Tuesday, August 26, 2014

This is what happens when I go to Taco Bell…

**** OK - I started this post over the weekend, but every time I tried to add pictures, my computer would crash. Grrrr!!! I managed to get one picture in there but that's it. So, please to enjoy this post, sans pics. Sorry. I'll try again later. ****

My blog posts will be just a little out of sync while I play catch up; I want to tell you about Amy first, and she is what happened last while I wasn’t blogging.

As I mentioned earlier, we had decided to wait a few months after Snoopy’s passing in May to get another dog. During the last weekend of June, while running my weekend errands, I was on my way to the Taco Bell in Centralia. About 10 minutes out my cell phone rang. It was Sis and she asked if I would be interested in taking a trip out to Long Beach, WA. Seriously? She had found a small red doxie online and I could tell she pretty much had her heart set on getting it. It was a three-hour trip and it was already 12:30pm. After some back and forth debate, I finally agreed to go. I got my tacos and burrito, ate them in the shade while watching all the cars around me filled with dogs (apparently there was a dog show somewhere nearby), and then went inside to call the shelter where the dog was and get directions. That is when I found out that they were only open until 4pm. By now it was 1pm. They assured me that they would wait for me. At this point I wasn’t really sure what the situation was; were we taking her for a trial run? Another couple had done that and only kept her for one night before returning her to the shelter. Sis called me again and I assured her I was on my way. I was skeptical and a little irritated about doing this. We had all agreed that we wouldn’t get another dog this soon, and I had made plans for my day that were now thrown under the bus to make this trip.

As I pulled out of the Taco Bell parking lot and headed towards the freeway entrance, I passed a young couple walking a young red doxie. He was so cute! I was struck by this and kind of took it as a sign that perhaps this would be meant to be. I took a deep breath, adjusted my attitude, and got on the freeway and headed south. I drove to Longview then took the Lewis & Clark Bridge across the Columbia to the Oregon side. I headed west to Astoria where I crossed the bridge back across the Columbia to the Washington side again.

The Lewis and Clark Bridge, Longview, WA
Photo credit: Gary Halvorson, Oregon State Archives

It was now 4pm and I had no idea how close I was to Long Beach at this point. Sis called me in a panic to find out where I was, and she told me that there were four other people waiting in their lobby to adopt her! I told Sis that no way did I drive all this way for someone else to get her; she agreed and told me that she had already paid the adoption fee over the phone. This did not surprise me in the least. That’s Sis for you!

I finally arrived at about 4:15pm. I was very impressed by the cat room the shelter had right off the front lobby: big windows for lots of sunshine, tons of cat trees for climbing and scratching and napping in, and lots of comfy beds to choose from. In contrast, the area where they had the dogs crushed me: cold cement floors with chain link walls, no windows, just a small bed with a thin blanket (fortunately it was up off the floor by about four inches), and a water bowl. It broke my heart, but at least everything was clean. In this chain link and cement cell was a tiny red dachshund. When the shelter worker opened the gate, this little girl ran right to me and jumped up on my leg, begging to be picked up. I picked her up, tucked her under my arm, and said, “Let’s go.” She looked up at me and gave me a little lick on my chin, and I was sold. We went into the lobby, I filled out and signed the paperwork, and we left. I have the bottom half of a large dog kennel in my truck that we use as a travel bed and I put it in the front passenger seat for her. It took her a good 20 minutes of travel to learn that she needed to stay in the bed and that I would not hold her while I drive. She finally nestled down into the soft, fluffy blankets we keep in there, and napped most of the way home. One thing that was interesting: she is terrified of bridges that have a steel covering. The flickering of the shadows going overhead freaked her out completely. Unfortunately, there were three of those on our way home. But we made it home without incident. Gigi, Sammy, and especially Mrs. Weenie almost immediately accepted her into the pack. There was about 20 minutes of intense sniffing and circling, and then she was one of them. She slept with me for the first week and a half; after that she wanted to sleep out in the living room with Les and the other dogs. It was really hard for me to hide my disappointment in this; she seemed to have bonded really well with me, never leaving my side and sticking very close to me when I returned from work. But since I have to leave the house five days a week for 12-14 hours at a time, and with Les being home 24/7, she bonded with him instead. I was really hoping that I would finally have a snuggle buddy of my own, but it’s just not going to work out if I’m gone all the time like that. They will always bond with Les since he is home and mostly sits on the comfy couch that was just made for snuggling. Even Sammy has become very attached to Les.

The name she came with is Amy, but this very obviously not her real name. We believe this is her shelter name because we have had her for almost two months and she is just now finally starting to respond to it. We don’t know anything about her past, but she does appear to have been abused both verbally and physically. She will cower from loud voices, your hand, and once I tried to shoo her out of the wash room using just the toe of my shoe and she went completely flat on the floor exhibiting every single sign of submission you can think short of actually peeing on the floor. I felt terrible!!! But when she feels joy, there is no mistaking it. The second day at our house she got the zoomies. She must have run through the living room into the dining room and around the kitchen back into the living room about a hundred times in 10 seconds! She was like a low flying jet! She was just in heaven with all the eleventy-million chew toys we have and took it as her personal mission to destroy each and every one of them. Fortunately, she hasn’t quite destroyed any of them yet, but give her time. She was only about seven pounds when we got her and she could squeeze through the baby gate we have in the hallway to keep the dogs out of the washroom and the cat’s food. Well, thanks to Les’s habit of feeding everyone table scraps, that isn’t happening any more. She is now closer to 10 pounds, and it has been made quite clear to Les that for every additional pound she gains, we will be taking it out of his hide. She is smaller than Bruiser, so gaining more weight will be very hard on her little spine and will open her up to possibly injuring her back. Especially since she jumps off the furniture like Spiderman on a mission. The only issue we have with her is that she does not. like. Luka. At all. We aren’t sure where this came from as she had no issues with her for the first week or so. We think this stems from her observing the other dogs behavior; Gigi and Luka are both alpha females, and Gigi has never wanted to give way to Luka. Also, when everyone is outside in the fenced yard and Luka is on the other side of the fence, the whole pack will race up and down the fence chasing her. They bark and just race as fast as they can. This is play, but I don’t think that Amy ever figured this out. However, when Luka is in the house, a squirt bottle filled with water works wonders in breaking down this behavior.

We had her examined by our vet and she is in very good health. She has an old injury to one of her eyes; there is a white, cloudy spot but it does not seem to affect her sight at all. We just love her and can’t imagine why someone would give her up. She is a delight, and we are keeping her.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

I'm Doin' It. But I'm Not Diggin' It.

Well, as you can tell, the promised postings never materialized. I’m so sorry. I will get them up, I promise. My internet at home is so stinking slow; it can take hours to do a simple posting so I usually blog from work. Unfortunately, all my pictures on my computer at home.

I’ve been a bad blogger lately. I have been trying really hard to be positive in my posts, but I just haven’t felt positive for a long, long time. I’ve been really down and so very unhappy, and I just can’t seem to shake it. I really hate my life how it is right now – home life sucks, job sucks, always broke, no love life, no friends, still fat, still struggling with the diabetes. I keep rehashing every bad life choice I have ever made, things that cannot be changed, and hating myself for not having a fully developed emotional spine and standing up for myself and what I wanted/believed while growing up. It’s completely irrational and unhelpful and unhealthy, and I can’t. stop. doing it. I cry in secret a lot. So - no positivity, no posts.

I did finally pull myself out of the piles of dirty laundry and candy wrappers that cover every surface of my bedroom and did something crafty last weekend. I told Sis that I was going to do something crafty that weekend even if it killed me! I made a mini-album from scratch and was quite pleased with how it came out. Not too shabby for my first attempt! Les thinks that I am a genius (bonus) and Sis said that she would never had guessed that was my first attempt at making something like that. It was a nice little ego stroke – sorely needed – and I felt like I kind of accomplished something. I had forgotten what that felt like. I’ll post pictures at some point in the future.

So, here is a run-down of life since my last post:

• Waaaaay back in December I mentioned that we adopted a feral cat that my mom had been feeding. Things were going pretty well; Cheddar was adapting to his new home, hiding behind the washer/dryer/water heater less and less, even coming to me (and only me) when I called him and let me rub his tummy. Then, one day, we could not find him. Anywhere. I was convinced that Jim or Les had let him outside on purpose because they are asshats and Cheddar didn’t like either of them. About 6 weeks after he went missing, Sis and I were walking around the back of the house where the cat’s outdoor enclosure was (and where Cheddar loved to hang out). And there was Teddy, out in the yard, OUTSIDE of the enclosure! The look on his face was priceless – like we had caught him with the family canary in his mouth. He immediately darted back to the enclosure, right through a hole where the chicken wire that made the walls didn’t come completely together. Now we know what happened to Cheddar. The enclosure is now no more; Les has plans to build a bigger and better one.
• In March I mentioned that I had joined a photography group on Facebook. I made it to week three, then quit. Sigh.
• In May I house/dog sat for my niece and her family for a week and a half while they went to Hawaii. Their dogs are SO CUTE! Peanut is a Chihuahua and Gus-Gus is a Boston Bull Terrier/Bulldog mix. I will post pictures of them.
• In May, we lost our sweet Snoopy. We decided that we would wait several months before getting another dog. On June 28th, I drove six hours and 250 miles (round trip) to pick up Amy from the Long Beach, WA Humane Society shelter. She is the sweetest little red doxie; she is Mrs. Weenie’s mini-me. I will post pictures and her story soon.
• July and August have been hotter than Satan’s armpits, with the exception of this week, thank God. However, September usually holds out for a few incendiary days just for giggles. I am grateful for the powerful air conditioning in the lab where I work; not so grateful that they set the thermostat to 50°. I have to run my little portable space heater under my desk all day while it’s over 90° outside. But still, not really complaining.
• Oh, and last week some loser got hold of my debit card number and started charging stuff to my checking account from Cancun, Mexico. God bless my financial institution; they were on it almost immediately. No problems with getting charges reversed, but they had to freeze my card and issue (snail mail) a new one. This was a HUGE problem for me as I do not carry cash. Ever. Because if I have it, I will spend it. On anything. And everything. It was a huge inconvenience, but it could have been MUCH worse. It’s all fixed and back to normal now, but for a week there I just wanted to stay home in bed with the covers over my head. Much less stressful.

So, that’s been what’s happening over the last several months. Sorry to be a Debbie Downer; I’ll try hard to find something good to write about. I’m thinking of continuing the A-Z thing; I was reading my past posts and I really enjoyed doing them. We shall see.

Thanks to all my readers for not abandoning me.


Monday, July 28, 2014

Wait - is that...a post???

Holy crap – SHE’S ALIVE!!

I’m so sorry. I just lost the will to blog lately. Pretty much lost the will to do anything. But, I seem to be on the upswing of whatever this is, so I hope to be posting some more in the future.

I have a bunch of pictures to share of my mom’s beautiful spring garden; pictures of my niece’s totes adorbs dogs that I babysat back in May; and a new addition to our furry family.

I’ve been reading the whole time, of course, but haven’t been posting any reviews or anything. I’ll be sure to post a review of my latest read, Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King. (Liked it a lot.)

Hang in there; the posts are coming, I promise. Usually I post things from work, but all my pictures are on my home computer (which is a LOT slower).

Thanks for understanding!


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

What the heck happened?

First off, I sincerely apologize to all my followers for falling off the face of the planet. I don't really know what happened. I just suddenly lost all of my mojo. My blogging mojo, stitching mojo, photography mojo...poof!

My blood sugar had been raging out of control and I have been absolutely exhausted 24/7. Exhausted as in falling asleep at the wheel driving to AND from work, falling asleep at my desk, falling asleep in the bathroom, etc. I was seriously starting to think I had narcolepsy. My doctor said it was because my blood sugar has been so high for so long, and my body was really busy trying to fight with it and that is why I'm so tired all the time. I saw the doctor a few weeks ago and she decided that she wanted to put me in insulin. When she said that, I just remember staying very still and trying not to become hysterical. I don't want to be on insulin! It felt like someone put a large church bell over my head and was repeatedly hitting it with a sledge hammer - BONG! BONG! BONG! The doctor had increased my Metformin from 500mg to 2000mg over the span of a few weeks, and I wasn't up to the 2000 level yet. She didn't care, she wanted me to start taking it NOW. She was convinced that the Metformin was not going to get it down on its own. So I was resigned to it. Until, that is, I went to pick up the RX and discovered that - even with insurance and a state RX discount card - it was over $200. Well, I didn't have $200 to pick it up. And I still haven't had it. But guess what? I immediately started taking the 2000mg of Metformin, and guess whose blood sugar levels are almost down to normal now? Yep. I can’t wait to show the doctor when I go back on the 2nd.

On a sad note, we lost Snoopy last week. It came completely out of the blue and hit us hard. Les finally sold his truck and trailer, so we will now have some additional income every month for the next year. One of the first things we wanted to do was get Snoopy’s teeth cleaned. His teeth were so bad, but they didn’t seem to bother him at all. They bothered US, but not him. He ate just fine, never acted like he had any pain. We took him in to the vet and they do a blood test first to make sure he is healthy enough to go under anesthesia. Well, he wasn’t. Turned out he was in early stage kidney failure. But, the vet pointed out that he was at the end of his life expectancy (he was 16), and kidney failure was a slowly progressing disease. She said he probably had 6 months to two years, and considering his age that was pretty good. She figured it was probably closer to the two years than the six months, which made us feel better. She recommended a diet change, giving him subcutaneous fluids for a while as he was a little dehydrated, and gave him some antibiotics for his mouth since they weren't going to be able to do anything with his teeth.

By the next day, he wasn’t himself at all (lethargic mostly), and we thought that maybe it was the antibiotics. After four days, he really wasn’t himself and was stumbling and acting like he couldn’t see, but most importantly he seemed off his food. I was convinced that he was reacting to the antibiotics, so Sis took him back to the vet. They didn’t think it was the meds, but said it would be OK to stop giving them to him just in case. Of course, Snoopy acted much like his old self while he was there. The next night, I was holding him on my lap and I noticed he was drooling quite heavily. That’s when we figured out that his mouth was hurting him. We gave him some liquid pain meds that we had for Mrs. Weenie when she hurt her back a few weeks ago; they seemed to help him a lot. The next day he was running around outside, barking at Luka, playing with the other dogs a little, and wasn’t nearly as wobbly. But when evening came, we could not get him to eat. We even tried baby food, thinking he could just lick at it, but he wasn’t having it. The next morning Sis discovered the bed covered in bloody drool and he had been sick at some point during the night. There was black runny poop all over the bedroom as well. She could not get him to drink any water at all and she could tell that he was just suffering terribly. She and Jim took him to the vet and held him, kissed him, and loved him as they let him go.

We still aren't sure what happened exactly, but here's my theory: while waiting for his blood test results, the vet and/or the techs were probably looking at his teeth, perhaps poking around here and there to see what was what. I think this set off an infection or perhaps an abcess (his breath could kill at 10 paces before; after that first vet visit his breath was more like Napalm). The pain just got worse and worse and there wasn't anything they could do for him. I kept asking why they couldn't sedate him - not full blown anesthesia - and load him up with numbing and pain meds and do something, ANYTHING, but I guess they could not.

It’s been a week and it’s still so hard. We didn’t get to love him for very long, but we gave him all the love we had while he was with us. There is just such a big hole in our hearts and our home. The other dogs seem to keep looking for him, especially at meal time. He constantly begged from us at the dining room table, and when we eat, we have found that we miss all the funny walrus noises he made, trying to convince us all that he was starving to death. His spot on the couch is so empty; I keep looking for him there, and in the kitchen where he could get under your feet in 2.8 seconds flat.

Of course, Sis immediately began looking for another dog to rescue. We were all open to it, but when we actually started looking at a few pictures on Craig’s List we decided that we just aren’t ready. I think we all need to take a little time to grieve and to heal, to reflect and appreciate Snoopy. Not that any dog we get will be a replacement, but I do feel like that is what a new dog would be expected to be. So we have agreed to wait until the right situation pops up. The vet knows that we will take any dog that is in desperate need, and I think that if we run out and get another dog now we may have to decline taking on some sweet baby that desperately needs our help. Sis agrees.

Well, sorry this post is such a downer. On a happier note, I’ll be house sitting for my youngest niece and her family this Friday-Tuesday and will be caring for their Chihuahua, Peanut, and their Bulldog puppy who’s name escapes me at the moment. Hopefully I’ll get some cute pictures to share.

Here is a picture of Snoopy standing in the middle of the dining room table, just for fun (probably one of the happiest days of his life):


Thursday, April 10, 2014

I is for Ice Cream and Identity

What is your favorite flavor of ice cream? Right now, for me, just about anything with caramel in it – salted caramel is a big fat plus – works. I’m totally in love with Ben & Jerry’s Scotchy Scotch Scotch – butterscotch ice cream with a swirl of lovely, crunchy, butterscotch mixed through. I also love their Crème Brulee. And New York Super Fudge Chunk. Safeway has their own line of ice cream, and I totally dig their Salted Caramel Butter Pecan. Mmmmmmmmm. I also love that Ben & Jerry’s ice cream comes in those little 16oz containers. If I eat a whole one, I feel kinda bad, but not as bad as if I’d eaten a half gallon of Breyer’s, you know? And if I only eat a quarter of that fabulous B&J, then I feel superior to everyone on the planet for having that type of will power. Which only lasts until I go back and eat the rest of it.

There are a lot of seriously crazy flavors out there in the world – horsemeat anyone? (yep, not making that up). Here are a few I found on the Interwebs:
• Honey Jalapeno Pickle – Sweet Action Ice Cream in Denver (No, thank you)
• Goat Cheese Cashew Caramel – Black Dog Gelato in Chicago (I would try this one)
• Wildberry Lavender – Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream in Columbus, OH (Hmmm…sounds kinda good to me)
• Creamed Cod – Georges’ Portobello Fish Bar in London (YUCK!)
• Crammed Jammin’ Cream Doughnut – Tip Top Ice Cream in New Zealand (Chunks of sugar donuts and sweet raspberry sauce mixed into vanilla and cinnamon ice cream? GET INTO MY MOUTH!)
• Basil Avocado – SoBou in New Orleans
• Whiskey Prune – Simmo’s Ice Creamery in Australia

Tell me your favorite and where you get it in the comments!

OK, today’s movie is: Identity. This is probably my most favorite movie ever on the planet. I have watched it numerous times, and my brother-in-law is so freaked out by it that he gets mad when I watch it. (Bonus!)

This awesome psychological and somewhat slasher/gory film stars the most awesome John Cusack, also awesome Ray Liotta, Alfred Molina, Amanda Peet, John C. McGinley, Jake Busey, Rebecca DeMornay, and a few others that are all very good in this movie. Ten strangers find themselves stranded at a run-down desert motel that would have given the Bates’ the heeby jeebies. One by one, they start to get picked off and the survivors are trying to figure out what the heck is going on before they are next. Meanwhile, a small group meets with the governor of an unnamed state to discuss staying the execution of a mass murderer. There is a twist thrown at you at about the halfway mark of the film that literally yanked me out of my seat. And be sure to watch all the way to the end for a second twist right before the credits roll. Did I mention this is my absolute favorite film on the planet? Just checking.

Yay! I did it! Caught up now, and join me again tomorrow please for the letter J.


H is for HECK! and Hitman

Arrggg…I was doing so well, keeping up every day and even blogging ahead. Well, that’s over for now! I missed yesterday because I am still fighting this confounded virus, and all I want to do is sleep. Sleep in the bathroom, sleep at my desk, sleep behind the wheel driving to/from work; you get the idea. So, I will try to catch up and hopefully will get two posts in today.

Today, H is for HECK! As in, Heck! I’m falling behind! Interestingly enough, heck stands for more than just a stand-in for hell when you are trying not to swear; it also stands for:
• A Cumberland dialect word for a partition separating a door from a fireplace when they share the same wall
• A chemical reaction that forms a substituted alkene
• A type of algebra, cattle, horse, and/or operator
• Parnall Heck, a 1930s British four-seater cabin monoplane
• NOAAS Heck (S 591), a survey ship in service with the US Coast and Geodetic Survey from 1967-1970 and with the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration from 1970-1995.

But mostly I use it when I’m trying not to say hell. Like in front of my mother.

Today’s H movie is: “Hitman” because Timothy Olyphant. And also because Timothy Olyphant (are you sensing a theme here?). This is a movie based on a video game, so there are some questions you have about the characters that never really get explained. Also, if you are watching this movie expecting to see Oscar winning performances, you are destined for disappointment. However, if you are watching this movie because of Timothy Olyphant, or because you are in the mood for some great action and flying bullets and no love scenes, you will be quite satisfied. Tim plays Agent 47, an orphan that is trained to be a highly skilled, no-nonsense and unemotional assassin. He is suddenly abandoned by his mysterious employer and finds himself falling for a Russian prostitute while getting himself embroiled in a suspicious political assassination. Works for me! Oh, and TIMOTHY OLYPHANT!!

That’s it for the letter H. Let’s see if I can get the letter I posted as well!


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

G is for Gospodor's Monument Park and Ghostie movies

On my daily work commute I pass by a strange little patch of land known as the Gospodor’s Monument Park, between the little towns of Toledo and Winlock in Washington State. It’s a very odd little memorial area, and hasn’t been without controversy. In a grassy, overgrown field stand three large and two smaller copper-plated monuments in honor of Mother Theresa, Holocaust victims, and the American Indian. When they were first erected in 2002, they were quite the oddity. The tallest monument – the one for Mother Theresa – is 108 feet high; the monument for the American Indian is 100 feet, and the monument for the Holocaust victims is 87 feet. All were fitted with lights that could be seen for miles at night. The first time I encountered them was on a visit from Montana; Sis had not said anything about them, and I thought I was looking at an alien landing site! The lights no longer shine down on them at night; I don’t know if the Dept. of Transportation and the Washington State Patrol decided it was just not safe since they are literally just yards off of the I-5 freeway, where the speed limit is 70mph, or if the money ran out to pay the electricity bill, or what. You can read more about the controversy about getting the park set up, about the monuments themselves, and the fight to make it bigger here. The linked website is also the source for this photo:

OK, now onto the movies. It has been commented on that my taste in movies seems to lean rather heavily towards the horror genre, and I guess it does. I never really thought about it, but these next two selections will seem to put a few more nails in the coffin (see what I did there?): Ghost Ship and Ghost Rig.
Sis and I have nearly identical taste in movies, books, and music. When one of us tells the other about a new movie, author, or musical group that has been discovered, the other of us just goes ahead and buys it, fully anticipating that we will enjoy it profusely because the other one did. Ghost Ship was kind of a miss on that. I loved it, but it took Sis nearly four years to watch it all the way through because it scared her to death! The opening scene was enough to send her scrambling to turn on every light in the house. It definitely is not the best movie ever made and was never in danger of winning any awards, but it has a good (if slightly predictable) plot, good acting with faces you recognize, and good special effects. One review I read said it is “more like a ‘Shining’ on the water”. In brief, a salvage crew gets a tip on an ocean liner that has been missing since the 1960’s. They manage to find it; as they are towing it back to harbor, things happen and the crew winds up trapped inside the liner only to discover a presence aboard the ship. Be sure to be pay attention at the very end for a great twist! Stars Julianna Margulies, Gabriel Byrne, and Ron Eldard.

The second pick today is Ghost Rig starring Jamie Bamber, Bryan Carney, Juliet Diamond, Kerry Norton and Noel Fitzpatrick. Fair warning: this movie is borderline terrible. It gets terrible reviews because the acting is pretty crappy, the script needs help, and the direction…well, it probably could have been better. At first I figured that they just replaced the ship in Ghost Ship with an oil rig. But this movie is definitely different. Basically, it’s about a group of environmental activists who get themselves airlifted onto an abandoned oil rig that the owners plan to blow up, letting the pieces fall to the ocean floor to make an artificial reef. The activists figure it can’t be blown up with them on it, and the owners will have to listen to their demands. The only weird thing is where is the maintenance crew that is supposed to be on board? It doesn’t take long for characters to start dying off, and it doesn’t really hurt your feelings any. There are lots of holes in the plot, but if you can ignore some of that, you can really enjoy the movie. This is another movie with a big plot twist at the end, and watching the whole movie is actually worth it just for that! Don’t hate me if you hate it. Please.

OK – that is it for today. Hope your week is going well so far, and I’ll see you here tomorrow for the letter H!


Monday, April 7, 2014

F is for FIRE! and Fallen

Well, I made it! Today's post is late in getting published, but it's still on the right day. I've done all my other posts a day ahead, but I didn't get my post done over the weekend.

OK - F is for fire. Well, the fire that almost was, but wasn't, so YAAAYYY!

On Saturday, I took Les out for breakfast at this great little French restaurant in town called "Jacques en le boîte" (or Jack in the Box for all you non-Frenchers), and then we went and got him a haircut.

We had been out and about for an hour and a half or so, when Les casually turns to me and says, "You know, I left a pot pie in the oven when we left. I'm sure the oven is still on. Do you think the house has burned down yet?"


"How long are those supposed to bake?" I asked, trying to remain calm while visions of the house fully engulfed in flames, little dogs barking their heads off, ravage my brain.

"Oh, only about 45 minutes."

"Ah. So only about 45 minutes longer than we have been away from home? Great. Let's get home, shall we?"

I tried to fit a 25-minute drive into 15 seconds, and as we came over the top of a hill that leads down to where our home is, I felt better when I could not see smoke.

The house wasn't filled with smoke, but we did have to open all the doors and windows for a while. The pot pie, I'm sad to say, was a total loss: blackened beyond all recognition, all it's gravy evaporated away. Now when we leave the house, I will have to make sure there isn't anything cooking in the oven as well as checking to be sure none of the burners have been left on. Jeezy creezy.

OK, now for movies. It's hard to just pick one "F" movie, so I have three for you. I would classify the first as Thriller, the second as Drama/Dark Comedy, and the third as Science Fiction/Action/Comedy.

The first is "Fallen" starring Denzel Washington, Reno Wilson, Donald Sutherland, James Gandolfini, and John Goodman, released in 1998. Following the execution of a demonic serial killer, a homicide detective finds himself on the trail of another serial killer whose methods are strikingly similar to the executed killer. Great acting + unexpected plot twists = awesome movie.

The second movie is "Fargo" starring William H. Macy, Steve Buscemi, and Frances McDormand (who won an Oscar for this role). Oh my god I love this movie. Sometimes I just like to watch it so I can hear them talk! And for those of you not familiar with the Northern United States - Minnesota, North Dakota, etc. - they really do talk like that. I used to say, "Ya, sure, you betcha" all the time; when I lived in Montana, people always used to ask me if I was from Fargo! Anyhoo, here's the synopsis: Jerry Lundegaard's inept crime falls apart due to his and his henchmen's bungling and the persistent police work of pregnant Marge Gunderson. There is gore and one short but slightly bizarre sex scene. One of my all time favs.

The third and final selection is "The Fifth Element". I love this movie so much. It stars Bruce Willis, Milla Jovovich, Ian Holm, Chris Tucker, and Gary Oldman. A burnt-out ex-cop has the savior of the universe literally fall into his lap. With the aid of a priest, a radio DJ, and an all expense paid trip on a luxury cruise spaceship, he trys to save the planet from a greedy war lord and his bosses. Love it. Love, love love love love it. I have seen it so many times I can talk along with the script! Milla is wonderful in it, and Bruce shows off his many acting talents in this film.

Well, that's it for today! Once again, thank you all for your lovely comments. I love reading them so much (I'm kinda needy that way).


Saturday, April 5, 2014

E is for…well, you’ll see

Since several readers enjoyed my post for the letter C with the lake name that was longer than anyone thought the name of a lake could be, I’ve decided to go with something similar for the letter E. Are ya ready?

E is for eellogofusciouhipoppokunurious. (HA! Spellchecker just lit up like a Christmas tree!) According to the website Glossographia, this is what is known as a “nonce-word”, or a word “created to solve a one-time need in communication, without any expectation that it will become standardized or widely accepted.” Nonce-words can become widely used, and sometimes will wind up in a dictionary, but most are never written down or never repeated. However, this word does turn up in a 1934 copy of Weseen’s dictionary. What does it mean? Very good or very fine. Wow – all those letter for that? I think I’ll stick with just plain ol’ good.

Check out Glossographia – this person knows lots of words and a lot about them as well. A very interesting website.

You know what else E is for? E is for extremely exhausted. And that is me today. I actually spent my lunch hour sound asleep in my Rodeo out in the parking lot at work. This morning, I fell asleep at my desk numerous times while working on an Excel spreadsheet. One moment I was highlighting cells to be copied, and three moments later I would jerk my head up with a start, hand still on the mouse, cells partially highlighted and ready for my next command. I’ve been fighting this stupid virus all week; I seem to be sleeping OK, but my head lolls around like a bladder on a stick during my entire commute to work (and that is NOT eellogofusciouhipoppokunurious). I drink a ton of water throughout the day because my throat is swollen and dry, and I fall asleep on the toilet. It’s making me crazy, and it’s making me fear for my job if the wrong person catches me snoozing at my desk! Oy.

Today’s E movie choice is a flash from the past: Earthquake. This movie was released in 1974 and scared the crap out of me as a kid. I suppose that is because our family was living in the small ski resort town of Wrightwood when a 6.6 quake hit the Los Angeles area in 1971. Even though it wasn’t a high-on-the-richter-scale number, it did over $500 million in damage, injured more than 2,000 people, and took 65 lives. You can read more about it here. Anyway, this movie stars Charlton Heston, Ava Gardner, George Kennedy, Lorne Greene, and Genevieve Bujold, and title tells you all you need to know about the plot. Made before state of the art computer graphics were used for special effects, it still gets the job done. It may be a little cheesy, but it still rocks! Back in the ‘80’s they used to pair this movie with The Towering Inferno on TV, showing them back to back in the same night, and would call it Shake ‘N Bake. It will probably be hard to find, but if you find it, it’s worth checking out.

Well, that’s all for today. Thanks to everyone for the really nice comments – they mean a lot to me!


Friday, April 4, 2014

D is for Dogs and Dan In Real Life

For me, D was always going to be about dogs. I love dogs, all shapes and sizes, although I do prefer large dogs when given a choice. I have always had a dog for a pet since birth, except for the 10 years I lived in Montana. I hated not being able to have a pet! Coming home to an empty house sucked, and I don’t care how freaking big the goldfish is, it’s just not the same.

D is also for dachshund. We had Queenie and Alexander when I was growing up; I don’t know how old Queenie got, but Alexander was 22 years old. Yup. He was older than dirt. He always put on this show – Oh, I’m so frail and blind and deaf – but drop a piece of bacon on the floor and he was on it from three rooms away before you could bend down to retrieve it. We currently have four doxies at our house (you can see their pics in the roll call down the right side of my blog): Bruiser, Snoopy, Mrs. Weenie, and Sam. Sam was a rescue; when we first got him he was so shut down that he just sat. He didn’t wag his tail for almost a month – when he did, I called my sister and we both cried. He didn’t know how to play with toys, let alone other dogs. Now he runs around playing with anyone who has the energy to keep up with him, and he is just so happy all the time. Mrs. Weenie is a favorite wrestling partner, and Gigi – our Pomchi (Pomeranian/Chihuahua mix) – is his girlfriend.

Other dogs we had in the past were a Bluetick Coonhound named Emma that we rescued from the desert around Edwards Air Force Base in California; the world’s most awesome apricot German Shepherd named Barney; Great Danes, Harvey (blonde) and Samantha (black brindle); a red Cocker Spaniel named Cocoa that grew up with Alexander; a fabulous Boxer named Caesar; a black Lab named Ebony; a poodle mix of some sort named Surf; and a humongous Rottweiler named Trooper (but was affectionately called Poopy). When Sis married Les, he had a gorgeous Chow Chow named Bear. Unfortunately, Bear was an asshat and killed two of my sister’s cats. Eventually, Sis and Bear came to the understanding that he would not steal her sandwiches anymore, and she wouldn’t try to smack him with a rolled up newspaper. One time he went across the road and rolled in fresh farm animal poop. He was completely black and dripping with liquid poop. Les’s idiot brother let him in the house, where Bear proceeded to – yes – shake that muck all. Over. The livingroom. Including the ceiling. While my sister had pneumonia. Coughasshatcough.

As far as movies go, today D is for Dan In Real Life. This isn’t normally the type of movie I like, but I luuurve Steve Carell. Juliette Binoche and Dane Cook also star in this comedy/drama/romance. I don’t usually do romance movies, but there are a few that I enjoy. This is about a single father headed up to the family home where he grew up for a family reunion. He has dedicated his life to his children, but the family would love to see him fall in love and get married again. He hits a local bookstore and meets the perfect woman. They spend the day getting to know each other, but each has an engagement to get to and they go their separate ways. That evening, Dave’s brother Mitch shows up with his girlfriend. Guess who it is? I loved it. This is a very talented cast, and the movie is funny, touching, and heartwarming without being smarmy or sickeningly sweet. I hope you enjoy it.

Well, I guess that is it for today! I'll see you tomorrow for the letter E.


Thursday, April 3, 2014

C is for "What the heck is the name of that lake?" and Cloverfield

I’m really kind of stretching it for the letter “C” today, but I did say that stuff was going to be random, right? I was going to talk a bit about our cat, Cheddar, but that is a bit predictable and I don’t have any current pictures of him because he is a scaredy-cat! Prepare yourselves for the randomness:

Which of the following letters - R, B, M or C - appears the most times in the word CHARGOGGAGOGGMANCHAUGGAUGGAGOGGCHAUBUNAGUNGAMAUGG? Yes, it’s a real word. Would the Internet lie? Anyhoo, the answer is: the letter C. The letter R and B appear only once; the letter M appears twice; but the letter C appears a whopping three times! Anyway, this massively long word would appear to be Welsh (seriously, have you seen some of the names of the towns in Wales? Some appear to be all vowels, and some don’t seem to have any vowels at all. Some of them just sound like you’re clearing your throat. No offense to anyone from Wales! You guys rock with your bad-ass names!), but it is actually Native American Nimpuc language for the name of a lake near Webster, Massachusetts, USA. It is commonly known as Lake Webster (gee, I wonder why…). According to the Interwebs, the lake’s name means “You fish on your side; I fish on my side; nobody fishes in the middle.” So…there you have it. You are Jeopardy ready now. Here is a picture of it to prove I'm not making it up:

OK, now for the movie portion of today’s post. Today’s movie beginning with the letter C is Cloverfield. Now, I know there are some of you groaning just reading the name of my choice, but I totally love this movie. When the Blair Witch Project came out, I didn’t really like it. It kept building up and up, and it was making me very anxious, and then the ending was just weird and I didn’t get it. I watched it again a few years later, and I still didn’t get it. But I loved the idea of filming the movie in the style of a home movie camera. It seemed to make it more believable. Cloverfield is filmed in this style. It takes a bit to get going, but when it finally does, it takes off like a fighter jet and you can’t unclench until about a half hour after it’s over. I love that. And it all takes place at night, which always makes things 100 times creepier; you never really get a look at the monster until almost the very end but you can hear it making ungodly noises and see the destruction it’s causing. Which adds to the psychological thrill. If you like Godzilla movies, you will like this one. ‘Coz it’s better.

See you tomorrow for the letter "D".


(Sources: www.funtrivia.com and www.websterlake.net/pictures)

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

B is for BBBb tuba and Below

I love music. Big time. I think the only form of music I don’t really care for is Rap; I still believe it is music – although many think it’s just swearing, noise, and references to…erm…human body parts – I still believe it is a firmly set, cultural part of music history. I just don’t happen to care for it.

I started playing music when I was in the 6th grade, around 12 years old. I started playing the flute. When I was 13, my father bought me a piano! Oh, it is so beautiful. It is considered an upright studio baby grand and is made from rosewood. It was the most unique area of the shop where my father said I could choose from. I’ve never seen another like it. Anyhoo, when I started high school, I joined the marching band. I played my flute and marched my butt off the first year, then the other three years I was honored to be the Drum Major. So many wonderful memories…

But, I digress. Today’s random thought starting with the letter B is the BBBb tuba, better known as the subcontrabass tuba. The first tuba tuned to BBBb was designed by the inventor of the saxophone of all things, Adolphe Sax (1814-1894). The first two modern versions were built on the suggestion of John Philip Sousa – and if you know about marching bands, then you know all about him.

A tuba pitched to FFF was made around 1910, but two persons were needed to play it; one to operate the valves and one to blow into the mouthpiece. That guy probably needed a good set of lungs!

One big ass tuba yo
As for my movie selection, I choose Below. This is a great movie, and I had never heard of it when I bought it. It was released in 2002, was directed by David Twohy and stars Matthew Davis, Bruce Greenwood, Holt McCallany, and Olivia Williams. There is even a small part played brilliantly by Zach Galifianakis.

Here is a summary: After they rescue a trio of survivors that includes a nurse, Claire Page (Olivia Williams), from a British hospital ship sunk by the Nazis, the crew of the American submarine U.S.S. Tiger Shark comes to believe that their vessel is haunted. The unexpected death of their commander forces first officer Lt. Brice (Bruce Greenwood) to take command, trying to avoid a German destroyer on the hunt for his ship, while investigating the series of mysterious incidents that are terrifying his crew.

For some reason it doesn’t get super fabulous reviews, but I thought it was great. Submarines give me the heeby-jeebies anyway, and combine that with the fact that warships are after you and weird stuff is happening all around but you can't get off the sub...I can watch this movie again and again.

Well, that’s all for B!


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

A is for Aardvark and Auntie Mame

This is my first time participating in the A to Z blog challenge – oh, thank you, no need for applause, you are too kind.

I didn’t really have any theme picked out because I just kind of leaped into this challenge without really knowing much about it; but after contemplating it for a while I think my theme will be random thoughts and movie selections. Kind of jumbled and unrelated, just like my brain.

For some weird reason, the first thing that popped into my head when I thought, “A is for…”, was the scene from Blackadder The Third where Blackadder is trying to re-write the dictionary because Baldrick has burnt the only copy. You can enjoy a bit of it here.

A is also for one of my all-time favorite movies: Auntie Mame (Rosalind Russell version). I want to be Auntie Mame. This move makes me feel better when I am down, and I often watch it when I’m sick – it gives me the “all betters”. Other favorite movies that start with A? Alien, Aliens, America’s Sweethearts (another favorite when I’m down or sick).

Well, speaking of sick, I’m off to the doctor this afternoon. I cannot kick this stupid virus, and I need to follow up with her from that time when my blood sugar was over 500. I smell more pills a-comin’!


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

May I Have Your Attention, Please?

I am already massively burnt out on "news" stories about Kimye's Vouge cover and the Paltrow/Martin conscious uncoupling (does that mean they were unconsciously coupling before?).

Please cease and desist. These are not "news" stories, they are "entertainment" stories, if that. Although, I must admit that I found it highly entertaining that little North peed all over Kanye during the photo shoot. But otherwise? Please.

Thank you. We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Just some pictures to share

Well, howdy. Nothing much going on around here. I'm trying to re-succumb to the vile virus I had a few weeks ago, but I REFUSE to give in! I have no idea where it keeps coming from, but it raised its ugly head this weekend. I felt OK Friday night, but when I got up Saturday morning I could barely swallow. The weather outside was gorgeous and sunny, and I refused to stay home in bed. I treated myself to lunch at our favorite Mom & Pop restaurant in Centralia: Poppa Ray's. Only now I think it might be calling itself Main Street Grill. They were closed for a month - the sign on the door said they were cleaning and doing some remodeling - and we were beginning to fear that they were closed for good! But apparently the old owner is back; booths and barstools have been recovered, and you can tell the place has been given an old fashioned assholes-and-elbows kind of cleaning. The food is still the same, which is a good thing 'coz that's why we go there!

After hitting the grocery store for a few things, I returned home and I took a few pictures around the homestead. Then I went into the house and collapsed for the rest of the day. Sunday was spent hiding in my room (I don't want Les to catch this) and playing Candy Crush on my Kindle. I feel better today. Weird.

As you can see to the right, I've decided to join a blogging challenge. It's new to me, but I think I'll be able to handle it. It's the A to Z challenge; click here to find out all about it. I don't have a central theme, but I thought I would chose a random thought for each day, and have an underlying theme of choosing a favorite film (or films) that start with that letter. Wish me luck!

OK - so here are the pictures. First off, I mentioned a while back that I joined a Facebook photography group to help me get back out there and doing what I love: taking pictures. There is a theme every week, and we must take the picture we submit within that week; no fair posting pictures that we have taken in the past.

The first week was a selfie, which I posted in my last post: me with the Kleenex box on my head. The second week was "buildings", and here is my submission:

The third week was "children". I don't have any, we don't live near any nor do I work with or around any. So, I had to get creative:

These are the eggs that our geese have been laying. So they are future children, yes? Well, it's all I could come up with.

Here are our geese:

Roaming geese gang with runner duck

We won't know which eggs belong to which goose pair until they hatch, I guess. They are HUGE! Each one of those eggs is bigger than my fist.

And speaking of geese, or gooses, whatever...we had a little goose that Jim got last summer that had a gammy leg, so he carried him around in his shirt and named him Swenson. Eventually, Swenson's leg healed up and he followed Jim around like a little puppy dog. Whenever Jim would sit down, Swenson cried to be held. Here is a picture of Jim and Swenson last summer:
It's love...

Eventually, Swenson got bigger and Jim was away from the house more and more, so one day I let him out of the little pen that Jim was keeping him in and put him in with the other geese. Jim never mentioned it, so there he stayed and is very happy. Here is Swenson today:

He is a big boy - his head comes up past my hip. I can't wait for all the little goslings to hatch! One of the grey geese lost her mate (because Jim sold him...grrrrr...) and was very depressed. One day Jim brought home a whole flock of little runner ducklings, and she took them under her wing (literally) and was a very good auntie. Hopefully some of those eggs are hers, and she can be a mommy this year!

Here are a few random pics. Please to enjoy.
One of our roosers: Lloyd

Sammy with an olde timey filter

This last picture was taken the same day as the picture of the Mission. This was directly across the street. I would take a snap of the Mission, turn around and take a snap of the sun coming through the clouds. I did this from several different angles, and I think this one turned out the best.

Well, I guess that does it for today. Hope to have some stitchy updates for you next time.

Take care!


Thursday, March 13, 2014

Bonus post - project progress pictures and a small rant

OK - here are the progress pictures for Poppy Puss that I promised. I think I just used up my entire allotment of "p"s in that one sentence!

Here was my last progress shot on 1-26-14:

And here is where I am now:

Also, I posted some pictures a bit back showing some of the other projects I had completed, namely: jewelry. There were a few pictures that refused to cooperate (quelle surprise) and so I couldn't share them with you. Here they are:

I made a bracelet for my mother. I was out for a visit from Montana, and she was lamenting the fact that I had never made anything for her. I felt really bad about that; but to be honest, I didn't really know what to make for her. She never wore bracelets and does not have pierced ears. However, she does have this awesome banded agate ring that she got from her mother when she graduated from high school back around 1954. I have never seen another one like it; when I was little, I thought it was one of those rolly-poly bugs - you know, the kind you see on the sidewalk and when you touch them they roll up into a little ball? Anyhoo. She very, very rarely takes it off. Since I had driven out to Portland from Montana, I decided to leave a few hours ahead of my scheduled departure time for heading home and stopped at this phenomenal bead store just outside of Olympia called Shipwreck Beads (you can find them online). When I walked through the front door, I literally ran into a table covered in displays of...wait for it...banded agates in every shape and size you can imagine! So I found several that were almost exactly the same size and shape as the one in her ring, got some other beads and a few fresh water pearls to go with them, and when I got home I made her this:

Sorry - I know the picture quality is a bit wonky. I put a magnetic clasp on it so that she would be able to put it on by herself without any trouble. I don't usually work with gold, but that is pretty much all Mom wears. I got a small black and gold gift box, and wrote a little something on the lid in gold pen for her. Best. Gift. Ever. When she called to tell me she had received it, she was in tears. I sent it to her work place because I don't always trust her home mail delivery, and she said she couldn't stop bragging to people that I had hand made it just for her. It made my heart so happy!

I also made these pendants. I'm not super happy with them (I had planned to sell them on Etsy or similar) so I just kept them for myself. I gave the sunflower one to Sissy and the bird one on the far right to a friend.

I have a twin-set that is the exact same color blue as the background in the other bird pendant (second to the right) and wore it to a job interview. I have copper chains that go with the pendants, and if it wasn't for the big air bubble in the center of almost every one of them, I'd be really happy with them. I'm going to try to make more, and maybe I'll use one for my first blog give away someday.

And now for the rant:

I am addicted to the game "Candy Crush". I put it to you that it should actually be called "Candy Crush Your Soul". A game implies fun. Sure, strategy and skill can be in there too, but mostly "fun" is associated with the word "game". My sister wants to know how something could be considered "fun" when one is shaking one's fist at said game, and screaming "YOU BLOODY BASTARD!" at least once every 15-90 seconds. I have been stuck on level 70 (there are approximately 450 levels to date - and that is not an exaggeration on my part) for what seems like my entire life. My Facebook chums send me extra lives and extra moves, but to no avail. The CEO of the company that owns this game is set to make a butt load of cash in the coming weeks; I hope he squirrels some of that money away for dental insurance 'coz if some of us ever catch him in a dark alleyway, he's going to need help getting his teeth put back in.

And now, something sweet to counteract the bitterness of the above rant:

Miss Muffin has decided that I need a night time companion and has taken to sleeping in my room. If I am in my room with the door closed, she will sit in the hallway right outside my door and cry until I let her in. I don't mind; it's nice to have another little warm body in the bed. Ahhhhh...cuteness.