Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Dexter's Present (Squiggy vs. the Spinny Ball Toy)

Dexter, our fluffy orange kitten, should be about one year old now. He still loves toys and particularly enjoyed one type of toy when he Dexter being cutevisited with my parents at Christmas - the spinny ball toy. So, since he's just so sweet and cute (see picture of Dexter lying on his back on the cat ottoman), I decided to get Dexter a present for his birthday.

He had a smaller one that tends to flip over, but this one is nice because it is large and secure on the carpet - and large enough for a cat to climb on top of when he plays with it. It even has a catnip filled cardboard scratcher on top in the middle. The channel for the ball is wide - allowing cats with larger paws to bat at the ball freely. (Dexter is polydactyl and has a few extra toes, hence his full name - Dexterious)

Everyone has enjoyed the toy, Peepin enjoyed batting at is as does Trillium Whorl. Everyone likes the speedy 'bat at the ball and run' drive by. Best $12 I ever spent on a cat toy. It's nice to be appreciated.

The exception to the appreciation and enjoyment would be Dan's cat, Squiggy. When Dan brought Squiggy downstairs to play with the new toy, Squiggy promptly determined a way to stop the spinning of the ball and ruin the fun. And here is the video that proves it: Watch the kitties play with the spinny ball thing until Squiggy plops herself on top of it. She won't even play. In Squiggy's defense, it's the catnip. She loves the nip. She'd rather roll in it than play. Sigh.

Watch the video and judge for yourself. If nothing else, it's just kind of funny. Something else nice is that although Dexter and Trilly are a year old or less, Peepin (who I am told is at least 15) really enjoys the toy and plays with it like a much younger cat.

Watch Squiggy in action:

An Ikea Adventure

IKEA!!Dan needed a desk for his office. And sadly, despite the fact that the Ikea Adventure has already occurred, Dan still needs a desk. They were out of stock on that one key part. I seem to recall a similar situation in Orlando. I should have called. They won't actually hold stuff for you, but it never hurts to ask.

Ikea mapWe left Raleigh after lunch. No need to pull out too early as we were meeting some friends of mine in Charlotte after the shopping trip was completed. I mean, how long can one really spend at Ikea?

As I grew up in Orlando, it's hard for me to look at Ikea and not think 'theme park for furniture'. There's a huge parking lot where they often direct traffic, they pass out maps at the door, and half way through they have a restaurant. The parallels seem so obvious. On the back of map there is a place where you can write down the aisle and bin number for the furniture you wish to puchase in the self serve area. Overall, I would say the whole process is daunting. Dan and I had a wish list from my sister - and even with names and prices a lot of things were hard to find. Turns out a few of them were out of stock, but some were just hidden away in the bowels of Ikea. And we found a few things we needed that we didn't know Ikea even had - poster frames and a few stuffed mice.
Ikea exit sign
In Charlotte it seems that Ikea has it's own exit off I-85. This might be a step up from Orlando where some genius put the Ikea off of International Drive basically. For those who haven't been there, International Drive is somewhat like a strip - and at 3am the traffic is still gridlocked.

When you get off the highway and pull in to the ginormous parking lot it's hard to miss the immense blue and yellow building stretching across the horizon. (see picture above)

The plan was simple, drive to Ikea, look around, pick things out, pay for things, leave. For the most part that happened. We will need to go back in a few weeks when the desks are in stock again - but for now, we've survived. Cart full of Ikea loot

Dan took a picture of our cart as he waited for me to back up the car for loading. Frames, magazine files, furniture..the works. We were hot, dirty, sweaty and in need of beer at the end of our adventure. Next time we will be better prepared as we have 'tried out' a few things that we know we want more of - picture frames for one. And we know we need the desk - so we can go retreive that first.

We went to spend some time with friends - (Claire, Jim, Tony and offspring) and ended up leaving for Raleigh sometime after 10pm. Again, we will plan better next time so we can spend more time with them. Anyway, we left Jim and Claire's house and headed for the highway. black cats in boxes

Then we got on I-85 N and parked for an hour and a half as crews cleaned up what appeared to be some sort of spill but I can't find the details online. Dan was nice enough to drive us the rest of the way home as my headache was becoming unbearable. It lingered through Sunday.

Saturday night / ultra early Sunday we got home and unloaded nothing except a few poster / picture frames. But Sunday we got up and unloaded the car and began assembly. Squiggy, Lli and Tucker all tried to help. They were shooed away. You can see Squiggy investigating the packages. Squiggy is a big fan of paper and all the furniture was wrapped in paper. Look also for Lli's small black head popping out of one of the CD/DVD stand boxes. They were long and thin and shaped just right for a tailess black kitty.

assembly with SquiggyWithin a few hours we had most everything assembled and carried upstairs. Dan also got two CD/DVD towers that matched and filled in the leftover space in the slot between the two windows. Dan hauled all the trash out and cleaned up the living room.

Dan's OfficeDan has been working hard setting up his office. Pictures have been hung, CD's and books indexed and alphabetized, cables tied and lighting addressed. The card table in the picture is in the approximate location that Dan's table will attach once it's back in stock. It will be a little wider (which is good I think as he could use some extra space). Squiggy and the other cats like the office very much and don't recognize it much from its days as my sister's bedroom.

So it seems we are cleaned up and assembled, just waiting for the next trip to Ikea. !

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Cat Genie Revisited

I've received quite a few emails and a few comments about my Cat Genie post from January - so here, almost 6 months later, it's time to check on the Cat Genie status.

So a few things I've changed:
Cat Genie in the Laundry Room1. The Cat Genie is elevated. This is entirely due to Tucker, our dog. The best way to keep her out of the litter pan was to get it out of reach. I was concerned about the hose position changes, but there have been no back-ups and the pan has been elevated for about two months now. Note that it is still below the level of the washer drain / water.

2. There is now a second litter pan in the laundry room as a backup to the Cat Genie. Some of our cats are older, one is diabetic. The 30 minute cleaning cycle proved to be a bit much for them - as in, when you need to go - you NEED to go. The older cats are also a bit wary of the noise the cat genie and washing machine - so it's good to have a backup if you only have one genie.

The 'backup' pan is my second favorite litter pan (it comes in second because I still have to clean it) - the Tidy Cat Breeze. The "Breeze" is nice because it has pellets that we change out only once a month over a grid that lets the urine run straight through. Now, here's the best part. The pad. In the bottom, under aforementioned 'grid' is the urine absorbing pad that really neutralizes the urine smell. Tidy Cat BreezeThis is the best part. The urine turns in to some sort of gel, I change the pad when it's full. Since they really can't bury it, solids can smell more than you might like, but it's an easy scoop to remedy that. Certainly over the many years I have been a cat owner, the urine smell has been the biggest contributor to the overall 'cat smell' that can build up over time. This is on the ground under the Genie, there is a baby gate with a 'cat door' cut into it to keep dogs out and allow cats in.

3. The Cat Genie has a 'hood' now (see first picture). I think it helps keep the initial smell in when it's being used. It also keeps the kittens from kicking out all the pellets.

I've only had a few issues with the Genie in the last 6 months, but overall I would say they are workable.

1. A few times I've had to go and clean out some poop that didn't scoop well. Granted, my fault as I gave the cat in question too much wet food. You get the idea. This has happened 3 times. 2 of those times are related to the same incident.

2. The water sensor was obstructed and I had to pull out the hopper one night and wipe it off. Yes, that was pretty gross. But that's the worst thing I've had to do in all this time. I figure it's a pretty even trade for the smell/maintenance reduction.

3. I don't like how the Genie beeps when the cartridge is 'about to' run out and then after it has run out. I know it's just trying to let me know - but it seems like the type of noise that would alarm a shy cat.

Some of the complaints I've heard that I have to agree with:

the mat and the baby gate cat doorThose rotten pellets get everywhere. Keeping the pan away from the dog has helped. Also, we got some track mats that I put at the laundry room door that really help a lot. I suspect that most of the pellets fall into this mat in the laundry room and they are tracked out by us, not the cats. My sister purchased the special round Cat Genie mats. They do fit around it, but only if it's sitting out in a room. And honestly, they don't catch the pellets so well. Don't waste your money.

If it dries a piece of poop, it's pretty rank. Just get it out of there and the smell fades pretty quickly.

A complaint I've heard that I don't agree with:

Smell of the cleaner. It really just doesn't bother me. Granted, it's not great - but it's just not that bad. It certainly doesn't smell like a dirty litter pan. Just like cleaner.

Overall, I'm glad to have it. This is the longest I've ever had a robotic litter pan of any sort - I suspect I should give it a good cleaning soon as maintenance. But honestly, I'm putting that off. Wouldn't you? I have taken basic spray cleaner and wiped down all the outside bits a few times, but that's no different from anything else in the house you would have to clean.

Lli at the Cat GenieThe two youngest cats, both under a year when they were first introduced to the Genie, love it and use it almost exclusively (this is Trillium Whorl our Japanese Bobtail coming to see what I was taking pictures of). I don't have accurate numbers on the older cats but I suspect they don't use it much, if at all (since they are given a choice). In fact, the older diabetic cat has trouble jumping and climbing so I know she only uses the Breeze.

So there it is, update on the Cat Genie at 6 months. The pellets aren't cheap and neither are the cartridges, but it has still been less expensive and less labor than a regular old pan.

My recommendation stands.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Eating (and drinking) in Las Vegas

Last month my now husband (then boyfriend) and I were in Las Vegas for a little vacation and a little work...

When in Vegas, I like to appreciate the abundance of good food that is available. And since we were in a hotel, every meal was 'out'.

In Vegas, there are some VERY nice and VERY expensive restaurants. When I think 'nice, expensive' with restaurant I tend to assume that good service will follow. This appears not to be the case in Las Vegas where virtually every meal in an expensive restaurant was accompanied by some seriously lacking service. Oddly, the service we had in some of the hotel 'diners' was pretty excellent - and most of the bars had good to great service as well.

Viva Las Vegas!Example #1: Margaritaville. Now, I don't consider this to be a fine restaurant. Certainly casual and good for a drink. The day we went there were girls walking around with necklaces made out of nuts with some painting on them as a fund-raiser for breast cancer. The girls didn't appear to be terribly busy or terribly interested in walking around. I had noticed the table when I came in, but didn't want to block traffic or stand there staring. If one of the girls had actually made it around to our table I probably would have purchased a necklace for a friends daughter. The girls seemed very uninterested in their cause. Oh well. Good news is our server was pretty good. He even did a drawing for us. Margaretaville

Example #2: Flamingo Buffet. Again, not a fine eating establishment but this was actually towards the end of our trip and displays a reoccurring theme: Drinks. Water. We waited a LONG time to get water in the first place and even longer to get refills. Plates weren't cleared (kind of key in a buffet, especially one involving crab legs) and even some wild waving didn't get our waiter's attention.

Example #3: MGM / Sea Blue. Here we opted for the tasting menu. $50 for the food, per person and an additional $25 per person to have each course paired with wine. For this type of money I expect to have a reasonable level of service. Sadly, when we sat down it took us probably 5 minutes to get menus and water. We were sitting in the middle of a dining room so I can't imagine that we were out of sight. The strangest and worst service issue with the tasting menu were the mysterious appetizer plates that would not leave. With the first course, a mezzo, we received a large platter and a small plate each. Through each Sea Blueof the subsequent courses, even though the platter was gone and we were receiving other plates for our food - the small dirty plate stayed. We spent some time pondering what the purpose of this little plate might be, as they would carefully place dirty utensils upon it and bus everything else away. ..and I also appreciate the restaurant that brings you clean silverware for a new course if necessary as opposed to removing your dirty fork from your plate and placing it on the table for you. Thanks guys.

SensiExample #4: Bellagio / Sensi. I've been to Sensi before and didn't recall having poor service but once again we were plagued with the issue of getting drinks. We had a cocktail with our starter but weren't offered another drink with our dinner and again, the water went dry. We eventually flagged down what appeared to be a manager because it had been so long since we had seen our server. Maybe he quit?

KokomoExample #5: Mirage / Kokomo. We went to Kokomo in the Mirage before going to see the Cirque show 'Love'. We told the waitress that we had a show at 9:30 so she would know what time we needed to be out of there. We were seated, didn't get menus. Received menus and told the waitress that we had a show at 9:30 so she would know what time we needed to be out of there. After we saw her, we sat there a good long time before we got water and the water went dry several times through the meal. (We also had a bottle of wine). Granted I tend to drink more in Las Vegas as it is pretty dry and I had also lost my voice and was feeling even dryer - but it's not like I was guzzling unreasonable amounts of water. The glasses are small and usually so filled with ice there seems to be barely a few mouthfuls per glass.

Augustus CafeExample #6: Caesars / Augustus Cafe. We paid about 2x as much for the same food we had at the Flamingo in this Caesars late night cafe. Sadly we where there because the Cafe in the Flamingo was closed at night (I swear it used to be 24 hours). We ended up speaking with a couple that had been on the Newlywed Game - the original - and were on a show where they came back to compete with new newlyweds. They won a trip to Vegas. Here we had trouble placing an order once we sat down...and you guessed it. Getting water.

Battista'sExample #7: Battista's hole in the wall. We ended up at Battista's twice. Average food, kind of an assembly line theory to eating - but you get your food and drink fast and we never waited for wine OR water. Go Battista's. I visit Battista's every time I go to Las Vegas. It's a great value.

Petrossian BarExample #8: Bellagio / Petrossian Bar. We sat at the bar and the service was great, as was the bartender who made us wonderful Vodka Gimlet's with fresh lime. Mmmm. Now this is the kind of food and service I expect in finer Las Vegas restaurants and bars!

Example #9: Wynn / Parasol Down. Another bar, another fabulous hotel. We Parasol Downsat outside by the waterfall, the weather was cool, the sun was shining and service was the tops. We managed to get water AND drinks - and our glasses were never empty. This is also where Dan and I decided that we were getting married.

So off we went.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Flea prevention

Lli and Dexter napDexter is very unhappy with me and Lli is drooling.

It's spring and time for the flea meds and heartworm pills. Dexter is too young to know about the ordeal kitties who needed flea treatment went through as recently as 18 years ago. Lli hasn't really done flea meds before and doesn't know better than to attempt to lick her own neck - hence the drooling.

I had to use Dexter's handle to catch him tonight.

On Friday I had personal training session at my house, the first here. Dexter seems to have become afraid of strangers after the house-rebuilding project. He's curious, but doesn't want to get too close.

Yesterday Dexter and Lli had a nap together on the ottoman. Too bad Dexter's color means he doesn't look nice on the ottoman. He kind of blends in and washes out. He's a little hard to see but he is there next to her in the picture to the right.

finished dining room tableI have a picture of the dining room with the dining room table returned. They did a really nice job of refinishing everything - tops of the furniture but all of the table and chairs. In fact Pamela and I had lunch in there yesterday.

I even got brave and moved the tea cart/liquor cabinet back to the side of the room. But, the replacement pot I put up there was a cheap one.

Dan and I are getting ready to head to Las Vegas on the 15th. I need to make a list and start putting things together. We are going to be gone for 14 days and it's a tad overwhelming.

Lli napping in the sunGiant cat had to move outside. I caught him spraying in the house. There is a new "0 tolerance" policy against destructive cats / dogs. He sits out there and whines, but he's a bully too. I'm trying not to feel bad for him.

It's late and I have another workout in the AM before I head off to work. And there should be some sleep before all of that.

Just like Lli. She's taking a nap in this picture. She likes that ottoman and the spring sun coming through the window.

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Friday, April 3, 2009

A cat without a handle...

Posts have been slim as work and life have been rather busy. I keep thinking of things I would like to blog about and by the time I actually HAVE time, I've forgotten what I wanted to say.

In less than two weeks Dan and I will be heading to Las Vegas for 10 days. For me it's primarily a work event but I am working on getting us to a few shows at night. So far we have tickets to the Cirque Du Soleil production 'Love' and we are planning to see 'O' (also Cirque Du Soleil - but the water one at the Bellagio), Penn and Teller and George Wallace. Depending on what Dan thinks of 'O' we might try to see 'Ka' as well. And we're open to other things as they pop up.

After 10 days in Vegas we are heading to Sedona and the Grand Canyon for 3 days of decompression.

Maybe there I will be able to find another piece of pottery by the same artist who made the pot that Lli and Dexter destroyed last week...

This past Sunday Dan and I went to see Bill Cosby at DPAC and this weekend (that's Cosby on the floor. He was wearing white so with the lights and my cell phone camera he seems like nothing more than a bright light.) Dan remains in Durham at the Full Frame Documentary Film Fest. Next week we have a Robyn Hitchcock concert and David Sedaris on Saturday. Lots of entertainment. We have plans to see a few movies next week before we head out of town and they leave the theatre. I still need to see 'Che Part Two' and I was looking forward to Adventureland.

This Sunday my friend Pamela and I are having a long overdue brunch. We used to spend time planning and preparing and cooking a brunch once a month but had kind of fallen behind. It's at my house so she can see the finished product and I have no idea what I will be making. I suppose I should work on that now.

Any ideas?

The name of this blog comes from a phrase I used to describe Lli to Dan. I have used the tail of my cats to catch them as they have run out the front door more times than I can count - and I have also used the tail at the vet, for example, when a temperature or something gross like that needs to be looked at or taken. I indicated that one of the problems with bob-tail cats is that they didn't have handles. He found this particularly funny and asked that I use that as the title of a post even if the contents of the post were unrelated. Which they are. But I have.

And that's that.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

House and the Furry Herd - and a visitor...

a clean kitchenAs of this morning I have all of my refinished furniture and the painting is done. The floor is installed, carpet installed and all the small things fixed.

They did never manage to paint the wood under the counter black to match the other pieces (or even completely peel off the black plastic that was on the piece they put under there) but I'm ready for them to be done and I got half of my kitchen painted in the process so I figure I can manage to paint the piece black. (the wall under the cabinets you see here is the last of the purple).

I still need to replace the stuff that keeps the front door from leaking. I can't remember what it's called but it seems that it's keeping the front door from closing well. The lock box on the doorknob doesn't help. That scraped off some of the paint on the front door, but I'm just going to deal with that as well. I don't think it's that noticeable. Certainly there is plenty of cleaning that could be done prior to worrying about a paint chip.

new carpet in the living room - Squiggy on the red chairOverall, it looks pretty nice. I just need to finish unpacking things. My plan is to get everything unpacked so I can get the space in the garage to move my current kitchen table in there - so that I can purchase the new kitchen table. State Farm got me a check to cover the table in about 3 days. That was nice at least.

I've been changing out the outlet and switch covers in parts of the house to kind of 'dress' things up.

My sister was out of town this weekend and Dan spent most of the weekend in Raleigh with me. He also brought Squiggy to Raleigh to hang out with all my kitties. She did surprisingly well. She was cautious and there were a few 'Mexican Stand-off's' with Squiggy and Peepin, but there was no hiding and no mega fights. Squiggy is the queen of the stairs

It has been determined that Widget (aka, 'Giant Cat') is a bit of a bully as he seems to like to chase other cats around the house to the point where they are made uncomfortable. My sister's dog, Ash, also has this bad habit of staring down cats and getting too close and following too much...but he was kicked in the head by a horse so I am pretty sure it isn't malicious. Just stupidity.

Squiggy took to the stairs for a little while. It seemed her goal was to prevent travel up or down the stairs. Dexter just jumped over her. Peepin eventually made a run for it and Squiggy moved back to her perch on the living room chair.

With the house being re-done and Cosmo still having those bad habits, his new home is the garage when he's not being supervised in the house. Tsu and Cosmo are close and she likes to spend time in the garage with him. I think she is also still a little cautious around the dogs. Although Tucker does behave herself fairly well.

Cosmo and Tsu cuddle upThe pictures I have of the house don't have the dining room table and the chairs that were returned on Friday, but they do look very nice. In the dining room picture you can see a blue pot up on the top shelf on the wall - fairly close to the ceiling.

Dexter and Lli were behaving like a herd of elephants on Tuesday and somehow managed to knock down that pot and break it. Sadly that is/was my favorite piece of pottery (I collect pottery) and the most expensive piece I've ever purchased. The four pieces around it were all of $15 - $35 each and none of those were broken.

The pot was up there because for whatever reason I thought a wall shelf that high was probably the safest place in the house. Appears I was wrong. After I stopped crying I glued it back together. Dan and I are going to Sedona in April and I think that's were I found that pot there. I have found lots of nice pottery there in the past, but this time I'll see if they have anything I can afford by the same artist. I used to have a business card with the name but I can't seem to find it now. Hopefully there will be something there in a gallery and I will at least have a choice.

Early the next morning they knocked over the fire grate during one of their chase scenes. I am glad they are playing and being kittens and having fun - but I do wish they could keep it on the floor.
corner of the dining room - see the blue pot they broke up on that second shelf?Last night Dan and I went to see Wendy and Lucy at the Chelsea Theatre in Chapel Hill so I stayed with Dan. I didn't get any frantic calls or emails but basically I don't know what (if anything) they broke yesterday. Lli is really quite the little jumper. I'm going to have to hobble her if she doesn't watch it. That's why they make kittens so cute - so when they do bad things and destroy your home you can't stay angry very long.

Anyway, it appears that things are coming together at home. Now it's up to me to get things unpacked and looking from the dining room to the kitchen.  Prior to the return of the dining room tableorganized. At least that's something I can do on my own time frame. One thing the restoration company and their contractors never seemed to get down was letting me know when they would be coming to the house to do work. At least no one will be showing up as I am walking out the door in the morning with questions and such so that I'm late to work. They seemed to time that pretty well and I suspect my boss is just about sick of it.

Well, that's about it. As Dan likes to say on his blog:

'more later'....

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Meet Trillium Whorl 'Lli' (pronounced lily)

A few weeks ago I went to Alley Cats and Angels to meet the newest cats. In the bathroom were the two black Japanese Bobtails. One was a very chatty little girl with a tiny bob that kept rubbing up against me and chirping. Maybe it was because she was so vocal, but I knew she should be my next cat.

In addition, she's young and she and Dexter have become great friends. In fact, right now the two of them are tearing through the house chasing each other downstairs. Both are having great fun and the older cats are appreciating the break from all the silliness.

She's quite the jumper and has climbed a few shelves at this point.

Unfortunately she enjoys sharpening her claws on my furniture, but we're working on that.

In the picture here she is shaking her tiny bottom as she prepares to pounce on Dexter who is lurking on the other side of the stairs.

She likes to chew on things - like my sister's fingers below.

When she's happy her tail wags kind of like Tucker, my corgi. I've never seen a cat wag their tail. She has a cute little trilly voice and ultimately having her to play with Dexter is just fantastic. It's clear the two of them are having a great time. They are about the same age, so I would say they have more in common than any of the other kitties.

Unfortunately there are issues with any kitties. As I sit here writing this my sister's cat, Peepin, is vomiting on various stairs as she heads upstairs. Thanks Peepin.

I'm happy with Tucker (the corgi) she was raised with cats from when she was a puppy and she seems to know how to not intimidate the cats. She tried not to make direct eye contact and she turns submissive when they walk by.

So, here it's been only two weeks and Lli is comfortable walking on the floor next to Tucker. The only problem really seems to be my sister's dog Ash who likes to push the cats a little too far. And sits around just staring at cats until they get nervous.

Anyway, she's terribly cute, friendly and playful. It's nice to have kittens again.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Morrissey Consumated

A little more than 2 decades ago a friend introduced me to The Smiths. Of course this was right around the time the band broke up. Until Wednesday I had never seen Morrissey live.

I left work a little early and Dan and I went to Tyler's to get some dinner and a few drinks before the show.

Morrissey wasn't going on until 8:35. We missed the first few songs actually - he did go on a little early...

So, sometime during the show people started running up on to the stage to embrace Morrissey before they were dragged off the stage by bouncers. In general the count seems to be 'at least 10 people' and I saw the bouncer guys crouched and ready to run on either side of the stage.

I did notice that people who ran on the stage did get to return to the audience. I wasn't sure if those who got to embrace Morrissey were forever removed, but appears he took it in stride, even mentioning that this is as close as he gets to S E X. Makes me think of a good friend from my youth - Rachel - who grabbed Peter Murphy's (former front man of Bauhaus) crotch at a concert.

I wasn't there. I was grounded.

Some of the lyrics were changed to better suit the situation -

From the song "How Soon Is Now" the lyric
"See, i've already waited too long
And all my hope is gone"
'See, i've already waited too long
And most my life is gone"

He also made a sarcastic / dry comment after the lyric:

"So you go, and you stand on your own
And you leave on your own
And you go home, and you cry
And you want to die"

Something to the effect that this was, of course, different from every other night out. Where you don't leave on your own. Right.

And the most interesting one to me was where this lyric:

"You could meet somebody who really loves you"

was changed to '....somebody who really likes you'.

Maybe he's just more realistic or more jaded about love?

Sometimes I forget about Morrissey and The Smiths, but when I do hear a song I realize I still know all the lyrics and I feel like I'm listening to the soundtrack of my youth. Some of it I miss, some of it I desperately want to forget. But Morrissey makes it all seem so tragically romantic.

I can't be the only one. It's been over 20 years for most of us and people are still throwing themselves onto the stage...

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Squiggy's Big Adventure

Monday a week ago Squiggy went to the vet in Raleigh.

Squiggy in her carrierShe started out in Chapel Hill that morning, I don't think Squiggy had ever been to Raleigh before. On the drive from Chapel Hill to Raleigh Squiggy's tummy started to bother her so she had to come inside when we got to my house so she could get cleaned up.

We picked up Tsu, and headed to the vet so Tsu and Squiggy could have their teeth cleaned.

Squiggy had to have four teeth taken out and had some pretty bad gum stuff going on. She was sent home with some painkillers, antibiotics and a new dental hygiene regimen.

Since Squiggy got her teeth cleaned she's been very nice to me. At least very nice in Squiggy land. She's still hissed a few times but she hasn't tried to bite me once. She has also started watching TV.
I just want to ball up and lie down starring into space sometimes. Especially after dental surgery...
Dan has said that I switched out Squiggy for a clone. Recently he changed to saying that Squiggy had a lobodomy.

I just think that Squiggy feels better now that those teeth that were hurting her are out and she doesn't feel so grumpy.

Last week he sent me this comment from Squiggy: "I just want to ball up and lie down starring into space sometimes. Especially after dental surgery..."

***Update*** Dan says he misquoted Squiggy. "I just want to lie down and ball up starring into space sometimes. Especially after dental surgery..."

Good thing she decided to lie down before she balled up.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Turkey Stuffed Green Pepper Recipe

Peppers without marnina sauce I made these last night by altering and combining a few recipes. Dan and I really enjoyed it and I was pleased and proud by how well it came out - so I'm posting this here for others to try. Hope you enjoy.

It's quick and easy to make. I was going to include a picture but I didn't take one last night and Dan liked it so much he's already eaten the top off the last pepper!

Stuffed Peppers - 8 pepper halves - roughly 163 calories a pepper half.

4 large green peppers
1 lb ground turkey 93/7
1 medium red onion, chopped (any onion will do)
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tsp vegetable flavor 'better than bullion'
1 tsp ground pepper
pinch red pepper flakes (the older your spices are, the less kick - add to taste)
1 cup cooked rice
1 can (14.5 oz) diced fire roasted tomatoes (plain will also work, I prefer a petite dice)
1/2 cup reduced fat sour cream (optional)
1/2 cup shredded cheese (optional)
1 green onion, sliced
1 cup hot water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Start by cutting the peppers in half lengthwise, leaving the stems intact, and halving them also. Remove the seeds and ribs inside the peppers.

Using a hot skillet, saute the ground turkey, onion, garlic, 1 teaspoon of the 'better than bullion', black pepper and red pepper flakes. Saute until onions become translucent. Add the rice, cheese, sour cream, tomatoes, and green onion tops.

Mix well and stuff the mixture into the peppers.

In a small bowl, mix the hot water and the remaining 'better than bullion'. Pour this mixture into a shallow casserole large enough to hold all of the peppers. Place the stuffed peppers in the dish, cover with foil and bake for 25 to 35 minutes.

Remove the foil and spoon the juice from bottom of the casserole over the top of the peppers. Bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

and on the 50th day there was carpet!

Yesterday they put the carpet in. They were actually there fairly late, but everything was finished and it's so nice to have the smell and look of new carpet. I think even the cats feel better. Dexter was all lovey and playing instead of hiding. Tsu seemed more relaxed.

the newly redesigned officeI spent last night assembling the desk I bought at Ikea around the holidays. My sister assisted and it went together pretty quickly. We moved some furniture around up there and I started getting my computer up and running. I'm still having trouble with the sound card crackling and I wonder if that's dust. I need to get that cleaned.

Since there's all this nice carpet (and all the bad smells are gone and the bio hazard of an office...) I feel the need to sort and decorate. I look at the trash can in the office and think 'I need a nicer assembling the bookcasetrash can' and I want plants up there and everything. Right now the TV is in the corner, which is nice - but it does technically live in the bedroom so Dan and I can watch movies in there. So once I have my dresser back it will be returned to it's post.

There is a lot of stuff in the office that can be disposed of and a lot of things that need to be taken to goodwill. I have a bunch of computer bags that I should donate and I need to get back to the sorting of clothes I was doing before this flood occurred. I am thinking I will put small storage bins in the lower part of the cabinet behind the doors.

stacks in the dining roomCertainly I'm loaded with books although they are currently living in my sister's room. I also look in the office and think how I need some new art. So there will likely be some rearranging there. I also have drawer that fits into the bookcase portion of the desk and these little fabric pop up storage thingies. I need coasters upstairs now since there's actually a decent desk there!

The dining room is still full of stuff that belongs in the living room. I hope to get that taken care of tonight with Dan. Mostly books really - and some pottery. It shouldn't take too long to get that stuff moved.

Dan and I are going to see Pulp Fiction at the colony tonight and he said he would help me move the furniture in the living room after we get back to my place. I want to get the pictures re-hung and the mirror needs to go back on the mantle. The tree cat tree should go in the office I think.

The old desk was disassembled and removed from the office. It's downstairs in pieces and I think Augusta and Jason were going to take that to put in their garage as a table/storage. I need to get that over to them this weekend - in time for the flooring people to come and put down the new floor.

the old, huge deskI'm a little disappointed that the carpet doesn't match the existing carpet better, but at this point at least the only room with the older carpet (mind you we're talking all of 3 years) is the spare bedroom.

I need to hit Lowe's this weekend for a new floor vent for my living room and a new vent for the bathroom. Technically they should be replacing the one in the bathroom but I'm sick of waiting. All I know is there weren't rust spots on it before this happened.

empty boxes (aka 'cat fort') by the front doorRight now I'm giving Cary Reconstruction a call. Last night I noticed that the drywall in the hallway is forming lines and nails are popping - which makes sense since those are other walls that are connected to the bathroom. Luckily the last dry wall was done quickly and looks good.

The boxes from the furniture are downstairs in my foyer. I started putting them there last night and the cats were playing in them so I figured I would leave them for a bit. Today it's pouring. I'll probably still try to get them broken down tonight in time for trash on Thursday night. I plan to have a LOT of trash for the city on Friday.

the little succulent gardenThis is really unrelated to the floor project, but I got this great little succulent garden at Lowe's the other day. I added the little purple one in the front. They had a tacky little ceramic vase there to make it look all Southwest like. It's in the hall bath and I think it's quite cute, so I took a picture of it.

And speaking of cute, here's my sister's cat Fraggle curled up on the side of the couch this morning. I took a few pictures for her. Figured she might appreciate that. Fraggle needs to stop fragglescratching my carpet and furniture and stop getting on the counters. She used to be such a good little cat but I suspect she's acting out since none of them get to go outside anymore.

I have a 'To Do' list that I am putting together to help me remember:
1. Organize Office / trash (as in throw things away)
2. Hang pictures (living room)
3. Clean wall in office (Magic Eraser, LOVE EM)
4. Clean laundry room floor (cat pellets from the Genie and Cosmo)
5. Install drawer in office
6. Move bedroom furniture
7. Wash sofa cushions (they smell musty)
tightening screws with the Ikea allen wrench8. Desk to Augusta & Jason
9. Laundry
10. Art in office
11. Move books back into office
12. Compressed Air (to see if I can fix the sound card, might just be dirty)
13. New office trashcan (look at the pic, the old one is just ugly)
14. Floor vent / Ceiling vent (Lowe's, this weekend)
15. Vacuum (little bits of carpet still everywhere)
16. Mirror in Living Room (over the fireplace, Dan needs to help)
17. Switch out Duvet cover (Pamela might want the one that is there now)