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No bifocals. I probably could have ordered new contact lenses, but when I found out they increased by $30 per eye, I decided I can make my current pair work for a bit longer. Eye doc said I'm likely to see a bit of fluctuating from here on out, but no bifocals yet. Whew!

You know, Hank has been with me almost a year and to be honest - I had hoped that the others would have accepted him. I was looking at photos for the last three months of last year, when Pickle was so sick. Before she just couldn't shake the yuck, she and Hank played well. After? She changed. I halfway wonder if she associates him with her illness. You know, like when you were a kid and you vomited soon after eating, say, peanut butter and for a long, long time after you cannot think of peanut butter without getting queasy. I think I am going to try to cordon off three of the downstairs rooms and kind of keep them separated for a bit, reintroduce Hank again. Hmmmm.
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Fixer Upper

I attempted to make a healthier version of Taco Bell's crunch wrap supreme - something I've never actually eaten, not because I object to it morally or anything. I just rarely eat out, let alone fast food. I made it more vegetarian, using taco-seasoned black beans and cauliflower instead of ground beef. Skipped the nacho cheese sauce, toasted and cut the corn tortilla in half, used a whole tomato and spinach instead of iceberg. Also bought low carb flour tortillas*.

It was a disaster. Delicious, but I clearly did not get the proportions correct, as I couldn't get it to wrap and stay wrapped. Rather than adjust, I just went with it. So, not handy and not portable, more like a warm taco salad, but pretty tasty.

Can't win them all, but I will try until I get it right.

Speaking of trying till I get it right: today it was announced that instead of once every three months, I only have to have my cases/work reviewed by internal quality assurance once every six months. Achieved by scoring better than 95% for three quarters in a row. I didn't even know this was a thing, btw, so I wasn't trying. LOL. Everyone else gave me dirty looks.


*I thought I had put the tortillas safely behind cupboard doors. Nope. The cats got them, nommed through two edges of all of them, then abandoned them because - shocker - they weren't to their taste. Grrrr, cats! On that note, I also was lax in latching a cupboard when I left this morning and came home to my cheddar rice cakes obliterated and a bag of catnip completely gone. Apparently child-safety locks are a permanent fixture. Considering an attempt at "re-introducing" Hank, but so far I can't bring myself to lock him up just because almoste everyone else is perturbed by his adorable one-eyed face.

Cat Pile

Aug. 20th, 2017 06:19 pm
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Cat Pile

I have wasted this entire day. I slept till 11 (!), and haven't done much of anything except print out and frame some photos. Putting them up is another day's adventure. I'm not good at making things even, even with a template to help.

Thought briefly about making some "eclipse" cookies. Meh. Not in the mood to bake. Right now Hank is doing his best to lure me in to play - he likes to sit at my side and raise himself up on his hind legs, then flop over and show his belly. It's really quite cute.
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Pickle Butt

Sometimes I just can't resist using a cat shot for pic of day...

We're all being lazy today, though I did bake a pan of brownies. And I found myself getting pretty worked up over the cats refusing to stay off of the counters as I prepped (hosed the counter tops down, turned to put away cleaner ... cats on counter again) that I shut the all in a room and had the most peaceful bake I've had in, oh, seven years. I really, really, really need to find myself a suitable hook and eye lock for the kitchen door. Something flat for the door side, almost impossible to find.

The brownies look great, but as usual I futzed with the base recipe so who knows? I really don't think 2 cups of sugar is necessary. That's a LOT of sugar. I cut that a bit, plus instead of using a whole stick of butter plus a quarter cup of oil (!), I used half a stick of butter and about half of an avocado. We'll see! Of course, all of those efforts are laughable, as I made them to use up the copious amounts of peanut butter cream cheese frosting I had left over from the cupcakes I made late last week. Will likely conduct a photo shoot with them later. I can post recipe if anyone's interested.
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Stairs to Nowhere

Finally, FINALLY had someone come out to take a look at chimney, replace flashing and seal it up. He said that if the other place told me they sealed the chimney really well they were big fat liars. He said (and showed me pictures) of three small dots of sealant on each side of chimney which he said he was shocked worked at all, even for a short time. Now I'm even more furious at how much they charged me for what was essentially no work. This guy wasn't cheap either, but since I couldn't find anyone local I had to pay someone from out of area and thus had to pay for mileage. Understandable, the charges, but man.

The only way I'll know it worked is when the rains come again.

In other news, I have found additional pee spots around the house. I had to toss a rug. The latest little cardboard box condo I made, pee stain all over the bottom. I don't know if there's something wrong with my nose or what, but I swear I don't smell this stuff as it happens! We should be noise-free for a while now, so hopefully no peeing.

The tree/bush thing that my neighbors kindly removed last year is growing back. Can't stop the signal! I figured that out as I was out futilely battling the creeping vines. I didn't recognize the leaves until I unburied the stump and found it sprouting happily.

Not a bad day as far as getting things accomplished, though I am teetering on verge of major head pain. The walk downtown (when I got there, I couldn't remember why I had gone) felt as though the energy was sapping out of me with each step. I am plumb tuckered out. Too bad I have yet to finish the odious task of laundry.
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Removed hot cooking sheet from oven. Transferred hot, bubbling, cheesy dinner to a cutting board. Paused for a second. Cried out in dismay when Abe leaped onto the stove top, foot hitting the hot pan, fumbling his attempt to jump onto the shelf (I can't seem to get it down) set above the oven, slipped, fell, landed his left hind leg and flank onto my hot, bubbling, cheesy dinner and then flew off to lick his wounds.

He now has a tomtato sauce stain on his butt and I am having a peanut butter sandwich for dinner.

Thankfully, he doesn't look like he injured himself too badly. The ridiculous thing. I have got to figure out how to get that shelf off of the wall!
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Staycation's all I ever wanted

Drove about 40 miles down the coast to the vet today. It was a nice day for a drive, but the vet's office didn't have signage, so I drove right past it. I knew I had, too, because the town is one that takes about ten seconds (if I'm generous) to drive through. I gave myself time, which is good, because I found a winery in the middle of nowhere before I found the vet and suddenly my helpful navigational app had me going the complete opposite direction I needed to go. I swear, I drove by the place five times before someone answered the phone and helped me with a physical description of the building.

I don't mind a "getting lost" adventure, except round about the time stupid Google was driving me out to the winery I smelled a bad smell. A very bad smell. Johnny, bless her heart, pooped in her carrier. Then proceeded to stand in it. *head dashboard*

Jury's still out. I started to get disheartened when the first thing he did was grab eye ointment. Poor Johnny, she is always goop-eyed no matter what I do. On the plus side, the ointment he gave me is what I buy through Amazon to have on hand and is the only stuff that ever works. Vet did hone in on the introduction of sweet Hank, who has kind of decided to be the cat everyone else hates. He's cool with it. I'm not. Vet asked if I could separate them. Which I could try to do, but what kind of life is it for a cat to be stuck in one room? If I could, I'd do upstairs cat/downstairs cats. But even that isn't ideal.

So, for now we're trying some homeopathic drops meant to help with anxiety and we'll see how it goes. Not sure how I feel about the vet doing no tests (barring the poop test, as Johnny had kindly provided a fantastic sample, which came back as clean as poop can be), but I've suspected for a long while this might be behavioral. Stress can manifest itself in very strange ways with any creature. Even though Hank doesn't spend hours and hours tormenting the other cats, his presence alone is apparently upsetting. I guess I could try re-introducing him by stowing him in one of the larger rooms and gradually bring him back into the fold.

*shrugs* I don't feel like any real headway was made.
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This is how lazy I am: it's gorgeous out and my first thought was, "Damn it, now I have no excuse not to do yardwork."

My lawn really needs a mow. I have a reel mower, so I'm not sure how well that's going to work for me on the jungle, but I have to try. I also need to spread the fertilizer/weed killer. The problem I have with that is that it has been Wet this year (I have never seen the ground so saturated), so using the liquid weeder that you attach to a hose and spray down the lawn with seems like such a waste. Maybe I should buy granules and try to spread them by hand. Hmmm.

Being an adult is difficult sometimes! Haha. Time to suck it up. I always do, I simply need a healthy dose of whine before I do so.

It occurred to me as I ate something that caused stabbing pain in my gut just now (most things do these days, alas, though thankfully it's usually a fleeting sensation), my entire clan has been suffering intestinal ailments for months. I am now locking both Johnny and Roy in other rooms at feeding time. I should do all cats in different rooms, to be honest, because I am running out of creative swear words to use at them when I'm trying to dish out the food. This morning, Abe stuck his snout in the can of wet food and went to town before I could grab him and drop him on the floor. Oh, what I wouldn't give for a kitchen door that was cat-proofed! I need MacGyver.

(The real MacGyver, not the 12 year old Lenkov is trying to peddle.)

Currently, we are all in various sun spots throughout the house, lazing. It's Saturday. I hope the scant few who might read this are having a great day. :)

Turns out

Apr. 8th, 2017 10:14 am
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Sleeping with a ten pound one-eyed cat sitting on your neck isn't terribly healthy for you. Oh, Hank, your penchant for being as close to my face as felinely possible is endearing but painful.

You'd think I'd wake up when he first gets all up in my business, but nope.

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^But lookit his face. I can't stand it. ♥

Not today's pic of day, just cat spam.

Also cat-related spam: last night as I was putting away the groceries, I turned my back on the still-bagged tomatoes and that was enough time for Roy to chew through the bag and into one of them. So, yeah. He's still not better. I am unimpressed with vet, who, in our last conversation said, "I want to consult with someone in the city, then I'll let you know..." has not communicated with me since. I am wondering if maybe it is parasites. I have begun putting diatomaceous earth in their food in the hopes that helps kill any potential wormies. Roy does seem to be less bony, so there's that.

Very Blue

Mar. 28th, 2017 05:54 pm
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Very Blue

Well, I made it nearly three whole months... I was taking a photo of Hank in his favorite place, the kitchen sink. Roy, being Roy, cannot stand attention directed at anyone but him, so he came to stand between me and Hank.

Speaking of in between, my finger got in between Roy and Abe's food dish and got chomped. I don't think I cleaned it well enough, because it is now hot, fat and very sore. :(
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Black Bean Sloppy Joes

Zero motivation to leave house today, so you get a food shot. It's jam packed with items I really shouldn't eat yet, but I am stubborn and silly.

Roy tried twice to eat chocolate, had to dig it out of his stupid little mouth and he chomped me but good as a result. I was going to take him to the revolving door vet on Friday, but then I remembered how little they did for Pickle when she was sick for so long, so I made an appt with another vet for next Saturday. I hope this pica of his is behavioral, not physical. Pickle, too, has increased her chewing, so I spent a good amount of time this weekend trying to de-pica my house.


Feb. 24th, 2017 07:14 pm
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Such a sweet thing!

Not a sweet thing: Roy moved from the food cabinets to the one where I store my dishes and of course knocked out the only mug with any sentimental value that I own - a handpainted piece from Portugal. To say I'm irritated is an understatement.

Low Tide

Feb. 22nd, 2017 06:22 pm
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Low Tide

So. I have cats. So. I have cats that have now begun busting into my kitchen cabinets every chance they get, primarily at night when I'm unconscious. Last night, I had just gotten to sleep when BANG! I was awoken by a racket downstairs. It didn't sound like the usual clatter of spice bottles being tossed onto the floor. I got up. I found Roy had pried his way into the cabinet where I store my flour, sugar, etc. He or one of his cohorts had jumped up to the top shelf, knocked down a tub of fondant I have and a bottle of apple cider vinegar ... which didn't shatter, but the cap did. My house smells like a pickle factory. >.< They also got into a bag of flour I had just purchased, managing to nom a wide hole into the back, helping themselves to the flour. Carbo-loading for more shenanigans.

I have ordered baby locks, hoping that will solve this issue. I'd rather they just not be on the counters at ALL, but that battle's already lost.

Then, at three AM, I hear, "Herppppp, splat!" in my bedroom. Roy found another pom! What the... where are these things coming frommmmmmmm?

It was not a good cat night in my house. I have decided it best for everyone to keep the kitchen door shut when I'm not around, or even when I am, as the first thing Roy did was make a beeline for that cupboard tonight.

Calgon, take me away.


Feb. 10th, 2017 06:00 pm
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Eat the rainbow, puke the rainbow: I thought I had found all of the sparkly poms my normal cats like to play with but Roy has suddenly decided to eat. Nope. Woke up before dawn to the sound of a cat trying to hurl. Up came two poms - red and gold. Tonight I got home, found one partially masticated red pom and a pink one. Just now, Roy started the full-body wretch again and produced a blue one.

I am definitely taking him in. I don't know if stress can cause pica? I suspect it can definitely upset their tummies - the poop situation is slightly better. What a glamorous life.


Dec. 17th, 2016 10:03 am
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I recently ordered a new kind of wet food on Chewy to try for my cats, thinking the price was on par with what I'm currently feeding. Alas, when I got the food, I realized I wasn't careful enough in looking at the prices - I paid comparable prices for half what I usually get. Yikes! I can't afford to sustain that kind of cost (I'd be paying almost as much to feed my cats a month as I do feeding myself!), so I called to start the return process.

They issued me a refund and asked that instead of returning, I donate the food to the animal shelter! I was a bit floored by that.

Unfortunately, for some reason our shelter doesn't feed wet food to cats outside of kittenhood (don't get me started, the director also won't put scratchers in the cat room - I'm sure there's logic there, but neither I nor any of the cat volunteers can figure it out. We lost a cat volunteer because she got scratched too much and bled too easily. Not saying scratchers would have prevented that, but generally they're good things for cats), so I'm not sure they'll take it. I could, of course, just keep it and use it, but I don't want to do that, both for ethical reasons and for the fact if my cats love the food and I can't afford to keep buying it...

In other news, Pickle is finally starting to feel better. She's been out and playing a bit, and now it's her turn to hiss at the new kid who just wants to play when she's not quite ready for the rough and tumble. Her eyes are basically rubbed bald and I continue to have to dose her with ointment or she gets squinty. I never did take her in - she keeps getting almost better just as I want to take her, then relapses when I decide not to. Surprisingly, she seems to perk up the most when I apply apple cider vinegar to the back of her neck.

Hank is currently on me, kneading and purring away. It's a bit much, five cats, but I love this little stinker.

Hopefully everyone has gotten their cards. Perhaps not anyone overseas yet, but they are coming. :)
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The plan was to make these Salted Caramel Stuffed Chocolate Crinkles, because I love a good crinkle and the caramel filling - well.

However, I didn't have any soft caramels. I also didn't have the gumption to walk to the store to pick some up, and I did have sugar, butter and cream and the tenacity to try to make my own after many failed attempts. Seriously, people, caramels shouldn't be so hard to make and yet... I went and bought a candy thermometer years ago for the express purpose and I never managed to make it work. I did this time, and I didn't even use the thermometer, which actually broke a couple of weeks ago when it decided to swan dive onto the floor.

Anyway. I whipped up a batch of soft caramels. They turned out great!
IMG_9081 (2)

But then. )
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Apparently Costco uses MSG (or some derivative) in their pizza. I do love a good slice of Costco cheese pizza and don't recall having this bad of a reaction before, but two slices and I've been migraining for a day and a half. The worst thing is - even knowing the pain, I will probably still want pizza from there now and again. I don't think I'll be dumb enough to do it, but I'll still want it. I have a packet of creamy chicken ramen in my cupboard, on the off chance I will cave and suffer the consequences. See also: Cadbury Creme Eggs (not MSG-related, but still a major trigger).

Ugh. MSG. Such nasty stuff.

In other news, Pickle is still sick and now has decreased appetite plus lethargy. Fairly sure she's feverish. She may or may not have been responsible for poo outside the box - like, way away from the box, totally different floor. I'm hoping to take her in tomorrow, and that they'll actually do more than treat symptoms. :( I'm also wondering if Johnny's sudden fervor about food is a symptom of something. She never used to go bugbleep nuts about food, but now if anything, and I mean anything is left out, she will go after it. I came home today to a big mess on the kitchen floor that looked like runny poo. Turned out she (and probably the others) had found a tube of kitty laxative and chomped through it. Messy and gross. If they were people, they might connect the explosive pooping to their choices...
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Pickle, at vet: Meep.
Me: I know, I'm sorry.

Pickle, in car: Meep. Meeeep.
Me: I know, I'm sorry. I missed you too.

Pickle, at home: Meep. *head butt* *rub forehead* *lean*
Me: Awwww.
Everyone else: HISSSSSS.

Seriously, though, I am feeling awful. When I came home without Pickle, Johnny was so, so joyful. She was chatting and head-rubby and followed me around like she was very happy that I'd finally woken up and ditched the Pickle. I know and have known that Pickle is a catalyst. She's a little scrappy tornado and Johnny does not appreciate her in the least. Johnny, as my favorite...

Ah, one day I will post a post that's not about cats. LOL.
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Last November, Roy had to spend days in the animal hospital with his second bout of constipation-venturing-toward-liver-failure (first was over Christmas the year before.

This November, it was Pickle. I wasn't able to get her in yesterday, as a client walked in ten minutes before my office hours end and caused me to stay late. :( I took off early today instead, and got home to a cone-free Pickle. Little turd, but I can't really blame her. Her eyes must have itched something terrible, as she'd rubbed herself to the point the pink of her lid obscured all of her vision in one eye. :( :( :(

The doc took one look at her and said, "She's mine." Silly me, I thought he was referencing how daggone cute she is. Nope. They're going to treat her there, given this is round two and clearly the ointment does nothing and the antibiotics weren't strong enough. Poor baby meeped the whole way to the vet's office. She's going to be miserable.

But hopefully, she'll get better enough to come home Friday. Vet advised the OTC product I ordered is pretty much snake oil. I think I'll try it on Johnny anyway, and probably Pickle, since I have it. I just won't re-order.
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Went through all of the antibiotics and her eye still looked pinkish around the edge, but she wasn't rubbing excessively. I thought it would right itself. Yesterday, her other eye started squinting. It didn't look too bad and the vet was booked all day, so I coned her, put a warm wet cloth over her eyes and gave her some ointment.

Then the first eye started squinting too. It doesn't look as awful as usual because I've become a Cone of Shame defaulter. When in doubt, cone 'em. I don't want to think it, but maybe she's got herpes? I will take her in tomorrow. I have ordered some OTC stuff that is supposed to be for eye health - will try that out on Johnny as well, who still suffers from chronic goop.

On the feline plus side, no more Worm Butt Hank! I should get out the vacuum again today, keep vacuuming at least every other day for a while in case it is more than just a rogue flea.

Oh, the kitty cat drama. I have to focus on something else, after all.

Also, I made some dulce de leche this weekend. Hello, Christmas gifts! It's amazing. I just made some salted caramel ice cream with it. Yes. Yes, my freezer contains six pints of ice cream. Don't worry - it will last me six weeks, at least. ;)


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