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  • Bologna

    Once upon a time, my family took road trips. We lived in Colorado, and our family was in New York. I don't remember most of these road trips very well - I remember one trip feeling like it took foreeeeeever (apparently we drove straight from NY to CO without stopping) - I remember reading one of those Children's classics as we drove through Chicago - and I know that Kansas and Nebraska are the most boring states to drive through. 

    But I also remember the bologna incident. 

    On one road trip, my parents put me in charge of the cooler of food in the backseat. I was super excited about the idea of keeping people fed. It made me important - crucial to the success of our trip and happiness of my parents. 

    So I broke out the bologna and butter and offered my parents sandwiches - at like 8am. Maybe it was as late as 10. But it was definitely quite a bit before noon. My parents laughed and I sadly put the bologna back.

    But not the butter. I forgot about the butter.

    Some time later, we got out of the car, and I had smushed the stick of butter into the backseat, and all over my favorite afghan that my grandma made me. To make matters worse, I'm pretty sure this was the car we leased - as an adult, I can understand the extra horror of that. 

    I give my parents a lot of credit - they didn't get mad. I sobbed and sobbed because I felt so bad, having failed in my duty, made a mess, and buttered up my blanket. 

    To this day, when I see bologna, I can't help but think of that roadtrip. For everyone traveling over the holidays, may your trips be safe, merry, and butterless. 

  • Smelly

    There's something about the smell of books. Not EVERY book, but some books, for sure. To know whether it's a good book, you have to open it up and sniff it. Matt still chuckles when he catches me nose deep in a book. 

    Some plastics smell really good too, though I can't tell you offhand which ones. Probably whichever ones give you cancer.

    I've also always liked the smell of gasoline. Not, like, I would wear it or anything, and I'm pretty sure if I had to smell it all the time it would lose any appeal. But if I'm pumping gas and I get a good whiff, it's not all that bad.

    Now, when it comes to more 'normal' things to smell, I have to say that my tastes have changed. I've never liked super duper strong perfume, (you know, the stuff that when you smell it you go PHHHEW) but too long and it gives me a headache. Since we switched over to using more natural soaps, stuff like Bath and Body Works is really hit or miss. It's too strong, too artificial. 

    Citrus fruits are a good smell - though to rank them, it'd probably be orange, lemon, then grapefruit. Also, I like my orange juice with as much pulp as I can get. If I'm not chewing half of my orange juice, it's a wasted experience. 

    I like a good vanilla. It's a good, safe smell. If it's too artificial, it can be a bit weird, but it rarely makes me cringe.

    Spearmint is a smell that I like in soaps or gum, because it reminds me of my grandma. I don't know why, because it's not like she constantly had it on her. Maybe I was with her the first time I smelled it? I don't know. 

    Fruit smells in general are a winner for me, come to think of it. Maybe less so when it's grape or watermelon. I also never really understood the appeal of cucumber melon. That was a big one when I was in high school. But then again, I'm not really wild about cucumbers.

    One of my favorites though, done right, is lavender. That seems to be a real love it or hate it kind of smell. REAL lavender though, like what I find in the garden, is amazing. 

    Cinnamon, baked goods, also real winners. I will not be upset if I walk into your house and smell either. 

    What are some scents that you really like? Anything weird? 

  • All I want for Christmas

    All I want for Christmas

    Is Cuppie? 

    The kiddos have been VERY involved in our Christmas related activities. So don't be surprised if there's a tuft of hair in your card this year. We're fortunate that none of them are counter surfers, but they're sure up in our grill for everything else!

  • One Form of Attachment

    One Form of Attachment

    For the last several nights, Gwen has slept on top of me. Yes, you read that right. She comes out of the office, and usually waits until everything is quiet, then tip toes across the bed and gently sets herself down on my chest. She might try and settle in on me if I'm laying on my side, but she always leaves within a few minutes, so I can tell that she's not a fan. 

    It's a really good thing that she is a light cat, because she's been sleeping on me almost all night, leaving only to do whatever cats do when they're not sleeping on top of you. One night when she got up, I realized my cheek was sweaty, because she'd been curled up with her back against my cheek. It's really ... cozy. A little weird too, let's be honest.

    This cat continues to amaze me. When I met that antisocial Nuggie who wouldn't let me touch more than on the top of her head, I never would have thought that she'd do this. 

    To be fair, she still doesn't like a lot of people touching her. You have to earn her trust. I seem to be the only one who has an all-access pass to petting her whenever I see her. Apparently I have her trust in spades. I'm not sure why, to be honest. I'm nice to her, sure, but I don't feel like I'm that much nicer to her than Matt, for me to be her preferred person. This cat is LOYAL. Occasionally I joke that she'd launch herself at anyone who tried to hurt me, but I think it's true. I was definitely Mikenna's person, but this feels like a whole different brand of loyalty. It was like, Mikenna loved me and we were bff and it was awesome. Gwen loves me and has sworn a lifedebt to me. 

    I'd love to know what's going on in that little calico head of hers. I have no idea when she'll get tired of this intense snugglefest. But I'll enjoy it as long as I can. Little weirdo. :)

  • Movie Theater Madness

    Lynchburg got a new "cheap theater" after the old one closed down a couple of years ago. Our movie theater outings have gone up by quite a bit. We don't always get snacks when we go, but here and there we'll grab a box of candy and a drink. (Movie theaters make most of their money from concessions, and I really want to keep this place in business!)

    So I've been thinking about it, and here's my top three movie theater candies. Your mileage may vary.

    1. Junior Mints
    These are a good, solid choice. They're not overly sweet like some candy, and the minty flavor keeps you from tossing them back too fast. They make a nice sweetness contrast to popcorn, in my opinion. 

    2. Sour Patch Kids
    I would say that these aren't too sweet, but they are literally dusted in sugar. I'm pretty sure I like the blue ones the best, but I couldn't really tell you what any one flavor is. They're sweet and sour and fun - the only downside is that it's easy to have the box just about gone before the movie starts.

    3. Milk Duds
    Rich, gooey, and sweet. I like to suck on these until they're super soft rather than chonk through the tough carmel. Unfortunately these tend to stick together if you let them sit in your lap for too long, and they need a drink to go with them. But, I still like them every once in a while. They're a candy that I only get at the movie theater, which makes them special. 

  • I just can't handle

    9 Things I Just Can't Handle

    (just for fun. don't take this too seriously)

    9. When someone uses the microwave and leaves the display on the remaining time rather than actual time.

    8. Super smelly things in the morning. Like dog kibble. 

    7. Food in the sink. What was once spaghetti, once it touches the sink, is automatically gag worthy.

    6. When something should be working and isn't. Like the internet.

    5. Super adorable animals, SQUEEEEEE.

    4. When a movie or book has no character growth. 

    3. Ham. Ew.

    2. When people or things are late. 

    1. Dreary days. It's a struggle to even get out of bed. 

  • Retreading old hangouts

    Lately I've been thinking about what it would be like to return to a couple places I've lived. Places I haven't been for quite some time. 

    I've missed Colorado since the day we left, and I've never stopped wanting to see it again. I know that things are a lot different since we moved away almost 20 years ago. Google Earth tells me that the smallish town I lived in is much, much more developed. The field behind my house is now a subdivision, though we knew that was going to happen when we left. The population of Colorado has exploded since we left. 

    I know that things wouldn't be the same, but I can't shake the feeling of wanting to go back. To drive around Greeley and Evans, see what I remember. Go up to the mountains, because there's just nothing else like them. It's been long enough that Colorado doesn't feel like home - I don't really have the emotional attachment to it any more. It was a good memory, and I'd like to see it with my adult eyes. The downside is that Colorado is so far away, and it would require a decent bit of planning to pull that off. You know, like an actual vacation, like most people take from time to time. 

    I've also toyed with the idea of going back to visit New Jersey. I know. I know. I wanted to get out of there so bad that I agreed to go live in the arctic tundra of Michigan for eight years. There wasn't much I liked about living there. But I still think it would be fun to go back and visit. 

    The fact that I haven't had pizza that even comes close to as good as what was in Jersey MIGHT have something to do with it. Seriously, I've had dreams about driving up to New Jersey for pizza. 

    When I left New Jersey, I couldn't drive. Well, technically I could, but I was a huge chicken. I refused to drive on highways, and if you haven't been there, NJ has highways everywhere. I'd like to go back as the confident person I am now, and see how it stacks up. It can't be nearly as bad as I remember, right? 

    Will I take either of these trips? No idea. Seems like the only time I leave the state is to head up to Michigan. No offense, Michigan, but that same trip gets a little boring. I get a bit stir crazy. 

    Or hey, we could go to Disney World. I've never been there. That would be fun. ;) 

  • Dapper Collars

    I've been a little obsessed with the idea of Vizzi in a bow tie for some time now. He's just such a dapper little dude. So I found a collar the other day with a bow tie on it, and I about squealed. Behind it was a little pink polka dot collar with a pink flower on it, and that was it. It was clearly meant to be. I snapped up those collars faster than you can say "dapper do dads". 

    I managed to slice open my finger trying to get the collars free from their packaging, and I may have added some unintentional color to Cuppie's collar. (I think it washed off) 

    I haven't gotten a good picture of Vizzi's bow tie, but you get the idea. He's cute. Cuppie looks like a proper little lady, which cracks me up. 

    Yeah, I'm one of those people who does crazy things to their cats. At least they don't seem to care about this one. They've been wearing collars since they were tiny, so it was no big deal to them after the first thirty seconds. 

  • Helping the Helpless

    I saw a local news story the other day about someone who threw two kittens out of a moving truck. One of the kittens survived, but the other was killed before they could be rescued. There's a thousand dollar reward for information on the person who did it.

    Ugh, right?

    It's easy to ramble on for a while, raging about what kind of person could do something like this. The obvious, succinct answer is that it's someone who has no empathy for animals.

    But it made me look down at my goobers, wrestling each other while their poofy tails flop back and forth. If someone with less empathy had found them, they wouldn't be here today. Same goes for Aery (and every other unwanted kitten, really) - the lady was giving away the kittens in a last ditch attempt before taking them to the shelter. Of course, who knows if they would have actually made it to the shelter. (Or if they would have made it out. High kill shelters are not friendly places for tiny kittens.)

    If, by some means, you come into possession of an animal that you don't want and cannot take care of, please, find a nearby shelter or rescue. If you can go the extra mile to take them to a "no kill" shelter, so much the better. Many places have intake hours - if you are outside of those hours, hang onto the animal overnight if you can. If you absolutely cannot, do you have any neighbors, friends, family, who can take the animal overnight for you? Don't just dump an animal in a box on a shelter's doorstep. They could get free and get lost, could freeze to death, or end up prey. You could also look up nearby vets or emergency vets and ask if they will take the animal overnight. Even if they officially can't, it wouldn't surprise me if one of their employees would be willing to do so. Yes, I'm asking you to make a small sacrifice to make sure the animal gets to safety, but in the scheme of things, it's one day over the course of an animal's life - and yours. Not only is it the kind thing to do, it's the right thing. They're living, breathing, feeling creatures, and whatever "The Incredible Journey" might have taught us, most young animals can't find safety on their own. 

  • Our First Christmas Tree

    Our First Christmas Tree

    For the last ten years, we haven't had our own Christmas tree. It was hard to figure out where we would put one, and I wasn't too keen on the idea of storing one from year to year when we hadn't put down roots anywhere. (Odds that someone would steal the tree out of our basement storage?)

    But the biggest reason we gave was ten pounds or less. Aeris. We were sure that she would be all in a Christmas tree, knocking it over, eating things, causing havoc, and it just didn't seem worth it. 

    But this year we decided that we didn't care. There was a spot in our living room where we could technically fit a tree. Of course it would be a little bit inconvenient, but we could make it work for a month or so. Aeris probably wouldn't cause too much trouble with a tree, but Cuppie has Aery's curiosity x10, and almost no fear to slow her down. So it's not like we thought we'd fare better with this arrangement of animals. 

    I would rather have the memories of the things I did do, even if they are imperfect or inconvenient, than regret the things I didn't do. Hence, getting a tree. We didn't go for anything too expensive, and we bought minimal, shatterproof ornaments to keep it simple should this go south. 

    Does Buttercup like to chew on the tree branches? Absolutely. 
    Does she try to chew on the lights? Ugh. Yes. 
    Does she bat at the ornaments? Yeah, and it's pretty dog gone cute.

    So far, (knock on wood) the cats have actually been a lot better behaved than I thought. The tree hasn't tipped over yet. They all kinda take turns napping underneath the tree, and it's really cute.

    It feels cozy. It feels ... like Christmas. If the tree falls over, we'll put it back up. As long as no one gets hurt, I don't really care. But I'll tell you what, in a few years, Matt and I will be talking about the first Christmas where we had to say "Cuppie, nooooooo" about a dozen times a night. Each.