Tuesday, December 31, 2013

I Was Missed

I didn't miss anything at home while gone except my own kitties.  The kids have pets, of course, but they aren't my own babies.   Who make it clear that they missed me, too, every time I stretch out to read.

Perry has been insisting on sleeping in my arms since I got home.  That's OK, but he needs to not wash my nose at midnight.  Really.  Fish breath.  And rough tongue.  And it's midnight.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Christmas 2013

A belated Merry Christmas to all! Last week no computer, and using somebody else's keyboard makes me cuss. Saturday night I got home to no internet service, which has finally been resolved. So. Christmas.

Murphy's Law has already blogged a bit about the week here, here, and here.  My daughter and family live in St. Clair Shores, MI, and his family in the Detroit area, so the common destination worked out well.  We left The Mountain Sunday morning, heading north and west with Murphy and Belle in the back of the Jeep.  Don't believe ML - when I was driving I had the cruise control set at 78 mph. He did demonstrate that the Jeep will get up to 100 mph at one point, however. I ignore him and just hope we don't die when he's driving.  I also cling to the handle above the door more than normal.  But at least we drove out of the rain fairly early on.

Monday involved grocery shopping and lunch with B.'s friend and her son, Vasily, who is all of one hour older than Amelia.  He's also 5 inches taller.  Yeah, kid, sorry about the whole Grandma-is-a-dwarf gene thing.  And your Uncle Joe sucked up every bit of height on your daddy's side so there wasn't any left for you there, either.

ML's family was gracious enough to invite us for Christmas Eve dinner, where we were also joined by Aaron and his girls and a very good time was had by all.  There were even gifts under the tree for us, and when Amelia unwrapped her dolly she pulled it to herself and kissed it, eliciting an "Awww" from every female in the room.  My gun light works great on my Glock - thanks so much, ML!

On the way home we swung through Grosse Point (a.k.a. where serious money is) to see the lights.  Wow!  Wish I could find some pics online.  Trees where every limb has been separately wrapped with lights.   I'm guessing there are companies hired to do the kind of lighting we saw. Or people with a whole lot of time to decorate.

And remind me to remember that 40 degrees is not cold.  Detroit cold made my eyeballs want to suck back into my skull...

The bug I've been fighting for 2 weeks now rose back up and bit me Christmas morning, but it was still fun to watch baby's first Christmas.  I really expected her to be more concerned with wrapping paper and boxes but, nope, she figured out toys and books pretty quick.

I went back to bed after, but Punkin' had to get her Christmas outfit on.

We moved Christmas dinner to Thursday because I felt so lousy Wednesday, and so that was a pleasant afternoon prepping food and filling the house with the smells of garlic and sage and roasting chicken and by then I could enjoy them again. 

My son-in-law's family has an Italian tradition of a major fish dinner at Christmas time and he loves to cook so the call went out to ML's family and Aaron for a Friday night seafood dinner after shooting.  D. did the tradition up fine, with B. baking the pies: 3 lbs salmon, 3 lbs shrimp, 2.5 lbs calamari, 6 lbs mussels, 3.5 lbs crab legs, 3 lbs Tilapia, 2 lbs Brussels sprouts, salad, Blackberry Swirl Pie, Turtle Pumpkin Pie, and Orange cookies.  Their neighbor being a master brewer for Red Hook and D. being a wine collector added a fine selection of liquid refreshment.  It was a happy, burp-inducing success.  And I really need to remember that 1 part soy sauce to 3 parts maple syrup, marinade salmon for 3 days then grill slowly recipe. Yowza good!

Had to laugh, though.  I call myself a full contact cook - I make a heck of mess of the kitchen and anything within several yards of any cooking surface when I cook.  D. has me beat all to heck in that department.  The kitchen that had been spotless at 4 pm looked like this at 11 pm.

And then the week was suddenly done, and we met for Coney dogs in downtown Detroit and headed for home.  Murphy whined considerably less on the trip back, but he managed to remind me twice that I need to keep his leash choked up tight when I'm walking him.  He whips that thing around me and takes off and the next thing I know I'm on the ground.  Fortunately, I'm built low to the ground to start with and it's all aggravation and no damage when it happens.  

Now I need to go back and catch up on blog reading.  And think about work.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Quoting MSgt B...

A miserable cold.  With the gut wrenching, pee pants cough if I move.  I'm just hoping that it's peaking today - I have things I need to do over the weekend.  

The way viruses work is to get inside a cell and reproduce madly until the cell explodes.  Kinda makes me feel funny to know that I feel lousy because my cells are exploding.

At least Blu appreciates my company.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

In Case You Hadn't Noticed...

...I'm not feeling particularly inspired.  Too much to distract, I guess.  Back when there's something to say.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Christmas Refuge

The story is that an abandoned dog sought shelter in a church's Christmas creche.

Story also says that dog now has a home with  a church member.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013


And I wish I knew where I lost one of my pair of ice cleats I had on my boots.  Probably won't see it again until Spring, if at all. 

Snow Day!

I don't know why teleworkers don't have to work today - maybe there are power outages elsewhere from the freezing fog of last night.  But I'm not questioning it. 

Since my neighbor hasn't plowed his driveway, I suspect his little tractor is broken again  and I won't get plowed either. Guess I'm going to have to put chains on to get out in a day or two.  Having moved up here after too many years in the city, the potential problems of having a steep driveway never occurred to me.  Usually, I park in the front yard when a winter storm is coming but that just aggravates me.  I have a garage.  Garages are most useful in inclement weather.  Therefore I should be able to USE that garage when it snows.

It's lovely and quiet because of the lack of vehicle traffic and we have power so there are no generators going.

Time to medicate cats, have breakfast, and clean house.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

1 to 3 Inches Predicted

But 6 inches arrived.

It pounded down, but the snow part seems to be over.  Next on deck is the 1/4 to 1/2 inch of ice that's supposed to follow tonight.  Joy joy.  Need to go fill the tub for flushing water. 

Heard that the grocery store was swamped this morning.  Silly people.  You were supposed to do that yesterday. 

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Mmm Mmm Good...

With all due respect to Campbell's...

Much of my emergency stores are canned, of course.  Tuna, soups, vegetables, etc.  But it appears that I'm short on certain, um, unique ... no, no, that's not it ... um, unusual ... that will have to do... canned food stuffs.

I'm not that fond of canned stuff - it just happens to be necessary sometimes.  And given the option of that or nothing, I'll take canned.  But something really would need to be done to make this chicken rather more appealing.  The goop around it reminds me of the goop around cold Vienna sausages.  Or my last head cold.

And then there's things that I never, ever would have even thought of.  Like fish mouths.  Who the heck knew you can eat fish mouths?  Yeah - I think there was a horror movie where those bit back.

Other cultures don't have easy access to meat, so they include insects in their diet.  I'd be willing to try bugs on the condition that someone, maybe Chef Zimmern, told me they were tasty rather than just nutritious..  After all,  battering and frying an oyster goes a long way towards making up for the fact that it looks like a loogie when fresh.   I'm thinking crunchy would be better than squishy for silk worm larvae, though.

And one of these days I'd like to try brains - I understand that they are quite good when prepared properly.  But I'm not at all sure that canned is a good introduction to any organ meat.

For the more tasty treats, and some explanations, click here.

Now, that said, confession time.  I like haggis. Yes, yes I do.  I may just order some this winter.  And I have an absolute addiction to a dim sum dish that I can only find in one restaurant, and that 60 miles away - phoenix talon.  Which would be chicken feet in a black bean sauce.  I'm so addicted to that.

Friday, December 6, 2013

A Conversation With the Vet

So Blu, having been put on blood pressure meds after a seizure last month, went in to have his blood pressure checked today.  They put an itty bitty blood pressure cuff on his tail, which he immediately whipped around himself because ICK SOMEBODY AT THIS PLACE TOUCHED ME!!!!!!  But he didn't try to pull it off - just huddled with his head buried against me and growled.  Which is what he always does at the vet's.

Since several measurements had to be taken, the vet and I chatted.  Turns out she has lost her insurance, courtesy of the ACA.  She has several health problems, including pulmonary ones.  She's been trying to replace her policy, of course.  But the closest she can come boosts her deductible to $6,000.  She'll lose her pulmonary specialist.  The standard meds for her problems don't work - she will see an increase of $200 per month per medication in cost.  She's not dumb enough to fall for the "It's the insurance company's fault" line.

I've been to her house - she's comfortable, but not rich.  She has an office, staff, overhead.  A lot of overhead.  She's just middle class, same as most of us.  And she is getting screwed just because people were too stupid to actually think out, let alone care, what the end result of turning the entire health system into the DMV on a bad day would be.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Oh, Ugh.

The guessing game begins.  At least this site is honest enough to call it "First Guess".  We live right on the line between the 2 to 4 and 4 to 6 inch prediction areas.  Guess this storm bears watching, although Accuhunch isn't as dire right now.

I don't drink cow's milk and I have tp already stocked, so I guess I don't have to do the grocery store fight.  Although this always makes me want to run out and buy junk food.  Chocolate cake in particular.

Dead Mice Raining from the Sky

Complete with parachutes.

The headline I saw didn't mention the dead part and I thought Guam was going down the always-a-bad-idea of introducing one critter to control another.  And it made for all sorts of funny mental visuals.  Turns out the mice are dead, and laced with small amounts of acetaminophen, which just happens to be highly toxic to  the brown tree snake that is eating Guam.   And any other environment it can get to, having proved highly capable of hiding in anything, including plane wheel wells. In the 60 years since its arrival on the island it has, among other things, devastated the native bird population of the island.

So a second round of  2000 liddle poisoned mice with liddle parachutes has been dropped into the tree canopy in the hope that they will become snacks for snakes. 

Considering that the brown tree snake population is estimated to be up to 13,000 per square mile, it's going to take a whole bunch more mice, I'm thinking.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

She's A Beauty

And sweet, too.

Murphy's Law hit a home run with this one for sure.  Miss Memphis Belle is a lovely dog- bright, sweet, and affectionate, without shyness or timidity. A bit skinny, but that will improve with time and the curing of the Lyme and heartworm.

She seems to be settling in nicely.  Responds to her name, and obviously has had obedience training.  At some point she had a good life.

I don't think Murphy knows what he's in for yet.  He still thinks he's top dog.

Yeah, well, we'll see.

She does need to learn to eat her food right away, though, or Murph is going to get fat.

Monday, December 2, 2013

It's Over. Drat.

A very pleasant several days over.  Back to the salt mines.  And panic over getting Christmas stuff done and in the mail.  Of course, I volunteered for several Church-related things so that I'd be even busier.  Don't even mention getting a tree up...

But pleasant it was.  The in-laws live in York, PA, or, as my GPS calls it, "Yorkpa".  Just 2 hours away, and that's where I headed Thursday.  Despite Amelia being sick at the end of last week, the kids got out of Detroit before the weather mess came in and the paternal grands got to spoil her for several days.  And she's got some cousins who adore her.  There were some firsts, of course.

A first train garden, which was pretty exciting:

And first Thanksgiving, with so many dishes that many had to go to the sideboard rather than the table:

The kids are doing something called "baby led weaning" - no expensive jars of baby food.  Baby girl eats the same thing as Mom and Dad as long as it's soft and can be cut into small pieces.  She very much approved of turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, corn pudding, Italian escarole soup, and green bean casserole.  The first bite of cranberry sauce elicited a scrunched face and a shiver, but then it was happily shoved in with everything else. 

Then, of course, came numb somnolence until time for the Ravens-Steelers game.  No penalty for that helmet to helmet hit on Bells - unbelievable.

Two hours isn't that far from home, but one of the issues I have with narcolepsy is that driving alone late at night when tired is just asking for trouble, so I retired to a very nice room at a nearby Holiday Inn instead, and after a very restful night and a leisurely cup of coffee and book in bed the next morning, there was more visiting.  And leftovers.  Very fine leftovers, yes indeed.

Eventually I wandered back west, leaving early enough to be back on familiar roads before dark, returning to happy kitties who wanted to snuggle for the night and feeling like I had had a very relaxing vacation.

They only got one night before I was off again, though, to night duty at the homeless shelter.  Where I would have welcomed their warmth - the women's section was COLD.  Next time I take the down sleeping bag.  But it was a quiet night (Except the snoring.  Always an amazing level of snoring.), which is the norm. Being on the streets in the cold is exhausting and usually folks are asleep before lights out time.  They are always so grateful - embarrassingly so. 

Minimal sleep meant a Sunday mostly spent stretched out on the sofa with a book and cats draped everywhere they could find a spot.

A very nice several days, indeed.