Sunday, October 31, 2010

ipadio: Shockers vs. Warheads

Friday, October 29, 2010

Fall beauty

Has anyone else been struck by the vibrancy and vividness of leaves this fall? The color changes have been breathtaking. The oranges and deep purplish reds are my favorites, followed closely by bright reds and yellows and then yellowish-greens. Even the sheer number of browns has grabbed my attention.

I also find myself investigating leaf shapes. I find the spade shapes and the long pointy ones the most interesting. And who would have thought tree trunks and branches would be so lyrical, singing and waving their arms as the wind rustles through?

If I wasn't in love with fall before, I certainly am now...

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

I love candy

How could something so delicious be evil?

Hmm. I love candy, just as I love makeup and video games. I see nothing wrong with candy, as long as excellent tooth brushing takes place. Readers?

Berry Chewy Lemonheads and Friends


Mmm... Lemonheads. Remember the original ones? What could be bad? Bright yellow and tangy, crystals of citric acid stinging your tongue, then the nearly flavorless white candy hidden beneath becoming stuck to your teeth? Remember trying five or six at a time, and making your eyes water, then doing it again? What a (sugar) rush.

Lemonheads' friends joined the party after a while, namely Orangeheads, Grapeheads, Appleheads, and Cherryheads. They tasted just ok, but after they turned chewy, they improved immensely.

Later on, they went Tropical, and that was fun. But this flavor exceeded my expectations. These Berry Chewy Lemonheads and Friends are really, really tasty. As a "red" candy lover, I am hooked! (I like them almost as much as I like Starburst GummiBursts.) Kudos, Ferrara Pan!

So hello there. Hello, Cherry Lemonheads, Strawberryheads, Blue Raspberryheads, Red Raspberryheads, and Wild Berryheads! Welcome to my life. I'm CC. Let me introduce you to my mouth...

Monday, October 25, 2010

Fall out

Ever since I got divorced, I always feel a little bummed out in the fall, especially in October, specifically on the 25th.  If we had stayed married, we would have been together for 12 years.  Sheesh.  That's a Bat Mitzvah! 

And as if I don't already know the answer (yes!) part of me always asks myself if I made the right decision. I don't know why I revisit some of my decisions.  There's no reason for me to doubt myself.

But it doesn't help that the first date of my last serious relationship was on October 26th.  Or maybe that's because they were both Tauruses?  Aquarian ladies, don't fall in love with a male Taurus. It's just plain doomed.

Anyway, that's enough gloom for now. Pleasant posts are on their way!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Half-baked Butchie?

So I got a big pointy tetanus shot and two antibiotics for The Butchie Bite. Vitamin N said it still looks swollen but the doctor didn’t, and besides, I have a fairly squishy forehead to begin with. So I will probably be ok. I am to call if there’s swelling or pain up there, duh.

Anyway, I think Butchie’s losing it.

I mean, it’s not like I’d smeared tuna juice and cheddar cheese on my forehead. I was minding my own beeswax. And I can’t have a biter around. What if he bites my family or friends? Niecey or Neph? Me, again? On my freakin’ face? That would be terrible. So I read up on Alzheimer’s in cats, and recent history shows Butchie does have several of these symptoms: acting disoriented, changes in social relationships, changes in sleep habits, inappropriate vocalizing, forgetting commands, breaking housetraining, pacing, wandering, sluggishness, food issues, decreased grooming, and confusion. And I thought some of it was because of his cataract!

Did you know that half of all cats over age 15 show signs of senility? These symptoms are for ooold cats (I consider 12.5 to be “getting older”, not “ooold” just yet), and he’s never had great grooming to begin with… Twinkie had been coming around and washing his face and ears for him since they were babies. And it’s Discovery, which I trust, not some random bullshit “cat fact” website with cutesy-poo pictures and no actual research.

So hopefully it was an isolated incident. But what if I have to put him down? Like I said, I simply can't have a biter around. The thought of it breaks my heart! I’m going to call the vet today and ask if I should be worried. I expect the 400 bucks I spent there a month ago entitles me to ask a follow-up question…

Monday, October 18, 2010

Lunatic pussycat

Last night, I was doing some work with my dad on speakerphone when the Butch and Twinkie started crying. I know they hate the speaker as much as they hate electronic beeps but I can't hold the phone and mouse and type at the same time, and I don't have an earpiece. So here they are, myeching up a storm, when suddenly Butchie ran over, jumped onto my lap and BIT MY FOREHEAD.

Bit my forehead! I threw the cat off me and left my dad there wondering wtf while I washed it and peroxided it. "He what!?"said my startled dad. "Oh my goodness!" And oh my goodness was right. Two small round punctures and a longer bite, too. Good thing he's a housecat.

How bizarre. Not once has he ever bitten my face, although he does give love licks there very occasionally, and love bites on the hand very often. And he had been so affectionate all day, snuggling into my neck and rubbing his face on mine and generally being a sweet kitty.

Anyway, now it itches and Vitamin N says it looks swollen, but thankfully not infected. She said that cat bites on the face can become infected really fast, and counseled me to call the doctor. So I did, and I'm waiting for a call back.

I still can't believe this. I'll keep you posted.

Friday, October 8, 2010

It gets ickier

So, remember those guys who were contacting me separately, the brothers? Well, it turns out they're twins. Twins! ew! Ew!! EW!!!

When I told my mom, she said, "Well, honey, you fit a profile. And, you're appealing." And I suppose I am, for the most part. *smile*

But it had been bothering me so much that I googled the name and the word "twins"... and yup. There it was. And of course my paranoia kicked in double-time of what it had been before. I mean, brothers are bad enough, but socially inept twin brothers? I got to thinking that they would be comparing notes on how far they had gotten with me, or switching off just for fun. Maybe they wouldn't, but I'm not taking the chance.

Thank you, God, for giving me instincts and helping me follow them...

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

AWKWARD!!!

Wah waaah waaaaaaaaaahhhhh. (Sad trombone.)

I may have mentioned this before, but I keep running into the same people on different sites (Match, JDate, eHarmony) and it freaks me out. And now, it's happened on meetup.com!

Background: in January, I supposedly matched a guy on eHarmony. We emailed for a few days, but I wasn't impressed... in fact, something about the emails skeeved me. So I ended it. And he had an unusual last name, one that I wouldn't forget in a hurry.

Anyway, a couple weeks ago I joined a singles group on meetup.com named "Bubbie says it's the best singles group in Boston." Well, my grandmothers were never Bubbies, but what the hell. I thought about it for at least a month before I joined, especially since I could see that most of the members were women. Sigh.

Sooo, two days ago I receive a greeting from a guy who sort of looked familiar, but sort of not. Something about his brow. So we email, and his emails bother me because every single sentence ended in an exclamation point, and the punctuation was poor! I use them a lot too! But my sentences make sense do they not! Does this bother you yet! Even the questions had exclamation points! And he did not click "hide email info" and his email came through as a Lia Sophia email too not an actual personal one! So I thought that was strange right! Sounds like someone I don't need to get to know right!

Sheesh. I was breathless just reading, and not in a good way. But I thought about it. Let me investigate before writing him off, right? Don't judge a book by its cover and all that. Well, I have to trust my gut more.

His profile said, "follow me on LinkedIn" so I looked (without logging in). My LinkedIn profile is professional and comprehensive, so I figured his would be, also. But no. And there was that name again!

I searched my email and lo and behold, they grew up in the same town, same high school, same poor grammar skills, and yes... similar forehead and brow.

My first thought was, "Ok, this is bullshit." My second? "Get me outta here!" So I did. I explained the situation, asked if they were related (I would bet money on it, and I am not a gambler of cash), and wrote that I felt too uncomfortable to continue emailing with him. Do you think I did the right thing? This was, like, 20 minutes ago. I post this because I have to get it out of my system and I am so icked out right now. ew! Ew!! EW!!!

So. If anyone has better ideas for meeting people, please share. I would really appreciate it.

Privacy issues

Something else funny that happened this weekend.

Sunday morning I totally walked in on some kid (probably in college) urinating! It was at the restaurant where I enjoyed a lovely breakfast of an enormous fluffy pancake stuffed with cream cheese and strawberries. And very good coffee. P had broccoli quiche and J had eggs and bacon. I think they were the kind where the yellow oozes out. It was at Johnson's Farm where I met the animals and Farmer Steve.

Here is the scene:

CC: (Approaches bathroom, asks DRINKSPERSON if anyone is in there)
DRINKSPERSON: Nope!
CC: Thanks. (Knocks on door. No answer. Opens door. Gasps, closes eyes, and stammers apology as she backs out. CC and DRINKSPERSON look at each other in disbelief.)
DRINKSPERSON: There is a lock in there, you know.

COLLEGE KID leaves bathroom, makes eye contact with CC and smiles a little. CC enters bathroom, locks door, checks door, and does her business. She returns to her table where she realizes the kid is from the next table over, a FAMILY, Party-of-Five-style. They look at her and nod a little, smiling sheepishly.
CC: (Shakes head slowly, in a wow-that-was-embarrassing way.) Sorry about that! I would have thought the door would have been locked! (FAMILY drops jaws and looks at COLLEGE KID, who reddens.)
CC: (Sits down with J and P, explains situation.) Whoops. (J and P roll eyes.)
J and P: Don't apologize. His fault, not yours!

Later, P claimed that the family was more surprised that I actually mentioned the situation than they were embarrassed for the kid. What the heck!? It's a really nice unisex bathroom in a decent restaurant. What was he thinking? I guess I could have ignored them, but hey! I'm from NY. We actually acknowledge when funny things happen, you know...?

Monday, October 4, 2010

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Blog Cabin Adventure is over

I had a freakin' blast! So here are the pros and cons, in no particular order.

Cons:
  • Forgot my towel, so I improvised and used my wrap instead (really, my fault)
  • Forgot my B.O.derant (my fault again. Hel-lo, Activeion!)
  • Smoky-smelling clothes
  • Blowing my nose and having soot-colored snot
  • Very little indoor light (60s watts for a cabin does not go so very far)
  • Occasional mysterious septic smells (popcorn poop, anyone?)
  • Port-a-Potties at the Garlic Festival (not BC's fault)
  • Forgetting the flashlight and having to use a spiral staircase in the middle of the night because I forgot to pee before bed. I think it took me ten minutes to feel my way to the bathroom. Haha!
Pros:
  • The beauty and serenity of a babbling brook, complete with rustling trees and glimmery rocks
  • Big campfire
  • Tending the campfire
  • Toasting marshmallows over the campfire
  • Enjoying ice cream and making each other laugh over said campfire
  • Licky doggies (many thanks to Grace and Buddy)
  • Special homemade oatmeal breakfast and special homemade pizza dinner
  • Friends
  • Cell phone usage (through Sprint, the only provider to work in the area)
  • Good sleeping (just not enough of it!)
  • Cider doughnut at the Garlic Festival
  • Not being forced to eat garlic at the Garlic Festival
  • Learning about sill plates from Their Wayne
  • Meeting a friendly bull, horse, and donkey... and their owner, Farmer Steve
  • Maple cotton candy (I don't know why, but I just can't resist cotton candy at a fair or festival)
  • Appreciating the bones of a building
  • So many other things. It was all so much fun!
Funniest parts:
  • Hundreds of hippies and hippie children at the Garlic Festival
  • J chowing down on garlic, bacon, and chocolate chip cookies at the festival (um, no thanks, I just ate)
  • P riding in the trunk so we could park as a car pool at the festival and not have to ride the shuttle bus there
  • 18 frogs jumping out of the mud at J and P as they dug around the cabin
  • Having to return to the cabin to throw away the rest of my ice cream pint
Scariest part:
  • UFO on Friday night! Then I thought I heard a bear. But do bears grunt? We all spooked each other and went running into the cabin. Later, they shared that it might have been the visiting moose. But in the pitch dark, is that any better?
Worst parts:
  • Finding out that some leakage had occurred during the rainstorm of the day before. But it's fine, no damage was sustained.
  • Digging. The wall of the final footing kept caving in. FOUR times.
  • J tried to shovel P's fingers. That'll leave a mark!
First impressions:
  • The Blog Cabin is much smaller than it appears on the blog.
  • Plywood in quantity is actually very pretty.
  • Construction sites do not scare me.
  • For a work-in-progress and construction site, it was actually quite clean. And safe.
Fun facts:
  • The toilet used to be located in the kitchen.
  • J and P have burned all the original wood from the cabin at their campfires.
  • Solace the Cat prefers the BC to his regular city home.
All of this and much more, in less than 23 hours... and that includes travel time! Hey J and P, when can I go back???

Friday, October 1, 2010

Tulip Fever

Lovely, lonely, young Sophia Sandvoort has married older, wealthy Cornelis. His love for her consumes him. Unfortunately, they are unable to conceive. Like a flower, his desire for immortality grows so much that he commissions a painter (Jan van Loos) to capture their likenesses on canvas.

Hmm. Whoever would have thunk a breathtakingly beautiful young woman would be attracted to an talented, tempting young artist? And so the story begins, during the 1630's in Amsterdam... during the time period known as Tulipomania.

Suspense! Intrigue! Love! Deborah Moggach paints this picture cleanly and intricately, with obvious love for her characters. The short chapter introductions from various 17th century household manuals, Jacob Cats, Leo da Vinci, and other players of the day added to the word-by-word pleasure. Also, I like tulips. *smile*

I actually willed myself to set this one aside every once in a while to draw out the reading process as far as I could. Hey! Debbie! More, please!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

110%? I think not

Ahem! I feel I must inform you...

There is no such thing as more than 100%. So anyone who claims they have given it 110%, or 150%, 200%, or some other arbitrary percentage, is presenting you with a crock of shit. In the real world, extra credit doesn’t exist. Extra credit is nothing but two words placed next to each other. If you have truly given it your all, poured yourself into the task or the work or the product or the relationship and done your best, your absolute freaking best, you should be proud as punch to receive 100%.

Think in terms of college grading:

A = 100-90 = Excellent, or “Hot damn! You did an amazing job!”
B = 90-80 = Very good, aka “Well done!”
C = 80-70 = Good. “This has been completed.”
D = 70-60 = Passing. “Almost inadequate.”
F = 60 and below. Failing! “Utter crap. Look ashamed!”

Readers, please try to get As with good deeds, and at work, with your family and friends, and at tasks and chores and generosity and how you treat people and your general daily doings. When grading yourself, be honest. You know whether you have done something excellently or adequately. But tip the effort toward the higher grades, and hey what? The As will extend to other areas of your life as well.

By the way, grades of A+ are completely imaginary. And in life, forget about a grading curve. It’s just not gonna happen…

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Green ash floors

His philanthropy aside, I'm not a big fan of Ty Pennington (from his annoyingly indulgent Trading Spaces days, way back when), but I absolutely love his choice of palest, jade-ish green wood: Eleuthera Ash. I'd love to do my living room in it, still with my red sofa and keep my black and light wood color palette intact. Walls? I dunno yet.

Aw, who am I kidding? Ideally, I'd do the entire place from room to room, including my pale pink bedroom. All I'd need is simply $6K for flooring...

Social Intelligence

http://www.meetup.com/Social-Intelligence/

I recently got an email about this meetup group because one of my interests is listed as "singles". But this one just sounds like educated people acting out and acting uneducated under the guise of social development. I feel bad that they have not been true to themselves until now!

"You may discuss just about everything as long as it's done tastefully. If you feel offended it's a good sign this is not the right group for you." Interesting concept, but ugh. I find this kind of opening statement neither cool nor offensive, but tiresome. So I guess this is not the right group for me!

But the funniest part about it is that "intelligence" is spelled wrong in the first two words of the description. Or did they do that to be cool, hmm? *sigh*

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

I love books

And I especially love bargain books. I have even been known to spend gas money to go out of my way for book bargains. What can I say? I get a thrill from it.

And that was my plan for today. Hit the Nevins Library book sale in Methuen on its last day for exciting additions to my reading and crafting libraries. Last time I got two reference binders full of flower and plant pictures for crafting, along with an old, hilarious Better Homes and Gardens Handyman's Book from the 50's, complete with adoring-looking wives in wide skirts and tips on cleaning white-wall tires, for one dollar each. I also got an old Navy seaman's book from the 30's, for fun.

But it's raining cats and dogs out there and by the time I was in my car after work I couldn't bear the thought of driving to the library and to Target for an errand, fighting the rain the whole time. So I went home instead!

I put on pajama pants! I put on a cotton-knit top! I put on fuzzy slippers! Then I sat down to write this. And wow, am I comfortable right now or what!? (I can't remember the last time I put on pajamas after work without the reasoning of not feeling well. But I feel fine! Lazy, but fine. Teehee.)

So here is my plan for tonight:
  • Have a bite. Maybe make white rice
  • Give the cats a good brushing and clip their nails
  • Catch up on yesterday's Dancing with the Stars dances before tonight's elimination
  • Read something?
And that's basically it. I feel so free right now... hooray!

Idiots' Books

Very cool. http://idiotsbooks.com/

I snagged a copy of After Everafter at Paqui's Alley today for their amazing price. Who would chuck a fun book like that because of two drops that smudged the title? Their loss, my win.

Also, if anyone wants me to buy me a present, I'd love the Makers Tile Game, currently on sale for the low price of ten measly bucks. http://store.idiotsbooks.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=IB026-01

On that note, perhaps I should do what Cory Doctorow has done. Write novels, then let everyone read them for free. Some people will buy copies, and some won't. Something to think about. The difference is that he's not interested in cash donations, whereas I am. A girl needs new accessories occasionally, yes? I don't expect to become rich from it, but a few books a month would be a smile-maker.

Alternatively, I'm ok with letting people read/download/tell their friends about my book for free, but there are other things to think about with that, too:

What if someone wants a hard copy? I still need a publisher. So I'm back at self-publishing through Amazon? The thought of talking to publishers still has me shaking in my boots! (Which may be silly, but still the way I feel.)Also, I still find the Creative Commons licenses confusing for some reason. But now I wrote it, and I want to get it out there, away from me. Out into the world! And I'm tired of whining to myself about it.

Ok. I've decided I am going to make a decision about what to do by the end of October. Keep reading, readers!

My Blog Cabin Adventure

Garlic Festival, here I come!

My Blog Cabin friends invited me to their cabin somewhere in western MA (I don't even know where it is, actually) for the weekend… to visit the North Quabbin Garlic Festival and help with the final footing! It will be the first time I have seen the cabin in person. Although I can’t dig or pour the footing because of my carpal tunnel symptoms for the last 1.5 weeks (flare-up almost all better, hooray!), and I don’t enjoy garlic so much (I like it, but it doesn’t like me) I just love festivals. But I won't be sitting on my butt just looking pretty. I’ll be acting as waitress for the parched tradeswomen and Their Wayne as they sweat up a storm.

Sooo, guess who will be featured in this weekend’s post of the Blog Cabin blog? That’s right! The Clever Cat herself, in the (soft, but non-furry) flesh! Maybe I can even get a pic with Budrow Wilson (a doggie), the newest addition to their fam. I haven’t seen them in months and this is going to be so much fun… stay tuned for the follow-up!

p.s. I will try to blog from the phone, but they are so far out in the sticks that there isn't even any cell reception! So you might just have to wait. Sorry!

Monday, September 27, 2010

They are with us

Sometimes, I swear I see Max at my parents' house.

Max, also known as Maxie Paxie, Maxie Paxie Pudding and Pie, El Baroncito Maximiliano (when he was small), El Baronissimo Maximiliano (when he got fat for a while), Max the Manx, and of course The Cat, was the premier pussycat of my family. He was the smartest, fastest, most charming, funniest, boldest cat of them all. Oh, one more thing... he's dead.

But he comes around, visiting. Yes, really.

He's not there all the time, but when he does pop 'round, I usually see him in the kitchen or around the stairs. And Thursday I saw him in the dining room peeking out from around the wall! He was interested in the sukkah on the deck. Before I realized what I was doing, I had closed the door and said, "No, no, hon. You can't come outside." But of course he could have come outside. Anyway, he looked at me with those gorgeous eyes, blinked, and was gone.

My dad was upstairs during all this, and when I told him I saw Max, he was dubious. Very dubious. I explained, and he kissed me on my forehead and told me he loved me very much. Harrumph.

Next time I'll invite him Maxie onto the deck... if he's careful not to fall off, that is...

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Escape-goat

I feel bad for the goat.

Yesterday's Yom Kippur readings got me thinking, and I was really affected by the thought of the Azazel-goat. You know, the scapegoat that was sent away from the Temple in ancient times, laden with the sins of the worshippers. I wonder what that goat was thinking. Maybe something like "Yes! Not sacrificed!  Dodged that bullet!" Little did it realize it would be wandering  in the desert alone, until it died alone, too.

Or maybe I'm just anthropomorphizing.  But there's a part of me that just can't bear the thought of that poor goat, hungry and thirsty and hot...

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Activeion wins again! (At least, partly)

Folks. Why didn't anyone remind me to try the Activeion FIRST to at least get the stain out of Butchie's piss-fest, if not at least part of the smell? What's that? I should have remembered myself? How could I, when I was so worried about my kitten-cakes?

No matter. I tried it tonight, since the stain remained on the mattress despite the three bottles of Febreze, as well as part of the stink. Naturally, the stain is gone. It smells weird now, though. I guess because of the ions? I'll wait until the water dries and see how it fared. Maybe I'll do it again, just in case. Good luck to me!

New lip gloss

Did you know... that the filling inside strawberry Starburst GummiBursts makes a flattering and tasty (and sticky) lip gloss? I'm going to use it the next time I have a make-out session.

Old lady shoes?

Do you think these are old lady shoes?

I asked two friends whose clothing style I trust, and one friend does and one friend doesn't. My mom would like them because they are more sensible than shoes I usually wear. My family would call them "school shoes", or "muffin feet." (That's a good thing because it means your feet look sweet). But who can resist leather Easy Spirit shoes at Kittery (regular price $69), for the low, low price of just $15, on clearance? Not me! I snatched them up.

Today is the second time I've worn them, and I am liking them more and more. They are comfy, supportive, and cute, with a charming flowery design on the sole, which would show up in sand or dirt I imagine. But I won't wear them in sand or dirt, so it's my little secret.

By the way, it turns out I am not a 9.5, or a 10. I am a 9W. My college friend finally convinced me, even though my mom has been telling me so for years. Basically, they said the same thing, in different words: "I told you! When you stop buying cheap shoes, you get ones that fit properly." And you know what? They were right!

Injections and infections

I'm finally able to bring myself to report on my very traumatic day on Monday. It was awful!

I've been feeling uncomfortable for about a week, so I peed on her bed (I guess it was a few times) to try to tell her. And her favorite t-shirt, as it was laying on the next laundry pile. I couldn't help it! It was the only way I could think of to get her attention. So yeah, she noticed. And she blocked us from the bedroom! I didn't think that was going to happen, but harrumph. That's my favorite place to sleep, too, you know. And she was all sniffly and sad-looking and talking about "not that old!", but I don't know what she is so worried about. I have lots of life in me yet!!!

So she shoved me into the rolling screened-in box and took me to that place… you know, the place with all the DOGS. Big clumsy oafs, with their slobbery tongues and bad breath and gigantic paws. Let meowt of there!

But it gets worse. Little T came with me in his picnic basket, and after waiting in that room with people and their DOGS, we entered a small room. But I know those metal tables! And people in white coats never make me happy.

After anal probing (they call it "temperature reading", whatever that is) they shined light in my eyes over and over and the white coat lady said something like, "handsome mumble mumble cataract mumbly star mumblejumble twelve mumbledom mumblestom." I finally had to shake my head to make her stop. Then she did some more poking and said something about a "a little bladder for me?" What torture. And poor T-baby. He had to go through the same thing. I think he clenched up even more than I did!

Finally, I was able to hide in the box again. But just when I thought it was over, White Coat Lady carried me off to the back room and well, I don't know how she did what she did, but after a moment of uncomfortableness I didn't have to pee anymore. She also stuck me with a long thing and out came dark stuff which she collected in a tube-y thing. I was sooo tired after, but glad to finally be on our way home.

Later, I tried to relax, but a big scary storm came, with loud booming and bright lights and flickering and eek! I ran under the sofa so I wouldn't have to see it and Twinkie jumped into the litter box, where he cowered a bit until she went into the bathroom and said something about "Blah blah blah inappropriate." So he sat under her chair quivering with his eyes closed until she picked him up while she sat the computer doing meow-only-knows-what. I was certainly not coming out until after the noise was over… which was for several hours. (Actually, it was quite boring under there. And I got hungry, so I came out for a snack during a quiet section. What can I say? I like to eat.)

Tuesday, she got the "results", which showed that I had some "bacteria" in my "urine", whatever that all means. Apparently, "antibiotics" will "take care of it." So yesterday, she picked them up… and reintroduced me to the "pill-shooter". Not exactly the best experience I've had. And these pills are huge! The ones I took for my leg had at least been quartered. And I have to be subjected to it for two whole weeks, twice a day! I have only one word for that – MEOW! If she thinks it's going to be easy for her, she has another think coming…

Signing off,
Butch

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Monday, September 13, 2010

Approaching sell-by date?

Poor Butchie. 

And poor me!  Butch has been using my lovely new mattress and thick, fancy memory foam topper as a pissoir!  How many times he did it I'll never know, but woo-wee!  P. U.!!!  I used almost three full bottles of Febreze trying to make them new-smelling again.  Thankfully, I'm almost there.  But I kept the doors to other rooms closed yesterday and didn't allow them in at night in case they were planning on peeing again… on me! 

It was sooo hard to sleep without them, and my heart almost broke when I went to bed with Butchie and his handsome, fluffy self dolefully watching me out of his undamaged eye (the kittyract is back, and it's bigger than ever.  Btw, the vet who checked out his leg in Maine was very impressed with his thick coat and very good teeth for an old guy; no broken bones, arthritis, or cancer either.  And they were also fascinated with his star-shaped cataract.  I guess you never know what will interest a vet.)  And I felt worse when I got up this morning to find him in the exact same spot.

Anyway, although my babies are now 12, they are so sprightly and lively that it's hard for me to think they could be very close to the end.  I have been preparing myself for this since they were kittens, but I hate to see an uncomfortable animal.  Hopefully it is just an infection, not renal failure.  So I'm taking him to the vet this afternoon to find out.  I'll keep you posted. 

Sunday, September 12, 2010

CC's foible #2734


Washing my clothes with fabric softener... for months!

To explain. On our way to Maine, my best college bud and I bought some laundry detergent for the cottage, All Small and Mighty, Wild and Fresh (like me, heh). While at the store, I wanted to show her a lovely scent I had found, a lemon verbena one. So I pointed it out. She pointed out right back to me that the bottle was actually fabric softener. Gasp! Had I been doing my laundry with fabric softener for almost 50 washes? I laughed and laughed. "Doubt it."

Then I thought more. "Hmm. Do I smell?" "Nope." I am sure one of my friends would have told me if I smelled funky enough to warrant investigation. In fact, I had been getting compliments on my (cheap!) perfumes recently (Pink from the Gap, and Pink Grapefruit from Bath and Body Works) so I was pretty sure I wasn't offending someone's delicate nose.

I wasn't so sure about recent laundries, though. But we were on our way to vacation, and so I thought nothing of it. She found a bottle of the right stuff anyway at a local store in Maine so it wasn't at the front of my mind. "Yeah, yeah! That's the one!!!"

Two weeks later, when I needed to do laundry again, I grabbed the new bottle (since we had left at my place in our haste to get to Vacationland). And I finally checked the older, nearly empty bottle... and she had been right. I had been doing my washing with softener! Guess I bought the wrong one. No wonder my clothes felt so nice...

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A good weekend

I had a lovely Labor Day weekend. Although I had to miss my blogger meetup on Friday for a non-existent hurricane, I did other fun stuff.

Saturday I went to the beach at Revere (of all places) and enjoyed the warm water and 99% EMPTY beach! Then I stopped at the pool, had another shower (without becoming waterlogged), and went out to Denny's for burgers (mine with cheese and my parents' made of veggies). After, we dropped into Christmas Tree Shops where I picked up a pair of Pampered Toes Spa Therapy gel toe separators by the makers of Ped-Egg. Just three measly dollars. And they feel great! Don't you just love a bargain?

Sunday I went to a friend's and ate seafood and watched Surrogate on her fancy new tv with Bruce Willis. Well, not exactly with Bruce, but he was in the movie. Heh. I really liked it! I wanted to see it in the theatre but that never happened. But this was a very good movie-watching experience. We were all hooked up with a huge 43" flat screen, comfy sofa, popcorn, surround sound, and pillows. The only thing missing was a cat, as far as I'm concerned. Very fun.

Monday I made a bunch of beautiful paper bookmarks (laminated!), then pooled for an hour, then out to pizza, then out for a dessert donut, then raced back to choir practice and was a half hour late because I forgot it was Monday! Whoops.

Now it's Tuesday, and back to work. Busy week, too... the High Holy Days are nearly upon us, not to mention the start of school. Yowza!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Summer star

I love this.  Summer may be almost over, but the Vega star shines at its brightest and highest tonight.

http://mobile.boston.com/news/science/articles/2010/09/04/teapot_of_sagittarius_begins_to_tilt_signaling_summers_end

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Throwing errors

This has to be one of the most annoying phrases ever.  Technically, zeros and ones cannot throw anything.  Who made up throwing and catching, anyway?  There has to be a better set of words to describe exceptions within frameworks and platforms. I believe this phrase should never be used unless discussing actual, real-life actions with actual, real-life balls.  In fact, I find this phrase so intolerable that when someone uses it in my office, I feel the need to leave my desk for a short break.  Like this morning, bleh!
 
I looked it up, and the closest I could get (with the OED, natch) was definition #32b: "To put deftly into a particular form or shape; to express in a specified form (in speech or writing); to convert or change into some other form; to turn or translate into another language."
 
But the most recent usage they posted is from 1893!  Soc. Eng. Introd. 30 Cædmon..throws Scripture into metrical paraphrase."  And Javascript and other computer languages were not around then.  So sheesh, why not something like "disengage" or "commix"?  They sound a lot geekier than a sports term...
 

Friday, August 20, 2010

Vacation plans

Tonight starts eight days and nine nights of sweet, sweet vacation, and boy! do I need it. I can barely track what people are saying anymore -- I hear the words, but I can't put them into context. Plus, yesterday I took the wrong route to a place I go almost every day... and even on the way back. And this was after I said out loud, with somone in the car, that I would take a better route. Whoops.

Anyway, here are my (open) plans for wonderful Searsport this coming week:

  • Saturday: Arrive. Breathe Maine air in, deeply. Make pitcher of sangria. Lobster for dinner with Vitamin N, the giant, and Ye Olde College Friende, plus drinks. Reading and relaxing, computer games (Civ 4 Complete, which I bought this year for $10 as an online download; and Spore (which I picked up TWO years ago for $20 and never opened), or maybe some new board games (guess I should remember to pack those). Working on my fake farm. SLEEP!
  • Sunday: Fake farm. A dip in the Penobscot if the weather is right. Sunshine and a book or laptop. Laugh a lot. More drinks. Fried native shrimp with fried dill pickles for lunch or dinner. Buy cookies at Bell the Cat.
  • Monday: Fake farm. Get a pedicure. Read a book. More swimming and lounging about in the sun. Maybe take some pictures around town. A sundae for dinner.
  • Tuesday: Fruit picking, unless there are only blueberries available, which I don't care for much. (Although they are good in pancakes.) Fall asleep in a deck chair. More fake farming. (I don't know why I like the fake farm so much. It's really quite stupid.) More lobster at some point (supermarket-bought, I think. I'm not about to go broke eating it.) Drinks.
  • Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday: Continue along the same vein as the rest of the week. Maybe some shopping, "lite" activities, crafting, writing, reading, lounging, dunking, strolling, perhaps a movie at the adorable theater in Belfast. I may or may not blog. I just haven't decided...

What a busy schedule! I don't know if I'll be able to keep up! Heh.

Aaaand by the way, I'm bringing Butch and Twinkie this time! What a change. I don't think I'd be happy without them for either days, and since they can come along, why not? I'll try it...

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Open-faced sandals



New sandals! Just $10.50 on clearance at Target.

I also got a silver pair with three flashy rhinestones on the thong, but the pictures were even worse than this one.

Hot tickets

And I learned some fun and surprising things about my family in the 50’s, also. Yippee, escándalos!

  • My great-aunt posed as a pin-up
  • My great-uncle won $150 playing cards… and someone’s Colt 45
  • Another great-uncle had a fling with twins

Turns out there were quite a few colorful people on that side of the fam. Ho ho!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A chuckle or two

But lest you think that the funeral day had no laughs, here are a few things that made us chuckle together as a family.

  • Baby blue hearse and limousines
  • Hearse (and us!) almost one hour late to the funeral
  • It was so windy that the driver’s yarmulke flew off several times during the military service
  • Sandstorms at the grave site
  • Gap between top and bottom of casket. If Grampa had seen that he would have adjusted it!
  • We were stuck in traffic so long that the limo driver had to stop to get gas
  • At shivah, someone dared to interrupt my father and press her agenda upon his grieving moment

As you can see, life goes on. But I still miss Grampa…

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Grampa, I love you

My favorite grampa died a week ago.

This was the grampa who could design and build and improve anything: rockets, sailboats, furniture, houses, a pinball machine, front offices, display cases, department stores.

The grampa who drove over from Cambria Heights to Flushing at 10:00 at night to pick me up after I received bothersome phone calls from an ex-boyfriend.

The muscle-bound tough guy who never smiled for photographs until after he started dating my gramma. He would have done anything for his wife and son and grandkids. It turns out he was a romantic, too.

There are so many stories. The only thing better than hearing the stories at all would have been hearing them from him.

Obviously, it's still pretty raw. As I sit here licking my wounds, I'm reminded of these stories (we went through a lot of them this weekend. I learned a lot more about him than I had ever known) and it is clear, even clearer now than before, that the main thing, the absolute most important thing in the world is love.

So here is some advice. You may not be able to pick your family, but when you're lucky enough to be born with a man like my grampa in yours... well... please, please cherish it all.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Life is good

Some things I'm especially thankful for today:

Electricity
My job
Antidepressants
Colors
Silly cats
Funny dogs
Quiet

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Life before Facebook

Can you imagine life without the Internet? I can, but I wouldn't prefer it. No information at the touch of a finger? Intranets notwithstanding, life outside the network would become so much slower.

Hey, people might actually become more choosy about their friends and who they allow to contact them. Remember life before Facebook? Before cell phones? It was just fine.

Thinking about it, I realize we are all very spoiled, perhaps without meaning to be so. Even the least spoiled of us is still spoiled. What makes us so special that we think we deserve these wonderful devices and instant gratification? Without them, I imagine people with low frustration tolerance and those with Type A personalities would become much more tiresome. (Even if I weren't already one, I'd still choose to be an artistic Type B, thankyouverymuch.) Do you think that once someone has had access to the Internet, they can't go back?

I think most people should slow down anyway. We all run around so much, and why should we? Everyone, please remember those roses...they smell really, really good...

Gmail, schmemail

In light of my Gmail issues over the past few days (emails not syncing to the Evo/"disconnected" status) I got a smack in the face yesterday when I realized how much I depend on email. It's not necessarily a bad thing; just a surprise.

I ended up using a different email client (figured out myself. Thanks for nothing, Sprint!) after 40 minutes on the phone with a rep on Monday night and another 40 minutes with a technician in a store yesterday. After a little poking around, the rep told me they sure could fix the problem and reinstall the app to fix it... by resetting the phone. Their words, verbatim: "Oh man, that really sucks." Uhhh, you think?

I stared at them blankly for a moment. Whuh huh!? Resetting? You mean, a hard reset? Return it to its beginning state? Completely empty? Devoid of data? But... but... I finally have the phone perfect after six weeks of use. No! No!! Nooooo!!!

I tried to resign myself to the thought of redoing all my scenes and redownloading all my apps. But I became panicky and started to sweat. I snatched the phone back, tried to breathe, and told them I would be back on Thursday, after I took pictures of all the screens and plopped my data and pictures onto my laptop.

Once home, I geekily researched a little and added my account the through the Mail client to push my email that way. And it worked. The interface took a little getting used to, but it did the job. But right before that I also enabled WiFi... just for shits and giggles.

Aaanyway, this morning Gmail had healed itself! It updates and refreshes properly and syncs and does everything I need it to. Do you think the WiFi had something to do with it? I have since turned it off and Gmail still works. So wtf was that all about, Google? Please, please don't do that again!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Smart Balance now less smart

I was so sad this morning when I opened a jar of my beloved richly roasted Smart Balance peanut butter to lick the protective foil and taste... sweetness? Sugar?

That's right, Smart Balance has added evaporated cane juice to their pb. What was wrong with the old recipe? I liked the deep, dark real peanut taste. This concoction tastes more like children's Jif. It's ok, but this is now too sweet to use in my other recipes -- my favorite cold Asian noodles, for one. No longer will I be able to enjoy that lovely lingering peanut taste after my pb toast. The spreadability factor has decreased as well.

Oh, Smart Balance! Why have you forsaken me??? I'm going to have to go back to Skippy...

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Foam frisbees and cool pools

After shrugging off my body image, wiggling into my trusty black maillot, and tying my animal print pareo across my bust (I'm an animal. Grrrr), I joined the fam for pool fun.

I actually went into the pool today! Without a t-shirt! And it was great. For the first time in our lives, we were The Socially Unacceptable Family, shrieking and cavorting and splashing around with a foam frisbee. We had a blast. But after an hour the wind shifted and became slightly cooler, enough for us to grab our sun-warmed towels and get the heck out of there.

Too bad I can't join tomorrow for more. Darn office!

Friday, July 16, 2010

What a great day

I took the day off from work today to have Niecey, Neph, and my parents over for lunch and fun. And we had a blast!

First, we played almost an hour of Beatles Rock Band. Then I made proper grilled cheese sandwiches, which they ate in their entirety, except for one small piece of crust apiece. Pudding for dessert.

After lunch, we played with building toys and beads, then my dad took the kids to the pool at their place while I helped my mom make a whole chicken in her pressure cooker. Dinner was that, plus brown rice, broccoli, and challah, all of which the kids devoured. Neph actually had three servings of broccoli!

Optile with Niece before bedtime and she kicked our butts. And we were not letting her win. Her new nickname is "Little Miss Strategy." Tomorrow, more fun will be had. Yay!

Mmm. Cake. Good!

Quote of the day goes to four-year-old Neph, regarding made-from-scratch-by-Grandma-and-his-big-sister carrot banana cake with double the carrots: "It's not that I can't resist cake [in general], it's just that I love it sooo much!!! You know?"

Instead of counting sheep...

...count Skittles!

After a spooked Niecey came downstairs this thundery and rainy night with a quivering lip explaining that she couldn't sleep for the old Joker's creepy smile invading her thoughts (courtesy of a sort of cartoon history book that used to cause me much lost sleep also, as a kid), me and my parents put our heads together and figured out this great way to get your mind off things.

She didn't bite at my idea of imagining new American Girl stories, or of general happy thoughts. But Skittles are one of Niecey's favorite candies, and since we all had some this afternoon, they were fresh in our minds. So we described creating Skittle mosaics in her head, then sorting them into lines or a rainbow and then creating another picture, then re-sorting, until she fell asleep.

It seemed like a good plan, but I had to go home so wasn't able to hang around until she fell asleep. I'm going to ask her in the morning if it worked for her.

Anyhoo, taking care of kids is not easy and I am rather pooped. So soon I'm going to count some Skittles of my own...

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Mojoceratops

No. No, this does not sound cool. Not at all. Leave it to Yale to come up with "mojoceratops". Those wacky paleontologists!

http://www.visualthesaurus.com/cm/wordroutes/2346/

Sunday, July 11, 2010

I freakin' love Maine

I've said it once and I'll say it againe: I absolutely, positively, freakin' love Maine!

I drove the three hours up to Searsport on Friday night at the spur of the moment, arriving around 11ish (three hours for me. Everyone else takes about four) where I was met by a sleepy Vitamin N and a hairy little hot dog, a giant in a checked shirt and an apple turnover. Already the weekend was off to a great start. We shot the shit for a while, watched a terrible movie, and I went up to enjoy a needle-and-pins shower. I went to bed too far too late, but oh well.

Saturday morning we were going to hold a yard sale to appeal to the passersby to and from the lobster boat races, but that didn't materialize. It had rained after I arrived, the ground was squishy, and we had not completed the pricing. So we went to an art show in the park in Belfast instead. I found a cheap but charming orange brocade little zippy-purse (I think I will carry my phone in it, in my bag) for just five bucks! I was also going to get a really great green silk scarf with green threads woven through, but like a dummy I had forgotten I had no cash. My favorite burly giant charged up the hill to get some cash (without my card, whoopsie) and met me and Vitamin N in the park. After it started to rain... I mean, downpour. Sigh. Then he gallantly went to get the car, but everyone was soaked. To the skin! My poor apricot handbag was dripping -- I had to dry it off with the dog's towel. And I never got to pick up the scarf. Wah.

After we changed, we hit Anglers around 6ish for crispy, delicious seafood and fried dill pickle chips. So yummy! Then I saw a gorgeous white Impreza WRX in the parking lot with beautiful wheels. The car's look was not even marred by someone's lettered lobster logo emblazoned across the windshield and sides. We picked up fabulous cookies at Bell the Cat's in Belfast, and visited Rite Aid for a few things. Did you know you can buy liquor, beer, and wine there? Back home, we sampled the delicious cookies and did relaxing things. I actually turned the light off around 11:30. I slept a lovely, dreamless, cooling sleep.

This morning I went to the dump in my pajamas. Yes, it is true. Well, ok, I exaggerate just a tiny tad. It was only a small transfer station, and I was wearing my purple tie-dyed "10" tank top and a pair of huge gray cotton knit pajama pants. And proper underwear as well as glittery flip-flops. So I didn't really look like I was wearing pjs -- just ill-fitting, non-matching, stretched-out summer clothes. Heh. (Remember that weird day back in March when I wanted to buy the Hanes sleep pants at AJ Wright but was cut off by some chiquita banana? I found them, elsewhere, and they are sooo soft.)

Then we went for a dip in Casco Bay, a 1.5 minute stroll down the block (it is visible from their living room window). I didn't have a swimsuit, but I wanted to get into the salt water. So I went it with a huge t-shirt and a pair of workout pants. And proper underwear. Haha! It was delightful -- cool at first, but the salt water felt great and it was so muggy that it was actually more pleasant to be in the water than out of it. And the timing was perfect too, because just as we got home it began to rain. The whole town had been steamy for the past two days, and I am not sure the rain helped, but I hope it did.

Sadly, the weekend came to an end and I had to head for home around 4:30, but not before recording two very fun phonecasts with the giant! In August I'll be taking off an ENTIRE week for work to go up and chill, chill, chill. I just can't wait for that long vacation! Hooray!

ipadio: Bell the Cat's cookies

ipadio: When the chips are down

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Hot dog salad

Possibly the most disgusting salad idea, ever. Hungry Girl, wtf!?

http://www.hungry-girl.com/week/weeklydetails.php?isid=2125

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Orange cats and yellow stains

Can someone  please tell me what I did wrong?

As I lay down to sleep last night (early for me, no later than 11:00!) I smelled something funky.  One sniff later, I realized it was good ol' cat piss.  On my lovely lavender sheets with irises on them. ew! Ew! EW!

There's no telling whether Butch or Twinkie was the culprit, and I really don't care who did it.  I just want to know... why?  They had a clean  litter box,  fresh water and food, toys, snuggly sleeping locations, and lots of love.  They are such little brats sometimes!  And the nerve of them, smiling at me when I came home last night.

They only thing I can think off its that it was so hot yesterday that they were letting off steam (so to speak) using the only method they knew.  Anyway, I boosted the air when I came home to keep them cooler. I certainly hope they aren't ill..

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Project Runway!

Now this is something that will convince me to plop down in front of a nice big tv: 90-minute Project Runway episodes!  At long last, a decent design fix...

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The marketplace

Wow! I haven't visited the Android Marketplace for at least three days! I'm going to get right on that. (I posted this, start to finish, while waiting in the drive-through at KFC. Teehee!)

Monday, June 21, 2010

What a mess, #2 (testing, again.)

Ha ha ha! This is how silly I am: I got wrapped up in another activity and totally forgot all about these awful messy posts! I left them on here yesterday for all the world to see. Oops.

But it just goes to show that the real Blogger app is terrible. Google, please set us up right! When I email a post to automatically blog, it doesn't use my formatting and makes the post look unattractive. This is crazy! The iPhone has it. Why can't the Androids?

UPDATE!
Well, huh. It did use my formatting after all. But it didn't used to! That's a good thing, but all my griping was for naught. Oh well, at least I can trust that emailing posts will work well in future.

Ok, enough about this. I have bigger fish to fry!

What a mess

Ha ha ha! This is how silly I am: I got wrapped up in another activity and totally forgot all about these awful messy posts! I left them on here yesterday for all the world to see. Oops.

But it just goes to show that the real Blogger app is terrible. Google, please set us up right! When I email a post to automatically blog, it doesn't use my formatting and makes the post look unattractive. This is crazy! The iPhones have it. Why can't the Androids?

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Text post test post

I must not have been looking hard enough two days ago, because I found the Blogger "app." I linked my device... or so I thought. But it doesn't allow you to add t

tles, so why is that any good? Plus, it appears that only a certain number of characters can be added. So that's not going to work for me. At least with Andro

Blogger I could put titles in. I'm testing this again, to see if it will post three texts to the blog correctly. I can't wait to see what happens! Yeah, this l

ast bit was all just filler...

Okay. Obviously blogging via text message sucks. Don't bother!

Blogger, yes. Titles, no.

This is just a test to see if I can figure out the Blogger texting to post. I dunno if this is right or what!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Hotness

There are some things I enjoy hot: my soup, my stocks, and my men, to name a few. The rest of the time, I prefer things cool.

The weather, for instance. Anything over 70 degrees, and the air conditioning in my car gets turned on. And Massachusetts was good for a while, weather- wise. Spring was typical New England -- 50, then 86, back to 60 -- and we all know how to deal. If you don't like the weather in New England, just wait five minutes!

But summer is right around the corner, and with it comes sweltering temperatures and lots of sweat. These are not a few off my favorite things.

Today, the high was 91 and I hated it. Hated it! And tomorrow it will be worse... much worse. Oh, why can't it just be fall again?

Blogger?

One thing I need for my phone is a better way to blog. The AndroBlogger app I'm forced to use isn't great, and otherwise, how would I be able to blog on the go? For example, on a rare day off, at my local IHOP. What once seemed wait-able just feels totally old-fashioned now.

It just really seems crazy to me that there isn't a proper Google app for this, especially since Google has their fingers all over the Evo. Right? Although I guess if Blogger is Flash-enabled, then Android 2.2 would fix that and they'd have an easier time making an app. Or maybe I should just switch to Wordpress...

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Swype

So I'm still in love with my phone. So what?

I've discovered Swype, an awesome (Android) app that allows typing to take place amazingly fast, even on this small keyboard. And no matter how fast speaking into your phone is, and how sophisticated the word recognition is (and it is damn good, even with my terrible diction), the accuracy could still be better.

Enter Swype. This fabulously well-thought-out app is pretty, functional, and oh-so-convenient. The customizations are a dream. This smooth operator should come standard on Android phones! (It's really, really cool.)

Halfway through this post I switched back to ordinary texting, just to see how it would feel. Even the talk-to-text feature seems like molasses compared to Swype. I guess I've already become spoiled!

Anyway, grab it now. It's in beta and free for a few days. Have fun!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Strawberry lemonade

With bubbles!

I noticed a new flavor of "sparkling water beverage" today at Target. Market Pantry brand has a new flavor -- strawberry lemonade! It's really nice -- not as cloyingly sweet as, say, their cherry pomegranate flavor (which I actually love) but clean tasting and fresh. Not very lemony. Light-tasting and not as burp-y as real soda! All in all, a winner.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Sky Map

I just have to say, the Google Sky Map app is freakin' amazing. If you know anyone who can show it to you, convince them to. It's like a work of art.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Where to even begin?

Dear Readers,

I guess I'll start by apologizing for the delay in posting. I have been spending a lot of quality time (almost every waking minute of the last week) with my new phone. But I'll spare you the gory details, at least for now. Suffice it to say that the EVO is really, really cool. (And it kicks the iPhone's butt. Tee hee.)

Anyway, work has been incredibly busy, and I try to steal away to Maine whenever I can for some R & R. I went two weeks ago and it was great, as usual. Fabulous company and fresh Maine air make for perfect days.

This week I have been craving NUTS like crazy! I even forwent a lovely chicken dish in favor of peanut butter and jelly. It's like I can't get enough nuts! Even stranger, they seem to be slimming me down a bit -- less bloat and I stay fuller, longer. (No idea how that works, but I'll go with it.) So I splurged on a 21-ounce canister of Planters Deluxe Mixed Nuts (smiley cashews, noble almonds, pecans like baby turtle shells, boatlike brazil nuts, and eye-catching macadamias, all plump and dusted with pure sea salt) at Target today for $5.69. Quite a good price, actually. Yum.

I also realized I am a very lucky person. In addition to my little sis spending her time to edit the book, I have friends who did or are doing me the honor of reading the manuscript and providing constructive criticism. But I must say, I have been getting compliments. So that makes me very, very appreciative.

Signing off,
CC

Friday, May 28, 2010

Target ice cream sandwiches

File this under yay:

Target now sells low fat ice cream sandwiches with stats like The Skinny Cow! 130 calories and 1.5 grams of fat per, and they look great. I bought some today... for $3.24 instead of the $5.79 at Shop & Shop across the street.

Passion

My newest tea obsession.

Tazo, makers of mouth-watering and unusual tea blends, have a tea named "Passion: A magical blend of hibiscus, lemongrass, rose hips, mango & passion fruit flavors." Brew this and you'll fall in love with it! It's not a new blend and I've been drinking it for years, but it's just what the doctor ordered right now (at least for me). Fresh passionfruit is the most perfect, brightest, slightly sour but mostly sweet flavor I've ever had the pleasure of tasting, and this reminds me that I've got to get more of the frozen pulp to make my best passionfruit smoothies!

But back to tea. When you rip open the sachet, it smells a bit spicy. But brew, and it transforms water into a tangy, intoxicating beverage perfumed by fruit. And the tea is the color of passion, too - fuchsia! I enjoyed it hot yesterday morning, but iced is just a different type of refreshing, especially with a little Splenda thrown in.

Anyway, I recommend it. Yum!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

You, me, who?

Great article (paper?) from Jessica Love, psycholinguistics graduate student. The VT's article is an excerpt, so click further to read the rest.

http://www.visualthesaurus.com/cm/blogexcerpts/2293/

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Nougatocity

"A heightened yet fleeting state of accomplishment that makes you realize how unbelievably unmotivated you normally are."

Screw you, Snickers! Speak for yourself. I'm not buying you anymore.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Hotspots

So CC is not so clever tonight. So what? Sometimes it just takes a minute.

I just realized... if I pay the $30 hotspot thing, then I don't need Comcast at all! Simplify! Right?

So that's $69 for the Sprint service, plus $30 for the hotspot service, plus the possible $10 4G charge monthly equals $110. Or, $69 for the Sprint service, plus $45 internet from Comcast, plus the possible $10 4G charge monthly equals $125. $110 is less than $125. Therefore, the first way wins. This just gets better and better. YAY!

Say hello to my little friend


I have to pay for her services, but isn't she gorgeous?

I'm going to make a special bag for this lovely new toy of mine. Buying was pretty painless, too. I can't believe I'm finally getting a great cell phone!

Here's what the HTC EVO has, and can do:

  • A sexy 4.3" touchscreen
  • 8 megapixel camera on the front, a 1.3 megapixel cam on the back for mobile video chatting, and HD output
  • 4G (useful when I'm in Boston, which, admittedly, is almost never -- unless it reaches to my house, which would be AWESOME!) and can handle voice calls and data transfers at the same time
  • Built-in turn-by-turn direction helper
  • Create-your-own-hotspot capability for up to 8 devices (which I won't use since I only have one wireless device anyway)
  • FM radio and thousands of apps
  • 8GB microSD, upgradable to 32GB (currently sitting in my camera)
  • Proximity and motion sensors (no idea what these are for, but I guess there must be a reason)
  • Lots of other geeky gobbledygook about processors and speeds and interfaces and batteries that I find oh so very boring.
Impressive, yes? I think I'll name her Vanessa. Either that, or Vicki. I haven't decided yet...

Where there's a will...

(Oops! I meant to post this yesterday. My next post won't make any sense if I don't share this background.)

...there's a way. And I have found the way!

In order to pay the bills and get the phone I want and also start to recoup some money (hopefully), I have decided to take the plunge and disconnect my tv. That's right... disconnect it from Comcast, completely. Also, dump my land line. Continue with their cable (duh) for $45 a month (12 mbps) and get the remaining ~$115 per month back into my life (my Comcast service had all the bells and whistles, which was quite silly for me because I only used the whistles occasionally, and I barely even touched the bells). Comcast was very nice to have contacted me directly (that reminds me, I need to write them back), but can't compare price-wise to someone who doesn't care much for tv and wants to dump their home phone. (Although the tv idea is new, I have been thinking about losing the land line for months now.)

After FIOS gets installed at the development, I'll just buy cable and internet through Verizon (to the tune of about $79 monthly).

As for a phone, hello, HTC EVO! You're mine... all mine. I pre-ordered today at Radio Shack with an instant rebate ($200 instead of $300, and it's held with just $50 -- plus, I'll get $20 toward accessories that day!). $69 for 450 minutes on an "Everything Plus Data" plan from Sprint is attractive and that's the one I've chosen.

But that's where it gets sticky -- three days without a home phone. I do have the cell though, and I should probably use up the Tracfone minutes I have now, so I guess I'll be using that in case anyone needs to reach me. Also, what if the FIOS installation takes longer than expected? I may be without a tv for months! (In case that happens, I'll call this whole thing an urban experiment. I mean, suburban. Heh.) I could always watch tv on my laptop. Also, should I keep the home number? Then I have to pay for another month of phone, though, and that's not ideal. Or I could keep the Tracfone number if I wanted. I never knew phone decisions would be so numerous!

This is seriously a big few weeks for me. Two years with Comcast is over at the end of May, the FIOS folks will begin laying the cable the first week of June, and the phone comes out June 4th. I'm shivering and quivering with excitement! (Ok, maybe not exactly quivering, more like bouncing.)

Every little bit helps... and it may just be a little bit (about $30) but that's okay; this way, I receive a better quality of life, plus a new toy. Anyway, I think I've figured it all out... and I'm just stubborn enough to make it work...

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The book

So I've finished the fourth or fifth or even maybe sixth draft of the NaNo novel. Who can remember? The last time I read it was sometime in December.

My sister (thank you muchly, Niblet), put her considerable editing prowess to work and wanted to get a few things across:
  1. This book would be probably be rated X for violence and maybe sex also... but definitely for weirdness.
  2. She enjoyed some of my phrases, which made me feel good.
  3. Part of the books made her sad, parts made her skin crawl, and she found parts of it exciting.
So all in all, these comments were actually pretty good, even though books like this one are not her cup of tea.

As I reread her edits and comments this week and weekend, I was astonished at my storyline. I wrote this? Huh. It's really... quite... well, dark. It's significantly darker than I remember, but written in almost a bubbly way. Some of the prose is decent, too -- I recognize that. It will never become a classic, but I can see it being a bestseller! There are plenty of published books out there that are far worse than this one.

So, now what? What steps do I take toward publishing? Do I walk into a publishing house and announce that I have a book I want them to buy, and that I want to make me a million dollars? Heh. Should I bother? Writing it was the easy part, compared to this...

It's another Pleasant Valley Street Sunday

Well, sort of. Although we didn't spend time at The Loop today, we were in the general area part of the time. I got lots of errands and other stuff done with Vitamin N:
  • Returned those two pairs of pants to Fashion Bug in Haverhill
  • Bought two more bras there
  • Returned those other two pairs of pants to Lane Bryant at the mall
  • Practically became trapped inside the mall after it closed without our noticing
  • Picked up conditioner and other stuff at the Salem, NH Target
  • Ate a very satisfying $2 dinner at Taco Bell *giggle*
  • Returned four awfully overdue library books to the Nevins Library in Methuen
  • Chitchatted about Maine
  • Debated what to do about a car next year (did you know that right now the Maxda 3i Sport is leasable at $99 a month for 42 months? $99 a month!!! I still love my Impreza, but something to keep in mind. Although the all-wheel drive is totally necessary in the northeast as far as I am concerned. So hmm, I might have just made the decision.)
  • Debated what to do about cable services. I'm not enchanted by Verizon, but $99 a month for the FIOS cable, internet, and phone seems like a good deal for 2 years instead of the ridiculous amount I am currently paying Comcast.
  • Attempted to not feel like a defeatist about my "single" situation
  • Paid as many bills as I could
  • Did a laundry
Now, I chill. Maybe some tea? (I can't believe it's almost 10 PM.) Where did the weekend go?

Saturday, May 15, 2010

The jeans are not good

Neither are the pants. So whatever you do, don't buy them. Or if you do buy them, buy them two sizes too small. This way, when they stretch on you, they will be just right.

I wore the black pants yesterday. Despite numerous compliments, by the end of the day the crotch felt like it was around my knees, the belly stretched too, and the thighs were significantly wider than they were that morning. That just won't do for me.

And when I put the slash pocket jeans today, they were cute -- right length, good in the booty section, you know, decent-looking. Six hours later, they are three inches longer and four inches wider in each thigh! According to these pants, I have a saggy baggy butt and a rectangular bottom half. Whuh huh!? My butt may be big, but it sure ain't saggy. And I am rounded, not a rectangle.

Maybe washing and heat drying will save these two, but I'm going to return the other black and brown pairs. And when the other jeans come in, I think I'll send them right back... and order the smaller size.

Good news, though! I bought two bras last night, and they fit like a dream. And one is turquoise! I would have bought more, but the North Andover store had a much smaller intimates section than the Haverhill location (I may go back there tomorrow). I must say, I am definitely loving the bras. So it wasn't a total loss.

Anyway, the suspense is killing me as to whether the pants will shrink back up, and I'm sure it's killing you too. Snort. This story needs an ending, though; I'll let you know what happens, when it does.

The Zen of waxing

There's something almost religious about getting your body waxed. It's cleansing, like a good cry or a good scream. A good wax can clear your head, relax you, put in you in the moment, and make you feel sexy all at once.

This morning, I got up early for an 8:15 AM appointment at my local spa. It may sound silly, but I actually feel pious when I attend these monthly "services", especially when I get up early on the weekend and there are so few cars on the road.

I arrive, and am met by an attendant in a stark, robe-like habit, clean in its lines. In a soft voice, the attendant ushers me a little closer to the heavens. Walking down a darkened hall, I see candles flickering on either side of me. Floors gleam. In the dark we pass semi-lit rooms -- the glossy furniture within displays artifacts of the craft.

Ah -- here we are... the room I know so well. We stop at a door at the end of the hall, and enter. I remove my shoes. I lay down on a raised table, and close my eyes. I hear a waterfall, and soft music. A soft cloth dampened with a vitamin-laden liquid is gently passed over my face. Thank you. After years of this interaction, few words need be exchanged.

As the attendant applies an unctuous substance, then strips of linen, I know I am in good hands. Relax, now. Breathe deeply. Yes. Remove from me the accumulation of the past month.

I tilt my head to the either side and back; the applications are repeated until the session is complete. The synergy of attendant and attendee cannot be mistaken.

My service concluded, I am quiet as I rise. The attendant and I descend levels. I leave this building of peace and beauty. I will miss it. Not for another month will I have this exact feeling of freshness and effortless refinement. But the sunlight hits my face. I step into the world again, ready. I can face it now.

Sure, money may be tight sometimes, but you know something? Because of the way it makes me feel, this is one thing I never, ever miss...

Thursday, May 13, 2010

My booty has a face

And it's enigmatic, like the Mona Lisa. Or so says my remarkably illustrative sister.

Well, it's actually not my booty, it's my favorite black jeans (Skinny Jeans from The Avenue). They fit like a dream, give me a cuter shape, and are eyecatching due to the cool cut, side detail, and "face" on the back. But they're wearing out and have been unavailable since the day I bought them last year, drat. And I had to chuck a pair of my favorite office pants because the zipper came off its track. So I needed pants. Bad.

After trying on about 30 pairs at various stores in and around the mall two weeks ago, I decided to check Lane Bryant online. But everything they were offering in the store had waaay too much fabric around the legs. (A slimmer cut looks better on me, but was nowhere to be found.) So I had to search and search... but I found a slim cut pinstriped pant (black and white), a straight leg pant (black), and a slim cut longer pant (also black, and AWESOME! I wore them today.)

I got them on a really great sale, picked them up at Fashion Bug yesterday on the way home from work (Lane Bryant and Fashion Bug are part of the same conglomeroo apparently), and found... another major sale. It's slightly embarrassing, but not enough for me to not mention it. Anyway, here goes. Five-dollar pants! I bought three -- two black, one brown. They're nowhere as nice as the LB pants, but hey, for five dollars I could wash the house in them and not worry. I also got three pairs of really cute jeans. Dark wash, straight leg, flattering on the thigh, looks cute, no muffin top, no funny rivets or flashy designs or glittery pictures on the ass, and are all the same (for when I inevitably kill them). And one more totally cute pair with slash pockets in front and small, cute flap-style pockets on the tush, dark wash also. They are really, really cool.

So remember when Fashion Bug was full of crap? Well, it's only half full of crap now! Some of the fabrics were really nice, and remember the jeans I mentioned before? They have the three different certain-size cuts like in Lane Bryant, too. I was pleased to add a few more pairs into the rotation at such a teeny tiny price.

And guess what! Bras are on sale there too! And they are The Right Size (large, round). And The Right Fabrics (nylon, cotton knit, satin, lace) and The Right Cuts (smooth cup, modified sports style, push-up, demi) and The Right Colors (black, nude, white, pink, red, more black). And The Right Price! ($20ish.) I'm going again tomorrow night (payday). Can you believe that during tonight's letdown I accidentally ripped the right strap off my favorite black Olga? What timing. Now all I need are some new shoes. And maybe a few new tops...?

How CC gets her groove back

Oboy. I just did about ten minutes of In the Groove "dancing" for the first time in just about FOREVER and holy crap! I cannot believe I used to do this for hours. Still fun, but it's going to take time to get back into the proper "groove" -- and I realized I'll have to use the night guard while I'm doing it. I was clenching my teeth like crazy!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Chocolate-covered game night

Ha! As soon as I wrote the title I realized it sounded like lots and lots of my favorite type of risqué fun. But I am simply referring to more brownies, with semi-sweet chocolate melted on top instead of frosting or glaze or my favorite, ganache. I do hope my gaming friends enjoy them!

I made the same brownies as last week but wanted a little something extra with it -- a slight change, because I like to mix it up. I didn't want nuts, but I had lots of chocolate chips. So I dumped about half a bag atop the hot brownies after the pan left its toasty temporary home, letting the chips fall where they may. Melting occurred with no work from me (I love that part) but I did use my trusty spatula to swirl circles around the pie pan. I don't know why I used a pie pan, but I did, and they look really cute. The chocolate set up really nicely... but it occurs to me that they might really be quite too rich now. But maybe not. Probably not! Oh, yum...

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Gender stereotypes

This article is just plain awesome. I love science.

http://www.cracked.com/article_18529_6-absurd-gender-stereotypes-that-science-says-are-true.html

By the way, "double the amount of painkiller" means five shots of Novocaine for another freakin' root canal for me today. It makes more sense now. (Good thing I don't have my period or it would probably be more like eight...)

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Sun ups and sundowns

For Mother's Day, I bought my mom a paper hat.

Don't laugh (too much) -- it was actually a lovely, white, raffia sunhat, crocheted in singles and shell stitches with a floppy brim, ideal for avoiding sunburns while still letting a little light in. It's so cute! I even got one to match. The only thing is, we can't wear them in the rain or, you know, they'll... um... melt.

My parents and I spent a little more time at their place, then we went to visit the Wrinklies at the nursing home early in the afternoon, in case they were going to sundown. Grampa was asleep but we were very lucky to spend a little time with Gramma, who actually recognized us all this time, and smiled cheerfully, and was chatty, and was very, very verbal. I say "verbal" but the words weren't all there for us, although she did get out a few real ones. She was totally into the conversation, though -- her voice made inflections and used different intensities, without shouting. She was so happy today and her eyes were clear; not vacant at all or silently staring. I smiled at her, and yessed and hmmmed and ah-hah'd and made other appropriate sounds, and she looked at me the whole time.

We brought over some new clothes and a new pair of shoes as presents -- sweet little burgundy Mary Janes in a velvety material, size 6 (her feet sure have have increased in size in her old age!) When I lifted my foot to show her my shoes (much bigger, black Mary Janes), she smiled directly at me, and actually lifted her foot also to touch her toe to mine, of her own accord. My heart almost melted clear away.

For me, one of the worst things (besides the actual dementia, duh) are her hands. She always had such beautiful nails, and they were always strong, perfect ovals, painted in peaches and corals or shimmery caramels and coppery colors. But scratching is part of the dementia, and she can't help it. So the aides have cut her nails short (not past her fingertips) and someone painted them a cheap-looking pinky-red. Pinky-red!? Gramma would never have worn this color. I felt so indignant when I saw it, but now I am thankful that someone is manicuring her nails at all. She has no more scrapes or lacerations on her arms, which is good.

My parents and I stayed as long as we could before we all started to dissolve. then kissed and hugged Gramma gently and took off. We had to compose ourselves in the car before we drove off.

My mom said the only saving grace is that Gramma has no idea what has happened to her, unlike Grampa. And she's right.

I hate it. I miss them so much -- and even if I tell them a hundred thousand times, they'll never be able to understand what I mean. I hate that, and I hate feeling helpless like this, and I hate Alzheimer's, and I hate Parkinson's.

I feel like the only thing I can do to make things better is to make sure my parents know how much I love them. I'm so lucky to have them, and that they are who they are. Sharing more love won't help my grandparents at this point, but it does help me, at least a little.

Happy Mother's Day.

88 years old and awesome

Betty White is freaking amazing. She's a cutie/rock star/comic genius, and she has perfect timing. She is just so great, and totally cool. I can't believe she's 88. To Betty!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Baking for others

I love when people eat food that I've made. It gives me that warm and fuzzy feeling!

Bringing food into the office is fun, and I've done it with my various truffles and cakes and cookies and yesterday, the brownies from the night before. The compliments are nice, but I must confess -- the main reason I like to bring baked goods into the office is because it wouldn't be inappropriate to attach a note that says "eat me." And they all do! Ha!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Cocoas

I felt like brownies tonight, so I whipped some up, using Hershey's Special Dark 100% Cacao. ¡Ay! ¡Qué rico!

I'm a Droste dame at heart, for whipped hot cocoa with milk, and a Ghiradelli girl all the way for truffles. But this special, deep, dark, decadent cocoa was leftover from Passover. Did you know that Hershey's cocoa is kosher for Passover without special certification? So says Kashrut.com.

Anyway, they are cooling now. Aren't you jealous? I know you are!!!

Update: I'm healthy, too! There are some antioxidants in there!

Making sugar and salt scrubs

What a great article on making body scrubs! I love this minty recipe.

http://www.ehow.com/how_5389787_make-sugar-salt-scrubs.html

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Do you like corn?

I like corn!

Actually, I love corn. It’s the best summer food, and second only to cherries (my most favoritest favorite). I would be happy with corn on the cob for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And snack!

I had two wonderfully sweet ears of corn last night at my friends’ house where the grill commander cooked us a feast! I also had a cute chicken sausage (low fat and calorie), three spicy grilled chicken wings, and half a lemon pepper chicken breast. (No one here but us chickens! Heh.) There were also turkey burgers which looked great, but it was enough food already. Dinner was so much fun, especially with the spirited conversation and two kinds of hot sauce we doused the onto the ears of corn along with buttery spray – and the only reason I could believe it wasn’t butter was because it made a nasty cloudy pool on the tin foil when it mixed with the green and red hot sauces. By the end of the meal our lips were on fire, but oh baby, it hurt so good.

They watch The Biggest Loser, and as a guest who am I to change up their tv schedule? (Although I did suggest the Dancing with the Stars results show, they didn’t bite.) It was the big makeover day, which was nice. Of course we were all crying about 20 minutes into it. The place had basically turned into Waterworks Central… at least until we saw one candidate fall off her treadmill. We were able to… well, maybe not laugh hysterically at her misfortune, but rather stop sniffling. She looked so extraordinarily miserable. Poor thing! (But it did lighten the mood.)

Rich chocolate Ovaltine with delicious organic milk for dessert. What a nice night!

Sesame sticks

Oh my goodyums. Sesame sticks are the absolute most perfect snack EVER!

I have always liked these crispy, short, thick twiglike sticks studded with delicious sesame seeds, tasting a little salty and deliciously seedy, but never getting stuck in my teeth. A small portion is plenty and I actually feel full after. Today I had some for breakfast. What could be bad? They are fried… but let’s not talk about that right now.

Come to think of it, I have always liked sesame candy too. And the smell of toasted sesame sends my nose into raptures. I guess I just love sesame! Maybe I lived another life in the Middle East…

Friday, April 30, 2010

Western Beef

Remember Western Beef? It was huge! It had that giant freezer section where you'd practically catch pneumonia every time you walked through, and big burly butchers wearing their disgusting bloodstained aprons, and all types of unusual and fascinating packaged foods. When I lived in Queens, my family would shop there, when we didn't go to the huge Pathmark to spend some time in No-Frills Land. I loved No-Frills Land! (All that solemn black and white packaging.) I really miss Western Beef and Pathmark. But I guess there's no room for them in Massachusetts.

Nope, I have no idea why I thought of all this, I just felt the need to share.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Not bored games

I played some really fun games last night at Myriad: Apples to Apples (which I absolutely loved); a game like Apples to Apples using beautiful, thoughtful, arty pictures instead of words, named Dixit (it was really nice, but not as goofy -- and I usually prefer goofiness); a cooperative game where we were supposed to get off some island together (it was okay, but I forgot its name); and Fluxx, Martian version (cute, but so many changes. Heh.)

In a twisty way, Apples to Apples reminded me of Balderdash, which I haven't played in like, 25 years. There are so many fun games out there! And I want to try them all... or at least a lot more...

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Stupid Market Basket. Stupid teeth!

Sometimes, shopping at Market Basket is so annoying. How obnoxious of them to put the canned fruit directly next to the candy! I wonder what their rationale is. And more annoying, they place step stools in front of the store brand cans! I can only assume that they do that out of the desire for more profit. (I just pushed the step stool in front of the candy instead. Ha!)

I was in the aisle trying to find some canned fruit so I could eat some healthy fruit but not have to chomp into a hard peach or pear. Not only is is down to 46 degrees again here in Massachusetts, but I broke another tooth! I hate my teeth. A very good friend is now calling me "Teeth of Sand." Sigh.

It happened yesterday, when I was finally hungry enough to think about eating. I had to stay home on Sunday, away from a lovely day in Maine because I was having tummy troubles. I was afraid to be away from a bathroom for the length of the drive, and then the thought of being that uncomfortable throughout the day at someone else's house was abhorrent to me. I stayed home from work on Monday, and that was a good choice. I even stayed home today, but I felt sooo much better after 10AM. So I guess it was a 48-hour bug.

Anyway, I was finally hungry, so I made scrambled eggs and put them on a soft tortilla. I bit into it, and chewed, and swallowed, and then felt something sharp where nothing sharp should be. And it was my tooth. Damn it! I think this is the tooth that is supposed to have the root canal later this year. I guess that will be pushed up! At least it doesn't hurt.

So I was at the market today before my chiropractor appointment (I am in the maintenance phase now, yay!), trying to find something sweet that would not make my tooth worse. I wanted candy, both out of habit and out of the need for comfort. But I prevailed! I did not buy candy! And I did buy the store brand fruit. Take that, Market Basket!