Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Hi, I'm Ava

Hi.  I'm Ava.  I was FINALLY adopted by my new kitty mama!  My new kitty mama was telling me that she liked to blog, so I took over her computer for a bit to introduce myself.

A few months ago, I heard through the SCN (Stray Cat Network) that there was this house where the crazy cat lady fed any and all strays that came along.  That sounded like just what I needed!  I signed up for a spot at one of the food bowls and I moved to the neighborhood.  Unfortunately, being one of the kittens in the group, I had to fight a little harder for any food.  You have to be fast some days to get a few bites.  The bigger kitties (like Hemingway) would swat me aside so some days if my new kitty mama wasn't watching out for me, I wouldn't get anything to eat.  Some days, my new kitty mama would stand there over me and keep the bigger kitties away from me long enough for me to get something to eat.  I knew if I worked on her hard enough and gave her my cutest looks and my loudest purrs she'd fall in love with me.  It took me awhile but it finally worked!  Last night when the big storm rolled in, I just sat there, trembling and crying, giving her my sad kitty eyes.  I knew I had her!  They opened the door and carried me right in where it's warm and dry and there are many food bowls! It was a great night last night!  But today was another story.

That's me up above.  I know I look a little ticked off but that's because my new kitty mama took me to what she called "The Vet".  Trust me, that is not someplace I want to go again. 

They gave me a good once over head to tail.  Then they put me on a scale.  For REAL, what girl wants to be put on a SCALE with people looking?  I won't tell you that I weigh 5 lbs and 2 oz because ladies don't tell that kind of information.  "The Vet" said he thought I was born this past spring which would put me at 7 or 8 months old.  Hey, only I know that information and I am not telling!  A girl has to have some secrets!

I am pretty healthy aside from those few fleas I have hanging on to me.  I don't have feline leukemia nor do I have feline AIDS.  I could have told you that but it took all these big scary people to stick one needle in me to take some blood and another needle in me to give me my shots.  To add insult to injury, they even trimmed all of my claws.  That is not what I expected when they said I was getting a manicure.  I was thinking more of maybe some French tips or some color.  I guess my kitty mama is tired of bleeding already and of me scratching her woodwork.  Dang, see why I looked ticked off?  It wasn't my best day.

So, now I'm inside with my new kitty mama and what she calls my "two siblings".  The little boy they call Benny is kind of cute.  He hisses at me a little and tries to give me his mean look, but after putting up with Hemingway, he's nothing!  If he hisses, I just brush up against him and give him my best purr.  He caves and quits hissing!  I know we're going to be best friends before long.

The other little girl, named Penelope, may be another story.  I get the feeling that she doesn't like me too much.  She hisses at me too but when I try to rub up against her, she just moves away from me still hissing.  I'm going to try to keep working on her but we'll see.

Before we left "The Vet" today, my kitty mama and "The Vet" talked about something called a spaying and a declawing.  I don't know what all that means but I have a feeling that in the middle of November, I'm not going to like it!

Now, I can't have my kitty mama thinking she can just have people be mean to me.  I liked all the love and attention I was getting last night with NO needles in me.  I need to teach my kitty mama a lesson.  As I give her back her computer, I'm going to sit close to her so she can pet me, but I'm gonna turn my back on her.  She needs to learn that while Penelope is the Queen of this house, I am the Princess!

I think once I get my kitty mama trained a little more, I'm going to be very happy here!

Monday, October 29, 2012

We Rescued Her

You knew it was a matter of time.  Hurricane Sandy did it!

We've had a kitten, Ava, hanging around here the last few months.  Today with the weather so bad, I couldn't take it any more.  I worried about her all day, wondering if she was ok in the weather.  I told Ron I wanted to bring her in tonight, and he put his coat on and went right out and got her!

So far, so good.  Benny is a little irritated with her but he has not acted aggressively against her at all.  He follows her around, sniffs at her but hasn't hissed or growled at her yet! 

Penelope may be another story.  But so far, she won't come downstairs to meet her new sibling.

So, here we are.  The newest member of the family!

AVA!!  Home at last!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Rescue Me

Yes, I needed rescued.

And that sucks.

When the light comes on in my car that tells me I'm low on gas, it kinda lies.  When that light comes on, I still have 120 miles or so to go before I'm REALLY out of gas.  I think the older my car gets, the more I'm leaning towards the "or so" part rather than the 120 miles part.

My light came on Friday evening.   From my calculations tonight, I should have been only at about 90 miles since the light came on.  I was trying to make it to Thursday so I could gas up at Giant Eagle while I was shopping and use my $1.70 off a gallon of gas from fuel perks!

I thought I was at 90 miles out of 120 or so that I had.


I was wrong!

I wanted to go to Walmart after work today.  I usually go to the Walmart on Leavitt Road in Lighthouse Village.  I don't know WHAT came over me but I decided to head across Route 20 and hit the Walmart on Route 57 in Elyria.  I can count on one HAND how many times I've been to the Walmart on Route 57.

I pulled in to Walmart, did my shopping and got back in my car.  I started my car, pulled forward out of my parking spot, made it about 50 feet and my car died!  I had enough momentum to glide back into an empty spot and shut the car down.  What do I do?  Ron is in the middle of Lake Erie over by Cedar Point fishing for Walleye.  I figure he's not coming to get me.

So, I called my brother Michael.  I figured Michael probably missed me by now! The poor guy tried to take a day off of work to get AWAY from me!  So, I called Michael and said HELP!  Michael said he was on his way.

So, thank you my brother for rescuing me.  I know, it's not the first time you had to do it, but at least this time you didn't have to go all the way to Texas to rescue me!  This time I was only a few miles from your house!  Not once did I hear one joke or bad remark about being a bone head and running out of gas!  Thanks, brother.  I appreciate that.

So, here is what it looks like being rescued by your brother Michael.  Um, pay no attention to him flipping me the bird!

Thanks Mike.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Bone Head Move of the Week

Some times I can be a real bone head. 

When I bought groceries last week, I bought a package of sliced turkey.  I pulled it out of the refrigerator over the weekend to make myself a sandwich for lunch.  So far, so good, right?

Yesterday, only Ron and I were home for dinner and I was too lazy to cook.  We were going to call out for sandwiches so I went to the top of my refrigerator to grab the coupons I have up there.  Guess what was there on top of the coupons?  MY CONTAINER OF TURKEY!

What the heck.

I'm not going to say I've never done bone head things before.  I will readily admit that I have put my TV remote control IN the refrigerator before.  Whatever, at least I found it eventually!  But the lunch meat on TOP of the fridge?  C'mon now.

The remote control I can see happening.  You walk away from the TV with the remote in your hand, put the remote down on the shelf and pick up a cold soda from the same shelf and shut the door.  That's how a remote ends up inside of a refrigerator.  How in the heck do I leave the lunch meat on TOP of the fridge. I swear I have no recollection of putting it up there nor can I think of why I would have done that.

What makes me even more angry is the fact that I just wasted that whole container of meat.  There was no way that turkey was any good after sitting out for three days.  I hate being wasteful.

I also hate being such a bone head.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Share and Relish - Crock Pot Applesauce

A big thank you to Lisa for sending me the link to this recipe!  HERE is the link to the original blog with the recipe.  I pretty much followed her recipe, but I added my pictures!  But please go check out Burgh Baby's blog as she has some great recipes and some great ideas over there.

So, let me tell you about applesauce.  We grew up on home made applesauce.  My Mom and my Aunt Mary canned apple sauce every year and they canned a BUNCH of it.  And we went through every single jar.  They made the best apple sauce I've ever had.  When they stopped canning (or maybe when I moved away) I stopped eating applesauce all together since store bought was horrible next to home made.  After years of going without, I finally caved and started to buy some at the store.  It was in no way as good as Mom's, but it did finally get to be better than nothing.

I know how much work Mom and Aunt Mary put into canning the applesauce.  We kids always had to help with the grunt work and trust me, there was plenty of that.  But it was worth every drop of sweat that went into making this nectar of the gods.  For real.

I know I'm not a good cook and there is no way I'm smart enough to figure out canning.  That's why I thought this recipe was genius and seemed easy enough for even ME to do!

The original recipe calls for you to use four or five different kinds of apples.  But, I wasn't willing to put that much financially into a project that I wasn't sure was going to work.  I thought this first batch I'd start out small and see how it went.  I have been buying Gala apples for awhile now.  I take one to work almost every day to have at lunch.  They are sweet with a little tartness to them.  Since I had some Gala apples, I just bought another bag of the same kind and was ready to go.  Here is what you need:

As with any new project, you should start with a steaming hot cup of fresh coffee.  That's for you, Georgia!  Coffee in hand, you now need:

The combination of the size of my crock pot and the size of the Gala apples, I used about a bag and a half of apples.  Peel, core and cut enough apples to fill your crock pot.  The apples will cook down to about half of the volume of the apples with which you started.

It looks good already, doesn't it?!!  I could have added a couple of more apples but trust me, I was DONE peeling, coring and cutting.  Whatever.  Now I added:

1/2 cup of water and the juice of 1/2 of a lemon.  I juiced the lemon right into the measured water because I always lose a seed or two.  That way I could easily pick it back out.  After I juiced the 1/2 lemon into the water, I poured it over the apples in the crock pot.

If you'd like to throw a few cinnamon sticks in now, help yourself.  For me, I prefer mine without the cinnamon.

Cover and cook on low for 4 to 6 hours.  Really, can it GET any easier?  Cook until the apples turn themselves into applesauce when you stir.  Easy peasy.

I left mine a little chunky because that's how I like it!

The three of us tasted the applesauce at this point and voted on whether we needed to add any honey to sweeten it.  I did end up adding one tablespoon of honey and it was then as perfect as we were going to get it!

I'm telling you, I can't believe how good this was AND how freakin' easy this was!  Did it come out as good as Mom's?  No, but it was a hell of a lot better than anything you can buy in the grocery store.

I didn't can what we yielded but I did put it in a few Rubbermaid containers.  The original recipe states that you can freeze the applesauce and use when needed.  Yeah, that will be a good plan on the next batch that I make.  To be honest, there wasn't enough left of THIS batch to freeze any! It was really good!

So there you go.  Crock pot applesauce.  It took me probably 1/2 of an hour to peel and cut all of the apples.  After that, I goofed off all day while it cooked away.  I went and gave it a little stir about once an hour and it was done in about five hours.  I will definitely be doing another batch this weekend!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Public Service Announcement # 5 - ZAP!

Have you ever been walking through a store, pushing a shopping cart and got ZAPPED in your hands by the cart?

It happens all of the time to me at Sam's Club.  I hate that.  You really have to be careful that your hands are only touching the plastic cover on the handle in front of  you.  Heaven forbid your hands are off to the side a bit because ZAP.  It's not enough to curl your hair, but it's enough to let you know you've been bitten.

As far as I can remember, Sam's Club is the only place that's happened to me.  Until today.

Ron and I went to Walmart today for a few things.  I'm walking through the store pushing the cart that contains one new cat toy.  (Don't judge me, I KNOW I need a 12 step program for cats or something!  But, I digress.)  Suddenly, ZAP . . . ZAP . . . ZAP.

Now I'm pissed.  It hurts!  Shopping at Walmart shouldn't be THAT painful.

I said something out loud to Ron that I was getting shocked from the cart. Some random stranger walking the other way stopped to talk to us to explain why I was getting zapped. 

It had something to do with the cement floor, but the bottom line was that some of the carts had a grounding strip hanging down the front of the cart and that will prevent the electric shocks that were biting my hands.  Sure enough, the cart I had was missing its grounding strip.

This sounded like a believable story, so I thanked him for explaining that to me, and I left my cart right there for Walmart to put away.  I don't do things like that in a store but I had had enough.  I carried my cat toy (that will be a new blog!) to the cashiers and got checked out. 

As we were walking out, I saw all of the carts lined up at the exit/entrance.  Being a blogger, of COURSE I have my camera on me.  I went to the first two carts in line and sure enough, one had a grounding strip and one didn't.  This one has a grounding strip:

And this cart is missing its grounding strip.

The above cart was the first one in a line and you can kinda see that the cart behind it has the grounding strip.

Now, being a blogger who carries a camera almost everywhere, I can tell you, I get looks from people.  Especially when I'm bending down, taking pictures of strange things!  Some guy had just come into the store and went to take this cart without the grounding strip and of course asked me what in the hell I was doing.  He said it nicer, but that was the meaning of his question.  I explained to him what the other random stranger told me and that since I am a blogger, it is my duty to get this information out to the public.

I pulled this cart off of the line and had him take the second cart since it had a grounding strip.  He took the cart, but walked off muttering something to himself.  I might have heard the word "crazy" in there but I'm not sure.  So, of course, I yelled back at him "you're welcome!  I just saved your LIFE!" 

I am hoping I can save another life with this handy bit of information.  This was your public service announcement # 5.  I know from now on, I will be looking at MY shopping carts a little closer before just grabbing the first one in line.

Sunday, October 07, 2012

We Had Visitors!

My niece JoBeth and her boys came for a visit!  We were part of their whirlwind tour of Ohio and thanks to all of them for making my house a stop on their tour!

They came in Friday night.  One thing about Jo, she not only brought dinner with her, she COOKED it too!  For real, you guys are welcome ANY time!!

After a yummy dinner, we sat down for some family game time.  One great game for the whole family is Pokeno.  We grew up playing this game and it's always a great time playing with the young and the old.  Pokeno is like playing bingo, but instead of numbers on your Pokeno card,  there are pictures of playing cards on your Pokeno card. 

Thanks to my brother Phil for providing these first two pictures.  As you can see, we are all having a great time!  For as hard as Isaiah and Ron were concentrating on their games, I think JoBeth and Noah walked away the big winners!

I set up the air mattress on the living room floor for the boys.  While they were upstairs taking a bath, Benny came up to check out the new living room arrangements.  I think they met with his approval.

After breakfast, we had some coloring and art time.  This is my favorite time.  They boys have supplied me previously in refrigerator art but I haven't had any in awhile.  It's not good to have a naked fridge!  The four of us has a serious art session at my dining room table and now I have a complete refrigerator!

Now, I join in during art time.  However, since I am not an artist, I usually stick to the coloring books.  I'm jiggy with coloring between the lines!  So, I colored me a picture of one Sesame Street character, then when I turned the page, I saw an activity in the book.  The activity was to draw a picture of my favorite bird.  Now THAT sounded easy!  I can DO this!

What kind of bird I was going to draw really didn't matter.  I was going to draw a bird and if it LOOKED like a bird, I'd consider it a success.

Here is my bird:

Now, I'm going to explain a couple of things about this picture.  First of all, I was VERY proud of that picture!  For real, that LOOKS like a bird, right??  Since my audience is a 6 and an 8 year old, I added poop there to the back end of the bird.  Here is the same pictures now with labels for those of us that aren't art critics.

When I told the boys that was POOP, I expected a few laughs.  But no, I was told that I had to draw GROUND underneath the poop or else the poop would just be floating in the air.  Hence, I had to draw the ground beneath the bird.  I hate it when an 8 year old is WAY smarter than I am but he was totally correct.

I added the ground and handed the picture back over for assessment.  In a straight face and I'm sure meant as a compliment, I was told that for a bird with a round head, it was a pretty good picture.   That is sooo a compliment!  He could at LEAST tell it was a bird!!!  BONUS for me! 

After art time, we went out bumming.  We hit a few of the awesome spots in our neighborhood!  We started off at the local library where we read books and played checkers on the table sized checker board.  That is NOT one of my best games so I begged off of challenging the boys.  I'm sticking to Pokeno!

We wanted to go play at a park after the library so we headed to Lakeview Park.  Holy crap was it COLD outside yesterday!  While it was too cold to play there, we did walk down to the water and take a quick look around.

Then we came inland a bit and went to play at Central Park.  Central Park has the BEST sliding board I've ever seen!  Instead of a single piece of metal to slide down, this sliding board has a series of rollers that sent you down hill.  No more getting stuck on a hot sliding board half way down!  Ok, this one isn't so easy to walk back up but I guess that was half the fun.  The boys seemed to like it since they went down this slide a gazillion times.  Noah was a little more by the book in his sliding experience.

Isaiah went down that slide just about every way imaginable!

In spite of the cold and wet weather, we had a great time!  Or at least I had a great time!

Thanks to JoBeth and her boys for coming to visit!  I did have a great time and I appreciate that you added me to your visit list.  Also, thanks for the cooking tips!!  :)  You guys are welcome back any time!

Monday, October 01, 2012

Share and Relish - Part 2 of Brussel Sprouts

The more I thought about it, the more I wanted to do this recipe with the brussel sprouts as well.  It's more work but so worth it.

I changed up my original recipe for this dish to make it a little friendlier on the points.  Adjust to your liking.  This is how I made it on Sunday.


8 oz uncooked egg noodles
1 lb (or there abouts) of brussel sprouts
1 medium sweet onion
1 Tbsp minced garlic
2-1/2 Tbsp butter
2-1/2 Tbsp olive oil
4 Tbsp Parmesan cheese (out of the can, last minute idea so I didn't have fresh on hand)
1/2 cup walnut halves, toasted

The longest prep time is getting the leaves off of the heads of brussel sprouts.  Trust me though, put the time in to this because it really IS worth it!  I keep trimming up the stem so that loosens more and more leaves.  I do one head at a time.  If you know an easier way, please tell me!  I didn't measure the brussel sprouts, I just kept going until I had a big bowl full.

Adding the butter and the olive oil to the pan, I chopped the onion and started them sauteing.

I probably let them cook 3 or 4 minutes and then added the brussel sprout leaves to the onions.  Stir occasionally and let the leaves cook down, about 30 minutes.

Salt and pepper to taste.

While this is cooking, I get my water going for the pasta.  Any pasta will do.  My original recipe called for fettuccine but I like to use the wide egg noodles for this one.  I also started toasting the walnuts now.

I like to just put them in a pan

and cook them on the stove top.  It takes maybe 5 minutes for the oils to start releasing and the smell to come out of them.  I had a full stove top though so I put them in the oven for maybe 10 or 12 minutes.

(Note to self - when you put the frying pan in the oven to toast something, don't just use it right away on the stove top to cook something.  I freakin' burned myself TWICE by grabbing the handle before it cooled down enough.  But, I digress.)

Pour out the walnuts on a cutting board to cool.  Once cool, chop them up finely.

Here is a Weight Watchers tip:  When you are adding something into a recipe for flavor and it's high in points, use a little but chop it finely.  1/2 cup of walnuts went a far way in this recipe.  That was 11 points just for 1/2 cup of walnuts!  But, I pared this down from the original amount stated in the recipe.  And, chopping them fine, they went all through the dish and I was able to still taste walnuts in every bite.

Drain the pasta, put back in the pan and add the brussel sprout mix and the walnuts.  I added then 4 Tbsp of Parmesan cheese and mixed well.  I forgot about taking a picture of the finished product until after Ron and I scooped some out for dinner!  But you get the idea!

Totally one of my favorite ways to make brussel sprouts.