Tuesday, February 24, 2009

I'm Feeling Feverish

Spring feverish, that is.

Oh, how I wish I was anywhere but here, today! I would prefer to be cleaning my patio than sitting in my desk chair. I'd even take mowing the lawn. Now that's sick!

It's supposed to be 75 degrees and sunny today.


On another topic, I finally figured out one of Sam's issues. For the past week, he's been attacking my feet every morning when I walk down the hallway. This morning I realized what was going on--he misses playing chase with Tommy. Duh. I can't believe it took me so long to catch on. Those two used to chase each other all over the house every morning. One would chase in one direction, then they'd switch and go the other direction.

So this morning I played chase with Sam. I think I might have freaked him out a little at first, but he caught on. And I had a good laugh.

And speaking of freaked out, I got home last night to find Sam posted on the welcome mat at the front door looking traumatized. I couldn't imagine what possibly could have happened until I got into the house and looked out on the patio--a package I'd been waiting for had been delivered and the UPS guy had stuck it on the back porch. Evidently Sam didn't know what to do about a stranger entering his back yard, so he refused to go back there until I got home. Frankly, I'm embarrassed the UPS guy saw my junked up patio.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Quality Time With Dad

Here in Texas, the daffodils are saying "screw it, I'm blooming." Who can blame them? Some days are getting up into the 70s, but that usually means the next few days will be in the 50s (or lower!)

Such was the case this past weekend when Dad and I went to the swap meet in Decatur (town slogan: "Eighter from Decatur.") Don't worry if you've never heard of it. Most people haven't.

However, once a year, the cow pastures surrounding the local rodeo arena become a mecca to classic car enthusiasts. And I'm not talking enthusiasts who like to look at shiny cars, I'm talking about the guys who can see beauty in a rusted hunk of metal and have some idea of making it into a nice shiny object. (Some of the "cars" I saw were held together only by rust and prayers.)

Anyway, Friday was beautiful. Temps were in the 70s and the sun was shining. But I had to work that day.

When I walked out the door at 6:30 Saturday morning, the temps were in the upper 40s. It was calm, so I was thinking it wouldn't be too bad. But as soon as I got on the road, the north wind kicked up and I spent the 30-mile drive fighting to keep the car out of the ditch.

Dad's a morning guy. He can get more accomplished before the sun comes up than most people do all day. On the weekends he's usually finished with his to-do list before Mom stirs enough to put on the coffee. This is why my butt was out of bed so early on the weekend. Of course, when it comes to flea marketing, I like to get there as soon as possible.

We met up in the Wal-Mart parking lot (another "mecca") around 7:15 so we could be at the fairgrounds by 7:30. Not that any of the vendors would be opening their booths at that time, but so we could get a good parking spot. The wind was blowing in 30 mph gusts by this time and there were a few people crazier than we were already walking around. But we sat in Dad's truck for a while (the one with the peeling paint and his homemade hydrogen tank--the redneck solution to poor gas mileage. Or so they say. To me it's just an H-bomb waiting to happen.)

By 8, we decided to abandon the warmth and protection of the truck and walk to the far side of the swap meet so we could slowly work our way back to where we parked. Dad had already been out to the swap meet the prior two days, but there was probably a thing or two he hadn't looked at, so we hit every aisle. And all the while gusts of wind would hurl dirt and grass into our faces. And by the way, did I mention it was cold? I stopped feeling my cheeks after the first 10 minutes. I had to keep stopping and cleaning the dirt out of my eyes every few minutes. Dad kept pointing out to me the places where he had bought materials for his '57 Chevy Bel-Air that he's working on.

Why on earth was I subjecting myself to this? I hear all of you asking. Well, in amongst the car parts and Nascar memorabilia there were a few treasures that appealed to me. (However, I am not talking about the breasts that would not stop singing the refrain of "Boobs and Beer" everytime someone walked by. They were mounted like the singing bass fish that swept the nation a few years ago. Someone actually bought one of those for my grandad--the fish, not the boobs.)

By the end of the morning, Dad had purchased more tools than he needed (he bought them simply because they were a good deal, and not because he needed them), I had finally found myself a bicycle, and I also got a birdhouse and a lemon/lime crossbred tree. Not to mention that we ran into one of Dad's buddies who looked at me and greeted me by my mother's name. I actually liked the look on his face when I told him I wasn't her. He thought he had committed a huge faux pas and was trying to figure his way out of it! But Dad quickly assured him of who I was.

So anyway, we were out of there by 10:30. The colder I got, the faster I walked, and thankfully there really wasn't much there that interested me. There were some pretty cool cars, as well as a SWAT van and an old hearse, but nothing like the old Metropolitan I fell in love with a few years ago. Hey, I was raised by a car guy, after all. Even those rusted old hunks of metal had once been alluring beauties.

(Oh yeah, I did spend all morning I was comparing cars to the ones seen in Cars. The Hudson Hornet was great!)

After we wrestled the bike into the back of my car, I headed home to shower off the dirt. I tried really hard not to think about what some of that dirt had started off as, since we had been tromping about in cow pastures. But I guess since I was raised in the country and participated in a few chip tosses in my youth, it's a bit too late for me to get squeamish about cow poo.

Friday, February 20, 2009

New Toy!

I've been wanting this camera for so long, and now that I finally got my tax refund, I went and bought it! It's so cute and tiny, 10 mp, and fits in my pocket. The battery isn't charged yet and I'm dying to start taking pictures! (So watch out for a Sam-related photo essay.)

This particular color is only available at Best Buy, but the other colors are cute too--wasabi green, electric blue, pink, and black.

And what will I be doing with the rest of my tax refund? Laminate flooring, of course! Now, if I could just decide between Carribbean Cherry and Gunstock Oak. The first one sounds prettier.

Dad and I are heading out early in the morning to go to a swap meet. You know what they say about early birds getting the worm! I just hope my eyes are open enough so I don't miss the perfect treasure.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Obla-Di Obla-Da

Life goes on, eh?

Sam and I spent the weekend trying to get used to it being just the two of us. (Oh, and Max the rascally raccoon who is becoming more of a pain in the butt than a novelty. More on that in a bit.)

Sam seems a little lost without the other two around. Tommy always bathed him and they would snuggle together on the bed. He'd pester Turtle until there was a chase, although in the last week or so, Turtle wasn't able to do much of anything. Habitually vocal, Sam's still talking a lot, but not so loudly. The sad look in his eyes just breaks my heart. He's also climbing up in my lap more for snuggles and he's taken Turtle's position next to me on the bed.

Every time I walk into the house I expect Turtle to be asleep on the couch. And I keep walking into the bedroom as soon as I get home in the hopes of finding Tommy stretched out across the middle of the bed snoring away. The double-whammy of losing them both in one week has really knocked me down.

Not to mention the fact that I've also caught a cold. At first I thought the sore throat and headache was from crying so much. No such luck. The sneezing and coughing kicked in Saturday afternoon. My nephew was over on Saturday and he told me I looked really tired and I had bags under my eyes. (Thanks kid, thanks a bunch.) But he made up for that when we were at Wal-Mart looking at the elliptical machines and he asked me why I would want to get skinnier. Yep, completely redeemed himself.

But the house is still lonely, I'm still sick, and the raccoon ate the giant Hershey Kiss I got at the bowling tournament and was saving for a rainy day. This means war! The raccoon is now banished to the outdoors. He will no longer be allowed to consume my sweets. Last night I gave him a handful of caramel popcorn in his bowl out on the patio and locked the cat door.

Of course, Sam didn't take too well at first about having his freedom curtailed--he spent the first 20 mintues clawing at the cat door trying to get out. Drove me nuts! Eventually he curled up with me and slept. I reopened the door this morning and he was glad to have his freedom back.

Have to run. It's bowling night. Last week Roger bowled a perfect game, which meant his team wiped the floor with us. But we were happy he finally got his first 300. (I just hope he doesn't do it again anytime soon!)

Friday, February 13, 2009

Bad News

Our small family has lost another member. Due to Turtle's degrading health, I had to have him put to sleep this morning. It was, without a doubt, the worst thing I've ever had to do, but I could not sit by and let him continue to suffer. The vet said it was likely he had intestinal cancer and there was just no way he was ever going to get better.

He was 17 and has been my best friend for 11 years. I will miss him hogging the pillow and purring in my ear.

There's really not much more I can say right now because I keep dissolving into tears, but thank you, dear readers for listening to the stories about him and Tommy. Now it's just Sam and I, and we need to adjust. The tales will continue, but we need a few days to get back on our feet.

Cleaning Up America

One shower at a time.

Found this link on the Soap Queen's blog (yes, I read soap blogs!)

The Obama Bar

I especially like the Prickly Pear Progress bar "Cleans lipstick off a pig!"

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Happy Birthday, Mr. Lincoln

As I've noted before on this blog, I am a great admirer of Abraham Lincoln. He was a thinker, a caring person, and very much human--no matter how large his memorial in D.C. He was the person this country needed at its helm during those dark years of the country. Although some debate how truly great he was, at the end of his life he had seen our country through a terrible war and freed the people who had been subjugated. Because of a gunman's bullet, others were left to carry on his vision of America. More than 16,000 books have been dedicated to examining this man's life, from his early years, to his death, and his legacy.

Today being what would have been his 200th birthday, I give you the following quote:

"In giving freedom to the slave, we assure freedom to the free - honorable alike in what we give, and what we preserve. We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last best hope of earth. Other means may succeed; this could not fail. The way is plain, peaceful, generous, just - a way which, if followed, the world will forever applaud, and God must forever bless."--Lincoln's Second Annual Message to Congress, December 1, 1862.

And a little joke: If Lincoln were alive today, what would he be doing?

A: Knocking on his coffin asking to be let out! (I heard that one on the radio today. Never said it was a good one!)

Today is also the 200th birthday of Charles Darwin. Isn't it amazing that two people who have had such an impact on this world were born on the exact same day?

Movie Reviews and Raccoon News

Becci loaned me her borrowed copy of Wall-e last night and I must recommend it to everyone. My jaw was agape for about the first 10 minutes of the movie. It was a good lesson in what can happen if we continue to let wastefulness, slothfulness, dependence upon technology, and self-centeredness overtake us. The scene of two severely obese guys side by side on their hover chairs talking to one another via video screens was rather horrific. Not in a blood and guts kind of way, but in a vision of what could be kind of way.

After that I watched College. Drake Bell from Nickelodeon's "Drake and Josh" was in it and I have to give him a thumb's down. I've watched "Drake and Josh" a few times and hearing the f-bomb coming from Drake in this movie just made me want to wash his mouth out with soap. (Does this mean I'm getting old?) The entire movie was just another attempt to make a lackluster version of Animal House with some American Pie and Superbad thrown in. Fail. The entire "teenage boy trying to get laid" genre needs to be put on ice. And Verne Troyer needs to stop whoring himself out for cliched cameos.

During all the movie watching, I also got to watch Max the raccoon devour a bowl of cat food. It was pretty danged cool! Because of the rain the other night, I left his food in the house beside the cat door. I know, I shouldn't be encouraging him to actually come inside the house. But when he popped through and started eating, what was I to do? It was adorable! I had to sit really still so I wouldn't scare him off, and the MGM lion roaring on one of the movies scared him witless, but he sat and ate for a good long while.

I thought he was done and gone for the night once he polished off his bowl of food (and can I say he's the noisiest eater I've ever heard?), but there was evidence to the contrary this morning when I walked through the living room to find my couch covered in Hershey Kisses wrappers. Dude, we're gonna have to have a chat. You can eat all the cat food you want, but paws off my chocolate!

No sign or word of Tommy today.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Something Other Than Tommy

I can't keep my mind on much other than the missing cat and the other evils that have befallen me and my family this month, so here's some links to other blogs that are talking about cheerier things right now. Hopefully my sarcasm will be back to normal in a few days.

First, check out this story on MSN about the koalas rescued from the raging wildfires. I love the video of the firefighter giving the poor burned koala water from a bottle. I hope some lucky woman has snatched up that man!

Now for some fun blogs:

Cake Wrecks. Lots of pics of cakes that basically failed to be what they should. They may not look great, but there's still a ton of sugary goodness involved. There's also a section of some absolutely fantastic cake designs. Yum, yum, yummy yum.

Margaret and Helen. I've talked about them before, and you'll find them linked over on the right, but right now Helen's got a series of posts going about Ann Coulter's latest book. Not to be missed as she applies the stick of rational thinking upside Coulter's noggin. I love Helen.

And if you just need to know what's happening with Palin since she went back up to Alaska (a lot!) then you've got to read Mudflats. It's great. So great you'd think it's fiction--but it's not. Maybe it's actually a horror story. But truly, there is some fantastic coverage of what is happening in rural Alaska, which has only just been picked up by MSM.

And I also need to point you over to Political Morsels and Other Droppings. D is one of my main commenters over here, and I love her outlook on politics. (Mostly because it matches mine.) And she's a baseball lover. Kudos!

For the crafters there's Junkmarket Online, Soap Queen, The Craft Gossip Blog Network, The Crochet Dude, and Bakerella.

And for the blog that gets me through the day: Cute Overload. Looking at cute little animals being especially cute helps lower the desire to murder someone. I highly recommend it's therapeutic qualities.

Bueno no es Bueno

Becci and I got lunch from Taco Bueno today. We ordered the same thing, and both of us are scratching our heads wondering where the chicken in our quesadillas is at.

I can understand cutbacks, but when your product is making us recall Wendy's commercials from the 80's, that's bad. There should be more than one or two scraggly little pieces of chicken.

As a self-proclaimed chicken quesadilla connoiseur, I have to give Taco Bueno a big Fail.

Customer service gets a Fail, too. The receipt is offering me a free bean burrito for my opinion. They might regret asking me. And they better hope there's actually a bean in my burrito when I go to claim it!

Day Four: Still No Tommy

If someone out there does have my big kitty, then you need to know this: he loves to play with the rings off milk jugs. Don't waste your money on expensive cats toys--he won't touch them. Also, he loves to have his chin scratched, runs insanely around the living in the evenings, snores a lot when sleeping, and prefers his own side of the bed. He can also be rather demanding when he wants to be petted.

I placed an ad in the paper in the hopes that someone will call with information. I also contacted the company that monitors his microchip and they ran a search on their end to see if he had been scanned, but not reported. No such luck.

I still can't sleep well from worrying about him. Although we live in the city, there are still wild animals about and I fear a coyote might have gotten him. I really don't want to think about that, else I'll start crying and won't be able to stop. I've been keeping one eye on the cat door in the hopes that he will suddenly pop through, but no such luck--although Max did stick his head in last night. Being the crazy cat lady that I am, I asked if he'd seen Tommy, but no response. I'll take that as a no. I really am insane--talking to a raccoon.

Another bit of insanity--I was standing on the patio yesterday evening looking at the backyard in the hopes of miraculously seeing him and imagining what if he just walked up behind me and meowed? Well, suddenly there really was a loud meow right behind me. It scared the pants off me! But it was just Sam. I had stopped paying attention to him for a minute and he was letting me know.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Happy Birthday Big Tommy

Today is Tommy's 5th birthday and he is still not home to celebrate it. I miss my big kitty.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Have You Seen Me?

Tommy's been MIA since Saturday afternoon. When I left to go bowling around noon, he was stretched across the bed looking pleased to finally have it all to himself. He wasn't home when I got back, but I figured he was just out enjoying the sunshine. Well, day turned to night, dinnertime rolled around and still no Tommy. Morning came, no big kitty hogging the blankets. By Sunday afternoon I was walking the neighborhood looking for him. Still no sign. I hardly slept all night because I kept wondering if every noise was him.

This morning I've called the shelter, animal control, the emergency vet clinic and the vet in our neighborhood. No one's seen him. I'm really worried that he's injured somewhere and can't get home.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Why Do I Need a Vacation?

Because it's Tuesday. I hate Tuesdays. They're my busiest day of the week. And today I have not one, but TWO conference calls on top of all the things I typically have to do on a Tuesday. What *&^#$%^**& decided these meetings had to take place today? (Never mind the fact that I have repeatedly requested no meetings on Tuesdays!)

These two calls, plus tomorrow's weekly status meeting will bring the "waste of time want to bang my head" total to three for the week. Three calls in one week about our system upgrade. A project, need I remind you, that has eaten up over a year of my life. And we're nowhere near finished yet. This afternoon's call is scheduled for 3 hours! AAAAUUUUGGGGHHHH!!!!!! (Vegas odds on actually accomplishing anything during these meetings? 1000 to 1.)

Deep breaths, find your happy place.... bunnies, kittens, puppies, field of flowers, Brad Pitt... OK, feeling better. Dang. That frustration really rears it's head pretty quickly.

My raccoon friend returned last night. I was actually thinking about him when I turned around from putting stuff away in the fridge to find him peering at me through the back door. Still a bit startling to see a wild animal on the patio. Especially one with such obvious intelligence.

I left him a bowl of cat food on the patio table, along with a handful of cheese popcorn. (Yeah, I've still got a whole tin of the stuff left over from Christmas.) The cat's water bowl was clean this morning, so looks like our buddy stayed outside. I think I will call him Max.

(and thanks to Natalie Dee for the cartoon!)

Monday, February 2, 2009

What Day is It?

Oh, yeah. Monday. Sigh. The longest time of the work week before the weekend.

I've been busy today getting end of month reports in and relaying the tale of my Saturday evening visitor. Everyone I know now demands that I do something about the cat door. Crap. This means the litter box comes back in and the boys are shut inside with me until daybreak. I don't know if I can stand it! But it will definitely cut down on the wild kingdom action going on in the house if I just close the cat door every night. I mean, who knows what else is coming besides raccoons and stray cats? My luck there's a colony of field mice taking cover in the pantry.

I did decide to start feeding the raccoon outside in the hopes of discouraging it from coming inside. I'll just set it a place at the patio table and hope it has some table manners. (Yeah, right!)

So let's now count the number of animals in my kingdom:
3 "tame" furrballs
2 stray furrballs
1 little dog called Bob
2 opossums
1 mole (at least 1)
1 baby cardinal
and 1 raccoon.

Maybe I should just go stand out in the backyard, sing a few songs from Snow White, and wait for deer and other critters to gather 'round.