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Friday, July 31, 2009

TGIF

By the time Friday rolls around in my world, I usually find myself completely exhausted mentally from work. Add sleeping issues the past few months and I'm also physically depleted.

Friday means I stumble out of bed, driven by the knowledge that this is the last work day before a break. Around 3pm I usually catch my second wind and start feeling excited for the weekend.

The evening usually promises a nice meal at home, some wine, and a movie. Joe works such long days during the week that sometimes I feel like I don't see him until Friday nights so that's our time to catch-up.

Friday night also means crawling into bed knowing I don't have to wake up in the morning. Not that I really sleep in but it's still comforting to realize there will be no alarm clock.

For my coworker, Friday night is pizza night and all of the families in his neighborhood take turns hosting. For a friend, Friday night is "date night" with her husband and they dress up and head out on the town. For my BIL and his family, Friday is "camping night" and the entire family "camps" somewhere together, whether it be the living room, the backyard, or the lake.

What does Friday night mean to you?

P.S. Friday night is ALSO when I make sure my Six Word Saturday post is ready to go. Please come back tomorrow!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Where's my walker?

When did I get old? AKA My "romantic" weekend away.

Saturday started off well enough. We left the house later then planned but still made it to the winery in time for a tasting and some hanging out on the piazza. Beautiful place and I took some photos with the new camera. Yay!

We checked into the hotel, which was way older and way bigger than expected. Also, it was overrun with some international teen convention of a very conservative church group. The bumper stickers in the parking lot are the things nightmares are made of - anti-gay marriage, anti-choice, etc. Scary. And yet they were all dressed like total skanks-in-training...

For dinner, we decided to walk to the chain seafood restaurant next door where we enjoyed a yummy (but loud) meal along with some fabulous martinis.

It was after arriving back to the hotel that it all went very wrong. Suddenly my stomach rebelled and I spent the night quite sick. Joe went on a hunting expedition to find me some ginger ale and tummy meds (first and last time to travel without them!) while I lay on the bathroom floor praying for death.

I crawled into bed around 10pm, exhausted and miserable and in desperate need of shut-eye. Sleep, however, was spooked away by the screaming coming from the pool outside the hotel. I tried to be patient - surely it would close at 11pm, right?

At 11:20, I became that old person. Yes, I called the front desk and demanded they get those damned kids off my lawn nicely complained about the noise. About ten minutes later, security arrived at our door to tell us they had issued a warning and told them that if there was another complaint they'd have to shut the pool down. However, the kids had curfew that would be coming up soon so that should take care of it.

Note to hotel: get scarier looking security. These dudes were in suits and the guy doing all the talking looked like my grampa. I might've laughed at him. Or asked him to go get me some cookies. The other guy looked like he was there to fix my computer.

It was quiet after that and while I still had trouble sleeping, it wasn't due to the noise.

Also, when the knock came at the door, I was pretty sure it was going to be the kids from the pool, here to do an exorcism or something. But I guess I would've heard them coming.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The original Brangelina

I'm having a bit of a topic block so I decided to go smack the "random article" link on Wikipedia. It's over on the left or you can click here. Fun, huh?

My first random article was about Ranlo, North Carolina.
Ranlo was named for John Calvin Rankin and William Thomas Love, two prominent area industrialists - "Ranlo" was a contraction of RANkin and LOve.

See? The original Brangelina! Only, RanLo beat them to the punch by about 100 years. Suck it, Brangelina!

The next few were pretty boring but then Wikipedia gifted me with smoking cap. Similar to a smoking jacket, this was to keep your hair from smelling of smoke. Here's an idea - don't smoke, you won't smell!

Speaking of smell, here's Lady Mary Pellatt. She "...was the first Chief Commissioner of the Girl Guides of Canada. She was awarded the Silver Fish." Wait, silver fish? If anyone ever awards me with a silver fish, I'm going to award them with a punch in the face.

What's with all the moth species and football entries? Is this thing broken?

And, finally, desmoteplase. Any guesses what that might be? If you said "a chemical in the saliva of vampire bats" you would be correct! I'm going to bet none of you guessed that though. It keeps the blood of the victim from clotting, causing profuse bleeding. Awesome, huh?

I'm going to take threats of vampire bats as a serious sign that Wikipedia has had enough of me. Leave a comment and let me know what kind of random crap Wikipedia served up for you. Maybe it will inspire a post for someone.

(Just a disclaimer - I think wikipedia is crap as an actual source but that doesn't mean it can't be fun or even useful. Just gotta double-check those facts!)

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Appeasing the masses

Seems you're all interested in the story behind my banishment from my hometown Sears. I'll share but consider yourselves warned - if you're a big fan of Joe, his halo may slip a bit here... (Or, maybe it will make you a bigger fan, in which case don't tell him because his ego is big enough already.)

Back in the olden days (circa 1996), I bought a stereo at Sears with some of my graduation money. It was what my dad still refers to as a "ghetto blaster". Way to be a white man, Dad. I would like to refer to it more as a boombox. For some reason, after a couple of weeks, I decided I did not want a boombox - I wanted a shelf stereo.

Joe drove me to the mall, stereo and receipt in hand, and dropped me off at Sears. They refused to take the unit back. Defeated but too timid to put up much of an argument, I left.

When I returned to Joe, still lugging the offending stereo, he decided he was going to get my money back for me. It's important to note that Joe still refuses to take no for an answer but his methods have matured greatly. Also, he's a little more reasonable about the demands he makes. But that's now and we're talking about the Stone Age of 1996.

Joe carts my stereo back into the store and again asks for a refund. The lady says no. Joe asks for a manager. She IS the manager (aren't they all?). Joe then tells her she WILL refund the money. He didn't threaten her and I can't even remember his exact words. Except that by this time, I was doing my best to make a stealthy retreat into the neighboring shoe department.

She finally offered to give him 80% back but of course this wasn't good enough. She told him that it was the best she could do according to policy.

And this is when it all went so very wrong. Joe raised his voice. "Listen here, you black-haired bitch. It says right over the door there 'satisfaction guaranteed or your effing money back'."

That's when she called security. We were escorted from the store by two fat guys wearing shirts three sizes too small and told to never return. And even though that was thirteen years ago and I'm sure none of those people are still there, I've always been afraid to go back.

Honestly, it's not even that big of a loss. I was never a Sears fan and then since they got all wrapped up with evil duty-shirking KMart I've gone out of my way to avoid them. But KMart is a rant for another day.

P.S. - Just remember, Joe would NEVER do something like that now. First, he wouldn't return (slightly) used merchandise unless it was defective. Second, he'd never speak that inconsiderately to anyone. Third, he doesn't shop at Sears either.

P.P.S. - Except for all of our kitchen appliances are from there but that's because we wanted to keep them all the same brand but we just order those online. And we don't call the delivery guys "black-haired bitches" ever.

P.P.P.S. - Mostly because they have those crazy muscles. And they aren't really Sears employees anyways. And they aren't bitches cuz they're dudes.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Monday Debriefing

Just a quick babble this morning to tie up some loose ends before I tackle another week.

First, yesterday's post (I'd link to it because the interwebz like that kind of thing but that seems complicated this morning so just find it yourself - I mean, it's YESTERDAY's post, it's not that hard). They're all true. Every last one of them. If you'd like to see one explained, leave a comment and I'll see what I can do. A few of them might make decent posts. Or not. I never can quite tell.

I went away this weekend with Joe and had a lovely time Saturday until my dinner rebelled. That man knows the best gift he can give me sometimes is diet ginger ale and Pepto Bismol. First and last time I travel without both. Also, I once sobbed hysterically because airport security took away my little bottle of pink salvation. Why don't they make it in a bottle small enough to pass the liquid ban? (The pill form does nothing for me.)

Last night I was feeling better but we overdid with the white wine. So this morning I'm sitting at my desk drinking diet ginger ale and eating crackers. I'm sure my coworkers think I'm pregnant but nope, just hungover.

LASERS!!! Also, BOOYAH!!!

And now, if one of you would kindly make the room stop spinning on your way out, I need to go do some work.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Honesty is its own reward

I'm not a huge poster of awards and such but since I'm currently running amok out of town and trying to schedule ahead of time, here we are.

I received the Honest Scrap award twice (once from Moxie at Creative Explosion and once from Rochelle at slacker-chick.

I don't quite play by the rules when it comes to being tagged with awards but this one involves posting ten facts about yourself that noone else knows. Considering how often I TUI (twitter under the influence), I can't guarantee the noone-ness of these but here we go.

1. I am morally offended by black pepper. The taste, the way it mucks up the appearance of my potatoes, the sneezing. Ugh, just don't do it.

2. My favorite color is purple. Except when it is green. Or blue. And really, I'm more about color combinations. I want it all.

3. My will includes reference to a document specifying certain aspects of my funeral (because my parents are freaks and Joe shouldn't have to deal with them), including the outlawing of any carnations. I hate carnations. Daisies too.

4. I currently have ten posts in draft for this blog, ranging from pregnancy to electric usage to single drunk girl karaoke.

5. One of my wishes is to have a birthday cake with something really crazy screen-printed and written on it (like an ugly sofa and it says LASERS!!! maybe). Half the fun will be imagining what the cake people thought when they saw the order. Normal cakes are so unimaginative.

6. Sometimes I wonder how tired celebs become of repeating their trademarks. Like Roger Ebert - did he ever want to shove his thumb up someone's @$# because he just didn't feel like a thumbs up that day? And does Sting get totally tired of "Don't Stand So Close To Me"? I bet they do.

7. I once altered a picture of Rusty online to protect his anonymity.

8. I've been banned from my hometown Sears.

9. My first piano solo was How Great Thou Art and I was so embarrassed afterwards that I hid in the bathroom and cried.

10. As a child, I was teased for being tall. Now I'm teased for being short

Oh yeah, a few of those might be lies. Feel free to amuse yourselves with guessing which and I'll post the results on Monday.

I also received the Best Blog Award. Probably that one can and should be revoked but booyah anyways! Oh, and I got an award from mzbehavin but it had a dirty word in it so I'm all "thank you" but decided not to post it..

What I really want is that Zombie Chicken award. Or maybe I'll create my own Robot Armadillo award. Awesome, right? You know you want one. And it will have LASERS!!!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Six Word Saturday

Note: Responses will most likely be late - I'm going to be out of town overnight.

It's Saturday! Hope you're all sleeping in, enjoying an Irished coffee, hanging out in your bunny slippers. While you do that, let's phone in our posts today! Describe your life (or something) in a phrase using just six words. For more information, try clicking here.

My six words:

I don't care what you think.

Yeah, a bit of an attitudinal fit for you this morning. I don't even know if attitudinal is a real word. And I don't care if you think it isn't! Pffft!

What I DO care about is that you participate! All that's necessary to participate is to post your own six words. If you do so in your blog, please add a link to the Mr. Linky. I appreciate a link back (shiny code below!) but I'm not going to delete your entry or punch you in the face if you don't. Otherwise, you're welcome to leave your six words in the post as a comment.



Friday, July 24, 2009

I hate it when...

... your employer (both as an organization and your boss individually) is telling you to be creative, be innovative, come up with ways to increase efficiency and decrease costs.

So you come up with three ideas that do exactly that. Truly genius ideas.

And then the boss shoots them all down. Because they're too outside the box.

Guess I misunderstood the assignment.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Drunk with exhaustion

Walrussian Alert!!! Medical Content Ahead! I tried to post about something else but this is what's on my mind so this is what you get. Also, I've tweeted about it and it's hard to explain in 140 characters.

What's the difference between being calm and being too tired to care?

I think I'm happily settling back into zombie mode. For a few days, I woke up a bit and it seemed nice. But then I cared too much about things and it wore me out. Giving a damn is exhausting!

Yesterday, I saw the doctor for this fantastic video strobe which was totally not what I thought it was going to be. I was all prepared to flip out about numbing my nose and throat so they could run a tube up a nostril and see my throat. Instead, there was no numbing and they poked the hell out of the back of my throat with a laser gun while holding my tongue and making me sing "EEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!". Seriously. They even recorded video. Horrifying. I almost gagged and barfed on the guy three times or so. I wonder if anyone has actually puked on him? That would suck.

Anyways, he told me afterwards that it's textbook acid reflux. Yay, right? Except I'm on a gazillion meds for reflux so it should be under control.

This is when he busts out our "plan". He's going to put me back on the reflux meds I was on before the insurance had a fit (he can authorize it or something). Then we're going to do a fun 24 hour "esophageal pH test". I'm not even going into the details of that fun; you can read about it here if you feel so inclined. It will measure the amount of acid in my system over a 24 hour period to see how effectively the meds are/aren't working, etc.

He then tells me that if we can't control it through medication and lifestyle, I may need surgery. Again, not going into the specifics because I might just awake my inner give a damn and spaz but here's a linky. Suffice to say it's pretty major and irreversible so that would be second opinion time.

The major concern is that a strong correlation has been drawn between people with long-term uncontrolled acid reflux and esophageal cancer. Which is a very bad diagnosis says Dr. GagMe. I'm going to just trust him on that because Google has already sufficiently creeped me out.

And what I really care about? When do I get to sleep? You can stick tubes anywhere you want. I'll take whatever pills you prescribe. Just when do I get my 8-hour snoozefest?

Anyways, that's the latest chapter in the Life of Cate: She Who Does Not Sleep. My body really hates me. I think there's not a single normal-functioning part in there. And if I take the time to do an inventory and find one? I'm sure it will conk out tomorrow.

In the meantime, I'm going to go back into my sleep-deprivation state that allows me not to care. Where's my "Do Not Disturb... or I'll punch you in the face" sign?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Gobbeldygook

Sometimes I fail so brilliantly at communicating. As someone who enjoys writing, it's one of my biggest frustrations, this failure to adequately express what's in my head.

Wisdom comes in determining where the failure occurs. Is it my inability to successfully translate the thoughts in my head to the words that come out of my mouth or onto my blog? Maybe the audience I'm expressing myself to is incapable of hearing the message due to a failure or unwillingness on their end?

I've had several failures to communicate recently. Some have been with my boss. There's one situation where I just know I'm right - I believe the problem lies in that he is only seeing the situation from a technical and political view when I'm trying to sell him on the public relations and marketing view.

Certainly I've struggled to communicate with myself but I know that's a stubborn unwillingness to hear. I'm receiving the message, I know the message is correct, I'm just coming up short in acting on the message.

Unfortunately there have also been some crossed wires in my communications with the husband lately. This is the one where I really don't know wherein the problem lies. It seems to be a very complicated tangle of mixed signals, mixed interpretations, words out of my mouth that don't at all resemble what was intended when the thoughts were formed in my head.

Oddly, this post is the opposite of what I had intended to post today. See, today is the 5th anniversary of Cate Independence Day - a day I strongly communicated a clear and important message to my mother that insisted on boundaries in our relationship. Today is a celebration of me finding the ability to stand up for myself and spell out exactly what I needed and expected in order to carry on any association with each other.

We all have our difficulties in communicating from time to time. I just wish I wasn't suffering from the sensation that I'm speaking in a language that's alien to everyone around me.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Cooking with Gordon

On Friday, I took a mental health day from work. It was kinda necessary and I made great use of it but doing a lot of nothing.

Part of the nothing involved watching a couple of shows on the DVR. That is when I saw this:



If you can't watch the YouTube video because your employer makes you ask permission to pee blocks YT or if you choose to be disagreeable by not watching it because you want me to punch you in the face, here's what you're missing: Gordon Ramsay making an absolutely mouth-watering chicken dish complete with basil, tomato and fresh mozzarella.

Now, basil, tomato and fresh mozzarella are one of my favorite flavor combinations. Joe's also a fan so when I showed him the video, he agreed - we must make this!

Sunday night was the night. The video gave enough information that I could make it straight from that but I managed to find the exact recipe online. After a bit of translating (the only important bit is that 200°C is roughly 400°F), we were underway. I made sure to swear adequately at Joe while I was cooking - I don't think Gordon Ramsay recipes work any other way.

It was a quick dish, a simple dish, and an amazing dish. The only thing we did differently is that I used fresh basil from our garden even where the recipe called for dried and I used about half a cup of dry white wine when we were cooking up the tomato/sauce mixture. Oh, and I skipped his sides. Because it's my kitchen, you $%^@ing donut, and I wanted too!

The results? See for yourself:



Beautiful and delicious. Even Joe agreed that it was worth being called a stupid donkey if it meant he could eat this for dinner!

Now, $%@& off, all of ya!

Programming Note: Gordon's back on tv starting tonight - it's a new season of Hell's Kitchen. I'll be there!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Thinking Music

Your task list is a mile long. Many shiny distractions surround you but you must concentrate. How do you make this happen?

For me, the answer is almost always the same - I put on my thinking music. For some people, maybe this is a style of music or a specific artist. That works for me but only for a limited time. When I really mean business, only one thing will do.

The soundtrack from The Last of the Mohicans.

Seriously.

Also, I've never seen the movie. I know it's long and about Indians. And a woman. Maybe she's an Indian. Or not. Honestly, I don't really care.

What I do care about is that this particular soundtrack has been helping me study, write, fall asleep, settle my nerves and generally increase focus for roughly sixteen years now. My grandparents bought the movie and it came with the soundtrack (on cassette). They wouldn't let me watch the movie at that young impressionable age but the soundtrack was mine for the taking.

And so it began. I literally wore through and destroyed the cassette. It was one of the first albums I downloaded online back in the good old days of Napster. If I was stranded on an island with only one album, it would probably be this.

Today, I have at least a million things to do. And my greatest failure is that I've left my iPod at home. No thinking music for me. This is going to be a challenge.

Do you have thinking music? Some equivalent that helps you work?

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Ubiquitous

Main Entry: ubiq·ui·tous
Pronunciation: \yü-ˈbi-kwə-təs\
Function: adjective

1: existing or being everywhere at the same time : constantly encountered : widespread
2: a ridiculously complex word describing the state of Tonya's hair

But the good news is that all involved survived the visit to the vet. Tonya even let them take her blood pressure! As a bonus, it only took 3 of us to give her the rabies shot.

Rusty, of course, purred through the entire experience. That's just how he rolls.

So after hitting me with a bill for the exams in the amount of $150, they presented me with an estimate to have Tonya's teeth cleaned. $360.43. And did I have any questions? Yes, three:
  • Is it REALLY such a bad thing if she loses them and has to live on wet food?
  • How much for kitty dentures?
  • Any bartering value in a bag of cat hair?

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Six Word Saturday

It's Saturday! Can I get a "woohoo"? Or maybe a "booyah?" Describe your life (or something) in a phrase using just six words. For more information, try clicking here.

My six words:

Substitute vet won't know what's coming


And for the first time ever, Joe has contributed six words:

Get that thing out of here!

Yeah, we're taking both cats to the vet for their annual exam this morning. Wish us luck. If I don't make it back, please know that you've loved me well.

All that's necessary to participate is to post your own six words. If you do so in your blog, please add a link to the Mr. Linky. I appreciate a link back (shiny code below!) but I'm not going to delete your entry or punch you in the face if you don't. Otherwise, you're welcome to leave your six words in the post as a comment.



Friday, July 17, 2009

Some Random Bits

Since I didn't write a post last night (which is my preferred method because I'm not exactly on top of my game first thing in the morning), I'm just going to share a couple of random bits.

First, I'm taking a mental health/exhaustion day from work today. My best night of sleep all week was last night and involved three two-hour stretches. Which means I'm barely even entering a true sleep state. Also, work has been a bit crazy, not so much in a "so much to do" way but more in a "boss is aggravating me, projects are aggravating me, I HATE EVERYONE LEAVEMEALONE" way. So, yeah. Mental health day it is.

Speaking of mental health, tomorrow both kitties have their annual exams. Tonya has finished her meds without too much drama (though she did hide one bottle of pills under the stove so we couldn't find it) and seems to be doing well. We use the "divide and conquer" method when it comes to annual exams. Joe goes with me and sits in the waiting room with one cat while I have the other cat in with the vet. Sometimes Joe has to join me in the exam room (along with a small army of vet staff and a large towel) when it's time for Tonya's shots. Wish us luck with that.

Lastly, I wanted to share a link to a site that I found on Slacker-Chick's blog. The site is called She Writes and it's a network for women writers of, well, just about anything. Blogs, stories, manuscripts, poems... If you put words together, there's probably a place for you there. I just signed up last night and haven't had a lot of time to explore but so far it looks promising so you might want to check it out. Or you might not and that's fine too. No face-punching, I promise.

I think that's about it for me this morning. I'm going to spend some time pursuing creative "stuff" today and hopefully napping. Come back tomorrow for Six Word Saturday.

P.S.: I know the blogging has been a bit weak around here this week. Lack of sleep and other projects (good, bad and ugly) have been dominating my will to live efforts a bit. Next week will be better.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Twitter Critters

I've met some interesting folks on Twitter. I'm not so much talking about people I've met through my blog and now we all stalk each other throughout the day. I'm talking about people I wouldn't have happened upon if not for Twitter.

A month or so ago, I had a dream about Alan Rickman stealing my nephew. I twittered about my daily post, like I often do, and suddenly there was a response from someone I had never heard of, @artistikem. Turns out she has a constant search running on Alan Rickman and wanted to know why he was stealing babies. Don't we all... Also, she's a writer obsessed with stabbing people. Awesome.

I believe it was through her that I may have met one @dpringle. Interesting dude and he's living a life full of things of interest to me - guitars and photography. I've also converted him to a faithful follower at my church of #BOOYAH. Except for those days that are more #ANTI-BOOYAH.

Then someone else started following me, @religionbites. I have to sheepishly admit that it took me much longer than it should've to realize that she and @dpringle are, in fact, mates. For realz, yo.

These last three are part of the "creative bunch" I referred to in my post on Monday.

Also stalking me on Twitter completely outside the realm of bloggers is @slanket. I do so love my Slanket. And @slanket loves me too!

Another person who randomly messaged me based on a search (this time Harper's Island) was @seansmoma. She hooked me up with early viewings of the show when the suspense was just too much. And tonight, it came full circle when she mentioned Alan Rickman.

These are just a few of the people I spend the day poking back and forth at that I never would've "met" without Twitter. Check them out, lots of fun!

Also, @dpringle suggested my topic for this post because I had absolutely nothing. Sometimes, it's just like that. If you want the full Cate experience, check me out on Twitter - it's the truest representation of the crazy in my head.

Lastly, here's a giant inflatable giraffe. Which has nothing to do with anything but I felt like sharing.

Opposite Day

Monday was all about quiet.

Tuesday was all about noise and disruption and frustration. I can't hear myself think today, either due to outside chaos or things bouncing around my mind.

It was also one of those days when everyone wanted to run something by me but it seemed most didn't really want to hear what I had to say. Oh, what, my opinion is different from yours? I'm sorry you didn't receive the pat on the back you were looking for but when you asked what I thought, I took that to mean you actually wanted my input.

Also, work was offering free health screenings and my drama llama boss managed to come in and completely spaz me out 10 minutes before my blood pressure check. Great...

Wednesday is a new day. I'm working from home and planning to fit in a lot of creative projects.

That's right, I'll be the one feeling focused and having a fantastic day on Wednesday.

Or I'll punch someone in the face.

Look for new Cate goodies coming soon!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Quiet

Main Entry: qui·et
Pronunciation: \ˈkwī-ət\
Function: adjective

1 a: marked by little or no motion or activity : calm b: gentle, easygoing c: not interfered with d: enjoyed in peace and relaxation
2 a: free from noise or uproar : still b: unobtrusive, conservative

My home growing up was in the country. It was very possible to sit outside and only hear the sounds of nature for long periods of time without interruption. An occasional truck ambling up the gravel road drowned out the mooing of the cows in the field behind our house. A neighbor's tractor moving bales of hay for their horses sometimes silenced a hooting owl. I always knew it was noon when the siren sounded at the fire station in the valley but other than those few intrusions, I was alone with the quiet voices of nature.

Currently, I live just barely inside the limits of a fairly major city. It's your typical suburban neighborhood with cookie cutter two-story homes sandwiched too near each other on a quarter acre of land each. And as I take advantage of the momentary reprieve from heat and humidity to write from my screened porch, I think how different my idea of "quiet" has become over the years.

We're just off a street that carries a substantial amount of traffic. Train tracks run nearby, bringing along the chugging of the engine and the blasting of the whistle at each crossing. Just a bit further, perhaps two miles from where I'm reposed, a major interstate provides a constant dull roar of background noise. A bit farther in the distance, I can hear the beeping of construction equipment erecting new apartments that will add even more traffic to the already busy route.

And yet, I also hear birds chirping. The wind tickles the leaves of the trees in the backyard and a squirrel scampers along the fence, his tiny feet clicking along. Between the passing vehicles, there is still quiet. Nature is still out there; she's just sharing her space with a few more inhabitants.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Overcome

Sometimes, I am completely overcome with the urge to create. Over the years this has taken many different forms - food, crafts, photos, music, stories, designs, communities.

I'm feeling more image-driven right now I think. I'm obsessed with striking images. I want to capture them with my camera, display them on my walls. Design sites around them.

It's always exciting to me when you keep company with folks who inspire you. I tend to group people in my mind and the "creative bunch" I interact with on Twitter has really fed me lately. It makes me want to put something back out there that makes me feel the same.

So rather than my usual trick of spending all of my time hung up on the "how" and "should I?", I'm just going to do it. I'll admit I did start a bit with the "how" because I needed to find and organize my tools (hence Saturday's six words). But now I'm ready to go.

If anything interesting comes together, you may just see it here. And don't worry - no cat hair mosaics. I promise.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Quick confession

Ok, I'm gonna make this quick because I'm a bit under the influence going to watch a movie with TADA!!!! SuperJoe!!! Also, you may want to just skip this blog today.

Here goes.

I have a confession to make. Today (erm, Saturday), I sold my soul to the devil struck a deal with myself that may or may not be in my best interest. But, really who's to say?

Here's the dealio. We went for massages at Massage Envy. And I talked Joe into signing us up for the membership which entitles me to monthly massage goodness. The trade-off (not that he mentioned this or that it was even brought up) is that I'm not going to reinstate my gym membership.

See, the gym is supposedly running great deals which they won't tell you the details about until you show up in person. Because they think I'll be all "wow, they're in my face, how can I refuse?" when really, I'm fine with saying "gimme for this much or I walk!" So the deal is happening this Monday/Tuesday and I was going to go but now I think I can't justify both so I'm happy to have the massage.

Probably the gym membership is more beneficial because I'm currently a total blubber butt trying to lose weight. But, then, last month I spent $20 on Gold's Gym for the Wii. And then about a week ago I spent $60 for EA Active for the Wii. Today, I spent another $30 to buy a wireless nunchuck for the Wii because I'm tired of strangling myself during shoulder presses. EA Active I'm confident is worthwhile and may get results. And more importantly, I need to quit eating, which the gym isn't going to help with anyways.

(A quick aside - EA Active is WAY more intense and all-around workout that Gold's Gym. Lots of attacking specific muscles, plus cardio, plus some fun. It reminds me a lot more of working out with my trainer at the gym. Also, it's nicer than the original WiiFit. Though it took me several workouts to realize it was telling me "nice cadence" instead of "nice cans". Kinda disappointing, actually. I happen to think my cans are amazing!)

Really, is the gym more beneficial than the massage? The gym can work out some frustration and anger. But the massages can help with my anxiety, my headaches, my TMJ...

Maybe I made the wrong choice. (Convince me and I'll tell my sugar daddy Joe I need both and I'll just sell a kidney to afford it.)

But so yeah, that's my confession for today. Weak. That's also my post for today. Weak.

Know what's not weak? Looking forward to monthly massages. BOOYAH.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Six Word Saturday

You know what to do! Describe your life (or something) in a phrase using just six words. For more information, try clicking here.

My six words:

Organization allows me freedom to create

All that's necessary to participate is to post your own six words. If you do so in your blog, please add a link to the Mr. Linky. I appreciate a link back (shiny code below!) but I'm not going to delete your entry or punch you in the face if you don't. Otherwise, you're welcome to leave your six words in the post as a comment.




Friday, July 10, 2009

Mr. Rogers didn't live in my 'hood

This post was inspired in part by the amazing and fantabulous Princess Andy. It's entirely possible her posts aren't for the prudish or faint of heart but they sure as hell are for me.

Anyways, she posted a couple of days ago about a nightmare involving stuff gushing from her bathroom ceiling. This reminded me of a story involving the bathroom in our first apartment after Joe and I were married. Which then reminded me of another story involving that same apartment. I allowed Andy to pick which of the two she'd prefer me to share first and so of course you shall first be blessed with the story involving my nakedness. Just a warning that this post may have a "squeamish" quotient that has nothing to do with aforementioned exposure of my body.

Here goes...

It was May of 1999. Joe and I had lived in this craptastic awful little apartment since our wedding in August of the year before. After almost a year of obnoxious neighbors, fire alarms, attacks by killer bees, kids peering in our bedroom windows, seepage from the ceiling and almost being electrocuted by our stove, we were thrilled to be moving soon to a newer, nicer apartment.

A week or so before the move, our "home" an obstacle course of boxes, Joe was at the sink shaving when I stepped into the shower. I turned on the water and reached up to adjust the shower head. This is because Joe is much taller than I am and just like he never puts the toilet seat down, he also never readjusts the shower head. Anyways, I reached up and the shower head felt... fuzzy. Wait, what? Fuzzy?

As I pulled my hand away from the offending fixture, I realized there was a millimonster on my hand. I don't know what other people call them but I call them millimonsters. They are furry and have eleventy bajillion legs and they run like Olympic sprinters.

I did what anyone would do in my situation. I screamed like the girl I am, flicked that beasty off my hand, stepped in the toilet on my way out of the shower, grabbing my towel mid-stride and demanded that Joe take care of the situation IMMEDIATELY. He gallantly killed the savage predator and then scooped it onto a fly swatter to dispose of it outside. I, of course, followed him, still ranting and raving like a lunatic someone whose very life had been threatened by a ferocious foe.

"OMG I hate it here. I am so glad we are moving out of this HOLE of an apartment!!! This place SUCKS!!!" I screamed at him as he tossed my assailant into the yard across the parking lot.

It was at this point that I happened to realize I was outside, in my towel. Also outside? A small U-Haul, a young girl, and what appeared to be her mother. The girl sort of waved. "Hi, I'm moving into 3a".

What other response was there? "I'm sure you'll love it here."

P.S. My most heartfelt apologies to Andy for making her think she had missed something serious and throwing her into a tizzy. And I totally mean that because I have been in exactly that situation before and it is not fun.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

MeowCHOO!

A bird was outside my window screaming today and I totally thought it was a kitten. Because that's what I need in my life, another cat. But no, it was just a bird. An annoying, obnoxious bird. That needed to die fly south for winter immediately.

And speaking of cats, yes, Tonya (she of the "all the cat hair you can eat") is sick. She was quite sick last fall as well, back when none of you were reading my blog. And since I had just started out, I didn't give a final update on that situation because I was afraid this was going to become the crazy cat lady blog. Anyways, last fall, she started sneezing then she became congested and couldn't breathe out of her little speckled nose. When cats can't smell their food, they quit eating it. And when cats quit eating, they kinda forget to start again, becoming anorexic and causing possibly severe and permanent damage to their kitty kidneys. Or is it the liver? Maybe that's if she drinks too much. Whatever it was, it cost us about a zillion dollars but after a week of not eating, the vet gave her a shot of valium and we spent the next few days hand-feeding her baby food until she returned to her usual crazy self.

So this time, she started sneezing towards the end of last week but we kept an eye on her. The appetite is amazing. But by Tuesday of this week, I could hear a bit of congestion and her eyes were watering. Since the vet is terrified of Tonya is familiar with Tonya's history, they gave me meds for her without bringing her in for an appointment. Three pills a day for seven days, 21 pills in all. It's like we're being punished. As I write this, five pills have successfully been crammed down the kitty throat. And only one bandaid applied to the human.

And to answer the questions posed in yesterday's post by TMC:
  • Tonya only gets a runny nose, not boogers though some cats do
  • her meds are pills, not liquid
  • Rusty's pissed that she's receiving extra attention and what he thinks are treats but are really antihistamines and antibiotics
Also, they don't have an online presence (anymore, except for the catcams). And it's entirely possible that Tonya is a drug dealer. Hey, it's a tough economy and her crunchies aren't cheap!

Ok, enough of being the crazy cat lady blog. Tomorrow I'll be posting about the bathroom in our first apartment, assuming Princess Andy quits being all princess-y and tells me which post she prefers. Otherwise, you may just get another post full of cat hair.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Guest Post: Travels with Return to Rural

Today's brilliant post is brought to you by TMC @ Return to Rural who so gallantly answered my plea for help last night. See, I have a sick Tonya-cat. I'll probably update on that tomorrow. But in the meantime, trust me that this is way better than any of the brain vomit I was coming up with for today's post. And please, go visit her blog. You won't be sorry because her posts are full of awesome and booyah. Including this one.

Greetings! I've stepped in to save the day help out with today's post while Cate's off wiping cat snot or collecting stool samples or whatever it is cat people do that non-cat people wouldn't. Feel better, Tonya!

Cate asked me where I would go if I could simply pack my bags and head off, money being no object.

Interesting.

Since I'm an over-thinker by nature, I'll set aside all the theoretical questions related to my theoretical free vacation and just assume that she'd arrange for things to be taken care of at work and home in my absence. I'll also assume that money's no object because I'm travelling on HER tab, which would make the trip all the more pleasant; I'd be eating well while she'd have to resort to finding ways to spruce up store-brand spaghetti sauce for every meal for the duration.

Where would I go? Well, one might guess that I'd go to Tibet where I have a house and family. Or over to the west coast where the weather is always good and where the other half of my family lives. I could pick a handful of other places I've never been but want to go. But if I had to pack and leave RIGHT NOW, because of where my head is and because I have a hankering (yeah, I said it) for motion and quiet, I'd go to Canada. More specifically, I'd take the 26 day VIA Rail Odyssey of Opulence by Cruise & Rail. It goes from one end of Canada to the other, through some of the most pristine land in North America. I've never been on a cruise, but I have been on countless train trips and I love train travel. With Cate & Joe's life savings in my grubby hands I could travel comfortably in my own cabin, venturing out only occasionally to people-watch other travellers in the dining car, to see the staff expertly sway with the movement of the cars, never spilling a drop of water or losing a basket of bread.

Oh dear. I hope there's wi-fi available!

I find that I write well on trains. Something about the perpetual movement syncs up with my creativity and I miraculously get things done. Thoughts become clear when all you have to do is feel yourself travel through time while staring out the window at an expanse of land in which one could get lost and never be found if desired. Ideas bloom from seeds to flowers to full-on bouquets with direction and purpose and a aesthetic that makes sense (unlike this sentence. Clearly I'm NOT on a train now.) I once took the train from Los Angeles to Seattle, in coach, and wrote a BIC crystal bone dry. I filled a 500 page notebook with sheer brilliance that has since been lost as I've grown up and moved from one place to another. I'm confident that it was brilliant, though. I remembered having such a sense of accomplishment and sharing exerpts of my "work" with friends. Anyway, on a train I could maybe get some of the story ideas out of my head. On a train I could sleep all day and stay up all night, writing and internetting and somehow finding ways to get from just dreaming to actually doing so many of the things that I know I could do if I had the time and space to think them through.

By now I'm sure your mind has wandered and you're thinking "How's Tonya? Do cats get boogers? Did she get pills or liquid medicine? Does Rusty care that she's sick?"

I don't know. I've never met Tonya or Rusty so you might just have to see if they've got a FaceSpace page where they're posting hourly snot-watch updates. Perhaps Tonya's not really sick and is instead building a cache of prescriptions she sells to neighbourhood cats during the day while Cate & Joe are at work. I'm told cats are very crafty like that. I wouldn't know. I'm a rabbit person.

Thanks for coming along on this imaginary rail trip with me. If I ever do get to go on my Canadian journey, you can bet you'd all get postcards and maybe a blog post or two (or 50) along the way.

But hey, maybe rail travel isn't your thing so tell us... where would you go with just a packed bag on Cate's dime?

*Photo is from the VIA Rail site.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Respect the butter

During family vacation (Ha! You thought I was done babbling about that!), I discovered several key areas in which I'm much different from my family. One of which can be summed up by the state of my butter when I returned home.

As part of our effort to bring a lot of basics since we had more room in our vehicles, I brought along a lot of condiments. And a big tub of butter. Hear me out, folks. I'm going somewhere with this!

When we arrived back home after the trip, I pulled the butter out of the cooler and found a disaster. The butter was full of jagged edges. And CRUMBS!!! In fact, it was quite obvious that someone had wiped their knife on the inside edge of the tub!!! Can you imagine?

Now, I treat my butter like a lady. Smooth edges, even layers. No big gashes out of the center, no ridges from knives. And certainly no crumbs. My family ravaged my butter, leaving it in a very sorry state.

But as I said earlier - this lack of respect applies well beyond the butter. There's no respect for much of anything. Staying in a rented house (a house rented in Joe's name, for the record, making him liable for any damages), they routinely used the hot tub and pool without rinsing the sand off from the beach. In fact, this is how they chose to rinse the sand off. Never mind the conveniently-located outside shower!

There was also no respect when it came to keeping things picked up inside the house. Partially-eaten bags of chips, half cans of soda, wet towels, and other belongings were left everywhere. This made me a bit nuts - with that many people living in such limited space, I craved a bit of order. And none was to be found.

When I returned to the sanctity of my own home, I also craved butter. But first I had to heal it from the atrocities afflicted upon it by my family. I'm sorry, butter. It won't happen again. I promise.

P.S. - Maybe you think I'm a little over the top about my dairy products. But it's not just the butter. It's what it represents. It's much bigger than the butter.

P.P.S. - Respect my butter, respect me. Don't respect my butter, don't expect holiday gifties. Or fresh muffins.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Zombies

This weekend, I officially became a zombie.

Jealous?

I know you all want to be cool like me so here's my secret: Sleep a total of 3-4 hours each night, ranging from 30 to 90 minute intervals. Try to be productive. In public even. Lather, rinse, repeat until maximum zombie-ness has been reached.

You'll know you've reached the optimum zombie-level when the cashier at the shoe store looks like he might call security because you're standing in line totally talking to yourself. And when he asks if everything is alright, you laugh so maniacally that even your husband is alarmed and refuses to leave you unsupervised in public for the rest of the day.

For bonus points, fall asleep while standing up in PetSmart holding a 40lb bag of Tonya's gourmet crunchies. (That one is totally Joe's fault for taking too long to compare prices and brands of kitty litter. But I still allow him to buy me things love him.)

The good news is that I've seen improvement in my sleep the last two nights. Bit by bit, I may return to the land of the living. Though zombies are pretty cool too...

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Reflections on the Fourth

Since yesterday's post was consumed with Six Word Saturday, I thought I'd take a few minutes today to talk about what the Fourth of July means to me.

July 4th means two things to me: picnics and Go USA! birthdays and boys. Yeah, turns out this is a bit of a Sunday Confession.

First, the birthdays. My little brother, Rob, was born on July 4th. As such, of course he thought the big picnics and fireworks were for him. Eventually, he realized that it was odd the rest of us didn't receive such large celebrations. Truthfully, it was fun for me to make the day all about Rob. Even though I haven't spent his birthday with him in years, part of me still feels that the festivities are celebrating him.

Not to be forgotten, the 4th is also about boys. Specifically, fireworks are about boys. On one occasion (I think I was 15), I was invited to go see fireworks with the family of a guy that liked me. I liked him too but he was insanely shy. Short version is that I ended up making out with another guy throughout the evening. Looking back, probably this was poor form. But this other guy was someone I had liked forEVER (c'mon, you were 15 once!) and never thought I'd have a chance with so of course I was gonna go there when opportunity knocked!

And most notably, it was just before attending fireworks with Joe that he proposed for the first time. I say "for the first time" because we were so young, so new together, and he had no ring. We decided to be sort of pre-engaged or something and then he proposed for realz a year or so later, ring in hand all proper-like.

I should mention that it's not that I don't value and appreciate the freedoms are traditionally celebrated on this holiday. It's just that a lot of the politics have really disillusioned me. I liken it to organized religion vs. spirituality. I'm all about spirituality but most churches (and the politics there-in) turn me off. I'm all about my freedoms and the people who have served to ensure them - but the politics make it hard to rally behind The Big Day. Also, anything overly manipulative emotionally (*cough*Lee Greenwood*cough*) aggravates me. I'm also a big fan of "nothing wrong with having a special day but there are another 364 days you should remember the feeling as well". So perhaps that's part of why Independence Day isn't overly red, white and blue for me.

Whatever the Fourth of July means to you, I hope you had a good one.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Six Word Saturday

You know what to do! Describe your life (or something) in a phrase using just six words. For more information, try clicking here.

My six words:

Happy Birthday to my baby brother!

All that's necessary to participate is to post your own six words. If you do so in your blog, please add a link to the Mr. Linky. I appreciate a link back (shiny code below!) but I'm not going to delete your entry or punch you in the face if you don't. Otherwise, you're welcome to leave your six words in the post as a comment.



Friday, July 03, 2009

Inspiration everywhere

Every morning, I am greeted by 43 spam emails a lovely quote sent to my Inbox while I sleep.

The message looks something like this:


But on Wednesday, I was greeted instead by this:


It's hard not to feel like even the quotes have given up on me. "Hey, don't send one to that Cate chick - it's a waste of a quote since she fails to be inspired."

Only, I currently am inspired. So SCREW YOU quotes! You can have a punch in the face and an unsubscribe!

Thursday, July 02, 2009

ABCs of Kittydom

It's First Fursday! Today, we're participating in our first ever meme. Fun, right?

A - Age: Tonya is 9, Rusty just turned 6. In kitty years, we're both senior citizens. We want a tuna discount!

B - Bed size: Queen, as soon as we can make the humans move.

C - Chore you hate: Cleaning up after myself in the litter box. Snuggling with humans.

D - Dog's name: Better not be any dogs around here...

E - Essential start your day item: 4am songs to wake the humans.

F - Favourite colour: Salmon.

G - Gold or silver: Visa.

H - Height: How tall are shins? I'm exactly tall enough to wrap around shins when humans are on the stairs.

I - Instrument you play(ed): We are both excellent vocalists.

J - Job title: Professional Napper, Food Taster, Inspector of Items on Counters.

K - Kid(s): Neither of us have those parts.

L - Lick or bite: Rusty licks, Tonya bites.

M - Mom's name: Tonya was born to a street-kitty. Rusty came to earth in a spaceship.

N - Nicknames: Tonya - Nonni, Bizzitch, Woman. Rusty - Dude, Stripy, Mister.

O - Overnight hospital stay other than birth: Tonya isn't allowed to stay overnight at the "hospital" anymore so her last stay was when she was fixed. Rusty hasn't stayed overnight since moving in from the shelter.

P - Pet peeve: Humans who close the refrigerator door before we're done browsing.

Q - Quote from a movie: "I'll tell you in another life, when we are both cats. ." - Sofia (Vanilla Sky)

R - Right or left handed: We mostly use our front-footies.

S - Siblings: Tonya had a brother. No idea about Rusty.

T - Time you wake up: 4am. Why don't you humans pay attention?

U - Underwear: Tonya isn't a fan. Rusty likes to nap in the humans' underwear.

V - Vegetable you dislike: Tomatoes and onions.

W - Ways you drink your coffee: Heavy on the cream, non-existent on the coffee.

X - X-rays you've had: Tonya had booty x-rays when she wasn't eating. And both kitties had sinus/head x-rays when they were sick with scurvy a year ago. (Both have very small brains)

Y - Yummy food you make: We are served yummy food, tyvm. We only make hairballs and other pleasant gifties.

Z - Zoo favourite: Lions and tigers.

Hope you enjoyed learning more about us while our human is asleep on the job.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Goodbye, first 50% of 2009!

July 1st. Amazing. Happy Canada Day to my Northern neighbors. And my neighbor across the street. Who likes to complain all the time about what's wrong with the US. I say what's wrong is that he's here and he can GO HOME if he doesn't like it but apparently our women are good enough for him to marry so whatEVER.

Anyways.

The first of the month is when I usually create a Wordle of the past month's posts. Except, I think it's a lying liar because it says Kindle is one of the largest words. Really? I posted about it once and mentioned it about once more.

Instead, I give you a Wordle of my search terms from Google Analytics.



Lots of day, headache, father, week, letter, bugs, booty and sang. Awesome. Nothing too exciting though. Every month I start a crusade to confuse the hell out of Google and every month I give it up by about the 5th.

Speaking of giving things up... I had goals in January. Not only have I made little progress but I've dug myself into a deeper darker hole. Instead of losing weight, I've gained it. Instead of shaking my anxiety I've realized recently that I'm in one hell of a depression. My six words last week (Thanks Captain Obvious, already knew that) were actually referring to my doctor who gave me quite the lecture about the sorry state of my health.

So I need to quit with the giving (the positive) things up. I need to FOCUS FOCUS FOCUS. Plan and execute. Organize and do. And that's what I intend to do for the next six months. Or else I'll punch me in the face. Also, I'll expect YOU to punch me in the face.