Saturday, July 27, 2013

Digging Deep: 10 Things Of Thankful

This week ended with me in a rather crappy mood, and I've had a time coming up with my 10 Things of Thankful. Unloading some of it on a friend made a huge difference (thanks, Lizzi), so here goes:

1. I am thankful my friend Lizzi made me an AWESOMESAUCE blog button this week. Check out those lemons! 

2. I am thankful that I picked up a couple extra turkeys when they were on sale around Thanksgiving, because I baked one today, and we enjoyed turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy for supper last night. Yes, in July. 

3. I'm thankful my daughter actually DOES read my blog, because she always says she doesn't, even though that means she now knows there was a dead mouse in the closet.

4. I'm thankful that Pete wanted to be a lap kitty today. He's not usually like that with me, and I don't have enough lap to make it a particularly comfortable experience for either of us (especially me), but the effort was appreciated.

There's way more Pete than lap.

5. I am thankful my daughter is continuing to learn to play the ukulele. When she practices, I feel a little bit like I am in a Bruno Mars video.

6. I'm thankful I didn't fall and break something vital earlier today when I stepped on a white cutting board that was in the middle of my white tile kitchen floor and it flew out from under me. Why was there a cutting board in the middle of my kitchen floor, you ask? Because my husband put it there, so the cat could eat the bits of turkey that were left on it after he sliced some to make a turkey sandwich. His response to my screams was, "I thought you would be able to see it on the floor." But my hands were full of glasses and dishes and such from the family room (left by someone who lives here for 19 more days [not me, though the thought is tempting]), and I wasn't aware that I needed to keep my eyes peeled for cutting boards on the kitchen floor at ANY time. Silly me.

7. I'm thankful I finally cleared level 158 in Candy Crush, because that sucker was going to kill me.

8. I'm thankful that Fletcher had enough sense to come out of the bathroom cabinet where he was napping and yak up his hairball on the tile floor instead of on the towels inside the cabinet.

Fletcher also felt the need to be in my lap.

9. I am thankful for unseasonably cool weather today (hey, I like summer better than winter, but I'm no fool).

10. I'm thankful I finally used up the ginormous bottles of shampoo and conditioner that I thought would be better than what I was already using (it wasn't) and have now gone back to the old stuff that worked JUST FINE. Redken All Soft, if you're curious.

And now, because it made me laugh out loud when it popped up in my Facebook sidebar this week, I leave you with this t-shirt design:

Thursday, July 25, 2013

A Little Bit Of This, A Little Bit Of That

It's been a rodent-y week.

The church building has been inundated with bats. They are always in the attic above the sanctuary in the summer, and occasionally one will find its way inside the building, but this time, they've REALLY dug in, to the point that some kind of professional bat-remover had to come and do some bat eradication in the attic.

And don't give me the "but they eat mosquitoes" argument, because the first time one is in the hallway with you at the preschool, diving towards your head, sending you screaming into a classroom and slamming the door, you'll want them all dead and gone, too.

This past Sunday morning, I was walking down a little hallway that leads to the women's restroom, I stopped short when I saw a bat hanging above the doorway. I looked in the room, trying to decide whether it would be worth it or not to make a dash under the sleeping bat and go on into the lounge area when I saw yet ANOTHER bat hanging from a window valance. That's when I turned tail and ran screaming down the hallway, "BAT, BAT, BAAAAAAT!!!"

He looks poised to drop on my head.

Taking a snooze.

Our trusty Mr. Doug, as usual, came to the rescue with a broom and a bucket and swept them both down and carried them outside.

Two days ago, I was putting some stuff away in a little-used closet in our fourth bedroom. We keep a glue board on the floor of the closet for spiders (because we have lots of them, especially in little-used closets and especially in hot weather), and I glanced down at it as I opened the door.

There were lots of dead spiders.

And a dead mouse.


I haven't opened that closet door in several months, so there's no telling how long it had been there.

And now I'm wondering what in the hell we have cats for, since it's obviously not for their mousing skills.

Completely. Worthless.

* * * * * * * * * *

My husband is on an iced tea kick and is making it in Mason jars and storing it in the fridge, looking not unlike jars of moonshine. 

I am a tea purist. I like it sweet and otherwise unflavored. No fruity crap, including lemon. 

My husband likes to experiment with flavors, but usually (always) forgets to tell me that he has done so.

And that is why I just took one swig of tea, gagged, and poured the rest of it down the drain. Cruel joke. Cruel. I should just stick to Diet Coke at home.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

I made a chocolate cake today, because on oncology appointment days, I deserve chocolate. 

I hate oncology appointments. They just remind me that I'm not completely okay.

Blood draw. Ow.

Monthly injection site, along with (fading)
tummy tuck scar. I look fat. Optical illusion, I swear.

I made my favorite chocolate cake recipe. It's quick and delish. Some people call it "Texas Sheet Cake," although I can't imagine what it has to do with Texas. Our family calls it "Marilyn's Sheet Cake" after a family friend who used to make it a lot.  Here's the recipe:

1/2 c. shortening
1 c. margerine
1 c. water
3 T. cocoa

Put all ingredients in a large saucepan and heat, stirring often, until everything is melted and smooth. Bring to a boil, then remove from heat and whisk in the following ingredients:

2 c. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla

Alternate adding the next two ingredients:

2 c. flour
1/2 c. buttermilk mixed with 1 tsp. baking soda

Last, whisk in:

2 eggs, beaten

Pour into greased jelly roll pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

While cake is still hot, make the frosting:

1/2 c. margerine
6 T. milk
3 T. cocoa
1 lb. powdered sugar
1 c. chopped pecans

Melt margerine in medium saucepan. Add milk and cocoa, remove from heat, then add powdered sugar and stir and stir until the cocoa and powdered sugar are completely dissolved.*  Pour over hot cake.

*I did not complete this step, because I was impatient, so mine was lumpy. And if I had included the pecans, no one would have been able to tell, but SOMEONE at my house doesn't like nuts in anything, so lumpy frosting it is. (I don't know how I raised this child who does not like nuts, because I come from a family where pecans make just about everything better [except chocolate chip cookies, which should never have nuts, but that's just personal preference]).

* * * * * * * * * *

Fantabulous news of the week: I FOUND MY THIRTY-ONE INSULATED LUNCH BAG! I have whined about the loss of this bag for two years.

Our preschool year winds down with a graduation ceremony for our pre-kindergarten classes. Two years ago, on the night of graduation, I received a Thirty-One insulated lunch bag, embroidered with my name, as an end of year gift from one of my students. I took it home with me the next day after closing down my classroom for the summer and put it, along with the other gifts I received, on the dining room table.

Two days later was the tornado. Within a few days, our house began to fill up with salvaged items belonging to friends and from the dance studio, and pretty much every available surface was covered with damaged photographs that were in the process of drying out. Over the course of the summer, items were returned to their owners , and eventually, the house was back to normal (except the basement - still have some tornado stuff down there, and it STILL smells like tornado, for those of  you who know that smell). 

Soon enough, it was time to get my classroom set up for the new school year. As I was packing a lunch to take with me and was pulling out a crappy old bag that I got at Walmart years earlier, I remembered my beautiful new lunch bag. Looked in the back of the cabinet where I kept the crappy lunch bag, but no new one. I opened and closed all the cabinets. No lunch bag. Checked the pantry. Checked the back closet. Gave up for the time being.

I continued to hunt for the lunch bag over the course of the next two years. Poked around the basement. Checked every closet. Bemoaned that it was lost forever with my preschool sidekick Melissa. The only thing I could figure was that I had accidentally thrown it away. 

Then today, as I was trying to get a plastic lid for the jellyroll pan out of the cabinet above the refrigerator, I created an avalanche of seldom-used stuff that I keep up there, such as ice cube trays and melamine serving plates. 

And there it was, behind the plates, MY THIRTY-ONE BAG!

Lunches shall taste SO MUCH BETTER from now on.

Saturday, July 20, 2013


It was 100 degrees at 5 p.m. yesterday evening. That's hot. But that is not a complaint. I really, really HATE cold weather. You know, the kind where you shiver so much it hurts? Hate it. Therefore, my 10 Things of Thankful this week shall be dedicated to sum- sum- summertime.

I'm thankful that summer weather extremes don't cause roads to be impassable and sidewalks to be slicker than snot. (Don't even start with weather extremes like tornadoes. Been there already.)
The sacrifices one has
to make to get an
illustration. It was
yummy, by the way.

I'm thankful that there is an excuse to eat ice cream any time.

I'm thankful I can still wear shorts without looking too hideous.

I'm thankful to have summers off, so I can waste spend quality time embracing social media and chatting with my bloggy friends. Lizzi and I MAY have had a little too much fun yesterday. 

I'm thankful that I don't have to remember to grab a jacket when I leave the house, because it ain't a-gonna get cooler come evening.

I'm thankful for central air conditioning, because while I don't like winter, I'm still no pioneer when it comes to summer heat.

I'm thankful for ice cold Diet Coke. Well, that's not limited to just summertime. I'm thankful for it ALL YEAR LONG.

I'm thankful to have a membership at a private swimming pool (let's hear it for the 'Dale!). It's never crowded, we can bring our own food and drinks there (and can even use a charcoal grill to make dinner, if we are so inclined), and it's less than a ten minute drive from our house (that's driving 35 mph and hitting every stop light in between, which equals 6, if you're curious. IT'S A SMALL TOWN, PEOPLE).  It's oh, so relaxing and cooling to go to the pool in the early evening (say, 5 p.m. when it's a sultry 100 degrees outside), hang out in the pool like cows in a pond, and come home cool and refreshed.

A glimpse of the pool and cute lifeguard.

I'm thankful for maxi skirts and dresses. They hide a world of imperfections and allow air to whoosh up under the skirt and cool you off in places you'd just rather not sweat.

I'm thankful for lots of blue sky, bright sunshine, sunglasses, flip flops, popsicles, and the smell of sunscreen. 

And now a summer song by Mungo Jerry:

I hope this is stuck in your head forever, as it seems to be in mine lately. Fun Fact: I used to have to BEG the owner of the master recording of this song to renew licensing contracts for this for compilation albums that were produced by the division of Warner Music Group where I worked.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

A Sight To See

A Tribute To My Girls, in limerick form:

As they harbored some cancerous shit
My saggy, tired boobs were unfit
They were not only removed
But also improved
And now high on my chest they do sit.

Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop prompt #5: write a limerick.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

I Love To Laugh - Ha Ha Ha Ha - Loud And Long And Clear

For this week's 10 Things of Thankful, I am giving thanks for the little things that have made me laugh in the last week or so, such as: 

1. This sign that, to the immature (like me), looks more like it says "penis" than what it's supposed to say, which is "Jeni's," in Nashville, and which makes totes delish ice cream.

You see it, too, right? RIGHT?

Three very tiny scoops: roasted strawberry buttermilk, whiskey and pecans,
 and banana and honey. Ice cream heaven, I tell you!

2. My son mistaking a pitcher of barbecue sauce for a pitcher of syrup when we went to brunch last weekend.

3. Quality control issues at the pasta factory that put these pieces in my box of spaghetti.

4. The offers my cat gets in the mail from companies that have no idea he is a cat.

You can insert your own joke here. You don't need me.

5. The marketing genius behind this display at a thrift store.

6. Taking selfies with my person and my daughter while driving around Nashville.

I'm sure you can't tell that my daughter thinks Terri and I are
nothing short of total cheeseballs when we're together. 

7. The thought of someone actually paying $170.00 for a crib shoe for a baby.

See how tiny? Although my daughter could have worn these when 
she learned to walk, as she wore a size zero. DAMMIT!
Where were these shoes 14 years ago?! 

8. My completely amazing photography skills at my daughter's volleyball tournament.

9. Accidentally shooting a pic of what appears to be my shadow on a parking lot. 

10. Text exchanges with my son.

It's fun to be the one with the power when
he had to turn his school laptop in and
is now left with the family desktop
or begging to borrow mine.

Too bad it's only TEN things of thankful!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Summer of '78

It was the summer of 1978, the summer after graduation, the summer of driving around late at night, listening to music with the windows rolled down. It was Night Fever, Hot Blooded, Take A Chance On Me.  It was working at McDonalds in the morning and rehearsing and performing at Theater Under the Stars at night. It was Minsky's Pizza, Putsch's, the Alameda Plaza coffee shop and Winstead's. It was jeans shorts and spaghetti straps, flowered sundresses and long hair. It was Grease and Danny and Sandy and Hopelessly Devoted To You. It was Lake Jacomo and frisbees and friends and Blue River Road.  It was red, white and blue bomb pops.  It was Steely Dan and Bob Seger. And Genesis. And Jackson Browne. It was the end of one road and the beginning of another. 

Senior Pic from yearbook.
(Here's when I found out I don't
have many pics of me. Time to
visit mom and procure some inventory.)

Mama Kat's writer's workshop: write a post in just 12 lines.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

10 Things of Thankful, According to Pete

Today, I'm turning my blog over for my first-ever guest post! I'm happy to introduce you to Pete, our youngest of two cats. He's a handsome devil, slightly *ahem* overweight, and enjoys sleeping, eating, and managing his Facebook account, and he's going to give us his 10 Things of Thankful. Hit it, Pete!

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Uh, I'm Pete, and I am guest posting today for 10 Things of Thankful, at the insistence of my human mom. (She's actually the only mom I've really known. I was only 8 weeks old when she brought me home from the humane society 8 years ago.)  It has been implied that I am less than grateful for what I have. It was strongly suggested that I assess my situation and give thanks where thanks is due, so here goes:

1. I'm thankful for the 24/7 buffet in my kitchen. As long as my feeder is full, that is. I get a little uneasy when I can see the bottom of my bowl.

2. I'm thankful for my kitteh brother, because he's a complete wimp. So easy to beat the snot out of him whenever the mood strikes me.

3. I'm thankful for this chair:

 4. I'm thankful for my comfy bed, even if it has shrunk a bit over the years:

5. I'm thankful for a good belly rub. Not too rough. Not too easy. You'll know when I've had enough....

6. I'm thankful for laser pointers. Are those things fun, or what?!

7. I'm thankful for catnip toys, especially my banana, which was a gift from my Uncle Phil. 

8. I'm thankful to be an indoor cat, because it's scary as hell outside. Until I got too fat sophisticated for a harness and leash, my mom used to make me go out every once in awhile. SCARY, SCARY, SCARY! I finally learned just to flop down and refuse to move, and mom eventually gave up taking me out. Well, that and the fact that the harness wouldn't buckle around me anymore. 

9. I'm thankful for my human sister. I greatly enjoy tormenting her in the mornings. I really love lying on her back when she's sleeping, licking the inside of her ear and lying on her hair and pinning her down. Good times!

10. I'm always thankful for a clean litterbox. Because what's more fun than watching your mom clean out the old litter, wash out the box, refill it and walk away, thinking job well done, then running over and pooping right in the middle of all that beautiful, clean litter? And know what else is fun? Throwing a whole bunch of the fresh litter onto the floor, scooping it into a pile, and then pooping right there on that little litter mountain. MY MOM LOVES THAT!

Okay, I have a lot to be thankful for.  Lesson learned. NOW, PLEASE DON'T MAKE ME WEAR THAT STUPID TIE EVER AGAIN!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Bring On The 4th!

Image(s) courtesy
I'm not a big fan of the 4th of July. I hate fireworks. Really hate them. I'm convinced someone is going to blow a finger off. Or put an eye out. Or both. And I don't like eating outside, either. It's always hot, and that means back sweat (and sometimes boob sweat, if it's REALLY hot). And flies land on your food, and we all know flies eat poop and dead things, then land on your potato salad and rub their feet together. Not cool.

So glad Maria just posted this!
The one thing I DO like on the 4th of July is our neighborhood party. It is held on the morning of the 4th and is wonderfully corny, with patriotic music, speeches, and food - lots and lots of wonderful, delicious food. (It does include boob sweat and flies, but I make an exception for this event only.) This year, I fully intend to enjoy myself. And eat. And eat. And eat. And why is that?

Because last year, I had a miserable 4th of July. MISERABLE, I TELL YOU, the reason being that, due to exceedingly poor planning on my part, I had scheduled a colonoscopy for July 5. My oncologist had ordered it to check for any sign of rogue breast cancer cells, and my goal was to get it over with as soon as possible, so I took the first available date offered to me. 

As the nurse gave me my directions for the day before the procedure, it became quite clear that my 4th of July was going to be no fun. Clear liquids only (that means NO DIET COKE) for the entire day. Four laxative tablets at 3:00 in the afternoon, then a gallon of Gatorade (no red, pink or purple dye in it) laced with Miralax. Then waaaaaait...

Here's how that day panned out, as posted on July 5, 2012:

Colonoscopy checklist:
apple juice, check
four flavors of Gatorade (no Red 40), check
banana popsicles, check
Dulcolax, check
238 gram bottle of Miralax powder, ch---wait a sec....

MY bottle of Miralax powder is 527 grams. WTF? Time for a call to the nurse. The verdict? Apparently, the doctor prescribed the wrong amount for me (does he think I've been eating CEMENT?), and I only need to use 238 grams of Miralax. This, however, is easier said than done. How in the hell am I supposed to measure THAT? I live in America. We don't weigh anything in grams. Does this mean I have to do math? 

Fortunately, the major math disaster was averted, because I found a grams-to-ounces conversion calculator online, BUT I was then left with a minor math disaster of rounding off 8.29520 ounces into something measurable. 

I made it to 1:00 on the 4th of July, my very poorly planned Cleansing Day, before I got hungry. And I think I would have gone longer, had I not made the proclamation, "Gee, it's 1:00 and I'm not even hungry yet!" Because as soon as I said it, my stomach started to growl. And I will go on record RIGHT NOW as saying banana popsicles are not filling, even when you eat two of them in rather quick succession. 

At 2:30, I decided it was time to start cooking. I got my four bottles of Gatorade from the refrigerator, pulled out the kitchen scales, and got four little plastic tubs for the Miralax. I measured out 2.1 ounces (well, as close as my crappy kitchen scale can get) of Miralax into each of the four little tubs. Got out a funnel ('cause I'm a THINKER), an 8 ounce glass, and headed upstairs. 

The first little stumbling block was that I had intended to use four different flavors of Gatorade, so I wouldn't get sick of one flavor. What I didn't realize is the bottles I got held 32 ounces. I needed 64 ounces total. Therefore, as with the Miralax, I had twice as much Gatorade as I needed, and unless I did some elaborate pouring of Gatorade into multiple containers, I was only going to get to use two flavors. Crap. (No pun intended.)

Right off, I stuck the funnel into the bottle of Gatorade, poured the first tub of powder in and dunked the end of the funnel into the liquid, thereby completely clogging up the funnel and causing me to spill powder everywhere as I tried to pour it into the neck of the Gatorade bottle from the side of the funnel.

 It was at this point that I realized there was going to be a problem. Now, I'm no physicist, but it became quickly apparent that pouring 2 ounces of Miralax powder into a full bottle of Gatorade was going to cause some product displacement. Fortunately, I figured this out shortly BEFORE the bottle overflowed. Time for a Plan B.

I ran down to the kitchen and brought up a quart sized glass pitcher with what I THOUGHT was a tight-fitting lid. I poured the Gatorade and the rest of the Miralax powder into the pitcher, snapped the lid on, and started to shake it up, per instructions, and Gatorade started shooting out of the pitcher around the edges of the lid. On to Plan C, a Tupperware pitcher with a REAL lid, and I transferred the mixture YET AGAIN and got it mixed without further mishap.

I won't say the Gatorade/Miralax cocktail was delicious, but it wasn't quite as bad as I thought, in spite of how much I detest Gatorade. The Miralax was tasteless, although it left a bit of a film on my tongue. The entire experience was rather underwhelming, which is not what I expected from all the testimonials I received. That leads to the question, "Did it WORK?"

Bottom line (BAHAHAHAHA!!!): success! No walk of shame out of the hospital like my brother had to do recently. The procedure took hardly any time at all, my dear friend Michelle was my recovery room nurse once again, and the best part? My colon was as pink and smooth as a baby's bum. Take THAT, Cancer!