Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011


**** updated to add: there is a duck in my backyard. I am not even kidding. Does it not recognize the danger it's in, just traipsing around willy-nilly in suburban back yards? I thought wild animals were supposed to be wily. The jokes are just boiling over right now, dying to come out, but I have already promised Ina, as you can see below. Curses!
















It's the very last day of 2011, can you believe it? I was just looking for last year's 'Goodbye, 2010, I Hate You with an Unending Passion' post so I could compare, but I guess I hated 2010 so much that I didn't write one. It seems unlike me, but I guess you never know what wacky thing I might do, or not do, next. Oh well, it's probably better; who needs to read a bunch of dreariness from the past when we can look to the future and talk about delicious squirrels or similar? For example, look at the picture of my backyard this morning! See all those beautiful, tender birds??? The bite-sized ones are best, I hear.

Naturally, though, I can't do a New Year's post without remembering the best New Year's Eve ever, when Janelle's washing machine caught fire and her cat saved their entire family. I didn't write the part about the cat before, but it's 100% true. Because she has multiple small children, her washing machine is always running, including in the middle of the night on New Year's Eve. They turned on the 6,583rd load of the day, shut the cats in the laundry room and went to bed. Pretty soon, they were awakened by Speedy's unholy yowling and frantic scratching. It could have been because he was choking to death on the belching black smoke but I prefer to think he was thinking only of his loving family. And that, C Mike, is why we don't eat cats.

Let's see, what else? I would keep going on the dog/squirrel/cat/bird eating theme, only Aunt Ina wrote me a note yesterday and told me I was very gross. I guess she's kind of squeamish. Also, she is one of those people that feeds the squirrels in her back yard. I'm not kidding, she has at least three feeders and she goes through sunflower seeds and peanuts like I go through wine. So Happy New Year, Ina! I will try to not gross you out for at least a month.

I hope you all have a fantastic New Year's Eve and a great start to 2012 tomorrow. I don't have any big plans to go out and drink too much and get in a ridiculous fight with friends or family members, because I can do that without leaving my house. It's much cheaper and more convenient that way, plus I don't have to wear spanx and lipstick. I'm practical that way. But tomorrow, I plan on making the most of the traditional New Year's Day thrift store shopping spree. All of a sudden, I have a compelling need for some very small saute pans. Happy New Year, y'all!





Thursday, December 29, 2011

Monopoly

I used to love Monopoly. When I was little, my sister and I and our cousins would play for hours with rules of our own devising and plenty of cheating. My favorite tactic was to stash some extra bills in the bathroom and then pretend I had to pee if my cash flow was getting dicey.

I was none too pleased to find it under the tree this year, though. And not because I've outgrown questionable financial practices, either. Nope, it all has to do with my outrageous vanity. See, Weston has been regularly kicking my ass at chess for quite some time and the last thing I need is another avenue for a vigorous thrashing at the hands of a seven year old. I'm pretty sure he wouldn't fall for the bathroom scheme, too. The truth is, I haven't been able to trick him for at least a year and a half.

So I had to develop a new strategy: now I pour a giant glass of wine, hide some extra in the bathroom, and see how fast I can blow through those colorful bills in pursuit of blissful bankruptcy.

Do you guys care if I talk about squirrels now? I'm super tired of talking about Monopoly. The squirrel thing is kind of gross, though. First you have to read this article in today's Seattle Times about an urban squirrel harvester. She sounds a little nuts, but it's an intriguing idea. Read the comments, too- they are hilarious. There seems to be an aversion to chowing down on cute food sources. I don't know why; once you cut the face off the meat all looks the same, right? Also, it reminded me of this awesome post on eating dog by Ask A Korean. I don't care what you think of eating dogs, that post is pure brilliance.

Because I am slightly demented, I was intrigued by the methods by which you could dispatch the squirrels, but I will spare you all the gory details. After some lengthy and very interesting discussion, it became apparent that I would be less than successful should the necessity or opportunity for squirrel killing arise. It's unfortunate, too, because I'm not a girl to miss many meals, which makes me a fan of having a robust food reserve. Oh well, there's always those tasty and attractive slugs! In fact, I would eat a whole sack of those slimy things if it would get me out of this Godforsaken game. A girl can dream, you know.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Holy Cat Yak

Happy Boxing Day! I had quite the adventure today, you guys will be so jealous! I don't even know where to start. We had the cousins over today and it was NUTS. I'm not exactly sure how this happened, but somehow it was agreed that my sister would drop off her charming children at my house and go shopping. Sounds pretty promising, right? I mean, what could go wrong? The kids LOVE to play together.

And, in fact, it did go along pretty swimmingly for quite a while. After about 11 million hours of providing free child care, though, Shane and Teddy announced that they had been cutting the curtains. Sure that they would NEVER actually be slicing up the drapes, I responded casually, and returned to sifting through the 73 pounds of debris I dumped out of my bags while looking for my missing work watch. They were a little too quiet for a little too long, so I went back over there and questioned them more thoroughly about this cutting the curtains thing. Sure enough, they had very efficiently snipped through the better part of two panels. A little annoying, sure, but the thing that really pisses me off is that after all that work they have neither play clothes for themselves nor an elegant gown for me to show for it. Clearly, they have not been watching enough television, which I started to remedy as soon as they got back from their time-outs for being such slackers.

All that scissor work apparently made them hungry, so I whomped up plates of color coordinated orange snacks: cheez-its, carrots and oranges. I looked for orange downers to crush up and sprinkle on top but I didn't have any and had to go with the standard white ones. While they were sitting there inhaling the goods, the cat yakked up on the living room floor. It had ribbon in it. I will have no more to say about that. Ever.



Then, Jennifer came back. I was so happy. Until she plopped herself down in front of my computer and continued shopping. She didn't even bring me any wine, my watch is still missing, and my sedatives are all gone. HELP ME.



Sunday, December 25, 2011

Dead Cat Christmas

Merry Christmas, everyone! I hope you had a great day, with plenty of presents and wine! I got lots of wine, leftovers from my sister's traditional Christmas Eve soup and sammies party. I was going to go to the party, but I heard Lillian was going to call me a chipmunk, so I stayed home. And since I didn't go, there was plenty of leftover hooch for me to drink today. So that worked out nicely. For me.

It was a very rainy and windy day until late in the afternoon, so the kids had to stay inside and shriek. Luckily we were at Grandpa's house; there's a little more cousin tackling space and Grandpa can't hear. For the rest of us, there was the leftover wine. I just jammed the corks in my ears and bottoms up, my friends! I was going to post a short video, but I think I'll just spare you. Consider it a little Christmas gift from me to you. You're welcome!

Then Jennifer and I went down to the Carol tree in the storm. It's a hemlock, and it's at the park on the lake near my parents' house. That was super fun, and frigidly cold except for the broiling hot tears coursing down our faces. Wait, where did that wine go? Oh yeah, I drank it all because I deeply appreciate its numbing qualities. The afternoon improved, weather-wise, and I went for brisk little trail run, which has improved my disposition remarkably, until tomorrow, when my thighs will feel like badgers have been chewing on them again.

And, that's the Christmas report from the house of dead cats. Merry Christmas, y'all!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Elk Poop. Oh, Honey, You Shouldn't Have. Really.

Merry Christmas Eve, my sweet friends! What did you do today? Whatever it was, I bet you didn't get to see elk poop. It was a beautiful day here in the Pacific Northwest after raining all night. I know this because the cats woke me up at least thirteen times by rolling around in the wrapping paper I left on the floor and I could hear the rain pounding the roof every single time.

The clouds started to lift about mid-morning and we packed up and headed to Elkville. Lloyd mocked me for toting along a huge backpack filled with food, water, antibiotics, rappelling gear and a rubber raft, but I've been out in the woods with him before. I'll write about it someday, after I'm over the PTSD, but for now just remember that if we are ever out triangulating together and I tell you to move your compass away from the truck before you get your bearing because the needle is pointing straight at the engine block, you should listen to me.

Moving on, because I'm starting to twitch and my medication is in the backpack: check out the pictures! We traversed some twisty logging roads that went high, high into some steep terrain. In fact, it was so twisty, high and steep that Shane commented, 'I would be damn scared if I had to walk all the way up here.' Four, people. He is FOUR. My mother is rolling over in her handcrafted artisan urn right this very second. There were no actual elk, but Lloyd was thrilled to see the piles of droppings. Personally, when it comes to elk poop, I can take it or leave it, but live and let live, I always say! There were also tons of birds and some very cool rocks.

I hope you all have a fantastic Christmas! As for me, I can hardly wait for Lloyd to plunge his hand into his stocking on Christmas morning.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Chipmunk, My Ass


You know, I'm not a fan of resolutions. But the end of the year is coming and something happened at work last week that made me think that perhaps I need to step up my game. A couple of my friends/co-workers vexed me past my limit, and I vowed revenge, only to get a note that said this: "Eh, scary. About like being threatened by Snow White or a chipmunk." Obviously, this will not do. Seriously, a chipmunk?? A wolverine, fine. A bobcat, even. But a chipmunk or some nancygirl princess that waits around for some stupid prince to save her bacon? Definitely NOT. Oh, and yes, I know, that's a picture of a squirrel. I don't HAVE any chipmunk pictures. So sue me.

Now, usually I prefer to keep my world domination on the down low. I like to let people think that what they're doing is their own idea. The sweetest victory is the one where the enemy doesn't even know he's been vanquished, right? I can't remember who said that but whoever it was is brilliant and probably not some asshole like Aristotle.

So I can see why someone might think that way about me. I have a pretty perky facade and I pretend to have a sunny personality all the time. That's how you manipulate people into doing your bidding without them even knowing it. But a CHIPMUNK? This calls for serious measures, my friends, and a new year is just the time to get started. In fact, I started today. I always like to get a jump on things, you know me! I sent out a slew of very bossy emails and I know it's working because I got notes back that were chock-full of swearing. Along with complete capitulation. My favorite one called me a 'booted princess'. Then I made rude and inappropriate jokes in the weekly staff meeting, so I think that was a pretty good kickoff. Tomorrow I might thrash some slackers and then set the kitchen on fire. Chipmunk, MY ASS.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Sweet

I had the sweetest day today! I woke up this morning and looked out the back yard at the sheep farm to see an awesome sunrise. Then, the boys and I did our morning chores and headed out to make our rounds. First we visited Grandpa, which is always a popular destination, possibly partly because of the chips and cookies that are always readily available. Then we went to Jennifer's house, which is the picture with the Christmas bears in front of it. I would arrange the pictures in the proper order, but it never works, so you're just going to have to keep up. Sorry! But I have total confidence in you.

It was a gorgeous day and I had a fantastic walk at the park and then laid on the bio-mat. It's chock-full of vibrating crystals and is supposed to juice you up good. I'm not too sure about that, but it is warm and quiet and a good place for a nap.

Then we came home and I cleaned out the tomato vines, rotated the compost, and inspected the brussels sprouts and cabbages. They've already survived a couple of hard freezes, so I'm thinking they might be indestructible. I'm just going to let them grow; they're part of my emergency kit. They're the perfect post-earthquake food: see the slug holes? You can get your meat and vegetables all at the same time. I've looked into cooking slugs before without too much success, but I have not previously considered slug cabbage rolls.

But wait! It gets even better! There is nothing I like better than giving unsolicited advice and I was presented with a golden opportunity this afternoon. One of my charming friends, who shall remain nameless so she won't kill me, mentioned how annoying her husband is being. Not that I would know anything about that, but I do know a most excellent technique for relieving negative feelings. It's called energy tapping, and I've written about it before. I know, it sounds a little weird but I have used it successfully in multiple ways. So, naturally, I cheerfully offered my expertise in this arena, and I'm sure everything is fine now.

Now I am having wine and watching 'The Cat from Outer Space'; it never gets old! Did I mention the wine? Good night!







My Kitchen Was Clean Twenty Minutes Ago

video


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Catwalk



I know, I know: WHERE ARE THE UPDATES?!?!??! Sorry, peeps- I have just been all discombobulated this week. So in lieu of an actual post, I have a picture of cats on leashes and some links.

Jake and Henry have been just itching to get outside but after the death of the original Henry, we have been VERY reluctant to let them out. I'm not sure how well this really worked out, but there were no reported injuries to either the boys or the cats. Aren't all four of them just the cutest? Boys and their cats; I love it!

And for some links- here is a new blog someone just shared with me. You know it has to be good when it's called People I Want to Punch in the Throat. And, another one- do you guys read Thought Catalog? It's home to multiple essays every day about weighty topics such as The Different Types of People You See at the Gym, how there is no such thing as too many cats, and the quiz to determine if you are Springsteen or not Springsteen. Actually, now that I think about it, you don't really need a quiz for that. It's one of those things you just know, like if you're gay or not. And, if you must know, I am DEFINITELY Springsteen. And not gay. I couldn't care less if you are gay, but I have to admit I might discriminate against you a tiny bit if you're one of those deviant not-Springsteen people.

Okay, gotta go, because baby, I was born to run................ Smell ya' later, friends!




Saturday, December 10, 2011

Early

Happy weekend, my friends! I got up super early this morning, probably because I went to bed at 6:30 last night, and I was out early enough to see the total lunar eclipse. It was very cool; I had a fantastic view through the branches of the denuded maple tree in the front yard. I tried to get some pictures but failed miserably; one of these days I'm going to take another photography class. So often I can visualize what a picture should look like but can't make the camera do what I want.

Oooh, that reminds me of a story: A long, long time ago, I was in Electric City, taking some samples from a quarry, I think, and I came across this fence with hard hats all over it. In all different colors. The sky was really blue and if you looked at it a certain way it looked like balloons and I could just see the picture I wanted. This was in the pre-digital camera days, so I was fiddling with the controls on my old 35 mm and snapping shot after shot from different angles, even laying on the ground and shooting up. Before long, a gate opened, and this little tiny and very strange looking man sidled out. Because the gate was open, I could see that the yard was full of all sorts of metal objects and other junk. I don't remember what he said, and he wasn't mean in any way, but he TERRIFIED me, because it was clear that his driveway didn't go all the way to the street, in the words of one of my coworkers who definitely should not be throwing stones if you know what I mean. I stammered out what I was doing, and he grabbed a hard hat off the fence, plopped it on my head, took the camera and took a picture of me. Then he gave the camera back and scurried back inside the yard and shut the gate. I ran out of there so fast your head would spin, and naturally, not a single one of my pictures was worth a damn. Except that last one of me. It actually wasn't bad. And I can STILL see in my head what that blasted hard hat picture should have looked like.

Oh well, what can you do, right? Anyway, back to this morning: there was a pretty thick frost on the ground and my rake was still laying on the ground where I left it the last time I thought about cleaning up the leaves on the ground. While I was standing there, just watching the moon, I thought I would warm up by running the rake for a little while. This was completely unsuccessful because the leaves were frozen onto the ground in a sort of mat-like fashion. It almost might remind one of a orange and yellow quilted lawn-cozy, in fact. I was tempted to see if I could just roll it up but my hands were already freezing. I figure those leaves have been laying there for months; they can lay there a little while longer. Or a lot longer, if I'm being totally honest. And you know good and well I always am.

Now I'm working hard at whomping up some hippie Christmas presents, and man, does my kitchen smell awesome. That doesn't happen very often so it's extra enjoyable, mmmmmmmm. I think I might take a blanket and pillow in there and sleep on the floor. I hope you all have a great weekend!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

School

Hey, everyone! How's it going? I probably wouldn't be writing today, but I have received MULTIPLE reports that my last post was extra dreary and it sure would be super nice to have something different up here instead. So I thought I would put up some pictures and make a report. I am too lazy to check and make sure, but I believe I previously reported that I am at at the National Fire Academy along with my tinfoil/amethyst hat for protection from The Man. Did I mention that there is a guy here that looks exactly like Ferris Bueller? Every time I see him I think, 'Bueller? Bueller?' Oh, I crack myself up. But I feel sorry for him, because I bet if he had a dollar for every time someone said that he would have enough cash for some plastic surgery.

Here are some pictures, just for funsies. The one from the
Fallen Firefighter's Memorial that was supposed to go with the Timmy Stackpole post, along with one of the memorial itself. The flag one is a 9-11 memorial modeled on the flag-raising photo that everyone loves so much. Sorry they were taken in the dark but that's pretty much my only option, since I am EVER SO BUSY learning all day long.

This place is weird, you guys. Do any of you remember college? I kind of do. It's sort of like that, only not quite so much fun. Ratty dorm room? Check? Dining hall food? Check. Alcohol and explosives restrictions? Check. Actually, now that I think about it, it bears a certain resemblance to prison, too. Not that I would know! Definitely not, and anyone who says they were my roommate in prison is definitely lying. I can't believe how many people lie these days. It's very discouraging for truth-telling folks like myself, seriously. Next thing you know they are going to be making me pee in a cup. What? They didn't do that at your university? I suppose you didn't have bars on the windows, either? And why did I have to pick potatoes on the weekends wearing that funny jumpsuit? I am definitely going to stop writing checks to the alumni association, and I think I better have a chat with my dad.

Huh, better go to bed. They are calling lights out. What? That's normal, right? Good night!
































Monday, December 5, 2011

Timmy Stackpole

Usually I don't write about where I go until I get back. It's so The Man doesn't know where I am all the time. In case my tinfoil hat with the amethyst crystal on top isn't strong enough to protect me. Not this time, though. I am throwing caution to the wind. I still have the hat, after all. I am on the site that houses the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial. It's a beautiful memorial- it's got an eternal flame inside a masonry and stone circle with a bronze plaque for each year since it was dedicated. The plaque has the names of all the firefighters killed that year. 9/11 has its own plaque; 343 extra names wouldn't fit on 2001.

Timmy Stackpole's name is on there, near the end. I didn't know him, of course. He was dead when I got there, just like all the rest of them. The firefighters I worked with were plenty pissed off in general, believe me, but they were EXTRA furious about Timmy. See, he had been badly burned a couple of years before and had gone through a long painful rehab process so he could go back to work instead of taking a medical retirement. He had recently come back to work, only to have a giant building crumble on top of him. So, yeah, they were all pretty hot.

My point? I don't really have one, I guess, and you know how much I hate that. I suppose just seeing his name made me think about it. Know what else I don't have? A good ending. Good night, my friends. I'll try to post some more about this place tomorrow.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Orange

Orange you glad I'm posting today? Yuk, yuk. I had quite the exciting day, and I know you are DYING to hear all about it. It had its ups and downs, of course, but I'm just going to hit the ups. Well, that might be a lie. I will probably come back to some of the downs later, because let's face it, those are much more entertaining.

I went suitcase shopping today, at a store that sells unused goods. I had been looking at Goodwill for quite a while and didn't see what I wanted so I had to suck it up. Sometimes you can't have what you want, you know. Annoying beyond words, but true. I have had a luggage deficiency for quite a while, ever since Lloyd marked up my beloved LLBean rolling duffle bags. I snapped up two of those babies at the Osan thrift store. I don't think I posted about them when I found them because I thought y'all would be jealous. They look like this only they are covered in very loud orange flowers. They still work fine, it's just that Lloyd wrote on them in permanent marker for a NEO exercise. For those of you fortunate enough to not know what that means, it stands for non-combatant evacuation operations. While in Korea, all the spouses had to participate in NEO exercises every six months. We were required to pack up all our documents, evacuation gear, gas masks and etc. and present it for inspection and practice actually turning in our house and car keys and becoming refugees. You know, just in case the evil communist dictatorship a mere 60 miles to the north that might or might not possess a nuclear arsenal appeared to be a little more threatening than usual. Naturally, we all got hammered on margaritas first, so that worked out well. Lloyd, being helpful, wrote my name and NEO in big letters on the bags with a giant sharpie, and I have considered them ruined ever since. I might forgive him someday soon.

I recklessly purchased myself two new suitcases, and then went thrifting with my sister. I totally hit the jackpot, too. Among other things, ORANGE PANTS! Now, I love orange. You all know that, right? But I especially love orange pants and I haven't had any for a long time. Interestingly (to me!) my last pair is memorialized on Stories From Korea, from the day I bought them along with the most awesome coat ever, to the day they split right up the middle in the library. My new pants are quite fabulous but it probably wouldn't hurt me to run around the block a few times before I sport them at the office Christmas party. Oh hell, who am I kidding? As long as there is room in the pockets for my wine bag I'm golden.

Also today, for the first time in a long time, I was asked for breastfeeding advice. I'm a little rusty, since Shane gave up the boob earlier this year in exchange for a Nerf gun, but I did my best, and it made me remember with joy and pleasure the Osan BF support group days. While I was looking for my orange pants posts, I found this one with a nursing picture that I love. Wanna hear something funny? I was pretty hesitant to post that picture originally. Now I don't know why, it seems like so long ago, and who cares? It's hard to remember just how small that base is. I miss you all!

Huh, you know what? I have absolutely no desire to go into the downs. I'm off on another trip this week, so it might be a few days-have a great week! I love you guys.






Thursday, December 1, 2011

Phone

Well, I did it. I went right into the phone store and did it. I got a phone so smart that it could probably finish that cold fusion device I've been working on. I was terrified, of course. All that creepy technology staring me down. And it was full of zombies*! But I just told them to get out of my way or I was going to blast them with my death ray and they all just turned back, then shuffled off to look at ipads.

I did tell the greeter man that I wanted the phone with the death ray option, but his name tag said 'Jazz' and if there's one thing you can count on from a man named after music it's that he will not think I'm funny. After that he palmed me off on a lovely young woman named Erin who immediately helped me purchase my phone along with many potentially unnecessary accessories, including a cover with purple and white birds. I don't even like bird designs, though I understand they are very fashionable as items of decor these days. She was very adamant that I needed it, though, and who am I to argue with her? The zombies steered clear of her, so she must know what she's talking about. They're probably scared of birds.

Here's the part that kills me: I went in there, plopped down my credit card, and they let me walk out of there just as if I had any clue about what to do with that thing. It was just like having a baby, when you go into the hospital like a regular person, and come out with this very small, delicate and expensive thing that you have absolutely no idea how to operate. Oh, sure, you've read all the books and have some theoretical knowledge about sleep deprivation and pure desperation. Hell, you might even have some practical knowledge from the time you drank beer for 96 hours straight then lost your shoes, wallet and several other pretty useful items of apparel at Waterbust. Hypothetically speaking, I mean.

BWAHAHHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!! SUCKER, you have no freaking clue what you just got yourself into!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh wait, where was I? Oh yeah, the only difference between the phone store and the baby hospital is that the phone store was free of blood, vomit or spurting geysers of milk. Zombies usually have some gore hanging off them that looks pretty similar to the detritus of childbirth but they were surprisingly clean at that store. Maybe they're unionized?

In any event, once again, I'm pretty sure I have no idea what I've gotten myself into, but at least I can take the phone back, right?

*Yes, Ina, the zombie part is all lies