Thursday, May 31, 2007

Love is...

...scratching your kitty under his chin so he purrrrrs like a chainsaw, then shoving an abnormally large antibiotic down his throat, holding his mouth shut so he doesn't spit it out.

...forcing your asthmatic cat to take his inhaler, even though he cries and squirms, because you know if he doesn't get several hits a day he's likely to be standing in a corner, wheezing, with two feet of drool hanging from his mouth, unresponsive.

...taking a urine sample from a feline (yup - figure that one out).

...spending more on your vet bills than you do on most other single utility, insurance, or car payments.

...having your cat leave his comfy spot - just to follow you - because he wants to be where you are.

...your kitty tucking himself into bed with you as the breeze lazily crawls through the windows and the sunset finally dims. boys. Crazy, needy, loopy, frustrating, my everything...they're my boys.

Monday, May 28, 2007

A Darn Near Perfect Weekend

Eric came in Thursday night. Unfortunately I couldn't take any time off, but Joe could. So on Friday, Joe and Eric did some major shopping for the weekend's festivities (bravo, boys!). When I got home on Friday evening, after a very long week, I was faced with this...

...and this...
These were actually taken on Saturday (I think), but you get the gist. We didn't do much but porch-sit all weekend. And on Saturday, while the boys were out at the Stormville Flea Market, I had this view...

...and this view (thanks to Joe)...

...while I was doing this...

Later on that night, our buddy Russ came over, but not before the two Awesome Engineers rigged up the dart board. We had a test-run of the grills (with sausages!) and played lots of darts.

Joe got up at 5am the next morning to put the rubbed pork into a low-heat oven. By about 9am, you can guess what my whole house smelled like...

Eric and Joe, or Chicken Master and Pork Master...

It was mentioned several times this weekend - for this reason alone I couldn't become a full-fledged vegetarian. I loves me some barbecue...

Chickens gettin' toasty and smokey and yummmmmmy...

If you can believe it, these are the leftovers. We could feed another 10 people. Wanna come over and have some good ol' smoked meat? :)

Good thing it freezes well.

What a lovely, wonderful weekend with our dear friend. We had other folks over for the 'Cue fest, but time spent with Eric was much overdue. We didn't do much outside of sitting on the porch, eating, and playing darts, but it was a darn-near perfect weekend. Hope you all had a little perfection this weekend as well.

Thursday, May 24, 2007


Hancock's father sues over pitcher's death

He's suing the owner and manager of the restaurant that "over-served" him...blah, blah, blah...

Other defendants include Eddie's Towing, the company whose flatbed tow truck was struck by Hancock's sport utility vehicle in the early hours of April 29; tow truck driver Jacob Edward Hargrove; and Justin Tolar, the driver whose stalled car on Interstate 64 was being assisted by Hargrove.

Wha-wha-whaaaat? So if my car stalls then I could get sued? So the folks helping me out are at fault?

Ever since that freakin' hot-coffee-oops we've been making LEGAL decisions based on NON-LEGAL issues. IT'S NOT AGAINST THE LAW TO HAVE YOUR CAR STALL. But you can milk it for all it's worth. That's the Great American Way. Accident? No way. It was negligence. You ran your car down and made it stall. You made the swing set too high. You made the coffee too hot.

Gimme a freakin' break. Tragedy happens. Accidents happen. It sucks. Nothing is 100% safe. But that's what they call LIFE. Sometimes you lose a turn, and sometimes you don't collect the $200. Jeeezus Gobdancing Christ, people...

Rant over.

Summer Knitting...Had Me a Blast...

Totally taken from Jacquie's blog: I might as well put my hat in the ring in the Skeins Her Way pre-summer knitting contest. If you go, say Cigarsontheporch sent you!

My summer knitting PLANS (key word here) - mainly to finish some WIPs:
1. Mom's toe-up socks in Sockotta (kinda look like Froot Loops, but it's okay - she wanted light and colorful) - only halfway up one foot so far.
2. Finish the surprise Hedgie for a good friend (good friends always deserve hedgies) - just needs felting and stuffing.
3. Complete the French Market Bag (I'm almost to the handles).
4. Start/Finish funky surprise for my Mom (can't spoil it, you know)
5. Start/Finish Branching Out Scarf - in this lovely Thistle Down yarn I got at Rhinebeck last year.
6. Finish the KNITTING portion of My First Sweater. It very well might suck, but I need to get it behind me. So far, I'm about 1/3 up the front.

I'm SUCH a list-maker in many aspects of my life, but I've never written down my current knitting goals. Usually they're just up in my craft/workout/bastard room in different project bags until I get a bug under my butt. Now I have goals. Woohoo!

I also have high hopes. I'm a VERY slow knitter - don't have many opportunities during the week. Also, it's getting kinda warm up here - central A/C doesn't exist in a 130-year-old home. But - as gawd as my witness - I will do my best to complete the tasks before me. Pointy sticks at the ready.....Rrraaaahhhh!!!


Eric's coming!

Okay. You Got Me.

Dear Writers/Creators/Puppetmasters of Lost:

You certainly made your point. You made sure by having a two-hour season finale that I would not be able to watch the final episode during my normal morning routine via DVR - that is, unless I wanted to wake up an hour earlier. You sucked me in last night and had me glued to my television until 11pm - later than I normally stay up on a week night. I even stopped knitting during the final half hour. You instigated a very animated conversation between my husband and me immediately after said finale - resulting in some wide-eyed staring at the ceiling into the wee hours of the morning. You've guaranteed that over the next few days I will be checking message boards and fan sites so frequently that I'm sure to suffer some consequences at my place of employment.

But the one scene - with an unlikely hero on the beach - that has to be one of the most joyous, satisfying, kickass pieces of television I've ever witnessed. You've made me enjoy television again - far beyond a simple story line. Thank you.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

And Thus Ends My Vacation...

3am, wide awake. I go downstairs to read. Check email briefly, and THUNK - a noise from the pantry.

I peer around the corner, just as Dobby peers from the other direction. There's Otis, with Mousie #04-2007 in his mouth.

Okay, I think, I'll just let them beat it to death, and then I'll throw it out. Normally I'm not such a sadist, but catching a mouse while in my nightgown (and bare feet!) is just not an option. So I curl up on the couch (feet off the ground) in the living room and figure I'll give them a little time to put the poor thing out of its misery.

Not even one page into the chapter, I hear Dobby growling. Now HE'S got Mousie. And he's bringing him into the living room. I get up, shuffle Dobbs back into the kitchen, and pull off some paper towels. Dobby! Drop that!

Dobby drops the mouse - looks pretty dead to me - and I cover it with the paper towels, AND THEN IT STARTS TO RUN AWAY. Scream #1 from Beth. I should note that, later, Joe said he heard that scream but figured I just fell or something, so he went back to sleep. Thanks, Joe. Thanks a lot. >:P

The cats start to play "catch and release" in the kitchen, then move into the living room. Here I am, perched on the stairs like a total girly-girl, waiting for my cats to kill a mouse smaller than the end of my thumb. Scream #2 came when the mouse started running for the stairs.

I couldn't take it anymore - went up to bed, didn't care if I woke Joe, turned on the light, and read for a couple of hours. And this morning, poor Mister Mousie did indeed pass on. Fortunately, he was in tact. My boys like to play, but they don't like to eat. Ick.

That's how I started this final day of being able to sleep in - wide awake and shrieking at small rodents at 3am. Damn near perfect week, if you count the cat poop and water meter...

Friday, May 18, 2007

Poor Milo...

Had to take Milo back to the vet for some x-rays - his blood tests showed some low red blood cells (which coincides with his ears, nose, and mouth not being as pink as usual). Poor guy has about three dozen itty bitty bladder stones. The fact that they're also known as Uroliths just pains me. I picture him with some kind of Henge (better than any! other! henge! that has gone before) hanging out in his bladder. Since this might not be the ONLY thing wrong with him, but it's a pretty MAJOR thing wrong, we need to work on this for a while with a special diet.

Those of you with multiple cats know that special diet = segregate the cat, or feed all the cats the same thing. Living in a house that has very few doors leaves us with the laundry room as the only option. So poor Milo gets locked up in the laundry room - not only does he have to eat a certain food, but I have to monitor his pee and poop.

You're REALLY envying my week off now, aren't you?

Wednesday, May 16, 2007


So if I find out via Snarkland that Jacquie tagged me...does that count...?

Oh, okay...sigh...

Each person tagged gives 7 random facts about themselves. Those tagged need to write in their blogs 7 facts, as well as the rules of the game. You need to tag seven others and list their names on your blog. You have to leave those you plan on tagging a note in their comments so they know that they have been tagged and need to read your blog. ***I don't think 7 people READ this blog, much less haven't been tagged already...I'll go for JOE and ERIC and AMY/CRAIG...

1) I learned to play the piano at 4. I took lessons until my early 20s. I played at my high school graduation ceremony. I still cannot stand to play in public. More than my cats = public.

2) I am a...sigh...well, I'm a member of...ohmigosh....I tested positive for...sweetzombiejeezus...I'm a Mensan. (hangs head in shame)

3) I was more mature at age 18 than I am now (at age 35)

4) I can't wait to get more piercings and tattoos (see #3)

5) I can throw and catch, I can dig a major spike, I can serve and volley and whip yer ass, but I don't mind playing the girly card when it comes to poison ivy or spiders.

6) In my own twisted mind, I'm a great writer.

7) I can appreciate the beauty of all kinds of men and women. See Gina Gershon and Salma Hayek- or Edward Norton and Bruce Willis.

Okay. I'm done now. Can I go home?

I Couldn't Make This Up...

Photo taken from my porch, 10 minutes ago, as the torrential rains swept through our little village...

On the right, the AWESOME Mr. Chambers - the man who removed The Tree - heading back to his tractor dealership on a forktruck. On the left - the man, Mr. Wilde, who drives around all day long on his John Deere lawn mower. In the evenings, he hangs out on a bench and yells at me (as I walk by) that he'll cut my hair for me. For free, even.

As depressed as I am that Gilmore Girls is no longer, I have to admit that I don't need Stars Hollow when I've got characters such as these. I love my village - freaks and all!

Financial Pain

Oh, my...what a lovely morning.

Last night I don't think it got much below 70, and it was super muggy. Now, before you FL and GA folks get all up on me for that, remember that I have no central A/C, and we haven't pulled the wall units down from the attic yet. So - no escape from the mugginess.

The furnace guy came by this morning to tell me, basically, that I need a new furnace. $800 for a new control panel that might not be the only problem, but until the control panel's replaced, we can't figure out what else is wrong. We put $900 into the furnace in December for some other thingy that was broken. Sooo...spending $4,000 on a new one looks mighty attractive (the current one is 17 years old and has been through many floods in the basement). But we'd also need to re-grade the basement and install the sump pump. So. Yeah. Joy.

Then I thought I'd run some errands and was QUITE proud of myself at exploring some of the back roads of Orange County. These roads are all twisty and never make sense. I always "feel" like I'm going in one direction then just get confused. Not so today. Yay me.

Went back to the plumbing supply store to place my order for a shower floor. The plumbers want it just to be exact with their pipe moving and such. $500. Yikes. For a shower floor. Not even a tub. Plus there's a 4-week lag-time. Double joy for me today.

Came back - elated to hear there's a TORNADO WATCH (huh? here?) in effect until 6pm. Decided to stop by the liquor store for some wine. Yes, those two sentences are very much related.

The good thing is that I took my cans to the recycling place and got $2.05 back.

Last week, due to finally finishing the beer socks, I was seeking some quick and easy projects before jumping into my sweater again. A new (surprise) hedgie worked up quickly, and now I'm ready to felt it. But I wanted to make something else so I could felt more than one thing and feel a little more water-conscious. So I started the French Market Bag:

This is some Andes yarn that I picked up on the sale rack up in Woodstock a few years ago. I've never been IN LOVE with it, and I only got three skeins. I'd read that it was great for felting, so I thought I'd have minimal time and money invested in this puppy. Plus, even if it's an ugly bag, it's still a bag, right? I'm always in need of another project bag. The yarn isn't truly verigated, so it's doing weird things on the base of the bag, but it'll be quasi-stripy up the sides. Quick and easy - great to do while watching mindless daytime TV. Which I can do. Because I'm on vacation. ;)

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Waitin' for the Water Guy... come replace my meter. Nope - that's not any kind of euphemism. We turn in our water meter reading twice a year (it's inside the house), and evidently it's had the same numbers the last few readings. So it gets replaced. During my vacation. And I get to straighten up the house. Yippee.

Since there's really nothing exciting about this day, I'll talk about some progress we've made on the bathroom.

This was a wall in our hallway, which we discovered had been a door at one point, when the master bath was just another room. After all, if you had opened this door into our bathroom, you would have tripped over the toilet on your way in. Joe wanted to open up the footing at this wall for easier access by the plumbers. Note the particularly interesting-yet-tacky old-lady wallpaper we discovered (in blue)...

Now that all the debris has been cleared, you can stand in our upstairs den and see right through to the opposite bathroom wall. Kind of adds a weird dimension to the house layout right now. The cats love it - like it's a secret place all their own.

I have to order the shower pan this week, then Joe only has a little work left before we can bring the plumbers back out to redo the pipes. That'll be the big hurdle. Once that's done, we can start REconstructing, and that's the fun part. Yay!

Have a lovely day one and all - I'm about to go tie up recyclables now.

Monday, May 14, 2007

She Don't Need...The Glamorous Life

Yup - that's me - all glamor and sparkles...bwah.

At the beginning of the year, I earmarked this week for vacation to spend some time with my mom. Unfortunately, she couldn't come up for Mother's Day, but I still needed a week off. Since a surprise visit to see her would have cost more than our trip to Italy next year (for which we're saving pennies), I thought I'd stick to home. You wanna talk glamorous?

Today - slept in (well, that was TRULY decadent - haven't had a working Monday off for a year). Got up, walked, showered, checked email, then got ready for my appt at the dermatologist (nothing major - I just have lots of moles - we like to keep our eyes on the moles). Go to the grocery store - how unbefreakenly PLEASANT it is to shop during a weekday (when it's not double coupon day). Just a handful of moms and babies in the store - plenty of lanes open - wow. I need to do this more often. Totally changed my grocery-shopping experience...

Had a few hours to kill, so I shaved my cat's butt. Yes, you read that right. Our dear Milo, the great Impersonator-Of-Baby-Seals, had a vet appt today...

He's a portly fellow. Now before you folks point fingers at me for for feeding him too much - he was a thin alley cat for the first 5 years of his life. He could jump to the top of the refrigerator in one leap (and knocked many things off of it constantly). We moved here, and he just kind of got in a funk. Then he started gaining. We had two other cats at the time - both normal, healthy weights. Milo was just becoming The Fat Kid, and the others would mercilessly make fun of him (I'm anthropomorphizing, I know). So he got depressed. And husky.

He topped out at 20 lbs a few years ago, but he's been slowly getting back on track. Today he was only 17 - yay, Milo! In the meantime, when he's this big, it's hard to keep him clean. There are just spots he can't reach. So we clip the parts of his fur he can't really clean - which is mainly around his bootay. And that's how I spent my glamorous afternoon. Shaving his rear. Then taking him to the vet, where everyone applauded his recent 1.5 lb loss.

And now, on this glorious spring day, I think I'll retire to the porch with a cigar and a glass of sangria. Or five. Because I can. And it's a week day. And because I can. :)

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Mother's Day!

Finally get to post about this thing I've been working on since December - had completed it a few months ago and just needed to block it...

Made from 3 skeins of Lorna's Laces Bullfrogs & Butterflies, Mother Lode colorway. This was just a yarn I fell in love with in Alexandria - you know, the trip where I got my lovely basket. Anyhow, I saw it, fondled it, then took it home with Clapotis in mind.

Slight difference in yardage from what was called for in the pattern, so I only did 11 repeats rather than 12. Still a goodly size, though. Lovely pattern - fun to work.

Mom opened her present this afternoon and was already wearing it over her church clothes. I hope you enjoy it, Mom - Happy Mother's Day - Love you!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Happy Pre-Mother's Day

Since tomorrow will be devoted to MY Mom, I thought I'd give a little shout-out to the other moms in my life who have influenced me and helped make me what I am today (er...that's a good thing - trust me).

First of all, the wonderful Mrs. Huss.

I met her daughter, Jeanine, on the first day of 1st grade, and we basically lived at each other's houses until they moved when we were 13. Mrs. Huss made the best granola. They had cable TV and a volvo. Both of Jeanine's parents ran...for fun. We did chores. We played stickball in her yard. She helped us sew tooth-fairy pillows and really bad 80s shirts. Much like my own mom, Mrs. Huss wasn't a girly-girl. She had fun, got things done, and she's what I wanted to be when I grew up. Around the time I got married, she sent me her granola recipe. Whenever I want to find a warm happy place, I open my cookbook to that card and see her perfect teacher handwriting - I follow her instructions on the amount of wheat germ and how often to turn the crunchy goodness in the oven - and everything is warm and wonderful.

Then there were my formative years...

Since I wasn't in the practice of taking pictures of mothers when I was younger, here are the KIDS of those influential women - my best friends growing up and, really, today...mostly. From the top - Pam, Tim, Amy, John, Bill, and Jane. If Bill looks a little funny, it's because he wasn't actually on this trip, but a certain "ex" of John's was. Didn't want her in the picture, wanted Bill - and voila - really sloppy photo editing. Sorry your head's a little small, Bill... Anyhow, my teen years would not have been complete without Mrs. Moseley, Mrs. Russell, Mrs. Pomerance, Mrs. Clark, Mrs. Huber, and Mrs. Bricker. They had basements and let us have parties (we were good kids, so no worries there). We had movie-thons. You let us talk on the phone way too late because you trusted us. You gave us safe places to hang out. You taught me that moms can have pretty sick senses of humor. We had late-night calculus study sessions, and you fixed snacks. You cared about all of us, and you told us in both actions and words. I vented to, cried on, hugged, and needed - and you were there. Thank you.

My father's sister, Aunt Anne:

You grew up in a small Georgia farming community and moved away. That was so cool to me - away. My grandmother took me to see you when I was 10, and it seemed like such a great life. So different. You married a man from Canada who spoke French. You let me play dress-up in your nightgowns. I later visited again when I was in college, and I got to spend more time with my cousin, who is just the coolest kid. You introduced me to tabbouleh and babaganush, sweet orange marmalade on pumpernickel bread, strong exotic coffees, and Nutella. You represented a freedom that was so very magical to me.

And those kooky Georgia ladies Nancy and Joann (middle two, below):

When we met, Nancy was skating across a hardwood floor in her socks as the rest of y'all sat around drinking wine and laughing. Little did I know that the silliness would never stop. We've been to Italy with Nancy, St Louis with Joann, and the wine and fun kept flowing. And when you came up to see us one raked leaves and picked up sticks in our yard! You are bundles of energy and kindness, and we're very glad to know you.

Lastly, our New York mother - Barb.

Unfortunately, this is the only picture I have - I'm usually so distracted by kids doing daredevil things (or adults playing with large fires) that I don't have many good people shots from your parties. You and Coke have opened up your home to us, and from the very first moments, we truly felt welcome. You laugh as we consume too much "company product" and fix the BEST breakfasts the next day. You're one of the few folks who actually read my self-indulgent blog, and you have raised some pretty amazing kids and grandkids. If it's okay with you, Joe and I are adopting you and Coke as our folks-away-from-home. :)

To all of you wonderful mothers out there - I hope you have a fantastic weekend and know how much you mean to me.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Battle Scars...

Got back in the saddle with some bike riding - and it bit me on the ass...

Joe and I were riding the 6-mile-loop around the village - it's a nice after-work ride with a lot of minor elevation changes. Coming back, in the last 1/4 mile or so, I came to the place where I usually have to make a decision - it's a state road - busy, yet slow-mph - and lots of cars park on the sides of the street. Since I make a turn, I usually opt to hit the sidewalk at this point, so I'm not worried about traffic on my turn. It's just what I do.

But this time, I missed my window. The sidewalk was a bit more elevated from the street at that point, and then there was this rock...

Next thing I know, I'm plowing into a neighbor's bushes - the shrubs that grace her walkway where it meets the sidewalk...? Well, I straddled them. I rode THROUGH one bush, and INTO the other, braking ever-so-elegantly as I sat perched atop Bush #2. My right leg looks like something that might have graced Frankenstein's Monster. And a good 75-100 commuters got a good look at my goofiness. At least the bush didn't suffer much - only one twiggy thing broke.

But I didn't fall off the bike, right? I laughed, rode home, and covered my legs in iodine. Then we went and had a few beers.

I'm...I'm not that strong a cyclist...

Monday, May 07, 2007


Spent Saturday up in Woodstock (no, not THAT Woodstock - that's Bethel, actually) window-shopping, then Bearsville where we at at The Bear Cafe then had The! Best! Seats! at a Dar Williams concert.

Every time you love just a little
Take one step closer
Solving the riddle
It echoes all over the world

We'd been to Bearsville's theater twice before. Once to see the Jayhawks (Ollabelle opened - kickass!) - standing room only, and once to see The Thorns (Los Lonely Boys opened - even more kickass!) - "reserved" seating that was more "come-late-and-you're screwed."

This time? Oh, my. We were assigned seats. And our seats? Front row center. I kid you not. Approximately 4 yards from Dar. Plus, they were filming a DVD of the concert, so my ugly mug will probably be in a few shots. Bwah!

What a great weekend. Spent Sunday working on housy stuff and doing some drinking on the porch. Not a thing wrong with that...

Every time you choose one more morning
Goodness or meanness
Life has one warning
It echoes all over the world

Friday, May 04, 2007

Heeeeeere's HOMER!

Yes, Ladies and Gentlemen - Homer, our resident groundhog / woodchuck / marmot is back in full force and munching on weeds and maple saplings like there's no tomorrow.

And that can only mean...IT'S FINALLY SPRING!!!!!

Many warm, happy spring days to you folks (and for you FL friends - I hope your late spring/early summer stops being so damn hot and smoky).

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Good People Surround Me

As most of you know, I moved here just about 6 years ago from a place I'd lived all my life. Some of my best friends have known me since we were in preschool together. It's very difficult - well, pretty much impossible - to get to *know* people in a new place. I mean, my friends from Athens have a HISTORY with me - stupid stories, embarrassing moments, estrangements, and all. I know this sounds really uppity and naive, but it's true - at least for me. The first party/cookout I attended in NY had only a handful of acquaintances. I promptly went into the bathroom and cried for the friends I missed so much - I wanted to be beyond small talk. I wanted to *not* be with people who were worried only about hair colors and manicures. I wanted to be able to TALK and have people KNOW me. To not just be that oddball girl from the South who doesn't know how to play bocce ball.

I still miss my girlfriends like there's no tomorrow. But the great thing is that I've finally started opening up and creating new relationships. With such wonderful online knitting friends. And with wonderful people from work, of all places.

Since I've learned to knit, I've also learned that a few ladies at my work knit. Now remember - I work at a production facility that's about 95% men. So the fact that women head into the Ladies' Locker Room during breaks to knit just floors me. Regina and Melanie, in particular, have been such inspirations. And on my recent birthday (sorry I didn't post earlier, Regina!), they filled my heart with their warmth.

Guess what wonderful goodies I got?

Yup - Socks Soar on Two Circular Needles - by Cat Bordhi, Socks-Socks-Socks - Edited by Elaine Rowley, and a kick-ass knitting bag that I sorely need! Now that beer socks and Clappy are out of the way, I've been jonesing to learn socks on circulars. And the Sock collection book - well, let's just say that both Regina and Melanie might be getting some pretty creative socks for the holidays. :)

Thanks to both of you sweeties - you make work tolerable, which as we all know can be difficult at times! I am happy every day when your crews are on, because you are so fun and lovely and kind.

Thank you!