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Sunday, February 26, 2012

Is Anybody Out There?

I'm not sure exactly what's going on these days.

Is Blogger screwy or is my computer screwy?

I'm getting minimal feeds, and when I look for certain blogs they're gone, and I don't think it has anything to do with Google Friend Connect, because they're Blogger blogs.  I haven't had any comments in about a week, and when I am able to check blogs I've commented on, my comments aren't there.....

I'm getting frustrated!

To top it all off, my page views are really wacky.....

Is anyone still out there?!?!?!?!

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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Cats, Housecleaning, Remodeling and Eagles

As most of my readers know, I've got a sleeping disorder that other than affecting my ability to stay awake wreaks havoc on my ability to focus.  Seriously.

Well, we're down to 17 cats in the house now, thank goodness!  We had one adopted last night and another lady is coming to look at one tonight.  Having so many in the house makes housecleaning not only a constant, but a constantly BEHIND.  It seems like no matter how much I clean there's still more to clean.

How many cats is too many?  Mine!

Part of that, I'll admit is my lack of ability to declutter, which I've been working on.  Until it's completed, cleaning is going to be harder than it should.  On top of that, I have a bad habit of starting projects and not finishing them.  Like my kitchen cabinets.  They were installed when we had the house built and are builder grade cabinets.  I've never liked them, and finally decided I wanted to paint them white.  I finished all the painting except for the two on the opposite side of the kitchen which is just as well, since I've decided I don't like the white.  So now, most of my cabinets are white, a couple are wood tone and a few are blue, oh and one is pink.  Yeah, staining over paint doesn't work.  I mean I knew it wouldn't but I thought I might like the color.  I don't.  

For the record, I look NOTHING like Barbie!

Then there's the countertops.  I decided I was going to paint them too.  I got two cans of textured paint and a little bottle of copper glaze and went to town.  Everything was going great until I ran out of the spray paint.  When I got another can, it didn't perform the same way so a section of the countertop looked different than the rest which meant sanding down that entire portion.  I also didn't realizing sanding would be so hard.  That stuff is like crazy glue!  Soooo, my cabinets are less than half done, my countertops are a little more than half done.

Now I'm in the process of taking up the carpeting in the downstairs.  We're going to get insurance money to have the kitchen floor repaired, but I was planning on doing the installation myself, that way I can get laminate at our local salvage store and replace the flooring in the entire downstairs with just the money it would cost to replace the kitchen flooring.  The problem is that I've got too  much furniture.  How do you move everything in one room to pull up carpet when there's no room in the other room for the furniture.  Easy right?  I've decided I'm going to just start cutting out squares of the carpeting, then move one piece at a time out and cut out that carpeting until it's all done.  The problem is I'm married.  

How is that a problem?  The hubs immediate has concerns that the house will get cold if we don't replace the flooring right away and I'm not quite ready to do that.  On top of that, there's the small problem of the unfinished do it yourself jobs and the long list of more do it yourself jobs I've got in the wings.

Like what, you might ask?

I want an island!!!!!

and fewer walls!

1.  Ripping out half the floor cabinets in the kitchen to move the dishwasher and install an island.

2.  Sanding the kitchen cabinets back down to wood and staining and finishing with chalkboard paint for the doors.

3.  Getting rid of the current "living room" furnishings and turning that room back into a dining room (you know since the island won't leave room for a table!)

4.  Hacking an old desk into pieces and salvaging the hutch on top to use as shelving and getting rid of another old desk to be replaced with the "new" desk that's currently sitting in the middle of the office.  (on top of the carpeting that has to come out!)

5.  Sanding and refinishing the staircase.

6.  Building a detached garage.

7.  Expanding the back deck.

8.  Restoring two antique chairs.

9.  Building two bookcases for the bedroom to flank the double window.

10.  Replacing the kitchen sink.

11.  Building access doors for the upstairs plumbing in both closets.

12.  Tearing out two load bearing walls in the den/office/foyer to open the rooms up.

13.  Installing new laminate flooring in the den/office/living room or depending on how the projects end up, the dining room lol

14.  Finding a corner cabinet to replace the sink cabinet in the master bath.

15.  Painting the entire interior of the house.

16.  Adding crown molding to the den.

17.  Ripping out the double window in the kitchen to replace with french doors, once the back deck is expanded.

18.  Building and installing new shelving for the utility room.

19.  Getting rid of at least half the "stuff" in my entire house, which of course involves a truck and many many trips to the dump and Goodwill, or a major miracle.

20.  Builidng an all in one cabinet with a liftable top to create a "covered" litterbox that's still easy to clean and would work as a window seat too.

I think I'll stop the list now, I'm depressing myself.  Ugh!

So you're wondering where the eagle part comes in right?  Well apparently, we have a mated pair of eagles living just off the James River here in Richmond and they've just mated and laid two eggs.  How is that a problem you might ask?  The CCB (Center for Conservation Biology) is doing a study on the ecology of the mated eagle population along the Chesapeake Bay.  As part of that project, they've installed live action cameras on the nests.  You guessed it.  I've been watching the eagles.  They did a contest or a poll of some type for Richmond and the city named the eagles Virginia and James.  Virginia of course for the state and James for the river.  Pretty cool.  She's such a good momma!  I've been mesmerized.  James brings her fish and twigs and grass, and every once in a while, she'll take off a fly a bit and you can see the little eagle eggs laying there.  Sometimes she'll take off and he'll settle over the eggs to take care of them until she comes back.  It's totally fascinating.  You can click here if you want to check them out!  It's worth the click!

To end this particularly rambling post, let's put one and one and one together shall we?

Cats = constant cleaning.
Remodeling = focus and ability to stay awake
Cats + Remodeling = Bigger Mess
Cats + Remodeling + Cleaning = Lots of work.
Eagle Cam = Total Distraction.

So cats + cleaning + remodeling = Good.
Cats + cleaning + remodeling + eagle cam = Bad.

Somebody send help.  Please!?!?!?!?!?  

I've gotta go for now, Virginia is being awfully cute today!

Virginia and James, aren't they fabulous?

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Sunday, February 19, 2012

Cats, Motorcycles and Baby Elephant Butts!

Today turned out to be a lot more interesting that I'd thought it would a week ago!

The in-laws invited us to the Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey circus, bought tickets for us and our daughter and my two nieces and a boyfriend.

It's been a loooong time since I went to the circus, but apparently time and age don't matter, it's always just as magical as it was the first time!

I would like to know though who sat down one day and thought it would be a good idea to ride EIGHT motorcycles inside a sixteen foot steel cage ball.....

Anyhoo, there was a baby elephant there too!  Can you say SQUEE!!!!!!  I can, and did.  Repeatedly.  My husband says you have to have a vagina to think a little baby elephant butt is adorable and since I do, I can't argue with that one!

To top it all off, when we came out of the Coliseum, it was snowing.  Like mad.

We've currently got about two or three inches of the white stuff and we've been laughing at the antics of the three indoor/outdoor kitties.  They love it!  Oreo went sliding around the deck trying to get under the snow and Tango took off and ran around the house about four times.  Their mom, Muffin calmly sat in one of the deck chairs taking swipes at whomever happened to go sliding by her perch!

It's been a good Sunday.  

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Thursday, February 16, 2012

A Special Day.....Still

So today is February the 16th.

If my Dad had lived, he'd have been 78 today.

On this day, every day since 1981, I've been sick.

Literally, stay in bed, want to cry sick.

I think my heart knows it's missing something vital.

Happy Birthday Daddy, I still love you more than you could ever know.

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Sunday, February 12, 2012

Sunday Fluff - Another Visual Feast

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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Want to be part of a children's book? Come on in!

So usually I get my best ideas for my writing just before I fall asleep.  Of course, when I wake up those ideas are usually gone.

This weekend when I found my Ritalin and was then up all night Saturday, I finally got some writing done.

It wasn't on my novel, but on a children's book I've been playing around with writing for some time.

Since I'm definitely willing to capitalize on a situation, I'm of course, going to ask my fave mommy-bloggers to assist on this one.  You ladies read to your little ones so you know what they like and what they'd enjoy.

The plan is to write a series of books that would help kids with difficult situations, i.e. a new baby, first day of school, bullying, etc.  

I'm using my daughter's rabbit, Arpeggio, as inspiration.

Isn't he adorable?

So what I'm doing is posting the story on a page so it'll come up at the top of my page, and ask all my friends to check it out and let me know if it's something you or your children might like before I get my hopes up and try to get it looked at by a publisher.  I know it needs some work and I'm working on that now, but I'm basically just checking for the concept to see if it's an appealing one or not.

Feel free to read it to your kiddos to see how they react too, I just want some honest feedback.

Click the link below to check out the book!

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Monday, February 6, 2012

The Nightly Feline Migration

For those of you who don't know me that well, I'm a cat person.

The crazy cat lady to be exact.

Long story short, I have sixteen cats living in my house.  For more on that story, or in an attempt to convince you I'm not really insane, you can read THIS or go HERE.

This makes for lots of interesting situations, but one that happens without fail is yes.....

The Nightly Feline Migration.

My husband is a cat person too, although lately he's a bit catted out.  Kinda like eating your favorite food three times a day for two years and you'll get tired of it.  That's where he is.  He still likes cats (don't let him lie to you and tell you any differently) but he's honestly tired of them.  Maybe it's because of the whole migration thing.

My husband works from home.  He drives about 60,000 miles a year.  When he goes to bed for the night, he's ready to s.l.e.e.p.  Unfortunately for him, I don't usually go to bed at the same time he does.

For some reason, every cat in our house leaves him alone when he goes up the stairs.  They do not however do the same to me.  When I get up to even head in the general direction of the stairs, some weird cat sense kicks in and they all go frankly crazy.  It's like the apocalypse or something.  Maybe the Mayan cats had a different calendar and there's something they're not telling us.  But there it is.

You'd think I starve these animals.  I'll state for the record that I do not in fact starve them, they're all either chubby or straight up FAT which is maybe while they all fly up the stairs at mach speed for a small cup of food that's intended for one of the downstairs challenged cats.  When I go up in fact, I've already dumped not one, not even two or three, but FOUR cups of food in their bowls downstairs.

Why then they feel the need to ascend the stairs at yes, mach one speed, when I go up is a mystery.  

What is also a mystery is why they feel the need to, instead of traversing the flat surface that is floor, jump up on the bed, across or over my husbands slumbering body, to get to the other side of the room.

Let me tell you it's a bit disconcerting to be awakened from a dead sleep by sixteen chubby and/or fat felines first charging up a wooden staircase (do not ask me how those tiny little feet can so effectively mimic the sound and rattling level of the same number of baby elephants) then sliding into the wall before making the turn into our bedroom only to stampede your sleeping body before diving off the other side of the bed.

This happens every. single. night. without fail.

It's cute in a weird crazy cat lady kinda way and I'll admit some of the sounds my husband makes when he's stampeded upon have bordered on freaking hilarious.  

The best part?

They don't even EAT the food I took up.  The just abandon theirs and follow me up like a bunch of hyperactive two year olds on speed.  

Then they proceed to jump on the bed, off the bed, on the bed, off the bed, on the bed until finally they're all curled up down the side of my body furthest from my husband.  Smart move on their part.  If they got close enough to him for him to get hold of them, we might not have sixteen cats in the house.

I've woken up in the middle of the night to find cats hanging by their front feet from the bamboo shades on the windows.

I've been awakened by things crashing to the floor.

I've been awakened by lamps being turned over.

I've been awakened by the sound of my daughter screaming at cats to vacate the waterbed.

I've been awakened by the unmistakable sound of a female in heat.
(NOTE:  No coming down on me for having not spayed them, it's done now.)

Oddly the thing my husband complains about the most?

The sound of the little bits of cat food as they fall into the aluminum food bowl.

For your viewing pleasure, I herding.

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Football, Gloating and Pouting.

Well it's over.  Another Super Bowl comes and goes and as usual our house was divided.

The hubs won this round.  

Yes, he's gloating.

Even though I admitted the Giants deserved the win since I think the Pats swapped places with their cheerleaders who apparently used lots of lotion on their hands which precipitated their not being able to catch the ball even if it had been covered in velcro and spikes and those little octopus sucker thingies.

I mean seriously.  The odds of a safety being the first score in a Super Bowl game were 60-1.

I'm pouting.

At least the wings were good.

Now I'm taking odds on Dallas making it within 16 games of the Super Bowl for next year.

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Sunday, February 5, 2012

When God answers prayer

It's 6:30 in the morning.  I can't tell you the last time I was up this early in the morning.  

Last week, I stumbled across an old bottle of Ritalin I'd forgotten all about.  I looked at the expiration date and realized it's about a year and a half past it's expiration date, but I didn't want to throw it away so I put it in my night table, figuring I might try it sometime or other and see what happened.

Well, I've been sleeping a LOT lately.  More than usual even which is saying something.

Recently we started going to church again.  It's been a long time and I'll be honest, getting up in time to make it even to the 11:00 service has been difficult.  Last night I went to bed early and knew I'd still have trouble getting up to get dressed and ready in time, so I figured I'd take a Ritalin right before I went to sleep.  

Now, it's been almost three years since I was on medication.  I took them for seven years and they'd stopped working completely.  My sleep doctor recommended I go off medication for three to six months to see if my body would "reset".  It didn't.  He suggested a year.  Still didn't reset.  The Ritalin worked for about a week and then I reverted right back to sleeping my life away.

I knew that if I took one, one of three things would happen.

I'd still sleep all night.

I'd go to sleep and wake up and not be able to go back to sleep again, or

I wouldn't sleep at all.

The second was spot on.  I slept for about an hour before Molly kitten decided to snuggle up against my face and woke me up.  As hard as I tried, I couldn't go back to sleep.  Since I always fall asleep while I try to say my prayers, I figured that would be a good time to work on that.  While I was praying, I remembered one very important prayer I'd once uttered.

I was very involved in church since childhood.  I don't remember not going to church until the past four or five years.  A story for another day.  My dad though, he refused to go with us.  I always wished he'd go, as a child I was worried about what might happen to him if he died.  I prayed and prayed that one Sunday morning, he'd get up and go to church with me and Mom, but it never happened.

Well, one particular week, we were having a revival at our church.  The minister preached about prayer.  About the power of prayer and how we should be careful what we pray for.  I remember him saying exactly "If you pray "whatever it takes" be prepared for what might happen."

I thought about it and at the time I thought I could handle whatever might happen.  I wanted my Dad in church.  I wanted him "saved" so if anything ever happened to him, he'd go to Heaven.  I was sixteen years old.  I prayed the "whatever it takes" prayer.

My Dad went to church that Sunday.  First time in my entire life.

On Tuesday, he was dead.

When the doctor came out and told us he was gone, the first thing I thought about was that prayer.  The next few days while we were planning the funeral, accepting people at the house with food, while I was trying to sleep, a week later when I went to work at my first job all I thought about was that prayer.  

On one side, I felt this preternatural peace about my Dad.  I knew then as I know now without a doubt he's in Heaven.  On the other side, I felt guilt.  I still feel guilt sometimes.  I lost one of the most important things in my life that day, and I'll always feel like it started with a prayer.

I'll wrap this up by saying, that yes, God answers prayers, and yes, always be careful what you pray for.

Please read this post to read about my friend Michelle and help her get her life back.
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