Sunday, November 30, 2008

Time to Get Motivated!

Last year's tree (I'm not THAT fast!)

Tomorrow is December 1st, which, for me, is the gate that must be passed before I can start thinking about Christmas. This year, though, I've been forced to think about it sooner than I prefer due to my involvement with the DSO and their annual Holiday Pops concert (which is this coming Friday). There I was over at the President of the Board's house the day after Thanksgiving wrapping up Christmas-ish items for the silent auction that will be held throughout the concert. Yesterday found me baking cookies and bars for the dessert buffet for the same venue. I'll be honest; I didn't much feel like a) spending a lot of money on baking ingredients (having had to throw out all of our dry stuff and baking chips earlier this year due to those you-know-what Pantry Moths) for the DSO (having already thrown in more than our share to the cause) and b) baking at all because it was not December yet! So, I made six dozen various cookies and bars but none, technically, "home made". It's still up in the air with me if I WILL make any home made cookies this year; The Kid is gunning for Snickerdoodles, Peppermint Shortbread (a new favorite we added last year) and Mr. B's Chocolate Hearts. In my opinion, if she's wants 'em, she should help bake 'em. But, she's hardly ever here these days so, that probably won't happen.
I think despite the fact it will be December 1st tomorrow, I'm having a tough time getting motivated this year. Maybe it's because I have two icky doctor's appointments right off the bat; one tomorrow and one Tuesday (routine stuff but icky all the same). Or, this Pops thing is hogging up so much of my time (I view it as work, not fun, which is making me re-think my involvement on this Board). Or, is it the weather? Maybe if it would snow!
Well, one thing is for sure, next weekend we'll haul out the Christmas decorations (maybe Mr. B will hang some lights on the house) and put a few things around inside the house (a few because I don't want to spend the next month shooing Pete and Lily away from everything; the tree will be a big enough challenge). I did find some really cute air freshner things from Bath and Body Works that, in addition to difusing stink pretty smells, have bubble lights on them. Too cute!
Ah, the tree. Yes, once we get the tree and proceed with our traditional tree decorating party (consisting of us plus the three pets), sipping eggnog and brandy (us, NOT the three pets) and watching Pete and Lily scamper around the tree, THAT may get me into the spirit.
I have completed our card list and we've got 1/3 of it knocked off. We've actually received one card already, too.
We have purchased 3 Xmas gifts so far (although we're still trying to figure out what we'll do for OUR Xmas gifts; I'm thinking it'd be wise to wrap up pictures of what we'll get (in general) for each other AFTER Christmas when everything will be 75% - 80% off). Is that a cheesy idea? It's not like we need anything, anyway.
So, is it just me? Is anyone else out there struggling to get into the spirit this year? It's not like anything is wrong (to be upset/sad/depressed/angry about).
What does everyone else do to get into the spirit? Play Christmas music? Hmmm...perhaps we should at least dig those CDs out now!
Mrs. B

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Catching Up

Although most of you have seen many of these pictures already, I've been working diligently to add them to my Shutterfly site so I can print them out (eventually) and put them in a hard copy album (yes, I am still ancient in that regard).
But, FYI, I've recently added seven albums under Mrs. B's Stuff, if you'd care to take a gander at 'em!
Back to making cookies (and sipping my Manhattan).
Mrs. B

Friday, November 28, 2008

Afternoon Nap

Mr. B snapped a few great pictures of our three pets this afternoon while I was out doing symphony stuff. It figures that they'd start cuddling together on their own accord while I was away! But, thankfully he was here to capture the Kodak moment; this is the best one, I think.
Mr. B told me that Pete and Lily were on the couch first, then, Lucy jumped up. Lily laid down next to her and promptly fell fast asleep while Pete (at least in this picture) kept a look-out. Lucy, obviously was, as usual, oblivious.
Here's hoping this continues to be a peaceful arrangement. Miss Lucy the Goose was definitely NOT on her best behavior yesterday at mom and dad's house (got into no less than three tussles with her much smaller cousin Maggie, which meant Lucy ended up sitting in the back of our car for an hour or so). All are fine "Aunt" Brook was standing by wondering, "What the...?" but, still; annoying and why? The last time they met, it seemed to me they got along just fine! Who knows with animals but I think Lucy needs more training/exposure to other dogs. Back to "bitch" school goes she (and me).
BTW, I got a few great shots of the twins Sophie and Jacqueline and big cousin Kendal which I'll post shortly.
In the meantime, I am so happy our pets are "bonding"!
Mrs. B

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Profile Pix

Yeah...another post from me. 3 in one day. My followers will be pleased.
On my Face Book page I decided to start switching my profile pix from time to time (who wants to see the same ole same ole?)
I got the idea to do old pictures...of me...not necessarily in any order. I may do at age 4 (this one I just posted) then bounce to 16, then to 27, then back to 3...whatever. Stir it up, make it interesting!
I challenged my Face Book pals to do the same. We'll see.
So, here I am now at 4. 1968.
40 years ago.
Mrs. B

Lucy's Trying to Adjust (and More Kitty Pix!)

Lucy's starting to feel slighted, I think. Seriously, although she has done absolutely nothing wrong, she is starting to act a bit "weird". I think she's a bit jealous, but, hopefully, not dangerously (to Pete and Lily) so.
I know this has been a huge change for her. Really big. When Clyde was here, even though he hated her and definitely did NOT seek her company, there still was a distinct "turf" for each of them. Clyde upstairs, Lucy downstairs. This made it somewhat hard on me as I felt I had to split my time between Clyde and Lucy. I certainly don't want to do this now for another 10 or so years! So, I am trying very hard not to "ban" Lucy from the upstairs simply because Pete and Lily tend to hang out there a lot still. But, she's not allowed up there "unsupervised". I might leave the room with the three of them in it for a few minutes at most. When I take a shower, I make Lucy go into the bathroom with me (much to Pete and Lily's dismay as they really like to watch the water dripping in the shower and then climb into it when I get out).
Pete and Lily do venture downstairs, more and more frequently. We keep a good eye on Lucy to make sure she does not chase them. So far, she hasn't, but, she has started this "herding" thing (can anything really herd a cat?) whereby she walks around them and around them until they are "cornered" (not really but she seems to think they are; she is still underestimating their ability to get away from her). Or, she "stands over them". I can't figure out if this is meant to be domineering or protective. Pete tolerates this much better than Lily (must be a "diva" thing) but, still, if she wants them to want to be around her, she has to knock this stuff off.
On the other hand, she has to put up with them climbing in and out of her food bowl, drinking out of both of her water bowls, Pete sacking out on her bed(s); now, they've started to take over "her" sofa in the sun room, and, insults of all insults, THEY are allowed in the living room/dining room and she is not. Oh, and she has to share her mom with them now, too.

So, we're doing our best to make her feel loved and special but usually she stands and stares at me, giving me this "look" (see picture below) or, like an ornery teenager, doesn't obey her commands on the first go. This is sort of reminding me of how she behaved (and looked) when we first brought HER home almost two years ago.

Sigh. I think what we have to do is give her even more exercise than usual and keep monitoring her (and them) until we know they are big enough to fend for themselves.
Mr. B keeps telling Lucy, "They are staying and you'll have to share". I'm not sure she quite gets that concept yet!
Some more sweet shots of our kittes are below. BTW, can you figure out which is which yet? Comment and let me know! Kitty on pie safe is...? Kitty on blanket is...? Kitty sleeping on chair is...? Kitty on sun room sofa is...?

Mrs. B

Books Yet To Be Read

So, Mr. B and my dad got together several months ago and made 4 HUMONGOUS bookcases, two for mom and dad, two for us. Mr. B has a bit of refinishing work to do on them yet, but then, they'll (somehow) get moved upstairs and it'll be time to load 'em up (we already have three large bookcases up there so we'll also be doing some reorganizing; like, novels in one, Sci Fi/Fantasy in another (and yes, Mr. B has sufficient of these to fill up one bookcase) historical (ditto me and books about the Tudors!), etc.
I have SO MANY books laying around waiting to be read! Not only ones that belong to Mr. B that I've gotten into but have not read them all (series like The Sword of Truth or Anita Blake Vampire Hunter) but also ones I've had for awhile and still have not read them (biographies, mostly; one on Benjamin Franklin, another on Abraham Lincoln, yet another on Lord Byron and, of course, inevitably, several on either the Tudors or people that surrounded them).
Then, there are the ones I've bought fairly recently, even though there was absolutely no reason to since I have all the above mentioned ones waiting to be read. These are the ones on the fairly current best seller lists, like, "The Memory Keeper's Daughter", "Water for Elephants", "The Gargoyle", "The Other Queen", "New Moon" (the 2nd in the Twilight series; I admit I sort of got sucked into that story) and "A Lion Among Men" (the 3rd in the "Wicked" series; I'm always up for something about Oz!)
I am currently reading (and almost through with) "Son of a Witch" (2nd in the "Wicked" series). I doubt I'll want to go right into the one about the Cowardly Lion, so, I'll have to chose amongst all these books which one I will read next!
A great dilemma, right?
Oh, BTW, it's about time for my annual book review series (of all the books I read/listened to in 2008; again a few over 30). I think this year, to save time (and for brevity's sake since I seem to have a problem finishing up my series these days..."Flawed at the Core" and the posts about our recent vacation being prime examples), I will NOT review the ones I thought stunk, I'll just mention the book, who wrote it, and that I thought it stunk.
Mrs. B

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Kissimmee FL, Who Are Ya?

Ever since I started this Live Feed Tracker thing, I've noticed where much of my "traffic" is coming from; namely, right here in good ole NC.

One entry I posted, about Microsoft Vista Hearts "cheating" gets a lot of traffic via Google Search.

But, who are you, Kissammee FL, who routinely, almost every day, visits my Blog?

I'd really like to know what you think, why you keep coming back, and, if you're brave, who you are!

Thanks for visiting!

Mrs. B

Monday, November 24, 2008

I Seem To Be Lily's "2nd Best" Mom!

Lily (at her other home)
Or maybe not even that!
We've had the kittens over a week now. Pete has settled right in. He's always hanging around (unless he's off somewhere asleep). He loves to sit on my lap (which is where he is right now, sleeping; oh by the way, he snores!) He is edging closer and closer to Lucy; he'll plop right down on the floor next to her bed (I'm sure sooner or later he'll be on the bed with her). At night, he'll jump up onto the bed (on occasion) and cuddle up with Mr. B, or me, I guess whomever is closest to where he jumped up at!
Lily, though, we'll, she's another story.
It's not that she's unfriendly, she just isn't very cuddly. When she is hungry, she'll come downstairs and DEMAND to be fed. She will tolerate being petted (I think she prefers to be approached rather than approaching herself). She has, from time to time, jumped into my lap (but she pretty much jumps right out of it). Yesterday she did follow me around some (but that is only because I had the "string shirt" on; a pullover I have that has ties at the bottom and top that dangle down. I can tell you, many, many kitties and cats have played with these strings!) She does hang around downstairs and play; usually in the morning and then at night. Sometimes she'll go back upstairs when she's done and others she'll go curl up on the leather couch. But, she NEVER wants to cuddle with me (or Mr. B, for that matter).
When she plays, she's funny. She growls at her toys (her favorites are these little puff ball things) and carries them around in her mouth. She will play with you if you tempt her. She interacts just fine with her brother and tolerates the dog (doesn't run away from her but isn't interested in getting too close). She mostly loves to sit inside Lucy's food bowl.
When we're upstairs getting ready for bed, she may hop onto the bed to play (with the bookmark Analee made me; she (and Pete) LOVE the pink ribbon!) but she never stays. In fact, she sleeps under the bed (this reminds me of poor Clyde) OR up in the perch. Pete, as I already mentioned, won't sleep on the bed all night, but he will crash with us for long periods of time.
She likes to follow you into the bathroom (as does Pete) so getting ready in the morning is "fun" for Mr. B (today he had to shoo her out of the shower) and she'll usually come in to see what I'm up to as well.
I've never had a girl kitty before so at first I wondered if it was just the difference between boy and girl kitties. My Father said she might be allowing Pete to get more attention because she's being "maternal" towards him (let him have the love, I'll sacrifice). He also said female cats are "divas". Well, she sometimes acts like a diva, but, you'd think she'd be trying to hone in on the attention Pete brings on himself if that were the case.
This past Saturday I took the towel we'd borrowed back to their foster mom, Christy. She said, "Oh, I hope you're experiencing how sweet they are, especially Velma! She just loved to be carried around and, the last few nights they were here, she slept cuddled up to my side!"
Say what? Are we talking about the same kitten?
I said to her, "Well, Pete is definitely very friendly and loving, but, Lily seems sort of stand-offish".
To which she said "She was the last one to "come around" when we introduced them to our cats. I gave her a lot of extra special attention from the beginning; I just took to her, I guess".
I suppose the bottom line here is; I think Lily misses her "other" mom. And, she has a lot of new things to get used to; me, Mr. B, Lucy, a new home/environment, different way of doing things, etc.
I sure hope she comes around, though! I feel bad for her but on the other hand, I don't want to "force" myself on her, either. I would, though, like to see this sweet little kitty Christy kept telling me about!
Any ideas/suggestions?
Mrs. B

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Thankful...Grateful...You Bet!

In last Sunday's paper, there was an article in the Work and Money section by a youngish gal (just starting out with her career) about, what, despite the ever present (in our faces) and seemingly prevailing gloom and doom economic situation, she was "thankful" for. Since it was in the Work and Money section, the focus was things like, being young enough to recover, zero credit card debt, having a husband with a like mind regarding financial matters, etc. (all good things, BTW!)
Well, since Thanksgiving is coming up on us next week, I thought I'd list a few things that I am thankful and grateful for; maybe to remind me (and others) that, despite what's going on, we're pretty damn lucky!
Of course this is number one. Where would we be without our families? Our own "nuclear" family (spouses, children and pets), our parents and grandparents (if we are so lucky to still have them amongst us; if not, the cherished memories of them and what they gave to us/taught us), our brothers and sisters, our brothers and sisters in-laws, our cousins, their spouses, their children, etc. Yeah, we probably all have "one or two" family members that at times drive us up the wall, but, I'd take that any day over not having anyone to face trials and tribulations with; joys, special moments; in essence, LIFE. I love my family and I'm never ashamed to admit it and I probably should tell them this more often!
Our chosen families! Whether you have just a few close friends or countless ones, they are probably just as important as family. When we were in California a few weeks ago, I just had this glow of happiness the entire time I was there because we were able to visit with so many friends. My only regret is that so many of my friends live far away. But, they are reachable via email and phone pretty much at a moment's notice. We're still there for each other!
Having had a bit of a "scare" last week (it all turned out ok) really brought into focus for me how thankful I am that I am, in general healthy, as is Mr. B and as are the majority of my family and friends.
General Financial Well-Being
This covers a lot of topics such as: Money in the bank (in cash!), very limited debt (mortgages), more than decent income/earning potential, time (we will likely recover from this recent fracas), both cars paid off, etc. A lot goes into this, though; "some" of it is "luck" but the majority is the way we were brought up (what our parents instilled in us regarding working, saving, spending), getting a decent education, having common sense and savvy, etc.
Living in an environment you are happy with is so important. I absolutely LOVE our house, our furniture, our decorations; everything. I am proud of it; it's "ours". It brings me comfort and restores me (whenever I need to be restored). Yeah, sometimes our neighbors drive me up the wall, but, even they are "ok"; not bad people at all.
I am really content living in this part of the country, and, for several reasons, am very very happy I decided to move here! As for the region itself; I'm getting used to it and quite enjoy living in a "smallish" city where I pretty much know where things are, it doesn't take longer than 1/2 hour to get to most places (and an hour for others); there are unique and interesting places to see, things to do, stores to shop in, restaurants to frequent; not to mention, the majority of our family is nearby (or within a days drive). How perfect is that!
There are probably more, but, my guess is they would funnel into those that I already listed (or more than one). Say, for example, the ability to travel could fall into health or general financial well-being.
If we stop and think about it, the few "broad" things we have to be thankful and grateful for turn out to be very grand indeed!
Mrs. B

Friday, November 21, 2008

Kitty Pix Fix

Wow! I actually skipped a day discussing the kitties. Imagine that!
The past few days have been continual fun and games with the kitties. And, I'm happy to report that, although they are not yet "cuddling" with Lucy, it'll likely happen soon (I'm placing my bet on Pete 'braving" it first!)
Yesterday, both kittens discovered that they like to sit in the decorative bowl which is on top of the dining room table. They take turns.

Pete discovered that the back of the leather sofa is a comfy place to nest. Observe Lucy in the background on "her" sofa. Also, while I gave Lucy some cuddle time out on her sofa, Pete came out and laid in the sun behind the sofa while Lily sat in one of the living room windows alternative between playing with the blind cord and looking out on our street. I didn't have the camera handy so didn't get pictures of either of those "moments".

We've discovered that our Lily is a little pig, and, a demanding one at that. One of the rituals that is quickly developing between her and Mr. B is, he goes into the utility room and she runs after him and promptly demands food. He usually obliges!
Last night found them scampering all over the living room. They discovered the joys of the couch out there and all its pillows. Great fun was had by both as one would sit on the couch buried under the pillows while the other would come running at a flying leap and pounce. Off they'd both go onto the floor, rolling around, tussling, yowling at one another. This went on for some time. Alas, I was too busy laughing to take a picture.

After play time, Lily stretched out in her "hussy" position.

Later, Lily discovered a crawl space in the corner area of our kitchen cabinets. She went in, followed by Pete. Although this was cute, we decided we didn't want to risk one of them getting stuck in there so we've stopped the space up with a towel until they are too big to get in there.

This morning, Lily sacked out on the leather sofa while Pete sat in my lap and attempted to post an entry on my Blog. Big sis Lucy came over a few times to give him a gentle whiff. He didn't seem to mind much.

I left the pantry door open and he wandered in there. A few moments later, I heard him crying and carrying on. Turns out he'd gotten himself stuck in the wine rack. Are you a good vintage, Pete?

Mr. B came home early today; just that sort of cold, grey, maybe snowy day. He decided to nap; Pete and Lily obliged. You can't see Pete (he's on Lucy's bed next to our bed) but Lily is sacked out at the foot of the bed.
So, yeah, our journey continues! It's been fun and light hearted. It's especially been endearing to me to see how pleased Mr. B is (these are his very first kittens that he remembers being kittens; so, this is an extra special time). It's like taking your best friend to Disneyland for their very first time!
Mrs. B

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Things That Go By The Wayside (As Life "Happens")

I got to thinking about this while I was at the day-spa today getting a facial, etc. What I am referring to are, "things" (usually something you meant to do) that don't happen (or happen as quickly as they should have) because other things, the things of life, get in the way.
Case in point, my having this facial. Mr. B gave me a gift certificate for a treatment at this spa for Christmas last year. I tucked it away in my calendar for safe-keeping. A few weeks before we left for California, I was digging around in my calendar for our trip itinerary, and, lo and behold, out fell the certificate. No, I did not forget I had it, rather, in the back of my mind I figured I'd wait for some special event so I'd look extra special good for it. Frankly, there have been a few of those already this year, so, yeah, "life got in the way". Luckily, I looked closely at the certificate. Oops! It expired at the end of November! Better make an appointment, thought I. So, I did, for the day before we left for California. But, "life" had other plans as, two days before THAT, I used a hair removal cream on my skin and ended up with a minor chemical burn (how the hell that happened I have no clue as I've been doing this for...uh...well, let's just say "awhile" now!)
Being that the end of the month is next week, I figured I'd best get busy on this. Hence why I was there today and why this topic popped into my brain.
I don't know about you, but, I have several varieties of "To Do" lists. The primary (and messy) one is the day to day "To Do" list (which I usually take out over a two week period of time). I also keep several other "To Do" lists which are stuff I need to do or want to do (or should do) but they are not time-sensitive (although maybe I'd better re-think these given the near-miss with the day spa gift certificate). What I usually do is, from time to time, go over those lists and then factor them into the two week out list. Then, there are the "special" lists (like for the Holidays or a project (e.g., DSO Holiday Pops)) and the lists I keep when I'm somewhere not supposed to be keeping a list but I keep one to ease my mind (these I call my "Things To Do When I Return" lists). Finally, there are the multitude of "Honey Do To Do Lists" that I keep for Mr. B. If I think of something that shouldn't take him long to do but it's somewhat urgent (and I cannot do it), I write it down on a piece of paper and leave it with his mail for him to see when he gets home. If they are longer term things (that will take time, money, thought and perhaps a discussion or two), we write on his "board" (that hangs in the utility room); the idea here (his) was that he'd see it every day and be able to think about when/how he'd get around to them.
The things that "get in the way" of accomplishing some of the actions on the "special" lists (and sometimes even the two week one) is just life happening. I get sick. We go on vacation. There is an impromptu get together at a family member's house that sounds a hell of a lot more fun than "working". Money might be tight or maybe I'm working a lot for my consulting gig in a particular week. Or, we get two kittens that require "a bit" of effort and involvement. Or the dog scrapes her face on the fence and we have to take her to the vet and then apply medicine to her face twice per day. Or, we can't yet leave the dog and the kittens alone together, etc. Or, frankly, I'd just assume blog or read or get on the elliptical machine or walk the dog or figure out what we're going to have for dinner that week.
So, here are a few (not all, mind) items, as an example, that are on each of these types of "To Do" lists. Unlike the list in the picture at the top of this entry, mine are NEVER blank (I do like the format of the one in the picture, though!) Also, mine are kept in a variety of places; in a document on the computer, in my little note book, on the back of a piece of paper (if I don't have anything else to write on), etc.
Mrs. B's Two Week To Do List
-Call the eyeglass repair place to get my frames repaired (they broke Friday)
-Send out a reminder email to the DSO Board (who have not answered me yet) to find out what day in January they can attend a retreat
-Switch closet (this means move my spring/summer clothes into the guest bedroom closet and bring my fall/winter clothes into the master bedroom closet
-Talk to Mr. B about Xmas
-Go to the store for Thanksgiving dinner items/pre-cook for Thursday
Special Project List (Holiday Pops)
-Bake and freeze what I can
-Beanies (this means wrap up the 3 baskets of Beanie Babies I am donating)
-Painted Violin raffle tickets (try to sell 10; anyone want one? $5/ticket. The violins are REALLY cool this year!)
After I Return (Vacation)
-Update stocks (I think this was from the Mexico June. Obviously, it's been too depressing/pointless to do yet)
-Update CD (as in music) list (yeah...on a list to update another list...)
-Other To Do list (ok, this is really anal, isn't it?)
Long Term Lists (I am sorry to say some of these "actions" have been on SO long I should drop them off!)
To Buy
-Extra towel ring for Master Bath (ok...we've been in the house two years now, I guess we can live without this!)
-Stationary/ink (I REALLY WILL DO THIS FATHER :-) )
-Storm door (this is also on Mr. B's list so it must be important, right?)
To Do
-Get bracelet fixed (means put a security chain on it)
-Watch battery for Mr. B (this is really his action!)
-Leave "instructions" (this is a morbid one but I keep meaning to write out a few pages of who gets what when I croak, where important documents are, account numbers, funeral arrangements, etc. Yeah, you can probably see why this one has been on the list for ages). I DO have a will/living will, though!
-Hard copy Italy album (uh, it's been 5 years since I went to Italy the last time!)
Mr. B's Short Term
-Change light bulb in light over stairs (he's not looking forward to doing this, it may end up on the long term list eventually)
-Help with Lily's butt (ok, do not get the wrong idea here; this means I decided I need to trim the hair in "that region" until she learns better bathroom/cleaning habits. Mr. B is going to have to help on this one!)
Mr. B's Long Term
-Stretch carpet (not that he has to do it but we probably need to get our carpet stretched at some point)
-Clean wood floor (you all should be fully aware of what this one is)
-Urns (Nigel and Clyde's)
-Grout (some of our grout needs to be re-done and we're past home warranty so he has to do it)
-Lucy's class (this is my action too; we signed her up for a class this past January, she got Heartworm (that "life happening thing") so we postponed it. It's now November. We really need to do this (especially as we've paid for it!))
Ok, so, am I completely anal? I also keep a list of potential Blog topics, what books I want to read, who to send a holiday card to (and who is banished off the list for not ever sending us one); etc.
Does anyone else out there do anything remotely similar to all of this?
I am interested in thoughts here, folks; any better ideas?
Mrs. B

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Yum-o! But, Now I'm FAT-O! OUGHT-O!!!

This is not meant to be a slight against Rachel Ray, but, some thing's dawned on me and I think there is a conspiracy going on!
Most people know who she is and probably own at least one of her cookbooks (I have two) and/or subscribe to "Everyday with Rachel Ray" or watch her show or or or. Mr. B got me one of her cookbooks a few years ago and I really do like it a lot. The other one he got me a few years later I don't quite like as much, but, it's okay (this one is meals for 2, 4, 6, 8 the other is 365 recipes; I like that one because, in a lot of cases, she provides a "master" recipe and then suggests changes here and to it that ends up making the original recipe something somewhat similar but different enough).

I've noticed (at least in these two cookbooks) that a) she tends to use very rich ingredients (and generously so) and b) the portions are HUGE. Most of the recipes in the 365 book say "serves 4"; well, yeah, 4 linebackers, maybe! Needless to say, we typically end up with a lot of leftovers when I make a Rachel Ray recipe. Not a bad thing; especially that smoked Gouda mac and cheese...YUM-O!
Anyway, on to what I think is a conspiracy.
I signed up for Face Book awhile back. Often times, there are advertisements running down the right side of the page (tres annoying). One day I paid attention and realized it was all about dieting; like, Oprah's berry diet (who the you know what cares; as if I'm going to follow the diet of a woman that can't decide what weight she wants to be in the first place) or the supermodel diet (eat a fu$$ing cracker you bimbos!). Also on there, though, is a plug from Rachel Ray for the "Flat Belly Diet". Say what? A diet from the woman that named one of her chicken recipes "Big Meaty Thighs"?

Ok, I GET it! She's made us all fat by getting us addicted to her yum-o recipes. Now, she's gonna suck us into this diet so we can go from fat-o to slim-o to flat-o.
Yum-o, fat-o, slim-o, flat-o.
It's a conspiracy, I tell ya!
Mrs. B

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Getting Ever Closer...

These pictures were taken this afternoon. The kitties, who now come downstairs pretty much on their own whenever the mood strikes them, are getting more and more confident around Lucy.
Our Goose has been a real trooper! She has been very patient. But, alas, we have to figure out a new cat box arrangement (perhaps put a cat door on the door going into the laundry room). I came downstairs a few minutes ago to find Lucy in there digging around for a "tasty treat".
Mrs. B

Lily climbing into Lucy's bowl
Taking a drink

Our sweet patient Goose

Lily (note she has some orange; she is a diluted Tortie)

Pete is so unconcerned about Lucy that he has his back to her and is taking a bath!

Pete strolls by Lucy

Lily and Lucy

Lily take a gander at a Goose

Pete and Lucy
Lily likes Coach!

More Kitty Adventures

Unfortunately I don't have any more pictures right now; mostly because I keep forgetting to take them because I'm so caught up in the moment while watching them scamper about. I'll try to do better.
So, we passed our first night (Saturday) just fine. We had Lucy up on the bed with us (on leash) just in case she got the notion to chase the kitties. She made a few moves like she was contemplating it, but, nothing major. We REALLY don't want her to chase them, at least not until they are all legitimately playing together (and they are bigger).
The kitties slept well (through the night) but, around 6:00 am the next morning, Pete jumped up onto the bed (with a chirp; Mr. B says he sounds like a squirrel) and started head-butting my hand to get some attention and love. He then stalked over the top of the pillows to where Mr. B's hand was and head-butted it, too. After a while, he got tired of this and went over to the perch (where Lily was still sleeping) and climbed up to go back to "bed". So, we managed to sleep in until 8:15 or so; a nice Sunday morning!
The kitties did not venture out of the bedroom too much on Sunday until we put Lucy outside (happy with a Kong stuffed full of goodies) for over two hours. They both came down at that point to investigate (and to use their "big kitty box", which is in the utility room). Alas, when Lucy came back in, they both ran for the hills. But, we were encouraged that they both came down so quickly (following the laser light).
Sunday evening before bed we took Lucy upstairs on leash and all three of us sat on the floor near the perch. Eventually, both Pete and Lily, overcome by natural curiosity, came over to check Lucy out. At first it was that sly "walk by" action; the "I see you but I'm going to act like I really don't care at all (even though I do, very much so!)" Lily approached first; there was a brief nose sniff (Lucy being a very good girl and keeping her head down). A bit later, Lily sauntered by and pounced on Lucy's (ever thumping) tail. Pete did not really get too close to Lucy until we got onto the bed. He jumped up, walked right up to her, and sniffed her nose. She was sure surprised but was a good girl and did not lunge at him. We spent many minutes watching them run around the bedroom playing; at times, so funny, I couldn't stop laughing. Lucy's head was ping-ponging back and forth trying to keep up with watching them (which was also quite funny to see!)
The following morning (yesterday) Lily jumped up onto the bed first, then Pete. However, they were FAR more interested in playing with each other. From about 6:00 am until I finally gave up trying to sleep at 7:30 am, they ran about the bedroom, the sitting room, and in and out of the study. Their toys are strewn across our bedroom; it's a fun disaster area!
I opened up the remaining rooms upstairs so they spent the majority of yesterday exploring the previously off limits rooms. I took Lucy up around noon but they were not interested in coming near her. I also discovered what their foster mom had told me about Pete; he can get grouchy! When he doesn't want anything to do with you, you can sure tell! But, in general, he's a very friendly little guy. And, yes, Lily's purr is just as loud (if not louder) than her brothers. Neither of them cared to be picked up although I did find if I pick one up in each hand (my hand under their chests and their paws dangling down), they seem to be okay with this.
The Kid was over last night and she spent a great deal of time playing with them and the laser light.
After dinner, The Kid and I went back upstairs to play a bit more with them. They must have had a good time because when we went back downstairs, they followed us (despite the fact that Lucy was in the house). They wandered around the living room/dining room having great fun jumping over everything in sight. I got the laser light going and they both scampered around like mad. Finally, I pointed the laser light at Lucy (we'd discovered the night before that she has just as much fun with it) and off she went. Pete was not so sure about this but Lily was interested in watching Lucy. Eventually, both Pete and Lily were in the kitchen area while Lucy was running around (too busy with the laser light to pay them any never mind).
Lucy slept with The Kid last night so this mean the kitties were free to sleep on ours! Lily availed herself of this for awhile; curled up next to me, purring away. She ultimately went under the bed (their foster mom said they'd been doing this of late). Pete, on the other hand, stayed next to Mr. B for a long time. We had great laugh watching him try to keep his eyes open while his head drifted back, back, back and he'd sort of topple over. Later, I got a kick out of seeing Mr. B snoring away with Pete right there next to him.
Pete did come see "mom" for a bit before going to join his sister under the bed.
This morning was a repeat of yesterday with both of them jumping on the bed around 6:00 am and then running off to play. And, I was real happy to see them both come downstairs this morning, even though Lucy was right there on her bed. She did a great job of not chasing them (although once I realized they were going to run around I put her on leash just to be sure). They both ventured up to her and they sniffed snouts. Then, Pete and Lily decided it was time to have fun with her; Lily sat in her food bowl while Pete was half in half out of her water bowl drinking her water. I wish I could have got a picture of this AND of her face as she watched them!
Lily had fun jumping from chair to chair in the kitchen while Pete tried to make a run for it out the garage door (when I went out to warm up the car). They are definitely not timid!
Now, Lucy is curled up on her bed next to me and they are upstairs sacked out. I've found that, at least so far, they wear themselves out by 9:00 or so and then sleep a good part of the rest of the day.
We will probably remove the "temporary" litter box from our bathtub tomorrow. They have been in and out of the big box downstairs when they are down. Shortly after that, we'll move their food down here, too (likely on top of the washer and dryer).
Until later...and...the adventures continue!
Mrs. B

Sunday, November 16, 2008

A Few Pictures of Pete and Lily

Lucy Comes Along!
On Our Way Home! Lily Is in Front, Pete in Back

Dad and Lily


Lily Climbs In!

Pete in the Toy Box Lily with her Head in the Bag!

Pete Playing with the Pink Feather Thing

Lily Discovers the Blind Cord

Lily on Top Pete on Bottom
Lily Spots Lucy
Sweet Pete
Lily (Apparently Learned this Pose from Lucy)
Cuddle Time -- Can You Tell Who is Who Yet?Lucy Watches the Kitties Scamper

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Pete and Lily!

Ok, no pictures...yet. I have a few really good ones of Pete but it's been hard to get ones of Lily because she never stops moving about. I need to download them from my camera and see which ones are decent enough to post.
We went to Pet Smart around noon. Wow, am I glad I did not buy a lot more stuff for Pete and Lily because their foster mom Christy had two huge "goodie" bags stuffed full of toys, cat nip, laser pointer, etc. I was going to buy them a wand toy yesterday (but my glasses broke while at the pet store so I left without buying anything) and now we have two. She told us "Put one bag away and bring it out when they ruin all the other toys". Well, they have A LOT of toys to ruin!
She also gave us a tunnel thing and some other small cube like thing for them to play in. Wow, what a wonderful foster mommy! And, 20 odd cans of Fancy Feast. AND, a CD that has over 200 pictures of them. Wow.
BTW, this was all on her own. The organization gave us two bags of kitten food and two other "goodie" bags that had a litter scoop (so now we have three) and some toys.
All we ended up buying at Pet Smart was a tall scratching post with rope (this is what they are used to) and another angled scratching mat/activity something or another. Yes, although they will be strictly indoor kitties, we are going to make an attempt to not declaw them. Maybe, since I'm home most of the time,we can do this.
After about 45 minutes of talking with Christy (she had a list to go over with "instructions" and I had a list of questions) and filling out the adoption contract (scary), Christy took them into the back of the store and put them into our carrier. We asked her if we could borrow the towel they'd been sleeping on as I read it would be easier on them to have something that smelled like "home" as they adjust to their new home.
Time to go. I felt so bad for her; she was crying while she said good-bye to her babies Scooby and Velma. Her husband, who also played a great part in their care and development, was there to support her.
So, we walked out the door and they became Pete and Lily.
Mr. B said as he was carrying them, "They are heavy!" Well, they are not really. They are tiny tiny tiny. I think the carrier is heavy!
They fit fine in there together and never made a peep. Big sis Lucy was in the back of the car waiting to see them. They realized "something" was back there but were not overly concerned. Mr. B went to buy masking tape (to tape up the corners of our leather couches). I sat there trying to get a good picture of them.
We drove home and they both promptly fell asleep. A good sign! Maybe they won't be loud vocal kitties in the car!
We got them home, let the explore the utility room (where their box is) while Lucy stayed outside.
Then, we took them up to our bedroom, unloaded all of their toys, set up a (temporary) food and litter box station and settled in to have some fun.
I can tell you this (so far). Lily is BY FAR the more confident of the two. She was out, running around, exploring, and playing with everything in sight in no time. Pete is a bit more timid (and he's discovered Clyde's favorite hiding spot under the bed). But, he usually comes out in no time to see what's up. He makes funny noises; sort of a little growl or squeak at the toys. One time he was under the bed when I went up to check on them (we're leaving them upstairs now until they get used to us, smells, etc., but they CAN venture out if they want to). Lily was passed out in "Clyde's" perch. Pete came out from under the bed and made chirruping sounds at me. We had a nice few minutes of petting and bonding time. He's got a great motor on him! I'm not sure about Lily yet (her purr).
They've been out exploring the rest of the house. They love the stairs and like to walk around the edge (which scares mom to no end; Lily has already fallen down once but she took it in stride).
So far we've been cautious about introducing them to Lucy. Lily came down and explored the sun room when I took Lucy for a walk. Pete did come down but he tends to run back upstairs when he hears weird noises. Lily has no fear. She stalked a fly for several minutes, only giving a few glances to Lucy (who was at that time laying down on her bed with Mr. B, on leash; she got one good snap when she tried to dart after Lily who was chasing the fly). Pete wanted nothing of this action but he DID venture down and sort of hang around on the side-lines. We will take the dog/cat introduction very slow so that no one is hurt or scared.
So, here it is almost 6:00 pm. We both take turns going up to check on them. Right now, they are cuddled up together in the perch. Last I saw, Pete was giving Lily a bath. Lily, tired from her exploring, was out of it.
More soon!
Mrs. B

Friday, November 14, 2008


Tomorrow is a big day in the B household. We will, at some point in the early afternoon, drive to Pet Smart to pick up Pete and Lily from their foster mom. As I write this tonight, the eve before, I am hazarding a guess that Christy, their foster mom, is going through some bittersweet moments of her own.
Today, in preparation for the arrival tomorrow, I brought out a lot of the blankets I'd put in the closet when Clyde died. The one that "Grammy" got for Nigel and Clyde so many years ago is now, once again, at the foot of our bed. The one that I crocheted that was at the top of the green couch, the one I started when Nigel was dying and the same that Clyde laid on towards the end of his life, is out once again. And others. Like, the candy cane stripped one I gave to Clyde last Christmas that he loved to cuddle in and under. It's out, too, waiting for Pete and Lily.
Also, I dug out of my Hope Chest the basket of toys I'd put in there some months ago when Clyde died. These toys ARE a collection! Many of them have been around since 1991! I cried when I saw Nigel's "Sid the Squid" and all of the collection of Clyde's strings. Yes, it was a bit rough emotionally, but, I realized that Pete and Lily have a lot of legacy toys to play with, and, many that I said to myself upon seeing them, "Where the you know what did that come from?"
I moved Clyde's perch from the sitting room into our bedroom. We've decided the best thing to do initially with Pete and Lily is to let them have our bedroom to romp around in and then initially graduate to the rest of the house.
So, yes, today was sad, in a way, but happy, too. Isn't that what life is?
It is time to say good-bye, really say good-bye, to Nigel and Clyde. Not that I can completely let them go; most of you have noticed the locket I wear now; it has their pictures in it and it always will. My good boys got me through so much and I'll never, ever, forget them.
Now, though, is the time for Lucy, Pete and Lily.
Turn, turn, turn.
Mrs. B

Thursday, November 13, 2008

My Scary Day

Now that it is over and it is looking as though I am "ok", I can blog about this. But, let me tell you, yesterday, some of us were freaking out!
It all started bright and early. I had to get up to start drinking water (for a test I was "supposed" to have at 8:15). Before I even got out of bed, a dull throb behind my right eye woke me up. As I laid there, it got worse and worse. Finally, I hauled my cookies out of bed around 6:00 am and took an Aleve. Now, one of this little blue pills typically eliminates whatever is ailing me within 20 minutes or so. However, it didn't do a damn thing for the throb; it just kept getting more intense.
So, Mr. B drives me to my "other" appointment. I should have been miserable in the car with a full bladder but, I hardly noticed it because my eye was bothering me so much. We got to the clinic and they told me, "Oops, we told you today but you are really scheduled for tomorrow! Do you want to stick around and see if they can maybe fit you in?" Hello? Sit around with a full bladder for several hours? I think NOT.
We left and Mr. B dropped me back at home. By then, my eye was in full force throb and starting to creep up into my forehead. Mr. B advised me to lay down and "try to breath through the pain". Huh? Well, meditation does sometimes help. So does darvocet. I tried the meditation/breathing thing until about 10:30 am when I finally said, "to hell with this" and took a darvocet. Now, these pills REALLY take care of pain (usually) within 10 to 15 minutes.
By 11:30 am, I was calling the eye doctor to see if I could get in because something was obviously wrong. Despite the darvocet, I could still feel the throb throb throb and the pain was making me a tad hysterical. Thankfully they were able to see me at 2:15 (a long ways off, which did not help with the hysteria). I called Mr. B because I figured driving on darvocet was not a cool idea. He didn't pick up his phone so I tried my mom (who I knew was helping out Shannon with the babies (poor Shannon was also under the weather). I called a few times, didn't get an answer, so, I finally left a message (and I'm sure I sounded like death warmed over).
Finally the darvocet kicked in around 12:30 pm. I could still feel the throbbing and the pain, but, it was sort of far off and fuzzy and I didn't much care.
My mom called to say she could take me to the doctor and she'd be there in a bit. So, having an hour or so to do nothing but try not to freak out, I laid down on the couch in the sun room with Lucy (who promptly cuddled up and did her best to make me feel better).
Right before my mom showed up, Mr. B called to say he was going to meet us at the doctor because he was too distracted at work wondering what was going on with me. That way, too, he could bring me home and mom could go back over to Shannon's.
Ok, mom shows up, we get to the doctor, Mr. B is there and off I go to the examination room (Mr. B in tow).
I explained everything to the doctor. He did an exam and could find nothing wrong with my eyes and no sign of any neurological damage. Stumped, he asked me a bunch of questions, did more poking and prodding. We asked if it could be sinuses (or the jalapeno juice I inadvertently inhaled quite a bit of the day before and got all over the lower part of my face). He didn't think it was either but, after touching me on my eye-lid and me about jumping out of the chair, he thought it was some sort of infection.
Maybe sinus, but, maybe something worse. Frankly, I don't remember the technical term but it had two parts. The first, pre-orbital, means the infection was in the tissue around my eye in front of my eye (meaning, not the part that leads to the brain). Infection talk like this seemed odd since there was no visible sign of an infection, but, that's what he figured it might be. The other, the worse one, was it could have moved behind my eye in which case that was very bad indeed as it could lead to a brain infection.
The doctor put me on heavy duty antibiotics; the strongest he could prescribe. He told me to put a warm compress on the eye every hour for ten minutes. He said I had to come back the next day and maybe even Friday so he could monitor progress. He said if the antibiotics did not work and it stayed the same or worsened, I'd likely have to go to the hospital for IV antibiotics.
Ok, this was scary. He was freaked out, Mr. B was freaked out, even my ever practical and calm mom was freaked out. Me, I didn't really get freaked out until I was no longer in "danger", then I sort of freaked out!
The doctor called last night to check up on me. By the time he called, I was already feeling a lot better (and not just because of the martini, either!) I did keep my appointment today and he was real pleased with my progress and said he had been worried he'd be "baby-sitting" me all weekend. He said, "To tell you the truth, I'm not 100% sure of what exactly we are treating here, but, the fact you have no pain, no pressure, etc., are very good signs".
Now all I have to do is take all of my medication and keep a compress on my eye a few times a day for ten minutes each.
Hey, I am relatively healthy. To go from "everything was ok" Tuesday night when I went to bed to a possibility of an immediate hospital stay and a possible brain infection was little surreal.
And a lot more drama than ANY of us needed!
All's well now.
Mrs. B