So, it’s been a bit…

Hey there WordPress! Long time no see.

SO long, in fact, that I had to reset both my username AND my password.   Clearly, a strong memory isn’t one of my good Adulting Skills™.

I had good intentions, too.  The last post I made on here was a vegan adaptation of my mom’s divinity recipe. I had plans to follow it up with a veganized peanut butter roll recipe and a fudge recipe. Which, would have been amazing, as the divinity post has been the best performing post I’ve ever had!  WordPress tells me it’s been viewed over 7,000 times. (Which firmly reinforces my belief that vegans have the BEST junk food ever. Hello, sweet tooth!)

But sometimes, good intentions aren’t good enough. Until today, I had about ten drafts in my draft folder.  Partially written, drabbles of posts. A few of them involving people who aren’t in my life anymore — not by my choice.  There are a few more blog posts that have been rattling in my head, as well. Recipes, stories, reviews of the video game series I never finished…

In fact – this very blog post is one of them. I’ve written and rewritten it in my head about 7 times. At least.  (One incarnation even had a cool amusement park ride story woven in. Comparing life to a ride that ended up much more intense than initially thought. Oh, it was cool too. Sorry it didn’t end up getting written that way. You’ll just have to trust me.)

At first, I was putting off blogging because I had nothing to write about.  Then, Post Disney Depression hit- hard. That trip report never stood a chance.  After that, I got discouraged that a set of friendships I had — that I had also started a blog about — had ended. Pretty dramatically. And who wants to write about a fun happy weekend, when you no longer talk to anyone involved in it?  Can you say depressing?  (Note: This does have a happy ending. I reconnected with some people who actually cared about me, and we waded through the BS. )

So, I kept skirting around it. I like blogging. It sometimes helps me sort myself out. But I didn’t have anything to write about. I had nothing people wanted to read. I couldn’t finish a fun filled blog about people I didn’t talk to anymore. I don’t write recipes – I bookmark other people’s recipes.  I’m not a writer, I’m a reader. Blah, blah, blah.

Really, I was in a funk. I still don’t know if I’d flat out call it depression –but it definitely wasn’t far off. But, it could have been just situational depressional funkiness, and not the clinical depression. I don’t have a clue.  I dragged my feet on video games, I didn’t jump into a book for an amount of time I’m honestly ashamed to admit.  But it wasn’t -that- bad.

And then, well; to put it politely… Shit hit the fan.

The last bit of last year, and the beginning of this year, was not good. Aside from the times where my parent’s health was concerned, this was probably one of the worst times of my life. I didn’t want to do anything.  I’m still working on getting over that, by the way. There’s a nice stack of pretty blank Thank You cards I’ve been meaning to send out from my birthday. In January.   I lived in pajamas for longer than any human should. I cried more than I can remember. I watched 6 hours of Supernatural while laying on the living room floor, only getting up for the essentials. (Bathroom and kitty breaks.) I quit actively talking to a good chunk of people — because you KNOW as soon as you ask how someone is… they return the question. And then, you have to lie. Because few people really even want to know, and fewer still, you actually feel comfortable telling. So its easier to just not, and bypass the awkward social protocol dance.

It doesn’t really matter what – or what combination of things-  happened. No one is sick, no jobs were lost, no one is getting divorced, no one died, and all the fuzzy (evil) fur babies are okay.   But things were rough for a while, and I didn’t want to do much. And that’s really, really difficult for me to type out. It makes it real, I guess.  But at the same time, it’s cathartic.

But things are better now. and I’ve had some really good realizations about things in my life. Things now, things from back in high school… even some things I should have learned long ago. Some of it has literally no bearing on my life now, except to help understand things I went through as a teenager.

I think I want to blog more.  Not to get noticed, not to go viral, and certainly not to be all angsty and cryptic, ala Xanga… but because I enjoy it.  Also, because it helps me work through things. Also, because everything gets lost on Facebook nowadays anyway.  If it’s not a soonsored post, or a picture with a million comments or reshares – it gets lost in the jumble. Over here, I have my own tiny piece of the internet to write whatever I like.

I’m in a pretty good place now. I have a small group of friends and family that pretty much kept me from going off the deep end lately, and I’m exceedingly grateful for that. I’m even back to wearing “real people clothes” and makeup some days. I’m working out again, back to attempting video games (and will eventually beat Zelda. It’s a grudge match now…) and have resumed devouring books. ( And podcasts! God help me, I’m addicted to the creepy fictional podcasts and the wonderful fictional characters. . . )

I don’t know what all I’ll write about.  I still want to share the candy recipes – because; well. . . candy.  I kinda feel like that’s a no brainer.  So soon – vegan fudge and peanut butter rolls.  🙂 And maybe a few more serious or thoughtful notes. Or more ludicrous stories like the one about the wonderful karma of the WalMart parking lot that one day.  Lord knows enough weirdness happens in my life. Why not write about it?

And for that, I’ll need to do some housekeeping and clear some of the cobwebs out of this WordPress site. The tags are all sorts of fast and loose, and lets not even bring up the theme…

But for now? I’m going to put those awesome Adulting Skills™ we discussed earlier to work. And I’m going to clean the kitchen. Then watch more Disney Channel. Like a good adult. 😉

 

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Vegan Divinity Recipe!

Yeah,   I know. It really doesn’t seem possible. But stick with me. It really is.

I haven’t had divinity in years.  (Though, to be fair, only a year of that is due to veganism. The rest of it can be chalked up to a severe lack of patience. If you’ve ever made – or tried to make – divinity, you know exactly what I’m talking about.

I’d googled a bit trying to find a vegan version – and managed to find one. It didn’t look even close to normal divinity though, as the flax it had you sub for the egg whites didn’t fluff or get “stiff peaks.” And, with divinity was something we used to make  yearly – I’d rather go without than to have a subpar substitute.

Luckily for me – someone a lot braver than I am found a substitute.  Aquafaba.

I forget exactly who discovered it, but my Facebook news feed has exploded in the past few months with people obsessed with this new way to make meringues.  Instead of whipping egg whites to get the desired frothy, stiff peaks, people were using bean brine.  Or, really, the juice you normally pour out of the can of chickpeas.   It sounds bizarre, and you’d think you could taste it (sometimes apparently you can. All depends on brand!) but apparently it works! The logic behind it is that the starch from the beans gets into the liquid, and that’s what makes it stiff when you beat it.

Well. I’m sure it’s loads more scientific than that… but thats the gist.

After lots of drooling on Facebook, I found this group Vegan Meringues on Facebook. And oh my gracious. Aquafaba is amazing. Marshmallows, cakes, macarons, meringues, nougat, royal icing… and so much more. It’s amazing.  And extremely intimidating, but that’s another story.

Seeing people post their “before” pictures of the meringues made me think . They looked EXACTLY like what my mom’s divinity used to look like.   So I posted a few times, and people seemed to think it would work – to just sub 2 tbsp ish of brine for each egg white.

So, I decided to try it. And lo and behold – it worked!!

Here is the recipe, and a few pictures.   Though, I’m not a food blogger. And I’m for SURE not a photographer , so be forgiving. 🙂  (Full recipe at the end of the post)

First, you start beating the brine. 4 tablespoons isn’t very much, so it will seem awkward at first.  But it will fluff up soon!

This. . . . .takes . . . ages. . .

While doing this- start the sugar, water, corn syrup and salt on the stove. You want to stir it constantly until the sugar is dissolved. Then you don’t stir. (I worry, so I stirred every once in a while. My mom said you don’t need to though.)  You let it cook until it reaches hard ball stage on a candy thermometer.   Then, you’ll add it to the mixer.

Now you’re about ready to add the sugar mixture. Beat a bit more, just to be safe..

When the chickpea juice looks like this ^ you’re good to go. I personally beat it a little longer. Because I’ve had divinity flop on me before – so now I’m paranoid.

Then, you s-l-o-w-l-y add the hot syrup – and PLEASE BE CAREFUL . IT”S HOT – and the vanilla.

Then, you beat it some more.

And more.

And more.

Seriously. You will be SO SICK of beating this by the time you’re done.

You want to beat it until it holds its own shape. It will take forever.

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When it looks like the picture above- you’re done!

Then, you spoon it out onto a sheet, and let it sit up. 🙂

Ta da!!

I was a little worried it would taste bean-y- but nope! It tasted exactly like I remember!  Both my mom and brother loved them. They are both VERY wary of vegan food – and are candy elitists.

I won’t go into detail about how I reacted to being able to make egg fee divinity. But I will admit it involved lots of screeching, dancing, and words that shouldn’t be repeated in front of small children or mixed company. 🙂

This makes me SUPER happy – I imagine it would be great for families with egg allergies as well! I’m going to attempt to try peanut butter rolls next – I’ll be sure to report how that goes! If you guys try it- please, let me know how it goes!

Divinity/ Divinity Fudge

2 C Sugar

1 C Water

1/4 C Corn Syrup

1/8 tsp Salt

4 tbsp Chickpea Brine

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 C Chopped nuts (optional)

Heat sugar, water, corn syrup and salt in a pot, stirring constantly until sugar is dissolved. Continue cooking until it reaches hard ball stage on a candy thermometer .  While doing this – beat the chickpea broth with a hand/stand mixer until it starts to hold a shape. And then, if you’re like me, beat for just a little longer.  (Whisk attachment)

Slowly add the sugar mixture and vanilla into the foamy beaten brine, and beat until stiff peaks. It’s super important that you get stiff peaks that hold its own shape. Otherwise the divinity won’t set up, it’ll melt into yummy, sugary puddles. Add nuts, if using, the spoon out in dollops onto wax paper.  (Or, put into a pan, and cut into squares. )

Is there any karma more just than parking lot karma?

Karma.

It’s a concept that we’re all a little familiar with.  Usually, it’s one of the first things people point out when things go wrong, or someone hurts them, or people they love..  “Karma.  They’ll get theirs…”  Or, they use it to cheer up friends who seem to be in a giant rut of bad luck, but haven’t done a thing to deserve it.

Other people simply think of it as just “Do unto others …”   The concept seems to be in a few different religions (granted, in varying forms and ways) and really, in ways that non religious people think.  I’ve had people who don’t subscribe to any religions tell me that they believe the universe has ways of balancing things like how people treat others, and so on. So it’s hardly a foreign idea to most people.

But, what actually IS karma?

kar·ma: (n)
(in Hinduism and Buddhism) the sum of a person’s actions in this and previous states of existence, viewed as deciding their fate in future existences.
from Sanskrit karman ‘action, effect, fate.’

So, in reality, it’s a lot deeper than how we all use it, and it’s tied into a few religions. (That, I know nearly nothing about, so I almost feel guilty even using it in the context of this blog…

But, for our discussion, let’s look at karma simply as the concept of people getting what they deserve.  Or, to sound a bit less sinister; the way they treat and act towards others, will eventually come back around to them.

I’ve never actually seen karma in action. Not once.   Usually, it’s been something I say, or friends have said to make each other feel better about a situation. Or, wishful thinking.  Or, (and perhaps this is the most common. Especially lately, and a few friends who read this will be RIGHT on board with me) something we say that may be the only thing that keeps us from trying to go and deal out a bit of well deserved revenge of our own. The more we repeat that karma will handle it, the less likely we are to stoop to their level (or…stooping be damned, we’ll at least keep our butts out of jail, right? )

Well, it finally happened.  After so many years of throwing the term around, and patiently waiting for some karmic revenge to magically happen in front of me — it did! It finally did! And it was so beautiful, I couldn’t stop giggling and talking about it for a good two days.  It made me so giddy, in fact, that I couldn’t even update Facebook about it.  It deserved a blog post.  A long, articulate, well written blog post that would make me giddy all over again.

Problem being of course, I’d have to stick my butt in a chair and actually type it out.  And, we all know how often THAT has happened lately, but I digress.  Better late than never, no?

So without further ado, let’s jump into the story.

I forget what day it was. Or really what time.  None of that matters. What’s important here is the place.  It’s a place I hate with all my being. I loathe going. I would rather do cartwheels over hot coals.  Be hung by my fingernails.  Be subjected to the movie Freddy Got  Fingered on repeat. With no movie snacks, at that.  But, Mom wanted to go. And being the good daughter I am, I kept my whining to a minimum.    Where did we go?

 

By Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. TheNewPhobia at English Wikipedia. Later version(s) were uploaded by Griffin5, Estoy Aquí at English Wikipedia. (Extracted from Wal-Mart’s 2009 Financial Report) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Dun dun DUN….

 

Ok. So the “scary music” loses its impact when it’s typed out and not actually heard.  Ah well.

Anyway. Yeah. Wal-Mart.  I hate going. Neighborhood Market, I don’t mind. But the big Wal-Mart with the rabid shoppers and people who drive like maniacs? No thank you. Let’s schedule a root canal instead, please?

My biggest pet peeve in the world, actually, might stem from going to Wal-Mart.

First, for anyone who doesn’t know, my mom is in a wheelchair. She’s half paralyzed from a stroke that happened back in 2000.  She’s also a slightly bigger lady.  Teeny tiny back story, but you’ll need to know that, otherwise this won’t make any sense.

Handicapped parking sucks.  It’s gotten better lately, but especially at some older businesses around Owasso, it just downright sucks. Small spaces, minimal spaces, NO spaces, crappy ramps… I could go on. And on.  And I quite often do, on Facebook and Twitter.

But the worst things?  Those stinking van accessible spaces.

What?  Those? I know , I know. How could those wonderfully huge parking spaces be an issue at all?! Shouldn’t I be loving them, and the extra space to help my mom out of the car without dinging the door of another car?

Yeah. About that.

NO ONE apparently, knows how to park when they see those spaces.

Now, if there’s some weird law that I’m missing, (though I really don’t think there is) please, comment and let me know so I can quit ranting on like a jerk about this stuff.

These spaces, while being extra big, are extra big to allow for van unloading. Like, wheelchair lifts and whatnot.   Unfortunately for most handicapped people, this is not the purpose most people think they meet.

It seems like a good chunk of the population seems to think that these bigger spots are little gifts from God when they can’t find parking of their own.  And they, in turn, become the bane of my existence.

People ALWAYS park next to me when I park in those spaces.  And I almost always end up waiting for them to leave, because I physically can’t get my mother back into the car without damaging their car.   And, it never fails, that the drivers in question, get extremely hostile and immature when you call them on it.  (Another peeve: Those people who think the pretty yellow diagonal lines are a parking space JUST for them…I got told it wasn’t my f****** business once, if someone parked in the yellow lines.  Hm. They probably would have thought it was my business if I’d hit their car, I’m sure….)

 

So, I’m sure you can guess where this blog is going.   Lo and behold, when we arrive at Wal-Mart that day…. there is exactly ONE empty handicapped spot in the lot. Of course, it’s a Van Accessible one.   Naturally.   I’m already in a horrible mood, so I plot the perfect thing to do.  I’ll park so horribly that NO ONE will be able to park next to me.

I was perfectly within the lines of the parking space.  Nothing hanging out, and not overlapping the yellow lines.  Mom laughed at me a bit, but I got her out, and we went in to get her shopping done, certain that we wouldn’t get stuck.

Ha. Turns out I gave the human race more credit than I should have.

We come out of the store, and my jaw hit the asphalt. I couldn’t believe it.  There was this truck. This giant, gas guzzler looking truck, squeezed into a corner of my parking spot, and over the yellow lines.  I would be able to get mom in the car just fine… but I’d have to suck it in myself to get in, and there wasn’t a prayer I’d get the car out of the space without body damage.

Fabulous.

So we’re standing there, both openly staring, and I’m debating between heading inside and unleash hell on some poor checker and their intercom; or just calling the cops because I’m sick of dealing with people in this town and handicapped parking.  While we’re staring, this man who we’d passed on the way out stopped, and turned and watched us.

Turns out, this was his truck. Oh, the luck, right?

So this guy, who is probably in his late 40’s, early 50’s, saunters over.  He doesn’t say anything, but cocks his head to the side,  and seems to be assessing the situation.   Part of me wants to completely tear into this guy. At his age, (and needing handicapped parking himself) shouldn’t he know better??  But, partly because it’s probably not the nice thing to do; and partly because I suck at confrontation, I didn’t.   Instead, I looked from the cars to him, and calmly said that I wasn’t going to be able to get the car out without hitting his truck.

His reply?

“Well, if you’d learn how to park, then there’d be room enough for all of us..”

Now. If I were my sister, or my brother, I’d probably be typing this from a jail cell.  (Or, if mom’s speech wasn’t severely impaired…) There aren’t words for how angry that made me.And it’d be very unbecoming of me to say ANY of the things that were running through my head at the moment.

Ridiculous.  I grew up and was taught to share like everyone else. But a parking space? That I’m in BECAUSE I NEED THE SPACE? A space meant for ONE CAR? Since when do I have to share THAT?!

A little disappointed I didn’t have the guts to be SuperBitch, I pointed out that he was the one who had crammed his truck into a parking space that was meant for one car, and started loading my mom and the groceries into the car.  He climbed into the giant truck, and started it.

And sat.

He sat there until I loaded every grocery bag, my mom, and her wheelchair. (which was less than fun with Giant Truck right there.   He didn’t start to back out until I was in the car, and had been sitting for a while.  Obviously, he was angling to take over the entire spot after we left.  Which I think may have made mom angrier than it made me.  Again, it’s probably for the best that some words don’t come out clearly ….

Jokes on him, really. As bad as I am about seeing distances, I very realistically could have nailed his car anyway, but…sadly, I was a decent driver that day.

I’ll admit, I took my sweet time backing out, and only partially because I don’t see distances awesome. I wasn’t happy with this guy.   But… then it happened.

As I was backing out, I hear mom start to get excited, and she smacks my arm and tells me to look.  So I look up.   There, in our rearview mirror, is this little blue car.   Blue car was coming in from the other side, at a much less severe angle, and they wanted the spot too.  This gave me the giggles.

I knew the little blue car probably wouldn’t get the spot… but wouldn’t it be cool? Ohhh, wouldn’t that just show our new “friend?”  But no. Things rarely seem to work out that way.  But… it’d be cool.

So I back out even slower, keeping an eye on both cars as I finally leave the parking space. There was definite tension.  I feel like we could have used some popcorn that day..

Finally out of the spot, I glanced in the mirror as we drove off….

 

And…. ZOOM! The little blue car zipped in and got it! What?! YES!

I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited in my life.  We both cheered, and hollered, and carried on.  I think I giggled the whole way home.    I did, immediately call my husband on speaker phone, and relay the whole incident, in between giggles. (For the record, he wasn’t as amused.)

I did feel a little bit bad.  I don’t think there was another spot anywhere. And he walked with a cane, so no doubt he needed a handicapped spot. (Though, history says he’ll just illegally park again, right?)

And I know it’s awful to wish misfortune on anyone. But I have no shame, it was so nice to see it fall back on someone else, instead of people yelling at me, or having to be super careful to avoid hitting cars that are parked where they shouldn’t be.

Now… to make this less of a bragging because someone else got gipped out of a spot post, does anyone know if the apps for reporting handicapped parking abuse actually work?  Does local law enforcement even really care about this type of thing? Is there a better way to report it?

Any suggestions or stories in the comments would be lovely. ❤

Do I have bad timing, or what?

Only me.  Ugh.   Let me tell you. . . 

 

I’ve been playing the idea of going vegan or plant based for a little over a year now. Probably longer, I kinda stopped counting. I have cookbooks, I’ve tried recipes…     Well, this month I finally decided to try it.  I’m going 100% vegan (though, I should and will say plant based, because I’m not going to be living a vegan lifestlyle, it’s just my diet at this point. And since it’s for health and not moral reasons, I probably won’t be eating the vegan ‘junk’ food as much. So really more plant based, but I’m getting off track… )  And if after a month, if I feel like I’m missing out, or if I feel like I’m not getting the energy/nutrients I need , then I’ll reevaluate.  (And for the love of God, if one person comments on protein….   I knew even before making the transition protein isn’t an issue. So I’ll save you the trouble.  Look up the RDA of protein for women.  Got it? (Hint: 10-30% of your daily calories should come from protein!) 

Now. Let’s look up some things.  Beans. Tofu. Peanut butter.  Whole wheat pasta. Oats (and by proxy, oat flour). Nutritional yeast (which is in a TON of vegan food. Dark greens. Mushrooms.. Potatoes….  

Etc, etc, ad nauseum, and so on and so forth until the cows come home.   Lots of protein sources that are eaten at many, if not all meals. So, we’re good.  🙂  Now, if we’re talking B12 and D3, then you have a valid argument, but I say to you : fortified nutritional yeast, and sunlight. 🙂  

Now. 

Moving on to the stupid part of my planning. 

Today, is the first day of Lent. 

I’ve never participated in Lent. Always assumed it a Catholic thing. (Which, is ridiculous now that I think about it. I’ve seen non Catholic friends with that ash mark before… Not sure why that didn’t click. But! It didn’t. 

Tosca Lee, an author I read (and am blessed enough to chat with on occasion – such a sweet woman.) put out a Lent Study Guide, based around Iscariot and bible verses .  I LOVE that book.  And I haven’t done a study in a while, so I figured — why not? I talked to a few friends about it; and their thoughts on it… and I decided to give it a shot. I don’t have any strong feelings or convictions against it… and if I do it once, it’s not a contract that says I need to do it yearly. So I’ll do it, and see how it goes and how I come out of it. 

Brilliant woman that I am, I decide that I’ll just use Lent to kick the animal product habit.  To which my husband, (who isn’t observing Lent, but is a mad perfectionist!) quickly reacts negatively.   I can’t do that – I’ll be cheating. I was thinking of giving them up anyway… so it doesn’t count. 

Really hate to admit it, but if you look at it from the religious viewpoint, that would sort of be a cop out. After all, it’s more about drawing closer to God and worship than about giving something up.  So, back to the drawing board. 

I had a few half baked ideas, but nothing that seemed to work.  Matt made some suggestions, but they weren’t quite right either. 

What in the world do I have or do, that I don’t need, but that I love, and going 40 days without would be challenging? 

And it hit me. 

And I hated it. 

I walked around for a day or two just shaking my head. No . Nope. Not happening. The stars aren’t aligned, Mercury either is or isn’t in retrograde – whatever would keep me from committing to this stupid, stupid idea. 

No. 

 

Which, of course, tells me that I’m sadly, on the right track. THAT adverse reaction to the idea of going without for 40 days?  (47 if you count Sundays… )  Yup.  That’s the winner. 

 

So, with a very sad heart, I’m waving goodbye to my sanity today. I am making it official. Not so I can brag, but so you all can call me on my crap, if I ‘forget’.   I’m ditching the coffee for 40 days. 

That hurt. That physically hurt to type, and I’m still wincing.  This, this will certainly be a trip. Not only have I tossed dairy and meat… but we’re adding coffee to the mix. And… AND… Im closing at the stinking coffee shop for the rest of the week.   I see soy hot chocolates in my future…… 

I should note. I cannot remember the last time I’ve gone more than a few days without coffee.   This will either be miraculous, or disastrous. 

But if I go down, I’m taking you all with me.   You’ve had a fair warning….

❤ 

What NOT to do when your husband is in California… furbaby edition.

This blog could alternatively be titled “How to Piss off a Musician,”  or, “Your Gateway to Marriage Counseling – In 4 Fuzzy Paw-printed Steps!”

Thankfully, no counseling was needed. But just barely.  Because the you-know-what-almost hit the fan.

Last summer, Matt went out-of-town with his band, The Secret Post.  They were gone for about a week.  Which, while it sucked on my end, because I’m somewhat more co-dependant than I’d care to admit, a week isn’t long enough to get into too much trouble. Even bill or money wise. Right?

Wrong.

One morning, I get to my mom’s house, and notice that there’s a laundry basket full of blankets against the wall.  I figure that one of my sister’s friends is doing their laundry here, so I roll my eyes a bit, but think nothing of it.  For the first 30 minutes I’m over, my mom is giving me this Look.

There’s no real way to explain it other than that. You probably know what the Look is.  It’s the look everyone flashes around when there’s a secret. Sonething is going on  – perhaps something big — and you missed it.  Too often, it’s something ridiculously obvious too. And yet, you still miss it.

Me, I’m blatantly oblivious. It took many Looks, mass amounts of giggling, and then some prompting to go investigate the seemingly harmless laundry basket.

Not blankets! Kitties! Can’t see it well, but there are 4 here!

 

Aaaahhhhh.

Now, I understand the giggling.

Austin had found these kittens at his house, so he’d scooped them up, and was letting the kids take care of them.   (Well, really just Treisha. Killian was at boy scout camp.  Boy, did he come home to a shock!)

So we had these fuzzballs. Who were freakishly loud… and ate every few hours.  We didn’t have kitten formula (later on that week, I got some. ) but we were mixing canned food with water, and dropper feeding it to them. Then there’s the potty business, but you don’t want to hear about that.

Their eyes were open, and they were little wigglers.  They didn’t move around much yet… that one took a few days.  The little black and white one , the biggest cat, got mobile first.   The others followed suit, and gradually started playing a bit.  They looked like drunken little cats, who weren’t used to their legs, but.  All things considered, not bad!

Except, the runt.

No, he isn’t a mouse. In fact, a mouse was probably bigger…

 

He didn’t eat as much, he didn’t move around as much… and he was SO much quieter than the others.   So of course, I got attached.

I started carrying him around, and making sure he was cared for (cuddled) properly.

What? He needed a place to sleep. Not like they had a bed or anything….

Eventually the black and white one, who we dubbed Houdini for his escape artist abilities. got a home.   Treisha and I , sick of calling the cats by color, decided to name them.  We were fairly confident that we could name them, and not get attached.

Mocha, who has since been renamed Marshmallow!

 

Macchiato.

And, we named my the runt Chai.

Yeah. So we got attached. What of it?!

 

Not long after that, my friend Alisha decided to adopt the above pictured girl cats, Mocha )now Marshmallow) and Macchiato.  Meaning, that the little runt was the only one left!

Naturally, my family kept asking me when I was gong to take him home.   Usually, while I was walking around with him. (Did you know you can cook meals, and use the bathroom without disturbing a sleeping kitten? It’s true!)

I scoffed at them, explaining that we already had two cats, and I wanted a bunny…. so there was NO WAY I could take this little one.

However, come Friday, I was going to be all alone for the weekend.   As was the little kitten over at my brother’s house.

It seemed obvious. I’d take little guy home with me, and then on Monday, I’d take him back.  All the while asking around to figure out who wanted a kitten.

Easy peasy . Except that my cats DIDN’T like him.

Things were going great, for a bit.  I’d given our two cats little mice as a peace offering… so I took a video of them playing with them…  and the little guy screamed through the whole thing.

So I get this phone call from Matt. A not-as-livid-as-I-expected phone call.   I explained what was going on, and he shook his head.   (Well. I imagine he did. There was a sigh, and a few unsavory words….. you get the idea.

He’d stay with me for the weekend. Anything else, would be discussed when he got home. (God, that phrase sucked as a kid coming from parents, and it sucks coming from a husband now. Sheesh.)

Meanwhile, my cousin came over, and we went to get take out.  Naturally, without a cat carrier, I had to carry the kitten with us.  Which sparked lots of conversation. Now, a good portion of the staff at Baja Jacks would ask every time we came in, if Matt had decided if we could keep the kitty. (Muahahaha.)

Our cats? Not impressed.

“Um. What IS THAT?” Ping Pong is confused.

“No. You take it back this instant, human. I already tolerate the black and white abomination…” Monster isn’t having any of it.

 

But all things considered, the cats got along pretty well.  For territorial, moody creatures, anyway.

 

Fast forward to the night that Matt got home from California. I’m excited. Chai is a ball of cute. Matt can’t hold out against it.  I’m SURE that it’ll go well.

Well.

It doesn’t.

Not only does the cat scream and cry all night…. but he promptly steps in the bowl of wet food, spilling it over onto the floor. (And, subsequently, caused my bleached jeans nightmare. Stupid Resolve carpet cleaner. ) Matt was ready to toss the cat out the window, I’m fairly certain. It was NOT a good night. Not in the least.

Eventually, Matt said we could test it for a month. There were some heavy conditions, and if it didn’t work – it didn’t work.  Nothing would convince him to keep it if it didn’t work.

So… a month came and went, and…. well….   I think this is an occasion where pictures speak louder and clearer than any words could.

 

Um. Yeah. He totally hates the cat.

 And I have to share a few more, because I’m going through old pictures… and this is just ridiculous.

LOOK AT THE TINY CAT.

 

Blog? What blog? This is kitty picture spam time.

 

Cute, tiny adorable, and fairly sweet and quiet.  What an adorable little — oh!

He likes all things mint/ menthol/beeswax. He’s a gum stealer.

 

Did we mention how well behaved he is?

He does ride very well in the car…

…oh…… this is why we call him Chai the Fierce…

Did we mention he has a body count?

 

 

But seriously. Don’t mess with Ozzy the penguin. He’ll get you.

 

“I long long walks, and hand drawn bubble baths..”

The kid’s a colossal mess.  He has a security penguin, and he refuses to use a dirty litterbox. He also ate a hairtie once… and we’ll just say it didn’t go well.

He’s also a bully that beats up on the poor little black and white cat more than I care to admit. He’s also a pig, and eats everyone’s food.

 

But, he’s literally like a child. We don’t think he realizes he’s a cat.  And even though we’re turning into crazy cat ladies , we couldn’t imagine NOT having the little fuzzball around. 🙂

And now I’ve written WAY  more than  I thought I’d ever write about a fuzzy cat, so I’m off to go nap. (We’re snowed in today. I’ve baked scones, drank coffee, blogged — now what will I do?!)

Naptime, folks. Stay safe if you’re out in it….

 

Not long ago, after a particular night out – I’d came to the decision that I just wasn’t happy with the way that I looked — or felt about how I looked, which you could argue is just as important.  Which, is not a fun place to be. I’ll spare you most of the details, (if nothing else , for the space!) but what it boiled down to, was that I would start out an evening/event feeling great – even confident sometimes.  But, by the end of whatever was going on, no matter what I was wearing or did makeup wise, I felt absolutely ridiculous next to everyone else.  Obviously, that’s a problem that’s going to be at least 75% mental… but that doesn’t make it any easier to tackle.

My poor husband had to listen to — and translate sniffly snobs — all of this one night.  I don’t know if it’s because he’s looking from the outside in, or if he’s just smarter than I am ;  but he came up with a semblance of a solution. Or, a starting point at least.

I’d mentioned that it frustrated me that I literally always buy the wrong shades of makeup.  And that aside from the basic, basic coverup and a bit of color, I was makeup clueless. Contouring? What’s that??! Wish I knew though. People do amazing things with JUST base makeup, highlighter, and blush. Forget the fancy theatrical stuff – I want the basics!!

So, here comes the bargain.  If I tossed every piece of makeup I owned — every single one — he’d take me and buy me a whole new set of makeup. Good quality makeup, at a place where they’d teach me how to apply it.

Which, was awesome.  I , of course, said yes. I’ve never bought a huge chunk of makeup together.  Well, no. That’s not true.  Before we got married, I bought Laura Mercier powder and concealer. $60. That’s the most expensive purchase I’ve made to date.   But honestly?  The thought of tossing everything I had absolutely terrified me.  Not that they’re amazing products – because to be honest, they aren’t.  But… I guess it’s that they’re more of backups. Makeup is SO expensive.  It breaks my heart (and wallet?) to throw any of it down.    I  mean, I have some eyeshadows that are years old. And some backup foundation that isn’t the right shade, but if mixed with lotion makes a tinted moisturizer…. and 5 lipsticks that if mixed with the ones in my holiday kit can come close to maybe looking good….

Okay. Nope. On second thought, it can all go. It’s probably not doing me much good.    I did though, keep my black eyeliner, and a red lipstick I bought the week before.  (With the concession that when the black went bad/ran out, I’d buy better quality black eyeliner.  )

So, after I did a ton ( A TON) of Googling, and watched a million makeup tutorial videos on basic looks, I had a somewhat well formed list of what I’d like to get together.  Then, had to promptly revamp the whole list.   Over half of it was from Carmindy’s makeup line, which of course, is now discontinued.  (A new one comes out in February though…)  So, I tried to just keep the general elements in mind, as we went to Sephora. Surely the girl helping me would be able to piece it all together, right?

Well, I was partially right anyway.  A little off on the gender part though….

At Sephora, I met my new best friend.   (Not really… but I could have kissed him when he got done. )

Holy gracious… this boy took me to school.  I felt like I had a Cinderella moment. Totally ridiculous.

We walked in, and were immediately approached by a consultant.  His eyes widened a little bit when I told him that I’d tossed all of my makeup, and needed to start over. With copious amounts of help and hand holding.   He nodded, and ran off.

Enter Larry, stage right.  Which , of course, made me nervous.   I haven’t always encountered people who know what they’re doing at Sephora. On occasion, I can tell I know more about a product just from Googling. And… I know nothing. So that’s always nerve wracking.   But, I figured I really didn’t have anything to lose.  Here’s hoping that this guy knew more about makeup than I did…

Thankfully, I didn’t need to worry.

He walked us over to the makeover studio area. It was really neat. Had a well lit mirror, (Perfect for cringing with a naked face!) comfy chairs, glass looking palettes to put the makeup on… really quite lovely.  He chatted with us for a minute, asked a few questions, gave me the once over, and took off.

In no more than ten minutes, this kid comes back with : foundation, concealer, setting powder, lipstick, blush, bronzer, an eyeshadow triad, eyeliner, and mascara.

Everything except one shade of lipstick (from a holiday kit, he just wanted to test it out) was the perfect shade.

I kid you not.  5 minutes with me, and he’s  seeing/ doing things that I’ve not been able to figure out in 27 years!

Honestly, it was all very basic, everyday wear colors.  But I seriously, felt like a new person.   My complexion was even… the eye colors really made my eyes pop out – and I did NOT look like an Oompa Loompa with the bronzer.  ( I gave up on bronzer about ten years ago…)  I couldn’t believe it. I’ve NEVER been able to do anything like that.  I mean, it was like comparing a stick figure picture, with a portrait.

The crazy thing was… it didn’t seem like he was doing much different than I was . Just little tweaks here and there in the application. (Having the right shades probably helped, too.)  For example, he used a huge fluffy brush to apply liquid foundation. I would have NEVER done that. Ever!

Needless to say , we ended up buying almost everything he put on me. We didn’t get the shimmer setting powder – we opted to get a starter kit that came with the foundation, slightly smaller setting powder and primer. Plus a small fluffy brush.

I’m still not up to Larry’s skill level, but I’m getting there. AND, I’ve started getting better with the filling in of eyebrows.  Though, it’s a little funny. With my now-purple hair, the normal colored powder is way too light. So, I fill them in the best I can, and then after I do my eyeliner – I take the smudgy brush I used on it, and go over my eyebrows.  Eggplant color, turns out, complements purple hair fairly well, without looking cartoon-y. 🙂

At first, I didn’t notice a huge difference. Which , was a touch disheartening.  But, I also was snapping pictures with a horrid camera phone. So, really I shouldn’t be surprised. 🙂   Anyway. I did notice in a picture a friend posted – silly expression aside!  Here, I’ll share.

a

Before… Not horrible, but very flat. I knew concealer and foundation. Sorta, anyway. 🙂

A picture my friend Rebecca snapped while pumpkin carving. Not the best picture of me ever, but you can definitely tell a bit of difference. Nothing drastic, just looks a little .. well, less flat. I love it.

So, it’s definitely a work in progress. And some days are really frustrating, because I -don’t- have any fun colors.  Silver eye shadow is on my “i-need-this” list. As is a blue. Maybe a green….

But.  Now that I have all this ‘big girl’ makeup, we put some ‘rules’ on makeup purchases.  To make sure that this doesn’t end up happening again. 1) No more cheap makeup.  Which, I tend to forget, and want to buy drugstore makeup.  But, then Matt reminds me of my talent for buying wrong shades. (It’s a super power really, someone call the League!)  And 2) Anything I want to buy, I need to either try on in store, or get a sample to take home. Whichever is more practical.  Which, really, is a good idea anyway.  Especially since it requires that someone show me how to use it.  I very much like that part..

So, we’ll see how it goes.  For now, I’m pretty happy. I don’t feel like I’m playing dress up or putting on a mask when I put makeup on – just feel like I’m accenting features I already have. That’s a definite plus.   And, I’m working on what I eat, and working out… trying to not ‘look pretty’, but to feel happy with myself, and pick up some confidence I lost somewhere.   Only. as I type this, I did NOT work out this morning, and I had Baja Jacks’ nachos last night for dinner. So, we’re talking a work in progress. 🙂

Though, you’d be surprised at how much a shiny purple curly mohawk seems to temporarily help the confidence department. 😉

Making a conscious effort to blog more.  I ‘owe’ my husband a million blogs I said I’d do.  He’s promised me a literal tour of local coffee shops this winter, if I get caught up. Bless you poor souls reading this, you have a LOT ahead of you to read.  Just remember that I love you… -T

Scavenger Hunt? Yes, please.

I LOVE scavenger hunts. They were awesome as a kid, and in my eyes – still are. To be honest,  I’m a sucker for anything cheesy. Which, sucks sometimes, because more often than not, Matt is the exact opposite. He’s not super cheesy/touchy feely.  (Poor guy, and he got stuck with me – the epitome of cheesy, Disney/Lifetime movie person.) 

 

So, the times when his cheesy side pokes out, I love it.  Not long ago, we had one of those moments. (Ok. So it was a while ago. I’m just lazy, and haven’t written! Oops..) 

 

Remember my last blog post? About creepy writing in the shower? 

Okay. Well, let’s revisit that concept.   A few days before the word ‘blog’ ended up scrawled over my shower. I was getting ready to take a shower. I hop in, and about had a heart attack. 

On the far side of the shower, there were some words scrawled, in red and purple shower crayon.  (Now, when you’ve been watching your husband play Silent Hill video games for the past week or so… this screws with your head. )   I’m not proud, I can admit I sheepishly shrunk from the shower, and poked my head back into the bedroom. 

I  must have looked significantly creeped out, because Matt was on the bed, looking at me with mock innocence.  (Don’t you hate it when your SO does that? No one buys that angelic “I didn’t do it!” look. NO ONE.)  I might have asked him to take a shower with me because the weird writing on the wall freaked me out. But, none of you were there, so you can’t prove a thing. 

Anyway. After I didn’t ask my husband to shower with me because I was a baby, he of course didn’t say no, and tell me to go shower on my own. 

He did however, mention that it was a clue. 

A clue? A clue for WHAT?! 

I let my inner 5 year old out, and I hopefully asked if it was a scavenger hunt. He said yes, it was; so I, being the mature adult that I am, started asking a million questions. None of which, were answered. 

So, I hopped back into the shower, and started to think.  The (creeptastic) writing on the wall said:  “Find me standing among the stones.” 

Now, I thought I had this in the bag.   The ONLY place inside our house with anything close to ‘stones’, would be the fireplace. It was brick… but it was as close as I could get. (Thinking back? This was a pretty dumb leap. But that’s okay. 

After drying off, I tried unsuccessfully to elicit a clue or confirmation of my idea from Matt before searching the living room.  On the way there, I made a mental note that the light in the spare room was on. Odd, since Matt’s usually a stickler for turning all the lights off.

Of course, once in the living room, I didn’t find anything.  Which, made it all the more disappointing when I was told that I wouldn’t have to look very hard to find what I was looking for. 

I glanced around in the kitchen and spare room. Nothing. 

What the heck were these ‘stones’?   I started rambling off guesses while pacing. According to Matt, I was thinking too hard.  He told me I’d already missed one clue.  Would he tell me what it was? No. Of course not…

 

  After a bit, I mentioned that I had seen the spare room light was on.  The look he gave me wasn’t unlike one you’d give a toddler when they missed something really obvious. 

Whoops. Guess that one WAS pretty obvious. 

Still not understanding the initial clue , I searched the room, and eventually found something wrapped in tissue paper in the closet. 

Tissue paper that looked suspiciously cup shaped…..  

All of a sudden, I knew what I was searching for. And I giggled, and I ran through the house like a little kid.  I have zero shame in telling you that.  

We’d been to the Disney store not long before that, and Matt had seen me drooling over the Designer Collection Barbie Dolls. We weren’t going to buy any of them — prices and competition for them was insane.  What I did decide I wanted though, were the coffee cups with the Designer artwork on them.  They were gorgeous!

 

ImageWe’d discussed it, and we were going to try to collect them.  Maybe buying one each time we went to the mall?  Obviously we wouldn’t buy all 5 at once. Disney is proud of their coffee cups. That’d be a significant chunk of change… 

But.. here I was, with a thing I was 99% sure was a coffee cup. With another hint written on it! Logic would say, that the next thing I’d find would be a coffee cup too. Right?

In the end, only two hints made perfect sense to me — the others, I had to defer to Matt for help.  We just tend to think about things differently.  Example? The stones mentioned in the first clue? Milestones.  In our spare room, on a closet shelf, Matt has several unopened CD’s  and movies that have had significant meaning at different points in his life.  He made the connection, while I didn’t have a clue.  I don’t mind though– the different ways of thinking – while sometimes a royal pain; definitely keeps life interesting.  

At the end of the hunt. I had 4 coffee-cup-shaped packages.  Turns out, they were 4 out of the 5 Princess mugs!  They had been out of the Ariel mug, and Matt had ordered that one online.  (She arrived safe, and is living in the cupboard happily with our other Disney mugs… )

It completely made my night. Not only did I get my first collection of mugs (which makes me endlessly happy. Happier than I should be- I’m such a Disney nerd…) but Matt indulged my cheesy side. I couldn’t have been happier – even if there hadn’t have been the mugs. 🙂

And… just so you all know, I’m sighing inwardly as I write this.  Matt’s in the midst of recording another album… and drums set up this coming weekend.  I’m going to be rereading this blog a few times between now and then …. reminding myself of how much I love my husband, and do NOT want to complain about the presence of drums in the house… 😉