Friday, November 6, 2015

I Guess I'm Made of More Star Stuff Than You

Coldwater Creek.

Not the clothing line but the cancer cluster.

Coldwater Creek.

Look closely at the map, you can see my childhood home in Ferguson, Mo.  My mom's cousin used to live in Florissant, until she died of brain cancer last year.  She had nerve trouble with her hands for years.  At one point they thought she had Parkinson's or Lou Gehrig's Disease, but docs could never figure it out.  Gosh docs, she just was contaminated by nuclear radiation from the atomic age.  Looking up her house, the creek was at the end of her street.  Her kids grew up there and have kids of their own.  I don't think they know. 

This explains my melanoma (at least I caught that one early), my constant lower back pain (a lot of people have malformed spines and have to get their spines fused, I'm not there yet), my IBS (many have Crohn's or just flat out cancer).  MS, ADHD, every rare cancer you can think of, cysts, tumors, birth defects, miscarriages, infertility, RA, and it's not just us or our parents, it's our kids too.  I'm sure it'll be their kids as well and their kids and their kids. 

I'm pretty shocked right now.  Just...pretty shocked. 

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Kitten Calendar Now Available!

It's that time of year and you need a calendar.  Makes a great stocking stuffer!  Perfect for all your holiday gifts!  Best Christmas gift on the whole internet!  


click here to purchase
 

Saturday, October 24, 2015

10 Amazing Crazy Cat Lady Gifts

I broke Spouse's cup a couple of weeks ago.  It was THIS cup.  I got that for him and a friend of ours last Xmas so guess what he's getting again this Xmas?  I pulled the cutting board out of the drying rack and just watched it in slow motion slide out over the rim and smash on the floor.  And he was devastated because he loved that catffeinated mug!
So that's my first recommendation.  This mug is awesome and according to their site,
"Every Purchase Funds Food and Care for Rescued Animals."


Buy it here



I also noticed they have clothing.  I love these 2 shirts!

Buy it here


Buy it here

Buy one of those, help an animal too!

Buy it here


Buy it here
Then on Amazon, I pointed out some shoes to my other crazy cat lady friends!




 
 
Yeah.  Vans with Cats on them!
"Join Vans in supporting our furry brothers and sisters with this special edition Authentic featuring all-over cat print
Get 'em right meow! Collaboration with the ASPCA."




With Christmas coming, I thought I should share my internet finds with someone maybe looking for the perfect gift for those of us who love cats, or rescue feral cats, or vet techs, veterinarians, crazy cat ladies, pet owners, or maybe you want to get yourself a little something?

Monday, October 19, 2015

2-Headed Gingerbread Man

Got the cookie cutter when we visited the Mutter Museum.  


The Best Advice for Cooking

I've been wanting to get this out there for a few weeks now because it's one of those things nagging me with, "If I only knew about this YEARS ago!"

I'm old.

I've seen fads come and go.  Use butter.  Don't use any oils.  Use vegetable oils.  Don't use vegetable oils.  Use butter.  My conclusion in regards to cooking and eating is--if it tastes good, eat that but don't be a gourmand.  Can you stand steamed vegs?  I can't.  For 30 years, I flat out never cooked a vegetable, never ate them if I could help it.  Disgusting!  Sure, I read about blanching, but isn't that an ugly picture.  You want to eat something blanched?  And it's common knowledge that you never boil a vegetable because that cooks out all the vitamins.

But it's better than not eating vegs at all, isn't it.

Besides, blanching isn't boiling vegs to mush.  Matter of fact, it really makes the colors of the vegs pop!  So blanch your vegs, they become delicious and you will WANT to eat them.  You want to know more?  Buy Julia Child's book.

I don't even know if I would have listened and read that cookbook back when I had my first apartment at 18.  Maybe.  But it would sure make a great wedding gift along with my most favorite tool in the kitchen.  It's not my Cuisinart nor my Kitchenaid (with all the attachments), both powerhouses that I can't live without and use several times a week.

You know what my most useful kitchen tool is?  My Dutch Oven.  Why?  You can buy the cheapest cut of meats, and who can afford the price of food these days?  Sheesh!  Small dried out steaks for as much as I pay at a restaurant.  Chicken breasts worth their weight in gold.  Nope, I can buy those big cheap dark meat chicken thighs that no one wants.  I heat butter in the Dutch Oven and sear the chicken, then I add tomatoes and vegs and a little wine or even water, put that heavy lid on (it seals all the steam inside) and pop it right in the oven to cook.  It's big enough that I can make a lot to freeze for later.  Back when we had teenagers in the house, it was big enough to feed a family.  There isn't any meat too tough or too stringy for a Dutch Oven.  It will save you money every week.

My second go-to tools of the kitchen?  My cast-iron frying pans.  I threw away all my non-stick frying pans after I got these.  Why?
  • My cast-iron pans are better at non-stick than my non-stick pans.  Fried eggs do not stick to a properly seasoned cast iron pan.  What happens when you fry eggs in a non-stick pan?  It makes a glued on mess, is what happens.  You have to soak the pan for days.  Then ever so carefully scrub it lightly.  Which leads me to my next point.
  • Cleaning cast-iron is a snap.  On it's worst day, I fill it with water and let it sit a few minutes, then I can use a metal SOS pad to scrub the holy hell out of it (it's never really needed that much of a scrubbing though).  It won't scratch.  Better yet, if you can find an old one somewhere, filled with years of build up, you can even clean it by throwing it in your self-cleaning oven.  That's my next point.
  • Cast-iron lasts forever.  You buy a pan when you're young, you're done.  Never have to worry about the heat of use rounding the bottom of your pans so they eventually cook unevenly.  It is what it is forever.  Hand then down to your kids.  Your grandkids.  Your great grandkids. 
  • Don't be afraid of seasoning.  It's dead easy.  You use your pan.  You can either wipe it out with a paper towel or rinse it or, if you want, use soap and water and scrub down to the metal.  I rarely use soap.  Afterward, most especially if you've used soap on it, wipe it down with oil.  Vegetable oil is crap and makes it sticky.  Coconut oil or bacon grease are splendid!  At that point, you can be done OR you can heat it on low heat and melt the oil or whatever makes you feel good or you can put it in your oven and the next time you preheat it, the pan will heat up too.  Take it out before you put in whatever you were going to bake.  You barely need any oil.  You don't need to get a 2 inch thick coating of build up on your pan.  It's just not that difficult.  Honestly, I usually have a frying pan on the stove top everyday, all day because I cook.  



Speaking of stove tops, my stove is dying.  Guess what the new stoves are now?  Induction ranges.  You can only use magnetic pans on these stove tops.  There ya go!  Cast iron and Dutch Ovens are perfect.



Regardless of the stove, 1 more thing I would suggest is a solid steel saucepan, not a non-stick saucepan.  How else are you going to make Hollandaise Sauce for your vegs?  A saucepan you can whisk in while heating is imperative!  So many things are made this way.  Lemon curd for your scones, for instance.  

So if you need a smart gift for a wedding shower, a baby shower, or a gift for a Millennial with their own kitchen, I would get them a good sized Dutch Oven or cast-iron pans AND Julia Child's cookbook.  These are thoughtful, meaningful gifts that will last a lifetime. 

If anyone has any questions about how to use these pans or needs ideas about how to get started cooking with them, go ahead and ask me.  I've been using these kitchen time-savers for years.  Too bad I didn't start when I was 20 something! 

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Visions of Sugar Plums...

For about 2 years, I've been trying to work a recipe I made up, trying to guess ratios and ingredients.  I was thinking it could take the place of a sugar treat, I could do this as a snack or dessert. It wouldn't be low calorie but it would be healthier for me (sugar and chocolate, sadly, make me swell up, triggers my IBS).

So I was thinking of grinding up nuts, (I have a lot of almonds) with raisins and maybe some orange blossom honey (my favorite honey flavor) in the Cuisinart.  Would it hold together?  Would I need eggs and have bake them to make them hold together?

After 2 years of not wanting to waste ingredients, I decided to look online by ingredients.  Someone must have thought of this already, right?

Sigh.

Yeah.  They're called sugarplums.  Ever heard of those before?  Yeah.  Sugarplums.

almonds and raisins
 So basically, I've had freakin' visions of sugarplums dancing in my head for 2 years.  Seriously.


Recipe 2


So basically it's:
1 cups of nuts (half a cup of walnuts, half a cup of pecans or 1 cup of almonds)
2 cups dried fruit.  Break it up any way you want. All raisins?  Half dates and half coconut?  Apricots?  Whatever.
3 tablespoons honey
pinch of cardamom
pinch of allspice
1/4 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp Grand Marnier (or use brandy and add grated orange peel to the mix or just go with brandy.  Or rum.  Whatever) to stick it all together into a ball.  

I did add candied ginger to the first batch (because I had some that I made a while ago) but I can't taste it at all so I didn't bother in the second.  Besides, candied ginger means cooked in a sugar syrup until dried, so no great loss.   

pecan, walnut, coconut, and dates

These are better than I anticipated!  So delicious!  So easy!  I can make these all the time, all year, not just for Christmas.  These are very rich so you don't have to eat a lot to be satiated.   

I didn't roll these in anything but I could use shredded coconut maybe roll them lightly in dark chocolate powder. I think sugar would ruin the whole thing for me.  Sure, they would look sparkly but they would also not be healthy for me and the whole point was for me to have a snack.  You could roll yours in colored sugars if you want a more festive look.


Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Kitten Update

Kittens!  Oy vey!  Where did I leave off? 

You know about Buttons and the 3 tinies, right?  Now we have Button's sister because the foster family was flighty and she wasn't getting socialized or growing like her brother.  Well, the littles are typical tiny kittens taken from their momma too early (she was hit by a car).  We had the diarrhea and the puking so they had fluids and antibiotics and got better.  But wait, Pixel started puking again.  We upped her dosage of antibiotics but now she's limping.  Calici virus.  Sigh.  She's back on Cerenia to stop the puking.  Spouse is learning to give her shots so the vet tech doesn't have to make house calls every day.  His choice, she never complained.  I can't bear to do it.  What if the needle goes right thru the skin and comes out the other side?  What if the needle breaks off inside her flesh? What if all the air comes out of her and she flies around the room deflating!  I can't do it! 

Kukido now has a runny eye and that shit spreads because it's a herpes virus.  So all the kittens are getting lysine in their food because she won't eat the lysine treats.  Plus she's getting eye drops. 

I changed Saffron to Buttercup because she's such a fuzzy princess.  And she's fine!  So far.  Oh kittens and their delicate underdeveloped immune systems!

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Oh Buttons

So Buttons almost got adopted today but went nuts, hissing, growling, biting and the family who wanted him took a pass at Mr Feral Pants.

But he's not feral here!  I swear!

 We have people over, our fosters get held by strangers, they are exposed to noises and toys and other cats but every single time they go to the cages to get adopted they flip out!  

Any idea how to fix this because I got no clue.

Friday, August 7, 2015

We have KITTENS!


Long story, but we have a 9 week old fella who was feral (that's why he was separated from his first foster family and feral mom, he wasn't getting socialized) but he's a lap kitten now and while we had him on display for adoption, someone brought in some little 4-weekers who's feral momma got hit by a car and they asked us to take them too.  Sure.  Why not?

So yesterday, geeeeeeeeeze, saw a worm coming out of the older kitten.  Not uncommon.  It happens.  They're all little street urchins, after all.  We worm them but there are so many different worms to treat.  He already had coccidia and we treated for that so tapeworms, big deal, right?  Nope.  Oh man, started with a tissue to wipe it off but it was still inside so it had to be pulled out...and pulled out and jesus jumpin' christ on a pogo stick--it just kept coming and coming!  2 feet came out of a little kitten!  Ok, so that's a tapeworm from eating lizards, not fleas.  He'll get meds tonight.

After the 3 babies come back from the vet. 

Yeah, I noticed yesterday that they were eating but looked wrong.  Weighed them and they had all lost an ounce.  Yeah, diarrhea.  And then vomiting last night and then no eating at all.  I made kitten glop and we force-fed all night until they could get to the vet this morning.  Been down this road before.  Antibiotics, fluids, meds to stop both ends from spewing and they'll most likely get better. 


Kittens are so fragile and go downhill quick.  Unless it's something dire, I'm sure they'll be fine after treatment.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Finally Sold the House!

9 years of that shit!  Finally sold!  Let the hurricanes come and blow the roof off, let the old heavy trees fall onto it, I don't care.  No more tenants and their shenanigans.  No more constant damage.  No more debt!  Could never make the mortgage payment from the rent, the house just wasn't worth shit but the bank insisted we pay $1300 a month.  Rent could only be 1050.  That house was a freakin' albatross around my neck, I tell you.  SOLD!  I thought they were going to flip the house but it's back up for rent--at $1600.  Yeah, good luck with that.  You'll never get that much.  Enjoy your albatross! 

Want to see something cool?  Come follow me down the internet wormhole...


Did your stomach just lurch in fear?  Yes, that the demon we've been cautioned against our whole lives, right there.  That's the shit that can kill you.  Unseen, unfelt, unheard.  Radiation.  Oh speaking of, I have to get to my dermatologist.  My skin cancer has come back.  If she makes me wait until October, I'm going to have to find a new doc. 

So why does it glow blue?  Hey man, that's Cherenkov Radiation.  Know what else?

"The classic blue glow that is usually given off by Godzilla's spines before he fires his Atomic Breath, and the normally-blue colour of the beam itself, can also be attributed to Cherenkov radiation."

And because you know you want to touch the dragon--nuclear diving

Wednesday, May 20, 2015


Soooo.  Yeah.  The drought is back.  Who remembers back in the day when Florida was considered sub-tropical?  Yeah.  That's been over for a few decades now.  We actually have forest fires.  Pretty regularly.


Wednesday, April 29, 2015

It's True

http://notesfromadogwalker.com/2013/09/07/self-care-is-not-optional-how-burnout-ended-my-career-at-the-shelter/

I worry about my shelter friends. 

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Sears Watch Repair Sucks

I bought a watch 4 years ago.  Last week I noticed condensation inside.

Uh oh.

I took it to Sears in Altamonte to get a replacement gasket, get the workings cleaned and oiled.  The watch repairman refused.  He said it's NOT waterproof.  Only a $2000.00 Rolex or a professional diving watch in actually waterproof and that you're not suppose to shower with a water resistant watch on.

Bull.  I've been showering with water resistant watches since 1987 AND I've been scuba diving with them too. 

I guess he didn't feel like working. 


I'll try a closer watch repairman who actually wants to do his job. 

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Kittens Are Adopted!

Someone adopted them both together!

Also, someone brought back Catterina (momma cat) and she was adopted in less than an hour! 

Aw...it's good to have peace and quiet plus I'm about to have a houseful of guests going in and out so I can't be watching for goofy kittens to not shoot out the door.  I'll also need all 5 bathrooms clean and kitten-free but I miss them!  They were utterly manic this morning doing back-flip tackles over each other and mad dashes thru the house.

My Calia is sick.  Too much pollen, her whole face was swollen, sore throat, drooling, runny eyes.  She's on antibiotics, anti-inflammatory drops, and benadryl.  Barely barely barely better.  At least she's eating.  I've been putting lysine in her food because there's something with her eye.  Vet said it could also just be herpes and upper respiratory or just herpes or just allergies.  Cats, man. 

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

"It's Just Skin Cancer!"

Yesterday, had a precancerous lesion frozen off--didn't hurt.  Still doesn't hurt.  And I probably have a basil, also on my face, that she wants to cut off, I'm in between insurance though so it'll have to wait.

It's ok.  Out of all the skin cancers, basil is the, "best," one to have.  It's also the only one I haven't had yet.  Yup.  I had a melanoma cut out of me 2 years ago.  Technically, I'm in remission for 3 more years before I'm considered cured.  Fingers crossed!  As cancers go (not just skin cancer, but all cancer) melanoma is the, "worse," one to get.  Chemo doesn't work.  Once it spreads, well, you're dead.  And that's what it does best, it spreads.  

So far, I've had a precancerous lesion cut out and, sadly, it was the squamous cancer on my nose that took me to the dermatologist.  I'm sure I wouldn't have even bothered going to a doc if the red mark wasn't on my face.  If it was on my arm or leg, wouldn't have bothered me.   I just happened to mention the slightly darker freckle on my leg.  Yup, a tiny spot, a small freckle.  Now it's a 2 inch scar.  They dig wide and deep to make sure, but they don't always get it and that's the problem.  Because I thought it was nothing, I don't have a pic.  The only advice I can give is beware of things on your skin that are chocolate color.  Doesn't matter what size.  This wasn't even a mole, just thought it was a freckle and freckles and moles change normally.  They get bigger, they change color, so what, right?

The squamous looked like I scratched myself in my sleep.  It wasn't exactly a scab, just one of those shallow scratches.  Except it wasn't a scratch and after a month, it wasn't getting any better no matter how much cocoa butter I kept putting on it to heal.  


By the way, that's an old wive's tale.  No, cocoa butter, coconut oil, olive oil, none of that prevents skin cancer.  I've read it all over the internet.  Be advised that I've never used lotion, always cocoa butter or coconut oil.  Since...forever.  

And keep in mind, skin cancer is on the rise.  Used to be only old farmers in their 70s got cancer and melanoma was pretty rare.  Now kids are getting it and dying.

I must have been quite the sunbather, huh?  Hours in the tanning bed?  Nope.  True, I did use a tanning bed when they first came out.  I was hoping for the miracle of an actual tan!  But I don't tan, I just get a little pinker.  And, in the end, I was in college and I was poor.  I didn't go long enough to cause cancer.  But, I didn't get massive sunburns either.  Just once in a while, like everyone else. So don't ask me what's changed that so many people are now getting skin cancer.  All I can suggest is use sunscreen.  Neutrogena isn't greasy.  I bought a big Scarlet O'Hara sun hat last time I was in New Orleans and it's delightful in the spring and fall but in the summer, it's soooooo hot.  This xmas, I got a parasol so let's see how that works.  Hey, did you know, "para," means stop.  "Sol," means sun.  Get it?  Stop sun! 

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Felines

One of mine, my Ceilidh


 Spotted kitten belly!
Miss Kisses will one day get her surgery then get adopted before she's grown.  The org won't take her because they're booked until, "sometime in March."  Of course, that was the story a couple of weeks ago.  Might very well be April now.

Friday, February 13, 2015

The Truth vs. The News

Now, I tell people, "avoid news cameras.  Don't EVER to an interview.  Reporters get paid to twist the truth.  If it bleeds, it leads."

So here's the truth.

Fact 1 when we moved here, there were maaaaaybe 1 or 2 feral cats.  Didn't see them very often.  When we first moved here, we actually spoke to our neighbors.  Yeah, they were more than glad to tell us that when they saw stray cats, they shot them and threw the kittens to their dogs to murder.  Yup, moooooore than happy.  No qualms whatsoever.  No shame.  Not a fuck was given.  Had to go out and bury a feral left dead on our road by the neighbors.  They ran it over, killed it, and just left it there.  Probably so they could run it over a few more times during the week.  Yee haw.

And then, in the fullness of times, we saw the occasional kitten.  But only once or twice and usually never again.  

Neighbors, right?

But over the years, the numbers have been growing.  Not tons of ferals but at least 3 or 4 and seeing them regularly. Every once in a while we'll see a brand new feral but then never see it again.  I think they're just passing thru or not making it far from our yard.  

Neighbors again. 

Fact 2 we've been fostering for over a year now with the same organization.  We're friends with one of the workers.  She comes over for coffee, just to come over.  Kitten needs something?  She comes over and fixes it.  Revolution for street urchins with fleas and ear mites?  She comes right over.  Spouse has gone out with her to trap ferals around town.  She is the TNR goddess and we've talked about trying to trap the local ferals but never really got around to it.  It would be easier if we fed them but no way do I want them thinking humans are safe.  I don't feed them or encourage them in any way.  When I do see them, I stomp the ground and tell them to shoo.  Running from humans is safer for them.

Fact 3 we saw a feral in the front yard limping badly.  Back leg stiff and no weight being put on it.  Yeah, it's time to start TNR our local ferals.

Fact 4 we caught 4 total, 3 girls and 1 boy.  The 2 we kept seeing were actually 4 because there are 2 sets that look exactly alike!  Never caught Gimpy.  Never even saw Gimpy again.  Figured he/she couldn't get away in time and was dead somewhere.  All the cats we caught were young, probably about to start getting pregnant.  They had to have IV fluids during surgery because they were all small, underfed, and dehydrated.  As in, their mommas probably didn't live long enough to teach them anything and no one feeds them or looks after them whatsoever.

 "I fell for the old gushy food trick!"

"Oh put an arm in here.  Try to pet me.  I dare you!"

Fact 5 teenage girl and her friend came to my door.  Wanting to borrow the cage.  Hey, it's not my cage.  You can rent one from the local rescue group or you can go to Petsmart and buy yourself one.  She wanted to catch the, "cat with the broken leg."  Ah!  Gimpy was still alive!  I asked if they were back there by their house and they said no, up in the front end of the street.  Ok, I'll try to catch them again but no guarantees.  Ol' Gimpy must be pretty smart to not get caught all this time by me or anyone else.  Good for Gimpy!  I went out at dusk, best cat time according to my local expert, and set up the trap.  Same time, they drove by and said they caught Gimpy and another one and did I know of a no-kill shelter.  I told them to call Spay-n-Save in Longwood.  I thanked them.  Checked the cage later that night.  Didn't even catch Alcatraz, the little girl we've already caught and spayed and released.  She just keeps getting caught.  Either she's really dumb (falls for it every single time) or really smart (free gushy food!).   

Fact 6 Friend at SnS texted me a few days later (Yay!  They took the cats in to be fixed!).  They weigh less than 3 pounds and they're full of BBs.  Yup, someone's been shooting at them.  And friend wants to know how do you shoot a kitten multiple times?  Were they holding it down so it couldn't get away?  Were they cornered somewhere?  Was it a bunch of kids shooting the poor kittens?
Well, I can tell you how many teenage boys live at the end of my street who have fathers who like to toss live kittens to their dawgs to tear apart.

Those are the facts.  Now here's the news.

"neighborhood icon?"
"part of the community?"
 "helps trap the many neighborhood cats to spay or neuter them and releases them?"   

LOL, what?  You want to know how many cats are walking around with a clipped ear?  The 4 that we TNRed and that's it.  These guys don't live in MY neighborhood, that's a fact and wherever they are, I hope they really are TNRing, but it's sure not here.  And I didn't notice anyone jumping up to help pay for the 4 cats to be fixed either.  We paid for those ourselves.  Honestly, that was another reason we weren't out there catching feral cats around here.  Every one we catch will cost us money. SnS will do it for cheap but they don't do it for free.  Yes, I AM pissed that I have to pay the consequences of some asshole who dumped their unaltered cat once upon a time that had kittens who had kittens who had kittens and now we have too many feral cats running around.  I don't think I SHOULD have to pay for their mess but in real life, this is what has to be done.  Just one more reason to hate assholes. 

Kudos to the news for the publicity for SnS, that was decent of them.  Too bad they didn't come during business hours and show the kittens, maybe it would get them adopted.  I hear that the 2 little kitten girls are a little hissy but could be tamed pretty easily.  It would also have been nice if the reporter didn't take it into his head to change Phyllis's words.  She didn't ask for, "prayers," for the kittens, you dork, she asked for DONATIONS!  What the hell good are praaaaayers going to do?  Can you feed ferals with prayers?  Keep the lights on with prayers?  Pay the doc who does 100 surgeries a day, every day, with prayers?  Hell, people and businesses are constantly begging the the vet techs and volunteers to come catch ferals.  They are using their personal time, they aren't getting paid.  And who pays for these feral surgeries?  SnS will do it on donations.  On top of that, our friend collects bags of cans.  Soda cans, beer cans, cat food cans.  Any metal you can give her, she'll take.  Once she fills up her jeep, she drives across town to the recycling plant and sells it all for cash that pays for feral surgeries.  She's not on her knees praying someone else helps the kitties, I guarantee it. 




















kitten physics



Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Brewing the Perfect Cup of Tea?

Why, I've come to a surprising realization about modern trendy tea!  



You might have noticed how popular tea is lately.  Tea online, tea in the mall, tea is the new coffee, back when coffee was en vogue.  But I'm an old school herbalist.  When I say herbal tea, I'm thinking you get some hibiscus leaves or rose hips for zing (remember Red Zinger, back when it was good?) and flowers for color, maybe some dried lemon rind, or a hint of peppermint. Herbal tea was made from herbs.  Tea had tea leaves in it.

So I've been ordering tea online because where do you get good Earl Grey?  Well not around here, that's for sure.  But I noticed that some of my teas are...kinda fake tasting.  Specifically the Hazelnut vanilla.  But, silly me, I thought maybe they're using that fake vanilla flavoring?  Right?  Tea, right?

Now there's a tea place in the mall and I bought some and I've discovered...well, they're in lovely shades like fuchsia and the flavors are wonderful, but this is all fake!  I've got a couple that don't even actually have leaves of any kind in it!  It's like...like...bits of bark soaked in colorants and flavoroids!  And it's even sweetened! 

The modern tea is really just Kool-Aid for adults.  It's not tea.  The tea part is there to con you into feeling snooty and giving them the excuse to be charging exclusive prices because only exclusive people drink tea.  Pinky out!  It's not tea!  It's not tea!

You should have seen the people rushing in and out of that shop to get free samples!  You want to know something else?  Their free sample of green tea was bitter.  That right there is a major tea fail.  Anytime a tea place serves you bitter green tea, run.  Why?  Green tea is steeped at 175F.  Go with hotter water like for black teas or for coffee  (I'm looking at you, Starbucks)  and it's bitter.  Steep it too long and it's bitter.  You want to explain to me how a genuine tea place doesn't know about temps and steep times?  Because this is how tea is made.  It's the basics.

Tea Steeping Instructions

You ever get served bitter green tea at an Asian restaurant?  No, you don't.  Because they know what they're doing.  
FYI-if you're looking for REAL tea, with genuine tea leaves actually IN it, try an Asian market.  They still sell tea.
Lordy, going to the basement in the mall in Japan with the barrels and barrels of variations of green tea, THAT was heaven.  You could smell it as you came down the escalators and it's the entire basement level, one big open room, FULL of barrels.  Genuine big wooden barrels.  It was amazing!  You ever go to Japan and manage to stop by a mall, get to the basement.

You want to know how deep it's getting in the world of tea snobbery?  They claim that they can taste the difference between water boiled in a proper kettle versus water boiled in a microwave.  I'm totally not kidding!  How about never use a metal mesh ball for tea leaves because your tea will taste metallic?  Yup, that's a thing now.  Hey, doesn't matter that all the tea in the world has, for decades, been served using some form of metal mesh in some form or another.  Tea-snobs have special tea powers.  Sure they do.  Even if you have antique porcelain tea pots like I do with the holes built into the spigot, you pour the tea through a metal sieve over the cup to catch the tea leaves, or you better learn to read tea leaves like a boss to cover your faux pas.   

And, hey old-school tea drinkers, you know what's all the rage in Europe (yes, even Paris)?  Those electric kettles that you set the temp for whatever tea you're drinking.  Very handy if you don't have a cooking thermometer and a good memory to remember how long for each water temp for each kind of tea you have.  And I DO encourage you to try different teas, just be aware of what you're drinking. 

You'll notice Lipton isn't even mentioned?  Right.  Now, granted, when I was growing up, it used to have a flavor.  It did!  I swear!  Now, it pretty much just tastes like water.  Brown water.  Yum!  You want unflavored black tea, no bells and whistles, go to your local Asian market.  Discover what tea is suppose to taste like.  Change your life. 

I used to have a tea tree at our first house. Tea is a Camellia. Camellia sinensis .  Little plain white flowers.  I grew it as a novelty.  I also had a cinnamon tree. 












Friday, February 6, 2015

New Kittens


Eyes are just now changing from baby blue to their real color.

I've got a boy and a girl, so I named them Cupid and Valentina!


The day after we took them, we got another call needing a foster home for 3 more.  Poor kittens, not enough fosters for everyone.


Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Pick of the Litter

This is the part I dread, when my foster kittens get adopted by people who shouldn't have them.  But I have no say.
Which is one of the reasons why I don't stick around for adoption day.  I mean, I've seen some kittens get adopted and when the kitten and human find each other and pick each other, it's really beautiful.  YOUR kitten, that you fostered and thought loved you, the one who hides in the back of the cage and hisses and growls at everyone who passes by, suddenly runs to the front, reaches out a paw and touches someone, purring, meowing, it's beautiful.  What would happen if this person wasn't in the market for a pet?  What if this person didn't come today?  But here they are, together at last.

Then there's last Saturday.  Churchill gets adopted within seconds, he's scooped up and gone.  Magellan, the sweetest boy, the pick of the litter, the one that runs out of the bathroom in the morning (if you want to sleep, you lock kittens in a room overnight.  Trust me on this), sees that it's you, runs back to YOU instead of freedom, and lifts his paw for you to pick him up.  I mean, seriously, how precious is THAT?
We noticed that his works were a little swollen since the surgery.  They called the vet, with a photo (kitten porn!!) and the vet said the incision looks fine, he's just playing too hard with his brother.  Try warm compresses and keep him calm.  Ok, problem solved, his brother is adopted.

So some dingleberry adopts Magellan.  But wait.  She demands that he go to the vet.  Good.  Every new pet owner should take their newly adopted pet to their vet.  I'm not sure I got them entirely dewormed, we didn't have them long enough for the 3rd treatment.

Oh no, she doesn't want to take him to HER vet, she wants the rescue group to look at him.  Ok, whatever, it's free and included.  I guess it's better than nothing.

Oh no, she doesn't want to take him.  She wants US to take him back for the week and WE take him to the vet.

The volunteers called me to come get him and I laughed and laughed.  Did she pay?  Oh, well you have 2 choices.  You tear up the adoption form and give her her money back and let that kitten get adopted by a sane person (which is what I would have done) or you tell her that he's HER kitten and if she wants me to take him for a week, she can pay my normal boarding and transport fee.

Right.  I have no idea how that shook out.  I just have this feeling that Magellan will come back bigger and older and less adoptable for rehoming.  She's not a good choice, she should have never been allowed to adopt a kitten!  If we didn't already have 4 of our own, I would have said, "nevermind, I'll keep him."


New kittens to arrive tonight.  Tabbys, I hear.  Professor Fuzzywinkle will be glad to see them.  He ADORES playing with kittens (he was raised with kittens of all sizes and played with so many kits when he was just a kit) and since the 2 left, he's been chasing his spinster older sisters.  And they don't appreciate his shenanigans.  Ok, Mei Mei does, but she likes to pretend that she hates it, while goading him into chasing her around the house.  Calia and Ceilidh threaten to cut him if he comes near them again and have been muttering about a future black and white rug if he doesn't stop. 

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Pink Weights!

Ok, so for years, yup, YEARS, the weights have bothered me.  There's so much writing on the damn things and the 5s are the same size as the 10s.  I finally got fed up with hunting down the correct number.

Not just pink  but pink glitter.  Spouse is horrified but he hasn't worked out since the 80s.  MY gym, MY weights, MY choice.  

Random photo of me working out with, my hero, Anja Langer, back in the day.  Oh yes.


Thursday, January 29, 2015

My Telephoto Lens Sucks So Hard

THIS is why I rarely use my telephoto:

Detail?  What detail.  Might as well be a point-n-shoot cell phone. 

Would I use a better telephoto?  Well, I sure hate the idea of lugging around a lens in it's own case because it's so big but...this, this is worse than useless.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

I Hate Dentists!

Dentists suck!  I hate my dentist.  I hate all the dentists in the area and after today, that's it.  I'm done.  

Mouth history-haven't had a cavity since high school and THAT is questionable.  See, I had been using Looney Tunes toothpaste.  This was 1983 so having ANYTHING besides mint was AMAZING!  It was bubblegum flavor.  Ok, so are teenagers real big on noticing if things have fluoride or not?  To this day, I have no idea.  I don't even know if it was in the water or not at that time.
On top of that, I have some grooves and pits in my teeth.  Everyone does, but dentists love to stick that pick in there and say, "This is deep, but not sticky.  We need to watch this," ever since I had teeth.

So, did THAT dentist decide he could make a little money on the sly and created cavities out of normal pits?  Because I had no pain, no problems, it was just a cleaning/check-up.  Or did I really have cavities?  Don't know.  But I have 3 fillings from that day and not one since, which also proves my point of, I think the guy took advantage.
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Over the last few years, dentists have changed in my area.  Cleanings aren't making them enough money.  Now it's the hard-sell when you walk in by the secretary ("Are you ready to make your teeth last a lifetime?") and questionnaires upselling everything from sleep apnea gear ("Join today to see if you have sleep apnea!  Fill out this form!") to braces (already had 'em).  The whitening is out of vogue.  I used to get the hard-sell for THAT constantly.  Look, a simple google look-see will explain to any dentist (who should know better, which means they DO know better, they're just hoping that I don't know better) that if you have stained teeth from tetracycline, teeth whitening doesn't work.  Want to know something cool?  My BONES are stained too!  Yeah, went through a glass table-top once.  The skin is thin there.  
But I digress.
Yeah, dentists totally lie to make money.  I had one tell me my fillings needed replacements because they silver was wearing dangerously thin and if I did nothing, I was going to be in a lot of pain.  That was 25 years ago.  Ya get me?  I don't trust these lying damn dentists.  
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So today I try a new dentist, spouse's dentist and it's in the paperwork, "Rate how important it is to you to keep your teeth."  "Do you want teeth or dentures in your future?"  "How committed are you to your dental health?"  Along with wanting my Driver's License number (didn't give it) and my email (didn't give it).  I also told him I didn't appreciate the upsell techniques and it's insulting.  Basically, I refused to play.  
Now, when I made this appointment, I said, "no xrays, just a cleaning."  Of course, when I show up, they demand I have xrays.  Nope.  Not going to do it.
Why?  Ok, first of all, the ADA (American Dental Association) and the FDA have said, since 1987, that, "adults who aren't at high risk should get them every two to three years."
CNN Article
Economist Article
So why do I have to fight them on this every single time?  Follow the money.  Xrays make them money, cleanings do not.
So, to teach me a lesson, they had me wait for 20 minutes in the waiting room after I refused.  Then they took me back to the room and I waited another 10.  When the dentist came in, he had a lot of body language, trying to get the upper hand, trying to make me recline in the seat by moving his chair where my legs were, and I wouldn't play along.  Trying to tell me that he, by law, had to treat me, which I laughed off.  Then told me he called my insurance and I was a month early so I had to pay for today out of pocket.  I also laughed because that's nonsense.  I cancelled my other dentist (new dentist bought out the place, wasn't up to standards.  The overhead light wasn't clean and had no plastic on the handles.  I'm not getting AIDS from the dentist) so I had an appt this month, 6 months from my last appt.  And then he made comments about how nice that I came with my spouse, one car.  I didn't know what he was up to until later, it's so petty that he should be embarrassed.
So then he asked, "So, you don't want xrays for philosophical reasons?"
Yes, asshole.  I'm a fucking tree-hugger who doesn't believe in vaccines or global warming, you jackass.  Instead of asking, he just decides I'm totally unreasonable and crazy and he'll humor me.  Fuck you.
"No, I'm not doing xrays for MEDICAL reasons.  1st, the ADA clearly states that normal healthy people do not require xrays more than once every 3 years.  Also, if you check my chart, I've had more skin cancers than cavities.  Cancer, as in squamous AND melanoma, the deadliest cancer you can get.  Technically, I'm in remission for the next 3 years.  If I don't die, I'm considered cured of THAT outbreak but my odds are more than doubled for another.  If I'm really lucky, I'll see it in time and it won't be under my hair or down my throat or in my intestines.  On top of that, 1 year and 2 weeks ago, my cousin on my mother's side, died of a brain tumor.  On my father's side, both grandparents died of cancer, my father's cousin died of a rare cancer, and my uncle has had multiple cancers.  I'm the last person in the world who needs extra cumulative radiation."
Stick that in your xray and smoke it, fuckwad.
He got all huffy, even though I didn't actually call him a fuckwad.  Maybe I should have?


Remember how you'd go for your cleaning and the tech would look in your mouth, move your tongue around and that would take 2 minutes?  Now the dentist measures every single gum line and calls out numbers.  I'm 2s and 3s.  Yeah, I could have told you that my gums are tip top.  Then he moves my tongue around.  Yup, I could have told you, no mouth sores.  That was about half an hour.  Then dick-head said I have to come back and schedule an actual cleaning.  EVEN THOUGH I DID!  And this was suppose to be it!  No, the new scam is you get a precleaning screening.  Just in case they need to do a $1000.00 deep cleaning.  Do you BELIEVE this shit?

And the petty nonsense?  He kept spouse back there for his cleaning for 2 hours.  He made sure that I got to wait, as punishment for thwarting him.  What a fucker!

And he made his point.  Clearly, he doesn't want me back there wasting his time because he doesn't make any money on cleaning teeth.  He wants xrays and CPAP machines, and invisalign.

So I ask myself, "Self?  What do visits to the dentists DO for you?"  I can and DO floss at home.  I don't have problems.  I don't have cavities.  Why am I bothering?  So, unless I have a problem, I'm done with this nonsense. 

So why do I hate dentists?  You live long enough, you see through everyone's bullshit.  Dentists are failed doctors.  Sorry you aren't raking in the big bucks like real doctors but lying and cheating makes everyone distrust you and, in the end, costs you customers/money. 


Monday, January 19, 2015

Kitten Thump



Want to know something funny about these kittens?  They haven't purred, not even once.  They cuddle, they snuggle, they play, they're even lap kittens, and meow for attention BUT they have never purred!

Monday, January 12, 2015

More Cat Adoptions!

And our Happy was adopted on Sunday!  Yay!

Within seconds, we got our new fosters.  Someone dumped a mom and 3 kittens at a church.  The mom is in a cage, I never even saw her, someone kept on of the kittens, and we have 2.




Magellan and Churchill. 
Magellan wants to explore everything and Churchill has a wider face, bigger kitten.  When he gets scared, he runs to the safety of his food bowl for a bite of courage.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Cat Adoptions!

Yay!
Smokey and Mao have been adopted!  They spent over a year in a cage, waiting.  Finally a chick dumped her boyfriend who was allergic and took them both.
Yay!  I gave them a cage break a few months ago and just loved Smokey.  I called him my Little Bird because he chirps instead of meowing.  I'd of had them over more often but Mao is a terror around my cats.  Attacks them.  And then we've had kittens nonstop.
Speaking of, still have, "Lisa."  I call her Happy, because she really is, all the time, the happiest cat ever.  Ok, not in the cage on weekends to be adopted.  She fiercely bites and hisses because she's found HER home, dammit, LOL


Outside, we're TNRing the stray cats in our area.  Got 2 females already fixed and released and caught 1 today.  I know there's 1 more for sure, but have no idea how many are around.  A lot get killed but the group has steadily been growing since we moved in.  Went from seeing a cat once in a while to at least 4, for sure, and sightings of new cats every so often.  I think I know who the father of the cats is, but I've only seen him one time, months ago, but they all look like him.