Tuesday, April 18, 2017

We might be those people

We got this to solve the problem of litter dust going everywhere, not to mention to help hide the visuals of two open litter boxes.It's a kid's tent from IKEA. Yeah, we are crazy cat people.


Sunday, April 9, 2017

Imitation as a form of flattery

A couple of months ago, a friend—D—made what I call catnip blankets for our kitties. They are double-sided rectangles of fabric with Velcro openings on the two opposite long sides, with a square sewn in the middle sort of like this:


You put loose catnip into each opening, shake vigorously and toss the blankets on the ground. If you have nipheads (which I do), they will go a little bonkers loving on the blankets and generally acting even more silly than usual.








My three kitties love those things. I’ll come home from work and find the blankets moved, or rumpled up or I’ll see a cat, just sitting on the blanket chilling out.

I have another friend (L) whose divorce was just final. She’s gotten a couple of kittens as part of her post-divorce life and as a way for her and her younger daughter to have another shared interest. She’s new to having cats and is utterly charmed by these kittens. Her older daughter (who is in college) also has a kitty.

So I copied what my friend D did, and made blankets for those three kitties. Now I will confess, my friend D is far more detail-oriented than I am and also I was in a hurry. I made mine with three channels rather than a square, and put the two Velcro openings on the same end. They sort of look like this:




Here's what they look like in fabric:


Her kitties aren’t quite the same nipheads mine are, but that’s OK. Really, I made these for her. 

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Like second-hand smoke

I’ve been trying to figure out why I’m so emotionally depleted. Yes, Kent and I are working through some circumstances that are difficult, and yes, my son has been deployed, and yes there are other things going on that I haven’t mentioned like a friend’s divorce, and so on. But those don’t fully account for the utterly squeezed-flat-wrung-out-beyond-dry place I’m in.

Then I realized that since becoming the manager of a large team at work, my team has gone through a lot of personal losses of their own. In not quite two years’ time:
  • One person has lost a father and uncle to disease, a best friend to murder, has another close relative in hospice and the remaining parent faces major surgery next week.
  • Three others lost a parent; two were sudden deaths and the other one had a long, lingering illness.
  • Another lost a parent and a sister-in-law, all within the last three months.
  • Another lost a sibling right before Christmas.
  • Another faced major health issues and had complicated surgery and a lengthy recovery.
  • Another had emergency surgery.
  • Another had to handle major health issues with two different in-laws.
  • And we’ve had the good stress too—a marriage, a baby, another baby on the way.
These losses (and the happy events too) aren’t mine. But they affect me because these people are on my team. I’m getting way too experienced at expressing sympathy and condolences and either ordering flowers on the company’s behalf or arranging a charitable donation in someone’s memory.

When I finally put all this together last night, I sort of sat there stunned. It’s been a lot of mostly bad news and events. No wonder I am so flat. I guess it’s more like second hand smoke than I’d ever realized.

Speaking of smoke, if you have never listened to k.d. lang’s album Drag, you are missing out. Most of the songs tie back to smoking in some way. Here’s my favorite from that album.


Sunday, March 19, 2017

A lot of fun

I work for a company that's active in the community—the founders have especially done a lot in the arts (the Bloch wing at the Nelson Atkins, for example). Pretty frequently, I’ll get an email from our CEO’s executive assistant offering a chance to win tickets to various events. Until Kent was laid off last summer, I didn’t enter anything, partly because I thought others might enjoy the events more and also because we could afford our own entertainment.

But since July, I’ve entered some of the drawings. The events always need to be something I’m actually interested in, and they need to be on a weekend night (or during a weekend day). It’s hard enough for me to get up after a late night on a weekend, forget about it during the week.

Here’s what we’ve been able to do:

  • In September, I won tickets to the Roman Empire exhibit at the Nelson
  • In October, I won tickets to Toni Braxton's concert (fantastic show, her voice remains amazing)
  • In November, I won tickets to the NCAA Hall of Fame Induction ceremony
  • And then in the most amazing stroke of luck, I won tickets to the Big 12 quarterfinals last week and we got to see KU play (and sadly lose)!
  • Finally, I won tickets for the Sporting KC soccer game last night. 

I feel really fortunate that my company supports the arts and sporting events, and even more fortunate that we’ve been able to go to some fun events.

Edited to add that I've actually entered and not won more than I've entered and won. Just in case you thought I had some sort of crazy insane good luck. 

Sporting KC game last night

KU game last week

Toni Braxton concert

Friday, March 17, 2017

An anniversary of sorts

Eighteen years ago, I was in Atlanta for a business trip. Kent and I worked for the same large company then, and had met in another meeting for the same gigantic project a couple of months earlier. I knew him only slightly, and we had not (by anyone’s standards) been on a date nor did I really know he was interested in me. All of those details matter for this story.

Anyway—there were about 80 of us on that trip and the days were incredibly long, with contentious meetings scheduled for about 10 hours a day. As it happened. St. Patrick’s Day fell on a Wednesday and by then, a group of us were desperate for a bit of a break, so we all went out for dinner and then looked for someplace to go dancing.

By the time we found a place, it was pretty late. But the music was good, the beer wasn’t horribly expensive and we needed a way to blow off some steam.

On the dance floor, I noticed a man doing a very athletic version of the Electric Slide. He had clearly had a lot of dance training, and was really quite good. I’ve always like to dance, and I was intrigued. I started trying to add in the steps he was doing, and pretty soon he and I were dancing away as he taught me his version. But this version was truly very athletic: think squats and then leaps. You can imagine how tiring it was! I finally had to stop and I thanked him for working with me and told him I was going to go get a beer.

And here’s where it gets kind of sweet. The dancer said OK, and then he pointed at Kent. “I’ll go teach your husband how to do this dance.” If I remember correctly, I sort of sputtered something about not being married and then got a beer.

I told Kent, of course, and over the three years when I wouldn’t date him we would sometimes get together on our “anniversary” and have a laugh. OK I had a laugh. I don’t know what that man in the bar saw, but he clearly saw something in the way Kent watched me. And here we are, married for nearly 14 years.

Here's a video of that dance (obviously not me hahaha!):


Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Another birthday

This time, it's my younger son. I don't have a lot of baby pictures of him, partly because he was the second and fell victim of the behavior of most parents with baby number two: far fewer pictures. But I will also say we had an entire roll of pictures from his first week that were completely lost by the photo developing place.

Here are two from the same day shortly before his first birthday.



Sunday, March 12, 2017

Been dabbling

In paint. I’ve read some blog posts that describe painting fabric (often silk) for clothing, not d├ęcor, and I’ve been interested in trying that myself. But I sure didn’t want to spend the cash on silk only to have my efforts look like total amateur hour. So I got some cheap cotton cloth at IKEA, bought some paints with a bit of metallic in them that were billed as being suitable for fabric painting, and gathered up some other paints I had on hand for painting cards (you know, like Christmas cards). I had a set of cheap brushes and figured for this attempt, they would have to do.

I will say that if I go any further with painting on fabric, I’ll need better brushes. These were horrible—the bristles wanted to splay out and shed, which created texture I didn’t want. The paints for cards were OK, nothing you’d want to use on clothing fabric, but for this experiment they were adequate.


I penciled in a grid on the fabric, and then over the course of several weekends (and until today, only when it was sunny outside in hopes of better light), started painting random squares, rectangles and lines. I was going for a randomized stained-glass effect, so if you are trying to identify a pattern, you can stop. There isn’t one!

Today, I outlined each grid with black, and this is where better brushes would have helped. As it is, I console myself with thinking that it looks like the hand soldering you’d see in stained glass made by someone who is not an expert.