Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry almost Christmas

Don't worry everyone.  Even though I am getting out of the house on a semi-regular basis, I won't be ignoring this little blog.  Just don't expect regular postings since I have basically intended this to be a way to share hikes and adventures outside.  I really don't think adventures outside are going to happen regularly for a couple of months, but there will be items of note until then.  The weather prevents hiking where I want to and even though I'm getting some time off in the next couple of weeks, we also have college football to deal with and that will take my full attention.  

I've recovered from the last minute loss of the Packers last night.  It hurts that it was against Chicago, but I've heard that adversity builds character.  Or something like that.  

At any rate, I'm off to brave the roads again.  I heard that we are getting some more snow tonight.  I'm going to bring work home and work from home on Wednesday.  At some point I need to get to the grocery store if my dessert is going to be any good on Christmas.  The pressure is on!  

Saturday, December 20, 2008

It's curtains again.

The cats have diligently worked to make sure that they are involved in everything that goes on around here.  Some time ago, they decided that they needed to be able to sit in the window above my bed without dealing with those pesky blinds.  Accordingly, they knocked small, cat sized holes on both sides of the blinds - an entrance and an exit for their convenience.  Not wanting to be an exhibitionist for my neighbors, I've decided to put up curtains over the damaged blinds.  I'm not replacing the blinds because I sense a pattern here.  Today seems like a good day to work on the curtains, but as you can see Sammy and Scout need to be involved. Scout is sleeping on the fabric right now which gives me the opportunity to blog about it.  

Sammy is a little better at this game than Scout is.  He actually got me to wrap my arms around him on the fabric and then he fell asleep, trapping my hands under his chin.  I stood there for about 10 minutes until parts of my body started falling asleep and became confident that standing up would not result in a call to the ASPCA.  

Bring me Solo and the Wookie

It is day three of my captivity by snow and ice.  It has started to snow again and the cat army is getting very wound up.  Sammy insists on playing all the time and I'm wondering if I can get him worn down. The interactive cat toys are not doing the trick.  He like strings and/or feathers on sticks so I'm stuck on the floor working him out.  On the plus side, he's got some nice moves and may have a second career in the cat circus.  

As you can see from the picture above, Bob is taking all this in stride.  

A friend of mine just e-mailed me pictures from Fred Meyer.  Between people needing to get provisions to get through the next few days and Christmas shopping, things are getting a little crazy out there.  It has a "Day After Meets Ice Age" vibe and I'm glad not to be a part of it.  

Friday, December 19, 2008


Since it is the Christmas season and that means eating too much, I decided to make fudge.  Not marshmallow, no cook kind, but the real honest to god, use a candy thermometer and keep stirring kind.  In my humble opinion, the results  were fantastic.  I added some peppermint flavoring and ended up with a dark chocolate peppermint fudge.  I also decided to try something a little different with the pan.  Last year I purchased a silicone mini tart pan to make lime curd tarts in. They turned out great, even though I could have made the crusts slightly thinner.  At any rate, I decided to use the silicone pans for the fudge.  I thought that the fudge would peel out of the pans and then be in yummy fudgy shapes.  It actually worked.  I now have large pieces of mint fudge in the shape of mini tarts.  It is very cool and I plan to bring them to work to share.  

I also made oatmeal butterscotch bars, but that was completely accidental.  I thought I was buying cinnamon chips (which make incredible oatmeal cookies) and inadvertently purchased butterscotch chips.  Oh well, the butterscotch bars are just fine and I've frozen them to take to the next bake sale at work. That's assuming I don't unthaw them and eat them during my snowy confinement here.  


I may have mentioned that I planned to do something about the non-functioning blinds in the office/guest room.  I replaced the blinds - which was no easy task by the way.  I managed to get them installed and cleverly left the pull cord trapped between the blinds and the windowsill. After swearing a lot, I took down the blinds, freed the pull cord and installed them a second time.  I also decided to add a valance to make it a little prettier.  I made the valance you see here.  It is actually four panels that I shoved together on the bar over the window.  Having window treatments really makes the place look like someone with a job lives here, don't you think? 

You can also see Scout going through work e-mails for me and letting me know what I need to follow up on.  She is very good that way.  

Storm 2008 - Day Two

My captivity by snow continues into day two.  It snowed again last night and has reached a high of 30.  I just got back from checking out the roads (on foot) and discovered that there is about 4 inches of ice/packed snow down.  While I could probably get out, I choose not to. The weather report says not to worry.  We are expected to get freezing rain and high winds in the next two days.  Which means that I get all the fun of being isolated with the added benefit of not having power.  I can't wait.  Luckily, I got cat food before all this started and I have lots of cheese and apples for myself.  

By the way, for more storm pictures, click here.  

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Angry Bob - Before and After

Angry Bob moved in almost two years ago.  He moved in after Scout did, but started hanging out before she moved in.  At the time the only cat I had was the late Grover and he was all that I really ever wanted.  I'll follow up with pictures of him. As much as I love Angry Bob, I wish that Grover could have handled him better.  

At any rate, Angry Bob is the lover of the neighborhood.  If he were a human, he'd be hanging out in bars saying, "Hey Baby" to everyone he meets.  He's the guy you don't really want around, but he wears you down with his persistence. And, of course, I really want him around. 
I first met Bob late one January evening when I came home from work.  It was raining and he followed my car into my garage and proceeded to run circles around me.  It became obvious to me that he wanted food.  I fed him, he left, and I thought that was the end of it.  Of course, it wasn't.  Eventually, I would find him sleeping on my couch or wandering around my house.  I wasn't the only woman on the block he did this to, I was just the one he decided to spend his nights with.  I got him neutered so there wouldn't be little Bobs running around and I honestly thought that would be the end of it.  Every man I know agrees that a good neutering should prevent return visits.  At any rate, Bob moved in with his suitcases and has lived here ever since.  He still spends his days with his girlfriend next door, but he comes home to me at night. I suppose that I should be flattered by this behavior.  He is also incredibly sweet and is a welcome addition to the cat army.  If anyone asks, he doesn't live here.  My homeowners association only allows two pets.  Bob breaks my quota.  

This picture is from his days of living in the garage when I thought I could persuade him to just stay outside.  That, of course, didn't happen. I didn't know at the time that he had already instigated "operation become a house cat" when he was eating canned food next to the car.  

This picture is more recent - as you can see, he is resembling Jabba the Hut more and more these days.  He's just putting on his winter weight - honestly.  

Scout - Before and After

I think Scout deserves a before and after post too.  I got Scout over two years ago when a woman at work put out an e-mail asking someone to help a cat she was feeding in her parking lot.  She believed the cat had been abandoned by tenants in her apartment complex when they moved.  She said that the cat was very sweet and she was concerned and didn't want the little thing to be hurt by people anymore.  Well,  I had to take her in.  (After having my friends berate me about only having one cat and how I could easily fit this little one into my home.)  I went to the woman's apartment with the intention of meeting the cat, but it became clear she needed to come home with me.  She was scared out of her little cat mind and very, very thin.  I locked her in a bedroom and then took her to a veterinarian the next day.  She was covered with fleas, scabby, severely dehydrated and starving.  She was also incredibly affectionate, which was a little rough on me because she was scabby and covered with fleas.  At any rate, this is what she looked like when she moved in......

... and this is Scout after living with me for two years.  This picture was taken during the Democratic National Convention as she anxiously awaited Barack Obama to speak.  Scout is a huge Obama fan.  Don't even get her started about Sarah Palin - it makes her very upset.

Pirate Kitty - Before and After

The fine folks at Feline Friends sent me a picture of Sammy when he arrived at the shelter. Even though he only weighed three pounds and was severely dehydrated, Sammy was a handsome fellow.  I thought I'd share his "before" picture with you....

...followed by his "after" picture.  It is actually quite hard to get a picture of Sammy.  He hates the flash on the camera and now runs when he sees me carrying it around.  I'm stuck with slightly grainy camera photos, which works only so long as the phone is turned to vibrate.  If there is a noise, he is gone.  I imagine it is because the flash is disturbing to his good eye and not that he is in the witness protection program.  

Snow Storm 2008

I think I can be officially called a wimp for not trying to go to work today and taking a snow day instead.  But, in my defense, the roads have been complete sheets of ice for the last 48 hours and 3/4ths of my committee also didn't go to work.  Having said that, I thought you'd appreciate some pictures of the great snow storm of 2008.  I may or may not get out tomorrow, I'm hoping I get out.  Since I have cleaned everything in the house and started a blog during my one day of isolation, the only thing left is to turn into Jack Nicholson in the Shining.  If one of the cats tries to get me to "correct" another cat, we will know things have gotten out of hand.  I also plan to bake later and I still have to finish the curtains in my bedroom. 

Thank all that is good and pure that I made it to the liquor store two days ago.  I have some sparking apple juice and some pear vodka that should help me get through the evening.  There is nothing like a fancy drink in a pretty glass to make watching network TV palatable.  

The fed ex driver just stopped by (with chains on her tires) and dropped off a box of cat toys I ordered a couple of days ago.  They are "interactive" which I hope means that they will be played with when I am not around.  The cat army grows restless with snow on the ground.  

Pirate Kitty Strikes

I think mom will appreciate that I have another cat who knows this trick.  Sammy is still a bit of a kitten and wants to play all the time.  The kids would approve, I'm sure.  By the way,  Scout was just a little to the left of this paw and did not seem to be enjoying this moment as much as I was.  Let's just hope I can go to work tomorrow. 

Random hiking pictures

Here is a double rainbow taken at my last hike at Mt. Rainier.  The last mile was straight uphill and even though it was very cold when we stopped, the hike was gorgeous.  
Hi everyone, 

Let's see how this little experiment works.  I'm going to try this out as a way to stay in touch with you back in America's heartland.  And, well, the world too for those lucky enough to stumble onto my blog.  Let me know what you think and I'll start randomly posting about the cats and other good stuff soon.