Monday, June 29, 2009

Goody Goody

This is actually a re post of an entry from my old Blog (Yahoo 360) roughly two years ago. I'm going through that Blog now since it's closing down and I don't want to lose some of my more brilliant postings (ha ha). They had an export feature, but, it exported into a bunch of symbols and squiggles; basically, useless. So, I'm going entry by entry and doing the old copy and paste functions. Maybe I'll do another "The Best Of" book, who knows.
Anyway, I thought this was a fun post. Care to take the survey (again)?
Mrs. B

Mrs. B is tired of being Mrs. Bitch. B is not for Bitch, it is for "Bur...". So, in an attempt to focus my brain onto mere trivia (wow, was that relaxing) I came up with this quiz. Don't send me into another hormone-induced rant by not taking it, please!

We all know there are certain things we should do for either ourselves or others that, perhaps, we simply don’t do. Maybe we get twinges of guilt when we think about it, or maybe not. BTW, since Mrs. B does not have kids (of her own womb), there are no kid-related questions here, sorry. Here’s a simple quiz to find out where you stand on the “goody-goody” scale. Give yourself one point for every “yes” answer. Comment with your score, please!
I floss my teeth at least once a day.
I brush my teeth before I go to bed at night.
I wash my face before I go to bed at night.
I go to the dentist for cleanings every six months.
I go to the MD once per year for an annual check-up (for women, this is the gynecologist).
If “of age”, I get either a mammogram (women) or prostate exam (men) as recommended.
I get my eyes checked once per year.
For the most part, I eat healthy foods and have a well-balanced diet.
I drink at least eight 8 oz glasses of water each day.
I typically consume only organic foods.
I frequent the local farmer’s market.
I grow and consume my own vegetables and/or herbs.
I don’t smoke.
I don’t drink alcohol to excess.
I don’t drink caffeinated beverages to excess.
I exercise on a regular basis.
I have had my skin checked for skin cancer.
I change the sheets on my bed every week.
I wash my bath/hand towels/washcloths every week.
I change the air filters in my home every month.
I change the batteries in the smoke detectors in my home every six months.
My car is in good operating condition and either I service it or have it serviced as required (oil changes, tire rotations, tune-ups, etc.)
I save the maximum amount of money in my company’s retirement plan that I’m allowed to.
I have at least six months of living expenses saved in case of an emergency.
I file my taxes on time.
I dutifully send all immediate family members birthday, anniversary, congratulations, etc. cards (e-cards count) on their special days.
I talk to my family members on a semi-routine basis, in particular, parents and siblings.
I pick up after my dog in public.
I change the cat box at least every other day.
My animals are never without food or water.
I routinely take my animals to the vet for annual check-ups and shots.
My animals have appropriate identification (tags/microchips).
My animals are spayed/neutered.
I don’t use any products that have been tested on animals.
I faithfully recycle.
I always thoroughly wash out all recycled cans, bottles, cartons, etc. before throwing them in the recycling bin.
When dining out, I always leave a tip (unless the service does not warrant one).
I never litter (this includes throwing chewed gum or cigarette butts out the car window).
I always return phone calls/emails (assuming they are from people I know, not telemarketers or spam).
When I go away on vacation, I bring back a few gifties for the “important” folk back home (kids, spouse, pet sitters, etc.)
I donate time, money or appropriate items to the charity(ies) of my choice.
I am a socially conscious consumer/investor.
I am registered to vote.
I vote in all elections that I am eligible to vote in.
I read the paper/watch the news so that I am current on what is going on in the world, the country, the state, my town.
0-10 You obviously never had a mother.
11-20 Your mother did not nag you nearly enough.
21-30 You are one of those people that want to be cool but secretly try to do “the right thing”; some in high school probably snickered and called you a “goody goody” behind your back.
31-35 You’re getting up there on the scale. More than likely, you were an honor student in high school and you are now earning six figures.
36-40 You’re near perfect! Are you bored?
41-45 You should lead a seminar on how to live the pure life, make a load of money and donate it to saving the spider monkey

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Scam Artist

So, about two weeks ago (June 16, to be exact), I was sitting here at the kitchen table doing what I usually do in the mornings. For whatever reason, I was running behind, meaning, it was 10:00 or so and I was still messing around with this and that. It was pouring down rain (I think I might have been blogging about rain and random stuff). The doorbell rang. Frankly, I don't usually answer the door. I mean, chances are, it's not going to be anyone I really care to talk to. For whatever reason, though, I got up and answered the door this time.
A neatly dressed African American man was standing on the doorstep. He smiled politely at me and told me that he was one of my neighbors and that he'd foolishly locked his keys in his car, as well as his cell phone and wallet. He was wondering if he could use my phone to call his wife.
I said sure; told him I was going to go get my cell phone, and shut the door. When I came back out (and I stepped outside onto the doorstep with him), he called a number, waited a bit, then shook his head ruefully and said, "She must already be in the air. She's a flight attendant with Delta". I said, "Oh, sorry! We chatted a bit longer with him saying various things about the neighbors. I apologized for being a bit suspicious but told him there had been a robbery at the dollar store at the nearby shopping center and I'd just been reading about how the suspect was running around our neighborhood the day before. "You just have to be careful", I said, to which he nodded, agreeing with me. After a few more pleasantries, he said, "Well, I think I'll see if Mike around the corner is home, he sometimes goes into work late".
I told Mr. B about it and said, "I didn't really recognize him but he sure seemed to know everyone in the neighborhood".
Yesterday I was flipping through the local section of the paper and my eye caught on a picture of a man. The very same man who had rang my doorbell! Turns out he was a scam artist who had delivered the very same speech he gave to me to countless others in both Durham and Raleigh. Apparently, some of these folks naively let him into their homes at which point he stepped up the charade by asking for money for a locksmith. One guy actually drove him to his ATM to get money for the guy before realizing something wasn't quite right. What threw people off was a) he was well dressed and well spoken and b) seemed to know their neighbors. Turns out he canvased neighborhoods, looked into people's mailboxes to get their names/their neighbor's names, etc. Very cagey.
He's since been arrested but I have to admit to feeling sorta creepy about the whole thing, knowing he'd probably been watching our house, digging around through our mail (although he never did call me by name, come to think of it) etc. Thank God I am naturally suspicious of people (it NEVER dawned on me to let him into the house) and that Lucy, the big goof, was disobeying me that morning and came running over to the door. Chances are he wasn't terribly interested in entering a house with a big slobbery dog standing right there.
So, once again, it pays to be CAUTIOUS, folks. And, obviously, it makes sense to get to know your neighbors a bit so if someone comes to your door claiming to be one of them (and they are NOT), you can tell them bullshit, slam the door in their face, and dial 911!
Mrs. B











Friday, June 26, 2009

Ares


Ares checks out my computer and my martini. He is definitely feeling at home!

Mrs. B

A Night In The ER: Adventures and Observations (Part One)

I guess it's appropriate it's called an "Emergency Room" because, obviously, one doesn't typically plan on spending time there, especially not on a Saturday night! "Hey, honey, what do you want to do this evening?" "Oh, I dunno, let's say we head on over to the ER and check out the weirdos, rate the service, and have some yummy hospital food?" NOT.
Anyway, last Saturday, Mr. B ended up in the ER (with me in tow). I'll start this off by saying he's okay. Well, he's not gonna die from what ailed him, at least. I can't say he's 100% better, though; and, we're still waiting on some test results and the issue that took us to the ER in the first place is yet hanging around, making its presence known, albeit, a bit more quietly. He has a follow up appointment with his MD this coming Monday so, hopefully, she (knowing his medical history) can get to the bottom of this mystery.
Here's the down and dirty story about the adventure!
After Saturday's Thon (see previous entry), we dropped the Greeks off at home and then left again to run a few errands and have a late lunch/early dinner. I noticed that Mr. B seemed a bit disoriented while driving to Sam's Quik Shop (yes I left the "c" out on purpose); he appeared to be turned around (and Mr. B usually ALWAYS knows where he is going; he's a NY driver, after all :-) )
So, we get to Sam's, pick out some beer (for the 2nd part of my dad's Father's Day present) and I offer to drive. We head over to Chapel Hill to Trader Joe's to get some Chuck (as in Two Buck Chuck, which, at least in NC, is actually Three Buck Chuck). After, as we left TJ's parking lot on our way to the 94th Street Pub, I glanced over at Mr. B. He looked absolutely miserable; yet, in answer to my "Are you ok?" he replied stoically enough that he was. But, he wasn't, that much was obvious. I was thinking to myself, "We need to get him to a clinic or the ER" because he'd been complaining (I use that word lightly, he doesn't much complain) about lower back pressure (not pain) that had been going on since Tuesday or Wednesday and was getting steadily worse. I had images of us having to drive to the ER at 3:00 am so figured 4:00 pm was a better option.
I pressed, and, he agreed to go to the ER at Duke Medical Center (we were about 15 minutes away).
We arrive at the ER (they have valet parking, which completely surprised me but it sure came in handy since I ended up coming and going few times) and he checked in. Amazingly enough, there were a lot of people in the waiting room for a Saturday afternoon. BTW, did I mention it was stinking hot? I wondered how many of the folks (some of them quite elderly) were there due to heat exhaustion.
Anyway, as we sat waiting for him to be called back into Triage, a young man, probably in high school, approached us with some trepidation and informed us he was Austin, a volunteer, and he was wondering if he could do anything for us? Yeah, Austin, wave your magic wand and make my husband feel better so we don't have to spend our Saturday afternoon/evening here (oh, if I only knew then how long we'd be there!) Instead, I asked for a blanket (it was FREEZING in that waiting room; obviously kept such to keep the nasties from breeding).
Not too long after Austin stopped by, Mr. B went to get a soda and then I went to get something out of the vending machine (we'd not eaten save for a piece of string cheese as we were leaving the house several hours earlier). I was STARVING. Well, the vending machine did not take dollar bills (so I was informed by the hill-billy family who had, apparently, been staring at it for about 20 minutes and finally figured that out). Thankfully, I had sufficient change to get some peanut butter cheese crackers (oh, yum), which I shared with Mr. B.
He got called back to Triage for the basics; temperature, blood pressure, inquiries as to "What, exactly, is the problem?" A stumper, which, as previously stated, we have yet to discover the answer to.
After being told he was being put on the "Fast Track" to the ER (a statement which brought visions of breezing through a line for a ride at Disneyland, which, unfortunately, were a far cry from what happened), we went back into the waiting room to, well, wait.
This is when I started to notice the vast array of odd-balls. Ok, there were also some normal looking people (at least two :-) ) but, man, I'd never have thought there were so many weirdos out on a Saturday afternoon in the ER waiting room!
One guy walked by with a huge keloid behind his ear. I thought at first that was why he was there (to have it removed, maybe?) But, upon closer inspection, I saw that said keloid was sporting a huge diamond stud. Who pierces a freaking keloid? Gross! His companion looked like a can of Orange Crush soda; decked out in orange EVERYTHING save a white belt that was not technically in proper use as his pants were drooping around his knees (as an aside, there is a Group on Facebook that I recently joined entitled "Pull Up Your Pants! You Look Stupid!")
Austin was making the rounds still but, sadly, was mostly getting ignored by the people there who were too busy texting on their cell phones. He came back around to us, hopeful that maybe he could help us again. Mr. B asked for water and his face fell. "Sorry, sir, I cannot bring you any food or drink until you've seen the doctor".
We then saw not one, but two people being processed who were in handcuffs and ankle shackles. All righty, then (oh yes, you must pass through security to get into the ER now, just like at the airport).
There were a goodly number of people who had their blankets completely over their heads; so, if you peered around the waiting room, interspersed within the crowd, were people resembling kids dressed up in ghost costumes (minus the char coaled black eyes and gaping mouths).
Ok, so, we arrived at the ER around 4:15 pm or so. Around 5:45, Mr. B was called to go back to a "room". Not too awful a wait, considering the amount of people there (although we sure received our share of dirty looks from folks who had obviously been waiting a lot longer than we had. Well, duh. In an ER, it's not first come, first served now, is it? Go back to your texting).
I was able to go with him (both to Triage and to the "room" (which was, really, a small cubicle with a curtain but, thankfully, it was in the back of the ER)). I don't remember this from when I was in the ER five years ago; but, maybe we didn't think to ask if it was ok for Mr. B to go with me? Also, they did not appear to have any trouble with cell phones being present. There wasn't even a sign asking you to turn off the ringer, which sort of surprised me. I guess the ER doctors, PAs and nurses are hardened to sudden loud outbursts of jangling, God-awful ring tones going off as they are suturing someone up.
Anyway, a nurse, Rebbecca (or was it Rachel?) came over to take Mr. B's vitals and informed us the PA would be with us "shortly".
However, words do not have the same meaning in the ER that they do outside the ER. Similar to what Dorothy said in "The Wizard of Oz" when in Munchkin land, "My people come and go so quickly around here!", we could have opined, "My, people go away and you don't see them again for hours around here!"
And, of course, the wait seems even longer when you're freaked out about what is wrong with you or you're trying to keep your husband from seeing YOU freaked out about what's wrong with HIM. Smile in place, folks, smile in place!
Mrs. B












Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Our First Thon

Last Saturday, we hauled the Greeks to Petsmart for our first Thon (adopt-a-thon) from 11-2. It was quite an adventure (and the day went on to be even more, uh, "something"; which I'll blog about later).
Anyway, we managed to get all of the crackers (my new pet name for them) into one carrier. Zeus and Ares immediately started to bite at the wire while Hera huddled in the back, petrified and Athena and Apollo looked stunned.
None of them are what I'd call good car riders, but, they'll likely get more used to this as the weeks go by. Anyway, as we were driving to the Petsmart (luckily only 10-15 minutes away), I turned around to look in to the carrier. In essence, they resembled a kitty monster; one big blob of kitten with five heads. I took this picture after Ares (left) and Apollo apparently decided it was okay to look around. BTW, Zeus was, at that point, laying on the bottom of the carrier with his four siblings piled on top of him. So much for being brave.
By the time we go to the parking lot, all five appeared to be dozing off (I assume Zeus was, obviously, I couldn't see his face, though!)
Into Petsmart we went, lugging them and a bag with towels and a few toys (I was gamely hoping they'd be interested in playing; show them off some!)
The rest of the folks from Hobbes House were there with their kittens, two adult cats and some cages. They are loaning us a cage for the duration (in essence a medium size dog crate; much more manageable than Lucy's huge one).
After getting the cage set up and lined with towels, we pulled the extremely resistant kittens from the carrier and deposited them into their temporary home for the next three hours.
Along with our five, there were 11 other kittens there + the two adult cats (so much for ours being the only show in town, as we were told they'd be).
Unfortunately, it was a slow day. Not that many people were out (bloody hot plus it was Father's Day weekend). The ones who were didn't seem terribly interested in adopting a kitten (although many stopped by to look at them, poke them through the cage, pet them, ooh and aah, etc.). We'd been advised by Hobbes House not to let just anyone hold them (we did get a few requests) unless it was apparent they were interested (gauged by the number of questions asked about a particular kitten). I guess Petsmart has rules and if a kitten ever squirmed away and started running around the store, or, worse yet, got outside the door (our display being right up front), Hobbes House would not be allowed to come back. Liability issues, I guess.
I suppose, in a way, it was just as well not that many people were swarming around as the Greeks were freaked! This was not terribly surprising, given it was their first time out (which is what we told people who thought it was cute that the majority of them (3) were hiding under the pet bed we'd put in there; something we won't do next weekend). Funny enough, it was Apollo, the previous shy boy, who was the only one who seemed relatively at ease, followed by Ares. At one point, Apollo and Ares were acting like bookmarks to the other three. Zeus appeared horrified by his predicament (which really surprised me, given his nature at home; the leader, always out, forever curious). Athena was ok; but poor little Hera was having a time of it. Even though she was on top of the bed (rather than under it), she was breathing so fast her little ears where quivering. We finally put her back in the carrier; hopefully next time she'll be a bit more relaxed.
Anyway, none of them hissed or meowed excessively or did anything bad; they just sort of alternated between hiding or simply laying there. They were definitely shown up by the three orange kittens out in the front of the display (so a like that their foster dad had to dye a bit of fur around their necks with different color food coloring so he could tell them apart) that were having great fun romping around and playing with a wand toy. There were also two orange kittens next to us; a bit more subdued than the others but, for whatever reason, it seems folks are really attracted to orange and orange/white kittens (having had three myself, I understand this attraction). The others out for display ranged from tuxedo, to all (plush) grey, to a mish mash of white/brown/black. And ours, of course; tabbies.
We became better acquainted with the other fosters; if you think Mr. B and I are good people for doing this, than you should meet these folks! Christy was there, of course (the Greeks and Pete and Lily's former foster mom) and Dan was the other (with the three triplet orange kittens). Dan, although obviously a caring foster, does not seem to allow himself to get as attached to his charges as Christy does to hers. In fact, he just appeared to love ALL of the kittens/cats there, even ours. He said he thought it would be neat to switch the kittens around some; let them experience different home environments/other pets to make them more adoptable. I thought in theory this was an excellent idea (but might be hard to put into practice).
Anyway, only one application was put in that day by a lady with two extremely wild young boys who "Really want a kitten NOW!" She seemed a bit put off that she couldn't take the kitten home, but, as Dan murmured to me, "This is why we DON'T let them take them home right away; we don't want people making rash decisions". I sort of shuddered at the thought of her taking one of ours, but, thankfully, they were more interested in a black/white kitty; "My son HAS to have black and white kitty!" However, they picked out one, then, decided to go with another, all in the course of about 10 minutes. Fruit Loop might be the lucky winner (one of Christy's).
Both Dan and Christy assured us it was SLOW; that they usually get 10-15 applications per outing and of those, about 1/2 are good.
So, we'll be back there this coming Sunday, hoping for the best.
In the meantime, the Greeks are getting spayed/neutered as I write this. Poor things, but, obviously, quite necessary.
Christy informed me this morning that there is interest in "one or two" of yours from a family that is already pre-approved because they'd adopted from them before. In fact, they've adopted two, but the second one is not getting along with the first one so they want to return it and try a younger kitten (this is probably the only bad thing about this arrangement; we could get one or more of the Greeks back if they don't work out).
Anyway, what she meant was, they are interested in ONE out of TWO and I don't know which two they are considering. Christy told them they'd best get an application in soon.
So, we'll see!
I wonder who'll go first?
Mrs. B

Monday, June 22, 2009

Mr. B-ism

My SIL's sister (does that make her my SIL once removed?) Melissa and now my SIL from time time (Analee) do this thing on their Blogs called "isms". Most of the time, they are telling (very cute) stories about their children. From time to time; the isms are about someone else.
Anyway, I've got a Mr. B-ism that I really want to share (even if it doesn't cast me in the best of lights).
So, yeah. Aging gracefully is something I continue to struggle with. Hey, what can I say? I'll admit it, I'm vain with a capital V (although this nasty condition has abated somewhat since I quit my career six years ago).
Anyway, in addition to always feeling fat (feeling is different from being but probably just as awful a condition for me), I've taken to noticing all the other wonderful signs of getting older, that, short of Botox or expensive cosmetic surgery, I'm really just gonna have to deal with them and be happy I'm healthy and have my sanity.
One that's caught my eye lately is what is known as "crepey skin". What this is, for those of you who are either a) young women and haven't yet experienced the horror of its arrival) or b) men (who don't notice things like this) is your skin, in certain places (probably varies by woman) looks like crepe paper. You know, the stuff used to make party streamers and such. It's just an unfortunate side effect of both getting older, and, if one has spent too much unprotected time in the sun, it's usually worse.


Of course, all the cosmetic and lotion companies out there know EXACTLY how stuff like this impacts women as, even Aveeno (a relatively low-key brand regarding targeting women's physical insecurities, unlike, say L'Oreal, who are constantly trying to sell women a dog that won't hunt) has a body lotion called "Positively Ageless". I saw an ad for this in a magazine and was browsing the list of problem areas it supposedly addresses within two weeks. One of them jumped out of the page at me; "Reduces the crepey appearance of skin" (or something to that affect).
Ok, I KNOW these products are bull shit. I KNOW it KNOW it KNOW it, but, yeah, I was hooked like a trout.
So, I bought a tube of it. Has it worked? Probably not because the areas my eyes jump to every time I look in the mirror still look the same. But, it's nice lotion, anyway.
Ok, I'm getting to my Mr. B-ism!
Ever since I've noticed this crepey skin syndrome, I have added it to my repertoire of complaints about my body; you know, along side of "I'm fat", "I feel fat", "I hate my hair", "I've got a Honky Tonk Badankadonk", that kind of stuff. Mr. B hears it all the time. He usually rolls his eyes and dutifully replies: "You are not fat". "Your hair looks fine". "I like your butt", etc.
However, this new one, "I look crepey!" apparently has had him a bit flummoxed as he's not said too much in response to it.
So, Saturday, on our way to Petsmart to show off The Greek Gang, I felt particularly gross. Don't ask me why I cared; I was going to Petsmart, not to a party or something!
Anyway, I was going through my litany of "I am, I feel, I hate, " etc.
Mr. B walks up to me, takes me by the shoulders, turns me around to look at him, gives me a sweet kiss and says kindly, looking deeply into my eyes:
"You are not fat!"
"You look just fine in those shorts!"
"I like your hair today!"
And, finally (here comes the "ism")
"You do not look creepy!"
I just looked at him for a second before it dawned on me; he thought I had been saying "I look CREEPY", not, "I look CREPEY".
I just busted up, then, I explained to him what I'd been saying (he still looked perplexed, but rolled his eyes again and shrugged).
So, now, I think, I should tell him, whenever I go through my routine, just simply answer, "You don't look creepy" and that'll probably set me to giggling and I'll forget the whole thing!
Mrs. B

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Greek Gang Go Up For Adoption Saturday!





The gang is going up for adoption a week early! Turns out the organization doesn't have that many kittens now, so, we're up.
These are the cage cards I did for each one (sorry, they are probably hard to read here but you'll get the idea, and, if you want to see them larger, right click on each picture, it will bring up a menu, chose "open link" and it's quite large, then!)
These will go on their cage and also on the website.
Hopefully, they'll go quickly to go homes (although they can't actually go to their new homes until after they are spayed/neutered on Wednesday). So, let's hope we get a lot of applications on them to get the process rolling!
They are all doing well; enjoying having the run of the house, playing with Pete and Lily (who wear out a lot faster than they do) and beginning to get curious about Lucy (as long as she is laying down and being still!)
So, the adoptahon is this Saturday at the Brier Creek Petsmart in Raleigh from 11-2 (for all of you who live in the area!) Get the word out to your friends and family and let's get the gang ADOPTED!
Mrs. B



Our Charleston Trip: Part Two

In case you are wondering why I do this (other than assuming that someone out there is vaguely interested in our travels), I also print the journal out and put it in my photo album with my pictures of the trip. Sorta kills two birds with one stone. Yes, I am ANAL! I know! Mrs. B
Sunday May 17th (Still!)
Spent the afternoon roaming. Got rained on (every time we come here, it rains!) Had a drink in the bar at Charleston Place (a great mint julep but the bar tender was bitching about having to be there on Sunday since he'd been there late the night before. He wasn't bitching to us, but, we could hear him complaining to a co-worker. Not very professional for such a (supposedly) swanky hotel. Personally, I much prefer the Vendue Inn and all it quaintness).
As we typically do when we are here, we wandered around Charleston great street market getting ideas for b-day gifts for The Kid and my mom. We also found a cigar shop (which made Mark happy); took a few artistic shots of some of the city's churches, and walked back to the Vendue Inn in the pouring rain. The worst thing that happened was my sandals and feet got wet, which caused the leather strap to rub against my foot and make some ugly sores. I ended up walking barefoot (and tossed the sandals in the trash can when we got back to our room. They were 2nd hand, anyway, and lasted longer than I thought they would!)
We're now having a relaxing time in our room playing some cards and thinking about heading down to the daily wine and cheese reception in a bit.
Monday May 18th
The weather has turned rainy, windy and chilly with me here with no shoes other than sandals and flip flops and nothing much warm to wear. So, I'm not sure what we'll do today. Right now, it's just around 10:00 am and we just came back from breakfast. Frankly, both of us are a bit bleary-eyed; last night was a late one!
Dinner at Trattoria Lucca (read my review here) was terrific (I can't understand why some of the other reviews on Trip Advisor are so awful!) I'm really glad we chanced it. It would be interesting to try it again when we could order off the menu.
We got back to the Vendue Inn and went up to the Roof Top Bar (there had actually been a LINE to get into it Saturday night; apparently, it is a hot spot in Charleston for tourists and locals alike) and had a drink and a cigar. There were four very young 20ish kids sitting next to us; the girls chair dancing away to AC/DC and one of them doing (what we dubbed) "The Sprinkler". Ask Mark to demonstrate next time you see him! It was hilarious!
We got back to our room, soaked in the tub, drank wine, played cards, "etc."
The only bad thing was some very noisy people down the hall were having a party, maybe? Whatever...extremely rude to behave that way in a $300+ a night place. Mark yelled at them and called the front desk. They finally shut up.
We may venture out to Folly Beach today or a museum, or both, or neither! Not sure where we are going to eat dinner, either. Lots of options, obviously!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Random Rainy Thoughts

Ok, not just about rain, it only sounded catchy, is all. And, it IS raining. It's been raining. Several days now. SICK OF IT!
I found it really ironic that, no sooner did we install an underground sprinkler system, we start getting all this rain. This goes hand in hand with the phenomenon of, if you forget your umbrella, it rains, if you lug it all around with you, it doesn't rain.
Really, rain is a good thing, I know. And, given how parched we were last year, I shouldn't be complaining. But. I. Am. Mostly because it's dreary, I can't let Lucy out without having to wipe her feet off when she comes back in (no fun for either one of us; she does NOT like me wiping her back feet AT ALL and it's a fight for the foot every damn time) plus I'm forever running around the house opening, then closing, then opening, windows. And, the bugs. UGH. They've been awful this season due to all of this rain, which causes big pools of standing water in the yards of nearby neighbors who haven't done a damn thing with their landscaping. As previously blogged about, the ticks have been really bad (Mr. B is due to retreat the lawn soon and all the pets (at least ours) will get their dosage of Frontline tomorrow) as have the brown spiders. I'm not sure what they are, exactly, but they are all over the place. Luckily, Lily has turned out to be quite the adept spider hunter.
We've settled into a routine with The Greek Gang. After Lucy's am walk, I let them out for several hours. They run all over the place upstairs; tearing about from room to room similar to what Pete and Lily did when we first got them. Pete and Lily, in their turn, will run around, too. Pete has pretty much stopped hissing at the kittens and, just earlier, I saw him playing with Zeus (or maybe it was Ares; one of the grey ones!) Around lunch time, they go back into their room (usually they are tired enough to go in and sit around me if I sit on the floor reading the paper). I leave them in there until 3 or 4, at which point I go back into their room, visit and give pets and cuddles, and out they go again (they have NO interest in being petted or picked up when they are roaming around). They go back in around dinner time and then the whole fam-damily goes into the room before bed time for a play and pet session. Pete and Lily are really enjoying this as they get in on the playing action as well.
Oh yeah, there is the drudge routine of feeding, watering, and scooping out the litter box 2X a day (plus Pete and Lily's) but, such is life.
They have had two visits from family; Sunday, Jon and the girls came over for an hour or so (kittens were tired, didn't want to come out much from under the bed) and yesterday, Shannon and the girls came over. Sorta the same thing; around lunchtime (as I said), they are ready for a long nap. I guess the best time for family visits are in the morning or early evening (not really convenient, I know).
BTW, both visits with the girls were a lot of fun. They are so cute and they are into EVERYTHING! Jacqueline found Lucy's water bowl yesterday and tipped it over and proceeded to crawl into the water. Sophie had great fun banging Lucy's water bowl on the table in the sunroom (until Aunt Amy went and found paper bowls and plates for them to play with).
Mom and I had a nice day shopping on Monday. Mostly for stuff for their trip to Alaska (we went to BJs so she could stock up) but also for the girls' b-day gifts. We also stopped by Wal Mart to get a few things. Normally, I have a huge aversion to Wal Mart but the one near our house is actually quite nice. And, seriously, their prices are LOW.
I saw a great tee shirt and had to buy it. It has a applique of the ruby slippers (Wizard of Oz) on it with this around it, "It's All About The Shoes". Love it!
The Kid was over Monday night. That went ok. She seemed a bit subdued to me; mostly, I think, because she is taking a pre-calculus class at UNC CH starting this Thursday and she's nervous. I can't hardly blame it; going from a small private school to taking a class M-F at a huge school like UNC CH? But, it'll be good for her. She said she's interested in pre-med (college major). Yet, she still has no clue, really, where she'll go to college. She's been to a few (in NC) but apparently no decision has been made. There has also been no further mention of her dad's involvement in this decision, financially or otherwise. Which is no surprise. At least she FINALLY sent a thank you to her grandparents B. It only took her six months.
I'm pleased to report that, weight-wise, I'm back under 120. Amazing how easy it's been to keep it off. It's sorta weird, actually. I'm not sure how I ever lived with those extra 13 or so pounds.
There is an off chance my niece Natalie will come visit for a few weeks in August. But, I'm waiting on her mother to get in touch with me about details, so I'm not sure about how this will all play out. Her mom sure was gung-ho to send her down a few weeks ago, but, maybe the logistics of getting her are causing issues.
In any case, we're off to Ithaca NY in a few weeks for a five day vacation/visit with Mr. B's family. We're staying at a B&B that is near to both Cornell and Ithaca College and are looking forward to going to some wineries, going out on the lake with Mike and Kym, and attending a family reunion.
Hey a fun thing! I connected on FB with a woman who used to live on the same street as we did in San Diego. She is about three years older than me, so, when I was living there, I'm sure she didn't give me the time of day (although she was always polite). Well, we've been chatting back and forth; catching each other up on what we know of what happened to other folks that lived on the same street. It's been extremely interesting!
Well, it's 11:00. It sounds like the little monsters have settled down for now so I'll sign off to go herd the cats back into their room.
They go in for neutering/spaying a week from today. Ouch!
Mrs. B

Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Great Kitty Escape

Now whenever we open the door to their room, the fosters all rush the baby-gate and, within seconds, most of them are climbing it. The only one who is not interested in this activity is Hera (she waits until I remove the baby-gate and then comes out in a much more sophisticated fashion than her siblings).
It really is amusing to watch them do this!
. video
BTW, this is why Pete looks so grumpy in HIS video (check out You Tube).

Mrs. B

Friday, June 12, 2009

Our Charleston Trip: Part One

Well, it's only been 3 weeks since we got home, better late than never. Hey, I HAVE been otherwise occupied! I'm not posting any pictures since you can access them from my picture link.
Mrs. B
17 May 2009
Here we are back in Charleston (it's been four years!) and back at the Vendue Inn. This time, we are in #256, which we are pretty sure is next door to the first room we stayed in in 2004. In any event, it's a lovely room. The bed is so comfortable and incredibly high. There is even a foot stool to use!
We left home around 10:00 am yesterday and enjoyed the drive down in our new car. We stopped in Lumberton NC for lunch at a Ruby Tuesday. Thankfully, we had a far better experience this time than we did in Indiana several years back (that, truly, was the dining experience from hell). Ruby Tuesday must be trying to set themselves apart from the likes of TGIF, Chili's and Applebees as the decor looked decidedly different than before; more now like a (somewhat upscale) steak house (a la Ruth Chris or Flemming's). Anyway, the food was fine; I had a salad because I was anticipating looking smashingly slim in my red dress later on that night but I did indulge in a mojito. Mr. B was very happy to have a tall Sam Adams and a buffalo chicken sandwich.
We made it to Charleston around 3:00 pm. As always, it was hopping! Lots of people roaming around and the usual bikers (for some reason, every time we come to Charleston, there appears to be a biker rally).
After sort of unpacking (which meant basically we hung a few things up and put the toiletries in the bathroom), we went across the street to the main part of the inn for their daily afternoon wine and cheese reception. Everyone who works here is extremely friendly. One of the managers, Jerry, talked to us quite a bit and kept bringing us more wine and offered to bring us some cheese, fruit and crackers from the other room (we elected to hold out for dinner at SNOB).
After talking to Jerry about our dining plans (and the fact we only had a RSVP for that night at SNOB, leaving three other nights), we ended up making RSVPs for tonight (Sunday) and Tuesday. Tonight will be a new Italian place that I'd read about in Gourmet magazine and Jerry confirmed it was quite excellent. It'll be "family style"; no menu. Whatever it is, it is. Tuesday we opted to make an RSVP at the Vendue Inn's restaurant The Library. We've never eaten there and figured we may as well give it a try since everything else about the Vendue Inn is generally positive.
BTW, Jerry is a relatively attractive man in his mid to late 30s. He came to Charleston from New Jersey many years ago (although he was not at the Vendue Inn when we came in 2005). At one point, he mentioned his fiance, however, he kept hovering around us and coming back to chat; and, as I said, offering to bring us wine and tid-bits. Mark's Gay-Dar went up so let's just say Jerry was not coming around to butter ME up :-)
After a bit of a rest in our room, we got gussied up for SNOB. The Red Dress. YEY! Looked good!
They were great to us at SNOB, as always. Read my review from Trip Advisor by clicking here. They had "our booth" for us (although we did have to wait a bit in the bar since the diners there before us were taking their own sweet time paying the bill) and brought us complimentary flutes of champagne once we were seated.
After dinner (and feeling quite full), we decided to walk to the waterfront park (right by the inn) to smoke a cigar and swing on one of the many porch swings on the pier. It was a lovely night out, although turns out a storm was brewing! It woke me up in the middle of the night; Mark didn't even hear it; probably because we'd had a long soak in the tub, more wine and he was one sleepy dude after all of that! Not to mention, this bed; it's like sleeping in clouds (I stole that line from another guest who wrote it in the register).
We're having a slow start to our day today. We just got back from breakfast (it's no longer a buffet; probably the only disappointment regarding the changes the new management has made to the inn) and are trying to decide what to do today. Probably just roaming! Dinner is at 7:30 pm.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Improvement



There has certainly been improvement with Apollo. That saying, "You gotta be cruel to be kind" is apt here (although we have not been cruel per se, just firm).
He went into the bathroom around this time yesterday. Last night, after a bit of a hissy fit, he allowed me to pet him and hold him. He's got quite the motor, too. And, he squeaks when he meows.
As we were having a substantial thunderstorm, I went back in there around 11:30 or so because I heard him crying. He was cowering in his litter box and hissed at me. I scruffed him and he immediately started to purr and cuddle against my neck.
I put him in the sink, along with a nice comfy towel and a few toys to cuddle with.
When I came in this morning, he was still there. Again, he hissed at me but his displeasure was short-lived.
And so has gone the drill all day, although he doesn't always hiss and sometimes I find him camping out behind the john rather than in the sink.
I sit on the floor and coax him out. Eventually, he comes over to me and lets me pet him and starts to crawl on me. At some point, I'll pick him up for a bit, or, he'll roll over and let me rub his belly (he loves belly rubs and having his ears scratched).
I'd like to see him eating a bit more but he is eating some of the dry food and he gobbles down turkey lunch meat like a fiend.
It is tough to leave him because I can hear him crying all the way downstairs.
But, we're making progress towards the goal of getting him friendly enough to be adopted. Once he's been in there long enough (whatever that turns out to be but it can't be longer than Monday since The Kid is due to come over and she'll want her bathroom), hopefully, he'll continue to be as friendly, even if his siblings are around.
Here is one of the (many) videos I shot of his progress this morning. The rest are on my You Tube page.

video
Apollo 6.10.09

I'm thinking rather than simply taking him out of the bathroom and putting him back in with all four, I might bring one of his siblings into the bathroom with him for some company and see if he's still doing okay with being petted, etc.
Obviously, my life has been somewhat absorbed by this adventure; hope y'all don't mind reading about kittens!
And speaking of kittens, here are a few pictures of OUR kittens hanging out with a few of the foster kittens. I let the fosters out in batches today (not Apollo) and both Pete and Lily were interested in them and in playing with them. Lily did better than Pete.
Both of them would run up to a kitten and lift a paw to play (no aggressive behavior allowed). Pete took great joy in bounding across the room at Zeus several times, but, for whatever reason, after reaching him and meowing, he'd then hiss and huff and puff away.
Pete and Lily ARE still, technically, kittens as they are not yet 11 months old. It's hard to believe that, though, when you see these pictures of how huge they are, Pete in particular, in comparison!
Lucy is being real champ about it all. I know she wants to spend more time with the foster kittens and lick them all over and she seems genuinely concerned when she hears Apollo crying in the bathroom.
But, a face to face intro between Lucy and the kittens is an adventure best saved for another day!
Mrs. B

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Fostering Lessons and Tough Calls

Although it's been a tad disruptive, for the most part (so far), the fostering "experiment" is going fairly well.
Thankfully, they are all drinking, eating, peeing and pooping (in their box) and haven't caused any major issues. However, the be-all most important thing (at least what I've been told by the fostering organization) is that they become SOCIAL.
Four of the five are doing well; with two of the four doing extremely well at being social. They all come out when their door is opened to see what is up and they all (usually) hang out and play. Zeus, Athena, Ares and Hera will allow pets, brief periods of being picked up (although Ares barely tolerates this and it takes Hera a bit to decide it's ok each time). All four are now purring and Zeus and Ares in particular love laps (generally in conjunction with playing, which means jumping in and out of my lap, but, they don't mind getting close on their own accord).
Apollo, well, he's very curious and will be on the periphery of the action. If he's not paying too much attention, I might be able to get one or two light strokes on his back in before he darts away, ever elusive. Sure, he typically comes right back (albeit a staying a bit farther away), but, as I said, socialization is the key. Not too many people want to adopt a kitten who is, for the most part, bordering on feral, no matter how cute is he.

Apollo: Yes, he IS cute, but, we have to get him to accept being touched!

Christy, the lady who was fostering them first, told me they'd been pulled (which means from "the world", I guess) at around seven weeks (their best guess). At eight weeks, if a kitten has not had any real interaction with humans, they are basically feral and there is likely not much that can be done with them save fix them (spay/neuter) give them a few shots, and send them back out. In other words, there comes a point in time where it's not worth the time, effort and money to keep them in the program because they probably will never turn around. The longer they stay in the program, the harder it will be for them to readjust to the wild. Etc.

So, for the four of them to have made this much progress is certainly happy news. I've no doubt that the four of them will be adopted (especially since Christy informed me that there are not that many kittens in the program up for adoption right now; ours go up 28 June).

Anyway, I sent an email to both Christy and Sue (one of the program heads) about Apollo; my concerns that he was still shrinking from touch. Although one might say it's wise to be patient (my husband being one of these people and in general he is right), I know time is of the essence here; the longer he remains this way, the more likely he'll not turn.

I haven't heard from Sue yet (although the going-in plan had been if he didn't turn, she'd take him over) but Christy and I spoke at length and agreed he needed to be pulled from his litter mates. I agreed to this after she explained to me that (she's seen this before), sometimes, a shy kitten will rely overly much on its litter mates to take the brunt of the human interaction. For them, they see this as a wise choice, but, obviously, in the end, it is not.

Separating him will mean he'll a) be lonely and hopefully come to crave the attention and b) not be able to use his litter mates to hide behind.

So, off I went this afternoon to buy another litter box. I came home and was sorta on the fence about when to make the switch when fate decided it for me. Or, rather, five little kittens decided it for me!

I'd opened up their room (there is a baby gate in front of the door) and went downstairs for maybe five minutes to chop up their afternoon snack of turkey lunch meat. When I came back up, I saw either Zeus or Ares (hard to tell from a distance) near the stairs. As I turned the corner towards the room, I saw Athena on top of the baby gate and Hera getting ready to climb it. From the corner of my eye, I saw Apollo and the other grey male in the office. THANKFULLY Lucy was outside and Pete and Lily were sacked out for their long afternoon nap in the sitting room.

I moved quickly and scooped up Athena before she could get over the gate. I dropped her back into the room (my quick motion had startled Hera and she'd backed off the gate) and shut the door. I shut the office door, thereby trapping Apollo and his accomplice in there. Next, I corned the grey male near the stairs (turned out it was Zeus) and got him back into their room.

I went into the office to find the two kittens in there romping about. I sat down on the floor in hopes that they'd come over to me, to no avail; they were too busy exploring. So, I sat there a while. Then, went and got some of the turkey. Both were sure interested in that and I was pleased to note that Apollo sat quite close to me as he chowed down, and, as he was distracted, I was able to lightly pet him for the longest amount of time yet (although he did finally figure out what I was doing and scampered off).

In the meantime, Lily was at the door carrying on to get in. I thought, "Why not?" She's been pretty good at not hissing (too much) at them through the baby gate. So, in came Lily who immediately ran over to sniff them, and, from what I could tell, attempted to herd them. Then, she got distracted by the turkey (which she usually doesn't care for) and ran over to eat it.

Unfortunately (and I HAD thought about this prospect but then forgot), both kittens climbed inside the lower half of my elliptical machine. After a bit of light banging on the encasement, Ares (who did not like the noise) came sorta stumbling out. He didn't want me to pick him up but I scruffed him and he did that cute little kitten thing of playing dead. Off Ares went in to their room.

Leaving Apollo, the one who needs the most work; who is the most timid, for me to try and get out of the machine and into (I'd decided NOW was the time) the guest bathroom.

I shooed Lily out of the room (although I might use her later in his socialization as Apollo seems to take to her) and thought a bit. Finally, I decided to go get one of the cat carriers and try to lure him out from the elliptical machine with the laser pointer and then into the carrier.

Nice idea, but, he had others.

He did come out, ran around the room, and then promptly back into the elliptical machine. Let me tell you, these little kitties are lightening fast. Plus, I was trying not to lumber and lurch around overly much and frighten him even more than he probably already was.

Determined not to be out thought and out maneuvered by a 10 week old kitten, I got the idea to place the carrier right up to the side of the machine where he was (effectively blocking it) and, using a cat wand toy, reached in the other side and sorta poked at him until he got up and ran right into the carrier. SLAM!

After preparing his bathroom (which included trying to block off every space he might attempt to hide in or behind (towels crammed down between the toilet and the wall)), I put him in there, opened the carrier, and left him alone.

About an hour later, I went to feed the kittens their nightly wet food. Did his brothers and sisters appear to miss him in the slightest? No.

I took some in to Apollo (although he usually does not eat it). Amazingly enough, despite my preparations, he appeared to be nowhere in the room! I eventually found him laying in the towel that I'd crammed behind the toilet. How can they fit themselves into such tiny little spaces? Anyway, he looked at me and I looked at him. I stuck my hand up behind him (he couldn't see me doing this) and petted him a bit, which, although he jumped a bit, he tolerated (although, really, what could he do?) I rubbed my hands in cat nip and slowly moved a bit towards his front paws; he looked a bit askance but didn't do too much (no hissing, thank God). I stayed in there about 15 minutes talking sweetly to him and occasionally petting his back or front paws.

I left him some wet food and went out the door.

Thankfully since the others are doing so well, I'll be able to spend more time with him and a bit less with them. The goal is to get him to want the interaction. Right now, he's none too happy but hopefully he'll get bored with laying in a towel behind the toilet and come out. Obviously, he'll have to in order to eat/use the box.

I told Christy I'd be willing to try this arrangement until the weekend when, if he's not improved, he'll have to go stay with Sue (who will, in essence, keep him in a large crate doing pretty much the same thing I'm doing).

He certainly cannot go to a Thon (adopt-a-thon) until he's friendlier. He'd likely freak, hiss, and there would go his adoption chances.

So, y'all send positive thoughts little Apollo's way, won't you? We don't want to have to release him back into the wild!

Mrs. B

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Meet the Greek Gang!

Hera: Loves Shoes
Athena: Loves Sitting in Windows
Apollo: Loves Lily
Zeus and Ares: Love to Play and Keep You Guessing "Who is Who?"
Zeus: Loves to Show Off

Check out my videos on You Tube and meet our foster kitties!
As of Day 3 (today), they are all out and about quite a bit (meaning, out from under the bed). It's been very interesting to learn their little personalities and see them live up to their name sakes!
Our guess is that, in three weeks (from today) when they go up for adoption, they'll be pretty darn friendly!
One of these days, I'll get around to blogging about something other than kittens. But, life's been hectic, so, it won't be today!
Mrs. B