Thursday, December 25, 2008

Another Harry Potter preview

From the Warner Brothers website!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Pics from the Big Ice Storm

So when Mom and I went to the store on Saturday, I kept making her stop so I could take pictures. She complained the whole time because she wanted to get home and away from the big branches that were crackling and drooping menacingly. Here are some branches that fell beside a house.

Lots of branches down on electrical wires.

Mom had to get out of the car and move a branch out of the street.

Some streets were blocked off with police tape because of downed branches or downed wires.

Lots of trees were split right down the middle - poor trees!!!

The ice was rather pretty, though. I wish I had an opportunity to go out and take more pictures without the fear of having a branch falling on my head.

Today the iced trees looked silver in the sun. It's like a town full of silver tinsel trees.

According to the latest updates from AEP, there are still 40,000 people in town without power. Yikes! We're supposed to get 1-3 more inches of snow tomorrow afternoon, followed by freezing rain! Nooooooooooooo!!!

My mom and dad had no power. Kevin had no power. Edith had no power. Mandy at Village of Coventry did have power but Charlene, Michael, Janet, and Luana at a nearby complex had no power. Don from GEN and John from GEN, both in my neighborhood, have no power.

Kevin, at his worst, informs me his house is down to 50 degrees inside, while Dad returns from checking their house and says it is 27. What a difference insulation makes.

On Mom's block, only those industrious neighbors Patti and Bill have stayed to keep the neighborhood safe. They have a gas fireplace and have been snuggling on the couch, making coffee, eating out.

In my bedroom, the bathroom, and the living room, you can hear twigs breaking, ice tinkling down like music, the wind thrashing things about, the electrical wires swaying stiffly, and occasionally something hitting the house.

I heard I&M would have power back up by Sunday. I heard power would be back up by Wednesday.

The library is still open as a place where people who don't have power can at least go to stay warm. But what about employees who don't have power and need to wash their laundry, iron their clothes, curl their hair, find a warm place to drop off their kids... What about the people who live on blocks that are taped off because live electrical wires are down the middle of the street?

What about people like me, who are playing host to friends and family - I have two cats locked in the bathroom, who hiss at the two cats in the hall, one of which insists upon sticking his little brown toes under the door. I have my dog and mom and dad's dog racing through the house, chewing on one another, barking, whining, sleeping, scrounging for food, apparently bring fed paper towels which they later throw up on my living room floor - twice, and trying to chase kittens who wander downstairs for their nightly snuggles.

Mom is staying in my bed, where she stayed Thursday night because the ice storm was coming and she didn't want to drive over in the morning on ice. We had taken Friday off to make cookies and candy to take to work, give to our neighbors, and give to my friends when they came over Saturday for our December get-together. We work without Christmas music this year because we can still hear things falling outside and we don't want our happy music to be cut off by electric failure. We start the peanut butter balls,and date swirls Thursday night, and on Friday we bake date swirls and make lemon fudge, orange dream cookies, oatmeal coconut chocolate chip cookies, and lemon pecan bonbons. We decided to go out and get lunch and pick up a couple ingredients we didn't have, so we went to Southgate to Kroger's, but they had no power. We went across the street to Scott's, who DID have power, and ran into a great number of Fort Waynians. I wanted to take fabulous photos of ice and Mom wanted to check with dad and see how he was doing. Dad is fine. It's dark and cold and the animals are driving him crazy. Mom will male him a tv dinner and bring it back to him.

After our illuminating journey outside, we make fudge. I have decided the get-together shall not commence because roads are slush and starting to freeze back into ice, because Chelle and Roger have a long drive and can't stay, because Matty can't come, I haven't heard from Katie or Mandy, and Lisa and Wil were going dancing. Plus, it looks like Mom will be staying with me because they do not have power at her house. I send out the message.

Mom and I take a rest. I work on making a Christmas gift. Mom watches The Weather Channel and does laundry. Edith calls around 8pm and says she is bored and it's dark. She has four candles. She works tomorrow and is not too concerned about the heat, she says when I ask if she wants to come stay with me. We talk for a bit and then she needs to go so she doesn't use up her cell battery. Mom and I go to bed, she to my big king upstairs, me to the couch where I toss and turn and am plagued by restless legs syndrome.

Saturday morning. Mom gets up and after promising she will be quiet, proceeds to make coffee, talk to Logan, set off the alarm on the back door, move pots and pans around, and turn the tv on. I go upstairs to my bed and fall asleep for about 4 hours, then play some Tetris until Mom comes to tell me we need to make icings and she wants to go to the store again.

Kevin calls. His house is at 60 degrees and he's freezing and cranky and has sore muscles. His mom has been whining about the cold and his brother Ken calls and says Mom should go to Ken's house, where they have electricity. Mom doesn't want Kevin to drive his car. Can Ken pick her up? Ken calls back later. The roads are really bad and it is out of his way to get her after work, so can Kevin drive her over? She doesn't want Kevin to drive his car and besides, they can't get it out of the garage and the alley is unpassable. Kevin says the alley is fine and they have not tried to get anything out of the garage. Ken picks up mom and tells Kevin he drove down the alley and it was fine. They drive away with mom and Kevin has some much-desired alone time, though, as he says, it is cold and dark.

Mom returns with groceries. Apparently we might starve. Homemade pizza fixings for lunch, meatloaf for dinner tomorrow, mini cakes for dessert, ingredients for our contributions to the Dunn Family Dinner on the 24th, snacks, fresh fruit, pop, milk, cocoa, coffee... I am called out of bed to come put the groceries away.

Around 2pm, Dad comes over with Asia. He is grumpy. It's too dark to see to paint. The cats are following him around. The house is down to 47 degrees. He doesn't know if he can make it. Mom and I try to persuade him he does not need to stay there, that he can come be with us and it will all be all right. He wrestles with his guilt. He says he will leave Asia with us, but what about the cats, the cats? They follow him with great big wild eyes, looking crazy, sitting on his feet. We can bring the cats over. No, no, they won't be happy here. Dad leaves. Mom goes to get the cats. I make an impromptu litter box out of the lid of another litter box and put some litter inside and a rug in front. I take my cats' food and grass to the computer room. Dogs, barred from coming upstairs by our makeshift baby gate, a three-step stool, whine and whimper.

Mom returns with cats. We take them to the bathroom. Lucky seems to weigh about 30 lbs. Sophie's eyes are indeed wide and nutty. She meows and hisses and growls at me while I pet her. Outside, Dylan is curious and sticks his little brown paws under the door. Oona takes a nap, seeming oblivious to the fact that strange cats have entered her home.

At 3:30, Patti calls to say Dad wants Mom to pick him up at 4:30. At 4:00, Bill calls to say Dad has started walking and will be walking on Fairfield. Mom goes to get him. Dad has a book with him and a lot of talking to do. I work on Christmas projects. Mom makes caramels and icing and I ice cookies.

Dad whines that he wants to smoke a cigarette and not have to go out in the cold to do it. At least when he was home, he could smoke in the warmth in his garage, but then he couldn't see to paint because there was no light. Dad is staying in the guest room but hates the bed, which he can't get comfortable in because it has a footboard and he doesn't like footboards. But it's a nice, peaceful room (which will later have to be aired out to remove the cigarette smell that exists like a billowing cocoon around his body, whether he has had a cigarette recently or not.)

Dad needs to know how to operate the light switch in the guest room and wants to know how he will find his way to the bathroom in the middle of the night, not that he expects to have to go then. I tell him I will leave the hall light on and that sounds fine. Will someone help him keep his cats in the bathroom and my cats in the hall? I tell him he wil just have to learn how to do it himself.

I am on the couch fighting with Logan for space. I get a call from I&M at 11:30 asking if service had been restored fully to my property. Since service had never been lost at my property, I don't know how to respond to their automated system. I remain silent and they hang up on me.

Sunday morning. I tossed and turned all night. The power, around 2am, flickers several times. Logan gets up and starts pacing nervously. He can hear the wind outside and the sounds of branches and ice hitting the house. Asia thinks he wants to play so she follows him around. I roll over and try again to get some sleep. Around 3:30am, the lights go out and stay out for several seconds. We don't have a plan B! The lights come back on. I turn the television off and listen to the wind and rattling clinking things happening outside.

Sometime around 5:00am, I fall asleep. I am awakened by Mom and Dad in the kitchen, so I go upstairs and catch a few hours of rest in my bed. Around 10am I wake and play Tetris. Mom calls me later for lunch. I come downstairs tp discover Dad has brought over his latest project, the building of a geodesic dome out of small wooden triangles. But we cannot jostle the table nor walk too hard in the room because glue is drying, so Mom and I eat on the couch. The dining room table is covered in Dad's stuff. Mom's clothes are all over the bathroom floor, and she doesn't like my selection of 20 bath gels but wants "real soap." Dad cannot find toothpaste. Mom wants to know what kind of shampoo I have. Can she wash her hair in the sink? There's an old Gene Tierney/Ginger Rogers movie on tv. Dad is talking about a book he's reading and complaining about having to go outside to smoke. I stretch out on the couch and fall asleep, hard, until almost 8pm.

We are all settling into bed. Mom will sleep in the guest room with Dad and Asia. I will sleep in my bed with Logan. Kitties race around, play with my jewelry, dump a bowl of something in the computer room. Asia whines on her side of the guest room door. Logan won't lay down unless I hold him down. There is a distinct draft coming through the window by my bed. After chasing cats out and closing the door, then going to clean up a jump/dump accident I take two sleeping pills and go downstairs to the couch. I turn the tv on low and close my eyes.

It's 12:05am and the phone is ringing. I grab it and get the message that mom and dad's house has power again. I call mom on the cell phone she is using for an alarm clock and she tells dad. She says what are we going to do now? I say, sleep until morning.

I hear dad upstairs getting dressed. He opens the door and Asia immediately starts chasing kittens. I get up and start calling her. Dad is going to go take care of the house. He'll warm up his truck and take two loads of stuff out. I have to unlock the doors for him because he does not know how. What will we do about dogs? What about cats? Should he take them now or in the morning? Mom takes Asia upstairs to go to bed to see if any sleep can be had. Dad says she never listens to his opinions anyway. I lock the doors behind him and ask if he is going to call us. He doesdn't think so.

20 minutes later the phone rings. Dad starts giving a blow-by-blow account of items in the house. Mom says we need to try to get some sleep. Dad sighs heavily.

I need a vacation.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Mama needs a new pair of shoes!

I hate the Jared commercials: "He went to Jared!" Ya-di-fricken-hoo. Do you have to say it a thousand times in one commercial?????

This has bothered me for years. Why is it that poetry, when translated from another language into English, still rhymes? What's up with that? Isn't it amazing that all the poets know the words that will translate into rhyming words??? This happens with songs, too. Why? Why?

That song they play at Christmastime that goes something like, "Please, mister, my momma's dying and she needs some new shoes and all I brought were pennies even though I'm smart enough to examine her shoes and know what styles she likes and that these will make her smile." First of all, it's a giant dollop of Cheez Whiz. Puh-leese. Second, what small boy knows his mother's shoe size? What small boy realizes that his mother makes Christmas nice and special? And why is this kid all dirty? Where's the dad? Why isn't anyone bathing this child? My theory is that this little boy is part of a mother/son con artist team and his mother is waiting outside the door to the shop and told him to go in and get some size 8 Manolo Blahniks. The kid knew the guy behind him was a class-A sucker and would pony up for the shoes because he was wearing a sappy grin and a cowboy hat. Hence - Momma's got a new pair of shoes! Despite my theory, which I know is correct, I still can't stand to listen to this song.

Those are my pet peeves for today. :)

Monday, November 24, 2008

Chicken Pox!

For you doubters out there. :) A picture of part of my back and a picture of my neck, from last week. Scratch scratch.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

May I introduce you to the newest members of my family, Dylan Charlie Mischka and Oona Lily. They were adopted from the ACSPCA shortly after Treble passed away. The name they had given Dylan was Barkley and Oona was named Pride. They were from two different litters of kittens and all their siblings had been adopted already. Dylan was about 6 months old and Oona was about 4 months. They are both tabbies, but Dylan has a bit more brown in his coat and Oona is more dark grey.

Dylan is the leader, usually. If he goes upstairs, Oona will follow, and if he goes into another room she will be right behind him, but she will wander in by herself to check things out. Dylan is more laid back and took to Logan faster. Dylan is also a pip because he will come and lay on Oona if she is on my lap and he’ll act all innocent like he doesn’t realize she’s there. He will also jump on her and start biting and playing, even if she is asleep.

Oona loves to crawl around my neck and rub against my face and she thinks the best resting place is on my chest. I keep telling her it’s not going to work much longer, because she’s getting too big now, but she still tries. Oona has the most marvelous tail. It's a little poofy and when you pet her, it curls over her back and touches the back of her head.

They both stretch across my neck when I’m laying down, or curl up beside my head and purr. They LOVE to be held. You can pick Dylan up and he’ll just let you flop him around any old way. (Dylan)
Mom called him a lap slut because one morning she was holding him and got up to leave and he came running to me and plopped in my lap before I could get up. He just wants a lap, anywhere.

Dylan is more talkative and does that cat thing where he’ll go into another room and meow plaintively until you call him or go get him. Oona does her little chirp when she wants your attention, but is pretty quiet otherwise.

She also loves to be held or curl up beside you. This is a picture I had to take with the flash off because when I had the flash on, she would close her eyes too fast every time!

And how did Logan handle it? At first he was sooooooooooo excited. I kept him on a leash once I started letting them wander and he would wear himself out whining and shaking and watching them. Now he’s in jealous puppy mode and wants to make sure he gets his share of attention. Though today Oona and Dylan were playing and a couple of times Logan went to inspect their activity. I think he might eventually play with them and I can tell Dylan wants to, but Oona doesn’t seem as keen on it yet. :)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

This is the third Harry Potter trailer, to be released with the movie Twilight.

I want to see the movie!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It looks to me like they are keeping in some things I worried they'd cut, like Ron being a quidditch hero. I noticed in past movies a lot of Ron's lines were given to Hermione or other characters, the effect being that they kind of turned poor Ron into a quivering goofball nincompoop, which he isn't as much of in the books. Hasn't had a truly brave moment in the movies since his chess match from book 1. So hopefully they will keep intact some of the cool stuff he does in books 6 and 7 (especially book 7).

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

My former next door neighbors!

I wonder if living in close proximity to me makes people turn into criminals?

* * *

From the Journal Gazette
Posted on Tue November 4, 2008

Foreclosure prompts arson, divorce, sentence By Rebecca S. Green The Journal Gazette

Setting his house on fire in an attempt to prevent foreclosure led Tuesday to an eight-year prison sentence for a 36-year-old Fort Wayne man.

Kevin J. Griffin, of the 500 block of Dayton Avenue, pleaded guilty to arson in October, admitting setting fire to his home in April.

On Tuesday, Allen Superior Judge Fran Gull sentenced Griffin to eight years in prison and two years on probation. She also ordered him to pay $20,477 in restitution, according to court documents.

On April 15, fire crews responded to the one-story house in which Griffin lived with his wife. The fire was centered in an area near the living room fireplace.

The couple was inside the home at the time, and Griffin’s wife told investigators she awoke to the smell of smoke at about 1 a.m. She woke up her husband, who got out of bed and told her the living room was on fire. They got out of the house, but Griffin went back in to rescue their pets, according to court documents.

Days later, Griffin’s wife said that when she called their mortgage company after the fire to check on the insurance, she found out the house was in foreclosure because no mortgage payments had been made for 20 months. Griffin was in charge of paying the bills and never told her about being behind on the payments, according to court documents.

The house was to have been sold April 17 because of the foreclosure, according to court documents.

Griffin’s wife filed for divorce in June.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Faerie Houses with Sarah

Mom and I went on our annual trip to Columbus, Ohio to visit our friend Sarah, who Mom used to work with at AEP. The traffic was super heavy for some reason, but the foliage was gorgeous.

Sarah lives in German Village, a quaint neighborhood with lots of brick and wooden houses, brick-paved streets and sidewalks, flower boxes, trees, and people walking their dogs.

This is the street Sarah's house is on.

And this is Sarah's house!

The front of the house is original, but Sarah and Dan bought the land behind their property and added on to their house and made a lovely garden.

When we went inside, we were greeted by a new member of the household - Nettie!

Nettie had fooled Sarah and Dan at the animal shelter by pretending to be old and feeble, and then when they came to pick her up to take her home she was racing around the place. Turns out Nettie had just been spayed before their first visit and wasn't feeling very well. She's a pip!

Mom and Sarah, neither of whom wanted their pictures taken. In Sarah's defense, she was suffering from a cold while we were there and spent most of the night hacking. This is Mom's fake smile (in case you couldn't tell).

This is the Deaf School Topiary Garden nearby. Matty and I got together and had lunch and then went for a walk there on Saturday before hitting the airport for a round of shopping - really! I got myself a Columbus sweatshirt, my mom a Columbus t-shirt, and everyone some yummy cookies. The Columbus airport rocks, yo. Anyway, the Topiary Garden shows a scene out of a Seurat's "A Sunday On the Island of La Grande Jatte." Can you see it?

This is Mom working hard on her faerie house. We had been collecting bark and twigs and flowers to dry for a couple months before going to Columbus so we could make wonderful faerie houses.

Mom got a little hot glue crazy, but she thought it had a nice sparkly effect. Note the swing at the side of her faerie house!

Sarah contemplates her faerie house. She thought her faerie house was too large in scale compared to ours. She decided her faerie house was for giant faeries or perhaps gnomes.

The finished product - beautiful!

This is the beginning of my faerie house. I started with a relatively flat piece of bark for my base.

I made a little bed, complete with flower pillow and feather blankets, and a little round table and benches out of cut twig. I used dried flowers for my carpet.

Then I added a back wall, to shield the faeries from the wind, and a side wall of a dried mum branch so they could see outside.

This is the front of my finished faerie house. If you look closely, you can see the teeny furniture inside. Outside are dried Russian sage, iris, some variety of evergreen, astilbe, and many other dried flower blooms stolen from public parks and the ground at Lowe's.

We kept our supplies so we can build faerie houses again someday. All of us wanted to do another. Sarah and I would like to try our hands at making cool furniture for inside. I think Mom might want to improve her swing, as it didn't have a lot of flexibility. :)

I'm not sure what I'm going to do with my faerie house. I know if I put it outside, it will get ruined by the weather, but I don't know where to put it inside either. Right now it's on my dining room table. :)

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Pictures of Gooch, Lily, Hollie, and Treble

This is the old Gooch Pooch, aka MacGuyver, aka MacG, aka Poindexter. I'm sure we had other nicknames for him. He would answer to anything. :)

I'm pretty sure I tossed him in the flowers so I could get a cute picture of him walking in flowers.

Poor, pitiful little Treble after his first bath. He didn't get many more. I could tell he considered it torture.

Lily is in the top left of the picture. My strongest memory of her is when I heard plaintive meowing and went to see what was going on. She had started to climb a lace curtain that blocked off a closet and she'd gotten herself stuck. Treble was sitting on the floor staring at her with concern. They were so itty bitty!

Treble destroys a catnip mouse on the lovely red 1960s shag carpeting in our living room on Hoagland Avenue.

Gooch channels his inner wolf.

Gooch chews on treble's head.

Gooch and Treble on the stairs shortly after Lily died.

Hollie Ann McKitty. How could I resist her?

MacGuyver and Hollie. I always maintained they were having an illicit affair. He would lick her ears and she would snuggle against him to take naps.

Treble, looking very glossy. Before he was neutered, he did not have a belly. After, however, he developed the neutered kitty paunch.

Mom relaxing with the three kids.

Treble and Hollie. They were sweet little imps!

Treble on his post. He was always shiny like this, until the very end. Such a handsome fellow. One thing I loved about him was when I would pet him from head to the end of his tail, he would let his tail fall in slow motion back down to the ground. Most kitties just let their tails flop, but he made it into a very graceful movement.

Yes, that's me, circa 1995. I had gotten my hair permed that morning and the next day all the curl had disappeared (but I had split ends until the permed part grew out).

The cats never seemed to enjoy posing for pictures like this. I also made them wear Santa hats for Christmas, and MacGuyver had a set of reindeer antlers. :)

These were all taken from the photo album from the first year I had my babies. Looking at their early pictures was bittersweet, but it did make me feel a little better. It was such a long, long time ago!