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Friday, April 30, 2010

Mousecapades, Part 2

And PLEASE, let this be the final installment. Not everything needs to be a trilogy.

If you missed Part 1, please check out yesterday's post. Though, really, you should be reading my blog every single day so you don't miss anything. Summary: a mouse was hanging out in our pantry and after far too much time and effort, Joe was able to capture him and set him free in the woods behind our house, on the other side of the fence.

So last night, we set out disinfecting the pantry but had to first remove the few items remaining inside. I pulled out a box of Cheerios and was greeted by this:



No freaking way. I screeched. "He's back!!!" And Joe had to see for himself.

Joe tried once again to catch the mouse and set him free without harming him but the little critter refused to be caught. Let's just say that this particular mouse will not be visiting our pantry again any time soon, unless you believe in mouse-ghosts.

Now I'm wondering - is it more comforting to think that this was the same mouse and they're just that smart or to think that maybe this was a completely different mouse who found his way inside?

After much deliberation and weighing of pros and cons, I've decided to believe that it was the same mouse. I think he found such a feast in our pantry that he made sure he knew his way back. I also think Joe talked so nicely to him in order to sweet talk mousey safely into the box that Mr. Mouse decided they were now BFFs. Also, I cannot bear the thought that maybe there is an entire family of mice that are just going to continue hanging out, one by one, in my pantry.

Please, let there be no need for additional posts about mice.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Mouse Patrol

Every year, a mouse manages to make his way into our home. Every year, Tonya and Rusty are completely worthless. Rusty wants to play with Mr. Mouse. He caught one in his mouth one time, it squealed, he let it go and ran away afraid. Tonya does a quick inspection and usually decides she's more interested in a naptime. Oh, great hunters. Thanks for earning your keep nothing.

Last night, just before bedtime, I went downstairs to tell Joe goodnight and we heard a noise in the kitchen. We realized it was coming from inside the pantry (just a small closet with shelves). Since we knew it was neither of the cats, it was obviously an intruder. From the amount of noise it was making, it seemed pretty certain it was a raccoon. However, turns out it was just a mouse.

We spent an hour trying to catch the mouse. This involved Joe using a combination of tupperware and a flyswatter (as a guiding mechanism, not a swatting weapon) and me weilding a flashlight. Usually perched on top of the counter.

Eventually, we gave up. We set a non-hurty trap (which is really just code for non-effective) and stuffed a towel under the door so he couldn't get out. Because, you know, we were going to starve him to death. In our pantry. Where we keep all the food. "Thanks for the towel to keep the cats out! I'll be in here with this giant box of Cheerios!" We then barricaded the kitties in our bedroom so they wouldn't spend the night slamming around the kitchen playing with the mouse and keeping us awake. This meant that they spent the night prowling around our bedroom keeping us awake.

When I left for work this morning, Joe was preparing to make another attempt at Operation: Mouse Rescue.
Joe: I got him! but he ate our Scottish tablet (note: it's kinda like fudge)
me: so he's outside? or squarshed?
Joe: ouside
coaxed him into garage
set up a barricade made of two big cardboard boxes, a brownie box, gallon of paint, snow shovel...and flyswatter for coaxing
me: coaxing? or chasing the hell out of/poking? ;)
Joe: i talked to him
me: oh, that's good. Mouse Whisperer.
Joe: he came out about a dozen times but kept making u turn
finally he made the right choice
me: i'm sure it was a really tough decision for him to make.
which he had all night to ponder while eating our souvenirs.
Joe: i said last chance for freedom...else come the shoes of death
me: i'm glad you were able to get him outside and not squish him
out in the yard with the snake.
btw, you know all of this is going in my blog, right?
Joe: of course
After hearing all of this, there was only one thought to be had. My husband is a hero! We have a box of brownies?

P.S. Joe also informs me that the little mouse ate all the peanut butter out of the trap. But was not caught in it. Fail! Also, that mouse must've weighed about 5 lbs judging by everything he ate last night!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Migraine Rhymes With Pain (Not a Coincidence)

Note: I didn't write a post for today. And I don't feel like writing one. So instead I'm pulling this post out of the drafts and publishing without really looking it over again because I don't even feel like editing a post.

This post makes more sense if you watch the show Lost. But it doesn't discuss any spoilers. And it still might not be funny.

Last week, I experienced one hell of a migraine. Truthfully, I'm surprised I was able to gain control of it without heading into the emergency room for shots. Grateful, though. It's always preferable to avoid hours wasted in the ER while they inject chemicals into my booty.

One of the side effects of migraines (for me - they vary greatly for each person) is dysnomia. You may remember seeing it in action before, back when I tried to buy celery. Anyways, that inability to recall the correct word is called dysnomia. Here's an example from my recent migraine adventure:
chixor: NO LOST NEXT WEEK
me: yeah, wth up with no lost last week
err, next week
dysnomia ftw
chixor: are you time travelling now too?
am i talking to sideways cate or real timeline cate
me: alternate universe cate
chixor: lol
me: I've gone "off-island"
and by "off-island", i mean "completely cuckoo"
So at least she was able to give me a laugh over my mix up. And if I could time travel alongside Desmond? Rawr! Sign me up for more migraines!

Lights Out!

While we were away, my gym sent an email with the title "Gym Name is on the move!". I couldn't actually view the contents of the message but my first thought was - oh no, my gym is moving! And then I laughed and said - that's what they want us to think but I bet the actual message is talking about some new cardio class.

Wrong.

They actually are moving. My gym. The gym I belonged to for several years and finally canceled and then signed back up there specifically because of how familiar it is - the location, the equipment, the layout. Plus, they have a "darkroom" - a room full of cardio equipment and very low lighting. It's like exercising completely in private, nobody looking at what might be jiggling or sweating or falling off her treadmill.

Given my aversion to change, I went immediately to the ledge and started thinking about going over. But then I reminded myself - different does not automatically equal bad.

The new location is actually twice as large. Parking is ample (parking seemed like a workout of its own at the old building). There is now a pool and an inside track and basketball courts. And even though it's several miles from the old address, it's probably a bit more convenient for me whether I'm coming from work or home. Total score, right?

So tonight, Joe's going with me to check out the new digs. Safety in numbers. And all day, until that time, I'll be hoping like mad that they've recreated my dark room. Because all of the space and amenities and added facilities doesn't count if the lights are on. It's about conserving electricity. It's about preserving sanity. It's about not observing me.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Equality and Independence

Suddenly, I'm all about equality and independence. It's bizarre and strange and new.

And I think I like it.

Saturday morning, Joe was taking part in a stream clean-up with the church group that I uncermoniously broke up with earlier this year. My original plan for the morning involved writing and working on some of my projects but my immediate inclination after he left was to unload the dishwasher and clean up what was accumulating in the sink instead.

I had barely turned on the water when I turned it back off. Wait, why am *I* wasting this opporunity for some me-time by doing chores? He's spending his Saturday morning as he chooses, why does that mean I have to do the housework?

And so I didn't. I spent almost three hours reading, writing, browsing, enjoying. When he returned home and started to mow the lawn, I put in a load of laundry, washed the dishes, and vacuumed up the twelve layers of Tonya's fur.

Yeah, equality. He plays, I play. He works, I work. He takes care of the house, I take care of the house.

Sure, it isn't always going to be equal. Sometimes, we help each other out or pick-up the extra when someone is out of commission. Caring for the home, including cleaning, cooking, grocery shopping, fell almost completely on me while he was working on his MBA. The one thing I did refuse to do was mow the yard, which meant it sometimes went a couple of weeks between mowings. But somehow we survived. And he's been left to handle things when I've been recuperating from various health issues.

But during a time like this, when all other demands are nearly equal, I'm learning to make myself a priority. My weekend alone while he was away at a wedding was so fantastic that I'm going to insist on carving out me-time on a regular basis. I'm even planning a me-retreat thanks to a deal I found on a hotel room in the next town over.

Heck, I'm even signing up for a semi-local conference regardless of his decision to attend or skip it. And if we do go, we'll barely see each other because we'll be on different tracks. I actually want to meet some people!

All this from a girl who has spent nights home alone while Joe traveled but who has never left Joe for a night home alone while she was off somewhere. All this from a girl who has busted her butt to please others and support her husband while losing sight of herself. I don't intend to stop supporting him, but I also need to support me.

Equality, independence. Suddenly, they make sense. And I want them. It's like someone flipped a switch and I'm ready.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Invisibility

Ever feel invisible? Ever make yourself invisible on purpose?

Check out the work of the Invisible Man. Regardless of your feelings on the political statement he's making, as an art statement, this is incredible work. Not to mention patience!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Six Word Saturday

Describe your life (or something) in a phrase using just six words. For more information, try clicking here. Feel free to explain or not explain. Add an image, a video, a song, nothing. I love seeing what everyone does each week with their entries.

Will this project ever be finished?

Not this project. Another project. We're two months past the original launch date. And it's not my fault!

Each week (probably on Sunday or Monday), I use random.org to select a bunch of entries to visit. That way, everyone has equal chance. In addition, please visit at least one person ahead of you on the list. That way everyone receives at least one visit!

All that's necessary to participate is to post your own six words. You can post an explanation if you wish but it's certainly not required. If you play along in your blog, please add a link to the Mr. Linky. I appreciate a link back (shiny code below if you like!). Otherwise, you're welcome to leave your six words in this post as a comment.

Please be sure to link either to your main page or (preferably) directly to the 6WS post. Links to blogs that do not contain a 6WS entry will be removed (sorry, just the button in the sidebar doesn't count as participating).



Friday, April 23, 2010

Hazards of Warm Weather

Even though it's not quite summer yet, warmer weather is here. This seems like a good time to review some of the dangers associated with the season.

First, there's swimming. Always swim with a friend. And if you see someone drowning...



A lot of people take advantage of the warmer weather to take a vacation. If that vacation involves children and a roadtrip, it's wise to pack some entertainment. Perhaps their favorite music?



(I love how they immediately go into meltdown mode.)

Warmer weather also means wearing shorts, tank tops, and other clothing with less coverage. For those of us with pasty skin, we might feel we look better with a bit of a tan. Whether you obtain color from the sun, a tanning booth, or spray tanning, remember that a little goes a long way:


And finally, there's summer footwear. Some prefer to go barefoot but strappy sandals and flip-flops are also popular choices. Just beware of the dangers that may ensue if you combine flip-flops with another popular summer activity - cold beverages:

>

Flip-flops really are tricky, even under the best of circumstances!

I hope that as you prepare for your summer fun, you will keep these things in mind. I'd hate to read your blog in the next few months and find that you've fallen victim to one of these warm weather afflictions.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Happy Earth Day

Today is Earth Day. I wanted to do something special but it kind of snuck up on me. Last year, I organized a bit of a blog hop and gave away a blog header/button. This year, notsomuch.

I'm sure you've already read a dozen posts that are more informative than anything I'd write here. If you haven't, this post by Lora at fever is a good one. Full of tips and tricks while not being all boring and snoozey.

So instead of reading a long post from me today, take a few minutes to recycle a plastic bottle, think before you print, hug a tree, or read a label. Because a whole bunch of small things can add up to make a big difference.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Downside of the Brightside

Recently, I've been trying to focus on having a more positive attitude. This was especially important on the trip as my anxiety tends to take over when we almost miss a train, Joe is rescanned several times at airport security, customs doesn't like my answers... So the more I focus on having a positive attitude, the more it helps me to keep perspective (not to mention a bit of calm).

Even as I set out on this conscious path of "think happy", I wondered about authenticity. Aren't there times when optimism and looking on the bright side aren't realistic? Situations when it might be more helpful to consider facts instead of glossing over them with cheer?

I hit a major bump with this positive attitude last night when discussing the current state of flux at Joe's job. Change is always scary to me so when big changes were afoot with his position and reporting structure, I was proud of myself for not immediately thinking this was a negative change but likely a positive change. So imagine my surprise last night when I found out I had somehow gotten the situation completely wrong!

Did Joe deliberately upsell the situation originally because he doubted my ability to handle the truth of it? In my attempt to be all happysunshinepants, did I misinterpret to hear what I wanted to hear? Doubting yourself sucks. And how do I sort it all out now and deal with it?

Maybe this ray of sunshine thing isn't going to workout so well afterall.

P.S. Joe is not in danger of losing his job. I'm just in danger of losing the precious little that's left of my sanity.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Gap Between The Classes

On our recent trip to Europe, we wanted to give ourselves the best possible odds of not showing up for the first day a complete wreck from the overnight flight. Joe figured out that with a combination of airline miles and cash, we could upgrade to first class for the trip over but would have to go with standard coach coming back. To make the comparison even more severe, we were also seated at the very back of coach. It's amazing to realize that such different worlds exist on the same plane.

Greeting:
First Class - Welcome to Blah Blah Airlines. May I hang up your coat for you? Are you all settled in? Let me please offer you a glass of complementary champagne.

Coach - Come on, people, stow your stuff and let's get strapped in or you'll make us late for departure. Sir, that coat has to be stowed under the seat or in the overhead bins.
Note: Overhead bins in first class seem spacious since there are so few people using them and the seats are more spread out. Coach? Well, we all know about overhead storage in coach, especially now that the allowances/charges for checked bags are so horrible.

Beverage Service:
First Class - We'd like to offer you a selection of juices, sodas, water, and alcoholic beverages, all at no charge. If you'd like a refill, please let me know at any time.

Coach - I'm sorry, we're out of all diet beverages. You can have apple juice, Pepsi, water, or an aloholic beverage for $7.

Dinner:
First Class - We'll be starting with your choice of two appetizers, or you can have both, or you can have multiples of each. Next, a choice of two different salads and four dressings. Then we'll take your dinner order from page 3 of the menu. (Note: Page 3 consisted of about five different amazing entrees). Afterwards, we will offer you one of three desserts, including ice cream sundaes with your choice of toppings. Oh, and more wine.

Coach - Sorry, we're out of cheese tortellini so you can have beef stroganoff. It comes with wilted salad and your second least favorite dressing (Thousand Island). Also, you get a stale roll, some mushy grapes, and some poison cookies.

Amenities:
First Class - Each passenger receives a toiletry bag complete with a toothbrush/toothpaste, socks (for slipping off your shoes on the flight), an eye mask and ear plugs, and Burt's Bees lotion and lip balm.

Coach - Barf bag. Award-winning in-flight magazine featuring a partially completed (incorrectly) sudoku puzzle.

There were a lot of other differences too. Obviously seats were wider, more comfy, and more reclining in First Class. We received blankets and pillows in both, which surprised me, but there was a huge gap in quality (and size). The passenger-to-bathroom ratio was much more favorable up front. Also, the flight attendants were much more professional and pleasant. We had one woman back in coach who apparently hated flying, hated serving, hated passengers, hated life. Another difference? I think you have to be at least 18 years of age to travel in First class - no screaming babies!!!

Now I know why people say that once you've experienced the upgrade, it's hard to go back.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Full Circle

My body is anti-antibiotics. Of all things to be allergic to, pretty much every antibiotic known to man is on the list. I also suffer from many nature-related allergies, such as trees, mold, mildew, grass, etc. This all in addition to allergies to my cats, which Tonya celebrates daily by rolling around on my pillow. But the one area in which I'm fortunate not to experience a lot of allergies is food. In fact, the only thing I'm allergic to is coconut.

After clearing security for our outbound flight to Europe, Joe went to find something to eat. My request? I wanted a cookie with some chocolate in it. Like a good boy, he came back with a cookie, fresh-baked and wrapped in plastic wrap.
me: Thanks - did you ask what kind it is to make sure there's no coconut? There's no ingredient list.
Joe: I asked but the guy wasn't sure. It's the only kind of cookie they had.
me: Okay, cool, thanks.
So I visually examined the cookie, sniffed it (at which point the kid next to me seemed frightened), and finally handed Joe a bite of cookie so he could make sure there was no coconut - I didn't want to start off the trip with hives. And guess what? Coconut. Joe brought me a poison cookie!!!

While Joe enjoyed eating my cookie (mind out of the gutter, Andy), being that he does not share my coconut affliction, I poked a bit of fun at him, saying he couldn't handle the fact that I wasn't sick as hell with anxiety over the trip so he was determined to make me feel miserable by tricking me with a poison cookie. (To be fair to Joe, he did then go find me a non-poison cookie and it was delicious.)

The incident was then forgotten until our flight home. "Lunch" on the plane included a dessert of - wait for it - coconut cookies. Really? The food on the tray that I wasn't allergic to was barely edible and then they tried to kill me with poison cookies? I guess customer service has gone downhill! Unfortunately, there were no non-poison cookies available, not even for purchase at an exorbitant price.

And so that's how our round-trip came completely full-circle. Not only did we return to our geographical starting point but we also started and ended the trip with poison cookies.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Amokedness

Ahh, Sunday. I've been running amok this weekend while Joe attended his cousin's wedding in Chicago. It's been complete bliss (the running amok, not the wedding).

However, like all good things, it must come to an end. Joe will be home in a couple of hours. Rather than spend that remaining precious time trying to come up with a post for today, I suggest you read last Tuesday's post again. You know, for the article. Certainly not for the picture.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Six Word Saturday

Describe your life (or something) in a phrase using just six words. For more information, try clicking here. Feel free to explain or not explain. Add an image, a video, a song, nothing. I love seeing what everyone does each week with their entries.

What would be fair to everyone?

I love Six Word Saturday. I love visiting your blogs. But I'm finally forcing myself to admit that I'm just not able to visit them all every week anymore. Time and time again, many of you have said you're fine with that. However, I can't give it up cold turkey - I do still want to visit some each week and I'm trying to figure out a way that's fair to everyone.

Here's what I propose: each week (probably on Sunday or Monday), I'll use random.org to choose a dozen entries to visit. That way, everyone has equal chance. Plus, I'm going to keep encouraging each of you to visit at least the two visitors who sign in ahead of you.

What do you think? Any other suggestions? Besides "quit my job so I have time to visit everyone" because that's only going to work until they cut off the internet connection due to non-payment. ;)

All that's necessary to participate is to post your own six words. You can post an explanation if you wish but it's certainly not required. If you play along in your blog, please add a link to the Mr. Linky. I appreciate a link back (shiny code below if you like!). Otherwise, you're welcome to leave your six words in this post as a comment.

Please be sure to link either to your main page or (preferably) directly to the 6WS post. Links to blogs that do not contain a 6WS entry will be removed (sorry, just the button in the sidebar doesn't count as participating).



Friday, April 16, 2010

Big Stuff & Beaker

There's a lot of big stuff happening in my head right now. Not necessarily bad stuff but changes on some things that mean more sitting tight on other things and blah blah blah. All of which makes absolutely no sense without explaining the whole of everything which would bore you all to tears.

So instead of that, I'm going to give you this instead. Because you can never go wrong with a video from the Muppets.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Upcoming Topics

I have a lot of great vacation-related posts in the works but they aren't quite ready yet. Maybe I can just tease you with some possible upcoming topics:
  • My Two New BFFs - we met in Spain and I feel like I've known them all my life
  • First Class vs Coach
  • Poison Cookies
  • Ugly Americans
  • Language Skills
  • How I Fail at Shopping for Souvenirs
  • Mars vs Venus: Vacation Edition
  • Random Things I Learned (a catch-all for things that don't fit elsewhere)
  • My Gym is Moving (nothing to do with vacation)
I also have a few photos I'll be sharing and some posts for Never Fall Away.

Any requests for which you'd like to see first? I have almost the entire weekend to myself for writing. I'm really looking forward to quiet-time on the porch, just me, Rusty, and a bottle of wine.

Stick with me folks - I've had an interesting week of adjusting back to real life, especially since real life has throw us a few surprises. By next week, I should find my groove again and stop posting non-posts.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Rebel for a Cause

Tonya here. No, it's not First Fursday. Get over it. I don't really care to play by the rules. No cats on the counter. Don't eat long-haired human's breakfast. Only post on First Fursday. Whatever.

I'm reporting on Rusty's attempt to raise $250 ($1 per comment) for Prevention of Animal Cruelty Month.
31 comments on Rusty's original post plus 18 comments mentioning Rusty or the cause on Six Word Caturday for a total of 49 comments out of a possible 250.

Lame, people. I spend 23.5 hours a day sleeping and even I could do better than that.

So in order to prove that I do have a heart, I'm going to round up the 49 comments Rusty solicited with $51 of my own. Yeah, I know it's not technically money. Seriously, you humans are so uptight about things like ownership and legalities and guidelines. Nobody gave Rusty a hard time when he decided to donate the humans' money without their knowledge. Stupid double standards.

This means an even $100 to PetSmart Charities in recognition of Prevention of Animal Cruelty Month. It also means I'm still better than Rusty.

P.S. I think what Tonya is trying to say is thank you to everyone who commented and spread the word. But there's no way I'd dare put words (or fingers) in her mouth.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Day Tour

Last Monday, we joined a tour group for a day wandering Girona, Pals, and Costa Brava. The locations were fantastic and lucky for us, no Eternabus! The tour was conducted on a van instead of a mini-bus and there were only eight passengers. Plus one totally professional and knowledgable tour guide. Ed.

Ed, the young Brit (complete with accent) who decided two years ago (at the tender age of 23) to relocate from Northern England to Barcelona.

Ed, who quit working for "the man" in order to lead tours in Spain.

Ed, the helpful, informative, and personable tour guide.

Ed, stunt double for Jake Gyllenhaal and Tobey Maguire.



Ed, short for Edible.

Rawr.

P.S. Don't you love that of all the stories and all the photos from my trip, I start with this one?

P.P.S. You know you love it. (Joe, however, might notsomuch)

P.P.P.S. Do we think it is coincidence that after I drooled over Ed, Joe decided to stop shaving?

P.P.P.P.S. Aren't we all glad TMC didn't talk me out of going on a nice tour?

P.P.P.P.P.S Ed, if you're reading this, it's all in good fun. I respect you as a person. I was seriously impressed with your tour guide skills. call me

Monday, April 12, 2010

Sorry Folks!

Somehow I managed to schedule almost 2 weeks' of posts ahead of time while I was on vacation but now that I'm home, I didn't manage to write anything for today. And I'm slammed at work.

This is the closest I can come to taking the day completely off (despite the encouragement to do so by certain Twitter pals). I promise soon I'll be posting more vacation stories than you'll be able to stand.

In the meantime, I have to get back to working for the man.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Home Sweet Home

We arrived home safely yesterday afternoon. No need for my mother to be concerned about our wills. And she's still not getting a damn thing.

After a trip of this length, I'm always quick to try to get back to "normal" - trip laundry was done last night, all bags were unpacked (though not completely put away), and mail sorted. Today is going to be about yardwork (rain and sun while we were away means our yard is beautiful blooming Spring-y jungle).

I missed you guys but I'm so glad I was able to tweet semi-regularly from Gwen, even if the time difference made it weird at times and I still missed a lot. I will try to get around to your 6WS posts from yesterday over the course of the week. And of course I have a lot of stories and photos to share.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Six Word CATurday

Describe your life (or something) in a phrase using just six words. For more information, try clicking here. Feel free to explain or not explain. Add an image, a video, a song, nothing. I love seeing what everyone does each week with their entries.


Rusty here. I'm sad today. I was willing to give away up to $250 of my humans' money to the cause of animal cruelty prevention - $1 per comment. At last check, only $20 will be donated. You have until tonight to tweet, link, or comment like mad to save the kitties (and puppies, and bunnies, and ponies...). After that, my people will be home and they'll see what I've done but they'll be forced to honor any number of comments left before then. Please comment and tell your friends!

Note from Cate: I'm leaving London around 5am EST, landing sometime in the afternoon. Assuming Customs allows us back in the country, I'll be in my own bed tonight. And I'll be visiting your 6WS entries this week.

All that's necessary to participate is to post your own six words. You can post an explanation if you wish but it's certainly not required. If you play along in your blog, please add a link to the Mr. Linky. I appreciate a link back (shiny code below if you like!). Otherwise, you're welcome to leave your six words in this post as a comment.

Please be sure to link either to your main page or (preferably) directly to the 6WS post. Links to blogs that do not contain a 6WS entry will be removed (sorry, just the button in the sidebar doesn't count as participating). I do eventually make it around to all entries. Some weeks it takes longer than others but I will get there eventually. Please be patient with me!



Friday, April 09, 2010

Guest Post: TMC in the House

Hmm, it's TMC of Return to Rural again! I go away for a bit and she totally takes over my blog! Except I'm actually very grateful because she is made of awesome, writing me two posts to save me from additional spazzing.

Hi! TMC of Return to Rural here again.

I'm still thinking about that whole manchego thing. Since I know that if there's a computer anywhere in Cate's vicinity in Barcelona she'll find it and log on, I thought I might hedge my bets endear her to me and my manchego dream by going over and checking in on Tonya and Rusty.

*waves over-enthusiastically* HI CATE!

So, um, just to reiterate, I had THE BEST of intentions when I headed down to {undisclosed location} to look in on the cats. I knew they had a sitter but I thought it would make Cate feel better if I emailed her some video of her fuzzbutts.

When I got inside, the cats were no where to be seen. I checked around for their bowls to make sure they had fresh food and water. Opened and closed a few drawers and cabinets in the kitchen. I always wonder which side of the sink folks keep their silverware and whether the cups are on the first shelf or the second. Anyway, I heard voices from the other room and shuffled that way. In the family room I found Tonya sitting in Cate's recliner, watching Eddie Murphy's Delirious. DELIRIOUS, ya'll! When she saw me in the doorway she daintily pressed the pause button and gave me a wicked I'm-waiting-for-you-to-LEAVE stare. I used my cell phone to record her devillish stare, being careful to pan to shoot Eddie in his crazy red suit on the tv. As I turned and headed upstairs, I heard the roar of the crowd come back on.

I found Rusty living in an upstairs bathroom. There was kibble and shreds of what used to be a Snuggie strewn all over the floor. Rusty was luxuriously reclining in the sink, the tap just barely dripping on his head and rolling down his nose. He looked SO HAPPY. I don't even think he noticed I was there so I just took a few minutes of video of the little weirdo and backed out of the doorway to leave him to his spa.

Before I left, I hit the kitchen again to forage for some grub for the long drive home. Wisely, they'd emptied the refrigerator but I found a bottle of Ensure (?!?!) in the pantry. I threw it in my purse and headed home.

So if you are able to get your email and check in on your posts here Cate, everything's fine! Nothing to worry about. Go back to vacationing. Oh, and sorry about the broken glass near the front door.

This is the reason they tell you not to advertise that you'll be away from your home. Do I really want someone who knows so much about skinning rabbits checking in on my cats? Thanks again, TMC! Everyone come back tomorrow for Six Word Saturday!

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Guest Post: TMC about Spain

Thanks to TMC of Return to Rural for writing today's post! She's one of my favorite bloggers because her excitement over buckets means she would totally understand my love of plastic bins.

Greetings fellow Show My Face friends! I* offered to fill in a bit for Cate while she's abroad. Actually, it was more of a deal than an offer. I write a couple posts (you know how anxious she gets if there's not a SMF post-per-day), she brings me back real manchego cheese from Barcelona. Or maybe just some gift-shop pencils from the airport. The whole deal thing was kind of left up in the air, now that I think about it. Ugh! Sometimes she makes me so mad!

Anywho, Cate and I are both foodies of a sort. When she told me she was going to Spain, my mind immediately jumped to el Boqueria, the world-famous open-air market. I'm pretty sure I started babbling at that point, running on at the mouth talking about culinary tourism, the traditional foods of Spain, etc etc. Yes, she said, we're going to the market. I might've had a mini stroke when she told me she and Joe were planning on getting on a BUS and going to SEE SOME STUFF outside the city. ?!??! Remember the Yosemite debaucle? I shifted gears and tried to convince her to just act like a local... eat, stroll, sleep, see some stuff (not via bus) but she's a planner, our Cate, and she does what she plans. Seems to me they've both been training a bunch so they might do just as well to save some money and run everywhere.

I've never been to Spain. Or anywhere in Europe, actually. But I know exactly what I'd do if I got to go. I'd spend my time with old women in their kitchens and gardens to learn as many old world skills as I could before they're gone. Don't ask me how I'd find these old women. I'd figure it out somehow, maybe through voluntourism or the like. On an average day I imagine we might walk to the local market to pick up some ingredients. I'd try to carry her bags but she'd swat my hand away (goodness knows she's stronger than me anyway). Back at home in her courtyard the chicken that spied me suspiciously while I was eating breakfast that morning is now nestled naked into a simple Dutch oven. Grandma raised that bird from a chick and though she knew it was destined for a pot, she treated it with the utmost respect in every regard. The dish we're making takes all day to cook and will be ready just as the rest of the family is arriving for dinner later that day. After we've set the dish to simmer, done the dishes and laughed over a snack, Grandma heads for a lanai where there's a big orange cat waiting on a lounge chair for their daily nap. A large patched umbrella shelters Grandma and her cat... her feet and the tip of the cat's tail stay warm in the sunlight.

While Grandma sleeps, I tie a kerchief on my head just the way she showed me and set out for a walk in the direction of ringing church bells and the sound of the sea...

Doesn't THAT sound like a vacation?! I could do this in any country in the world. Old women are the same almost everywhere; they've things to teach if anybody's willing to watch and listen. For the fairest of prices I could find a bed and 3 square and an education the internet could never, ever match.

Ultimately, Cate and Joe's vacation will be exactly what they want it to be. It'll add to their collection of inside jokes, tweak the way they experience the world and hopefully spark a bit of romance.

What would you do in Barcelona? And if you could ask for a gift from there, what would it be?

You should answer her. You really don't want to make her cranky.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

A big travel day ahead! Today's itinerary involves flying from Barcelona back to London late this afternoon. Then, we'll have a few hours to spend in London this evening before catching an overnight train to Edinburgh, Scotland.

Two big firsts here - neither of us have ever gone on an overnight train before. We opted for a private cabin so we could at least have flat bunkbeds and privacy instead of being in a regular seated car with a bunch of strangers. And another first for me - Joe has been to Edinburgh before but I have not.

Most of what I know about Scotland comes from two sources - television/movies and my Scottish friend Chixor. She's actually moving from the States back to Scotland about a month after I visit. We have such poor timing. However, she was able to clue me in on some must-see attractions and yummy eats so we can optimize our short time for this very brief stop-over. We'll arrive in Edinburgh around 7am tomorrow (Thursday) morning and then take a train back to London Friday afternoon in order to catch our flight back home on Saturday morning.

By this point in the trip, I'm having a good time but also starting to feel quite ready to head home. I miss my kitties, I miss my bed, I miss the peace and quiet and ability to just be "off" instead of constantly on the go.

And if I had to guess? I'm also missing my blog.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Guest Post: C. Beth Tries to Change My Mind

Today, it's C. Beth's turn. I never know if I should write "Beth" or "C. Beth". So I live on the edge and do whatever strikes me at the time. Her blog (C. Beth Blog) has made me laugh, has made me cry, and has made me think. All signs to me of a good blog. Check her out!

Don't you just love Cate? She's funny and supportive. But Cate does have one flaw.

She has made it clear that she doesn't care for science fiction. Now, I suppose I should just leave it alone and let her be imperfect in this one way, to make the rest of us feel better. But sci-fi is just, you know, so awesome, that I feel the need to defend a genre that just may be my favorite.

So here are some of the sci-fi TV shows my husband and I have enjoyed, and why they are just so totally cool. Warning: Spoilers ahead.

Battlestar Galactica (the new series, from the SyFy Channel):

So, you've got these robots, right? They're called Cylons. The humans made them, but the Cylons got all smart, and then they went to war with humans. During a truce, the Cylons started making robots that looked exactly like humans. Then they decided they should kill all the humans, so there was this huge genocide in the first episode, and for the rest of the show, the Cylons and humans are fighting, negotiating, infiltrating, etc.

Artificial intelligence that gets too intelligent for its own good--isn't that just a fantastic concept? Uh, what? You've heard it before? A dozen times? Well, but how many times were the robots called Cylons? I mean, admit it, that's totally a cooler word than "robot."

Battlestar Galactica: Robots (with the cool moniker "Cylons") vs. humans. Undeniably awesome.

Farscape:

Farscape is about this astronaut who accidentally goes through a wormhole and ends up on the opposite side of the galaxy. He meets up with this ship of aliens. One of the main characters is an alien that totally looks human. Because the show had a low makeup budget. Or maybe because aliens that look human open up all sorts of possibilities for romantic tension. (The human-looking alien is a beautiful female, of course!)

One of the other main characters is a puppet. Jim Henson's company was involved in making Farscape.

Farscape: Human-looking aliens and puppets. Come on, admit it, that is crazy cool!

(Hmm. This is harder than I thought. But I'll give it one more shot.)

Firefly/Serenity:

Firefly was this freaking cool Joss Whedon show. It takes place in our galaxy in the future, and humans are the only intelligent life form, so there aren't any weird latex foreheads to deal with. Nathan Fillion plays this rogue spaceship pilot, and he flies a ship full of other misfits. The writing is witty and exciting, and the acting is great fun to watch.

Of course, it was canceled after less than a season, so hopefully you didn't like the show too much. Thankfully, a couple of years later they put out a feature film, Serenity, with the original cast. It ties up the loose ends nicely and is very satisfying.

As long as you can deal with multiple main characters being killed off. Why, Joss? Why?

Firefly/Serenity: Pure awesomeosity for a few episodes plus a movie. Bummer deaths of likable characters.

*****

Robots. Puppets. Tragedy. I'm beginning to see why Cate hates sci-fi.

But that doesn't change the fact that sci-fi is the coolest. Ever. I mean, who needs trips across the ocean when I can pop in a DVD and travel across the galaxy without any jet lag? Jealous yet, Cate? (Nah, I didn't think so.)

Nice try, Beth. Had you mentioned the hotness of Nathan Fillion, you might've won me over for Firefly/Serenity.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Guest Post: Isabella Lives Vicariously

Thanks to Isabella for volunteering to write a post for today! You can check out the often-hilarious adventures of Isabella, ShankRabbit and Peanut on her blog, A Look On The Random Side.

When Cate asked me to write about travel, I almost passed that up for something more interesting - like pocket lint or flu shots. I haven't traveled anywhere of note. A handful of trips within the U.S., but nothing to write home (or you readers) about. No stories of backpacking across Europe, or class trips to Costa Rica. Nada.

I have nothing against travel - in fact, I love it - but every time I've had the chance to go somewhere outside of the USA, I've been given the kibosh.
  1. High school: parents went to Ireland on a half business / half personal trip. As a consolation prize for not going, they brought me back a wool sweater, a four-leaf clover and a Claddagh ring (sounds cliché, but oh-so-true).
  2. Senior class trip planned for Puerto Vallarta. I was told I couldn't go, even if I paid for it myself. Something about drinking and debauchery...blah blah blah. So, I went to work at a summer camp in northern Wisconsin while my friends relayed the stories of their adventures.
  3. My second year of college I had the opportunity to go to England. Trip was cancelled 4 weeks out. I was reimbursed and put the money toward a security deposit on my first apartment (thinking back, I should have just planned a trip elsewhere instead of giving my money to a landlord who didn’t believe in written lease agreements. Ah, live and learn).
  4. Planned a trip with a small group of friends to go to Spain for my birthday (my #1 dream destination). One by one, they dropped like flies - school, work, family, washing their hair...
So, here I sit, completely jealous Cate gets to jaunt around Spain and Scotland.

I sure hope she shares some great stories and pictures when she gets back. I need a way of experiencing other countries, outside of the Travel Channel.

Never fear, there will be stories and pictures when I return. Probably so many you'll be sick of them. Thanks again!

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Six Word Sunday

Since I'm gone, I won't be able to visit this week's Six Word Saturday posts. So for today's post, I'm going to ask you to please click back to yesterday's entries and visit a few. Especially visit the last few entries because over the past several weeks, these entries have included some real gems and I know they don't receive a lot of visits.

Yes, I'm asking you to do my work while I'm on vacation. I'll bring you all back a souvenir and some love.

Also, to those who celebrate, Happy Easter.

Don't forget to spread the word about Rusty's donation to PetSmart Charities for Prevention of Animal Cruelty Month!

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Six Word Saturday

Describe your life (or something) in a phrase using just six words. For more information, try clicking here. Feel free to explain or not explain. Add an image, a video, a song, nothing. I love seeing what everyone does each week with their entries.

Still running amok, back next weekend!

Just like last week, I'm not going to be able to visit.  As you read this, I'm in Barcelona.  The exchange rate means it's about $30/night for internet access.  Not to mention the time.  So again, I cannot visit and I ask you to visit each other.

All that's necessary to participate is to post your own six words. You can post an explanation if you wish but it's certainly not required. If you play along in your blog, please add a link to the Mr. Linky. I appreciate a link back (shiny code below if you like!). Otherwise, you're welcome to leave your six words in this post as a comment.

Please be sure to link either to your main page or (preferably) directly to the 6WS post. Links to blogs that do not contain a 6WS entry will be removed (sorry, just the button in the sidebar doesn't count as participating). I do eventually make it around to all entries. Some weeks it takes longer than others but I will get there eventually. Please be patient with me!



Friday, April 02, 2010

Muchas Nachos!

Today, we are leaving London and heading off to Barcelona, Spain. We've been to London before but Spain is new to both of us so we're very excited. And lucky for us, Joe has enough Spanish language skills that I'm feeling confident about getting around.

As I write this post, several weeks before you will read it, I have high hopes that by this point in the trip I will be mostly adjusted to the time difference. I don't usually do well with that.

For example, on our first trip to Europe, we landed at 7am London-time and wandered for the day. We then grabbed a few hours of sleep before waking up at 4am London-time. Which means we woke up for the day at 11pm home-time. We then caught the train to Paris where I was so tired and backwards and confused that I literally fell asleep standing on the sidewalk in front of the Arc de Triomphe. This fantastic monument that I had been more excited to see than the Eiffel Tower, the #1 most important Paris attraction for me, and I fell asleep standing in front of it. I was too tired to even go up to the top of it. We were only able to spend one night in Paris before heading back to London so I spent most of my time there in a complete brain fog.

So on this trip, we've tried to plan in a way that will accommodate my slow adjustment. We'll have two nights and almost three days in London before we hop on to Barcelona. I'm hoping this means less probability of walking out into oncoming traffic (yes, I've done that) or falling asleep on top of a double-decker tour bus (done that as well). Also, we will be in Barcelona for five nights so at some point in the trip, chances are I'll wake up enough to remember being there.

Send your Cate some positive time-adjustment vibes and she will blow you kisses and cat hair (how did THAT get in my suitcase, Tonya?) from afar. Muchas Nachos!

Thursday, April 01, 2010

First Fursday: Prevention of Animal Cruelty Month

Rusty here! Tonya's napping so I actually have a shot at posting for the first time in a couple of months. On this First Fursday, since my humans are away on a much-needed vacation, I wanted to take an opportunity to share with you about a cause near to my heart.

April is Prevention of Animal Cruelty Month.

I think it's important to use my fame here on long-haired human's blog to raise awareness about animal cruelty. My humans are very good to me - regular vet check-ups, special medical attention when needed, food, water, shelter, and lots of love.

But not all kitties have it so easy. Remember when I told you how sad I was for Duncan? Some would argue that even though he was fed regularly, the lack of proper care and being forced to live outside all winter was abusive.

Some people hit their pets. Some just ignore them because they're too much trouble. Some don't provide trips to the doctor or training to keep them out of trouble. Some abandon them for whatever reason, like I was abandoned. It makes me very sad in my purr-parts. Even Tonya was the result of a teen-kitty pregnancy resulting from abandoned cats that had not been spayed or neutered.

Because this is also important to my humans, they have decided to donate $1 for every comment left on this post between now and when they return home from their trip on April 10, up to $250. They will make their donation through PetSmart Charities due to their 4-star Charity Navigator rating. 89¢ of every dollar goes to animal welfare agencies that need funding. If you'd like to make a donation of your own, be sure to check out their site. On a side note, my humans first met me at a PetSmart adopt-a-thon.

I know today is April Fools Day but cruelty to animals is no joke, people. Please be good to your fur freaks and consider supporting your local shelters and humane societies as they help take care of the other animals.