Tuesday, April 29, 2008

On birthdays, cake and cats

For Ralph's birthday on Saturday Betty Crocker and I baked a yummy cake.
Happy Birthday, Airhead 55 !!

After that, we took a trip to a new pet supply store owned by the woman from whom we adopted our cats, Dopus 1 and Dopus 2.
OK, those are not their names... and I'm not being very nice, am I?
She rescues cats as a volunteer for a local shelter and links up adoptive parents with cats being fostered.
We told her all about our cats' progress and she was happy to hear how well they've adjusted.
Linus and Rigby have become lords of the manor around here, with our encouragement.
We don't yell at them when they misbehave.
Instead, I run for the camera. And try to capture the silly moments.
No more hiding under the bed or running away from us as we reach to pet them.
They're free to act like the felines they are.

As you can see, I turn my back for a minute, and they decide to explore inside the kitchen drawer. ----->

How unsanitary! But things can be cleaned, right? They were only there for a minute. Just long enough for me to get the camera!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Now say it in one word; be succinct

Linda posted this meme Saturday and I thought I would give it a go, since I seem to like succinctness. Oh, and Mimi, Queen of Memes, posted it earlier last week. (Sorry your highness)

The one-word meme

As Linda said, "There's only one rule...you only get one word but it's harder than it looks!"

Yourself: Anxious

Your Partner: Ralph

Your Hair: Thick

Your Mother: Stubborn

Your Father: Passed

Your Favorite Item: Gnomes

Your Dream Last Night: Confusing

Your Favorite Drink: Wine

Your Dream Car: Passat

Your Dream Home: Here

The Room You Are In: Living

Your Fear: Illness

Where Do You Want To Be In 10 Years: Published

Who You Hung Out With Last: Cat

What You're Not: Adventurous

Muffins: Blueberry

One of Your Wish List Items: Serenity

Time: Fleeting

Last Thing You Did: Slept

What Are You Wearing: Jeans

Your Favorite Weather: Spring

Your Favorite Book: Nonfiction

Last Thing You Ate: Breakfast

Your Mood: Fine

Your Best Friends: ?

What Are You Thinking About Right Now: Writing

Your Car: Hyundai

Your Summer: Hot

What's on your TV: News

What is Your Weather Like: Rainy

When Is the Last Time You Laughed: Yesterday

Your Relationship Status: Great

C'mon, you know you want to play...

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Beautifully optimistic

"What the caterpillar thinks is the end of the world, the butterfly knows is only the beginning."

I was reading a death notice last week about a young woman who died at 31, and this quote was included with it.
I thought it was a good one to share.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

I hate when this happens ...

  • I bookmark interesting things, in an effort to be organized, then a few days later I've totally forgotten that I've bookmarked them.
  • When I don't visit blog friends for a couple of days, and they have written incredible posts and I'm last to comment. Then I'm sorry I didn't visit in a timely fashion because I'm afraid they won't go back and see that, although late to the party, I've read and commented on their creative writings.
  • When I get caught up in minutia, and the day seems to slip away, leaving me with piles of minutia, both tangible and intangible.
  • When I start planning Patti's pity party (love the alliteration there). Things have been going haywire for too long around here, and I keep trying to joke my way past the anxiety and upset.
That's all for now.

Friday, April 25, 2008

From Braingle: a trivia and quiz site

As the site says, "It doesn't hurt to take a hard look at yourself from time to time. This little test should help you get started."

During a visit to a mental asylum, a visitor asked the Director what the criteria is that defines if a patient should be institutionalized.

"Well," said the Director, "we fill up a bathtub. Then we offer a teaspoon, a teacup, and a bucket to the patient and ask the patient to empty the bathtub."

Okay, here's your test:

1. Would you use the spoon? 2. Would you use the teacup? 3. Would you use the bucket?

"Oh, I understand," said the visitor. "A normal person would choose the bucket, as it is larger than the spoon."
What was the director's response?


"No," answered the Director. "A normal person would pull the plug."

~ Have a great weekend!

Smartly done

Last week when I was on vacation Ralph and I did something we rarely do...
Now get your mind out of the gutter!

We went to the movies. We received a gift certificate for Christmas, and finally got around to going to the theater.
The last time we went I think we saw "Shrek 2." It has been a while.

We saw "Smart People." We are so delayed pop-culturally speaking that neither of us knew who the actor was who played the main character. Turned out it was that "unknown" actor Dennis Quaid. He's new on the scene right? Oh. Maybe not.

Well, we sat back, munched free popcorn and enjoyed thinking about something other than bills and problems. That's what it means to be entertained, right?
It's a wonderful concept.

The movie: It is about a professor of Victorian literature at Carnegie Mellon (Quaid) who is a widower. He is out of touch with his two children, a son who attends Carnegie Mellon for free, since Dad teaches there, and a daughter who is a senior in high school. She is borderline brilliant but emotionally needy.
She holds down the fort at home, making dinner for Dad and taking care of the laundry and the house. Daughter gets accepted into Stanford, but doesn't tell Dad.

He is so wrapped up in his own problems he seems oblivious to the two people he should be most devoted, his son and daughter. An adopted brother (played by Thomas Haden Church) lends comic relief to this rather morose, overly-intellectual household.

Quaid gets injured trying to retrieve his car from the impound and is taken to the hospital. Enter cute former student who he doesn't remember and now emergency room physician Sarah Jessica Parker.
They have some on-screen chemistry, as it were. Eventually, as you might imagine, sparks fly.

This is a movie that is easy to take, and rather smartly done. Quaid plays a curmudgeonly sort, an intellectual vying for the chairmanship of the English department. His character is self-centered, but by the end of the movie he comes around to being human again. You'll feel good walking out of the theater.

Out of five stars? I'd give it three. * * *

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Just six words sum it up

I took this meme from Empress Bee's post today. She was tagged by Akelamalu.
I've seen it before but never really tried it.

It all started over at SMITH Magazine, and the copy and paste history is thus:

Legend has it that Hemingway was once challenged to write a story in only six words. His response? “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” Last year, SMITH Magazine re-ignited the recountre by asking our readers for their own six-word memoirs. They sent in short life stories in droves, from the bittersweet (“Cursed with cancer, blessed with friends”) and poignant (“I still make coffee for two”) to the inspirational (“Business school? Bah! Pop music? Hurrah”) and hilarious (“I like big butts, can’t lie”)."

The rules of the meme are:

1. Write your own six word memoir.
2. Post it on your blog and include a visual illustration if you’d like.
3. Link to the person that tagged you in your post, and to the original post if possible so we can track it as it travels across the blogosphere.
4. Tag at least five more blogs with links.
5. Don’t forget to leave a comment on the tagged blogs with an invitation to play.

Here goes:

1. I will write for money, food

Ralph, two children make me happy

3. Note to self: start writing book

4. Linus and Rigby have much fur

Give it a whirl!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

From the e-mail bag: a history lesson

This is fun to watch, especially if you're a Billy Joel fan.
Ralph and I saw him in concert w-a-a-a-y back in '86.

"Whether you are a Billy Joel fan or not, you probably remember his great song 'We Didn't Start the Fire.' Here it is, set to pictures--- Had to share this one. It's a fabulous flashback through the past half century. Turn up volume, sit back and enjoy a review of 50 years of history in less than 3 minutes! Thanks to Billy Joel and some guy from the University of Chicago with too much time to Google !

I wonder how many of the images those under 40 will recognize from the early part of the song?? You might have to watch this more than once."

Click here: We Didn't Start The Fire

Monday, April 21, 2008

Hairy issue

My hair got chopped off the other day. Actually it was more than a week ago, but I still miss it.
It was an accident. I love my hairdresser. M. has been cutting my hair forever. She knows my thick, wavy tresses well. She's a friend I see every six (or 12) weeks, and is a good person.

That said, M. really got carried away with those scissors. She was snipping, and talking, and I was listening, and not paying attention to what she was doing.
It's something about someone working with my hair that puts me in a semi-trance. It's relaxing.
But when I looked in the mirror, I shrieked.

I lost my locks. Will they grow back? Sure. Do I pull on the ends to try to stretch them back down to a reasonable length? Sure do.
The good part is that for now I have gone green: with less hair on my head, I'm saving shampoo, water, energy heating said water and I'm also using less energy to run the blow dryer.

I'm now living the green life. La vida verde, I guess.

(Disclaimer: this is for giggles only, to poke fun at my own vanity. I know people lose their hair for serious health reasons, and I'd never make fun of someone who is bald).

Sunday, April 20, 2008

* * Springtime scenes *

Yesterday we couldn't use our computer until about 9 p.m. I don't know about Ralph, but I was definitely suffering some withdrawal.
Our son, Kid Two, cleaned the hard drive and Windows XP and other stuff I don't understand, and the job took much longer than he had thought it would, almost 12 hours. That's why I didn't post until way past my bedtime...almost midnight!
* * *
Today I'm sharing some pictures I snapped Thursday in the backyard of my mother's temporary house. Looks like whoever lived there certainly enjoyed gardening.

This backyard is also where the infamous (to me, anyway) silver pheasant was hanging out for a couple of weeks last month. I wrote about him on March 22.
In a strange twist another "exotic" pheasant, also native to southeast Asia, was found five miles from this yard.
At first people thought it was the same bird.

When I got the message about the bird (Pheasant Two, I guess you could say) I called my mother to tell her not to worry any more about "B.T." (short for Big Tail). He was at the nature center! Being cared for!!

Wrong. Different bird altogether.
This one turned out to be a Lady Amherst pheasant, not nearly as large as B.T. But a local resident's discovery of this pheasant, who has an injured leg and was just sitting in the man's garden, did make for an interesting follow-up story for me to write for the newspaper.
Where are all these exotic birds coming from? Don't their owners/breeders keep them in their pens?
Inquiring minds want to know.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Shot heard 'round the world, re-enacted

"Listen my children and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,

On the
eighteenth of April, in Seventy-five;
Hardly a man is now alive

Who remembers that famous day and year."

Opening lines of the poem, "Paul Revere's Ride," by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

Today Ralph and I went to a re-enactment of what happened on the morning of April 19, 1775, when British soldiers (Redcoats) marched into Lexington, Mass. and the first shot of the Revolutionary War was fired on the Lexington Green. Paul Revere had announced the arrival of the British the night before, on his legendary horseback ride from Boston to Lexington.

The re-enactment was held on the picturesque Green in Milford, Ct.
A friend of mine, Christine, had told me about the event or else I would not have known about it. She is a docent at the Derby Historical Society, and was one of the women in colonial garb tending to the "fallen."
There were a lot of people there so it was hard to get photos without the "tourists" in them. Of course we were "tourists" too, so I guess I shouldn't complain!

Here's Christine chatting with Ralph about how in Colonial times the city of Derby, Ct. was pronounced "Darby." She told me she makes her own colonial costumes. That kind of sewing ability amazes me. I have no patience for that kind of work, safe to say.

The whole event lasted less than a half hour, but it was fun to get out on a beautiful spring morning and do something out of the ordinary.

On our way back to the van, I spotted this duck sunning himself at the Milford Duck Pond. He looks like he was enjoying the warm weather as well.

Thursday, April 17, 2008


I got ripped off today...ever so slightly.

After I visited my mother at her temporary house I drove down the road I grew up on to pick up her mail. I came upon two brothers who had set up a stand with a sign that said, "Lemonade 25 cents."

OK, I said to myself, after I drop off the mail I'll go back and get a lemonade...I'm a sucker for enterprising youngsters and it was abnormally warm for April.

I stopped, rolled down the window, and handed the boy a quarter, big spender that I am. He gave me a plastic cup.
Um, it wasn't lemonade. It was grape-flavored, sugary water, nice and warm from sitting in the sun.
Refreshing? not particularly.

I asked the entrepreneurs how business was, and they said they had had only "three or four" customers, then added, "Tell your friends!"

Tell them what? That what they advertised as lemonade, wasn't?
Don't mean to sound harsh. They really were cute kids, and they were polite.

(Lesson learned: Let the buyer beware.)

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Morning playtime, kitty style

This morning Ralph called me in to see Rigby silhouetted behind the drape. I love the ears.
The cat likes sniffing around the Christmas cactus. Actually he sniffs everything in the house!

And this is what happens when you don't supervise kitties with your plants:

Does he look guilty? At least when the plant fell off the windowsill it didn't land upside down. Don't need to be cleaning up potting soil. I've got better things to do with my time.

Ah, pets. Always available to supply us bloggers with fresh post ideas.

Monday, April 14, 2008


Yesterday we took Kid Two to a final presentation for those who have been accepted at the University of Hartford but have not yet decided on the school.
As an aside, his parents love it there.
We got to see our Kid One, a sophomore, for only about 10 minutes. She had things to do and people to see. They were having an election at the student-run TV station and she was a candidate.

When our son left with the students-only tour, I got teary. It was easier when our daughter went, because Kid Two still had two more years of high school left.

During the presentation for parents, I got weepy. Several times. And there was a lump in my throat as I tried to say something to Ralph.

I got over it, for now.
Soon we will have the prom, class trips and graduation -- all the milestones that signal the end of his high school career. And that signal his mother to start weeping again.

Change is an easy concept to grasp, but it can be a tough one to live.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Up on the (condo) roof

CATS ...
Could be an acronym for "Can Always take Time to Sleep"

* * *

Q. What is a cat's favorite color?


~ Have a great Friday!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Horrific story recounted

On Sunday I went to a book reading at a small bookstore that just opened last year. I had never been there before, but now plan to return. It was a friendly place.
The author, Connecticut resident Martin Schiller, is a Holocaust survivor who wrote of his horrific boyhood memories of living in concentration camps.

"Bread, Butter and Sugar" is the story of the sheer cruelty Schiller witnessed, and somehow survived.
"Writing that book was an emotional roller coaster," Schiller told the audience of about 60 people. "I discovered it was impossible for me to write in the first person, so I wrote in the third person."

For the reading, however, he shifted back to first-person narration. He read a chapter, "The Train Ride," which was a gripping tale of being "sardined" with other Jews into a cattle car and taken to Buchenwald, a concentration camp in Germany.

One woman asked him if he had been "emotionally scarred."
Schiller replied: "I still wake up with nightmares. Traumatic situations may diminish with time, but they never go away."

When the camp was liberated, Schiller was 12. "I was emaciated," he said. "I was only 48 pounds. I almost died."

Now 75, Schiller is a retired electrical engineer. He and his wife of almost 50 years raised three children. When he returned to Buchenwald in 2004 with several family members it was cathartic for him, he said.

Another audience member asked him if he experienced "survivor's guilt."
Schiller replied, "Absolutely. But I turned that into obligation. That's why I'm here."

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

What we leave behind

I recently attended a memorial service for a courageous woman and wrote about it here.
Copies of this poem, author unknown, were given to those in attendance.

The Dash

I read of a man who stood to speak
At the funeral of a friend.
He referred to the dates on his tombstone
From the beginning...to the end.

He noted that first came the date of his birth
And spoke of the following date with tears,
But he said what matters most of all
Was the dash between those years.

For that dash represents all the time
That he spent alive on Earth
And now only those who loved him
Know what that little line is worth.

For it matters not, how much we own;
The cars...the house...the cash.
What matters is how we live and love
And how we spend the dash.

So think about this long and hard.
Are there things you'd like to change?
For you never know how much time is left,
That can still be rearranged

If we could just slow down enough
To consider what is true and real,
And always try to understand
The way other people feel.

And be less quick to anger,
And show appreciation more
And love the people in our lives
Like we've never loved before.

If we treat each other with respect,
And more often wear a smile...
Remember that this special clash
Might only last a little while

So, when your eulogy's being read
With your life's actions to rehash...
Would you be proud of the things they say
About how you spent your dash?

Monday, April 7, 2008

Still able to get around

I've been wanting to be sillier than usual lately to take my mind off stuff, such as physical pain. My knees bother me and as of last night, my left shoulder hurts.
I think it's tendinitis, since I had that back in the 80s on my upper arm (aerobics induced, no doubt) and know what it feels like.
Today I took my mother to today's neighborhood drugstore, CVS. It hurt to turn the steering wheel to the left, so I tried to just make right-hand turns. That was a challenge.

We shuffled into the store (she was the lucky one with a cane) and immediately headed for the ointments and rubs aisle.
You know how it is when all you want is some magic ointment to ease the pain? A special potion, money no object?
That's what we both seemed to need.
We looked and looked, and decided we each would try something different. Then we can report back, and recommend remedies, or not.

I bought a box of 40 adhesive patches (variations of which have been popular in Japan since the 18th century, says the label) that smell like camphor and menthol (sexy!) and my mother got some cold/hot cream to spread on some part of her anatomy.
We took so long looking at the boxes and tubes and patches full of possibilities that we got giggly. Punchy, actually.

We needed to laugh, I think. In my book it's good to be silly. Laughter does indeed seem to be the best medicine.

P.S. Now I'm thinking after writing this that some may think it's ludicrous for me to complain, seeing as I have a husband who uses a wheelchair. But he doesn't mind my complaining, he says.

Amusing myself, at any rate!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Senility Prayer

God, grant me the Senility
To forget the people
I never liked anyway,
The good fortune
To run into the ones I do,
And the eyesight
To tell the difference.

Have a great day!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Another bloomin' quiz (and a riddle)

Odat posted this quiz. I love tulips; this is what I got. Give it a whirl ~

What These Tulips Say About You

You are very popular and universally admired.

You are often hopelessly in love, and you connect to other people easily.

You are a naturally cheerful and upbeat person. You have an amazing smile.

What Do The Flowers You Pick Say About You?


What happened when the cat ate a ball of wool?

She had mittens!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Lovely service for an inspiring woman

Last Saturday I accompanied our pastor to an out-of-state memorial service for the mother of a lovely woman who is a member of our church.
This woman had given us frequent updates about her mother's condition, and we prayed for her as a congregation.

Analu had come to the United States from South America in the 1950s, a single mother of four.
At the service, I met her other children, and observed her grandchildren and great-grandchildren celebrating her life. After our pastor performed the first part of the ceremony, a priest officiated and spoke only in Spanish.

I had never met Analu, but it was clear from her children's loving tributes that she was a strong woman who sacrificed all so that they would have a better future.

I couldn't help but put myself in her shoes, and wonder if I would have been as courageous to do what she did in coming to this country as a single mother to start her life anew.

Friday, April 4, 2008

More quizzes! and a joke :-D

Odat posted these quizzes the other day and I thought I would steal 'em.
Give them a try, you know you want to.

Your DJ Name Is:

DJ Naked Skittles

What's Your DJ Name?

And I don't even like Skittles. Unless they have chocolate ones I don't know about.

Your Rapper Name Is...

Malicious Love

Actually I can wear my hear just like this, without even trying..I can just blow dry it upside-down then pick my head up. It gets rather wild.
Kid One always says to me: "Nice hair."

Do you think she is being sarcastic?

And now a joke from the e-mail bag:

An Asian lady was at the bank trying to exchange Yen for Dollars and she was a little irritated.....

She asked the teller, "Why rate change?? Yesterday, I get two hunat dolla fo Yen. Today I get hunat eighty?? Why rate change?"

The teller shrugged his shoulders and said, "Fluctuations."

The Asian lady says, "Fluc you white people, too."

Oh well, I thought it was funny!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Cats taking over the house

"If that's the vet on the phone, I'm not here."
- Rigby


"Scratching post, schmatching post. I prefer the back of this recliner."
- Linus

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

I made an investment...

Regular readers know Ralph and I are kinda short on funds these days. He's not working, and his unemployment benefits ran out four weeks ago.
Not fun. Better days are coming for us, I'm sure. We have faith.

On Sunday I spotted a good deal that I simply couldn't pass up. Yep, I borrowed some money from my mother and I bought a condo.


OK, it's a cat condo.

April Fool!!!