Thursday, August 30, 2012

More cat weirdness

The boys greet us on the stairs every time we come home; they also block us from leaving.

In the morning, Wally follows me around like a dog while Eddie sleeps and Chloe does whatever inscrutable things she does.

Around 4--4:30 AM, Eddie will wake up and crawl up between me and Kent, crying loudly. I've learned to let him under the covers. It's the fastest way to get him to be quiet. Even for me, that's just too early to get up.

Every morning, I find their favorite green and purple mice somewhere in our bedroom and toss them back out in the living room. Every night while we sleep, one of them brings both mice back in. We find them on our bed, by our bed and in the doorway. Let me tell you, when you step on one in the dark, it can be a little surprising. At least they aren't sharp, like Legos.

Mostly, though, they pose like dead cats. I have probably 15 pictures of them in various dead poses; these were oh so carefully curated for your viewing pleasure.

"Dead" Eddie

"Dead" Chloe

"Dead" Wally

Monday, August 27, 2012

Music City

I wanted to have pictures for you but they will have to wait. Kent’s got to sort through almost 600 photos from our weekend, and then process the ones that make his cut.

We were in Nashville this weekend to see our daughter-in-law perform Saturday night. She was out of town until late Friday night so we hung out with our son. Saturday morning we met them for brunch—she didn’t know we were coming to town—and Kent got a great series of pictures where you can see her trying to figure who’s got a camera on her and why, and then catching sight of me. It’s a great series.

After brunch we hung out for a while and toured the Parthenon. Since Sophie had to scoot to get ready, Jordan, Kent and I found a bar near Vanderbilt and the old Peabody campus. Nashville got hit by a heavy rainstorm then so we just watched the rain pour down from the covered outdoor area of the bar.

Sophie is an amazing performer. She’s a vocal coach by trade and while she’s done a ton of studio work, she generally doesn’t perform. But she realized it would make her a better vocal coach to know first-hand what her performing students face. Regardless of the reason, I’m so glad we got to see her perform.

I’ll post pictures when they’re ready. 

Thursday, August 23, 2012


After all my moaning on Tuesday about calories and pudge, what did we have for dinner last night? Whole Foods pizza. Who suggested it? Why, I did.

I'll just be off in the corner contemplating my sins.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


Kent and I have been feeling a little pudgy lately. Yesterday morning, I woke up wondering how bad the calorie counts are for Smashburger (which we have been enjoying frequently lately), the pizza from Whole Foods (because sometimes it’s nice to just pick up a pizza), and also Unforked (a new local favorite of ours).

I looked up two of them, and really that was enough. No wonder we feel pudgy. We’ve been undoing all our healthy eating at breakfast and lunch with these dinners.

Spicy Baja (Kent’s favorite): 761
Smash fries (also his favorite): 520
Total: 1281

Spicy Baja Black Bean burger (my choice): 670
Fries (also my choice): 460
Total: 1130


Unforked is better. I get two Cali tacos (250 each), and Kent gets two of those plus a Conquistador (247). So my dinner is a more reasonable 500 calories and his clocks in at 747. But then we usually have a small bowl of ice cream . . .

I couldn’t find a reliable count for Whole Foods pizza that they bake but I know it’s not good news. Not with the richness of the crust, all that cheese and of course the pepperoni that's liberally sprinkled all over the top. 

So at least we know. We have a good idea on what’s making the pudge and now we can make better choices. I’m sure I’ll still have a spicy black bean burger from time to time, but I think I’ll ditch the fries. They aren’t all that good anyway. 

Sunday, August 19, 2012


It's been a while since we've visited the feeding ritual of cats, so I thought a sequel might be in order.

Chloe continues to be a most annoying food siren, usually beginning her crying about two hours before the actual feeding time. Keep in mind that she's got access to kibble all day long so she's not starving, although you wouldn't think so to hear her. And she's very persistent; I cut about 10 seconds from the top of this video of her just crying and crying before I got up and followed her into the kitchen.

I especially love the contrast between Chloe and Eddie, and our ultra cool cat, Wally. Just watch him as he saunters into the kitchen--doesn't he define coolness?

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A necessary evil

I don't like naps. I wake up from them very foggy and bleary, which is not at all how I wake up in the mornings. In the mornings, I'm fully functional the moment my feet hit the floor. Kent says I'm a freak because of how alert I am first thing in the morning. Maybe so, but that's my normal state of affairs upon awaking, except for naps.

This week, I have three focus groups running from 10 PM to midnight. The participants are based in Asia so it makes senses that one person (me) should flex rather than the 12 or 15 who attend each one of these groups. But it's painful for me because I am most definitely not a night owl, and I'm not getting nearly enough sleep when I do get to bed (still have my normal day job, after all).

All of that to say I took a very necessary nap yesterday. I slept for a couple of hours and then woke up all bleary and foggy. Man, if that's how the rest of you wake up every day, no wonder you hate mornings. I would too.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Staying out of ruts

Have you seen people who stay in fashion ruts? I'm talking about make up styles from 20 years ago (hello, dark lip liner that doesn't match the lip stick), clothing tied to long ago fads (looking at you, parachute pants, and you, torn t-shirts), or hair (banana curls, anyone?).

Well I don't want to be something I'm not, but I also don't want to be a tragic fashion relic. So from time to time, I head to my local MAC counter for a make up update, I purge my closet and consider which current fads I can wear without looking or feeling ridiculous, and I update my hair style.

The new blue is on the right
Until last year, though, I never included nail polish in the updating category. I don't wear nail polish on my finger nails. The instant it chips, I start picking at it which you'll have to agree isn't an attractive look. But I've always worn polish on my toe nails. Actually, I've always worn a vivid pink polish on my toes. Last year, darker colors were all the rage and I thought I'd give it a try. So I bought a gorgeous shade of dark purple as my test into the realm of other colors.

I didn't actually like that color on my toes. It was probably too dark because you could hardly tell it was purple. It looked more black and that is a look I really don't care for at all. But this year, blues and greens are all the hot nail colors. So once again I bought a new color and gave it a try.

At first I hated it. I thought it looked really unnatural. But I also realized that pink isn't any more natural than blue or any other color. I've worn it now for a couple of weeks and I think I like it.

If you are the nail polish wearing sort, what colors do you wear?

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Our house

Thanks to Harriet’s blog post today, I’ve been taking a trip of my own down memory lane. I’d never thought in terms of floor plans the way she writes in her post. I think of the rooms and the floor plans as tied to specific memories. So in no particular order, here are a few:

My earliest memory is from before I was three. It’s more like a series of snapshot only there’s no picture of this in any photo album. My parents had not yet divorced, and I’m pretty sure we lived in Nashville. I still took naps in a crib but was entirely mobile. I don’t know if they knew I could climb out of my crib, but I could. My brother and I shared a room, and on this day he was asleep in his crib. I think my parents were napping too, or at least they were in their room with the door closed. I got out of the crib and headed toward their room. I looked under their door, and could see the sun reflecting off the wood floors. Then I saw what looked like slippered feet walking toward me. I knew it was a Very Bad Thing to be caught out of my crib so I scampered as fast as I could back to our room and climbed back in my crib and that’s all I remember.

My next home was an upstairs/downstairs duplex, also in Nashville. My parents were divorced by then and I was probably around four. I don’t have any pictures from that house, but we had a swing set out back and I fell off the teeter totter a couple of time and man, that hurt my head. I hated the wallpaper in my room, some sort of yucky elaborate floral thing but I liked the nice lady who lived upstairs. One of my favorite toys was my Raggedy Ann doll and I liked to twirl around and around while holding on to one of her arms. Well, the stitching between her arm and body gave way during one particularly vigorous twirling session, and she flew out the open window (we had no screens). I was horrified and ran out to find the rest of her. Fortunately I found her under a bush and no worse for the wear.

Then we lived in another sort of duplex that had the weirdest floor plan. We had half of the downstairs and all of the upstairs, which had a dormer roof. Looking back with my adult eyes, I think maybe the upstairs bath was added after the fact and actually the whole place may have been a single family dwelling originally. But it was very near Peabody, where my mother went to college, and I’m sure even then housing was in short supply, so it got divided up.

I learned how to roller skate on the concrete porch you see behind me in this picture, which I’m sure was really loud and annoying to our neighbor. I also made a lot of mud pies. Once I stuck the hose, which was still running, into a convenient chink in the bricks. It was the perfect spot to hold the hose while I was busy with the pies, until my mother came roaring out of the house because the water had come straight into the living room.

The bathtub in the downstairs bath was enormous. If you were a child, it was as good as a swimming pool. The upstairs bath was more normal sized, although scarier to my brother (he found a mouse swimming frantically in the toilet up there once). I wanted to love sleeping in the little alcove that was on the second floor. It had an exterior door but no stairs to the ground. Even so, I was always so terrified a burglar would get in and hurt me.

From L to R: me, my step-sister Cindy, 
my brother Doug & I think the stuffed
animal is mine. 
The house in Bryn Mawr is where I spent a lot of summers after my bio father remarried. That was actually a really cool house, although stuffed to the gills between them, her four children and the two of us. It was a Cape Cod and although the house you can see in the background of this picture isn’t that house, all the houses were the same in our neighborhood so you see what it looked like.

The house had two bedrooms on the first floor, along with a living room, formal (tiny) dining room, bathroom and eat in kitchen. The second floor had two more bedrooms, one was gigantic and they divided it in two, and a second bathroom. When they bought the place, the basement was unfinished. Within a couple of years, they’d made a family room, an office, a bedroom, laundry room and workshop down there. I was bummed by the changes that summer because we used to roller skate in that basement—you could get some good velocity going and then grab a metal pole to whip around and go even faster.

(Edited to add, I just really looked at the picture from Bryn Mawr and I totally missed that my wonderful stuffed animal, the Siamese cat, is in this picture. Do you see it? It's between the dog and whatever is on the left. I LOVED that cat.)

Plus the stairs from the second floor to the first floor had a sort of cut away with four decorative wooden poles—think mid-century wood poles and you’ll get the idea. All six of us would thunder down those stairs and grab a pole to whip around and land in the living room. You’d have to see it to really picture it, but it was a lot of fun.

The stairs were also my nemesis. They were wood and very, very slippery. I cannot count how many times I tumbled down those stairs. Sometimes it would be head over heels, other times I’d end up bumping down on my butt and making my jaw clack together and usually biting my tongue or lips, and sometimes I wasn’t quite sure how I landed at the bottom but I learned to be cautious on those damn stairs.

So thanks for taking this trip with me. If you haven't read Harriet's post today, you really should. You may end up on a trip of your own. 

Friday, August 10, 2012

A creature of habit

Last Saturday morning, during my regular weekly phone call to my mother, she said she’d finally realized what a creature of habit I am. And she’s right. Once I get a routine going that works well for me, I rarely deviate from it. Case in point is when I call my mother: every Saturday morning at 8 AM mountain time, unless one of us is out of town. She tells me she’s not sure she exists any other time J

I do the same thing with working out, household chores and even things like when I take my prescriptions (always in the morning with my first mug of hot water, before I drink my two cups of coffee). If I get off track, then I forget to do whatever it was because it didn’t happen during the allotted time. Or maybe it’s that those things don’t exist either!

I have a new doctor in Kansas now, and I think I picked a good one. I prefer my doctors to be direct without being bossy and to work with me instead of dictating from on high what I should do to take care of myself. So far, that’s exactly how he’s been. I’d run out of my asthma drugs and was (not so secretly) hoping it had gone away. Well it didn’t just go away and in fact my peak flow readings were sliding down again. When we talked through this at my appointment, my doctor looked at me and said, “You’ve got asthma, let’s get you back on your meds. Or would you rather wait until you’re at 50% again?” Well, no. No I would not, so I’m back on them again. Which is why my habits are top of mind again. I have to remember to take the drugs, because let’s face it, they don’t work just sitting there on my desk.

Also at least two of the cats have died again. It’s gorgeous in Kansas today and I have the windows open. I think the cats are enjoying the breeze as much as I am. Or maybe the fresh air killed them? All I know is they'll be miraculously revived when the canned food gets opened.

No cats were harmed in the taking of this photo.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Cat siren

I generally get up before Kent does, usually by about 30 minutes or so. Sometimes though, Eddie decides Kent should get up now and he'll stand on the bed and holler at Kent. Really there's no other way to describe what Eddie does. He hollers.

What's really funny is that once Kent does get up (because no one can sleep through that noise), Eddie hops up on Kent's lap, drapes himself across Kent's legs and falls deeply asleep. don't know why he can't just snooze where he started, on the bed with Kent, but apparently that's not possible.

This video isn't a morning wake up call but it does let you hear how loud Eddie gets. Now pretend you're asleep and you hear this. I don't think you'd be able to sleep either.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Drape cat

Wally has a thing about draping or as we like to call it, being a bi-level cat. Why lie flat when you can have your body occupy two spaces at once, or even better, just drape down like melted butter.

He did it when he was a kitten:

He loves to bi-level on chairs:

Or on the arm of a couch under a (heat) lamp:

Or as was the case on Sunday, oozing off my lap:

 (Yes, he was completely asleep.)

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Ben won't like this

But I think there's a resemblance between Jordan and Colin. Kent says I'm crazy and that all babies look the same until they're a few months old*. I say he's nuts because my brother and I sure never looked alike, not even from day one and neither did Jordan and Ben.

Anyway, I offer a picture of Jordan:

Five weeks

And a picture of Colin:

Seven weeks

I'm sure some of the resemblance I see between them is because of the pose. But I think Colin may end up with the great big eyes his uncle has, and at least based on Alison and Eliot, he'll be a cutie pie no matter who he looks like. 

*Bonus story. 

Apparently my grandfather also believed that all babies look alike and never missed an opportunity to tell  my mother that when she was pregnant with me. When he came to visit after I was born, she answered the door with me in her arms, realized it was her father, closed the door on him and put me in my crib. When she came back to the door let him in, he wanted to know why she'd done that. Well, she said, all babies look alike and you've seen babies already. No point in showing her to you. 

I think he changed his tune after that. 

Saturday, August 4, 2012

I found it!

Here's my fantastic 13th birthday cake. My mother also made the smock dealie I'm wearing and don't laugh, that was all the stylin' rage back in the day. And don't you just love our shaggy haircuts? I guess that was popular too.

Isn't that the coolest cake?

Friday, August 3, 2012

They say it's your birthday

In reading Jen’s account of Alison’s birthday party, she said that both she and Ben remembered their fifth birthdays, which is why they had a party for Alison this year. That got me thinking back to the earliest birthday I remember, and for me it’s a really good memory.

I think it was the year I turned four, although it could have been my fifth birthday. My mother was divorced and we didn’t live near any extended family. She was on her own with two small children (my brother is 11 months younger than I am), so celebrations tended to be smaller.

Anyway, that year we went to some small dark pizza restaurant for my birthday. I remember being pretty excited by eating out and getting to have pizza. Plus I got a cowgirl outfit for my birthday. I still remember how happy I felt over that gift. And then I heard the happy birthday song playing over the restaurant’s speakers. I remember asking my mom if that was for me and when she said yes, I just glowed with pride. All in all, that was a great birthday.

In later years, we moved to having the birthday child pick out dinner at home (I picked spare ribs for years and now can hardly stand looking at them; my brother always picked tacos and Orange Crush). And I remember my 13th birthday when my mother made me a really cool teen queen cake, complete with a 3-D crown. But still, that fourth birthday stands out in my memory.

What about you? Do you have favorite memories of childhood birthdays?

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

I want a new drug

True confession time. I am completely addicted to Kettle Brand jalapeno potato chips. I love them, I have no self-control or restraint and well sometimes it just gets kind of ugly.

I’ve tried just not having them in the house but then I go buy them in the so-called single serving bags which indicate they are actually two servings, only of course I eat the whole bag. So it’s truly better for me if I buy the big bag and divvy them up in the mornings for my lunch. Although—again, true confession time—if you ask Kent, he will tell you I complain about the serving sizes he gives me. That’s the addiction talking.

My mother loves Thin Mints, although I don’t know about her self-control with them. My brother used to love ice cream, enough that he broke the lock our folks installed on the deep freeze to keep him out. But that was many years ago when he was a feisty and impulsive teen. And Kent can do real damage on a batch of salsa—just give him some chips and away he goes.

I’m sure you have a similar confession. Right?

Also here's a bonus hilarious cat video. My friend posted it on her blog and I laughed out loud watching it. I think you will too.