Thursday, March 31, 2011


Okay, so yesterday I made a list. Six out of nine crossed off isn’t that bad for me.

Whenever I make a list it always seems like it would be near impossible to do it all, even if everything is completely easy and can be accomplished in half the time I’ve allotted. The problem is that I tend to not do the ones that are really important. Fortunately, even though the move is imminent and should take precedent, the only items on the list I didn’t do were all related to packing or garage sale stuff. Yes, that means I have all of my financial aid paperwork submitted and entered and will be going back to school starting this summer, something I’m extremely excited about, even if I haven’t a clue what I should be studying as of yet.

Back to making lists, I’m not much of a list maker unless I really need to focus on time management. With large cake orders and wedding cakes I almost always have a list of things I need to get done and in the order they need to be completed so that I know that the cake will be ready on time. And yes, I always give myself a few hours of wiggle room in case something goes awry. Trust me, if you make a list and give yourself the exact amount of time it should take, there is going to be something that will not go according to plan and throw off the whole project. And yes, it is true that sometimes not everything on the list will be done, which is why as I’m working on a project if something isn’t imperative and I’m running behind, I’ll scratch it off. It’s better to cross off a few minor elements nobody is going to miss than not complete the project at all.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Today's Chore List

1 – wash dog bedding and sofa quilt
2 – bathe dog
3 – feed and water chickens
4 – wash dishes
5 – attempt more packing
6 – pile stuff for garage sale
7 – price stuff for garage sale
8 – take the latest financial aid paperwork to school
9 – work

This looks doable. I wonder how much of it will actually get done?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Packing: Part 2

Packing is hard work. Especially when you realize you’ve already thrown away stuff you no longer want.

Now comes the hard part. I’ve cleared out under the futon in the craft room and so it is time to open up the closet and start going through its contents. I don’t think it is a battle I can win (I almost wrote ballet instead of battle. Hmmm… that might work…) With so much stuff crammed into the closet it is near impossible to open, let alone be able to get to most of the stuff in there. Alas, I’ll have to hunker down and hopefully find some stuff to toss or sell. It shouldn’t be too difficult, even if it means going through boxes and taking out things I no longer wish to keep and putting the stuff I want in them. Of course, that is also assuming that I didn’t already do that four years ago when I completely overhauled the room. Then again I still haven’t used quite a bit of the stuff in there, so maybe this will be another excuse to purge.

There are a few things I’m wondering if it is worth keeping, like stuff from our wedding. It was five years ago and I still have all of the votives (well, those that I haven’t taken out over the years to use, anyway) and even the leftover bubble tubes. It might be time to throw out the bubbles and donate the votives. Oh my gawd, I just realized that our wedding was five years ago, which means this will be our fifteen year anniversary! Eeeek! What is the traditional Fifteenth Anniversary Gift? Crystal? Or should I go with the Fifth Anniversary Gift of wood? Ugh…

Anyway, back to packing, I’m pretty sure there are a few things I can think of that’ll need to be thrown away. Namely, the accumulated gift wrap we hardly use. If my husband is serious about having a garage sale this weekend (and week… it’s Spring Break next week here, after all) then I suppose I should get some stuff ready for that. Like old throw pillows I was going to repurpose by making new shams for. And beads. Lots and lots of beads. Now I’m getting overwhelmed again. I better stop before I simply shutdown and get nothing accomplished.

Monday, March 28, 2011


Today I am planning on starting to pack up the craft room. I’m certain it will be an exciting adventure.

The craft room shares its space with our guest room because, well, although it has enough stuff to make two rooms (or three, perhaps), we do not have two rooms to devote. However, when we move, the guest room portion will be specifically for the boys’s room and we will combine the craft room and the office. This should be interesting, but nothing we haven’t thought of doing in the past. We’d tinkered with the idea a little over a year ago, but I had just created the craft room space the way I liked it and really didn’t want to move stuff around. We also tinkered with the idea of taking the futon and dresser out of the craft room and putting that in the office instead, but neither of us liked the thought of having the computer in the guest bedroom. Alas, the move will force us to rethink our reasons.

What concerns me most is that I have a lot of craft stuffs. I mean a-lot-alotalotalotalotta craft stuff. I’ve got supplies and plentiful amounts for puppets, quilts, embroidery, beads and jewelry, scrapbooking, painting, illustrating, and so many more I don’t know if I could name them all even if I had them all laid out in front of me. What can I say, I craft. It is true that I tend to craft in phases and develop obsessions that come and go, but honestly I couldn’t tell you the last time I scrapbooked or did anything with my beads other than place them all in a box in the bottom of the closet in the craft room and covered them up with bags upon bags of quilting fabric and polar fleece and batting I picked up on sale because I’m a sale-whore. Something tells me I’m going to have to sort through what I really want to keep and what I have no business still having in the house. Some of this stuff I’ve had since I was a kid, I know it’ll mean some tough decisions to make, but also some necessary ones too.

So with that, it is time to open the room, open the closet and lift up the bed and see what wonders and horrors await. If I don’t blog tomorrow can someone please come search for me in my craft room? I may have gotten buried alive.

Sunday, March 27, 2011


I’m currently sandwiched between a cat and a kid. I don’t know which one will turn on me first.

Do you ever feel squished in life? I don’t necessarily mean the literal squish from which I am at the moment, trying not to encroach on the cat’s space or crush the toddler with my adult-size me, but with everything life tends to throw at us, and usually all at once? I certainly know the financial squish and the emotional squish that tends to follow as you try to keep your head held high when in reality you just want to hang your head down and cry. Or the loss of a loved one followed by the loss of a large portion of your family because they chose to defend a child molester and rapist rather than the other family members who were his victims. Okay, so really, who wants to associate themselves with those kinds of people anyway? Still, when a family is not whole there is another kind of squish that occurs, which is the soul crushing kind. It’s difficult to explain if you haven’t gone through it, but believe me when I say I wouldn’t wish it upon the worst person in the world.

Right now I feel squished about moving, and not just because we’ll be moving into a smaller space with a smaller yard. I feel squished because there is no way to remedy our current situation without moving. Alas, I’m hoping that once we do move this particular squish will go away. Especially when we don’t have to listen to the loudness of cars and motorcycles speeding by at all hours of the day and night or deal with a leaking roof, moldy walls, muddy driveways, crappy electrical circuitry that isn’t up to code, windows that I’m surprised haven’t fallen out yet even though they’ve been broken for years, or a crawl space that lately has been a disgusting cesspool. Actually, just writing all that down has started lifting this squish away. Excellent…

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Lucy and the Cone of Shame

For the past couple of weeks now our dog Lucy has had an Elizabethan collar on because of insistence on licking and scratching and making the yeast infection she’s fighting worse. I’m afraid to take it off now.

Here’s the thing, our dog is a licker and a scratcher, I’m sure more out of habit than an actual need to lick or scratch. Part of me thinks it is her way of getting attention, but then again, I don’t know what she’s actually thinking or if any thoughts even occur. What I do know is that she will be perfectly fine and will try to get up onto the couch with us when we don’t want her to and we tell her to go lay down on her bed and all of a sudden her ears bother her and she starts to shake her head and scratch her ears and armpits then begins to lick her inner thighs ferociously until we cave in and let her up on the couch. I’ll let you decide.

So with her ears all healed up and her inner thighs and armpits no longer inflamed we had a trial separation of Lucy from The Cone. It only lasted a couple hours. Of course, the boys are here this weekend and I wonder how much them being here influences her sporadic jealous behavior. Okay, so I know how much it does. Still, I’m tired of seeing the cone on her, even if it doesn’t seem to bother her so much. I’m thinking the only way to keep her from acting all crazy is to get her out of the house and walked or taken to the dog park to run around. Basically get her good and tired so she doesn’t have time to think about wanting to lick and scratch. But with this yucky weather and her fear of rain, part of me wonders how well that will work. Ugh.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Lady Gaga Themed Cake

One of my coworkers is obsessed with Lady Gaga. Let’s just say that I am not.

As I told one of my other coworkers I was having a difficult time coming up with a plan for the cake because I couldn’t get the Push, Olivia, PUSH! cake out of my head (Google it, but don’t say I didn’t warn you), so my coworker, who is really good friends with the other coworker who’s having the birthday, said to make that cake but with her giving birth to a cat. I decided her love of Lady Gaga would make it more appropriate for her to give birth to a cat holding a telephone (it was the only song I could think of that I’d heard… again, not a fan.) Anyway, the other day, somehow, I walked in on a conversation about pickles between the two of them and asked if I needed to incorporate pickles into the cake. And so it was decided.

Before beginning work on the cake I needed to check out a few things. Using the power of the Google I typed in “lady gaga giving birth” into the search bar just in case she’d already done this. Apparently she had… in her latest music video for the song “Born This Way.” It was disturbing, but I decided some elements could be used for the cake. Now all I had to do was decide on sculpting or painting, to which I decided to go with painting. Part of me wishes I had gone with a combination of both, but again, my procrastination led to me only be able to do one or the other and, well, I was in the mood to paint.

So after pulling out the vodka from the freezer and filling the reservoirs in the paint palette I use for cake decorating, I began mixing in a variety of food coloring to get the range of colors I wanted for the cake. An hour later I had a painted masterpiece that people will devour in a mere matter of minutes. Okay, so it isn’t much of a masterpiece since, let’s be honest, I’m not a realistic artist but more of a cartoonist illustrator, so there are some exaggerated features. Still, it looks fun and hopefully my coworker will appreciate it.

Thursday, March 24, 2011


While eight of the hens are doing great, one isn’t looking so well. What is one to do when they have a sick chicken on their hands?

Okay, so we’ve had our share of sick chickens. While it is true, our track record for curing them isn’t the greatest, we do try our best. It is just a fact that due to the high metabolism chickens have, the time between the first signs of illness and possible death can be a mere matter of hours. However, diagnosis of the illness is likely to take longer, which sucks.

A couple resources that have been invaluable to us are the Backyard Chickens website (, and Barbara Kilarski’s book Keep Chickens!. There are also various blogs from chicken owners as well that have, from time to time, given some great information, but I’ve found that the best resources are the above mentioned.

So with that, I’m going to stop blogging and start diagnosing possible illnesses. Hopefully it’ll be something simple and easily remedied.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Adventures in Yeastland

Just when we thought it might be safe to remove the cone of shame from our dog, it apparently wasn’t. Fortunately she only caused herself minimal damage before we placed it back on.

Last night Lucy was looking really good. Her ears were looking better than they had in years thanks to a regimen of hydrogen peroxide cleaning, Otomax, along with the Keto and Cipro pills to fight back the yeast. And so we figured it might be safe to remove the cone. This morning, however, we saw she had rubbed a small patch above one of her eyes and licked her stomach nearly raw again. Alas, the cone had to be put back on. Oh well, we tried.

I suppose that another bath is in order, too. If for no other reason, she should have a bath to remove all of the dead scabs and flaking skin particles, which, thank God, there is hardly anything left. She still has a small scab on her right ear from Friday’s Flappy Fest after her bath triggering a steady and healthy dose of blood to splatter in every which direction. I cleaned up most of it, though part of me wishes I left it there for the bank to decipher after they take back the house.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Smaller Space

Reality is setting in that we are moving into a smaller space. Holy crap!

From where I sit and blog every morning in the living room, I can see the entire living room, dining room and hallway leading to the bedrooms and the main bathroom. The other thing I see is light coming from large windows everywhere, something we will have to get used to not seeing in the new place, especially not having windows in the bathrooms. I suppose that means that during the summer when we hardly ever turn on a light here, we’ll have no choice but to do so there. Ugh.

Okay, so it isn’t all bad. Less yard to take care of, since the front yard is a rock garden with minimal plants and the backyard only has a small patch of weeds to keep down. I just wish we could start moving stuff in next week instead of a month from now so that we will be able to sell off or donate what won’t fit into the new space. That or maybe call my sister and get measurements of her house so that I can play with the dimensions on the computer. Alas, I know that once we start packing there will be piles of stuff to get rid of, hence having a garage sale before moving will be inevitable.

Actually, the more I think about downsizing, for the time being anyway, the more I welcome the challenge. Besides the obvious dilemma of trying to figure out how to even fit a queen size bed into the master bedroom, the kitchen issue must also be raised. As my husband and I were talking last night I told him it will be interesting trying to get used to having less cabinet and counter space, to which he asked, “That place has less counter space and cabinets than we have now?” He didn’t notice, but it is true. Since the kitchen is identical to my sister’s, I know for a fact it has about a third less cabinet storage and the counters are four square feet smaller. However, with it being a dining room and kitchen combination, that means the dining room table will be in there as well, which will have its own plusses and minuses. I’m thinking it might be a good idea to look into the portable kitchen and island concepts at IKEA to extend the counters a bit, but I’ll see if I can simply make more space by getting rid of stuff we don’t use first and using what we already have for extra storage, such as the large wire shelving unit we have in our current kitchen to store most of our small appliances when not in use.

I guess the only way we’re going to figure this whole downsizing thing out is by doing it. If only the waiting game were over.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Baby Quilts

Finally I got some quilting done over the weekend. You have no idea how good that feels.

After working a couple extra shifts at work earlier in the week, I ended up having a four day weekend. One would think I’d have taken full advantage of that and packed up stuff or finished a few projects. Instead I spent most of Thursday doing nothing. Okay, that isn’t true, I did go grocery shopping.

Friday, after wrestling with my dog trying to bathe her and then cleaning up her sudden head-shake induced blood splatter off the walls, door, ceiling, counter, floor, and especially the cabinets, I cut my hair and showered myself. Then I hopped in the car and desperately searched for the Better Homes and Gardens Perfect for Precuts special publication because some of my favorite designers were featured on the back cover. Yes, I know, silly. Anyway, it was to no avail as I went to all three major craft stores and my favorite quilt shop, Country Manor, in search of it. Oh well, I got some more needles for my sewing machine and a new rotary blade for my cutter since it’s been a bit dull as of late and picked up another fat quarter of fabric to finish my brother’s baby-to-be’s quilt. I then did the dishes before my husband got home to make it look like some housework had gotten done.

Fast forward to Friday evening. I somehow managed, after my somewhat busy day to also start and finish the top of my brother’s baby-to-be’s quilt. I can’t show any pictures because he reads this blog too because, well, my family is nosy and likes to know as much as possible about everyone probably so any juicy bits can be used against them in an argument. We all do this. Anyway, Friday night I had one quilt top down. Yea.

Saturday was too busy, what with looking at the house we’ll be renting next month and then off to the Farmer’s Market and then a trip to the emergency room to watch the boys while their mother took her seven month old daughter in to find out why she had a 104 degree fever and then out to dinner and drinks with friends for my unbirthday since I spent my birthday weekend making cakes and celebrating other peoples birthdays and holidays. Okay, so Mardi Gras isn’t so much a holiday as it is an alcohol-laden gluttonfest, but still.

Sunday after church, which I’m surprised I even went since I was so tired and had zero energy from the night before, I made a late breakfast and then started figuring out how I was going to make the three baby quilts I said I’d make for an auction our church is holding for an additional fundraiser to pay for the stained glass and roof repair work that was done last year. I’d decided a while ago that I wanted to use the Lily & Will line and picked up two Charm packs to complete all three quilts last month. Yes, I know this doesn’t seem like enough, but I knew that I already had some solid cream Charms leftover from my sister’s baby blanket that I could use to make up the difference. And so after separating the squares into colorways of pink, blue and green, I then used the remaining cream and brown squares to fill in and added two solid creams to each pile. After randomizing the squares I chain stitched them together and then pieced the whole thing rather quickly. Gotta love precuts. I’ll be posting the process I went through soon. However, one top down, two more to go. I’m hoping to have those done today.

Sunday, March 20, 2011


So yesterday morning we went over to look at a prospective house. Let’s just say first impressions can leave a bad taste in your mouth… literally.

Okay, so the layout is almost exactly like my sister’s house except this one has a vaulted ceiling and bay window in the living room. The downside to this is the super small rooms, especially master bedroom. I don’t even know if we can physically fit our queen size bed into it, let alone the dresser. I somehow think my partner thought moving into a newer house would mean more open living spaces with bigger bedrooms. Sadly that is not the case with this place and his disappointment was apparent. The upside is the double car garage for lots of storage!

But here is the thing we have to keep in mind, it is temporary. While I think we were looking for a place to stay in for a couple years, the fact of the matter is that it may only be a year depending on a multitude of factors, the major one being that the landlord may decide to move back in. Hence why we told him we’d like a contract for a one year lease and month to month after that. He was fairly receptive to the idea and had already planned on getting the legal paperwork since we would be his first real tenants outside of the friends who were currently living there.

Let me tell you what. It is difficult to imagine living someplace when there is so much other people’s stuff in a house. And I’m sorry, but is it necessary to make an entire wall in the living room, and not just any wall but the vaulted ceiling portion that goes up fourteen feet high by twelve feet wide of nothing but Nascar posters and memorabilia and Dale Earnhardt (not Jr.) all over it? And baby-shit orange paint in the kitchen? Really? What the hell? Thank God we can paint. My concern is the ass-nasty carpet. At least my sister’s house has laminate flooring throughout, but this carpet is grungy and gross and has holes and missing sections. And also, he pointed out and we couldn’t help but notice, his ex-wife and stepson apparently had a violent streak and took it out on the doors. As in holes punched into a few of them. What the hell? Grrr...

Okay, so now that all that is off my chest, here’s the deal. We’re going to see if we can take part of our first and last month rents and replace the carpet and broken doors. If he is not up to that then we will simply have to make do with cleaning the carpet and figuring something else out for the doors, which may mean replacing them out of pocket while we’re living there. And hey, it’s only temporary… and we get to keep the chickens.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Rental House

Today we are going to be meeting with the landlord of a prospective house to move into. I’m taking with me my visual measuring tape to make sure the important stuff we have will fit.

One thing I hate, and yes, I used the strong word rather than dislike here, is moving. I abhor it. I despise it. However, without any choice in the matter, it is a necessity. One thing I like are smooth transactions and I’m hoping that today’s meeting will be just that. As far as I can tell, unless there is something majorly wrong with the house, we will take it. Yes the property is smaller than we have now and the house is about one-hundred-fifty square feet smaller too, but we can make that work. As much as I love having a laundry room inside, I’m afraid that is where the extra square footage might have been removed and relegated the washer and dryer to the garage.

We already know we’ll be able to take the cats, dog and chickens with us, so the stress of possibly rehoming them is gone (thank God!) However, part of me is wondering if there isn’t a dining room like we have now and rather an eat-in kitchen which seems to be more commonplace among newer homes. Is there less cabinet and counter space than we have now? What kind of stove and oven does it have? Are the bedrooms smaller? Do the bathrooms have tiny toilets? Alas, without seeing the place my mind is wandering into conjecture mode and I need to stop. I mean, c’mon, I’ll find out soon enough.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Allergy Dog

It’s one thing to have a dog. It’s another to have one with allergies to most foods and the environment.

Our dog has chronic yeast infections due to her allergies, and with such looks like crap most of the time. However, since working at a veterinary clinic does have the advantage of reduced services and products, we decided it was time to see if we could finally get this thing under control… without the massive costs associated with treatment. Yes, we’ve seen a specialist and tried her remedies, but unfortunately they were not only quite cost prohibitive but we didn’t see any results for the year we were seeing her and giving our dog injections. So now we are back to our tried and true method of attacking this yeast infection from the inside and the outside with a powerful drug, Ketoconazole, MalAcetic shampoo and Otomax for her ears. Okay, so this is a new method except for the Keto, but still, drugs, shampoo and ear stuff. We used Malaseb shampoo before but the company went out of business and a Ketoconazole flush for her ears, but the MalAcetic shampoo and Otomax are working better and faster than either of the other two.

I really wish I would’ve taken a before picture of our Lucy before we started treatment, a week after beginning treatment when she looked absolutely awful and had torn herself apart so badly and was oozing greasy film out of her ears and armpits, and one today where she finally looks like she is healing. Okay, so maybe the oozy picture with puffy eyes she couldn’t even open wouldn’t have been the best look for her, but still, it’d have been nice to compare.

Hopefully when everything is back in order we can simply have her back on daily allergy pills like Claritin or Zyrtec or Benadryl (okay, their generic counterparts from Costco) and only have to go through a round of Ketoconazole every few months just to prevent this from coming back as badly as it did this last time. Of course, with us moving, I wonder how many of her allergies will stop flaring up once we are in a newer house that hopefully doesn’t have mold and mildew and random dust mites from sixty years.

In case you are curious what she is allergic to, let me gather her testing chart. And by no means since we didn’t have luck with an allergist should you not consult one if your pet has allergies. Our dog just has so many of them that it would be nearly impossible to treat and notice a difference, but knowing what she has allergies to helps. Anyway, here’s the list: Kentucky Blue grass, June grass, Sweet Vernal, ragweed, poverty weed, nettle, lambs quarter, firebush, elm trees, alder trees, aspergillus fumigatus (mold), fusarium (molds), penicillium notatum (mold), D. farinae (house dust mite), D. pteronyssinus (house dust mite), cat epithelia, malassezia, and then just for the hell of it, mixed grasses. In a nutshell she is allergic to the indoors and the outdoors. Food-wise, her allergies are mainly grains, which was plainfully (yes, I’m aware I conjugated two words that shouldn’t be, but it works here for what I’m trying to convey, so keep your petty grammatical correctness to yourself as I commonly make words up in order to serve my own purposes) obvious since she’s allergic to nearly every grass. For good measure we also eliminated lamb and chicken, the main protein sources in the foods she was eating prior to having her tested, although I doubt she has an allergy to either of those. Hard to say without further testing.

I just can’t wait to be able to pet her again, especially her ears, without running my hands over various scabs from her scratching. I also can’t wait to not have to smell that ass-nasty smell yeast emits and seems to permeate everything it comes into contact with. Seriously, it’s disgusting.

Thursday, March 17, 2011


Just when it seemed that apartment living with a Great Dane was inevitable, a house possibility arose. Hopefully it’ll work out.

So yesterday, after getting a tip from someone at church that his brother was looking for tenants for his rental house, my husband gave the guy a call. Over the phone anyway, this house meets our requirements: 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, under a thousand a month, and pets okay. Then the guy even said, “and plenty of room for chickens!” Okay, so, looking for a house that we could take the chickens with us wasn’t a priority at all since we knew that our friend (and my boss) would take them all if needed. However, this is a total bonus. That and the house backs up against a forest so no neighbors behind us. Double bonus!

Now I’m just waiting for the other shoe to drop, the shit to hit the fan, and the tinks to miss the pot. Saturday we’re going to meet the guy over at the house even though there are currently renters there moving out at the end of the month. Hopefully, even though the house is smaller than we currently are living in, and the yard is much smaller than we currently have, it will still work out. Honestly, I’m guessing it is a lot like my sister’s house layout-wise. And with a double car garage we should be able to store more of our stuff we currently have in the house in there instead. And if it means we will have to get rid of stuff, damn. This is the perfect excuse to purge our belongings and sell off our excess… except for my extra sewing machine I still want.

Possibilities, possibilities. Sometimes I find it difficult to not get my hopes up. But perhaps this time I won’t be let down. I know I’m not as Irish as I used to be (really long story) but I hope the luck of the Irish this St. Patrick’s Day will be in my favor.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

No Cuts Yet

Okay, so, after further analysis of my fabric choices, I really don’t like the inner blue I grabbed out of my Past Project Stash as the color, well, clashes badly. Back to square one, or is it?

When I typically make a baby blanket, the size is almost always the same or at least in a general range between thirty and thirty-four inches square. This makes it just the right size for a baby and can then be used as a carry along or wall hanging when they become toddlers. Well, that and you can get quite a few blankets this way using a queen-sized batting.

My dilemma is this: I have 4 fat quarters and some muslin yardage. Typically this would be enough, except that I want to use one of the fat quarters as the center square on which the appliqué will be sewed onto, which means that at most it’ll be eighteen inches square. That means, using the same method I use to border a majority of my baby blankets, the finished product would only be twenty-six inches square. But, I have options, right? Should I just break down and buy another fabric for the center? Should I simply say, “Screw it!” and make the quilt smaller? Or do I, and this third option just came to me, make the quilt a rectangle instead, utilizing the full size of the fat quarter I want to use in the center? Hmmm… I think I may finally have a satisfactory solution.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Must Quilt

I’ve been itching to start work on my brother’s baby blanket for a while now. Perhaps this week will be as good a time as any… even if it will also be filled with packing.

Every time I get the urge to quilt, something happens. Sometimes good, sometimes bad, sometimes ugly as in the Case of the Oozing Ears our dog suddenly got on Saturday as she is fighting off another rather nasty yeast infection due to her chronic allergies. Yuck. Another trip to vet, swab, microscope, another prescription to add onto what she started a little over a week ago and hopefully we can get that part under control too. I love working at a vet clinic!

Anyway, quilting. I’ve got the fabric. I even ransacked a small portion of my scraps from past projects and stash unintentional stash building efforts for a background fabric to place the center appliqué on and shoved it into the bag of other stuff. Now, here’s the thing. I could’ve cut everything down to size, but I haven’t yet. I even made the templates for the center appliqué pieces, but still, no cutting. What the hell? Surely I’ve had time to cut fabric, if not sew it together? Alas, I have nobody to blame but myself.

So this afternoon on my lunch break I’m coming home and cutting out my pieces. Sure, I could do the dishes which have been piling up and multiplying like rabbits, but why bother when there is fabric begging to be turned into a beautiful baby blanket?

Monday, March 14, 2011

Petty Drama

Sometimes I have to wonder about a person’s motives when they suddenly do a one-eighty. Especially when there are children involved.

One thing I don’t understand is why people use other people. Friendship is one thing where there is a mutual goal of being there for one another, but when it starts to lean towards one doing most of the work in the relationship while the other demands more and more and then when they’ve gotten all the use out of you they could possibly get simply end the friendship by saying they never trusted you in the first place, one has to wonder what the hell is really going on.

I suppose there are reasons for wanting someone you don’t like in your life if you are going to be receiving something in return, like help watching an unwanted nephew or two, or moving into a new house. Wait a minute. No I don’t. I’m not that kind of person. Yes, I may be a control freak and have my own quirks, like what utensils go where in the kitchen, but these quirks mostly affect me and nobody else. There are those who feel a need to have absolute power over others because somewhere in their past they felt powerless and over the years developed a hatred over what made them powerless in the first place. Not that I want to make a comparison of this person and Hitler, but at the same time if left unchecked that is exactly what can happen if the person has the ambition to do so.

I guess I am at a loss when I think about the whole situation. Yes, there were warning signs, like suddenly after they were completely moved into the house and had us haul their new refrigerator in they simply cut off contact until we were forced to interact at a birthday party, but at the same time I don’t know what led up to the point they no longer wanted to be friends. Was it something we said or did? And then it hit us… this all transpired after her sister, the mother of the boys we watch every other weekend, asked if we’d be interested becoming their fathers legally, with all three of us sharing custody. This must have triggered something in her, probably due to previous conversations where she wanted us to approach her sister about adopting the boys from her. Somehow I think she feels threatened that her sister was the one to approach us about co-parenting the boys with her. I wonder if she thinks this means we want to take the kids away from their mom if we go through with the adoption process? But why would we do that? What good would that do the boys or us for that matter?

Somehow I feel there is something deeper going on. My husband does too. And why they feel that I’m the good guy and he is the asshole is beyond me, especially since I share the same sentiments he does. The only difference is that I may not always express them verbally. Huh. I guess I am expressing them literally here so I wonder which one of us is really the bad guy? Oh well. If they want to go on thinking that I’m the terrific person their preconceived notions and imaginations have made me out to be, fine. But honestly, my husband is a much better father-figure to these kids than I am. While I’d prefer to simply set them in front of a television for hours at a time, he takes them to the park or plays games with them. Funny, I wonder if they read this blog entry if they’d still see me as this terrific, wonderful person? I guess what I really want to know is that if they never trusted us in the first place, why did they seek us out to be positive male role models in not only their own kids’s life, but her nephews as well, especially after not talking to us for years for another petty argument?

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Losing Time

Losing an hour of sleep is never a good thing, but mandated time changes? I think it’s time to rethink this antiquated notion.

Yes, it’s true, I’m only speaking of this now that we have lost an hour of sleep rather than gained, but really, is Daylight Savings necessary anymore? Methinks not. Then again, it might be worth a second look. Hard to say. Right now I’m thinking it might not. After all, what is the real point of messing with time in order to gain some summer daylight hours at night? We’re not big on conserving candle power and energy efficiency has improved greatly since 1918 when we here in the states we were one of the last to implement it, so I suppose the bigger question is if it is necessary to continue losing an hour of sleep in order to give off the impression there are more daylight hours. Of course, come autumn when we move the clocks back and gain an hour I’ll be sure to revisit this question, which I’m certain will consist of praising the wisdom of getting an extra hour of sleep.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Of Piss and Blood

After having a really good day with one of the boys (since the aunts are suddenly showing an interest in the other one now that we are more involved, but more on that later) it was time for bed. Let the mayhem ensue.

The boys are distinctly different. While Josh is older, he’s also the most needy and constantly seems to want attention and asks questions like, “Where are you?” when he’s standing in front of you. Little things like that, nothing major. Logan is more independent and while he requires less attention, the little devil on his shoulder telling him to do stuff means he requires a little more supervision.

So last night as I was getting ready to cook dinner Logan wanted to help. I agreed. It’d be good for him to learn how food is prepared and if he helps make it he’d be more prone to eating it, especially if it is an unfamiliar food. Sure enough I was planning on making Shrimp Pad Thai. And I’m incredibly thankful it is so easy to make! He counted the eggs as I was cracking them into a bowl and told me I needed to add carrots over and over until I finally did. While he did eat some, it wasn’t anywhere near his normal intake amount. Alas, I wasn’t going to fight it much, declared he needed to take two more bites and he was done.

We could tell he hadn’t had a nap yesterday too, and it was far too early for bedtime, so we got our coats and shoes on and went to the store. After all, we needed to buy socks and coloring and activity books for the munchkins. While we successfully bypassed the toy section, we were unable to walk out of the store with less than eighty dollars worth of stuff. Of course, some of that was us getting Bambi on Blu-ray since our DVD copy is nowhere to be found (although we know who borrowed it!) We had to watch that movie too, and since it was short and would end right around bedtime, we did. After Logan and I made popcorn.

With the movie over, it was time to potty and brush our teeth. Now, this is where the tricky part comes in. Part of me was telling myself the boy should go potty first then brush his teeth, but he was already on the stepstool in front of the sink so I put the toothpaste on his toothbrush and watched as he unsuccessfully began brushing his teeth. Tired boy. I grabbed the toothbrush, made a few passes to explain how to do it properly and he continued, even getting the very back. Not bad for a three year old. However, I noticed after giving him his cup to rinse that he immediately grabbed the hand towel and started wiping his crotch. I looked down on the floor and noticed a big wet spill. At first I thought it was water but then I couldn’t figure out how he could’ve spilled that much water. And then I noticed his socks were soaked along with his entire pant front. Yep, the boy had peed his pants while brushing his teeth… no less than a foot away from the toilet.

Stripped of pajamas, I sat him on the toilet while I cleaned up the mess where he peed a little more and pooped some too. Needless to say a bath was needed. Sleepy kids and bath time are not fun. Of course, I’d already given the dog a bath earlier so this would be easy, and it was. However, upon leaving the bathroom to get him tucked into bed for story time, the dog had decided it was time to scratch her ears up to the point that blood was bleeding profusely from them (slight exaggeration) so I had to attend to her needs and let Daddy Greg handle story time. Ugh. She now looked like she’d never even been bathed. God, I really hate yeast infections.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Kitty Litter

Anyone who has cats, especially indoor cats, knows about cat litter. And everybody has their preference, but really, which ones are best?

Clay, clumping, recycled newspaper, saw dust pellets, rabbit food… rabbit food? Yes, rabbit food. That’s what we use at the veterinary clinic I work at. It works a lot like the pine saw dust pellets we use in our house but doesn’t have the odor absorbency found in a majority of other cat litters. So although it’s the cheapest option when purchased in the fifty pound bags at the feed store, it may only be good for people who change their feline friends’s litter out daily. However, like newspaper and pine dust pellets, the fecal removed litter is compostable.

The most commonly used litter, clay, is also the heaviest and grossest to deal with. It’s difficult to clean out the litter box and generates a massive amount of dust, even the so-called reduced dust formulas puff a cloud of clay when poured into the litter box. I may be biased on this, but past experience, and the fact that this is my blog and my opinion, has led me to realize this is probably the worst option of those on the market in terms of the health of your cat and yourself.

Clumping litters have a lot of benefits, as it clumps both urine and fecal matter, making it easy to scoop daily and keep a clean litter box. However, those small particles end up between your kitty’s toes and they track it all over. Fortunately they’re small and easily vacuumed or swept away, but still, with it stuck on your cat and the fact that cat’s groom their entire bodies, they’re also ingesting whatever chemicals are in the litter. I don’t know about you, but just thinking about a clumping litter being eaten by a cat makes me imagine a disastrous event in the making in terms of intestinal blockage if it clumps in the digestive tract.

Newspaper litter, basically pellets made from old newspapers. Okay, so, here’s my observation on newspaper pellets. I just can’t imagine that they are able to absorb odors very well. Have you ever wiped up a pet mess with paper towels? Not so great at making the stink go away and if you let it sit for a while the paper will start to dissolve. Wet paper in a litter box that smells of urine and not just any urine but cat urine which is like piss on steroids? Something tells me this is also for people who change out their litter daily. I’m not that ambitious.

Lastly I’m going to talk about pine sawdust litters. It seems that as far as absorbing, not just covering up, odors, it works extremely well. While yes, those pellets do dissolve into sawdust after liquid hits them, the natural odor control found in pine keeps the smell down. The downside is of course the sawdust, which, unfortunately, does track. However, I’d rather step on sawdust than the hard clay litter that also tracks. The good news is that the urine-soaked pine saw dust poses no health risks to yourself or your cats because the particles in the box are too heavy to float in the air and anything ingested by your cat is easily digested. Bonus in that it is compostable once any poop is removed. If you think that is gross, we also compost our chickens poop and the chemical compound in it that is perfect for helping break down everything into a nutrient-rich additive for the vegetable garden is ammonia. Anyone who’s cleaned out a litter box knows what ammonia smells like, which is what urine breaks down into. Ammonia breaks down compost-to-be and the added pine saw dust will simply be part of the final compost product. Of course, if you already compost chicken, rabbit, horse or sheep manure, you may not want to bother… unless, you want to save your garbage for non-recyclable and non-reusable waste. Then, by all means, compost the litter after tossing out the poop.

If it isn’t obvious, I’m a bit biased towards the pine sawdust pellet kitty litter. Not only is it the most odor absorbing litter I’ve ever used, but it is the longest lasting litter I’ve come across too, making the higher price actually become the most cost effective.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Community Garden

We have a community garden at our church. Due to our living situation I’ll be utilizing it for the first time.

Community gardens are a great way for people to share a plot of land and the produce it will yield. Of course, there are the setbacks of it not being simply in the backyard, but at the same time we may end up having to move some place where there is no backyard. So yesterday when a friend of ours asked me if I’d be willing to share her plot I immediately agreed. After all, we like to grow most of the same things, tomatoes and lettuces, and pretty much anything easy and relatively maintenance free. Plus sharing a plot will mean half as much work, right?

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Animals

This morning it seems the animals are all much needier than usual. What’s that all about?

I have a morning routine, which, with the addition of Dexter has meant another quirk to fit in. Wake up, make coffee, give Lucy her pills before feeding her, feed the cats who will only eat separately and not the food they’re given because Tuesday is a bitch and Dexter is a stubborn little bastard, feed the fish, let the dog out to go potty, take out the compost bowl to the composter, let the chickens out if it isn’t raining too much, collect eggs, let the dog back in, turn on the bathtub faucet for Dexter to drink out of since he refuses to drink from a bowl, forget to turn the water off. Every once in a while, like today, they all seem to want me to give them complete, undivided, individual attention… even the chickens. Of course, I wonder if they think something is going to happen to them soon since the neighbor’s chickens all disappeared a couple days ago. Then again, they are going to be rehomed within the month, so perhaps their concerns are warranted.

The dog and cats on the other hand all seem to be vying for me to choose which one of them I love the most or something. Our normally bitchy Tuesday is all cuddly and purring, something I don’t think she’s done since the nineties. Stubborn Dexter, who is already playful and cuddly, has actually ventured into the living room to rub against my leg, walking back and forth like the cats in cartoons do when they want affection. Lazy Lucy kept giving me kisses and wanting me to keep petting her when normally after breakfast she just goes back to nap for a few hours or until dinner. Crazy chickens followed me and were all submissive and wanting me to pet them too, even the Mean Girls and one of the Wild Girls (Harmony is still skittish, so not her.)

I often wonder if it’s true that animals have a sixth sense about the future. If so, I hope their love and affection they all seem to be showering upon me this morning is a good sign and not some apocalyptic warning. Either way, I love them all and am going to miss the chickens when we have to move and they have to go live on a farm and get used to the fact that the roosters will have their way with them once again.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Surprise! The Children are Here!

I was greeted to a big surprise when I got home from work last night, the boys were here. I guess I should get used to this becoming normal.

Apparently their mother was in the emergency room yesterday afternoon and fortunately my husband was off work so that he could pick them up from daycare and preschool. The funny thing was that when I opened the door and saw them I wasn’t all that surprised. Actually I was glad to see them after the hectic weekend I’d had!

I don’t know what it is but every time the kiddos are over I tend to forget about the other stresses I have. This isn’t to say that I don’t freak out when I know they’ll be over while I have a ginormous cake order I need to work on, but I find that while they are awake anyway, I don’t worry. It actually seems to make me focus more because I know that I only have a certain amount of time to finish the project, which is a good thing because I do tend to waste a lot of time overthinking things.

However, the kiddos are watching Sesame Street right now and seem to be well focused. Alas, I need to get them fed, cleaned up and ready for the day because I have no idea when their mother will be here to pick them up… or if I’ll have to take them to work with me! Eeek!!!

Monday, March 7, 2011

House Search

I’m starting to freak out. With only a few weeks before we want to move, we’re not having much luck finding places to rent.

Part of me wants to simply give up the house search and look at apartments and townhomes while most of me dreads the idea of shared living facilities. At the same time what we can realistically afford and what we want are on vastly different planes. Mostly. There are houses out there in shady neighborhoods surrounded by car hoarders and people who feel that pajama pants are perfectly acceptable street-wear we could get for our limit, but even with a guard dog, I wouldn’t want the kids to be in those areas. Alas, it was time to stop looking on the internet and start driving around.

After church yesterday my husband and I decided to pick neighborhoods we’d like to look at based off of either the area or where we’d found other homes for rent in our price range recently. This is far more daunting than I previously imagined it would be. Unfortunately there are about fifty houses for sale for every one that is for rent. I counted one place for rent in the areas we looked in, and it was a frightening looking duplex we didn’t even stop the car to check the price or get a phone number for.

Perhaps we’re going about this the wrong way. I think what we’ve been doing is looking for a place to live long term when we really should start looking for a place to rent that we can afford now. As much as I hate to move, I’d rather be able to pay the rent instead of worrying about which bills or food to live without in order to do so. Yes, I despise apartment living, but the townhome we lived in our first year together wasn’t too bad except for the bastards who lived next door to us who played, no blasted, Grateful Dead songs all day and all night and weren’t deterred by multiple visits from the cops for noise ordinance violations. There are a few townhomes in our price range with three bedrooms, a garage and small backyard I really think we need to consider or at least arrange a tour. It may not be ideal, but again if we can at least live there for a year or two until we can afford something better it might be worth it. Or perhaps we may find it not so bad after all and stay until we have saved up enough and repaired our credit to the point we could start house hunting again. Of course the pessimist in me (which always trumps the optimist) says there is a fat chance in hell of that being the case. We’ll see.

Sunday, March 6, 2011


Yesterday I had the privilege to not only make cupcakes for but attend two fabulous parties. Funnily there wasn’t much difference between the 90th birthday and the Mardi Gras one.

Both parties we went to yesterday had a lot of the same elements. They both had more people than could physically fit into the spaces they were held. They both had lots of live music from various singers, musicians and wannabes. They both had food and they both had cake… specifically cake made by me.

However, as much fun as it was to make nearly 400 cupcakes and a sheet cake carved into the shape of a piano, it was much more fun sitting back and relaxing with good friends enjoying a rather full day of celebrations. I only hope that I figure out what I’m teaching this morning in Sunday School before church starts!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Mardi Gras

Today is the official start to Mardi Gras, which is this Tuesday. And tonight is the annual Mardi Gras party over at our friend’s house which is always memorable, well, mostly, as it depends on how many Hurricanes one downs!

Ah, Fat Tuesday. The last day of gluttonous debauchery before Lean Lent begins the following day. Who started the tradition of celebrating big and partying hard before taking a six week hiatus before Easter? Actually, while here in the U.S. we tend to celebrate Mardi Gras Day (or the 4-day event as in New Orleans) the Mardi Gras Season is actually the time between Epiphany until Ash Wednesday. The Carnival as it is sometimes referred to is filled with parades and masquerades and fatty, sugary, meaty foods. Leave it to the Catholics to invent a period of revelry as an excuse to stuff-face before having to give it all up for a few weeks!

Anyway, today, after going to a friend’s 90th birthday party, we are heading over to another friend’s annual Mardi Gras party, filled with crawfish, jambalaya, gumbo and King Cake. I’m making my version of the King Cake, made with a cream cheese pound cake base and loaded with rum both in the cake and on the glaze. This year, instead of making a million masks, I just bought gold chocolate coins and babies. I also decided that the past couple years have been harsh, so put the babies and coins on top of instead of baked inside the cupcakes… it’s a make-your-own-luck kind of King Cake!

However, I still have cupcakes to decorate since I ran out of oomph last night. I better get on top of that… right after I make biscuits and gravy.

Friday, March 4, 2011


Today’s Challenge: 400 cupcakes! The Rules: Must be various flavors and must be delicious!

Do you ever take on different projects and then realize that after everyone has finally decided on a date that all those projects are needed on the same day? I find this happens far more often than I’m comfortable with. Oh well, at least the smaller order will seem more like part of the larger order in the grand scheme of things.

It’s times like this that I wish I had a convection oven and professional sized muffin tins. To be able to pump out two to four times the cupcakes would be a great time saver. I’m sure if I had two 24-capacity tins in our current oven at the same time they’d cook okay if they were swapped a little over halfway through baking, but part of me doesn’t even want to take the risk or potential setback if they don’t.

Alas, I need to start baking. Four-hundred cupcakes await creation. Even if it means only twenty-four at a time.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Something's Lacking

I realize my blog posts of late haven’t really focused on homemaking.
Foreclosure will do that, I suppose.

To be perfectly honest I couldn’t tell you the last time I cleaned something other than the shower because it just gets way too moldy and mildewy far quicker than it should. No outside maintenance, no indoor maintenance, no windows washed or floors mopped. Just the bare necessities like dishes, laundry and the occasional vacuuming. So in case you’re wondering where all those helpful new tips I’ve discovered are, I haven’t discovered any since we found out the bank is auctioning off the house. Seriously, what would be the point?

Here in the Northern Hemisphere it is almost Spring and time for Spring cleaning and vegetable and flower garden planting and such and I’ve got nothing for ya’ll. Oh, sure, I can tell you it is time to start harvesting the remainder of your leeks if you still have them in the veggie garden and plant this year’s crop or prep the beds for peas, carrots, lettuces and the such, but it’ll just be a bad reminder that we probably won’t be able to have a garden. Or I can tell you that it is time to have the vents cleaned either professionally or vacuumed out yourself, but why would we do that for the bank that is taking back our house not because we didn’t qualify for a home loan modification but because they were constantly losing our paperwork we were sending them every few weeks? Sorry for the bitterness. I’m obviously grumpy this morning.

So I apologize for not relaying helpful tips and shortcuts and instead droning on about needing to pack and house-searching and every once in a while having a pity-fest. I really can’t wait to move and be done with this chapter and progress on to the next one.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Dr. Seuss, Jon Bon Jovi and I

What do Dr. Seuss, Jon Bon Jovi and I all have in common? We all share the same birthday.

Today is my birthday. Yea. Forgive my lack of enthusiasm but instead of doing anything fun for my birthday I’ll be working on cake orders for other peoples birthdays and celebrations. Double yea. The more I think about it the more I just want to buy plastic flotsam and use that as décor instead of take all that time making something people will probably take off and throw away to get to the good stuff. We’ll see where the day takes me on that route. I do still need to make a piano’s keyboard for the piano cake, however, so I’ll probably whip one of those up before the day is over. On top of that, I’ve got other projects I said I’d get done, and in usual Cory fashion suggested ways to complicate a rather simple idea, but fortunately in an uncharacteristic move, I verbally explored what I will probably end up doing while having the conversation with the person I’m doing the project for and decided to go ahead and go with the original plan. Oy! Why is it that I self-sabotage so often? I guess it is because I know that I can do these things, I just don’t always have the time to make them turn out the way I envision them.

So today will have no cake for me, no party or celebration, no nothing but grocery shopping, dog bathing, house cleaning and project starting and completing. I wonder if Dr. Seuss or Jon Bon Jovi ever had days like that? I mean, we’re all extremely talented individuals (“He’s so talented, don’t you think? I just love him, he’s so sexy.” Sorry, movie quote moment), but as Pisces we’re always trying to appease others. I have a feeling I’m not alone in this.

Alas, with much to do and so little time to do it, I must work on the projects I’ve committed myself to doing, even if that means it’ll be at the expense of my birthday. Perhaps while I’m at the craft store getting stuff for the Sunday School class I’m teaching this weekend, I’ll pick up a little something for me. Or perhaps I’ll make it a double-duty something for both! Any excuse to buy a few yards of fabric to teach kiddos about God while at the same time making sure it’ll work for the back of my Central Park quilt I plan on making soon has to be a good thing, right? Maybe I can squeeze in a little me time while out running errands. Hopefully this whole 34 thing will turn out better than 33 did.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Time to Start Looking

With today being the first of March, it is officially time to start really looking for a new place to live. That means actually following through with applications and tours.

As much as I hate moving, there is something exciting about looking for a new place to live. I don’t know whether it is the thrill of finding something new (to us) or just to make a fresh start without excess junk taking up space, but part of me is ready for this chapter of my life to be over and to begin a new one. This also means I’ll have to cut back my cake orders to only those I’ve already committed to until after we’ve moved and settled into our new place, which honestly will be a welcome relief. It is time to focus on packing and sorting.

One good thing about us not having to be out of the house until the first week of May is that if we move that first week of April, we’ll have an entire month to figure out what we want to keep in our new place, what won’t fit, and what we want to sell or donate. And we’ll be able to have an estate sale, which usually attracts more people than garage sales. Well, we’ll have an estate sale assuming we, okay I, can part with enough stuff to warrant it. I can’t imagine we won’t.

Alas, it is time to start doubling our efforts in the house search and calling prospective landlords about availability. It is time to pack our stuff we know we want to keep (and won’t use before moving) and set aside stuff we know we don’t. It is time to take the dog to the veterinarian, too, so I better get ready and take her.