Wednesday, December 29, 2010

My Christmas list

1. Spend four days in Dallas: check
2. Watch three animated movies and a live ballet performance: check
3. Watch people I love open and enjoy presents I chose for them: check
4. Watch my brother do an arabesque in order to turn on the Christmas tree lights without stepping on the presents: check

5. Spend quiet time with people I love: check
6. Eat tons of awesome food: check
7. Get awesome Christmas gifts: check
8. Come home to a dog delirious with joy at being released from doggie jail: check

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

More picspam

I just had to share pictures of the Box Sherri sent me because it's so very cute:

Sunday, December 12, 2010

"They will pick out your nursing home"

That's what I kept chanting to myself Friday night, as I wrestled with putting together gingerbread houses for my nephews. The original plan for the second weekend in December was the same as it has been for the second weekend in December for the last four years. Mom would go down to Columbus, pick up the boys and bring them up here for a weekend at her house. We would all go out to dinner and a live performance of some sort on Saturday night, and Sunday morning the boys and I would decorate gingerbread houses. Then we would have lunch and birthday presents for Super Doughnut, whose birthday is the 18th.

This year, SD had his first Saturday morning basketball class, so Mom was going to drive down Friday night and bring the boys back early Saturday afternoon. We had tickets to see A Christmas Carol and reservations at a nice restaurant for dinner beforehand. Thursday night, my dad saw a review of the show in the newspaper that praised it as a very good, very dark and VERY scary version of the classic, so Mom decided not to take the boys. Then on Friday, we started hearing about the next big storm headed our way, with up to two feet of snow. The snow is predicted to start on Sunday, just when Mom would be driving to Columbus to take the boys home, and then back by herself. She was pretty upset and miserable, caught between wanting to celebrate SD's birthday and being afraid that the weekend was going to be a complete wash.

Friday morning, I suggested that I ask Snoopy to let Piggie Pie out and feed her, and that Mom and I go to Columbus for the day. Annabel was agreeable, and I told her that she and Jeeves could do whatever they had planned for the day and Mom and I would stay with the boys. Friday night, I was putting together gingerbread houses and making a giant chocolate chip cookie for SD's birthday, and having trouble with every step of both projects. I just kept telling myself that the boys would be the ones picking out my nursing home, so I'd better be nice to them. ;) I finally made it to bed at 11:30, but wow, that alarm felt early at 5:00 a.m.!

I had the dog locked up and everything I was taking ready to load in the car when Mom showed up at 7:10, and five minutes later we were headed for Columbus. On the ride down, I learned how to purl, and I have to practice a bit today so I don't forget! Mom had loaded all of the Christmas presents into the car so they could be hidden there. Dad and Mom are driving to Dallas for Christmas, and they'll stop on the way back, and I'll come down on New Year's Day, and we'll have our second family Christmas then.

Mom and I got to the house before Annabel and the boys got back from basketball, and we had all of the Christmas presents hidden and the birthday presents temporarily out of sight. Super Doughnut picked the restaurant for lunch, and Jeeves joined us there after his hot stone massage. We had a nice lunch, but SD started to get cranky--apparently, he had stayed up past midnight and gotten up before six.

Back at the house, Annabel and Jeeves were going to go do their holiday shopping, Mom was going to bake sugar cookies, and I went upstairs with SD to listen to his holiday story CD. Annabel was pretty sure that if I laid down with him and listened to the CD, he would take a nap.

Annabel was wrong.

I was the one who fell asleep, and SD went back downstairs and mooched around with The Awesome Nacho while Mom baked. Mom woke me up after an hour and we started decorating the gingerbread houses. The Awesome Nacho not only decorated his house but created an entire story about what was going on. He's a very imaginative young man. The reindeer and snowmen were part of a government force trying to break into the house for some reason, and they were surrounding the house while one of them was using a candy cane to force the front door. Super Doughnut, on the other hand, put a few decorations on his house, and then had an overtired supermeltdown. Tears, hiccups, misery, all of it. His big brother offered to call their mom, but Gramma just said that no, we were going to finish what we were doing and SD could either lie down on the couch or join us. We did finish The Awesome Nacho's house and I added a few details to Super Doughnut's, and then we decorated cookies and had just finished up when Annabel and Jeeves returned.

Super Doughnut opened his birthday presents, and was just thrilled with all of them. Mom and I had tried to coordinate our gifts, but we both got him the same toy in one case. SD didn't seem particularly upset, but I did tell Annabel mine came from the store and I would send the gift receipt.

Mom and I left around six, and thought about stopping for dinner at one of the restaurants on the way to 71, but figured the wait on a Saturday night would be too long. We settled for Taco Bell on the way home, and got home about fourteen hours after we left.

Even if it wasn't the weekend Mom wanted, we still got the gingerbread houses decorated and celebrated Super Doughnut's birthday, even if I did have to call Annabel from the road and tell her about the giant cookie.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Saturday, December 04, 2010

All dressed up

Last night Mom and VL took us office peons to a Christmas dinner at and then tour of a local house museum. Stan Hywet was all dressed up for the holidays, and parts of the house were set up as scenes from A Christmas Carol. Dinner was very nice, although poor VL had to wait about twenty minutes to find out if there was any gelatin in the cranberry-orange relish. The walk through the house was probably more fun for Mom and I, as she is a long-time supporter and has gone on numerous "Nooks and Crannies" tours and I used to be a tour guide there thirty years ago.

I didn't quite finish the tour--the second floor still gets incredibly hot, especially in the daughters' bedrooms, and I was sweating and dizzy, so I headed down to the first floor entrance and waited for everyone else. Fortunately, I thought to ask where the tours exited, and one of the volunteers told me that I needed to be by the family staircase. When I asked if it was the one behind the hidden door in the linenfold hallway, she looked blankly at me, and the other guide said, "I guess you do remember this place!" Another volunteer had to open the door for me, because heaven forbid a museum patron touch something, and I went through it just in time to see Goldilocks' back.

When we got outside, I could have cried at how good the cold air felt. It took at least five minutes until I felt chilly enough to put my wool coat back on. All in all, it was a nice night, and it didn't hurt that I got compliments on my new satin top from two complete strangers.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Book review

Bloodshot (The Cheshire Red Reports, #1)Bloodshot by Cherie Priest

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I was so excited to have won this on First Reads, and overall, it was quite enjoyable. Ms. Priest does a little too much telling in the first couple of chapters, i.e. having the protagonist describe herself in detail, but once past that bump, when the story got going, it really got going.

Vampires, ghouls, black ops, a drag queen Navy SEAL, a venal but somehow appealing museum employee, and lots of fast-paced action overall made this an exciting read. Taken individually, all of the plot elements and most of the characters in this book have appeared elsewhere, but all together they're a thrill ride. I will definitely keep an eye out for the next book!

View all my reviews

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Friday, November 26, 2010

I don't mean to brag,

but is there another family in the United States who celebrated Thanksgiving with exploding squash and a blowtorch?

It's been a few years since Mom had Thanksgiving at her house. For almost a decade, she and Dad have loaded up the van with presents and food and driven to Texas to spend turkey day with Captain Crossword and his family, which had the added bonus of not having to pay to ship the Christmas presents. This year, however, Mom and Dad and I are all going out there for Christmas, so Mom had Thanksgiving at her house.

I do not say "Thanksgiving dinner," because the celebrations and food started Tuesday night, when Jeeves and his family arrived. My sister-in-law's parents were also on hand, but I can't remember whether they got in Tuesday or Wednesday. At any rate, Mom has been cleaning and cooking the last few weeks, and I got to try all sorts of yummy new recipes in the run-up to the big weekend.

On Wednesday, I got the e-mail telling me I hadn't gotten the administrative assistant job, so I skipped going out to Mom's for dinner. Thursday morning I spent quietly with the dog, then got dressed and headed out. I actually got lost on the way to the house I lived in for 17 years, thanks to some recent road "improvements" undertaken in the last year.

When I got there, the house was warm and bright and smelled wonderful. Mom had decreed that lunch would be appetizers from 11-2, and I got there just before the Brie baked in sourdough was put away. A little bit of that with some of my mom's wonderful snack mix was just what I needed for lunch.

Mom had made the decision to have a full turkey and a turkey breast, and my brother was in charge of cooking them. The turkey breast was in the oven, and the full turkey was in the roaster that's been in my family for 40-odd years and still works. The only drawback to the roaster is that the turkey cooks but doesn't brown. As the bird was resting on the counter, my brother lamented the lack of brownness, and Annabel suggested a blowtorch. Jeeves responded, "It's not a creme brulee!" I was in favor of dousing the turkey in some of the sherry my brother was using for the gravy and dropping a lit match on it, but I was outvoted.

Dad, of course, has a small, portable blowtorch, which he brought in, and although I took pictures of my brother flaming the turkey, Dad claims I used the wrong camera. I think Jeeves bribed him.

In the maelstrom of last-minute preparation that included the stuffing, the green beans with pesto, the turkey breast in the oven, the blowtorching, the rolls, and the mashing of the potatos, somehow the new squash and cranberry recipe Mom was making expanded so much that it climbed the sides of the casserole pan and landed all over the floor of the oven, leading to a smoke-filled kitchen, slightly alarmed younguns worried about fire, and my father's dramatic declaration, "The yams have exploded!"

Dad is not a vegetable guy, and can't tell the difference between root vegetables and gourds.

Despite the smoke and the damp chill from having all of the outside doors open, we had a lovely meal, with food, fellowship and family. I hope all of my American friends had the same experience, however they celebrated.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Requiem for an If Bunny

I didn't get the job. It's okay, though, because there were some drawbacks, not the least of which was leaving Piggie Pie alone in the house for 11 hours Monday-Thursday and having my water-walking schedule messed up. I think Doc's going to be more upset than I am, because she is the one who told me about the job, and I would have been working right down the hall from her.

The feeling of rejection is still there, but not nearly as strongly as it was the last time I was on a concentrated job hunt. Part of it is that I know I did a good job at every step of the process, and part of it, I think, is that I might have grown up a little since 2001.

I do have to keep looking, but for now, I shall be thankful for the job I do have, the opportunities to keep looking, and my incredible support system of friends, family, and one crazed small dog.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Mailboxes and If Bunnies

The driver who hit my mailbox fell asleep at the wheel about 12:30 a.m. In the realm of odd coincidences, she both lives at the apartment complex where I used to work and has the same insurance company I do. Snoopy gave me an estimate for the labor, Plaid Jammies is going to pick up a new mailbox at Ace, and hopefully State Farm is going to pay for the whole thing.

On Veterans' Day, I had an interview for an administrative assistant at a local college. The benefits are good, if pricey, the time off is stellar, and the commute is hideous. I didn't know until the end of the interview that I was one of only four people offered in-person interviews, but after an e-mail yesterday, I now know that I'm one of two people to be asked for second interviews. Eeep. If (big, bouncing If Bunny) they offer me the job at the higher end of the salary range, I'll probably take it and split the extra money between gas and maybe one day at week at doggie daycare for Little Miss Piggie Pie.

When I got home tonight, there was a message on my machine for a phone interview for a position I applied for a few weeks ago, so that's another If Bunny.

Also, today was a horrible day at work, thanks to a family tragedy yesterday, the details of which I just learned last night and am still trying to process; a bitchy field examiner from the VA; a monster masquerading as opposing counsel and topped off with a brainless client. I really needed my workout tonight.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

How do I even describe this day?

Last night, when I got my mail and brought in the recycling bin, all was perfectly normal at the end of my driveway.

At 9:00 this morning, when my parents picked me up, my mailbox was gone, the post was on the ground, there was a bumper attached to my neighbor's tree and giant ruts in the ditch in front of my lawn.

On the way to Columbus, I called the police non-emergency line, and they said that they had an accident report involving a mailbox from last night, and that the accident was reported because the car had to be towed. The officer told me I can get a copy of the report on Monday.

When we got to Columbus, Mom and Dad and I had lunch, then headed over to meet my brother and family to watch The Awesome Nacho's black belt ceremony at the taekwondo academy. Afterwards, pretty much the entire graduating class went to dinner at House of Hunan, both of my nephews' first experience with hibachi food and service. They both loved it, of course.

Mom missed the turnoff for my house, so we had to take a longer way to get me home, and when I got home, the package I had been expecting wasn't there, so I checked the USPS website for delivery information, and it said "Notice Left."

Um, where? In case you hadn't noticed, THERE'S NO MAILBOX TO LEAVE NOTICES IN.

They could have just left the damn box on the step the way they've left every other box in the last year, but noooooooooo, they had to f up my day.

Anyway, at least I got to see my nephew get his junior black belt, and I had a lemon drop martini at dinner. :)

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Happy birthday to my dryer

My Kenmore dryer is about 43 years old. It's had new motors, new belts, new fans and other maintenance over the years, but the last year or so, the paint has come off the drum and left bare metal, which leaves rust stains on my laundry. So rather than buy a new dryer, I bought a can of special appliance spraypaint and on Halloween weekend Dad came over and took out the drum and took it home to paint it. According to the guy at the appliance parts store who sold me the paint, you can't use it inside ever. Dad's a little sceptical, but he followed instructions and on Sunday, he brought the repainted tumbler back and we put it in.

It's been a long time since I was Dad's mechanical assistant, and there were a few fumbles as I tried to hand him the right tools or parts and hold the light where he needed it, but we did okay. Dad did a lot of grumbly cussing, but only one f-bomb, and when the exhaust pipe came out of the wall for the third time, if he hadn't said it, I would have. He even made a joke at one point--he was putting the door back on the dryer, and I was essentially bent in half trying to support the entire weight of the tumber when he said, "Now stay just like that. I'm going to go have a cigarette and I'll be back in about ten minutes."

Ha. Funny man in my basement. :p

I have to thank Sherri and Jay for the Legacy Kirby, because the dryer had a ton of lint and dust and whatnot inside, and with the cleaning attachments on the vacuum, I can say that I'm confident there isn't a cleaner 43 year old dryer on the planet.

Dad and I were done in about two hours, with one coffee-and-cigarette break, and then I got to work on two weeks' worth of laundry. I'm still not completely done, but it's really nice to know I won't have giant orange blotches on my clothes!

Thanks, Dad.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Ghost dogs say "Boof!"

Happy Howloween to everyone. I'm fighting a megadepression right now, and not feeling like writing or talking or doing much of anyone, but since Halloween has always been one of my favorite holidays, and it was Littlefoot's birthday, I wanted to at least do a post to mark the day.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Cheering myself up

Sherri once said of me, "Jammies gives good box" and I do try to make gifts special. Sherri and Jay and I had a great time talking on the phone while Jay opened his belated birthday box last month.

Even with the very tightened state of my finances, I am enjoying picking up Christmas gifts for friends and family, and making some of them. I'm also putting together two Halloween boxes for friends, and I love having an excuse to shop for all sorts of fun and different goodies!

I have to admit that there's more than a bit of selfishness in my gift-giving. I love how it makes me feel when a loved one opens a box from me and is delighted with the contents. I recently had a chance to turn sadness into happiness with a gift. The day I had Littlefoot euthanized, I happened to be wearing a purple holographic nail polish (Wild at Heart from Color Club), and I was afraid I wouldn't be able to wear it again without feeling sad. Fortunately, my friend clowder is another purple nail polish lover, so I got a bottle for her. Her delight in the polish means that now I can wear it again and think of her happiness.

When Kogi lost her dog, I knew I wanted to do something very special for her. I asked what color he was, and she sent me an adorable picture:

Since I couldn't find a yarn that was creamy white, I combined a short plushy white yarn with a longer eyelash yarn in ivory, and made a wrap for Kogi to cuddle in:

She loved it, and her joy at receiving this fuzzy hug made me feel better that I couldn't be there in person to hug her.

I count myself lucky that I have friends who let me shop for them and send them presents!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

A week's worth of mudge

On Monday I found out that I have a blood clot in my left palm, and I'm now on stomach-killing NSAIDs to get rid of it.

On Tuesday I had to go to the dentist.

On Wednesday I started my day with being tailgated through hilly S-curves in the fog, then spent forty minutes on the phone with six different people just to change a contact phone number at the VA. The last hour of the day was spent frantically rushing around trying to get a Medicaid reapplication ready and mailed before 4:30 while a client showed up forty-five minutes early to read and sign her will. After I'd done all that and hurried home, I got to water-walking only to find out that the useless substitute was teaching the class.

This morning, I found out that the VA didn't correctly change the number, but they called Bosstopus at home last night with an appointment reminder instead of calling the veteran's nursing home.

I think I shall schedule a nervous breakdown for tomorrow.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Halloween Houses!

Flannel Jammies made a wonderful find at the craft store last week--Halloween gingerbread house kits. She bought two, and I put them together last night. In addition to the gumdrops and candy corn that came with the house, I had picked up Peeps ghosts, candy bats and candy skulls & bones, plus orange and black striped icing and green and black striped icing. I found the Peeps, bats and icing at the craft store, and deliberately went looking for the skull & bones candy because JenJen had sent me some in a recent decant package.

The Awesome Nacho and SuperDoughnut were spending the weekend with Mom and Dad, so this morning I went out to see the boys and decorate the houses. Plaid Jammies was in one of his worst scary-bear moods. I don't know what was wrong with him, but he was one big crankypants all morning. The four of us just ignored him, and the boys and I got to work.
Every year, they get better and more creative. This year, they built fences, put ghosts and bats on the ceilings, and just were very creative. They each ate a Peep and a bunch of candy, but the funniest thing was the black drizzle icing that came in the kits. After the boys had splorped it in various places on the house, both of them licked their fingers, which resulted in two very black mouths and tongues and lots of grey teeth!
Here are the adorable results:

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Rollercoaster time

From being miserable yesterday to being irritated this morning when the instructor left early instead of doing the water-walking class to being overwhelmed with tears and gratitude, it's been an interesting 72 hours.

My ninjas got together and sent me the urn for Littlefoot's ashes, a mug with Little Miss on it, another Kogimug, and a gift card for $300.

Thank you, Kogi, JenJen, Katestamps, Lpakosh, TD, Courtney, Nursekins, Lycanthrope, opticnerd (aka Squishy), tempete, Hlinspalda, Sistinas, Tarak, Yvaine, Jilly, Emsuzanne, Morphmouse, Penemuel, copyshopclerk, Rachel, Queenie, Clever_Girl, Mamacat, seadragon, DolphinDolls, Owls, CLA, pugmom, Vampkat, Girlygirl, BevC, seaotter, clowder, HL, Coleva and anyone I missed. I don't deserve you, but I'm lucky to have you in my life.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Blue Jammies

Everyone knows that job-hunting sucks. I won't belabor that point.

But on a morning when the BigBoss at the office which kicked you and 149 other people to the curb sends EVERYONE an e-mail lauding one kickee for having a job specially created for her at a major medical center, wherein she will be meeting the president and many other VIPs, it just sucks to get a "Thanks but no thanks" e-mail less than 24 hours after you applied for a job.

I hate everything right now.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Thing 1 and Thing 2

I shall take a leaf from Sherri's book and say that I am knitting multiple Things right now. Thing 1 is for me, and it is on the back burner until after the holidays. Things 2 and 3 are gifts which are started but have been interrupted so I can start Thing 4, which is a Very Important Present for someone who needs some extra love right now.

Having access to television shows on the interwebbinets is doing wonders for my knitting time. I'm progressing all over the place. In fact, Thing 2 is ¾ done, and I am confident that it will be done by Yuletide. I've also watched almost all of season 6 of Project Runway.

On Sunday, I will have at least two hours of knitting time, as Mom and I are driving to Pittsburgh to take my great-aunt out to lunch to celebrate her 88th birthday. I will volunteer to drive one way so Mom can knit, and she can drive the other way.

In the "I have to laugh so I don't cry" files, when I got home tonight, the bill from the vet was in my mailbox. I took a deep breath and opened it, only to find that they'd charged the euthanasia & cremation to Little Miss.

I called the vet's office, and fortunately, the staff smartass answered the phone. I said, "Hi, it's Jammies, and I got the bill for the E&D. Unfortunately, you put it on Little Miss's chart. She's over there eating her dinner, and she's the liveliest damn dead dog I've ever seen!"

Little Miss is very interested in my knitting--in fact, last night I caught her noshing on the length of yarn I was about to use. Please note that all knitted items will be washed before gifting so there is no dog slobber included (unless you feel that adds to the value--drop me a line and I'll leave your Thing unwashed).

Okay, time to knit!

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

God is an iron

"If a person who indulges in gluttony is a glutton, and a person who commits a felony is a felon, then God is an iron." Spider Robinson, God is an Iron, 1977.

On Sunday, as I was taking Little Miss out to Mom and Dad's for dinner and a visit and to pick up Littlefoot's ashes, Kogi was working on Littlefoot's urn. When she got home from work, her own dog was in so much pain from spinal arthritis that she had to have him put down. This is the darling old boy who'd been with her for sixteen years, and who had even provided her screenname.

Farewell, little Kogipup. You gave love out of proportion to your size for a lot of years, and words can't express how much you will be missed.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Thank you all

for all of the support and love I've gotten, especially in the last ten days. Mom is still confused by the thought that anyone would send a sympathy card (a real one? in the mail? with a stamp?) for the loss of a dog, but I love you all for the cards and the comments here, and the e-mails and PMs.

Thank you so much.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Littlefoot's last day

When Littlefoot collapsed Friday night and I had called the vet to schedule the appointment, it took a while to get him up and outside for a piddle, then he came back in and collapsed again. He ate a little bit of his canned food, and a chewable pain pill, then he ate a bit of bacon. Throughout the night, I petted him every time I walked by, told him what a good, sweet boy he was, and a couple of times I put Little Miss outside so I could sit on the floor and hold Littlefoot and tell him how much I loved him.

I talked to Dad, Kogi and Mallie, and managed not to cry.

Saturday morning, Littlefoot woke me at seven by coughing, which he'd been doing all week (the main reason I took him in on Thursday). I got up, put him outside and fed Little Miss, then put her outside. Littlefoot wasn't interested even in his canned food, but he ate the pain pill. I had my morning coffee in my Littlefoot mug that Kogi made for me.
All morning, Littlefoot tried to follow me around, coughing every time he did, and I kept my own movements to a minimum.

At eleven, I put Little Miss in the basement and had to lift Littlefoot into the car. He wasn't interested in looking out the window at all for the ride to the vet's, and both of those things told me I'd made the right decision.

When we arrived, I got hugs from both receptionists, and Littlefoot got pats, and then the tech took us downstairs to the presurgery room. We had about ten minutes alone, and then the tech came back with Dr. Mark, and they lifted him onto the prep table. I stood by Littlefoot's head with my arms around him, his head resting in the crook of my right arm, and I stroked his back and told him I loved him as Dr. Mark shaved a strip of fur from his leg and slid in the needle.

It wasn't long before my eternal puppy was gone. Mark and Carlee left me alone with him, and I cried into his fur, kissed the top of his head and rubbed his velvet-soft ears for the last time, and said goodbye.

I will miss you so much, little guy.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Friday, August 27, 2010

Littlefoot has made his decision

Although I was hopeful after a long talk with the vet this morning, when I got home tonight, all the hope was shattered. I let the dogs out of the basement, and Littlefoot took two staggering steps and then collapsed and couldn't get up. After about fifteen minutes, he managed to get to his feet, but he wasn't interested in eating anything, and it was all he could do to take three steps away from the house to piddle.

His appointment is at 11:45 tomorrow.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Unadorned bad news

I can't sugarcoat this for me, so I'm not sugarcoating it here. Littlefoot is severely anemic, he has three teeth which need to be removed but can't be because he can't afford to lose any blood, and his kidney values are climbing despite the special food and he has left "mild kidney failure" for "moderate kidney failure."

Saturday, August 21, 2010


It finally rained good and hard last night, and supposedly things will cool off now! At least in this house I have air conditioning to get me through the hot days. I've never been very heat-tolerant anyway, but the MS has kicked my heat intolerance up to 11. I was only recently diagnosed when I bought this house, and the whole-house air just seemed like a nice thing to have. Good thing it was here, because it has saved me from misery every summer since!

In my old house, my bedroom was a converted attic and I didn't have AC. My first summer in the house, I tried everything I could think of to be comfortable, including trying to sleep on the floor in front of a fan. All that got me after I'd wrestled the mattress off the bed and set up the fan was Bigfoot curling up on my pillow as if I'd done that just for him. Then when I reclaimed my bed, I got dry eyes and a headache from trying to sleep with the constant airflow. Almost every night in late July and August, I cried myself to sleep because I was so miserable. I do remember one day when it rained going outside and playing in the rain and splashing in puddles while Bigfoot watched me from the windows, convinced I had lost my mind! The next year, Dad gave me Grandpa Arnold's old window unit, and I could at least sleep in cool comfort.

I also remember visiting Disneyland when I was about twelve or so. It rained all day, just a soft drizzle, and it didn't really bother anyone in my family because a January rain in California is much warmer than a January snowfall in Ohio! I did think it was funny that the PA system was playing "It Never Rains" by Albert Hammond as we were leaving.

Thanks to last night's rain, I can harvest my basil and lemon balm without the leaves being all heat-shriveled. Time for pesto! :D

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Lake pictures

My last day at the lake consisted of about two hours, from when I woke up at 6:20 until I left for the second time at 8:20 (I forgot my cell the first time I left), so since there isn't much to write about, here are some pics:

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Lakeside Day 3, Friday, August 6th

As usual, I woke up early. This time, I managed not to wake up Mom, but instead got my coffee vewy, vewy quietly. I'd been up for about 20 minutes when SuperDoughnut came downstairs. He was very disgruntled to see me awake, and I'm not sure what the big deal is about being the first one up, but he was Not Happy with me.

The morning followed the usual Lakeside routine--doughnut run, breakfast, newspaper run, swimming. I skipped the swimming because my knee still hurt from Thursday's fall and read instead. After lunch, I took another nap, and this time my father woke me up because "You slept a very long time and I was worried about you."

Again, pot, kettle, blahblah.

Mom gave me a lecture on being more careful about where I stepped, what with the MS balance issues and NO sympathy about my poor knee, but Annabel and I bonded over falling in public, so it was a net gain for family relationships. Either Wednesday or Thursday night Bookworm and I had bonded over Mad Men, which I just barely managed not to spoil for her. Great show, btw, and you should watch it.

Dinner Friday night was a very American vacation meal--corn on the cob, hamburgers, beer, and Great-Gramma Jammies' summer blockbuster consisting of sliced peaches mixed with blueberries and brown sugar. There were also lovely tomatoes and fresh sliced cucumber, which I was pleased to find out SuperDoughnut shares my love for.

After dinner, there were several golf cart rides. Captain Crossword took the kids down to the pier so that The Awesome Nacho could do a photo shoot with his new Domo plushie, and later there was a group golf cart/bicycle ride down to Whistle Stop for ice cream. As I've mentioned, I'm more of a salty snack person, and when I saw that they had freshly popped cheese popcorn, I got that and a soda.

Oh, my. Why did I not know about this on Wednesday? Imagine freshly popped popcorn with movie theater butter and bright orange cheese flavoring. It was warm and messy and so very good. I shared with the nieces and nephews, because like movie theater popcorn, a "small" was pretty damn big, and while they all liked it, Tinkerbell enjoyed it the most.

When all of the ice cream and most of the popcorn had been consumed, we walked out on the pier. The waves were really high, and were splashing over the pier at various points. We watched the sun sink, and it took me a minute to realize that the sun set about forty seconds earlier for me than for my "little" brother because I'm about 8 inches shorter!

Dad and the kids and I took the golf cart back to the house. We took the long way, because this was the last golf cart ride before turning it in Saturday morning. Tinkerbell had fallen and scraped her ankle on the way to get in the cart, and she cuddled up to me for the whole ride. When we got back to the house, there was triage and a bandaid, and it was all good again.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Lakeside, Day 2, Thursday August 5th

Despite a late-ish night, I woke up at my usual time of 6:20. Despite trying to be quiet, I managed to wake Mom up when I nuked myself a cup of coffee. She got herself one, and we were sitting on the porch talking very quietly when SuperDoughnut came down. He looked a little grumpy, and said to me, "I'm usually the first one up." After about ten minutes, he pronounced himself bored, and when none of Mom's suggestions worked, I asked if he wanted to draw on the apron I'd gotten him. He initially said no, but then came back about five minutes later and had changed his mind.

Not too long after SD was ensconced at the porch table with his apron and two packets of permanent markers, The Awesome Nacho and Princess Mathgeek came downstairs (Tinkerbell likes to sleep in--she's a nine o'clock girl all the way). Mom had put out all the different cereals and bowls and spoons and then taken her bike ride, so after I got dressed, I fixed bowls of cereal for SD and PM, and went back to reading my book.

Captain Crossword and Tinkerbell came downstairs around nine, and I got her her first bowl of cereal while little brother got some coffee. Then, before he had even had his second cup, he took the kids on a golf cart ride to get doughnuts, which is a morning ritual at Lakeside.

I am not fond of doughnuts--my personal taste for junk food is salty rather than sweet. But a cake doughnut from The Patio, fresh out of the fryer and thickly crusted with cinnamon sugar, tempts even me.

After dropping off the kids and the pastries, little bro went back out on a quest for a newspaper box that actually had newspapers inside it. The kids each had a doughnut, Mom came back from her bike ride, everyone except for my father got up and dressed and moving. Shortly after CC returned with the newspaper, a general poll was taken on who wanted to go swimming at the indoor pool. It wound up being me, Captain Crossword, Jeeves, Mom and all the kids.

I'm not entirely convinced that someone didn't replace my nieces and nephews with fish during the ride over to the pool. Tinkerbell doesn't swim yet, but she's completely comfortable in the water, and the other three are both skilled and fearless. Between the cannonballs, swimming underwater, roughhousing and other silliness, two hours flew by.

After swimming, we had lunch. Mom always has a ton of good food, and this year was no exception. After lunch, when Mom and Captain Crossword and Annabel took the kids to East Harbor, and I took a nap. I'd told Mom that I would go with her and Dad to pick up Bookworm Mathgeek's birthday cake and ice cream. East Harbor in August, or really any outdoor venue in August is right out for me--I've never been particularly heat-tolerant anyway, but that's the one thing that has gotten noticeably worse thanks to the MS.

A word or six about my father: The man loves his sleep. He is the last one up in the morning, or sometimes the only one waking up in the early afternoon. He takes naps, and whether he's napping or sleeping, he will put his good ear in the pillow so his alarm clock can shrill for up to an hour without him noticing. Getting him up when he's not ready to wake up involves repeated trips to his bedside, with occasional shoulder-shaking and sometimes some yelling.

So that Thursday, I'd laid down between one-thirty and two. At three-thirty, Dad opened the door to my room, stuck his head in and stated that Mom wanted him to call me. At three-forty-five, Dad stuck his head back in the door, and said in a tone just dripping with disgust, "This is the second time I have had to call you. You had better get up!"

"Thanks, Mr. Pot."

I got out of bed and got dressed, laughing to myself at my father's inability to see that the things he dislikes in me are his own worst character traits, and the three of us headed out on an ice cream hunt. The object of our search was Bookworm Mathgeek's favorite ice cream, Ben and Jerry's Chubby Hubby. Alas, it was nowhere to be found in Marblehead and Port Clinton, and believe me, we looked everywhere. Fortunately, the store where Mom had ordered the cake had her second choice, Toft's Peppermint Party Mint. Mom also got noisemakers, matching crepe and tissue paper, and silly gifts from the kids.

We got back to the house, and my poor, unsuspecting sister-in-law was reading in the hammock. We put out the cake, decorated the eating area, wrapped the presents and put them out.

Sneaking this in here, so it's not quite so obvious--Thursday afternoon I had my annual Fall Over My Own Feet At Lakeside. I careened down the concrete garage stairs, grabbed the card table to steady myself, and instead managed to take a glass ashtray with me, shattering it on the floor.

The girls were so excited that they rousted Bookworm out of the hammock and brought her inside, where we sang to her. She opened the presents and the cards, and then we went out to dinner.

A note about my card: Given that Bookworm and I are both readers, and we both tend to be alternately amused and appalled by typos and grammatical errors, I got her a card which mentioned casinos and bars as "disrespectful places." I'm pretty sure it should have been "disreputable places," and was planning on giggling with her over the error. What I hadn't planned on was the card-opening taking place in the middle of a storm of family. So it just looked like I got her a card with a mistake on it. :p

Instead of the winery restaurant where we used to go for the big fancy family dinner, which has gone down in quality and up in price, we went to an upscale sports bar for dinner. Crosswinds was a big success--everyone's food was great, the service was both cheerful and competent, and I had my very first (and my second) Lemon Drop martini. I was smart enough to decline cake when we got home, although Tinkerbell confided to her Daddy that she was full but had just enough room in her tummy for cake. ;)

Between the food and the alcohol, none of the grownups were up for long after the kids went to bed that night!

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Lakeside, Day 1, Wednesday August 4th

Wednesday morning started with a beep and a whimper. The beep was my alarm clock, and the whimper was from me on account of said alarm clock going off at 5:20. I got up, got caffeinated, showered, packed the car with my suitcase and the dogs' tote bag, and headed off to the vet hospital.

After leaving the dogs at boarding, I went out to Mom and Dad's house, to see if I could find Tinkerbell's two kangaroo plushies and the folder with all of her medical info (and an active prescription). It wasn't looking too good at first, because my ADDDad had started changing the locks, never finished, and had taken my old key and given me a new one before he finished the lock-changing. Fortunately, I remembered where he hides the spare key, and was able to retrieve the 'roos from under the guest room bed and the medical folder from Grandpa Arnold's desk.

Off I went to work, for a frantic three hours of trying to get everything caught up before the office was without both Mom and myself, then I headed out to my car and up to the lake. I made the drive in a bit less than two hours, and was surprised to find that everyone was home when I got there. The Awesome Nacho and Princess Mathgeek helped me get my stuff inside the house, and then I got hugs from everyone.

As always, my brothers had visited The Cheese Haven on their first full day at the lake, so there was a large selection of wonderful cheeses in the fridge and assorted candy in the pantry. After a bit of grazing, I unpacked, changed clothes and then napped until dinnertime.

After dinner, the whole famndamily sat around and read and talked. Tinkerbell asked me to read to her, and I was thrilled when she picked one of the two new books I'd brought up to the lake, Once Upon a Cool Motorcycle Dude.

When the kids had all gone to bed, Jeeves had drunk enough beer to get juvenile about the author of the book I was reading. If you can't figure out what's humourous about an author whose initials are P.N., bless you, and if you have figured it out, trust me, it's not funny the first time, let alone the twenty-first.

I swear I went to sleep just to get away from the brat.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

KJAM on radio silence

Headed up to the lake house for four days with the whole famdamily. Wish me luck!

Monday, August 02, 2010

Dear White Trash Neighbor,

My condolences for your impotence and the fact that your insurance won't cover Viagra. However, when you choose to buy fireworks to compensate, I would appreciate your keeping in mind that the Fourth of July was a freaking month ago, and I do not appreciate feeling as if I were living in downtown Beirut.


Jammies and the dogs on the verge of a nervous breakdown

Friday, July 30, 2010

Back to the dentist

If you're squeamish, stop reading now.

Yesterday, I went out to Mom & Dad's to babysit while Mom went and put in five hours at the office. Dad has a cold, so he's being a complete baby and he slept all day (except for the forty-five minutes where he pushed the girls' craft projects out of the way and ate and read at the kitchen table). *eyeroll*

The girls were overall well-behaved, and we had fun, but my mouth was really sore. It felt as if the swelling had gotten much worse and my gum above the missing tooth was hot. Despite regular doses of ibuprofen, it wasn't any better this morning, and then when I was brushing my teeth, something snagged on the brush, which was how I discovered a bone sliver was working its way out.

Although the oral surgeon had done the extraction, my regular dentist squished me into her schedule. After a quick x-ray and exam, she came back with the Novocaine and told me the sliver was too big to allow it to work its own way out. As soon as I was numb, she enlarged the hole, pulled out the piece of bone, and showed it too me.

I am not exaggerating when I say that this sharp-edged, pointy piece of me that had decided to break loose was the size of my pinkie fingernail. Eeep! I wound up with three stitches in my mouth and an appointment on Tuesday to see the oral surgeon again for follow-up. I also feel as if someone has been beating on my gums with a mallet.


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Girly day

Today was a complete immersion in girly stuff. Mom, Princess Mathgeek, Tinkerbell and I went out to lunch with Vegan Lawyer and her granddaughter and stepgranddaughter. We had lunch at Southern Gardens Tea Room, where the girls' soda, pink lemonade and milk were served in teapots and their lunches arrived on two-tiered stands. After lunch, we went to a kids' salon, where all four girls got their hair styled, their fingernails painted, their makeup done and then an all-over dusting of glitter. Michelle from All Lacquered Up would be pleased that both of my nieces selected Dorothy Who? for their manicures. Cupcakes were consumed, pictures were taken, and we had a lovely pink day.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


It's done. It was fast and brutal. There were two points at which I came up out of my chair, but the whole thing took only 25 minutes. Of course, after reading the "post-surgical" instructions, the potential side effects sound worse than a bad tooth!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Can someone give me a ride?

The good news is that I don't have to wait three weeks and two days for my extraction, the dentist had an appointment available tomorrow evening.

The bad news is that it's at 5:15, which makes it impossible for Mom or Dad to take me, since they have the girls. It's not a long distance or anything, but driving myself means no sleepytime meds to make things easier.

So if anyone wants to give me a lift tomorrow evening, I can pay you in perfume, bath stuff or cinnamon ice cream. ;)

Edited: Dad's going to take me when he's done with work. He said yes and then hung up on me. Ahhh, paternal love. *grin*

Sunday, July 25, 2010

"But I didn't want a birthday party!"

So said Plaid Jammies when informed that events had conspired against him. Flannel Jammies said with utmost reasonableness that it hadn't started out as a birthday party, it just sort of evolved from the following chain of events:

Plaid Jammies turns 70 today.

Captain Crossword, Princess Mathgeek and Tinkerbell flew in to Ohio from Texas last night.

Flannel Jammies' big brother Robert* and his wife were headed back to Florida from Lakeside, and would be stopping overnight last night.

T and C, a couple that the Jammieses knew from grade school on, were babysitting their two granddaughters about three minutes away from the Jammies homestead.

Therefore, Flannel Jammies elected to feed everyone she could get her hands on, from dinner to dessert, and we also had presents.

I got there early, both to help Mom get ready and because she had asked me to stop for some sweet corn. That is one of Captain Crossword's all-time favorite foods, and while it's available other places, it's best in Ohio in July and August. He'll get more up at the lake, too.

When I got there, Mom was out getting ice cream, because heaven forbid she only have Dad's favorite dessert, three kinds of Ben & Jerry's, diet soda cake and fresh berries, someone might want vanilla ice cream! So I talked Dad into opening his present early, and he was very pleased with the book and the Borders gift card. Then I sat on the front porch and shucked the corn, finishing up just as Mom came home.

For some reason, before he left for the airport, Dad decided he had to show me how to refresh the page the flight info was on. Thanks, Dad. :p

Mom and I had just gotten everything to a point where we could sit down and talk when her brother and sil arrived, so they joined us on the deck. After we'd caught up for a bit (I can't believe my cousin's daughter just finished her first year of college), we resumed dinner preparation.

At that point, a pretty impressive storm was blowing up, but fortunately, it didn't hit until just after Dad came home with my brother and nieces. Princess Mathgeek, who has stayed at Gramma's house before, showed her sister everything she remembered, from the guest room to the toys in the basement, and then we sat down to eat.

T and C and their granddaughters joined us later, for dessert, and the four little girls had a great time making sundaes and playing while the adults chatted. Unfortunately, I was the one to break up the party, since I had the longest drive home.

All in all, a great night, even if Dad didn't want a birthday party.

*Yes, Bob's my uncle. :)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The warranty on this body has run out...

can I trade it in? :(

The latest bad news came after a morning of fruitless phone tag at work, when I went to the dentist and discovered I need an extraction. Because it's the very last tooth in the back, my dentist feels that a root canal would be extremely difficult, expensive, and buy me at best three years before the tooth had to come out anyway. Oh, and it's also infected.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

What on earth did her Majesty do?

Mike Campbell, guitarist of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, collapsed on stage in St. Louis this past weekend. Today, the group announced that their show here was postponed because doctors had told Mr. Campbell to take it easy.

So I want to know if it was Queen Mediocretia's overwhelming sex appeal, or if she just cursed him.


Sunday, July 18, 2010

George and Alabaster go to a game

Friday night, Mom and I took my nephews to an Akron Aeros game. While the younger was more interested in the junk food, the elder has played baseball and explained quite a bit of the game to his little brother.

The Aeros played well, they trounced the Erie Seawolves 8-1, the weather was great for anyone who doesn't have MS-induced heat intolerance, Canal Park is a small jewel, we had seats just to the left of home plate and the fireworks were spectacular. Gramma bought nachos, popcorn, slushies, cotton candy and ice cream, while Auntie Pam bought giant foam claws. I'd say the boys had a pretty good time, and I know I did.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Whew, she's not stupid!

Allie of Hyperbole and a Half did an experiment with her dog, and her drawings of her dog bear a striking resemblance to Little Miss. Having seen that, I had to try the treat-under-a-cup test on Little Miss (I already know how she does on the blanket and name recognition tests). It took her about twenty minutes, but she did eventually figure out how to knock over the cup and snag the treat.

So she's not dumb, she's just ADHD.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Could I just burst into flame?

Northeast Ohio is in the middle of a spate of gross summer heat (high today was 91), and given what happens to me when I'm out in it, I think I'd prefer to actually be a vampire.

Little Miss got herself stuck outside today, and in the time it took me to walk outside, unloop the chain and walk back in (less than a minute), both forearms and my chest blazed up with itchy redness. I didn't go near any plant material, I just got touched by sunlight.

I've never wanted to be a vampire, because the thought of drinking blood is disgusting. However, I've changed my mind. If I were a vampire, I wouldn't be one long enough to drink blood, I'd just go out in the sunlight and burst into flame.

Then I wouldn't be sitting here itching.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Uncool at the pool

Because I feel as if I've maxed out on the water-walking, Mom suggested I start water aerobics with her. However, the times I have tried it, the class is too fast-paced and complicated for me to keep up. After a bit of thinking, I decided I needed to add wrist and ankle weights. I ordered them from Swim Outlet, and they arrived on Thursday.

Saturday morning, I decided to skip the class and instead do a 40 minute workout on my own when there was less of an audience* in case I made a fool of myself. I only used the ankle weights, figuring that when I get used to those, I will add the wrist weights. They were certainly effective--my speed slowed down to where it was when I started taking the class fifteen months ago, and I could still feel the strain in my leg muscles when I went to bed last night.

While I was at the pool, a woman came in wearing a shower cap rather than a swimming cap, and then proceeded to wave her arms about in very weird gestures the whole time she was walking. Uncool, but very amusing.

As I was leaving, a man on a motorcycle, with a boy behind him pulled up to the curb. The boy got off, the man watched him walk in the door and then left. I'd have given the guy lots of points for being a cool dad, except neither of them was wearing a helmet. Risking your own life is one thing, risking your kid's life is unconscionable. Uncool dad!

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Dear Princess Mathgeek and Tinkerbell,

Thank you for the beautiful cards and my wonderful birthday present. Two weeks ago, when my company was here, we went to Beachwood mall, and saw exactly those duckies in the Swarovski store. I thought how adorable and sparkly they were, but didn't get one for myself. This was a perfect present.

Thank you again,

Aunt Jammies

Monday, July 05, 2010


I hate summer. I hate sweating, I hate being heatsick, I hate being confined to air-conditioned offices and houses, and I hate the fact that my car AC doesn't work the way it should and I. HATE. SUMMER!

Sunday, July 04, 2010

The joys of home ownership

As I mentioned, Sherri and Jay made a spontaneous trip to Ohio on Thursday. We had a lovely, quiet Friday and Saturday, full of shopping, baking, eating, movie-watching, perfume-testing, laughing, exercising, lunching with relatives, etc.

On Sunday, I got up at my usual 6:20, and the water was out. I tried flipping the breaker, to no avail. When Sherri woke up, I sent her down to the basement, and explained what had happened, then put some empty bottles in my car and headed out to the folks' house.

Mom was out riding her bike, but I got in the back door to the garage, and started filling water bottles at the utility sink. I was almost done when Mom got home, and she invited the three of us to spend the day at her house. I wound up not going anywhere, although Jay and Sherri went to Barnes and Noble and picked up dinner at the Olive Garden. Somehow, throughout the day, the pump came back to life enough for us to be able to flush toilets, although not shower or wash dishes.

Monday morning, I took a shower at the Natatorium, then went on to work. While I was there, I talked to Dave, the well pump guy, and he said he'd meet me at the house at 12:30. It wound up being closer to 2:00, but he replaced the switch, and didn't have to dig anything up, yay! As soon as he was gone, I told Jay and Sherri to have the long showers they both wanted, and then it was time for a nap, then dinner, then a quick trip to World Market.

Tuesday morning I dropped Jay off at the Nat and went on to work, then headed for a local nursery, where I picked up six pink-flowered lavender plants. When I came home, Jay walked Little Miss and Sherri and I made pesto. We also discussed books and knitting and gardening. She's taken up knitting again, so I can count that and BPAL as my enabling successes for the visit.

While I did very much miss Imp and Rob and Dampy, it was nice to have Sherri and Jay all to myself. I wished they lived closer.

Friday, July 02, 2010

The calendar lies...

it says my birthday is in eleven days, but it's already over!

Sherri and Jay surprised me with a weekend visit and birthday presents last weekend.

Mom took Sherri, Jay and me out to lunch for my birthday.

My parents got me a new bathroom floor last month.

My dear friend Mickey Mouse sent me a lovely card, British potato crisps and handcrafted artwork.

My dogs sent me a card from New Jersey.

Several of my Lush friends sent cards.

Clearly, it's all over except for the driver's license renewal!

Thanks to everyone for making my birthday wonderful.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Great Duck Hunt of 2010

On Sunday, I hit a local craft store to return some beads I hadn't used for my ninja swappee's present, and of course I had to look at everything because I had a store credit for $3.58, plus Mom wanted some stickers to send my nieces.

In the very back of the store, there was a bin with some wild rubber duckies--they had spiky hair and were squishable like little duck stress balls. I bought one, and put it in my bag to show Mom on Monday. I also got her stickers and some yarn (yes, yet another addiction).

When I went to show Mom my Mohawksquashyduck, we discovered that if you set it down just right, it lights up! So Mom was instantly enamored of the idea of getting a pair of them for my nieces when they visit in July. Neither of us had time to go to the craft store on Monday, but I promised to go Tuesday evening after work.

Tuesday morning started with a literal bang--at 5:59, there was a huge CRACK of thunder right over the house. Almost immediately, my alarm clock added its two cents worth. Littlefoot did not want to go outside and pee in the rain, so while I was picking him up and putting him outside, Little Miss decided she needed to piddle inside. After I'd cleaned that up and fed her, then put her outside and fed Littlefoot, I was ready to go back to bed.

Alas, I had to call the vet for an appointment, because the only other time Little Miss has broken her housetraining was back when she had that UTI, and then I had to go to work. Because of the timing of the vet appointment, I couldn't go to the craft store, so Mom said she would go on her way to water aerobics.

Having braved the 5 p.m. traffic to the vet's office, where Little Miss refused to give a sample, I found that my old boss took my word, Little Miss's current behavior and some evidence of irritated skin as evidence enough of a UTI and he gave me antibiotics for her. On my way home, fighting the 5:15 traffic, Mom called in a panic from the craft store, where she couldn't find the Mohawksquashyducks! I did my best to direct her, but to no avail. I told her I'd go after water-walking and see if I could find them.

When I got to the natatorium, Mom's water aerobics class was just finishing up, so I waded over to do the stretches along with her. She whispered that she'd found the ducks by asking a sales associate--apparently, there were so few left that they were dumped in a "$2.00" bin with a bunch of other odds and ends.

So The Great Duck Hunt of 2010 ended with victory for the huntress, and hopefully happy baths for my nieces.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

One little project completed

A soap sack for my secret swappee, Kate, made of 100% cotton Sugar and Cream yarn:

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Ded Skwerl, a Photo Essay

For Tramp, with much love:

It started with a toy I got at Ross, a plushy dog toy with no stuffing:

I broke the "No toys with faces" rule because it was an evil squirrel, and handed it over as soon as I got unpacked:

It was received with much interest:

Followed by immediate denning under the kitchen table:

Enthusiastic chewing:

My hard heart was immune to pity:

But not to pride in my girl:

Who now wants to know what the next toy will be:

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


So far, I've welcomed three new people to the water-walking class the last two times I've gone. The interesting one last night was a fat chick with glasses and dark curly hair who has the same first name as me. It's pretty cool to think that I've been doing this for over a year now, and even if I haven't lost weight, my clothes fit better and I haven't gained any weight!

Of course, sometimes I don't manage to make myself go, like tonight. I suspect there may be a bit of situational depression attacking me, what with the layoff and the lack of success in job-hunting, and while I am very happy for The Mad Tatter, I'm also a little bummed that she has a job and I don't. I'm having a hard time getting through my days at work, to say nothing of cleaning or gardening or water-walking after work. This is the kind of thing where I wish I could just slap myself out of it, because there are a lot of people a lot worse off than I am.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Oh. My. Dog.

I got a phone call today to set up a meeting with the Summit County Executive about my letter and that horrible shelter! Now I have two weeks to get ready, worry about what I'm going to say and what I'm going to wear...

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Take that, BUN!

Took Littlefoot to the vet hospital today for follow-up bloodwork. He was feisty enough that both techs had to help hold him down for the blood draw, which was definitely not the case two and a half weeks ago. His creatinine is still too high, but it's down closer to normal, and his BUN is normal.

Plus, he's gained over a pound! Gooooooooooooo Littlefoot!

Monday, June 07, 2010

Letter #2

(Letter #1, if you missed it)

June 7, 2010

Mr. Russell Pry
Summit County Executive
175 S. Main St.
Akron, OH 44308-1314

Dear Mr. Pry:

Enclosed is a copy of a letter I sent to the Summit County Animal Control facility director over six weeks ago. Even though the former Executive Director of Heaven Can Wait ‘shelter’ has been convicted of cruelty to animals and the current Executive Director was also charged, the Summit County Animal Control facility still allows this organization to ‘adopt’ animals from them. I have received no reply to my letter, and as this concerns potential animal neglect and abuse, I am now looking to you for answers.

Since the taxpayers of Summit County are supporting the Animal Control facility, I believe we have the right to ask for accountability on the part of its staff, especially where the welfare of individual animals is concerned.

Ideally, the County would stop allowing Heaven Can Wait to remove animals from its facility owing to the owner’s conviction and jail term for animal cruelty. A much less satisfactory alternative would be the monitoring of any animals so removed on a weekly basis until such time as they are adopted.

Thank you for your anticipated attention to this matter. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Very truly yours,

Anyone who wants to copy and send this letter above his or her name and signature has my promise that I will reimburse you for the cost of postage. Please help.



Monday, May 31, 2010

Gardening progress

I was outside from 7 to 10:30, when it got much too hot for me. I have a flaming sunburn on my face despite "sweat-proof" sunblock, I got two or three wheelbarrow loads of weeds to the compost heap and the round front bed is now ready for newsprint, topsoil, new plants and mulch, which I will do this evening. :)

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Washington, D.C., Sunday, May 23rd, 2010

Sunday morning, Mom and I were both up early. We each had a cup of mediocre coffee and started packing, I took a shower, and then we checked out and left our bags at the front desk. We'd planned all along to have breakfast at a restaurant near the hotel which had a giant banner reading "Voted best breakfast in Alexandria."

When we got there, there was a line out the door, which seemed a good sign. When we were inside and seated, Mom told me to go ahead and she'd get our coffee while she decided if she wanted to brave the inside line for made-to-order omelets and waffles. I gulped when I saw the buffet--whoever voted this place best breakfast was clearly not vegetarian. There was a big bowl of watermelon chunks, baked apples, canned apples and cherries and nary a vegetable in sight. There were biscuits, grits, limp pancakes, limper French toast and home fries, but no pastries or bagels, and there was a huge choice of meat--link sausage, patty sausage, sausage gravy, ham, bacon, even creamed chipped beef. I had sausage gravy over home fries, and talked Mom into getting an omelet.

We had time to get our bags and stop in the restroom before catching the noon shuttle to the airport, where we sat directly in front of the door to our plane rather than just by the gate. I ran down to a newstand to grab a Diet Coke to wash some Benadrool down with, and got a peanut bar from the Williamsburg Nut Shop for Dad. The flight home was uneventful, and on the way we stopped at the grocery store for romaine and tomatoes.

Dinner was salad for Mom and I and leftover brisket for Dad and I, then Mom went outside to trim bushes and I did some laundry. I was in bed by eleven and up by six, and at seven-thirty went to get my dogs. Even Littlefoot was frisking around at the prospect of going home. I got them home and the car completely unloaded, took a shower, dressed and went in to work.

Mom and I are good travelling companions, and hopefully we won't wait five years before taking another trip together.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Washington D.C., Saturday, May 22nd, 2010

I woke up at 6 without an alarm, and threw on my robe and my wrap so I could head downstairs for a smoke before getting dressed and making coffee. My legs and butt were screaming at me from all the walking on Friday, but I didn't dare take any ibuprofen until after I'd had either food or at least my daily Prilosec. Still in my pre-coffee fog, I stood in front of the elevator and pushed the button three times before realizing it wasn't even lighting up. So I looked at the fire map and headed for the stairs. Seven flights is a long way, even down, especially when you've overtaxed yourself the day before and then slept seven hours without moving, but I kept at it. I wound up coming out of the stairwell in the employees-only area behind the front desk, and startled the only clerk working the early shift. He figured out what I was doing there, though, and promised me the elevator guy was almost done. Didn't matter to me, I wasn't walking up those seven flights!

I'd brought my book down with me, but I never got a chance to read it. There was a woman outside who was just dying for someone to talk to, and she gave me an earful of conspiracy theories about public officials, her view that businesses closing was the result of socialism (!) and how all of Washington seems like they're "ready to throw down" (spend a lot) on clothes. I escaped when I'd finished my cigarette, and thankfully, the elevator was working again. I zipped upstairs, started my coffee and took a shower, hoping said coffee would cool enough for me to drink it while I got clean. Or cleaner, since I'd had a shower the night before.

A word about coffee, my mom, and me: Mom's family nickname is "Asbestos Mouth" because she adores both spicy-hot and temperature-hot food and beverages. In the time it takes my coffee to cool enough for me to sip, Mom has finished hers and is making a face because it has gotten "too cool." When she got up, she made herself a cup of coffee and drank it all before getting dressed.

We headed out on foot, since we were only about eight blocks from the yarn shop where we were meeting four of my BPALz. We were meeting at eleven, and we left the hotel a little before nine so we would have time to stop at Starbuck's for a second cup of coffee and maybe do a little shopping in Old Town. We got a cinnamon scone to split with our coffee, and sat outside enjoying the morning. As mentioned, Mom vacuumed up her coffee before I had managed to do much more than blow on mine. All of the extra napkins I'd grabbed came in useful when a Starbuck's customer came out of the store and headed for his car with two very overfilled iced coffees. :)

Mom and I saw a house built on land owned by Light Horse Harry Lee, and she knew he was a Revolutionary War hero, and I knew he was Robert E. Lee's father. We saw a lot of beautiful houses and gorgeous gardens. We did get the giggles over one planter full of a plant that looked like chrysanthemums but had pansy-like flowers--when I looked closely, the flowers were wired on. The first store we saw on King Street was a big Ross store, which was open, so we went in.

I'd always wanted to see a Ross because Flinty over at Polish or Perish is always talking about her nail polish finds from there. They didn't have hardly anything in the way of polish, but I still managed to find a cute turquoise fake-straw hat, a dead squirrel dog toy and a seriously gorgeous white skirt and jacket/blouse (bloucket? jouse?). Unfortunately, I found myself somewhat caught short, and had to do an Ellen. I scooted into the restroom and was there for fifteen minutes. Unfortunately, the restroom was inside the fitting rooms, so when I found the white outfit, I had to go back. I did not make eye contact with the attendant.

We'd spent all of our pre-meeting time at Ross, so we walked across the street to Knit Happens. Mom went in and started looking at everything, and I stayed outside to wait for mah peeps. Clever_Girl and Katestamps arrived first, with C_G pulling up to the curb to let Kate out and then heading around the corner to find parking. I gave Kate a fierce hug and got one in return, then walked her inside to meet my mom. C_G came back and was also introduced, and then Vampkat called looking for us. Just as she was pulled up talking to us, a parking space opened right in front of the store, so she grabbed it and fed the meter. Now the only one we were missing was Yvaine, and knowing that she had lived in Alexandria for a long time, I figured she didn't need me standing outside like a fat, sweaty beacon. :p

Yvaine arrived about 11:30, at which point Kate had already picked out a lace-weight yarn and started a shawl, and C_G and Kat were looking at books and listening to Kate, my mom and both yarn store SAs talk about how easy it is to knit. Mom got a little nervous when the perfume came out and the sniffing started, because she thought we were going to get thrown out! Fortunately, there was no one else in the store, we'd been complimentary about the SAs' projects, and they'd made at least two sales from us. Plus, it had been less than two hours when we all decided we were hungry, and Yvaine won my undying gratitude for knowing of an awesome Lebanese place a few blocks away. I still feel bad for recommending the kibbeh to Kat, who couldn't finish it; but I ate every morsel of mine.

After lunch, Kat had to boogie, but the rest of went to the Nine West outlet, where C_G, Kate and I worshipped the shoes and Yvaine actually bought some. Mom waited outside, because the store was totally crowded. After that, C_G and Kate headed for home, and Mom and Yvaine and I went to The Gap. Mom found skull flip-flops for my nephews, Yvaine got bathing suits and other stuff, and I found a brown and tan tank top that was perfect for my new white outfit. Yvaine is awesome to shop with, and I'm not just saying that because she can reach things I can't. ;)

Yvaine took Mom and me back to the hotel, and came up for a bit for Diet Coke, conversation, and a look at the choker Severina made for me. Even though Mom thinks the necklace is "gross" because of the skeleton, she had to laugh when I said Sev told me the back of the necklace was made from the hide of a Nauga that had died from tuberculosis in true Victorian fashion. When we were a bit rested and restless, Mom and I mentioned that we were planning to take a water taxi to the National Harbor and go to the Peeps store. Yvaine offered to drive us over there, and we took her up on it. I'd have suspected her of merely being a polite person, except I know that she loves her Peeps!

We figured out the parking, and just as we left the garage, it started to rain. We went through a courtyard with a really gorgeous fountain, down a street and then we were looking at the "You Are Here" kiosk and trying to figure out where the Peeps store was, when I realized that it had to be on a lower level. We went down, and sure enough, there it was. There were a bunch of people streaming off the water taxi, and one young girl was throwing up right in the middle of the sidewalk. I very carefully didn't say anything to either of my companions, and tried to hold back my sympathetic gag reflex.

The Peeps store was a lot of fun. They had Peep everything (except for refrigerator magnets, Mousey, sorry :( ), including artwork made out of Peeps on the wall. Even a Warhol-ish Peep picture! There were also huge dispensers full of all the Mike and Ike citrus flavors, and on the opposite wall were four giant dispensers full of four flavors of Hot Tamales. We got a present for Goldilocks, our stated reason for coming, Yvaine loaded up on Peeps, I bought candy, and we headed out to wander around the lower level of the National Harbor.

It's a good thing we were flying home on Sunday, because Yvaine spotted this cupcake place with the most appetizing selection I've seen in a while. They had carrot cake and sea salt caramel, which was all I needed to see! Then we wandered back up to the level we came in on, where we had drinks and three kinds of French fries at a restaurant called Ketchup. There were six kinds of ketchup to dip the fries into, so it was a delicious if not a healthy dinner. On the way back to the car, we stopped at a store called Stonewall Kitchen, where Mom got all kinds of chocolately treats for Dad, I found dark chocolate-covered ginger bits for Vegan Lawyer, and I treated myself to a little bag of dark chocolate-covered espresso-flavored caramels.

Sated and overloaded, we headed back to the car. Yvaine took us to the hotel and said goodbye, and Mom and I went upstairs and had a quiet evening knitting and reading. Mom confessed that she was nervous beforehand because she was afraid my friends would think she was too old to be hanging out with all of us, and she was really touched that C_G and Kat both hugged her before they left. She was glad to have met them, and impressed at how smart and charming my friends are. Of course, I'm impressed, too!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Washington D.C., Friday, May 21st, 2010

For the first and only time on our trip, the alarm went off at 6:30 a.m. Mom and I were both up and dressed and on the 8 a.m. shuttle to the airport Metro station. When we got to downtown D.C., we stopped at a coffeeshop/bakery that could have been local or could have been a stealth Starbucks. Whichever it was, the coffee was good, the bagel was good, and we had fun people-watching.

Next we walked down to Ford's Theater, where we found out we couldn't line up to go inside until fifteen minutes before our ticket time, which left us about twenty minutes to kill. We checked out three or four souvenir shops, looking for bicycle license plates for my nieces and a Washington charm for my charm bracelet. No luck on either in the kitschy places, but I did get a charm at the Ford's theater gift shop.

By then it was 9:40, so we went over and lined up in front of the museum/theater and yakked while we waited for the door to open. At about five 'til, an officious young man instructed us on what to do once he opened the door, and then we headed in. We went through security, and down a whoooooole bunch of stairs to the museum. There was a bookstore, where I picked up a paperback copy of The Last Full Measure by Jeff Shaara, and lots of exhibits about Lincoln during the period of the Civil War. They had videos, documents, memorabilia all arranged in a very sensible fashion, and the whole thing was impressive and very sad. I hit a bench with my right knee (not the end of the recurring theme), but otherwise managed not to make a total fool of myself.

The museum was the first half of the Ford's theater experience. The second half was a one-act play all the way back up those stairs we had come down earlier. I didn't know that Ford's was still a working theater, but in addition to the daily performances of One Destiny, they do other plays. One Destiny was interesting, because I had never really thought about how Booth broadcast his intentions to different people. It's as if he said "Tonight, I'm going to kill the President" one word at a time to one person at a time throughout his day. There was a Q&A afterwards, but Mom didn't want to stay, so I'm left with interwebbinetz research to find out if Our American Cousin was ever performed again.

Mom and I both wanted a good salad for lunch, so we stopped at a chain place called Potbelly that looked interesting, and had good salads. They would have been great salads except they were both made with iceberg lettuce instead of something more vitamin-bearing and interesting. After lunch, we meandered down Pennsylvania Avenue just far enough to find a venerable Post Office which had been converted into a small mall. Mom found two gorgeous pashmina wraps for $20, and we were on our way out when I spotted something wonderful in the window of one of the tourist traps.

We went inside, and I am now the proud owner (and my nieces will be, too) of a Federal duck! He has a blue baseball cap, and a stars-and-stripes t-shirt. :)

At that point we split up, Mom heading for the Library of Congress, properly called the National Library, and me for the Holocaust Memorial Museum. Mom took the map, so of course I got lost and had to call her. When I found the museum, I had about forty minutes to kill, so I found a bench near an ashtray, hauled The Last Full Measure out of my purse, and settled in. My peaceful solitude was briefly interrupted by a horde of teenagers on a bus tour, but fortunately their chaperones and tour guide were just lining them up for the next stop.

There is not a whole lot I can say about the museum. It's a very intense experience, and I didn't, couldn't, look at everything. I had been there for just under three hours when my phone rang, startling me. I thought I'd turned it off before going into the museum. I checked, and the call was coming from the vet hospital where I'd boarded the dogs. Already on the verge of tears, I answered the phone, heard one of the receptionists ask for me, and then the call dropped. It took me about ten minutes to get outside, and in that ten minutes, I thought that Littlefoot was gravely ill or had already died.

My peaceful smoking bench was now in full sunlight instead of shade, and there were people all over, but I called the vet's back and got some not-good news. Littlefoot is in mild to moderate kidney failure. They had started him on a prescription diet, and the best option is that he'll be around for quite a while longer on this expensive stuff. The worst option, of course, is that the food won't help, and I'll be looking at lots of subcutaneous injections of saline or euthanasia. I've seen too many owners keep their animals alive past the time when it would be kinder to let them go, so I know that if it gets that bad, I'll have to let my boy go.

I called Mom, and she was on the grass across the street from the museum, so I walked around it and plonked down beside her and told her. After a few minutes to ease my aching feet, we headed out to walk the Mall and see at least some of the memorials. I had no interest in going to the top of the Washington Monument, so we admired it from the outside, and then walked slowly down the mall to the World War II Memorial. It's absolutely beautiful, and I was a little envious of all the people paddling their feet in the fountain, but not even for cool feet was I going to sit in full sunlight of an 83ยบ day.

Have I mentioned it was freaking hot and I hate heat? It was, and I do. I had pretty much sweated off my sunblock and was just miserable from that, to say nothing of the misery from my poor legs and feet. Still, there was one funny moment as we walked toward the Lincoln Memorial--I swear a squirrel stopped and posed for these two tourists. I said that to them, startling them, and when they'd walked on, I said to Mom that I have got to stop talking to strangers--I say weird things and freak them out. Mom said it was just that they didn't speak English.

Mom had seen the Lincoln Memorial, so she went to see the Korean War Memorial. I sort of gulped a little at the sight of all the steps, but there is an elevator, yay, which I rode up with a nice family--Mom (who took pain pills to make it that far, to which I was all, "Sing it, sistah!"), Dad, and late-teenaged son. I took a picture of the three of them with the statue, politely declined their offer to do the same for me (I do not need a record of how I look when I'm sad, sweaty, overtired and in pain, thanks, I can look in a mirror and see that) and then walked very, very, VERY carefully down the slick marble steps.

We walked slowly past the Vietnam Memorial, and I gave a selfish little prayer of thanks that both of my uncles came home safely. Then we had to walk all the way back to the Smithsonian to catch the Metro. We managed by picking out a bench and aiming for it, stopping to sit for a few minutes when we reached it, then picking another one farther down and repeating the process. Mom said that on her entire eleven-block walk to the Library, there was literally no shade and no place to sit on all of Pennsylvania Avenue. We actually hit a Metro stop north of the Smithsonian, charged up our passes and headed for the airport. It was about 7:45 when we got there, so we decided just to pick up dinner there and either eat it where we got it or downstairs waiting for the airport shuttle. The first place we saw had a gorgeous poster of a caprese sandwich, so we stopped there. There was a manager-type at the counter with the cashier, and when I asked if they had that sandwich, he said the only thing they didn't have was the dinners.

I requested the caprese sandwich (which this place calls an MBT) with chicken. The cashier, who was not all there, asked if I wanted wheat or white, and when I said wheat, promptly said that they only had white. I said carrots rather than chips (they did have those) and asked for a Diet Coke. Mom asked for a smoothie, and was told they didn't have those, so she got hummus and veggies. The cashier then discovered they were out of Diet Coke, so had to deduct that from our total.

Despite the fact that we were the only customers, it took so long for them to get us our food that we decided we'd better eat and wait for the shuttle. So grimy and sweaty and tired and achy, we ate our dinner alfresco, with engines for music and exhaust for atmosphere and concrete for ambience. My sandwich was really good, though.

We got back to the hotel more than twelve hours after we left it, took turns showering, and then spent the evening reading, knitting, and talking a bit. Another good vacation day, except for the bad news about Littlefoot. Btw, he seems to be doing okay on the new food, at least he's eating it.