Thursday, June 28, 2007

A Horse and A Zebra?

...a "zorse", of course! From London Daily Mail

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

In Memorium

January 28, 2002 - June 15, 2007

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Back in the Bloggin' Mood!

There's nothing like cool gifts from a fellow blogger to get one back in the bloggin' mood! Just received this package from Black Feline! The reclining cat on the left is actually a pen - note the clear pen cap and penpoint at the end of the tail! A cool envelope with stamps celebrating the upcoming Year of the Pig
will go into Branch and Blossom's photo album. The cellphone purse displays Black Feline's trademark - a black feline (Chocolate cellphone not included!). What great little suprises! I'll have to hunt hard to find something to send to her! Thanks, Black Feline!

In other Herding Cats news, the Branch had his adenoids removed last week. This seems to have instantly cured his snoring and we hope it's a permanent fix, along with some
other health issues we hope to resolve. In this day of managed, hurried, rubber-stamped healthcare, Herding Cats has nothing but praise for the staff of St. Joseph's Children's Hospital. The Branch was nearly admitted for low oxygen saturation after surgery, but he pulled through with most excellent care and the Citizen's and my help.

And in a few short weeks, not only does the Herding Cats matriarch arrive, but also Junebee has a landmark martial arts test near the end of February.

Thanks for checking back and I apologize for my prolonged absence! But hey, it makes the heart grow fonder. (Actually, if I could quit my addiction to Yahoo Answers I'd get alot more done on this blog).

Happy Herding Cats New Year!

Yeah, I know... a bit late. In this pic we're on my cousin's lanai. I'm the one on the right with the black shirt.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas To All

And to all a good night
~Blossom and Branch

Friday, December 22, 2006

A Christmas Memory

Prior to meeting the Citizen, Big K and I often made the drive from Florida to Pennsylvania for Christmas.

In Pennsylvnia, my mother was working as a receptionist at a facility for developmentally disabled and emotionally challenged individuals. The facility provided outpatient treatment, in-house workshops, transportation, case management, counseling, and residential services. I used to meet her there for lunch. As receptionist, she could not leave her post until the relief girl arrived. As I waited patiently in the lobby one day, I observed people come and go. Employees, clients (as they're called, not patients), employees of affiliated agencies, and others came and went. In between assisting those that needed to be assisted, my mother answered the phone for this facility, which had not yet discovered the joys of voicemail. Meanwhile, an average and unassuming-looking man came into the lobby. He waited patiently until my mother had time to help him.

M: "May I help you, sir?"

Man: "Yes, I just wanted to leave this here." (hands her a check for $100.00).

M: "Oh, can you wait a moment so I can get you a receipt? What is it for?"

Man: "Nothing in particular. You all do such good work here. Merry Christmas."

And he turned around and left without another word.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Happy Birthday Blossom & Branch!

Today, with the help of family and close friends, we celebrated the second birthday of the Branch and the Blossom. They are a big two years old today! The Branch often
said "two, two" throughtout the day. What a coincidence that he just learned to say two!

The "Herding Cats" family went out for dinner at the Chinese buffet afterwards to continue the celebration.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Hedgies A-Plenty

The hedgehogs time forgot. From London Daily Mail.

I used to have a pet hedgehog. It was sort of like petting a hairbrush...

Monday, December 11, 2006

No More Loose Nuts

Yeah, I know what you're thinking. "Oh!" you're thinking, "you've got PLENTY of loose nuts over there at "Herding Cats"." Very funny...

When I was a child, each year between Thanksgiving and Christmas, my grandmother put a tabletop basket of walnuts out for nibbling just anytime. The basket was replenished throughout the holidays. I continue that tradition in memory of my grandmother and all the wonderful Christmas's I had with her. This year, I noticed that loose nuts are no longer sold in the grocery stores. Previously, the stores put out boxes of assorted (and loose) nuts - walnuts, Brazil nuts, pecans, almonds, and hazelnuts that shoppers could scoop themselves into the ubiquitous flimsy plastic produce bags.

I asked the Citizen to pick up a bag of walnuts at Wal-Mart and he came home with the sorriest bag of walnuts I had ever seen. I bet they were last year's walnuts. I'll continue the search for the perfect nuts. Sadly, I won't find them loose. They'll be bagged but if in doubt I will OPEN the bag and check. No more bad, or loose, nuts for me!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Get 'em While They're Hot!

Herding Cats Christmas cards. International orders accepted. Herding Cats will not sell or publicize your information. In fact, we'll probably forget it promptly after using it!

Click on "View My Complete Profile" then "e-mail" and send me your info.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Some Men JUST Don't Get It!

"My husband just doesn't understand!"
I whined to my male co-worker, Cog. Ooh. When a woman complains about her husband to her male co-worker, eyebrows may be raised! But in this case, it's a cultural difference. I've considered embarking on a project to restore my 1993 Ford Mustang (sadly, not a Cobra like the one in this picture. But I digress.) The Citizen cannot see why anyone would want to put money and effort into an old car. I said to Cog: "Restoring the ol' Ford! It's as American as apple pie! Leafing through the J.C. Whitney catalogue! Pulling parts from the auto junkyard! Cursing and covered with motor oil!" Cog agreed and volunteered his automotive expertise. Should I decide to undertake this endeavor, here's what would be needed:

1. Re-hang driver’s side door and replace trim.
2. Paint all trim and rearview mirror housing.
3. Repair dent – driver’s side back quarter panel.
4. Paint either original or custom paint (dark blue-fade-light blue-fade-white from bottom up).
5. Pinstriping.
6. Remove broken bolt from license plate holder.
7. Shocks/struts (it’s an awful hard ride).
8. Resolve problem with radio – either radio does not work or wiring is bad.
9. Install CD player.**
10. R & R torn back deck carpet.
11. Replace fuses and steering column cover.
12. Driver’s seat bent/misaligned – leans back on one side.*
13. R & R spark plugs.
14. Louvres for back windshield.**
15. Rust removal - minor spots throughout body.
16. Tint windows.**
17. Clean wheels, remove rust.
18. Resolve issue with fan running constantly, even after car is turned off.
19. Remove “Button” and replace rear view mirror.
20. R & R windshield – small stone crack.*
21. R & R weatherstripping on sunroof.
22. Air conditioner repair – blows but not cold.

** Optional
* Low Priority

The engine still runs well, with more than 123K miles on it. I was told four years ago that the transmission needed replacing, but it's still running JUST FINE, thank you very much, Ripoff Automotive Services. The car is practically an antique and would be way fun to drive if restored.

If we go ahead with this project, why, the car may even get it's own blog!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

The Christmas Present...

for the man that has everything - spray-on condoms.

From Sydney Morning Herald.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Lots to be Thankful for

Sunset, North Redington Beach, October 2006

I'm thankful for:
-my birth family
-my family (Citizen, Branch and Blossom)
-our health
-our home
-easy access to fresh and plentiful food
-being a citizen of the U.S.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Amish Country

I've never been an early adopter of technology. "Remember, I'm descended from the Amish." I'll say, "I'm still suspicious of electricity!" Actually, I am descended from the Mennonites (motto: "Amish Lite"). Both the Amish and the Mennonites were in the background of my upbringing. Mennonite farmers sold meats and produce at the local farmer's market. One reason I fail to eat enough fruits and vegetables as an adult is that grocery store produce is bland and tasteless compared to the farm produce I was raised on. When I was a teenager, every week my mother would get up early one day to go to the farmer's market. She'd store perishables in the refrigerator where she worked until it was time to go home. While working two jobs, it was surely no small feat to get up early and out the door in order to get the freshest foods for us. She'll arrive next week with my sister and niece, and my mother will bring some hometown favorite foods for the cast and crew of "Herding Cats".

The Amish, by nature of their lifestyle, were more of a distant background in my childhood, but there they were nonetheless. We often saw horses and buggies while on the way to my grandmother's house. More recently, when I've been able to return home as an adult, my father would take me for a motorcycle ride out into Lancaster County. As incongruous as it seems, there's no scenery more beautiful than riding on a Harley through Amish country on a fine autumn day. We'd wave at the farmers and they'd wave at us. Live and let live was the motto on both sides.

My father (another technophobe) hired a former Amish man to work in the family business. One bad experience with computers caused said computers to be returned immediately and my father went back to calculator, pencil and paper. When he was ready to retire and looking for a billing clerk, the only person who would do the job without a computer was a former Amish man.

My dad told me this true story, but first, a little background info. Like many retirees, my dad and stepmother have a custom van in which they do all their travelling. They're now on Van 2. Van 1 logged hundreds of thousands of miles across the U.S. and Canada. They also like to attend antiques auctions, and although they are not avid collectors, they buy something now and then that fits into their home decor or collections (dad: firearms, stepmother: dolls).

One frigid winter's day, they were driving through Amish country (probaby to or from an antique auction) in Van 1, which was very well appointed. Like it's successor Van 2, Van 1 sported captains chairs, a bench seat in the back, window shades, lights, carpet, and all the comforts of automobile travel. My father came across an Amish family who's horse had been spooked by something and the buggy had overturned in the ditch. My father stopped to assist the man. It was obviously going to take some time to right the buggy, calm the horse and get the family back on the road. The day was bitter cold, and my father well knows the ways of the Amish. However, he offered the Amish man's wife and children haven in the warm, cozy van while he helped the man get the horse and buggy road-ready. The humble Amish stoutly refused my father's offer, even after my stepmother added her own insistence. My father's physical strength always surprises me, and the Amish man and his family were able to continue on their way.

Last week's Amish schoolhouse shooting touches me personally. That a psycho would take out his frustrations on these humble and peaceful people is almost unbelievable.
"Like shooting fish in a barrel" seems a crude but apt metaphor. The last safe haven in America is a target for a nutcase out there with an ax to grind, yet the Amish have resigned to their fate without calls for justice, demonstrations, counter-violence or lawsuit. Surely a lesson for us all.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

3 Things Meme

From Kazumi:

1. Three people who make me laugh:
The Citizen
My stepbrother (warning: R-rated material)
The Branch

2. Three things I can do:
Drive stickshift
Grill burgers
Make up songs for Branch and Blossom

3. Three things I can't do:
A split
Vote Democrat
Make gravy using flour

4. Three things I'm doing right now:
Coloring my hair (well, I was 2 weeks ago when I started this!)
Drinking Publix Diet Cola
Surfing the Internet

5. Three things I want to do before I die:
Go to China
Own a motorcycle
See Branch and Blossom grow up

6. Three things I hate the most:
People who park by the curb in front of the grocery store
People who try to shove religion down your throat
Door-to-door salespeople

7. Three things that scare me:
Religious zealots of any sort
Child molesters
The thought of losing my parents

8. Three things I don't understand:
Why people in Florida drive with the brakes on

9. Three skills I'd like to learn:
Be fluent in Spanish
How to do something, anything with my hair
Fly an airplane

10. Three ways to describe my personality:

11. Three things I think you should listen to:
Twelve Chinese Girls
The Branch and Blossom’s laughs

12. Three things you should never listen to:
Rap music
Parenting advice from people you don’t know

13. Three favorite foods:
Mashed potatos
Arroz con pollo (chicken and yellow rice)

14. Three beverages I drink regularly:
Skim milk
Publix Diet Cola

15. Three shows I watched alot:
The Simpsons
Ren & Stimpy
King of the Hill

16. Three people I'm tagging to do this:
Black Feline
Black Belt Mama