Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloweenie!!

What a fun day! Exhausting, of course, but a lot of fun.

It started, really, when I got dressed for school. I pulled on black tights, comfy black Mary Janes, and a black long-sleeved tee. Over all of this, I wore a red dress with white polka dots. Last but not least, I donned my Minnie ears, and I was ready to go:

When I got to school, it was near-chaos. There were parents everywhere, helping kids with costumes. The kids were positively humming with excitement, comparing costumes on the playground, and running around.

My first group of the day was a kindergarten group. They were plenty excited to sing about their costumes (with me asking sing-song questions like, "Who is a pirate?" and "Who has red?"), but The Monster Mash seemed kind of lifeless when they did it. Humph.

After this, I went to Dorothy's room--er, that is, Ms. D., one of our first grade teachers, for my daily tutoring. Next, was two first grade classes. In one group of 40 children, there were three soldiers, three Spidermen, two Cinderellas, two Snow Whites, and two Sleeping Beauties. I thought I might be seeing double.

At one quiet point, I took a couple of pictures in my room:

The VAPA bulletin board has the "stained glass" project we did last week, using vellum paper and pens. I had the kids color the images on the back side to give it that muted look. Some, as you can see, went above and beyond.

At first/second grade recess, I took a candid shot from the doorway of my classroom, which looks out over the primary playground:

At lunchtime, there was a school-wide costume parade. The 7th and 8th graders lined the parade route to watch.

After school, the 7th and 8th grade teachers always supervise the front of the school to make sure kids are walking, not darting into the street, etc. I got some pictures of my colleagues.

Pippi Longstocking (aka Stacy):

Pamela the Groovy:

Janet, the Good Witch Counselor:

After work, I had to go to Target and Safeway. I didn't want to go home first. I know very well that had I come home, I would have stayed home, and I really needed some groceries.

I decided that if I was going into the store in the unlikely combination of black tights and red dress with white polka dots, then I needed to keep the ears on. So I did all of my errands in my full Minnie get-up, and I saw only two or three other adults in costumes.

A manager at Safeway smiled as she passed me in an aisle and said, "You look darling!" The bag boy, a tough-looking teenager, got a big grin on his face and said, "I officially LOVE your costume!" The little kids at school called me "Mickey" all day. I had to remind them that Mickey wears overalls, and Minnie wears the dress and bow.

All in all, a fun day. I'm going to hole up tonight (no candy here!) and continue reading Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. After some brief afternoon sun, it's clouding up again, and I hope it rains soon.

Happy Halloween to all!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

A Blissful Evening

Oh, the bliss! It's the first real rain of the season (that little teaser that happened during my fall break didn't count!) and I have been sitting here with my windows open to have a listen. A few minutes ago, I started getting too cold, so I closed the living room window, but I've left my bedroom window cracked to let the fresh, cool air in. When I go to bed tonight, I'll tuck in under lots of blankets, and pull the legs of my extra-long pajamas down over my toes. Millie will cuddle with me, and we'll be so toasty!

For now, I have an hour to kill before Grey's Anatomy is on, so I'm going to brew a cup of peppermint tea and curl up on the couch under an afghan that Mom made for me and read. I've just started Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, and I'm excited to read it again, as it has been a while, and I've only read it once in its entirety. Order of the Phoenix is probably my least favorite of the series. It's not bad by any means, and it has its entertaining moments, but Umbridge just riles me to no end. Harry, too, is troublesome--I love how he matures in Half-Blood Prince, because in Order, he's filled to bursting with teen angst.

Oh, and I love that he and Ginny get together in book six, too.

I made it to the gym this evening, so that's twice this week. Yay me! I almost didn't go today, thinking that dancing to "The Monster Mash" nine times in one day would get anyone off the hook, but I made myself go, and spent an hour doing some weights and cardio. Instead of 45 minutes of cardio, I did 20, figuring that all that dancing today had to count for something. After all, I did work up a sweat doing the twist all the way to the floor!

I'm pleased to say that my kids loved it. During the verses, we acted out various Halloween characters--mummies, Frankenstein, a witch on a broomstick, goblins, ghosts, black cats, bats--and during the chorus, we did a crazy hybrid of the Twist and the Mashed Potato. My legs were screaming by the time my third group came to my room. But it was a lot of fun.

I'm in for some more Monster Mashing tomorrow, as well as the general excitement of Halloween. The assistant principal has given her blessing, so staff and students can be in costume all day. I've got my red dress ready, and my Minnie Mouse ears on standby.

But for now, it's all about the riveting tale of Harry and Co. in their epic fight against Voldemort, a cup of hot tea in a dainty cup, a made-with-love afghan wrapped around my legs, and a made-for-loving kitty on my lap, as the rain falls outside my window and I gear up for tonight's episode of Grey's, in which Captain McHottie (my name for him) comes back to Seattle Grace to set my heart, and Christina Yang's, going at top speed.


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Genius That Was Schulz (Part 2)

The Genius That Was Schulz (Part 1)

"You didn't tell me you were gonna kill it!"

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


I just had a great idea.

Friday, of course, is Halloween. At my school, we're going all out. There will be costumes--all day--a costume parade, a pumpkin decorating contest, and teachers are allowed to have class celebrations.

When I was at Disneyland last April, I bought some Minnie Mouse ears, 'just cause:

I figured The Year of Turning Thirty was reason enough, and besides, they'd make for a cute Halloween costume.

I also have a red dress with white polka dots. I bought black tights and a black, long-sleeved shirt to wear under the dress. I figure I'm good to go.

So, what to do with my 7th and 8th grade classes? I'm going to print out some coloring pages for them (they LOVE to color) and bring some Halloween candy. Then--my big idea happened. I got on iTunes and bought "Monster Mash," "Ghostbusters," and "Thriller." I'm going to burn them to a CD and play them for the kids. I think I'll even have my younger classes do "The Monster Mash" with me--I'll make up a silly dance and let them have some giggly fun.

Good times!!

Hairy Potter

I wonder if Millie would let me do this...probably not.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince Trailer

Urgh...why did they have to delay it 'til next summer?! Well, whatever, it looks great, and I love the bit at the end with Harry and Hermione. Book Six is one of my favorites (despite certain tragic outcomes) because Harry really grew up--and it was such a relief after the constant angry teen angst of Order of the Phoenix...which, incidentally, I'm currently re-reading.

Anywho...enjoy the clip.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

It's That Time of Year...

Everyone knows I love this time of year. Fall, winter. I love Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Cold weather and rain are not the bane of my existence. I love sweaters, comfy blankets, and hot tea.

It's also that time of year in which my inner Santa comes out. Because I don't have a large family, and because my friends and I are pretty low-key on gift-giving, I am able to focus some of my time and money on charitable giving.

This year, I am focusing my energy on one of AdoptaPlatoon's annual campaigns, Stockings from Santa. The premise is simple. Sign up, get assigned a group of soldiers, and have fun filling stockings with whatever goodies you think the soldiers will enjoy.

I've just heard from the lady in charge of the campaign. I had asked if 10-15 soldiers was too small a number, and she replied that no number is too small. I figure 10-15 is what I can afford to do, and make nice stockings for the men and women I am assigned to.

I am fully prepared to undertake this endeavor on my own; however, if anyone wants to contribute a box of candy canes, some chocolate Santas, or travel-sized toiletries (I find that soldiers love Gold Bond foot powder, baby wipes, and Chapstick), please let me know. Whatever you think of the situation in the Middle East, no one will deny that the men and women of our country's armed forces deserve to have a nice Christmas just as much as the rest of us.

In addition to the stocking stuffers, I'm going to ask my boss if I can have my 7th and 8th grade students make cards to send along, as well. I think this is a project that my students would buy into. Some of them may have family members serving.

The deadline to mail the stockings is December 3rd. I'll be collecting bits and bobs right away.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Pange Lingua Footses Hurtes

Oh, dear. Turns out that the shoes I chose to wear for tonight's concert (which, incidentally, I was well enough to sing in) were oh-so-wrong, in more ways than one.

The women in the chorale wear long black skirts and black blouses. We were told to wear black shoes (no open toes!), black pantyhose, and our $4 fake pearl necklaces. Please, no bling.

Right, got it.

Thing is, I've been sick all week, and the task of checking my sock drawer for black pantyhose was forgotten. Hell, even if I'd remembered, and realized I didn't have any black hose, I wouldn't have had the time or the energy to go out and buy some. So tonight, I figured I'd just ask for forgiveness later, and I slipped on the nude hose. It has to be better than nothing, right?

Then I looked at my shoe situation. I have a pair of strappy, open toe evening shoes. Too fancy, and they have the open toe. I have a pair of Steve Madden shoes but they're really clunky (not appropriate for the outfit) and they have the tiniest peep toe. I have black ballet flats with a big, sparkly butterfly design on them. Heh. I have black loafers that pinch my heels if I wear them too long--these are my interview shoes.

And, I have these (fig. 1):

I knew I'd probably regret wearing heels by the end of the night, but they were the most appropriate shoe I had, so I slipped them on and ran out the door.

I made it to call time in the nick of time, and walked to the soprano section. I went to the dress rehearsal last night but sat in the pews listening, rather than coughing all over the rest of the group. So when I got there, I had a certain ammount of confusion about where I would sit.

Before I could even figure this out, one of the ladies looked at my feet and cried out, "You have white on your shoes!" (Actually, it's bone, but really, who's gonna be picky, right?)

"They're all I had, and I don't have black hose, either. I'm sorry!"

Well, you'd think I'd just squated down and peed on the carpet. I was told I'd have to stand in the back (at all rehearsals, I've kept my short self towards the front where I can see and hear) so no one would see that my shoes have--gasp--white on them.

Keep in mind...I've been sick all week. Auntie Flo is in town. I haven't been sleeping well, and I'm pretty damned exhausted. I was starting to feel like I'd kicked her dog, or killed Santa Claus.

But then, my typical Leo arrogance kicked in, and I thought, "Waitaminute here. This is the lady that has us wearing four dollar pearls (fig. 2). And hey! That lady over there has open-toed shoes! Why am I getting told off like I'm a naughty little girl?"

Figure 2:

Needless to say, I had a leeetle bit of steam coming out of my ears. I resolutely found a spot in the front, parked my butt in my chair, and got on with it.

A few minutes later, the costume drama continued, as the lady in charge of things turned around and asked if I have something different I can wear for the concert on Sunday. I told her I'd do my best, but, "I'm a teacher, and this is what I have."

"Well, you're also a team player, so you need to find a different shoe."

I wanted to scream. If anyone pays attention to my shoe of choice, they're not going to gasp that it has a little bit of white on it! No one will be offended! It's a SHOE!

After our warm-up, we had time to sit backstage and relax. I marched into the back room, feeling, for some insane reason unknown to me now, near tears. I sat at a table and was soon joined by two other ladies. One struck up a conversation with me, and I whispered, "I just got told off about my shoes." She looked down, rolled her eyes, and said, "They're fine!"

We were soon joined by our costume lady, who made some sort of comment about my not having pantyhose...even though I did. A few minutes later, she came back to me, pointed at my choir bag, which is a bright green Snoopy tote bag, and asked if I'd be leaving it back stage.

The temptation to widen my eyes and reply, "No, I'm going to wear it around my neck for the duration of the concert--is that okay?" was huge, but I just smiled--a little tersely, perhaps--and said, "No, it's staying back here."

After talking with the nice lady for a few minutes, I calmed down considerably and realized that this is just how the costume lady rolls. And that I am NOT the only person to get lectured.

So Sunday, I'll be wearing different shoes. I've been meaning to buy some simple, unadorned black ballet flats, anyway (my previous pair were pretty trashed so I got rid of them), so it looks like tomorrow I get to haul myself to the nearest shoestore. As for the pantyhose, well, no one can see it, my skirt is so long!

And...just to be a rebel, I might wear my REAL pearls on Sunday.

In the meantime, I'm dragging my poor tired little doggies to bed. All this attention and discord has worn them out.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Oh, Fiddlesticks

I'm still sick! What really sucks is that tomorrow night is my first concert with Stockton Chorale--and I might not be able to sing in it! At the moment, my voice has gone from its usual treble to a husky alto mixed with smoker's cough...and you all know I've never smoked in my life. Gah!

I went back to work today (I had to take two freakin' sick days in a row--unheard of!) and told my kids that I'm cranky when I'm sick. The decided to test my theory, and also to tell me that I'm not evil. So I held them after class. : )

Hey, don't go telling me I'm a nice teacher!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

4 - 2 = 2

Mom and Dad are safely home in California, and this afternoon, they drove to Stockton to take their girls home. My apartment is back to its normal two inhabitants, Millie and myself.

Bella and Duchess had to show Mom how displeased they were by hiding under the bed, so eventually, we had to pull out the Swiffer and nudge them out. Duchess, the World's Sweetest Lovebug, hissed at me! It was shocking. But we got them out and into their carriers.

I just spoke to Mom and Dad on the phone--apparently, they were serenaded all the way from Stockton to Lincoln. Hardly surprising! The girls are now safely hidden under the bed, but I expect they'll come out tonight for cuddles.

The big question is, will I be able to sleep tonight with only one cat on the bed?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Welcome Home, Mom and Dad!

Love, Your Girls (furry and human)

Peppermint Tea

Urgh. I am so not feeling well today.

It started yesterday as a twinge and an, " it comes." This morning, I awoke to find it had progressed to, "Blleeeeeeeech." My throat hurts, my nose is stuffed, and I am very, very sleepy.

So I pulled out the ole Sub Finder card, and drove a lesson plan over to the school. Everyone who saw me said, "You sound awful!" and my principal took a deliberate step away from me in the hallway, smiled, and more or less told me to go home.

So here I am, in my warm jammies. I've just finished a cup of peppermint tea. It's herbal, with no caffeine, and it's marvelous. Peppermint is good for clearing out the nasal pasages. Just breathing in the steam while it brewed felt great. Drinking it helped, too. Now I'm ready to lie down for a bit. I won't fall asleep right away, so I'm going to read and cuddle with the cats.

Speaking of the cats, Mom and Dad are back in the U.S., and will arrive home tonight. They're coming tomorrow for Bella and Duchess, and my three weeks of babysitting will come to an end. I'm actually a little sad! They're sweet babies, and Millie and I will be back down to just the two of us. I tried to tell Mom that she can't have the girls back, that I'm keeping them, but she wasn't having it. I suppose, in the end, I couldn't do that to my own mama!

Right. It's time for me to get some rest. Out with the contact lenses, and in to bed I go.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Sing the Mystery

Attention music lovers! This weekend, Stockton Chorale will be giving two concerts. Our Sing the Mystery program is sure to be a crowd-pleaser.

Program: Brubeck, Pange Lingua Variations; Zoltán Kodály, Pange Lingua; Plus: choral songs by Kodály and Bartók, as well as a set by the Brubeck Fellows

Stockton Concert:

When: October 24, 2008 (7:30 pm)
Where: Quail Lakes Baptist Church, Stockton
This performance is supported by a generous grant from The Stockton Arts Commission

Lodi Concert:

When: October 26, 2008 (3 pm)
Where: St. John's Episcopal Church, Lodi

University of the Pacific (here in Stockton) is home to the Brubeck Institute, and rumor has it, Brubeck himself may be in attendance at our Friday night concert here in Stockton. No guarantees, mind you, just a possibility.

If you're looking for something to do, this will be a great concert!

A Stockton Picture

This is St. John's Anglican Church, where the Stockton Chorale meets every Monday night to rehearse. It's a pretty little church, set in downtown Stockton.

Obsessed? Perhaps...

As I mentioned in a previous post, I've got some stuff listed on eBay. I keep obsessively refreshing my selling page, just to see if anything else has been bid on. What can I say? It's Sunday, I'm bored, and I'll never get out of the parking lot if I do decide to go somewhere because there's a large group of noisy children skateboarding in my part of the parking lot.

Anyway, I just clicked "refresh" for about the 200th time in the last 15 minutes when, lo and behold, the items selling went from two to three! Woohoo! I've sold 50-something things in the last couple of weeks, so I'm on a bit of a roll.

Just a few more days with Bella and Duchess. Mom and Dad will be home late Tuesday evening, so they're coming for their girls on Wednesday. It will then be just Millie and me again, and a little bit quieter, for sure! I'll miss the Kindergatos--they're very sweet, and adorable. Still, I have my Millie-girl, and that's a good thing.

Not much else going on. I've had a productive and lazy weekend. I'm resting, as we have our first two concerts for Stockton Chorale next weekend, and I want my voice in tip-top shape. That means a strict regimen starts tomorrow--no caffeine, no milk, no alcohol. It's all about water. And more water. And if my neighbors wake me up in the wee hours, even once, so help me, it's not going to be pretty. I need my sleep!

That said...I'm signing off. I have to go check my seller's page on eBay.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Ahhh, Saturday

What a busy day it was!

I woke up somewhat early (for a Saturday) and got going on some eBay stuff. I've been selling a lot of things, like books I won't read again, and even a few Snoopy items. My collection has gotten out of hand and needed a little bit of culling. Especially as, over the years, I've had a tendency to buy anything Snoopy that I spot. I'm getting better about this!

After that, I spent some time cleaning the apartment. The bathroom had started looking a little suspect in the last few days, so a good scrub was in order. Of course, the litter boxes needed attention (those girls eat, and they also potty), and the hole place needed a good vacuuming. I find vacuuming very satisfying, so it's not something I mind doing.

After that, I finally showered around 2:30 this afternoon, then headed out to the post office and Safeway. My evening has been relatively lazy, though now I'm going to list a few more items for sale this evening. The money I earn through eBay is going straight to my "England or Bust!" fund. I'm at about $140 in profit at the moment, so it's a good start.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Oh, Urgh!!!

The temptation is horrible!!

I think airfare prices are going down. There's a non-stop Virgin Atlantic flight from San Francisco to London next June going for $1245 on Expedia.

Do you have any idea how difficult it is to keep myself from whipping out the credit card right now?! I have the money in savings...but I have to pay off a little bit more on my credit card, and keep some in savings in case of an emergency.

But seeing the prices fall is heartening...maybe, just maybe, I'll be able to go to England next summer. It's been THREE YEARS since I left, and I'm so impatient to go back and see my friends there.

I just keep telling myself that I'm going to make this happen. Eventually, it has to be true, right?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Crazy Cat Lady: Day 18

There were four in the bed, and the little one said...

Yes, Millie is sniffing Bella's bottom, and those white things are my feet. This has been a regular scene these last couple of weeks...and even when my darling neighbors woke up up at 1:45 on Wednesday morning, I was still charmed--even in my grumpiness--to find all three girls curled up side by side at the foot of the bed.

Cuddle puddle!!!

Happiness Is...A Whistle and a Stopwatch

Early in my glorious two week fall break, I made a point of stopping by a local teacher store to stock up on supplies. If you've never been to a teacher store, they're those shady places that sell crack to elementary teachers--you know, too-cute-for-words borders for the bulletin boards, art supplies, posters that teach kids everything from how to count money to all about the Ancient Egyptians. There are finger puppets, books that only a teacher could love, resources, papers in every color of the rainbow, stickers, incentive is pure heaven for the teacher who desires a stylin' classroom.

A teacher like, well, Yours Truly.

I found adorable blue gingham borders, Rennaissance fact cards for an upcoming lesson I'm doing, and other wonderful, googly, adorable things for my awesome bulletin boards.

Heaven, I tell ya, heaven!!

While I was there, I found a small display that contained little useful things like whistles, timers, and stopwatches. I bought a whistle for my keychain and a stopwatch.

Money. Well. Spent.

Already, in only four days back, I have put both to good use.

The whistle is perfect for grabbing attention. When you're walking 30 preteens from class to lunch, and trying to keep them in a straight line, a whistle is a godsend. It saves the voice from undue screaming. Who needs to screech, "HEY! STOP! GET BACK IN LINE!!" when a simple blast of the whistle will do the trick?

And the stopwatch...OH! The stopwatch! All I have to do is push the little button and mutter, "well, there goes your lunchtime..." and my kids are as silent as they've ever been. I never knew middle school students could be so quiet! Well, I did, but there is a certain amplification of that quiet when, instead of watching the second hand tick by on the wall clock (and keeping track in your head of how many seconds they've accumulated), you can just hold the stopwatch up and press the little button. The kids here that little beep...and I can hear a pin drop.

In other words, the teaching gig is going well. I love my teenies. So cute! So fun! Only 30 minutes and I get to send them back!! And I find I love my tweenies (tweenagers), too. Two of my classes are pretty danged awesome, and even my two "rough" classes have good days. Some of the most difficult students in the middle school are making an effort to behave better. I gave them vellum paper, markers and some stained glass designs to trace this week and they can't get enough! It helps that the final product is way cooler than coloring on boring old copy paper. helps that I have a stopwatch.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Dear Neighbors (Part Three),


I mean, seriously?!?

Imagine, if you will, dear neighbors, that you are off in dreamland, with three adorable, cuddly kitties happily sleeping by your feet. Imagine that you have to get up at 6:30 the next morning to go run around after children all day, singing, hopping, making art projects and just being on alert and full of energy. All. Day.

Imagine that...get your mind into that blissful slumber of the REM phase of the night and then...

Rudely awaken yourself. Headlights shining in the window--not from one car, but from TWO.

No, you didn't park on the grass again, and no, you weren't talking extra loud. But still, I woke up, because TWO sets of headlights were lighting my room up like the Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center.

It was 1:45 in the morning.

That's TWICE in one week! Neighbors, please, I'm begging you. Get a clue! Get some courtesy! I've talked to the gals in the management office and they told me to give them any information I can because they agree that you are rude and inconsiderate...and that I am well within my rights to want a peaceful night's sleep between the hours of 10:00 pm and 6:00 am, free from idiots like you.

If it happens tonight, I swear, I'm getting license plate numbers and I'm going straight to management tomorrow morning.


Little Miss Getting Grumpier

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Live and Diet

So, the sad truth is, I'm the heaviest I've ever been. I went to the doctor during break and when the nurse weighed me, I wanted to cry. I talked to my doctor about it, and she referred me to a health education doctor. Last week I had my apointment, and she gave me some good tips. In order to lose some weight, I need to stick to about 1800 calories a day. Exercise is good, too (of course).

So I'm making changes. I had to go to Safeway after my appointment, and I feel I did some smart shopping. No Dr. Pepper. Instead, I bought orange juice to drink (but only 8 ounces!) when I need something sweet. I stocked up on some of the things I've already been eating that are good--lots of fresh vegetables and fruits. I skipped the desserts.

One thing the doc pointed out was that bagels actually make a good breakfast. Breakfast is a struggle for me because I'm usually flying around trying to get ready and I need something that is quick, easy, and filling. Bagels are okay--but I should stick to whole wheat, and she even suggested I try the mini bagels, as a large bagel can sometimes be the equivilent to four pieces of bread. I bought Sara Lee's mini whole wheat bagels, and they're actually really good. They're fresh and soft, not hockey pucks.

Of course, what do you put on a bagel? Cream cheese...which can be dangerous. But I bought the low-fat, low-calorie Philadelphia cream cheese with veggies, which gives me some much-needed protein in the morning.

I honestly like vegetables and fruits, so making these changes isn't all that hard--especially because I know I need to for my health. Cutting out the bad stuff is difficult--sometimes I find myself really jonesing for a Dr. Pepper, but in the end it's worth it.

That said, I'll be returning to my dinner now, of salad and stir-fried veggies with turkey polenta sausage. Bon apetit!

Dear Neighbors (Part Deux),

Last night, when I arrived home from choir rehearsal, I had to park waaaayyy far away from my apartment because all the other spots were taken...but there was your car, parked illegally--AGAIN--in front of my bedroom window.

You can imagine the delight I felt as I called the security company that our complex contracts with. The security guy came out right away. I watched him through the blinds for a moment, and even though he didn't have your car towed, I'm hoping you at least got a warning.

In the mean time, I actually got an uninterupted night of sleep, which was appreciated, let me tell you. Hope to NOT see your car out there tonight! Seriously, if you park any closer to my bedroom window, I'll have to scoot to the other side of the bed.


The tired lady in that apartment you like to park next to.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Dear Neighbors,

Kindly refrain from illegally parking on the patch of grass right outside my bedroom window. While you're at it, please don't walk out to your car at 1:00 in the morning, thinking it's okay to merrily yap away as loud as you please, and slam the car doors. Did you notice that my window is cracked open? That my lights are off? That it's ONE O'CLOCK IN THE FREAKIN' MORNING and some of us are adults with jobs?

If you can uphold your end, I promise I won't do my best impression of Oscar the Grouch, squinting out the window (hey, it's one in the morning, I'm not thinking about where my glasses are!) and scratching my butt while glaring through the blinds and wishing all kinds of painful injuries on you.

All I'm saying is, a little bit of neighborly consideration goes a long way.


Your neighbor in the downstairs apartment overlooking the parking lot.

P.S. Management gave me a number to time you pull a stunt like that, your car's getting towed. And yes, I'll be standing in my bedroom window, laughing.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Crazy Cat Lady: Day 14

Wow, I've had the Terrible Torties for two whole weeks now! We still have one week to go. Mom and Dad are in Lisbon tomorrow, then they have one more stop in the Azores before setting off across the Atlantic for Ft. Lauderdale.

As I write this, both Bella and Duchess are at the "watering hole" for a snack and a sip. With three cats in the apartment, the food and water levels fall fast. With Millie, I have to replenish the cat chow every 2-3 days. I learned quickly that with the Kindergatos in residence, I have to refill the bowl every day!

Tomorrow I go back to work after a glorious two-week break. Part of me is ready to get back to it, but part of me definitely wishes I had just a few more days! Still, my work days fly by, and then I get to come home in the evenings. The word "fundraiser" doesn't even enter my vocabulary these's a lovely thing.

I'm loving these cooler days and nights. Fall has definitely arrived and I hope it's here to stay! Farmer's Almanac, I read somewhere, is predicting a wet winter for everyone, and I certainly hope that is true. California always needs rain. This summer was awful with the fires everywhere.

We're entering my favorite time of year--the transition into shorter days, colder weather, sweaters and all good things. Gone are the cold drinks, and in with hot tea and warm kitties and good books. I can dig it!

That said, I need to clear some space on my bed. All three girls are curled up in close proximity to each other; but of course, they're all on MY side of the bed. Once we're all settled in, we're all usually pretty happy. I woke up this morning with three cats snuggled up to my can't beat that on a cold Sunday morning!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

The Crazy Cat Lady: Day 13

The following photos are entitled, Where am I going to sleep??

That is what greeted me when I went to bed last night--three cats taking over the bed, leaving very little room for me. Duchess, royalty that she is, was in the prime spot, where my shoulders and head usually like to be. It took a few minutes to convince her that she needed to move.

Finally, everyone moved and I was able to climb into bed. Then, just when I was getting comfortable and realizing that it would be a chilly evening, all three cats deserted me, leaving me to fend for myself as far as getting warm! All the litter-box scooping and cookie-giving, and this is what I get?

In other news, I had a very fun evening tonight. Summer came to Stockton and we went to the first annual Taste of San Joaquin. There weren't a lot of restaurants, but the ones there were quality. We sampled mushroom filo triangles, veggie lumpia, fruit turnovers, tenderloin, coconut shrimp, Italian sodas, bruschetta, feta filo triangles...and then we waddled back to my car. I found that there are some good restaurants in town that I can't wait to try, so anyone who wants to visit and try them with me...well, name a day!

After that, we burned some calories by going to the mall to look around a bit. I was good, only buying a new pair of shoes for work, a cute blouse at Old Navy, and a couple of books at Barnes and Noble. Then we came back and watched some Grey's Anatomy. All in all, a lovely evening.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

The Crazy Cat Lady: Day 11

We're almost at the halfway point of Bella's and Duckie's stay at my place, so I thought I'd do an update by the numbers.

4 -- Number of times a cat has barfed (one for each cat, and one mysterious upchuck left on the kitchen floor today).

237 -- Number of "wizz-bangs" and "poo-poo-pa-doos" I've scooped out of the litter boxes...and counting. (Actually, I made this statistic up--I have not been counting their output! Trust me, though...there's been a lot of output.)

1 -- Number of times Bella the Huntress has walked around my bedroom at night with a mouse toy in her mouth, howling to show off her "kill."

2 -- Number of litterboxes in my apartment.

22- Number of hours per day (average) that Millie and the Kindergatos spend sleeping (on the bed, under the bed, in the window, on the couch...).

1.5 (going on 2) -- Number of bags of Iam's cat chow I've gone through with three greedy little piglettes in the apartment.

3 -- Number of times I've vacuumed the 2nd bedroom to get cat litter out of the carpet.

Lost count -- Number of cuddles, purrs, head-butts, meows, and exposed tummies (a sign of trust) I've had from all three girls. It's very satisfying!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Grooming Lady Fuzz

Lady Fuzz, Duchess of Lincoln, has a lot of hair. As Mom says, she has ruffles and flourishes, and fuzzy buns. Duchess has so much hair, that when she finishes her daily bath, it's time to start over again.

Some girls just need a little extra help (another Momism).

When I brought the girls home with Millie and me, I brought their litter box, their cookies, and Duckie's brush. A few days ago, I figured it was time to give her some attention.

Duchess loves to be brushed, so it wasn't a hard job. She rolls and stretches and purrs, so it's pretty easy to get all the parts of her that need the most work--her back, her sides, her tummy--and around her neck on that little ruffled collar of fur that she has (half lion mane, half Elizabethan ruff).

Anyway, I spent a few minutes brushing her, and this is what came of it:

1. A gorgeous girl:

2. Enough fir to knit a sweater:

Anyone else think she ought to be in a Loreal commercial? "Because I'm worth it! Purrrrrrrr..."

Back From Yosemite...

Wonderful! Amazing! Gorgeous! I can't believe that gem has been within a few hours of me most of my life and I've never been 'til now.

Pictures will, of course, be posted in The Anxious Traveler soon. : )

Monday, October 06, 2008

The Crazy Cat Lady: Day 8

Everything is going very well with my little furry houseguests. Bella and Duchess are showing a lot more confidence, sleeping on my bed at night, and sitting in the windows to watch Bird TV. Millie doesn't seem to have a problem with them, though she mostly does her own thing.

Last night found me lying in bed trying to fall asleep, with one hand reaching out to Millie and the other to Bella. Duchess was by my feet. The nights are getting cooler, so I don't mind the extra body heat!

Mom and Dad are doing well. Today is their excursion to Sorrento and Pompeii. I had the pleasure of seeing both of these places on my trip to Rome in 2003, so I know Mom and Dad are in for a treat. Sorrento is a lovely town overlooking the Bay of Naples. Pompeii, of course, is a fascinating historical and archeological site. I know Mom really wanted to see Pompeii, so I'm glad she gets a chance to.

And that is all here. I'm enjoying Week 2 of my fall break, and looking forward to a two-day excursion to Yosemite. I leave tomorrow morning. : )

Saturday, October 04, 2008

An Engineer's Guide to Cats

I think I'm going to ask this man to marry me. :P

If you haven't seen this hysterical video, take the time to watch it. Why? Two words: Cat. Yodelling.

Yep. You need to watch it.

Millie Meets a Neighbor

A little while ago, I emerged from the bathroom, showered, in fresh pajamas, and ready to have some lunch (it's a lazy day). What greeted me in the living room was amazing and adorable all at once.

Millie was standing on her back feet, with her front feet on the window sill, nose to nose with another cat from the apartment complex, who was standing the very same way right outside.

There was no hissing, no growling, no freaking out or puffy tails. Just calm, curious sniffing and two fuzzy heads on either side of the screen. Of course, I slowly walked over to get my camera from my desk, and of course, I didn't catch that exact moment. But I did catch a couple of cute pictures of Millie and our neighbor quietly getting to know each other.

After Millie's screaming hissy fit of a few days ago, I have to say I'm surprised at how calm she was throughout the whole exchange. Maybe the Kindergatos are mellowing her.

Mom and Dad Check In

Well, Mom and Dad are finally on the boat. I guess it can get a bit slow when you're not sightseeing, so I've heard from both of them this morning.


Hi Megs

Finally aboard the ship! We are on the 14th floor, can you believe that?! Very nice stateroom and the rest of the ship is beautiful. This is her first year at sea. Her name is Emerald Princess.

Anyway, have been getting your messages and LOVE hearing from you. Glad the girls are settling in. I knew they would. Just a reminder... You can not keep them! I really miss them, but the pictures in your blog warm my soul and I get my cat fix!

You sound like you are busy and happy. We are glad to hear that. Your trip to Yosemite sounds good. You'll love the area. Faboulous views and sights. Take Pics!

Venice is fabulous! The Venitians travel by boat everywhere. Garbage is picked up in boats, hotel and resturants get supplies via boat, water taxis, etc. It is soooooo OLD though!

More later.
Love you lots, give the girls a pat for me. Love from Mom and Dad

The "sooo old" is in reference to a certain crazy family member who once, after a trip to Rome said she didn't really like it because, "Everything is so old..." In Rome? Really?!


Saw the video. Your Mom still has tears in her eyes. We're at sea, headed for Naples, arriving Monday. We've signed up to see Pompei and Sorrento. Your Dad has signed up to waterski behind the Princess tomorrow and we are looking forward to that.

We have consumed 102,099 calories worth of spaghetti, gelato and tiramisu. Your father's pants button flew off and nearly blinded the waiter. He was chagrinned.

We are now going to take a nap so we won't be too tired to eat dinner. Not much else to do at sea except eat and do the computer thing.

So, my friends, you can see. Mom and Dad are having a wondeful time on their trip...even if Dad's a wee bit bored on the ship. ; )

Mom, Dad--if you're so bored, read those Bill Bryson books I lent you!

Friday, October 03, 2008

The Crazy Cat Lady: Day 5

Last night, as I was getting ready for bed, I found the Kindergatos were looking for some love. I was happy to oblige.

They've spent most of today on my bed. Millie is doing her own thing in the Sweet Spot. I've been home most of the day, and it's been pretty quiet.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

The Crazy Cat Lady: Day 4

The girls are continuing to be more confident in their surroundings. This morning, they even had what Mom and I like to call a "toot," which is a brief period of running around, being adorable and playful.

This afternoon, I found them on my bed. Bella was sniffing around, but Duchess, when she saw me, started rolling and flirting. I found this irresistible, so I climbed up there and took a nap. Millie joined us, Bella went back under the bed, and I slept for a couple of hours. Lovely!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

The Crazy Cat Lady: Day 3

All is well on the cat-sitting front. Bella and Duchess spent most of today under the bed, as far as I can tell. I was gone for a while, but they were there when I left this morning, and they were still under the bed when I came home.

It's 10:45, and Bella has ventured out to the living room. She's wandering around, looking curious. A little while ago, she and Duckie were both at the "watering hole" for a snack.

Evidence (litter tracked into the rug) shows that both litterboxes are being used. We have Millie's normal box, and one of B&D's. Three cats? Ya need more than one litter box...

The Days Get Shorter and the Hair Gets Darker

Yes, my friends...fall is here.

I finally got my hair done today--it was desperately needed. I drove to Antioch to see my hairdresser there (a good hairdresser is worth driving for, and Karyn knows how to cut my hair, and she knows how to color, too). I stopped by the former job site and saw a few people. It was nice to catch up with a couple of friends there, and I didn't feel strange, or bad, or nervous.

Free is good.