Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Parts Inventory

Now, were I a better mother/photographer, this post would contain lots of high quality pictures.

But it's hard to photograph a mostly black dog with your smart phone.

So be it.

Today, we're going to talk about Piper.

Specifically, all the tiny little things about her that make me happy.

We'll start with her nose.

I took her to to the vet two days after we got her, and Dr. Williams asked me if I'd noticed her scar:

Her left nostril appears to have been tampered with.  I said to Dr. Williams, "I wonder how that happened?"  Her reply was that Piper might have started something that someone else finished.  Which I think is likely and hilarious.  She's fine, and it's something you wouldn't notice unless you were paying attention (and I wasn't). 

She has a lot of what they call "furnishings" - eyebrows, whiskers.

Here you can see her white beard and a little eyebrow.  And my puffy eyes.

Piper has 15 white toes and one black one.  Her paw pads are matchy-matchy, too:

She has a permanent mohawk.  This is not because she's cold or mad. This is how her hair looks.

And finally, she has a strong, long, glossy tail:

The end.


Sunday, February 22, 2015


This is a special post for all my brides-to-be.  I've been married almost a decade, and I wanted to offer you some advice about some important choices you're making.

I'm talking about the registry.

I understand where you are right now - you're surrounded by all this cool home stuff, and they hand you a zapper gun, and you just want to go apeshit.

Here's my advice to you.  Go apeshit.

But I'm going to make some suggestions based on my extensive experience.

You think you want:  a cake stand.

You don't.  You're not going to be making display-worthy cakes just because you got married.  If you needed a cakestand, you'd have one by now.  They take up space, they're a pain in the ass to clean and I've used mine ONCE.  Now it houses birds' nests I've appropriated from our porch (after they were done using them).

What you want instead:  Pyrex measuring cups.

Especially the four and eight cup ones.  The eight cup is perfect for mixing up a batch of brownies.
Get the kind with plastic lids for easy storage of random things in the fridge.

You think you want:  Nice, plain white dishes - high end from Crate and Barrel.

You don't.  I blew it on this one, because that's what I got, and they're nice - but they chip, they break.  I don't know if we have any of our originals left, because I've been replacing them one at a time for the past decade.

What you want instead:  Corelle.  Plain, white, easy, shatterproof Corelle.  We should have kept Matt and my stuff and added to it.  My bad.  Also, it's cheap enough that we could get a new pattern every ten years if we wanted to.  Oh well.

What you think you want:  A KitchenAid stand mixer.  This is the holy grail of all wedding presents.  It says, someone loves me enough to spend the money on this behemoth.  Plus, you get to pick a pretty color.

You do want this.  And whether you "need" it or not, go for it.  You may use it once a year, but it's your right as a bride to register for this.  And someone will get it for you. 

What you want in addition:  If you're registering for high-end electronics for the kitchen, may I suggest an electric pressure cooker?  The same woman who gave me my KitchenAid (Matt's Aunt) gave us the Instant Pot for Christmas and I have used it in two months more than I have used the mixer in ten years.

What you think you want:  A nice wooden salad bowl and servers.  For all those gorgeous salads you're going to make.

You don't want this.  Well, you do, but damn if they're not a pain to clean.

What you want instead:  A set of stacking bowls from Crate and Barrel.  Specifically, these:

I added these to my registry as an afterthought.  I use them ALL THE FUCKING TIME.  If anything ever happened to them, I would get another set immediately.  They're $30, they're space saving, and they're awesome.

You think you want:  Fancy Barware

You don't want this.  You're going to be drinking out of the same two glasses you got from the Beer Tasting or the plastic tumbler from the Hot Chicken festival.  Buy glasses on an as need basis.  You don't need a dozen champagne flutes.  Not yet.

What you want instead: A decent cooler.  Put some beers on ice, and you have a party.  Plus, they make Solo Cups in every color on the planet if you want everyone to have matchy-matchy drinkware.   Alternately, consider a stainless steel drink tub or one of those big jar-type dispensers.

What you think you want:  A Food Processor.

You probably don't want this.  They're a space sucker, and unless you plan on making your own pizza dough, spaghetti sauce and chocolate mousse on a daily basis... you can wait on this.  It's a good 7th Anniversary gift.

What you want instead:  An immersion blender.  The Cuisinart one is a great baby step to your food processor.

What you think you want:  Microplanes, citrus trumpets, nutmeg graters, and melon ballers.

You do want this.  For one, they're in a thoughtful price-range for showers and your friends who aren't loaded.  For two, you probably do want a few of these gadgets, and this is the time to ask for them.

What you want in addition to this:  stainless measuring spoons, measuring cups and this:

They're appealing!

What you think you want:  Cash.

You do want this, but don't ask for it.  The people who want to Honeyfund, Housefund or Fundfund you, will.  Don't ask for money.  Don't include a routing number in your invitation.  Just don't. It's tacky.

That's my advice.  Please let me know if you need specific guidance on items like salt cellars, egg plates and silver patterns.


Saturday, February 21, 2015

An ice cube walks into a kitchen...

So remember when I said I needed to work on my funny?  This post ain't it.

We have had quite the week here in Nashville.  Record cold temps, everything covered in ice... it's been a bitch kitten.

Today, we finally got above freezing.  And with that, we got a day-long steady rain.  What does that mean?  Why of course, that our cellar took on some water.  It happens.  In our cellar, it happens about once a year.  It's a concrete slab floor, there's a poorly working drain in one corner, and we have not one, but two shop vacs.  One that we keep for "nice" and one that we use specfically to suck water out of the cellar.

So, today, we got up at 7:30.  Had some breakfast, played with the dog.  Matt went out to de-ice the front stairs.  I did some laundry and washed the dog. 

Then we watched the hockey game - Preds lost in a shootout.  I actually slept through much of the game, and after it was over, Matt went to take a nap.  I started to think about cooking supper, and realized I wanted, nay, needed a poblano pepper to complete the meal.  So, I took a look, the streets looked fine, the stairs looked fine.  I got Piper and we headed out.  The stairs were fine.  The street was fine.  The sidewalk was solid ice, on a gentle downward slope with torrents of water running down it.

Naturally, I ended up planting one foot in the curb, submerging said foot in an ice cold rain river, and took a knee to stop moving down the walk.  Which worked.

I got my poblano, though.  And a can of tomatoes, and a bag of mixed greens, and a Coke Zero.

We got back to the house, and this time, Piper pulled me completely down onto the sidewalk, but of course, the street and stairs - problem free.

I started cooking and Matt woke up and notice that the house was cold.  And that the thermostat was off.  Which, I in my wet clothes and cooking frenzy had not noticed.

So, Matt isolated the problem.  The basement, which looked ok all morning and most of the afternoon had gotten so flooded that it tripped the emergency switch on the furnace so that we didn't all electrocute.  So, at least there's that.

So now, Matt's down there doing... something.  I'm not hearing the wet vac, and I'm hearing some sloshing, but I'm a little afraid to ask.  So.

The upside is, when Matt comes in, I'm going to have an incredible supper to offer him.  Greens with tomatoes. Pinto beans with ham, onion, and poblano.  Smoked turkey sausage hot off the grill. Cornbread.

This weather makes me want to feast, and I want comfort food and plenty of it.

But if February, and this cold, and this wet don't end soon, I'm going to fucking lose my shit.

And no amount of poblano can help that.



Thursday, February 19, 2015

Be funny, dammit

Let's be honest - I've been using this blog for the past two years to absorb a variety of nasty feelings.

Much like that box of baking soda you keep in the fridge for a few years to soak up odors.

Eventually, the Arm and Hammer just turns into a big grody brick and you need to let go of it.

Yeah - I totally just said grody. I actually said it earlier today, and decided it needs a comeback.

What I realized though, is that it's been a long time since I wrote anything funny.

And I am funny.

I'm a lot of things, but at the top of most peoples' lists is funny.

Time to bring it back.

Starting with the next post.  I have nothing. 

I mean.



Shit, how does Stella get her groove back?

Doesn't she go to Jamaica? 


Well, that won't make me funny.  Tan, well-rested maybe.  But not funny.


Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Slips, Trips and Falls

If you've endured three days of ice and snow, there comes a point where you just say, "Fuck it, I have to leave the house."

So today, I went in to the office so I could have two monitors, my headset and the quiet I'd need to handle a call that's scheduled to go for 2.5 hours. I'll be talking for most of it.

But this morning, as I came back into the house from taking Piper out, I lost my footing on a slick step and went down.  Thankfully there are only 2 steps down from deck to door, so I didn't fall far.  I also managed to land on my soft, padded hip/ass right side.  It still hurt like a motherscratcher and I swore appropriately.  The poor dog was so startled, she just stood there and made sure I got up.  I did. Bless her fuzzy little heart - she's a great pup.

Here's something interesting to note.  UPS teaches their drivers about falls.  They don't teach them how to avoid falls, they teach them how to fall without hurting themselves.

This makes me feel a little better about my foibles.  I've checked, and there's no visible bruise... yet.

Tonight, I'm planning to cook some supper, play with the she-beast out in the snow/ice.

And then I really need to wash my hair.  I've been living a little wild the past few days.  I showered to come into the office, but that's about it.

We're supposed to get subzero temps tonight.  I cannot even imagine how that would feel.  Cold, obviously.  My hands are so dry and cracked, it's pitiful. 

Remember that one time when I said I thought I could survive Winter in Maine?  I lied.


Monday, February 16, 2015

Baby, it sucks outside

We got some inclement weather up in here.

It's frozen, it's raining, and we should have gotten snow.  We were expecting snow.

Now we have ice, ice baby.

I'm working from home.  Matt called in - the roads are just not ideal.

He and Piper are wrasslin'!

We're boring.  That's all there is to that.

But we'll stay in, stay warm, and hopefully it won't come to this:


Sunday, February 8, 2015

Love. Exciting and New.

So, it's been a week since we got the she-beast.  We named her Piper and I am in love.



Good news - it appears to be mutual.

That is all.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Color me happy!

I have a box of crayons at my desk.

I go with the 48 box because it's enough, but not too much. 

And as you can see, they've gotten some use.  Not tons of use, but you'd be surprised how they'll come in handy from time to time.

So, I'll give you an analogy.  Let's use the box of crayons to represent my emotional state.

When Lola died, some of the color went out of my world.  For demonstrative purposes, Lola is represented here as green:

Functional, but definitely something is missing.

And then Dad died, and I lost another color (let's go with orange):

But Piper has helped get me back to a nearly full box:

There are two shades  I won't get back.  But since the world contains more shades that even the largest box of crayons, I think I'm going to be OK.