Saturday, December 24, 2011

Mr. Snippers Yet Again

Just a quick update on Mr. Snippers. He was checked out on Wednesday, December 21st, which was also my birthday. Kind of a great birthday present, being able to get him to the vet like that. Anyway, the vet said he appears to be completely blind. He MAY be able to see a bit of light/dark type thing, but if so, it's not much. They tested him for the usual diseases and he came out negative. YAY!!!

Thursday: Mr. Snippers was neutered and received all his shots. He came through the surgery with flying colors and it was remarked how kinda funny it was to watch a cat that was not only blind but also a bit drunk from the anesthesia. (We're not laughing at you, Mr. Snippers. With you, I promise.) I stopped by to check on him and he loved on me like crazy, seemed none the worse for wear. Everyone talked about how sweet he is.

Friday: Picked Mr. Snippers up around noon as the vet's office was closing at 1pm. Took him to stay (in a large dog crate) with Mr. Christoper at Salon Zen. Someone had been talking about adopting him, but we hadn't heard from her, so Mr. Christopher was planning on taking him home to stay with him for the weekend. Mr. Snippers raised a bit of a bru-ha-ha stuck in the crate, and after some thought, it was decided he should come home with me for the weekend instead. Mr. Christopher has two dogs and we had no idea how they'd react if confronted with a yowling kitty all night, and I've had to set up my bathroom for sick kitties for a week at a time before, so I have a bit of experience. Just before I was getting ready to bring him home, the prospective adopter called, and we decided to meet up today (Saturday - Christmas Eve).

Mr. Snippers was great all night. I sat with him a couple times and he would just lay in my arms and go to sleep, purring so loudly. A part of me was thinking about just saying forget it, he's mine. But, I had decided to see how he'd react with other cats as I also had a woman in Raleigh who was interested in him if the local adopter did not work out, and she has 4 cats of her own plus 7 fosters. When I brought in Google, there was a lot of sniffing, then Mr. Sniffers slunk away hissing. Not too good of a start. made me wonder how he's react with the dogs.

Saturday: The big day. I held Mr. Snippers this morning and explained to him that everything we'd done was for his own good, and maybe he could be on his best behavior when we visited the lady who wanted to adopt him. I told him this could be his new mommylady, and as her dad lives there too, he'd even have a grandpa to spoil him. We just needed to get past the doggie test. He curled up in my arms and went to sleep. Maybe that was a good sign, or maybe I was just boring him.   :-)

D (not gonna use her name since I didn't ask if I could and don't know if she'd want me to) is an artist and has a small studio space next to her house. She thought it would be best to take Mr. Snippers in there first, and bring the dogs in one at a time to see how it goes. First good sign, that she would think about that. Made me feel good. We let him walk around first, get the lay of the land, then she brought in the first dog. (The first two are small poodle mixes, the third is a poodle...not too much bigger than the others.)

All I can say is WOW. Snippers (my husband calls him that saying that he can no longer be called Mister, LOL) walked right up to the dog. They sniffed each other, sniffed each other's butts of course, and kinda walked around in a circle. Then Mr. Snippers (yes, I will continue to call him that Dear) actually loved on the dog, rubbing his head up against him. He even rolled over on his back like he wanted to play. The next two dogs, same thing; although he did end up laying down under a table to get away from the third for a bit as he was VERY energetic.

When we took Mr. Snippers into the house, he walked around, kind of feeling out the area. It was neat watching him walk the perimeter basically, like he was measuring out exactly where the walls were and such. All three dogs....well...dogged him basically, but he never seemed the least bit scared or nervous. At one point, they were surrounding him, with the especially rambunctious one barking like crazy. Mr. Snippers just scooted his way out of the fray and found himself a hiding spot; all calm, just getting away. Not once did he seem upset or scared or nervous.

I really had a good feeling when I was there. D and her dad seem like really great people, and I kinda have the feeling that Mr. Snippers will be hanging out with her dad a lot. He'll want to get away from the dogs some, and he is turning into a bit of a lap cat, which pleases me to no end. He let me hold him so much the past couple days, and it melted my heart. (Oh, I forgot; D is on the board of our local animal rescue. Another good sign?)

Snippers has been given the very best Christmas gift he could ask for. As for me, is was a gift for me as well. One that I really needed. Hopefully, he will settle in quickly and live a very long and happy life with his new family. They know where I am if they ever need me, and D promised to keep in touch and let me know how he's doing. (She's going to email me tomorrow to let me know how he did on his first night even.) She even said I could visit any time I wanted to. She may have just been trying to be polite, but I may have to take her up on that.    :-)

Merry Christmas Everybody!!!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Winter Funnies

So far, Walken in a Winter Wonderland from yesterday is my favorite. But, here are a couple more winter funnies.

(For my literary pun-loving friends.)

(For the pun-loving wrestling fans out there, if you guys remember the first Steve Austin anyway.)  

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Facebook Funnies

And now for some funny stuff that has been shared by my various Facebook friends. Enjoy.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Mr. Snippers Part 2

The appointment has been made. Mr. Snippers will be snipped on Thursday. I am taking him in tomorrow morning so Dr. Stewart can go ahead and do the exam stuff, see how blind he is, make sure he's healthy otherwise. He will stay the night, get "fixed" Thursday, then stay that night as well. I really wish it would be possible to have an inside home ready and waiting for him when I pick him up on Friday, but I guess that's a bit much to ask right now. But, I have the blind rescue organization in St. Pauls on stand-by to post him on their Facebook page, and hopefully we can at least get him into a foster home for the new year.

Thanks to all who donated. I will continue to post updates and more pictures when I get a chance.

YAY Mr. Snippers!!!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Online Scavenger Hunt

(First off, and FYI: With the money I've collected on the Chip-In for Mr. Snippers added to the money that has been given to me personally, we are up to $205. Only $95 more to go and he will be on his way to the vet and hopefully a new forever home. How very cool. If you have no idea what I'm talking about and would like to learn more, check out my last blog entry:

On to new business: I have set up an online scavenger hunt for WNC Woman magazine. It's on their Facebook page ( and we will be giving away two one-year subscriptions. If you already get your copy in the mail or from a local business, you can send the prize to someone who lives out of the area and can't easily get it. What a great Christmas gift.

The page for the hunt is here:, but just in case you're not a Facebook person, and don't really want to be one, I am posting the instructions and questions here. Take a gander and try your luck. It's me.   :-)

Welcome to the first ever WNC Woman Magazine Online Scavenger Hunt. First, directions and the rules…

All answers can be found through our website: Some are actually on the site itself, others can be found by searching online, using links or listings on the site. All 10 questions must be answered correctly for your name to be put into the drawing for a free one-year subscription to WNC Woman. In the event that no one is able to provide all 10 correct answers, we will go to those who answer 9 correctly, etc. (But come on, we know all of you will ace this with no problem.)

When you think you have the answers, send them in an email to with the word “hunt” in the subject line. You don’t have to send the questions, just number the answers and send them along. Also, send them in the body of the email. Do NOT send an attachment. Attachments will not be opened. (We have to be careful with things like that.) This hunt is open to anyone 18 or older who is not employed by WNC Woman magazine. Entries are accepted from anyone, anywhere, but subscriptions can only be sent to US addresses at this time.

All entries must be received by 11:59pm on December 16th. Correct entries will be numbered based on the order they are received. The numbers will then be fed into an online random number generator on December 17th and two winners will be chosen to receive the subscription. Winners will be notified via email and will have 48 hours to respond with their snail mail address (or the address of the person they wish to gift the subscription to). If they do not reply within the 48 hours, another winner will be chosen using the same method. If you wish to gift the subscription, a postcard will be sent announcing your gift to the recipient. Subscriptions will start with the January 2012 issue.

OK, I think that’s all the rule and legal type mumbo jumbo. Now, on to the questions:

1) Artist Susan McBride has done several business logos. In which local business ad is a very large tomato prominently featured?

2) This book is described as “..a heartwarming story about three generations of women who find their way past old hurts and losses to understanding, forgiveness and love.” Name the author and the book. 

3)  What Brevard eatery has a Blueberry Stuffed French Toast offered on their breakfast menu? 

4) Fill in the blanks: “Starting with _________ __________, let’s explore how to uncover it, to acknowledge it, and to use it for the highest good.” **hint; can be found in a VERY early issue of WNC Woman. **  

5) What WNC Woman advertiser has the tag line “Helping Professional Women Break Out of Old Mindsets?” 

6) These two WNC women are working on a play together called “Between the Tackles.” Name them. 

7) On average, women make what percentage of purchasing decisions?

8) This shop in downtown Spruce Pine holds an annual fundraiser on the first Saturday in June to benefit the local animal rescue.

9) This Asheville eatery offers half-price wine every Tuesday as well as a “fabulous Bloody Mary menu.”

10) Fill in the blanks: WNC Woman prints between _________ and _______ copies every month.

Don’t forget; email your answers to with the word “hunt” in the subject line. And good luck everybody.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Mr. Snippers

 This is Mr. Snippers. He is a little fella who has taken up residence at a local beauty salon run by my friend Christopher (Mr. Christopher's Zen Salon). He was very skinny and dirty when he showed up, but is looking much better now. Problem is, he is at least partially blind; not that he lets that slow him down.

 Mr. Snippers loves to lay around in the warm sun, but then what cat doesn't. He is super friendly and just loves to be cuddled and loved.

The shop is right on the road, and we do worry about Mr. Snippers, especially with his sight being what it is.  Christopher can't take him home since he has a small place and already has two dogs. Someone has offered to take him home and let him live in their barn if we get him neutered, but with his eyesight, our goal is to hopefully find him an inside home. There is an organization in St. Pauls, NC (Blind Cat Rescue and Sanctuary), but they are full (84 cats right now) and can't take him. But, they are going to help me find a home through their contacts and Facebook page. They have been very successful in this type of thing, and I'm so glad they have agreed to help out.

Problem is, we need to get him neutered and checked out first. We need to get his shots done, find out just how blind he is and make sure he is negative for all the bad diseases and stuff. I got an estimate from my vet's office (Stewart's Mountain View Animal Hospital) of close to $300 for everything. So, I have set up a fund raising Chip-In.

I don't normally ask for money for anything on this blog, but this is a special case for me. This little guy has totally melted my heart. He has such a great personality and I would so love to get him a good home for Christmas...or at least the new year. (I'd take him myself, but I have 8 cats already....and I'd kinda like to keep my husband.  LOL) So, if you can help in any little way, I would so appreciate it. And if you need to call my vet's office and make sure this is legitimate, they already know to expect the call - (828) 765-7059.

If someone would rather, they can make out a check to Stewart's Mountain View Animal Hospital (SMVAH will work) and send that to me at PO Box 3, Spruce Pine, NC, 28777. I know some people don't like to do things like this over the internet.

Those of you who know me, know it's been a tough couple years for my hubs and me, with him being sick and all. And I'm not going to hide the fact that the past couple of Christmases have been extra tough. We don't really "do" Christmas any more, but then the holiday is not about the presents and such. It would make this Christmas so special if I can actually help this little guy. Maybe that's why I've been brought into this whole situation. Maybe this is just the Christmas "gift" I need.

Anyway, if you can't help money-wise, maybe you can at least pass this info along to friends and family. I would so appreciate it, and I know Mr. Snippers would too.

Thanks so much.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

Tango is waiting patiently for his turkey to come strolling by.


Sunday, November 20, 2011

So Much Anger

Some days it just doesn't pay to get out of bed. And some days you just want to smack somebody upside the head. (Hey, that rhymes.)

Anyway, I've been having a bit of an ongoing argument with a friend of mine on Facebook about the whole campus pepper spraying incident that has been all over the internet. I firmly believe it was uncalled-for and there should be an investigation and repercussions. My friend firmly believes the officer in question was perfectly justified and the protesters are just a bunch of trouble makers. (OK, he didn't use that exact word, but it's pretty much what he said, trust me.) Then of course he implied that I was just jumping on the bandwagon and he's all disappointed in me....blah, blah, blah.

Well, I love how someone who hasn't seen me since 1987 thinks he knows how I operate. But, that's neither here nor there. This really just illustrates how situations like this can boil over, and not just when it comes to the actual incident itself. People have pretty strong opinions about things, and they often go off on a tangent and get lost in all the emotion. Sometimes things come out of no where, and some times things that have been under the surface for a long time finally bubble up.

Another argument I have been in today (again on Facebook) is about a recent meeting (the very first) of the newly formed Mitchell County Gay Straight Alliance. I heard about the meeting about 5 hours before it was to take place, and I immediately knew I wanted to go. I have relatives and friends who are gay/bisexual, and I feel they should have the right to marry whomever they choose. I had already decided I was going to do all I could to help stop the passing of this "marriage amendment" in NC, and here was my chance to really make a difference and meet others who wished to do the same.

Of course there were protesters, but by the time the meeting was over, they had gone. I will say when I got there, right at the start of the meeting, they were all very quiet and polite, which is not really what I expected. I figured that hey, maybe we can all agree to disagree and have some civil discourse. Well then I saw the postings on Facebook. So much for civility.

I think the internet allows a certain amount of anonymity, and that can be a good thing. It's good to be able to have open and free discussions. The problem lies in when people get on there and think they can say anything without any repercussions, especially when they are using their real names. You're not anonymous when you're signed on with your real name.

I for one do try to be civil. And yes, I am signed on with my real name. I decided a long time ago that I needed to start standing up for what I believe in. It's not those who do bad that are the problem, it's those who sit by and do nothing about it. (That's a paraphrase of course, but I don't remember the exact quote or who said it.)

Anyway, that's my slightly incoherent rant for the night. Maybe tomorrow will be a quieter day.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Happy Lake Logan Memories

Back in 2008, I was lucky enough to attend a weekend writers retreat at Lake Logan sponsored by WNC Woman magazine. What a fun time it was, and I still think about it often. I was recently going through some photos on my computer, trying to organize them a bit, and came across some from that weekend. 

The early morning view from the back porch of the cabin I stayed in. 

A shot of me, my friend Alessa (r) and her mom Linda.

 Have no idea what this is, but I like it.

 We met all kinds while we were there.

Lavinia Plonka and Sandi Tomlin-Sutker enjoying some canoe time.

And butterflies; the place was swarming with butterflies.

I met a lot of great women writers that weekend, and Alessa took me on my first ever canoe ride. We had workshops galore and some wonderful food (I even got the lodge's recipe for peanut soup...yummy). We worked, we played, we talked, we laughed. I loved it.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Shirley's Obituary

I know I wrote about Shirley's passing, but I wanted to share her obituary today as well. 

Shirley Styles Phillips
Shirley Styles Phillips, 75, of 389 Orchard Road, Bakersville, North Carolina passed away October 23, 2011 at home after a long illness.  She was a native of Yancey County and the daughter of the late Theodore and Zona Harris Styles.  She was preceded in death by a son, Robert Scott Phillips.
Survivors include her husband Bobby E. Phillips of the home, and her beloved daughter Janet Kenniasty of Columbia, Maryland as well as three sisters, Teddie Styles Hall of Statesville, North Carolina, Erma Styles of Lynchburg, Virginia, and Doris Styles Laughrun of Midlothian, Virginia.
She was valedictorian of her Burnsville High School class, a graduate of Mars Hill College, Meredith College and received a graduate degree from Rollins College, Winter Park, Florida.  She spent 21 years as a teacher in the post secondary schools of Osceola County, Florida.
She and her husband, Bobby, were married in Burnsville June 9, 1956.
She enjoyed active membership in First Baptist Church of Spruce Pine, the Blue Ridge Red Hats, the Mitchell County Extension Homemakers, and the Mayland Writers Club.  She loved painting, writing short stories, and singing.
To remember Shirley, a gift to Hospice Of Mitchell County in Spruce Pine is suggested.
A memorial service will be held at First Baptist Church of Spruce Pine, North Carolina on Saturday, November 5 at 2 pm.  Following the service, the family will receive friends in the fellowship hall until 4:30 pm.
Henline-Hughes Funeral Home of Bakersville is assisting the family with arrangements.

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Loss of a Great Writer/Person

I received an email today letting me know that a member of my writers' group had passed away last night. I was stunned beyond words.

Shirley Phillips had been battling cancer for some time, but every time I saw her, she seemed to be doing so well. She was always smiling, never down. A few months ago she had sent an email letting me know she wouldn't be at the meetings due to health problems. I let her know I was here if she needed me, and asked if all was OK, but she never answered that question. She was like that, at least with me. Private. Not really going on about her health or illness.

When I think of Shirley, I don't immediately think of the cancer she fought. I think of the stories she brought to our group meetings; stories taken from events in her life that never failed to make us laugh. I also think of her artwork, which she exhibited at a local gallery alongside her husband's woodworking pieces. And maybe that's what she wanted people to remember most. Not the cancer, but how she touched our lives with her writing and her art.

I don't know which she liked to do the most, painting or writing. I do know that I always wished I had her dual talent and her seeming perpetual happiness and joy in life. I also know that I am a better person for having known her, and one of my biggest sorrows is that our newest members did not get to meet her or hear her work.

I think I have copies of some of her stories filed away. I am going to look for them and introduce our new members to Shirley at our next meeting. They should get a chance to meet her.

Shirley was 75, and taken away much too soon.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

More 365 Project Pictures

Still keeping my camera with me every day as part of the 365 Project; a picture a day to illustrate a year of my life. I take many more than one a day, and have gotten so many pictures that I really like. I've shared some here before, and here are some more. 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Mountain Thoughts

So, here it is, autumn in the mountains. Love this time of year. The leaves are changing fast, turning those wonderful hues of gold and yellow and orange that make these mountains even more beautiful. Soon the trees will be bare and we will make way for mountain tops covered in the whiteness of frost, ice, and snow. I love it all. Have never gotten tired of living here, and don't think I ever will.

When the hubs and I moved up here in 1993 (arriving on Halloween no less), we only knew one family in town. We came here with a few possessions packed into our car, no jobs, no credit, and no real idea of what we were doing. All we knew was we were coming to the mountains. That was enough.

Now, 18 years later, we have never regretted that decision. Yeah, it's been a tough 18 years. We've been through surprise layoffs, family deaths, illnesses (still dealing with one of those), and more financial worries than I care to mention. But, here we are. Still living in the mountains, still enjoying the beauty of the land around us.

And now we know a few more people, some friends we've known almost from day one. I'm not used to that. I moved around a lot as a kid; over 30 times by the time I graduated high school. I didn't keep friends for long. This is the longest I've ever stay in one place. The longest I've ever been in one house (moved in to our home in 1996). And from the first day, I've felt at home here. Something I never felt anywhere when I was a kid. These mountains are my home, the home I've looked for all my life.

And the best part of all is I get to share this feeling, this home, with my very best friend. Even when times are tough, we've still been able to lean on each other, talk to each other, laugh together. My love for him has never faltered, just grown over time. And I know he feels the same way. I have never in my life completely trusted anyone (not even family) until I met my husband. I trust him fully and completely. We tell each other everything; our dreams, our worries, our past secrets we'd never shared with another living soul.

Living in these mountains with my husband by my side, I have finally come home.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Paying Tribute

I have decided that the best way to pay tribute today, the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks, is to go about my usual business. Yes, I will remember those lost, but living our lives is the best way, in my opinion, to mark this date. Those who took so many lives that day did so with the intent of bringing us down, of taking away our sense of security, of disrupting our normal lives. What better way to keep that from happening than to move on from that point, enjoying each and every day since, giving to our fellow man and just plain LIVING?

We will never forget, and hopefully what happened showed all of us how quickly this life can be taken away. Hopefully we learned to hold each day precious and to let those around us know how much we really care about them.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Oh the Sweetness of Corn

Oh the sweetness of raw corn-on-the-cob. I used to love it boiled to death, or even nuked in the microwave, then covered with butter, a bit o' salt. Then one day, I took a bite of fresh corn, just shucked and not cooked. I was hooked. Good sweet corn does not need to be destroyed with excessive heat. It does not need to be slathered in butter or sprinkled with salt. It just needs to be eaten in its natural oh-so-sweet state.


Friday, July 22, 2011


Headed to the Parkway Playhouse with my friends Judith and Chrissy tonight to see Seussical. Can't wait. Our friend Stephanie is in it as well as our friend Suzan's daughter, Myra. Love all the Playhouse actors. This will be my second musical this year, fourth overall performance, and they impress every time. I'm really enjoying this theatre thing. It's a great way to get your mind off the day-to-day stuff that can often bring you down. And you sure can't beat spending time with friends.

Next up in August is Robin Hood: The Legend of Sherwood.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Notes From The Confusion

What do you tell someone when they ask how you are during a long illness that many people don't believe in in the first place? What do you tell someone when they ask how someone you love who is in that situation is doing? How do you explain something that has no exact known cause and no known cure? Something that causes a myriad of symptoms including depression and lots of pain.

My husband has had several health issues for the past two years. He had his gall bladder out in 2009 and was also diagnosed with hemochromatosis of the liver at that time. (Basically, he has too much iron in his blood.) Then depression hit along with muscle and joint pain over his entire body. A diagnosis of fibromyalgia soon followed. Here we are, two years plus in, and still no end in sight. He regularly sees his GP plus three specialists, with a fourth one soon starting. (I'm making him an appointment with a pain clinic.) He is also starting a second round of physical therapy that we are having to fight tooth and nail to get done, even though he did so much better during the first round.

Don't get me wrong, some things are better. The liver issue has really improved. For three months, he had to have a pint of blood taken every week. Now he's down to every three months. That might even get better, but ever three months is a major improvement.

And the stomach issues he had before and after he had the gall bladder removed have greatly improved. He can pretty much eat what he wants, although I do try to not give him many iron-rich foods for obvious reasons. Most days he even has a decent appetite, although he still has days when he doesn't want to eat anything at all.

The pain is the worst part. He hurts all over most of the time. Trips to the doctor's office two miles away are torturous, and don't get me started on the ones to doctors in Linville or Asheville (23 miles and 52 miles away). He feels every little bump in the road, and those of you who live up here know how these roads are.

Of course there are also medications. Many medications. All you can do is treat the symptoms and each doctor works with their specialty, and they all have their list of meds they start with and work through. So many pills.

Fibromyalgia is a real disorder which causes pain, fatigue, sleeplessness, concentration problems.....etc. The biggest problem is that some people, and even some doctors, don't believe it's real. I wish those people could be in my husband's shoes for just one day. I wish they could feel the way he feels for even one hour. They would change their minds very fast.

Monday, July 18, 2011

A Cheesy Deal

Hello cheese fans. And when I say "cheese fans," I mean those who like/love cheese of all kinds, not those who love cheesy jokes and such. (You know who you are.)

I love cheese. It's one of my favorite food groups, right up there with bacon and chocolate. Any time I make a trip to my local Ingles grocery store, I check out their little gourmet cheese section looking for markdowns. Why markdowns? Have you ever looked at the regular prices of that stuff? Then you shouldn't have to ask.

A few weeks ago, I came across a small block of cheese marked down to .99. It was going out of date the next day, which is of course why it was marked down. How drastic was the markdown? Well, this little block of cheese normally costs $14.99lb. Yep, you read that right. $14.99 for a pound of cheese. Don't know who actually pays that much, but it sure ain't me.   :)

Anyhoo, the cheese I got to try that day was from a German company called Kaseberg, and the cheese is Butterkase. Buttery cheese? Well heck, I knew it had to be good. And for just under a dollar, what have I got to lose?

What indeed? OMG, I was in heaven. This cheese is so creamy and oh-so-freaking-good. And of course, I knew it would be a long time before I could ever get it again. Every trip to Ingles took me over to the gourmet cheese to see if maybe, just maybe, they had more marked down. But alas, it was not to be. Not for weeks and weeks.

Then, there it was. The beautiful image of an orange "Special Today" sticker on several packages of the wonderful cheesy goodness. I immediately rushed over and picked them up, only to find that the "Special" was a markdown to $7.99. There were several days before the sell-by date, and I guess they were trying to get them out of there as fast as they could. But still, $7.99?!?! Not this cheese eater. So I put the packages down, noting the sell-by dated listed. I had a plan.

The day before the sell-by date, I made a trip to Ingles. There were two "Special Today" packages left. Just two. And they were still marked $7.99. I grabbed my booty and approached a deli worker. I explained the situation. The cheeses were going out of date the next day and would not be able to be sold. I had bought some for .99 before and wondered if they might mark these down as well. He took the packages, thought for a moment and proceeded to affix a sticker for .99. I thanked the polite young man profusely and left the store that day a happy camper.

For $1.98 I got two packages of a wonderfully delicious cheese that would normally cost a bit over $11 a piece. Now that is what I call a cheesy great deal. (I did also check the other packages and the next date is mid-August. I will be watching.)

Monday, July 4, 2011

Independence Day

So, today we celebrate our Independence Day. There will be food, fun and fireworks...if your town hasn't had them already the way many have, including mine. That is one of my little frustrations. We should celebrate the holiday ON THE HOLIDAY. But, that's just my opinion, and we know all about opinions, don't we.

Nothing really special going on at the Bell house today. Just another day, although I am going to bake some of my super famous Chocolate Mint Chip cookies and maybe some brownies. Yes, I am baking in the middle of July. Can't help it. I like to bake. And as for it being too hot, well, that's what air conditioners are for.

I would like for everyone to remember something today. We are a great country that has made some mistakes. But in the end, we are all in this together. Our opinions may differ, but that shouldn't matter. Healthy debate is good, compromise is a necessity and name-calling is just plain stupid. Stop it.

Have a great holiday, y'all.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Things to Do

Ah, Tuesday. The week isn't even half over, but at least it's not Monday. Woke up two-and-a-half hours before the alarm was set to go off, and couldn't go back to sleep. Oh well. The morning/early afternoon is filled with a med appointment for the hubs and pet sitting for Jack the Parkway cat, a wonderfully delightful client I must say, then it's back home for.....a nap. Yes, I see a nap in my near future.

Google here has the right idea. But then, he is a cat after all.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Green Bananas

I have a bunch of bananas that just will not get ripe. They sit there, all pretty green,  mocking me. So, I decided to look up recipes using green bananas. Now, I know there are ways to get these things to ripen. For instance, I've read that if I put them in a Ziploc bag with some tomatoes or apples, that will do it. But am I going to do this? No, I'm not. I decided to go the unconventional route of actually using these bananas as they are if possible. Why not? I love to experiment after all.

So, off I went on the great green banana recipe search, and I actually found some interesting sounding dishes. Like Samoan Green Bananas on All Recipes. It contains just 3 ingredients (green bananas, onions and coconut milk), which sounds a bit like an odd combination, but I'm willing to try it. Why not?

Also on All Recipes, I found a recipe for Green Banana Fries. What an idea, to cut green bananas into strips and fry like French Fries. Another interesting sounding one to try.

Then on the site, I found recipes for Green Banana Chips (just like fries only cut into slices), Green Banana Salad, Green Banana Pie and various others that sound equally good....or at least interesting, depending on your tastes.

There are other recipes out there. Just glancing down the search results page shows Green Banana Curry (not too sure about that one), Boiled Green Bananas (sounds kinda dull) and even a Green Banana Smoothie (um, maybe). I've even seen a recipe or Mackerel with Green Bananas (probably NOT).

I'm sure if I keep looking, I'll find a green banana recipe that uses some form of chocolate. Now that one I would definitely try.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

365 Project

I've been working on something called the 365 Project. The idea is to take a picture every day for a year to show what you were up do basically. It can be a picture of anything that you happen to see and want to take a picture of. I post the pictures on my Facebook page, and thought it would be nice to share some here with y'all.

This was taken on February 14th. I was driving down the road and when I saw this vertical cloud and how it was casting a shadow on the clouds behind it, I had to stop and take a photo. It looked so cool.

The camera was sitting on top of the truck for this one, which is why it's a bit crooked. This is me with Jack, one of my pet sitting clients. I've been visiting him twice a week since last September while his owner is in Ireland. The owner will be coming back soon, and I'm really going to miss my visits with Jack. He's such a good boy. (Although, you can tell from the picture he is not much for being held, especially when he's outside.)

I just like this one...the bright yellow against the old gray house. Would love to know the story behind that house. Maybe I should just make one up.

I almost always have my camera with me and take several pictures most days, not just the one for this project. The problem is deciding which one to use for this.

Today is day 103.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Going Nuts?

Sometimes I wonder if I'm just plain losing my mind. Today is one of those times.

Last year, I lost one of my little kitties, Yahoo. I swear I remember posting about that. I remember putting up his picture and talking about the loss, etc. I even remember people commenting on that posting. Now, when I look back to March of 2010 in the archives, that post is no longer there. Other posts seem to have disappeared as well.

I find this fact rather disturbing. Could it be my mind is merely making this stuff up, that it never actually happened? Or is Blogger for some reason taking down certain posts? Odd either way.

I have to wonder, have any of you had this experience? Or is it just me? If it's just me, I will simply file it away as one of those odd quirks of the human mind and let it go at that. If it's not "just me," although I'll still be angry about my posts having disappeared, at least I'll know I haven't totally gone off my rocker....


Sunday, March 13, 2011

Good News

Cat Island was spared. I am happy beyond words. They had a good bit of damage of course, and are in desperate need of supplies for both humans and felines, but the island itself was not submerged as originally feared.

Please continue to keep those affected by this disaster in your thoughts.

Saturday, March 12, 2011


Today I am feeling especially sad. The earthquake and tsunami in Japan weighs heavily on my mind, but maybe not for the same reason it weighs on the minds of so many others. Yes, I am saddened by the loss of human life, a total number of which we are no where near knowing yet, but I read about a tiny island there yesterday that has my heart breaking.

Tashirojima, or Cat Island as it is also called, is just off the coast of Japan. From what I've read, it is in one of the most vulnerable spots when it comes to the tsunami that rolled in after the devastating earthquake. Many fear it has been totally submerged.

This island is home to around 100 people (83% of them elderly) and a cat population that tops even that. The cats are fed and taken care of by the island inhabitants as it is believed feeding cats brings wealth and good fortune.

My thoughts are with those living on this island, and with the many cats. I keep searching the internet, hoping to find a report that says this place has been miraculously spared, but I'm not getting my hopes up. As heartbreaking as it is, I have to be realistic as well.

My husband calls me the Crazy Cat Lady, and I adore my cats. I know the fear we as humans go through when something horrible is happening, and I can't imagine the fear the animals feel, especially since they have no way of knowing what's going on in the first place.

My thoughts are with everyone in Japan, but especially with the animal citizens. The Rainbow Bridge is very busy today.

(To donate and help the animals affected by this tragedy, go to The American Humane Association. Our furry friends thank you.)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Odd Habits

I wonder how many of my friends have odd and quirky habits. I don't know what brought this thought to mind. Oh wait, yes I do. I was making a glass of chocolate milk earlier this week, and drinking it in my odd and quirky way. Ever since I was a kid, I have had a habit of drinking my chocolate milk with a spoon, like a soup. I don't know why. It's just something I do.

Another thing I like to do is when I use a straw, I blow bubbles in my milk. I used to get fussed at for that one, but I'm an adult now so I can pretty much do what I want. Odd thing is, I never really got in the habit of doing that with chocolate milk. Only plain milk. Weird.

And if I'm eating cookies with my milk, I hold the cookies in the milk until they are nice and soggy. None of that just simply dunking them in real quick. Heck no. When I was a kid, my brother Dennis got mad because he was the one doing dishes and I had dunked my cookie in my milk glass until it got too soggy and part of it broke off into the glass, sitting there in the bottom like a big old clump of mud. He fussed about it, then had to wash it anyway. Poor kid.

My odd and quirky habits don't stop at milk. I also have this odd habit of looking for even numbers in things. If a license plate on the car in front of me doesn't have an even number of letters/numbers on it, I will count the number of lines it takes to make the ones it does have, looking for that even number. I do the same thing with signs, often adding in the signpost if I have to in order to make the number even. If I'm slicing a piece of cheese off a block, I will get two small pieces instead of one larger one so I'll have an even number. If I'm eating M&M's, I like to get a bunch and organize them by color with an even number in each group. (And no, I'm not organized at all where it really matters. I can't find a thing in my purse or in my house for that matter.)

I'm sure I have other odd habits. Could probably ask my husband and get a nice long list of them. But those are the ones that stick out right now. I'm sure more will come to mind as soon as I post this. That's what usually happens.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Just Some Random Thoughts

1) I am an avid Facebooker. Can't help it. I love that little social networking sight. It has helped me get back in touch with people I went to high school with, whether I wanted to or not. It has also brought me a group of friends I would never have known otherwise, and yes, my life is that much richer for it. Sure, I won't ever meet many of them, but I know I will eventually meet a least a few. And who says you have to meet face-to-face anyway? We share jokes, life stories (happy and sad), advice. We do all the things friends do in the "real" world. We may live hundreds or even thousands of miles apart, but we have found each other through the "miracle" that is the internet and we are all so very glad we did.

2) The Super Bowl is coming up next weekend. I'm not the biggest football fan in the world, and what I know about the game could probably be written on a matchbook, but I do have many (MANY) friends who are avid fans, and most of them seem to be Steelers fans. So, since my Minnesota Vikings couldn't be bothered to actually do much of anything but lose this season, I have decided that for this very huge game, I will do my Steelers friends a favor and pull for their team. I apologize to any of my friends who are Packers fans, but they outnumber you and more of them live near me. (Not to mention that two of them are also pet sitting clients, so I really don't have much choice. HA.)

3) I think my cats enjoy driving me crazy. I know Muffin does for sure. She disappears every once in a great while. Not often, mind you. If it was more often, I probably wouldn't worry when it happens. Every couple of months or so, she doesn't show up for breakfast, today being one such day. Sometimes, I can go over to my neighbor's house and find her "trapped" in his basement. When he's down there working with the door open, she can't resist going in. She spent two full days in there one time, me panicking all the while. Now it's usually the first place I look, and sometimes she's there. Today isn't one of those times. I know she'll show up later on, staring in the window to let me know she's home, giving me that 'look' that cats give when they think you're crazy and they're the only sane ones here. As if they don't know that they're the ones driving us crazy in the first place.

4) I just realized that I am sitting here putting my random thoughts into a list format. My friend Angie would be so proud.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Katharine Hepburn

I adore Katharine Hepburn. I think I always have. Can't remember a time when I didn't know who she was, and boy what a woman she was. She jumped into Hollywood with a look that was at the time considered unusual...certainly not conventionally beautiful. She had a confidence that was usually reserved for men, definitely not women. She wore pants more than skirts, was very athletic and was never afraid to speak her mind. What a great role model for women then and still today.

I own a copy of the book "Kate Remembered" by A. Scott Berg. It is one of the few books I've read more than once. Although I wish there was a little more of her in it, and a little less of him, I can still read passages and hear her voice in my head. I can picture the look on her face when she fusses at the author for something silly or brushes off a comment about her legend. And a legend she was.

I recently picked up two other books about Hepburn from the local library, and I have to say, the one I am looking forward to reading the most was written by the lady herself, "Me: Stories of My Life." It was written in 1991 and is so full of wonderful pictures. I was just sitting here looking through the photographs and as I flipped to the end, I found a section where she wrote a letter to Spencer Tracy. Yes, I went ahead  and read it, and yes I will read it again when I read the book. And yes, it will probably again bring tears to my eyes.

(My favorite picture of Tracy and Hepburn.)

Tracy and Hepburn had a relationship that you would think in that day and age would have been a big scandal, what with him being married with children and moving in with her where he remained until his death. Maybe it's a testament to how much everyone respected them that it wasn't. Or maybe it says a lot about what good people they really were. Even Tracy's wife knew about it (of course) and was called by Hepburn when he died. All I know is, there was something about those two when they were on the screen together. (My husband and I love the movie "Desk Set" and the way they played off each other in that one. Pure joy to watch.)

I have to say that my absolute favorite Tracy-Hepburn movie is "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner." They were so good in this one. All those years together really showed, and it's even  more poignant when you realize that Tracy was ill at the time and would not even live to see the finished movie released in the theater. Sidney Poitier was terrific as always and really seemed to have a genuine respect for the couple. Katharine Houghton, who played the daughter and is Katharine Hepburn's niece, also radiated a type of love for them both. A great movie and a fitting way to say goodbye to a man Hepburn often said was "the greatest movie actor."

Katharine Hepburn died in 2003 at the age of 96, and the world is a better place for having known her.