking for trouble.  I was half expecting to spot gang markings and a switchblade somewhere on this guy.

Corrigan:  Mew?  (Smacks it with her paw.)

Here's where it got to the point that I just wanted to run to the other room.  My cat, brave cat that she is, smacks it with a paw.  She then jumps about a foot straight up in the air and runs behind her cat tree.
All I can think at this point is that it reached up with it's legs and smacked her back.  So cowering behind the cat tree, she eyes this spider as it makes it's way with a rambling walk over towards the living room light. 

"Bitch.  I will cut you."

She follows it, meowing all the time, and giving me looks that say, "Mom, why aren't you killing it?  Why are you letting this thing live??"

She doesn't even attempt to touch it again.  

Finally, my calico, Aideen, known as the "will eat anything" cat, wakes up from her perch atop the couch.  How she managed to sleep through my repeated mantra of "Ohcrapohcrapohcrap" I don't know, but she did.  She sees Corrigan stalking something and immediately wants it.  Because that's how she is.

She gets her nose down there, and she drags a paw over to the spider.  She touches it, and gets her mouth down to try and shovel the whole thing in there.  For a moment, I was hoping it was over.   Oh, no, instead, she backs up quickly and then looks up at me, confused.  And squeaks at me.

So now both cats are avoiding this thing like the plague.  When it finally ran under the television stand, I breathed a sigh of relief and went to sit back down.

But I did block all the entrances and exits from the stand with books**.  Get out of THAT one.

**I am half afraid that when I get home today, the books will have been pushed back from under the TV stand.  If that happens, I'm going to pack my cats and move until an exterminator not only gets there, but can show me the dangling dead body of that spider.