Monday, June 29, 2009

I'm Melting!

It is so frickin' hot here in Texas I've melted into a puddle of sweat. The humidity makes it feel like you're breathing through a hot, wet towel.

I snuck out early yesterday morning to get the lawn mowed before the flaming ball of death rose too high in the sky and fried me in my tracks. There was no time to waste. I finished the front yard in 15 minutes, rolled the mower back onto the patio and was stripped down to my skivvies in front of the fan before Spongebob came on.

Even the boys are forgoing any trips outside for fear of turning into kitty jerky inside their fur coats. All three can be found sprawled across the tile floor, only moving when their chosen spot heats up to body temp. After going out to the grocery store in 103 degree temperature yesterday, I was ready to join them.

This week the temp's are only predicted to be in the mid to upper 90s. Ooohhh! A cold front!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

I Got My First "D"

...cup bra, that is.

Had to go shopping the other night in an effort to get the girls some wiggle room. I was really getting tired of fighting with them about staying put in all my old bras. I'd strap them in, they'd wriggle loose while shouting "Freedom!" Or I'd look down to find the dreaded "four boob" thing happening, wherein the edge of your bra cuts in and the overflow makes you look like you're something from a sci-fi/fantasy graphic novel.

I have to say it's about time my order for bigger boobs arrived. I put that thing in years ago. Too bad it arrived with a side of fat butt and jiggly thighs.

And as my family shares most everything, when I revealed my move up into the "D" world, I was welcomed warmly. Amongst my female relatives, I am nothing but a latecomer (or "latebloomer") to that party.

Mmmmm, Cake....

Here's one of my favorite clips from Cosby. There's nothing like chocolate cake. Especially for breakfast.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Try Try Again

I don't think the third time is going to be the charm on the bread making.

I measured, I poured, I watched, I adjusted the amount of flour. Things looked good. I went away and let the machine do it's job. After two hours I went in and peeked through the little window to see a beautiful loaf of bread rising just as it should.

Then I went back a few minutes later to see this:

The bloody mess exploded and is running down the sides of the pan! Right after snapping the picture, I actually saw the mass breathe. I swear to God I saw it breathing! What the hell kind of yeast did I use??

This reminds me of the episode of "Family Matters" when Urkel took Home Ec.

Skip to the 4:28 mark to see the bread dough gone wild.

Further Adventures in Baking

One or two of you may remember my attempts at making biscuits last year. Believe it or not, I have had a few successes since then.

But, in my new-found attempt to cut back on the amount of High Fructose Corn Syrup I consume, I decided to start baking my own bread. (I was shocked to find HFCS in a loaf of whole-wheat bread! That stuff is everywhere!!) Being relatively lazy, I decided to get a bread maker.

Simple, right? Just place the ingredients in the pan, turn it on, and it does all the work, right? Maybe for you and the rest on the planet, but last night I opened the machine to find this:

For some reason, my beautifully risen dough had fallen before the baking process started. It only filled up half the pan. Can't be too bad, though, right? RIGHT?

Bravely, I turned the pan over and released the bread. It hit with a "thunk!" Hmm, sounds kind of heavy. I sliced into it. Actually, I sawed into it. And sawed. Bravely, I nibbled a small chunk and almost lost a tooth.
According to the troubleshooting section of the bread machine's user manual, the bread either had too much flour, or too much water. That's sad, because the only contributions I had to make to this entire process was to measure and pour.

Maybe I should throw out my "Elly Mae Clampett Guide to Cooking."

Jake Takes a Nap

Here's a few shots of noisy kitty actually being quiet for once. He just couldn't decide on a position.
The chair must not have been comfy enough (could be that the color is just too loud!), so he switched to the couch and a different pillow.

Monday, June 15, 2009

I Go to Work to Relax

The alarm went off two seconds after Izzy head-butted me in the face this morning. Damn. Vacation's over.

One week just is not long enough for a break from work. I was just starting to get good and relaxed, depite the fact that I worked my butt off all week. There was no sleeping in and not much staying up late.

As mentioned before, I finally finished the living room floor, moved all the stuff that had been hanging out in the spare room and the utility room back to where it should be, and rescued some birds from the little hunter.

But the fun didn't stop there. I got the flower beds in the front yard cleaned up and mulched, as well as planted a few more canna and daylilies. I didn't do this because I consider myself a fantastic gardner, but because I was embarrassed by the way my yard looked. I've got an elderly couple living on one side of me and the husband always has their yard looking immaculate, while on the other side of me, they have a guy who comes once a week to take care of the lawn. Frankly, they make me look like a schlub with my two-week mowing schedule. All I need is a car on blocks to make my house look completely derelict sometimes. Okay, yes, that is an exaggeration, especially since one house down the street has a yard full of weeds that have been known to swallow stray dogs.

But the unspoken peer pressure from the neighbors aside, I'm pretty proud of all the work I did out there digging up grass and weeds. My muscles are sore, my skin is sunburned, and my foot still hurts from where I ran over it with a cartful of mulch at Home Depot, but it looks pretty darned good.

Most of the week also was spent working on the new rabbit pen. (Quick history, I have six rabbits that have been living at my grandparents' house for the last four years. Now that I own my own home, it's about time they lived with me.) My 86-year-old grandfather and I worked most of the week just to get a foundation and walls up for the new pen. Of course, with his age, my lack of muscles, and the heat, we spent a lot of time resting. But now all we need is a roof and some siding on the lower part of the walls and the new home is good to go! I designed it to look more like a screened porch than a pen, so the upper part of the walls are window screen.

I sweated through more clothes in one week than I have in the past several years put together. Now it's back to work and arctic air conditioning. Yesterday I was sighing in pleasure everytime I walked into the house, and today in my office I have my space heater on just to keep from freezing to death. What a difference a day makes.

Spent the entire morning sorting through emails. I think one or two people actually missed my expertise while I was gone. Nice to know I have a little job security!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

When It Rains

Mother Nature PMS'd her way through the area tonight with lots of wind, thunder, lightning, lashing rain and tornadoes. So far, the news is still reporting spotting, but no confirmations of touchdowns.

Before it even blew in, the city set off the alarm sirens. And I'm talking not even a drop of rain yet. My mom called at the exact same time the siren started. And of course, the kids started freaking out, as well. Two kittens racing around, me trying to figure out exactly what was happening, while reassuring mom that I was fine. That was when the satellite figuratively ran for cover. No TV reception meant no live weather news. OK, losing that lifeline freaked me out a little bit because I couldn't watch every tick of the radar as the storm moved closer.

Time to take control. Made sure things were battened down outside, then took the laptop and headed into the bedroom with Jake and Izzy. Didn't know where Sam was, and as the storm was upon us, I couldn't head back outside to look for him. I tried to find some site with live weather feeds. No luck on any of our local television channel websites. You'd think they'd offer that privelege for public safety.

The storm whipped through quickly and within 45 minutes it was pretty quiet again. Jake and Izzy were sacked out asleep, and as "they" say, the animals know best. I figured since they were calm then the worst really was over.

I went outside to take a look around and saw my lemon tree had taken a tumble. It was still raining lightly, but I went to set it upright in order to protect the fruit and then saw the hammock and umbrella were knocked over. As I made my way across the river that was my yard at that point, I stepped in a mole hole and managed to lose my shoe.

I thought about leaving it there and going back to get it tomorrow because the rain was cold, but I decided to retrieve it anyway. Took a few tugs to get it out of the muck and by then both feet had sunk down into mole holes. Damned creature! Had to then pull the other shoe out of the mud.

Grabbed the hammock stand, set it upright, then picked up the umbrella to take back up on the patio. Other than a few limbs blown off the trees, that was pretty much the extent of my damage.

Now, where the heck was Sam? I still hadn't seen hide nor hair of him. I expected him to pop through the cat door, soaking wet and complaining loudly. Nope. I went through every room in the house calling for him, expecting to get a cranky meow. Again nope. Then I just yelled his name very loudly. No.

I sat down on the couch to get the latest on the weather now that the satellite had come out of hiding, looked down, and there he was beside me, silent as a wraith. And dry as a bone, which meant he had been in the house the entire time. Brat.

All's quiet now, and all three boys are napping. Guess it's all back to normal.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Brief Vacation Update

Finally finished getting the laminate flooring down. Hallelujah!

Just need to get the threshold strips and a bit of quarter round put down in order to finish up completely, but I've already rearranged the furniture, dragged the bookcases back in and unpacked the 25 boxes of books and DVDs.

I also uncovered 16 fake furry mice when I moved the sofa and chair. That answered what happened to most of them. Now I just need to find the rest. I also found one buried in the backyard under some grass clippings. I knew Izzy'd been taking those things outside. No telling how far down the street he's carried them.

Now it's on to the next project. Or maybe a nap. I'm voting nap. Especially since it's what the furrballs are doing.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Bye Bye Birdie

Either Izzy's really good, or a certain little bird is suicidal.

I was awakened this morning by said screaming bird. In the house. (Did I mention this is the first Saturday in a month that I didn't have to get up at 5 a.m.?)

I knew immediately what was going on and jumped out of bed, dashed out of the room, and met Izzy in the hallway with his prey. Evidently he had been headed into the bedroom with it. What was he thinking??

Baby bird was rescued and escorted back outside where I left it in the same hanging pot as last night. Went back in the house and handed Izzy one of his fake mice, which he chased around the house for a good half hour. No luck getting back to sleep at that point as he kept jumping on the bed with the mouse in his mouth and growling at me in challenge.

Just a few minutes ago there was another ruckus. This time Izzy didn't bring the bird into the house--he had it on the patio next to the back door. I stepped out, picked it up, and stuck it in the pot again. As I'm about to leave for Home Depot, I can no longer guarantee the bird's safety.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Love's Lizard Lost

Tonight's new "toy:"

A lizard.

Izzy popped through the cat door a little while ago with something dangling from his mouth. At first I thought it was another snake, but thankfully it wasn't long enough. As soon as I tried to stop him, he took off running into the kitchen with me hot on his heels.

I grabbed Izzy and he dropped the lizard, now sans tail, and it started running around the kitchen floor.

Because the poor creature was still alive, I had to try to rescue it. And so began the battle between human and kitten for a tiny reptile. We went side to side in the kitchen, each trying to get to it first. I kind of dropped the ball on the whole "rescue" when it ran over my foot and up my leg.

Izzy pounced and nabbed it one more time, but it wriggled loose and ran under the refrigerator. And now he sits, watching and waiting for it to emerge.


Izzy gave up on the lizard and went back outside. Next thing I know, he was racing back in through the cat door with a baby wren in his mouth. The poor thing was screaming, so I was immediately on the chase. Izzy went to ground in the utility room, so I wrested it away from him and returned it outside. I dumped it in a hanging pot and can only hope it stays put until the hunter goes to sleep for the day.

I'm starting to think the little wanna-be jaguar needs a cage.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

My Little Hunter

Izzy has an insane number of fake fur mice (32 at last count) at his disposal. I was keeping them in a bowl to dole out one at a time. I say "was" because last night the poor bowl hit the floor and shattered into a hundred pieces. Izzy had learned how to get up on the table and get his own mouse, which he would then drop on the floor, leap down after and stalk and attack it until it was lost under a piece of furniture. Then he'd get back on the table and get another mouse. But for some reason last night he decided to push the whole bowl off onto the floor. I took all his mice away from him in punishment. I guess that's why he went out and found his own plaything tonight.

I was innocently lying in bed reading a book and looked up to see him playing with something at the foot of the bed. He looked at me and I swear he gave me a smug little kitty smile. At first I thought his toy was the strap of the discarded bra lying next to him. Nope. It was a snake. And it was alive!

It was only about six inches long and not moving very fast, but I leapt out of bed, grabbed it by the head, held it at arm's length, and carried it out the back door. All the way there I was chanting "eww, eww, eww!" Izzy was in step the entire way, looking disappointed that I wasn't as excited about his new toy as he was. I tossed the snake into the yard and started hoping I would never see it again.

Izzy's really getting into the whole hunting thing and thinks he needs to bring me the results of his feline prowess. He's surprised me outside with a dead garter snake, dragged a dead bird in through the cat door, stalked the poor little frog on the back porch, and I'm pretty sure he's the one responsible for the severed mouse head in the kitchen floor.

Just the other day I chased him around the yard to rescue a baby bird from his grasp. He growled at me and ran like mad with that poor little bird squawking like crazy. I have a rule that if the creature is still alive, I have to rescue it. His pride in having caught the fledgling robin was replaced with anger when I took it away. (Of course, the danged bird bit me, but that's the thanks I get!)

Izzy's finally returned to the bedroom. I guess he gave up on trying to find his latest toy. But I'm sure there'll be another one. I just wish he'd go after that danged mole that's chewing up my lawn. In the meantime I guess I have to give him back his furry mice.

Kings of the Realm

Cats don't care what you're doing. They must be petted!

Found over on LOLCats

And I'm pretty sure the Egyptians didn't worship cats willingly. They were forced into it by an overwhelmingly cute coup.

Monday, June 1, 2009

I'm Sorry, Mr. Whipple.

Here's a new installment in my "if you can't be a good example, be a horrible warning" series.

Tip: toilet paper does not launder well.

I threw in a load of laundry last night, ghosted back to the living room to finish reading my book (book one in the Dresden Files series--I had to know who the killer was!), and didn't think about the clothes until much later. Imagine my surprise when I opened the lid of the washer to find my dark clothes spotted with a ton of white fuzz. What the heck?!?

I pulled the clothes out of the wash, trying to figure out the cause of their sudden growth of woolly covering. I saw a few bits of wet cardboard, but still couldn't tell figure out the culprit. I shook the clothes, trying to get it off. Izzy--who must know what I am doing at all times--was at my feet and hit by a sudden snow shower. The little that came off when I shook the clothes made no dent in the amount.

I stood there with a dilemma. Even though I didn't know what caused it, I still needed to figure out how to get it off. Put the clothes in the dryer and let the stuff come off by itself, or stick everything back in the wash and try to rinse it off?

I went with the dryer. Stuffed everything in and turned it on and continued pondering what had happened. That's when I noticed something was missing.

Izzy, darling little kitten that he is, tends to find out-of-the-way corners to do his evil stinky business in when he gets mad. One of those corners happens to be between the wall and the dryer. Last time I cleaned up after him, I'd grabbed a roll of toilet paper from the bathroom, tore off what I needed to wipe the floor, and left the roll on top of the dryer.

So in my rush to get clothes into the washer and get back to my book, I must have knocked the toilet paper in there, as well.

I let the clothes dry, checked them just before time was up, and found the filter overflowing with toilet paper bits. The clothes were dry, but they were still covered in fuzz. I tossed everything back into the washer to start the whole process over and went to bed. I'll check on it's status when I get home tonight.