Thursday, March 26, 2009

I'm Too Old For This

I think I'm too old for kittens. The constant energy is killing me. Not to mention the destruction. (Or the fact that I've worked almost every day straight for 3 weeks--that's really not helping my sanity either.)

This morning it was my glasses knocked into the litter box. Last night it was my silk curtains being used as a landing strip. The day before it was a trek up on the roof and a leap over the fence into the neighbor's yard (Jake's working on his career as an escape artist).

The paper shade on my poor lamp looks like it was run through a shredder. I've lost the ability to even react when I see tiny teeth and claws sink into it. There's 4 am wrestling matches on top of my head that usually end when I get bitten. Not to mention the glasses of tea knocked over and puke IN the bed. I've changed the sheets three times this week. And evidently my leg looks like a scratching post or climbing pole, because both of them love to climb from my ankle all the way to my ass while I dance around trying to shake them off. (Maybe I should start making and selling scratching posts that look like human legs.)

Speaking of ankles, both of mine are covered in scratches because of the number of times I've unsuspectingly rounded a corner and been attacked out of nowhere. And did you know it's really hard to see a tiny black kitten in the dark?

Someone please tell me I'll survive the kitten phase and we'll actually get to the fat and lazy old cat stage. Please? Please???

I never thought I'd say that Sam's the "good" cat. (But even he's had his moments this week.)

For now I'm going to pack up every breakable or shreddable item that is of import and hide it away until they actually start sleeping most of the day and learn not to careen wildly into everything. Will that day actually come? Will it?? I need to know!!!

Lord help me.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Late Bloomers and Spring Showers

Here's an interesting turn of events. Izzy's not a girl. She's a he. Remind me not to trust other people's sexing of kittens.

Yes, little no name kitty (he's stuck with this until I settle on a more manly moniker) stuck his tuchas in my face the other night and made me realize in no uncertain terms that pink is not his color. In amongst all that black fur was the unmistakable presence of two tiny peanuts.

Now I'm stuck with all this cute little pink cat stuff. Oh well. What will they know? Jake seems to like sleeping on the pink blankie more than the others anyway.

As for names, I'm considering Reggie (for Reggie Jackson), or Ripken (for Cal--and I can call him Rippy.) I've had other cats named for baseball players before--Mickey was named for Mickey Mantle and Tommy was named for Tommy John. I am also considering Sinjin, which was the name of a character in a book I read a while back. Don't ask me the name of the book because I've read a few hundred since then. All I can remember is that the character lost a limb, but the name's always appealed to me.

Opinions on this matter are most welcome.

Well, I'm off to get some more flowers planted in the ground. Hopefully I can get done before any rain gets here.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

And Then There Were Three (Again)

Remember when this guy

met this guy?

What was it, almost two weeks ago now?

Well, as of Tuesday night, the boys got themselves a little sister.

Meet Izzy. Two months old and only been here a few days, but she's already got Jake and Sam wrapped around her cute little tail.

How did I come to get another new kitten so quickly, you ask? Well, I answered my phone.

My aunt called and asked if I would take my cousin's kitten. He and his girlfriend both lost their jobs, couldn't afford their apartment, and so are moving in with our grandparents. Thankfully our grandparents are kind enough to take us kids in when our lives hit the tanker (been there!) But, there's no room at the inn for little bitty Izzy.

I tried my best to only agree to a short-term solution. You know, I take care of her until they get back on their feet. No, no. They wanted a permanent home for her. Plus, they have her sister, as well.

Yeah, I know, I gave in. It's not like I have that strong a spine when it comes to cats in need.

Matt and Kat (I know, too cute on the names!) brought her to me Tuesday afternoon and gave me a bit of history. The two of them found an ad in the paper for kittens and went to the man's home to pick one out. Well, they got there and discovered that this "person" had stuffed Izzy into a refrigerator! Thankfully they went ahead and grabbed her too so she wouldn't suffer an awful fate. I would have done the same thing, but I probably would have committed an act of violence against the guy on my way out the door.

So, Izzy's here for good and well on her way to being completely spoiled rotten like the other two. I even went out and bought her a pink litter box, pink blanket, pink toy, pink collar, and a few other items (some of which actually weren't pink!)

Here's Izz with her favorite new toy.

She's been carrying it around the house and playing with it in various rooms. I even found it next to her food bowl when she slowed down enough to gobble down her kitten chow.

She's spent all her waking hours chasing her big brothers around the house and the backyard. Earlier this evening she went to sleep with her head on Sam's belly. It was the most adorable thing I've ever seen.

I really need to keep the camera on my person so I can catch these things. I missed a good one the other night with Jake standing on Sam's head. And one last night when Sam jumped on the bed and the babies jumped up and climbed all over him. He seems to be taking pretty well to being a big brother. At least Izzy now serves as a distraction for Jake and Sam can get some peace. And Sam's behavior has just been fantastic. He's put up with a lot and the worst he's done is get a strained look on his face.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Jake Goes Shopping

We needed cat food today, so I figured a trip to Petsmart was in order. And I took Jake with me. Why not? The place encourages bringing pets, although 98 percent of the time it's just dogs visiting the store.

I put his little harness and leash on him and we got in the car. There was a little freak-out moment when we went outside, but he did all right.

In the store, I stuck him in a cart and kept his leash lead short. The smell and noise of all the dogs made him nervous, but he calmed down once we got to the cat section. We shopped for kitten food and new toys (he got a 12-pack of furry mice and a feathery sisal toy), as well as a scratching post.

Jake was something of a minor star. All the people who saw him were amazed to see a cat in the store. And the fact that he was on a leash really blew their minds. One of the employees recognized him and he cuddled with him for a bit. Jake only chomped on his thumb once. Austin helped us pick out a few chew toys over in the dog section in the hopes Jake would find something else to bite on other than me. Spoiled kid got a rubber ball and a small size loofah dog as well as the other toys.

We got to the checkout and a little girl just about wet herself over the cute kitty. I very nervously let her pet him and feared that he would bite her, since he hasn't been shy about chomping on everyone else. He behaved himself and she even gave him a kiss on the head. Whew! I would not have wanted to deal with her mom if he'd bitten her.

Jake rode quietly in the backseat with his scratching post all the way home. As soon as we got in the door, he headed straight for the litter box. What a good little kitty!

At dinnertime, I gave Jake a can of kitten food and Sam a can of adult. The pig disguised as a kitten ate both of them, which probably explains the odiferous emanations that are occurring right now.

Stewart vs CNBC (via Cramer)

In all the episodes I’ve watched of “The Daily Show” I’ve never sat so far on the edge of my seat and been so tense as I was during the interview with CNBC's "Mad Money" host Jim Cramer. I’ve watched Jon Stewart nail Mike Huckabee to the wall over the gay marriage issue, but tonight he put Cramer and CNBC through it for their role in the financial mess. And yes, by not paying attention to what actually happened with the banks, and believing whatever they were told, they played a role. People actually trust the newspeople to give them the information they need to form educated decisions on what stocks to purchase.

Cramer’s arguments were lame. He went on this show obviously thinking it was going to be a lark and he tried to actually play it like that. Thank goodness Jon didn't do it that way and gave the showdown the tone it should have. He spoke on behalf of all the laypersons who have been dragged into this mess against our will and very seriously demanded answers.

Shoulda shoulda shoulda. Cramer had no excuses for ignoring what was really happening and reporting the lies he was told by financial CEOs. “I’m not Edward R. Murrow.” No shit. But, as Jon pointed out, and which is a Journalism 101 lesson: “You don’t just take their word at face value.”

Cramer is a cartoon who at one point actually might have known what he was talking about. Now his TV personality has taken over his brain and he thinks that those he used to work with when he was in the finance industry are still his friends. Dude, here's news for you if you haven't actually figured it out--they USED YOU! You became their patsy. Why didn't you, or anyone else at CNBC follow them around asking how long this country was going to last on money that doesn't actually exist??

At the very least, Cramer promised to do better, and Stewart practically begged him to lose the slapstick shenanigans and report the reality.

This interview bears watching again. And of course, as I write this, Comedy Central still hasn't posted it. I'll update as soon as I can or you can hit the Daily Show's site to check for yourself.

(And just as an aside, it's really hard to write a serious post when there's a little kitty lying next to you perfuming the air with cat food farts.)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

I Am a DIY Queen!

Congratulate me while I try not to strain arm patting myself on the back.

This evening I installed my brand new dishwasher all by myself. Despite Jake's attempts to assist. (Right now he's chewing on my laptop!) In the two hours it took me to complete the job, I spent the majority of it moving him out of the way and trying to convince him that plumbing is not his strong suit. He got locked in the bedroom finally when, as I was lying in the floor trying to attach the water hose underneath the dishwasher, he walked up to my face and bit me on the lips! He latched on like a badger and wouldn't let go. Now, I admit that I wouldn't mind looking like Angelina Jolie, but this is not the way to go. Thankfully he didn't break the skin, but my lips swelled up like I'd been stung by a bee.

Once I slammed the bedroom door with him on the other side, I finally managed to get the dishwasher installed in peace and ran a load of dishes. Aaahh, clean plates and silverware. Not to mention the quiet. My old dishwasher was so loud I had to leave the house when it was on. This one can barely be heard outside the kitchen. Love it!

Thankfully the lip bite was my only injury. I didn't electrocute myself, nor did I cause a flood. The thing is even level (finally.) Jake helped make up for his perfidy by sleeping in my arms while I watched Role Models. Then he and Sam played chase through the living room and leapt over my head several times when they raced over the couch.

Was it just last week that things were quiet around here?

Catching Up and Introducing a New Character

It's been hectic around here lately. The dishwasher died and I am awaiting the delivery of a new one this morning. Hence the reason I'm not at work and why I had time to write the previous post expressing my adoration for Jon Stewart.

As I write this I am actually being flicked on the nose by the tip of Sam's tail. He's expressing dissatisfaction over the behavior of this guy:
Everybody, meet Jake. Jake, meet everybody (or at least the 5 people who read this blog.) Jake is our new addition to the household as of Saturday morning. He stole my heart the second he stuck his paw through the cage bars and smacked me in the face.

Little Jake's three months old and was rescued from the SPCA. It has been a looooong time since I've had a kitten and it is taking some getting used to. The amount of energy he expends could power New York City. And he's a biter. We're working on that one. Other than that, he's a sweet kid who loves to cuddle--when he slows down for a couple of seconds. I woke up Sunday morning with him cuddled against my shoulder. Right now he's trying to get Sam to play chase and Sam just gives him the disgruntled older sibling look. Now he knows how Turtle and Tommy felt!

Here's a few more shots of little John Jacob Jingleheimerschmidt just to get your ooohhhs and awwws going.

Oh, and this shot is the aftermath of what happened when he launched himself off the ottoman and onto my lampshade. Home Depot doesn't have a replacement shade--I'd have to buy a whole new lamp. Grr.
Well, the new dishwasher has arrived. The delivery guys were so quick, the whole process took less than five minutes. Of course, the new one is sitting in the hallway, but at least the old one is gone. I did all right disconnecting the old one, so tonight I might just see if I can get the new one installed all by myself. Dad will be proud if I can accomplish that.
Now it's off to work!

Comedic Intellectualism

"If I'd only followed CNBC's advice, I'd have a million dollars today -- provided I'd started with a hundred million dollars."--Jon Stewart

Jon Stewart, despite being a "comic" is actually a very well-respected (at least in my peer group) interviewer and commentator on political and social issues. This man is well-educated with one of the sharpest minds I've seen. I don't have to look up his bio to find out what college he went to and what degrees he earned to know that. The intelligence he wields during his interviews is high above most of what I see on cable news. And his humor is always the right touch. Screaming "F*** You!" after rolling clips of errors in information presented by the MSM is merely an echo of what the rational-thinking world is saying. Making us laugh while doing this is just a bonus and let's face it, with the world today, we need a good laugh.

This week's "Daily Show" is really turning into a must-watch. CNBC's Jim Cramer should have just kept his trap shut and moved on after being exposed for his idiocy. Or better yet, made a promise to do better. Instead, he chose to go to battle with a comic with a "variety show."

Oooohhhh, not the words to use, man. You have opened the tiger's cage and smacked it on the butt.

Cramer has to rely on props and sound effects to try to get laughs. He is so off-putting that I can't believe anyone actually watches him, much less acts on the stock "advice" he gives. So what if he once started his own hedge fund. He's a stock market weatherman. Just like meteorologists and weather "persons" who study all they want, most of the time they don't get it right. (And if you'll notice they really rely heavily on technologically advanced radar to actually track storms.) You yourself can read the papers and study the stock market and do just as well--if not better--than he does.
And if Cramer reads this and tries to argue that I'm oversimplifying the process, fuck you, buddy. Go push your little crybaby button on your soundboard. I wouldn't buy a stock you recommended even if you paid me a million dollars. And put away the sad puppy-face you pulled on the "Today" show yesterday morning. If you can't stand the heat, don't start the fire. And I can't say your media blitz garnered much sympathy.

To give Cramer credit, he is going on the "Daily Show" this Thursday to go head-to-head with Stewart. From the LA Times' Matea Gold: "The sardonic comedian and kinetic former hedge fund manager may make for an odd match-up. But the tussle between the two television personalities reflects a larger debate raging about whether the media did an adequate job covering the lead-up to the recession."

And that's exactly what's at the base of this situation. It's not about comedian versus pundit. It's about truth in reporting. Where was the objectivity in reporting facts? Did the media try to put a smiley face on the situation by reporting around what was actually happening? Shame on you. If there's an elephant in the room, dude, ask it what it's doing there.

After the Watergate scandal and the job done by Woodward and Bernstein in getting to the truth, attendance at journalism schools skyrocketed. People wanted to dig and uncover what was really happening inside our government, whether it be on the national or local level. Uncovering truth and seeking justice were their driving forces in protecting the American way. (Hey, notice that Superman's alter ego is a reporter?)

Now, anyone with a blog is a reporter.* Anyone with an opinion based on a few facts is a pundit. Or even an opinion based on no facts. Jon Stewart and his comedy "variety show" covers more information than an hour of "Morning Joe" and digs straight to the heart of the matter.

People have tried to dismiss "The Daily Show" before. Remember some of the comments from 2000 about how his viewers are unemployed pot smokers? Not so, says the studies. Viewers of "The Daily Show" are more likely to have college educations and white collar jobs. People trust Jon Stewart to cover the news, warts and all, and he makes us laugh while doing it.

I have a message for Mrs. Stewart--Don't let this man go. An intelligent guy who can tell jokes based on something other than scatological humor and have intelligent conversations with politicians and authors is a keeper. Does he have a twin? Preferably single?

*For the record, I do have a journalism degree with a focus on news editorial from one of the toughest schools in the state of Texas. And I go weak at the knees over funny guys with brains.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Another New Toy

Well, more like a much-needed accessory. Check out my new Linds bag.
Finally. A new bowling bag. I no longer have to fear my beloved bowling balls falling out of my old bag and rolling across the parking lot.

I definitely learned my lesson about buying cheap shit. In less than a year, my old bag has fallen apart to a point where it's just an embarrassment. I was this close to using duct tape to hold it together.

Thanks to Fred and Dora at our local pro shop for helping me choose a better quality bag. (Plus, it has more pockets!! Yee!!) I love those two. There's not much in their shop they haven't tried themselves. I really like watching Dora get excited about trying out a new ball. And hearing Fred bemoan losing to her in a tournament.

I Can't Get this Out of My Head!

So I thought I'd share the torture. You're welcome!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Where Am I?

And where's that big orange ball that hangs in the sky?

We had some changes occur here at the office. Thanks to cutbacks, (or R.I.F., to stick with current terminology) I lost a full-time employee and we've had to reshuffle the schedule. Now I'm coming in an hour earlier and leaving an hour earlier. It's great for the afternoon, but ungluing my butt from the bed in the mornings is already getting to me. (Not that I leapt out of bed eager to face the day at a "normal" hour.)

And now with the time change, oy vey!

So I'm a little more tired in the mornings. But now I miss the school traffic and my commute time was cut down to 6 minutes. Sweet! Plus, I miss rush hour in the afternoon. (You know, that rush hour sometimes made my commute a whole 10 mintues long! *dodges shoes thrown by disgruntled commuters*)

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Dana's Goat Milk Soap

(I know product reviews weren't the main focus of this blog originally, but it's my blog, so I'll write what I want!)

Here's another great find from Nole's General Store: Dana's Goat Milk Soap.

Now, I have to let the cat out of the bag a little--I've been experimenting with soap-making myself and have been testing out other soap-makers' products. And you wouldn't believe what has been coming out of the kitchens of part-time soapers! (More soap reviews will come, as well as show-and-tell on what I've been up to. I currently have several bars of soap and supplies winging their way to me.)

Dana's soap is great! I love the lather and the scent. It also rinses so clean and leaves your skin feeling sooooo good! Soap-making is Dana's time-off hobby and she does it well. She's also local (forgive me for not remembering exactly, but I believe from McKinney?) I might have to take some lessons from her.

I used up the first bar pretty quickly and had to go back for more. I tried the Lemongrass scent the first time and am taking the Oatmeal and Honey for a spin this time around. Her soaps also come in 11 other scents.
And if you're in the area, check out Nole's store. It's filled with treasures that haven't made it onto their website.

Friday, March 6, 2009

No. 2 No-No

Or I could have snobbishly called this post "My shit doesn't stink."

Anyhow, I might be a bit late to the party on this one, since I have found this product reviewed on several sites, but I was introduced to Poo-Pouri yesterday while visiting with Celesta at Nole's General Store in downtown Denton.

According to their site, Poo-Pourri is a mixture of essential oils that you spray on the surface of the water in the toilet before you "do your business." It forms a barrier that traps those gnarly smells so your true purpose in the bathroom is not given away. No more "courtesy flushes" you might say.

It has a light citrusy scent that doesn't overwhelm and is very pleasant and subtle.

I have to say, even without having used it (yet), that it's a great alternative to that coconut-scented stuff my aunt has in her bathroom. It's a dead giveaway to the family and the poor soul exiting the restroom is typically subjected to the teasing question "been making pina coladas in there?"

Now, a little spritz of Poo-Pourri, and for all they know, you've just been reapplying a little body spray. Comes in a 2 oz. travel size so you can tuck it into your purse as well as a larger 4 oz. They've also added other scents to their line.

Even though most will look at this as a novelty product, it's still a fantastic concept. And as you know, girls don't poo. And we don't sweat, either.

Happy Birthday!

It's Becci's birthday today! We'd sing, but she'd die of embarrassment. And the cleanup of all the busted glass would take hours.

So, as my gift to you, my dear friend, I promise not to remind you that you're still older than me and that next year's the big 5-0.

Well, I promise not to say that out loud. Cyberspace is another matter.

And oh yeah, I beat the pants off you in bowling this week. :-p

Love you, my sister. Happy Birthday. What time are we going to Carino's for lunch?

Say It Ain't So Jo(nas)!

I admit it, I'm a sucker for a pretty face. Which is how I started watching BBC's latest incarnation of "Robin Hood." (See picture below.) Yes, I choose the shows I watch based on the hottness level of the hero. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn't (i.e., "Legend of the Seeker.")

The show is not perhaps the most well-acted, but it has made me laugh and cry, and groan a bit over the few modern phrases that have been tossed in. Some people are still panning it, but whatever. I like it and that's all that matters to me. And I've eagerly been awaiting the start of Season 3 on BBC America.

So, imagine my disappointment when I discover this morning that Jonas Armstrong is leaving the show at the end of the season. To pursue other opportunities. (In the business world, that phrase typically means someone got canned. In the entertainment world, it means, someone thinks he/she needs to earn more money and it ain't happening on that particular show--a la Suzanne Somers and "Three's Company.")

The producers are predicting the show will carry on, but how can that happen when the guy playing your main character is leaving? This isn't "As The World Turns." He's not Meg Ryan, who's character Betsy was in a horrible car accident and the doctor remade her in his dead wife's image just so they could slip a new actress in there. (And somehow he made her taller, too? That's when I stopped watching. My ability to suspend disbelief went up in smoke.)

So what the hell, Jonas? Can't you throw us lustful girls a bone and just keep doing the show? What am I supposed to do when I can no longer roll my eyes at your medieval hoodie? Do those art house/pseudo porn/independent movies while you're on hiatus. Unless of course, the real reason you're leaving is because you can't look at Keith Allen's gnarly teeth anymore.

And if any of you reading this are interested in seeing the show, Season 3 starts April 26th, so there's plenty of time to get Seasons 1 and 2 from Netflix.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

We've Synergized your R.I.F.

Ever notice how every couple of years some new buzzword or phrase pops up out of the business schools? We've synergized and thought "outside the box" and of course dealt with those pesky changing paradigms.

They do quite well at distracting us from what they're really doing as we try to figure out what they mean. (Picture a group of lay people standing around a dictionary scratching their heads while the money-grubbing CEOs walk out the door with cartfuls of cash.)

Now those who create these ridiculous things have come up with a new one: R.I.F. As in "reduction in force." As in, we laid his ass off. It's also used as a verb--"they rif'd 10 people today."

Notice how close it is to R.I.P.?

Earlier this decade, a whole bunch of us were laid off. For the most part people who are laid off expect to be called back to work at some point. I knew I wasn't going to get called back because the job I had at the time just flat out left town. But those airline pilots and flight attendants had a good shot at returning to their jobs.

Reduction in force couches the whole bloody mess in comfier terms. In my opinion, it sounds better in the press release--"because of the economy, we had to reduce our force by 10 percent." You're so busy thinking "aww, that poor company--they're struggling so hard to stay in business" that you miss the point--2000 people just got canned.

Tricky bastards.

I hope they at least got copies of Who Moved My Cheese? as they were escorted out the door so they had something to fill their sudden amount of free time. (For those of you who don't know the book, it was pretty popular back in 2001 when I was laid off and was recommended by all those outplacement firms who "helped" us find other jobs. The author must have made a mint giving cheesy advice on how to deal with change, especially since there's now a version for teens.)

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

A Few Shots of Sam

So here's a few shots of the "Demon Spawn" taken with the new camera. He seems to hide the evil well in his photos.

Helping with the laundry (note the dryer sheet)...

Keeping me from getting anything done....

And the reaction to the "demon spawn" comment....
I'd have more pictures, but he can't resist playing with the wriststrap on the camera, so 98% of what I've taken came out blurry.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

I'm Lazy. So What?

But I still beat Becci at bowling! *teehee* I told her I was going to shame her into beating me again, because that's the way it should be--she's the better bowler.


Things are hectic around the house. At last count, I had 1456 projects going at once (give or take a few hundred.) I can't manage to complete anything, so the living room floor is only 1/10th of the way redone (went with Carribbean Cherry flooring!), the kitchen is unclean, there's something growling at me from the depths of the refrigerator, a dirty sock grabbed me around the ankle and tried to pull me into the hamper, and the dining room table is lost under a pile of paper and unsolicited fliers. Not to mention Sam being a pest every time I actually try to do something! And I still haven't managed to watch the X-Files movie I borrowed from Bec--but somehow I had time to watch Norbit twice this weekend. ("O00hhh, I'm slidin'!") Go figure.

Yeah, yeah. I know. How can I be so far behind when I have no husband or kids to take care of? It's a mystery. Having to distract Sam every few minutes to stop him from destroying what's left of the house takes up a lot of time and energy. He behaves better when I sit down with him on the couch and let him curl up in my lap to sleep. Heaven forbid I try to get up and do anything while he sleeps, though! Spoiled rotten little spawn of Satan.

I think it's time we started looking for a little brother or sister for him to play with just so I can keep some sanity.