Aug 31, 2009

Um...I'm sorry?

So, this morning I'm going about my normal routine, which includes scooping both litter boxes. I give a hearty scoop or two in one and I spot something that looks...wrong. Now, look, I've found some fancy things in the litter boxes - plastic beads, Christmas tinsel, rubber bands, Easter egg grass (purple, if it matters) and foil immediately come to mind - but this? Was interesting and looked oddly, sadly familiar. Since I lead a quiet, non-eventful life and this might be something exciting, I did the normal thing and ran for the camera. You know, to document what one of my cats shit out.

This is the first sign of trouble.

I dug a little more and felt bad.
They're supposed to bring good luck to a house, you know.

But this one had some bad, bad luck.

Yes, I know. I've just shown the world pictures of my cats' shit and a partially digested lizard. It could be worse...I could tell you about the time I vomited up green beans when I was 7 and when she was cleaning it up, my mom found a lizard in it. ::nods::

That puts those pictures back into perspective, doesn't it?

Aug 29, 2009

It's up.

This is what we saw from the front yard at midnight, just now. There goes Discovery! If we'd not been too lazy to get the ladder out, we can see it lift off the pad from the roof. But, living here, that's sort of a BTDT and the ladder is a pain type of thing. Is it really awful I watch every one with a camera, in case it explodes? Yeah, okay, it probably is but I saw Challenger explode and was sorry I didn't get pictures. I don't hope they explode but it really was pretty exciting, especially how we all ran and took shelter as pieces rained down. That was sort of a high point of my life, looking back. Anyway, I grew up as a kid of the Apollo program. My dad and uncle worked on the Apollos and we lived directly across the river from the launch pads, so I grew up sitting at the kitchen table and watching rockets launch out the back door. Having lived that, it takes something exploding to get me excited. So,'s up. No one was killed. Uneventful, but purty. :-)

Aug 17, 2009

To beat all, it was Sunday when this happened.

I'm a Wednesday's child and trust me, that woe thing? Is accurate. It's not a nursery's a prophecy. I especially have woeful experiences in my kitchen, I've noticed. I love to cook and I'm a good cook, but I'm also willing to jump in and experiment, often with...well, woeful results. So, today I tackled a culinary experiment I've read about in several places online and I knew going into it that the results would be iffy, at best. I still stand by that, although we'll not know for a fact for a few Wednesdays yet. As I stood back and looked at the finished product, I had to laugh and I suspect anyone reading this will, too. I also see lots and lots of syrupy, inedible woe in this project. But hey, I tried. What did I make? I made Koolickles and I double-dog dare you to not have dirty thoughts cross your mind when you see that picture in the link.

I initially decided to make lemon and tropical punch flavored Koolickles, figuring that, worst case scenario, there are nastier things than a lemony pickle. But I wanted that red color in some, too, so I knew I'd accomplished something and cherry pickles sounded vaguely obscene, so I went with tropical fruit. Here is my initial batch of ingredients. Fairly simple, no? Please ignore my bowl of lemons and garlic back there. They were innocent bystanders.

Pretty much the recipe I settled on was a combination of several different recipes and it involved using the drained pickle juice from one ordinary sized jar of pickles, one pack of Kool-Aid and one cup of sugar per batch. This essentially makes the Kool-Aid part double-strength since the fluid part is about half of what the packet calls for. Or something like that. I suspect these aren't worth stressing the details over.

It turns out you get 1-1/3 cups of pickle juice, sugar and Kool-Aid, or at least I did.

I wasn't happy with the yellow color left by the lemon Kool-Aid, though. It looked like pickle juice, only cloudy, so I dragged out my food coloring and after seeing that neon green didn't change it much, I added 10 drops of normal green. I got green. Wooo. I have no idea what I expected from this, but I was sort of disappointed and considered adding some blue, but restrained myself. Oh, yeah, the black bowl you see? Isn't needed in this whole deal if you have a 2 cup measuring cup.

At this point, I decided to taste the mixture and frankly, it just tasted like slightly more sour dill pickles. Dammit. So, I decided to make lemon-lime Koolickles and added maybe 4 tablespoons of lime juice. Another taste confirmed it didn't taste exactly like dill pickles anymore. That wasn't bad, but I'm not sure it was good, either. Whatever, I'm done with this flavor/color. I'm over it.

I poured the liquid back into the jar and wound up with extra left over. What the hell? I guess maybe the sugar, even dissolved, added bulk but this still was disturbing to me. It still is.

I followed the same procedure for the tropical punch Koolickles and at least I'm excited about the color I got. This was without food coloring! I thought it was kind of pretty with the seeds and at least it looks like something big might happen here.

Again with the liquid left over. Why?
Now, in the background, please note yet another jar of virgin pickles...where did those come from, you might wonder? Well, I was so inspired by the pretty color of the tropical punch Koolickle juice that I ran to Publix and got a third jar of pickles and a pack of grape Kool-Aid. Yeah. *That idea was short-lived. By the time I got home, and bear in mind I live within walking distance of Publix, I'd decided I better wait and see how these 2 batches turn out. I will eventually give that jar of pickles away and throw out the pack of grape Kool-Aid.

I will say, the final result is awfully pretty, isn't it? I'll update in two weeks, the time it apparently takes for the real flavor to begin shining through. I will make Jake eat one first.

Lordy, I suspect this was a wasted afternoon.

Aug 14, 2009

Good stuff.

Ha! Jake has a serious girlfriend. Keep in mind, my son son...and intensely private, so he may have had a girlfriend before and I just never knew it. And I'm fairly certain he had a boyfriend of sorts at one point. But this girl? Has been acknowledged. She has a name, which I won't give here at this point in time, but which is actually spoken. She calls here, he owns she's his girlfriend and while I've never met her personally (this is all pretty new), I've seen her and she's a doll. She looks like a real-life anime character, tiny with the big hair, just adorable. I talked to her on the phone the other night and she has nice manners, too, a sweet and very pleasant girl, full of nervous giggles. I'm not sure who was more nervous, though, her or me. *grins* I tried to play it all cool and act like this is just another everyday thing but yeah, it's not. He? Is being far more adult-acting, responsible and agreeable. I'm thinking there's love involved here and the idea not only doesn't freak me out, it makes me smile. I'm also thinking there will be condoms in his Christmas stocking this year.

Speaking of love, I keep thinking of little things I'm loving and ought to share, so I compiled a list:

1. Even though it's summer, I've been on a soup binge to celebrate having a/c. Here are the two best recipes I have and I can't seem to get enough of either of them. Chili's Chicken Enchilada Soup Recipe Now, I do add a can of black beans to this, but otherwise leave it alone. This is *so good and if you roast whole chickens often, as I do, this is a great use of the leftover meat. The other soup recipe is for Pumpkin Curry Soup. Because we like leftovers, I double the recipe but I do not double the evaporated milk since we like it less milky. Alternately, leave the recipe as-is and halve the milk. Or, you could make it up to the milk stage and add cream, half-and-half or whole milk until it's at a place you like. Basically, the milk is flexible per your own tastes and coconut milk works quite well, too. Both soups are wonderful, I promise.

2. Those who know me know I love tarts...the candle kind that you melt in a tart warmer. My favorite tart pimp is Busy Bee Candles. My house smells like heaven with her stuff. Also, for the first time ever, I tried her body spray. I got it in the Blue Sugar scent, since I love, love, love the Blue Sugar tarts and also in Lime Cilantro. Let me just say her body spray is one of the best quality ones I've ever ordered. If you love body scents, try her stuff and at this point I feel pretty confident all of her bath/body products will be of equal quality. Also, you can order from the drop down menu, but you can also request any scent off the scent descriptions list. So, $5.00 plus shipping for a great scent in a cute bottle? Risk it. I did and I'm little shot of the Blue Sugar lasted me a good 10 hours. I'd order it in the Maple Sugar scent, but I'm of the opinion fat people ought not smell like baked goods.

3. Cake mix cookies. These are the easiest cookies *ever and always turn out great. Using the same basic recipe, you can vary your flavor of cake mix and what you add in (1/2C, more or less, according to your taste), with the result being some darn good cookies! Here is the basic recipe: - Recipe - Cake Mix Cookies Don't use cake mixes that require you add butter, so check the back of the box. Otherwise, flavor and add-ins are on you and I roll them into walnut-sized balls instead of dropping them. I like uniform cookies. I'm not a huge sweet-eater, but family favorites are yellow mix with chocolate chips for a traditional chocolate chip cookie, devil's food mix with white chips, and spice mix with craisins or left plain and rolled in cinnamon sugar. You can make a mean snickerdoodle with a plain yellow cake mix and then roll the balls in cinnamon sugar, so you know. One year I used a pineapple mix and added some candied fruit...this was a huge hit amongst the old ladies I know. :-D Just experiment with things your family likes...this recipe is so easy, it's one even older kids and non-bakers can manage. Oh, you might want to forget what it says in the recipe and either line your cookie sheets with parchment or aluminum foil and give them a brief spray of PAM, to boot. It seems like anything I bake sticks and this works best for me. If you have super nice non-stick cookie sheets, you might be able to skip this. I don't. I have nasty-looking, icky cookie sheets that sort of freak me out a little since they look dirty even when I know they aren't.

4. Nadinola Shea Butter. I'm cursed with horribly sensitive but oily skin, especially on my face. I struggle to find products my skin won't adjust to and then rebel against and trust me, I've tried everything from the expensive ones down to the cheapest. The one thing I've found that my skin seems to always accept without complaint and that helps with the awful, flakey dryness, is Nadinola Shea Butter. I get this nice 4 ounce tub for 97 cents at Walmart and, as far as I'm concerned, it's nothing short of a miracle. I've bought $50 products that can't do what this little tub does. It's in the ethnic hair/skin care area and while you're there, take a good browse around...if you have dry skin or damaged hair and drugstore prices are what you can afford, you'll have far better luck here than in the general areas for these products.

5. Mudflats I know the election is over, but this site is still intent on protecting the rest of us from mess that is Sarah Palin. We need Mudflats. *nods* But to show I'm no bleeding heart liberal, we also need Mike Huckabee. I love Mike Huckabee.

6. Have you ever heard of Carlton Pearson? If not, you ought to Google him, read about him, keep an open mind. Rev. Pearson is one of the very few who make Christianity feel comfortable for me. He's a conservative Christian with a very open mind...what an amazing, incredible mix. I was raised Southern Baptist but began rebelling at age 4, no lie. I hated it, it terrified me with how wrong it felt in my heart, even at that age. I do not consider myself to be Christian, I never have although I see much beauty in the faith, as I do in other faiths. But, no matter your persuasion, I encourage you to read about Carlton may be as glad as I am that you did. Also, on the topic of Christianity and preachers, let me just say that for all the bad taste the Christianity I was raised with left in my mouth, I love the Rev. Billy Graham. I mean, I sincerely love the man and believe he's God-sent to our world to try to help people get on a good path in life. How can anyone not love a man who says this? "'I don’t throw rocks at anybody,' he said. 'That’s not my message. My message is the Gospel of Christ.'” Were more Christians like Billy Graham, maybe more non-Christians wouldn't be so put off by it. Just a thought and a share about two remarkable men of God. A praise, even.

7. On a far lighter note, after way too much trial, wasted money and stinky error, Tidy Cats Scoop Litter For Small Spaces is the best cat litter ever for multiple cat households. Providing your cats cover their stuff, it keeps odor to an absolute minimum and it clumps tighter and neater than anything I've found yet for scooping. Every few days (I scoop both boxes at least once a day but often twice), I give a good sprinkling of one of the carpet powders that specify for pet odors and mix it in...this combination is the best I've found for eliminating litter box smells from a house.

8. Roadside memorials. I love them...they just kill me. Oh, wait, that sounds bad, doesn't it? They just crack me up. Hmmm. Nevermind. Just know I love them and I might show you just how much soon. :-D

9. Heh, my son is home schooled and they do it for me. Free. Can it get any better? I think not.

10. Crocs. I will own it all day long - I *love Crocs, I am Croc-wearing girl. I have touchy feet due to a medical condition and Crocs make walking and being on my feet bearable again. In the summer, I live in the Athens flip-flops and wear the Scutes as a house-slipper. In the winter? It's one of the clog types and socks, Baby, because I'm sexy like that.

So, some insight on me and things I love because I just know that someday, someone will read this and become enlightened. May the force be with you.

Aug 11, 2009

Oh, look. A post.

That last post? On June 11th? Was the last time I opened this poor blog up until today. Yeah. I believe June 12th was the day I found Farm Town and anyone who plays it will know exactly what I mean.

I have had some good things happen in the last 2 months, though. The best? I have a/c! Back when mine died a few years back, I had numerous places tell me it was shot, a couple of which I really trusted, so I took that to be fact and we've had some rough times in the heat. Finally, in early July, I did bite the bullet and decided to have a new central a/c and heat unit put in. I did my research, made a list of places that were incredibly reputable and had them come out for estimates. In the middle of it all, though, I also needed a toilet repair that I just couldn't do so I called the neighborhood handyman. While he worked, I asked him if he knew of any reputable a/c places. He told me an ex-BIL of his does a/c work on the side and is very good, plus cheap since it's side work. Now, I trust the handyman completely so if he recommends this guy, I'm comfortable. I call said a/c guy who comes out and is *adorable. Short, wiry, hairy hyper and very, very NY Italian, pulls up in a red Corvette...what's not to love here? He looks around and asks if I care if he tried repairing if. I scoffed. He rolls his eyes and tells me he's a magician with these fine, prove it. He gets out with multiple flashlights, after dark, and tears into the outside part. It's 9pm and he's got it totally disassembled in my side yard, telling me to trust him. Well, hmph, fine. An hour later he walks in, smirks at me, flips it on and it pours cold air. Fuck me, he fixed it! I nearly cried, called him my hero and asked what his charge was. He tells me $200. The hell? I write him a check and kiss his feet. Well, in my mind, anyway. So, here we are, still with a good working a/c and I don't give a rat's ass that he does this on the side. He's *honest. And when it finally does die, he's got the job for a new one. And me? I no longer feel like a hotbed, literally, of yeast and fungus. I know, that's sexy, isn't it?

Also the fabulous (I lie) states of Florida and Tennessee finally figured out, after 4 years, how to get child support out of my ex-husband. They used an old court order and first (yes, first) garnishment amount so even though he's paying, his arrearage is still growing. It's just growing more more slowly now - $13,000 and counting. But hey, that $76.15 a week means we get to buy unnecessary stuff and that's been, clothes, cologne for me. Okay, shoes for me, too. It won't last, but while it does, we're going to revel in the frivolity of it all.

Lastly, I want to mention something that is weighing on my mind and it is serious. For quite awhile now, I've followed my charming kids. While I've never really bought into her life as being as peachy-keen as she represents it to be and while some of her parenting made me cringe, I still enjoyed it. Until recently. Someone dug up some public records and discovered her husband had been charged with domestic violence within the last year and that they have two homes in foreclosure. The homes, whatever...shit happens and it sucks since she says they take nothing from the government and yet it'll be taxpayers covering a lot of this mess, but yeah, whatever. I guess I can overlook her never mentioning that but the domestic violence part? Not so much. She refers to her husband as Prince Charming and then this? Here's the deal - I lived through domestic violence, and for years. I refuse to call myself a victim of it because I'm *no one's* victim and I could have left. I chose not to and, even now, I'm glad I didn't. I became a better person for it and was very lucky. I'm no victim, just a survivor. But, what kills me is how MckMama blew off whatever happened as a normal up and down in marriage. Uh, no. That's an insult to normal marriages *and it's an insult to people who have experienced domestic violence. Jesus. I just want to slap the stringy snot out of her. How dare she nonchalantly wave her hand around and dismiss whatever caused her husband to be arrested TWICE as a normal up and down? Unless, of course, she lied on him and had him falsely arrested. Regardless, she needs to stop and think about the message that sends to women who may be in abusive relationships and who read her blog. "He hits you? Or he doesn't but he makes you fear for your life? Aww, Honey, it's just a normal up and down part of marriage! Ride it out! I am!" Seriously? Fuck you and the dysfunctional horse you rode in on, Jennifer. Bear in mind, with your attitude and the way your followers look up to you, you may well wind up with a death on your shoulders to bear. Are you okay with that? I'm not, which is why I wrote this.

And, with all that said, I leave you with this. I want anyone who might happen to read this to go to bed feeling like a genius. Is This The Stupidest Person Ever? (VIDEO)