Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A surprise ending

This video was supposed to be about Chloe and her cute little snores. If you listen carefully, after I move closer to her you can hear her snores. The ending was entirely unexpected.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Whap, whap!

A month or so ago, I put Chloe on the top of the cat perch. She had been curious about it but had never actually worked up the nerve to get up there on her own. Now she loves it and spends a lot of time snoozing there.

This morning Wally wanted the perch but Chloe was already up there. For about 30 minutes, she successfully defended her perch by smacking and generally intimidating Wally. That's pretty unusual for Chloe, and I'm glad Kent was able to get this picture of her getting all fierce with Wally.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Wally and the bed

Wally won't get under the covers with us at night, that's strictly Eddie's deal. That's not to say he won't ever get under the covers, he just prefers to do it when no one is in the bed.

Thursday, September 24, 2009


I've had seven major abdominal surgeries and after the sixth one I really got serious about getting and staying fit. The seventh surgery was to repair incisional hernias I had from all the other surgeries, and I have a synthetic mesh in my abdomen as part of that repair. Two years ago, I tore scar tissue away from the mesh while doing some intense yoga--as my surgeon said, in a battle between scar tissue and mesh, the mesh wins every time. It's never fully healed so I pay attention and modify a couple of abdominal exercises so I don't strain that spot too much. But I only need to modify a couple, generally ones that involve using both legs straight and raising and lowering them--that movement just puts too much stress on the scar tissue and I get immediate pain when I do it. But I can do pretty much all of my workouts without modification. As I said yesterday, I'm pretty fit now or so I thought.

I did the Core Cross Train DVD this morning and I'm going to feel it all day. Heck I feel it now. I had to modify quite a bit and not because of my mesh/scar tissue problem but because these exercises are hard. Whew. I can already feel my legs and it's not even 9:30 AM. Tomorrow's run should be . . . interesting.

I'll be doing this workout more, I intend to conquer it.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The value of online reviews

I love customer reviews on Amazon, and I learn just as much from negative reviews as I do from the positive reviews. I use workout DVDs at home, so I rely on those customer reviews when I get new workout DVDs.

A couple of weeks ago, I realized I wanted to use my stability ball more. I have an abdominal workout DVD and one of the ab sessions is done on the ball. It’s pretty tough so I thought I’d get a lot out of other stability ball workouts. I scouted around on Amazon and found one called 10 Minute Solution: Pilates on the Ball. The reviews were mostly positive, so I turned to the negative ones to see what customers didn't like. Turns out this workout is not for beginners and you really ought to be pretty familiar with Pilates because the instructor doesn’t explain the poses, she assumes you already know them. While nice to know, those comments weren’t negatives for me. I’m pretty fit, I’ve done Pilates for almost three years and I definitely wanted a challenge. So I ordered that one and also Balance Ball: Core Cross Train.

I did the 10 Minute Solution one yesterday and wow, what a fantastic workout. Today was a run day and I sure felt my legs more than I usually do! I’ll try the Core Cross Train DVD tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The pink mouse

I really do not like the pink mouse. You might remember it's one of several toys the kitties have and is one of their favorite toys, probably because it's covered with fur. For a while, the kitties would bat that toy (and others, lets be fair) under the armoire. I solved that problem by having Kent use Velco to fasten a strip of wood between the legs that effectively blocked the opening. He painted it black so it really doesn't show.

My desk also sits quite low to the ground--since it's one of those console desks that you can hide behind doors, the desk isn't like a normal desk. So you see where this is going, right? Yes now that the armoire is blocked, the cats have turned to my desk. And the picture you see on the left happens probably a dozen times a day. Then the boys will circle my desk, roll around trying to get the mouse, cry like crazy, bat at my feet and then pull out my ruler, which is what I use to get the mouse out from under the desk.

This video only shows Wally and he's actually not being too bratty. But multiple this by 12 and ramp up the rolling, batting and meowing and you can see why I don't like that mouse.

Monday, September 21, 2009

The joys of allergies

Thankfully I don't have horrible ones like Kent--I've seen his eyes swollen almost entirely shut as he wept copiously and that's never happened to me. But around about September, I start getting the headaches, itchy eyes and full sinuses. What makes this situation a little unusual is that this season is also the start of my noisy head. After I blow my nose, my sinuses make whistly-squeaky-squealy noises you don't normally hear coming from someone's head.

At first I thought these sounds were audible only to me. Then Kent started telling me he heard them. Great. THEN I realized that the cats heard them too.

And that's what happened this morning. Wally was snoozing away on the perch, I blew my nose and the whistly sounds woke him up. In fact he glared at me. I guess he didn't appreciate being awakened that way.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Happy birthday, Mom!

I love this picture of my mother, taken by Kent this summer in Colorado. The colors are so vivid and she looks so relaxed and happy sitting on the hay. So here's hoping today echoes some of that for you, Mom.

Monday, September 14, 2009

At it again

A bored kitty is a destructive kitty.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

It's supposed to be a scratch pad

But instead he's drooled all over it and now he's eating it.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Another bag

I made this bag for my friend, Fiona, as a thank you for her hospitality over the last year. The Bible study I've been going to on Wednesday nights has met at her house all this time--we would eat dinner and then dig into the Bible. In addition to being just an all-around cool woman, Fiona also tries very hard to live with less waste and she has a real hatred for plastic shopping bags. So I made this bag for her. I included my hand in the picture so you can see exactly how big the bag is, because honestly it is huge.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Happy birthday, Rayna (oops a day early)

When Rayna was here with her family, I learned how much she likes pink.

We met up with Greg, Amy, Rayna and Shuler after they'd gotten settled in their hotel and were having a snack. I was wearing a lot of pink, and so was Rayna. But as she pointed out, her pink clothes were light pink and mine were dark pink. I whispered to her that I was wearing pink panties too, and she immediately wanted to know if they were light pink or dark pink (she always said both words--light pink and dark pink). As it happened, they were dark pink and so right away she wanted to see them. I told her I'd show her later but later wasn't soon enough. As we walked outside, she kept squatting down to look up my skirt and see for herself!

This is exactly the kind of stories aunts like to have about their nieces--it's funny, cute and in about 10 years it will embarrass her to death. Perfect! In the meantime, though, happy 3rd birthday Rayna, I hope it's filled with pink.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Bad kitty

Kent and I were abruptly awakened last night by the sound of glass shattering, and we knew immediately it was a lot of glass. We keep a dehumidifier in our smelly closet which has really helped control the moisture and smell in that closet. But it's an irresistible place for Wally to contemplate jumping onto higher shelves in that closet.

That's exactly what he did last night, only he jumped onto an unstable perch--the box he landed on stuck out from the shelf by close to half its length. And on the box were nine glass votives, a wall clock with a glass cover and a round glass tea light holder that was about six or seven inches in diameter. Our closet floor is tiled, so nothing that fell survived except the cat.

Here's what's left of all those items.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Busy week

This week I:

Applied for a job with the civil service. Their application process is both lengthy and tiring. Coming from an industrial/organizational psychology background, I can say they do a great job isolating the skills, knowledge and abilities needed for the open positions. But the process was still tiring to me as the applicant.

Conquered invisible zippers. This is a big deal to me since I've always been frustrated by zippers and would rather make 15 buttonholes than put in one zipper. The picture shows the invisible zipper in my new skirt (it's on the ironing board). What's more, I made it with my quilting foot on my Bernina because I don't have the correct foot. I'm on the hunt for one now and then zippers will be mine forever.

Along with the zipper, I made a jacket and skirt. Well the jacket is 99% done. I need to sew on a button. I do love Vogue patterns, the attention to detail is remarkable.

Watched Kent turn into a Craig's List seller extraordinaire. In the last week or so, he's sold two rugs, a book case, our red chair and the matching ottoman. He's getting ready to list another book case on there too. We've sold these items as we've found mostly very inexpensive replacements that work better in our space.

Watched and helped Kent install new lights in our kitchen. Previous owners had installed a few can lights throughout the space but they are odd--the bulbs are set deep in the can so the light doesn't really make it out into the space the way you'd think it would. We had two cans in our kitchen, two in each of the halls and two in our living room. So in addition to being inferior can lights, there aren't very many of them. We tackled the kitchen first and found two halogen fixtures for $10 each. We are going to need to put in a dimmer switch now! I think in the winter I'll be really glad to have halogen, although they are a bit warm. We may try lower wattage halogen bulbs too.

Replaced our tall darker book case with new shorter book cases from Ikea.
Here's what it looked like before:

And here's the after picture:

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Our adventures

Kent pointed out to me that I'd omitted the (embarrassing) details about how we got utterly lost driving from Ikea in Stoughton, MA to Fabric Corner in Arlington, MA on Saturday.

We started at Point A and needed to get to Point B:

View Larger Map

Google maps promised us a 42 minute trip. Since Tropical Storm Danny was moving through the area, we figured an hour drive might be more realistic. What we didn't realize was that Google called a Y intersection a traffic round-about. Those are two very different intersections and that's where things went horribly, horribly wrong. Add to that the maddening habit Cambridge, Winchester and Arlington have of only labeling the cross streets, but never the street you are actually on and you have a nice two hour drive that postponed our lunch until 3 PM as we drove through Arlington, Winchester, Arlington, Winchester, Arlington, Cambridge and finally Arlington while the rains came pouring down.

I think it speaks well of our marriage that we really didn't get cranky with each other, just sort of near each other. And once we were fed, even that disappeared--faster than the tropical storm did anyway.