Sunday, March 30, 2008

Kittens are Cute



Talk about a blatantly obvious statement. Kittens are cute. Well they are! Especially if they happen to be the ones that live with you. The cats who live with me, Newton and Einstein, are nearly two years old and are kittens no longer. They have grown into cats, approximately ten pounds each, who manage to sound like thousand pound crazed water buffalo when they tear through the house in hot pursuit of each other. They are alternately affectionate and aloof, funny and exasperating, sleeping peacefully and romping. It's already hard to remember them as the tiny puffballs of fur they were when we brought them home from Colleen's. The boys and I had been considering adopting a pair of kittens for several months. In July of 2006, Colleen called and said she had eight kittens ready to leave their moms and invited us out for first pick. The younger son and I hopped in the van and headed out to shop for cat related items. Food, litter and a litter box, a catnip enhanced scratching thing that they actually have used instead of the furniture! Next stop was Colleen's pastoral little acreage where she lives with a husband, one dog, three llamas, numerous chickens and cats who eat from the same dishes, and two talking birds. Her vegetable garden was at its peak, she was harvesting and canning and freezing from the garden's late summer splendor. She met us in the driveway, followed by an entourage of several chickens and cats of various size and color. The task at hand was to choose two, and only two, kittens to take home with us. While pondering this dilemma, an interesting thing happened. One of the kittens chose us. I felt a tickle on the top of my left foot. I looked down. And perched on top of my foot between the sandal straps was a tiny gray tiger kitten. He wobbled back and forth a little and squawked noisily at me before darting off to wrestle with his brother, a black and white kitten with a white stripe up his nose. I picked up the black and white one and gazed at his little kitten face. He had inordinately long, white eyebrow whiskers that contrasted sharply with his mostly black face. I immediately thought, Einstein had wild, bushy white eyebrows! The younger son observed that if that one was going to be called Einstein, the tiger should be called Newton. We took them home. And I have yet to figure out why the younger son is their favorite human. After all, I am the one who feeds them. You'd think that would count for something.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Spring is in The Hair

About ten years ago, I decided I had spent much too much of my life on my hair. So I gave up on the idea of having some specific type of hairstyle. A hairstyle seemed to involve things like blow-drying, curling and/or straightening, and products. Lots of products. To clean, to moisturize, to tame the frizz, to make it shiny. I enquired of Kim, who had the dubious pleasure of having cut my hair for five or so years at that time, what would happen if I just quit fighting the curl, let my hair do what it wanted to? Would it be possible for her to cut my hair in such a way that would give it some shape and tame it somewhat? Voila! Maintenance free hair! Since that time I have lived in the world of low maintenance hair and have never looked back. I wash it, condition it, throw in some anti-frizz gel, and shake it out into a sort of free, curly look that seems to work pretty well. There is still the occasional disaster, which brings us up to one week ago. Last Thursday I received perhaps the worst nightmare of a haircut I have ever had in my life. I was there the whole time and somehow didn't realize how bad it was until the next morning. Chunky layers. Uneven layers. Bangs, I don't remember asking for bangs! The dreaded pyramid effect that emerged while it was drying. Out of desperation I wore a baseball cap to work. Then Friday afternoon I walked into another salon, removed the cap and asked Stephanie if she could fix it, it was already too short in spots and I knew the only fix was to go even shorter. And fix it Stephanie did. I'm almost used to having a little breeze on my neck again and have accepted that it will be midsummer before I can sport a ponytail once more. I've had a number of compliments on the change and I have to grudgingly admit I like it. My intentions last week were merely to get a trim to shape things up. But I ended up with a very unintentional whole new 'do that's pretty okay. I've even been told I look ten years younger. And I must say that is a compliment I enjoy hearing. I don't know if I'll adopt this 'do as a regular look, but it is in the low maintenance category of wash-gel-and-go. One thing's for sure. It will grow. I will need a haircut. And next time I'm going directly to Stephanie and cutting out the middleman. Thereby saving some cash and loathing.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The UnSend Button

Wouldn't it be handy? Regret popping off in an email? You hit the send button anyway and now there's no turning back. I understand there are geeks somewhere who are working on the technology to retrieve a sent email. Even an email that has been opened and firmly resides in someone else's inbox. Poof! Like you never sent it at all. Poof!! Not a trace left of your electronic faux pas. Poof!!! An opportunity to start over fresh provided the receiver didn't copy/paste the darned thing into another secure file that can't be accessed. A recipient with failing short-term memory would also be in your favor. The un-sent! I like this idea and let me be the first to admit there have been a few times I would love to snatch back what I have sent. Part of the problem with email is its instantaneous nature. Tap out a few lines or words and it's gone. When you know someone really well, email can be a very efficient, cheap and quick way to communicate. My problem with email is that it's just the words. It doesn't include the aspects of communication that make a face-to-face interface real and significant. No tone of voice, no eye contact, no body language. Rendering email ripe ground for misunderstanding. The unsend button. Kind of a nifty idea. For now, I guess I'll just plug along in my own endearing, misunderstood way. Racking up those character building experiences that emerge due to the lack of the unsend button.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Phone Photo


I snapped this photo about a year ago, April 1st last spring to be precise. I was on a Sunday morning walk on the bike trail in Rapid City. I was taken by how the twig and its shadow produced a heart shape against the sidewalk. I was lamenting the lack of a camera when I realized I had my cell phone in my pocket. When I retired that phone two weeks ago, I had thirty or so odd photos stored on it, but there were only a half dozen I really wanted to keep. The only way to get the photos off the phone was to email them. I would have preferred a cable or a little memory card for the upload but no such option existed. Next week when I get my cell phone bill I'll find out what it cost to email those six photos to myself. I already know they were worth it.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

La Primavera

Welcome to spring. The wintry crone casts off her dark shroud and has miraculously transformed into her maiden guise once more. It sounds like spring. There has been a continuous cacophony of birds since 4 am. I was just now cradling a big cup of coffee and watching big, fat snowflakes drifting to the ground in the backyard. There was one big, fat robin poking around amidst the pine cones and twigs for his breakfast. I wonder how much snow will fall today. If I can be lazy and let it melt or if I'll be obliged to shovel it away one more time. The creeping crud in my sinuses has mostly abated and I'm feeling nearly human again. I ventured outside to retrieve the newspapers a few minutes ago. I keep around an old pair of velcro closure snowboots near the backdoor to slip on for brief winter forays into the garage or out in the yard. I think both of the boys wore them, purchased for the elder one, then outgrown and passed to the younger. Way back when their feet were about the same size as mine. I keep them around because they're an easy on and off for going out and back in again, they're a little big for me so I can step right into them even with an armload of recyclables occupying my hands. The snow is sticky, perfect for snowballs and building a snowman or fort if enough accumulates. I must be quite a sight against this white backdrop in my kiddie boots, hot pink sweat pants, plaid flannel nightshirt, and blue ski jacket if anyone happened to be looking. At least I had the hood up to cover my pillowhead hairdo. For right now, it is enough sit here with my coffee and listen to the birds, and watch Newton still as a statue except for his twitching tail, as he observes the birds on the other side of the patio door. Soon there will be cinnamon raisin toast to accompany the coffee. If I don't mop the kitchen floor today the only solution is to rope the area off as a biohazard. Either that or walk around wearing fuzzy socks until all the sticky spots are rendered unsticky. So much for spring housecleaning.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Creeping Crud

I don't know if this is simply a very nasty cold or a mild case of the flu. All I know is that its symptoms are lingering on much too long for my liking. This current malady reminds me of my extremely low tolerance for over the counter cold remedies. I awoke with a sizable Nyquil hangover that lasted well into the morning. After lunch, realizing the sinus pressure was pretty much intolerable, I dosed up with an appropriate amount of ibuprofin and decongestant. This resulted in a Sudafed rush that propelled me through a highly productive afternoon at work. So productive in fact that I collapsed into a two hour nap when I got home this evening. Makes for an interesting day. And just now, during a long, lovely, steamy shower, I learned two things during a sneezing fit of five doozies in a row. One, that my facial cleanser tastes absolutely horrible and I vow to never take it to the kitchen and mistake it for a condiment. And, two, it is more than remarkable how sneezing makes leg hair stand on end, resulting in an exceptionally close shaving experience. I'm now headed off to bed, taking my creeping, cruddy cold and silky legs along for the night.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Threeze

Three things in this house that are in dire need of cleaning
  1. My bathroom
  2. The kitchen floor
  3. Office/computer room
Three things that drive Newton and Einstein nuts
  1. Lights that move around on a wall
  2. Bottlecaps
  3. Closed doors
Three things hanging on the back of my bedroom door
  1. Pink feather boa
  2. John's brown shirt
  3. Deflated Tinker Bell balloon from my birthday party last summer
Three things that have recently emerged from the melting snow in my yard
  1. My moon garden
  2. Pink flamingoes
  3. Back issues of the local shopper
Three wonderful things I have eaten in the last 24 hours
  1. Toasted cinnamon raisin bread
  2. French Onion Soup
  3. Lindor truffle
Three things I must accomplish before leaving on vacation
  1. Make a comprehensive list of stuff the 15yo must do while I'm gone
  2. Create a new playlist for the iPod
  3. Do all the laundry, then try not to take it all with me
Three things that take forever to get over with
  1. Waiting for an ingrown toenail to grow out
  2. Winter in South Dakota
  3. A song on the radio that you really can't stand
Three things that I have absolutely no control over, and since accepting this fact, have become a much happier person
  1. The seemingly senseless and arbitrary decisions made by the computer guys at work
  2. The fact that I develop feelings for one man or another. I have taken this one step further by actually learning where the line of appropriateness is in expressing such feelings. I'm becoming such a grown-up.
  3. The inception and enactment of Daylight Savings Time

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Wildflowers & Higher Education

I uncorked a bottle of J Lohr Wildflowers about an hour ago. Then I chatted with Colleen about the house and moving progress. I am now on my second glass of this lovely and very reasonably priced red wine. And I can still type! And I was thinking about wine and higher education. And you may possibly be wondering why anyone would make such an association. Well. My wonderful and most brilliant son who is attending SDSU is fortunate enough to have a healthy chunk of his schooling paid for with scholarship dollars. And the bulk of those dollars are generously contributed by The Lohr Foundation. Think about it. Every single time I have purchased a bottle of J Lohr wine in the last, actually, the number of years isn't all that important in the cosmic scheme of things, few years, which is quite a few bottles, even before I gave birth to my son, I was making an investment in his future education! Was that a run-on sentence? I believe it was. Although a reasonably coherent one. I went shopping in SF this afternoon. I did not purchase any wine but I did buy two pairs of shoes, one on sale, one on clearance. Anything to make my cranky feet happy. And now I have this amazing little wire with a headphone-size jack on each end. I plug one end into the center console in the car, plug the other end into my iPod (which I do know how to program all by myself, thank you), hit the Aux button on the dash, and magically, music I have loaded onto the iPod plays out of the stereo speakers in the car!!! This I find completely amazing. And very cool. So I would like to share with you the frequency of artists, as best as my whacked short-term memory can reconstruct, for the approximately two hours I spent in the car.

  • Eric Clapton, 3
  • The Eagles, 3
  • Hank Harris, 4, one of them was a Red Willow tune
  • Abby SomeOne, 5
  • Sheryl Crow, 2
  • Bonnie Raitt, 1
  • Bering Strait, 1
  • Little Shop of Horrors soundtrack, 1
  • Lyle Lovett, 1
  • The Beatles, 1
  • John Lennon, 1
  • Heart, 1
  • Jennifer Warnes, 1
  • Sarah MacLachlan, 1
  • Tim Buckley, 1
Which makes me wonder about the randomness of the shuffle setting. And how random it truly is. Then I think about the Eisenberg uncertainty principle and if somehow the fact that I'm listening alters the playlist. I'm going to avoid thinking for the rest of the evening and see if I can manage to stay up and watch the Red Willow 30th Reunion Concert on public TV. It's only forty minutes away. I think I'm up for it.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Victoria's Dirty Little Secret


Those bastards in Victoria's Secret's corporate marketing department! They have reeled me in like the unsuspecting fish that I am!! Let me first say that I own only one garment from this retail establishment. And this is how owning one little pair of cotton panties can take over your life. I checked the mailbox. Lying in there was the latest issue of a particular magazine. I brought said magazine into the house to peruse its contents. Before I take a look into any magazine, I first leaf through it and dispose of the many annoying renewal cards and other innocuous advertising inserts. They normally go straight into the recycling bin. For some reason my attention was drawn to a (of course) pink certificate/coupon looking thing. I picked it up off the pile of paper gathering on the table. This innocent postcard sized document entitled the holder to a free pair of VS panties. White cotton panties in various styles and sizes. Something Free!!! my feminine brain screamed. But we all know that nothing is truly free. I tucked the coupon into my purse and forgot about it. Some time later I found myself in a shopping mall and happened to walk past a Victoria's Secret store. Hmm. Did I still have that free panties coupon? Indeed I did and the expiration date was only days away. I ventured inside, scooped up a pair in the high-cut style and waited in the check-out line. I glanced down at the panties (free!!) in my hot little hand. Seven dollars and fifty cents! The price for owning these panties was seven dollars and fifty cents! And I, feeling quite smug at the moment, was going to get them free. The salesgirl wrapped them in pink tissue paper and tucked them into an adorable little shopping bag. She rang up the coupon, beamed at me as she handed over the bag, and insisted that I have a nice day. That was fun, I thought. A few days later I wore the VS white cotton panties. They were so comfortable! Stayed put, didn't ride up, fit me juuuust right. I've worn them several times. They launder up just dandy and they never spend much time at all in the drawer until I simply must wear them again. And I've been thinking. What if I had a whole drawer full of them! I could be in VS heaven every day! I can't believe that my own frugal self is considering investing in a week's worth of panties at seven fifty a pop! Which brings me back to those merciless bastards in their marketing department. Just give her one pair free. Then she'll be hooked. And come back for more. I'll bet they've jacked up the price to fifteen bucks. Pernicious panty pushers!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Sunday Muffins

Yes, it is possible to put too many blueberries in the muffins. The yummy factor is significantly increased, but be warned. Blueberries are not an appropriate structural material. In fact, the structural integrity of the muffin is so very compromised that the muffin must be eaten on a plate with a fork. If I had lacked the foresight to use paper liners in the muffin pan, they would not have come out in one piece. I must admit that I used paper liners because I am lazy. Paper liners minimize the clean-up and you do not have to spend a tedious thirty seconds to grease the wells with cooking spray. You, too, can make these wonderful muffins! The recipe follows. I try to offset the healthful effects of the oatmeal by sprinkling a half teaspoon or so of raw granulated sugar on the top of each muffin before baking. This results in a lovely, crunchy crown.

Blueberry Muffins

1 cup oatmeal
1 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 beaten egg
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup blueberries

Stir together the buttermilk and oatmeal and allow to sit for an hour before proceeding. You can also do this step the night before and let it sit in the fridge overnight. Cream together the butter and brown sugar, then add the egg, then the buttermilk/oatmeal mixture. Stir together the dry ingredients and fold into the batter. Add blueberries. Spoon into muffin pan, I strongly recommend paper liners! Bake for 25 minutes at 375. Makes one dozen. Enjoy.

Yes, I have the pink phone. And I have received my first call on it! Last night from the 15yo son who needed a ride home. From now on I shall curb the urge to list pink things. Although I don't know how I could have possibly forgotten the pink straw cowboy (cowgirl?) hat.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

More Pink


How could I have forgotten my pink lunchbox that comes to work with me most days? Also the pink sunglasses. The pink alligator (it's vinyl) tote bag. Not one but two pink purses. Pink feather boa. Pink suede winter boots. The five shades of pink nail polish. And the flock of seven pink flamingoes out there in the yard braving the last remnants (we hope) of winter.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Pink

I can't say that pink is my favorite color. When queried as to what my favorite color is, that can vary depending on my mood, what day it is, sort of like the rules for Fizzbin. I'm likely to say blue or green. Maybe red. And I have discovered that my reply is likely to match the color I am wearing at the time. But I am viscerally drawn to pink. You may have noticed that the backdrop to this blog is pink. I got married in a pink dress. My friend Colleen, who is the luckiest Goodwill shopper I have ever encountered, found a pair of new sandals for me there. I was complaining that I could never find the shoe bargains there like she does because they seem to never have my size. Later that week she showed up at work with a mysterious brown paper bag. Inside the bag was the very cute pair of very pink sandals. Now my mission is to find a sundress to go with them. Just for fun, I will now list as much of the pink stuff I own from memory. I will not poke around in closets or dig in my purse, I'll just root around in my head.

  1. Luggage
  2. Cowboy (Cowgirl?) Boots
  3. Computer Bag
  4. Wallet
  5. Cell Phone Case
  6. Change Purse
  7. Binders for Poetry
  8. Flash Drive
  9. Camera & Case
  10. Two rather hideous formal dresses
  11. Journal
  12. Baseball Cap
  13. Hooded Sweatshirt
  14. Numerous articles of clothing
  15. Various assorted scarves & jewelry
  16. iPod case
  17. Backpack
  18. Ski Jacket
There is a great deal of pink in my kitchen. Dishes, ceramic tiles, countertops, gadgets. The walls in my kitchen and living room are painted a lovely shade of pink, Lucite Pink Sangria. I have come to the conclusion that I have not chosen pink, rather, pink has chosen me. And just in the last few minutes, pink has spoken to me once more. I am due for a cell phone upgrade. My provider has reminded me of this numerous times in the last month. I went online to pay my bill. I was thinking that my current phone is just fine. I don't need a new one. Until this morning when I discovered that the Motorola Razr is available in my upgrade options. For free. In pink. I'm weak. I caved.