Saturday, April 26, 2008

Spring Cleaning

The weather is finally warming up here in the Northeast, and I'm getting that itch to dig out from under the clutter that has accumulated over the Winter. Little piles of mail here and there. Catalogs I've been meaning to look through. Magazines that I haven't quite had the time to read.

Before you know it, you wind up on Oprah in one of those "desperate hoarders" shows.

So, I've spent the morning trying to dig out from under. This time, though, I recruited the kids to help (gotta love that free child labor).

Today, I introduced them to the 27 Fling Boogie from FlyLady. It makes a huge difference in de-cluttering a room quickly, without getting overwhelmed. I had forgotten how helpful that website is.

The "27-Fling Boogie" is where you set a time limit (usually 15 minutes) and go through a cluttered room, gathering up 27 things that can be thrown out. It sounds a little nuts but it really works. It forces you to really assess things that are in the room, and ask yourself, "Do I really need to hold onto this, or can I pitch it?" My 11-year-old just did the "boogie" in her room, and good lord, you can actually start to see her desk now. Progress!

Okay, break's over...time to tackle another mountain of disorganization.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

A pretty girl...

...growing up fast.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Earth Day

Monday, April 21, 2008

Welcome Signs of Spring

A couple of weeks ago, I was freaked out by the discovery of wasp nests in my attic. Fortunately, I had them taken care of before they became active for the season.

So now, I can actually look forward to some of the more welcome signs of Spring:

Cherry blossoms in bloom

The return of our beautiful mallards from their southern respite

A curious chipmunk

Thanks to RichYak, my dear dh, for the great pics!

Recession? What Recession??

Last week, local gas prices jumped 20 cents in just 2 days. Given the steady declines in our economy--the prime mortgage mess, massive layoffs on Wall Street, low consumer spending, more retailer and airline bankruptcies announced every day--this wasn't exactly surprising.

Unless you're George Bush, that is.

No matter how much the current administration tries to deny it, this country is in deep trouble. The economic stimulus package is too little, too late. As much as Bush tries to deny that we're in a recession (as he did at this news conference back in February), those of us who don't have private jets and federally-subsidized health care and a huge ranch out in Texas funded by old-money oil profits know better.

It's not just the national indicators that cause me concern. It's the day-to-day proof that I'm faced with as I go about my usual routine. There's been the sudden onslaught of coupons and "Big Blowout SALE!" coupons littering my mailbox from local merchants, desperately trying to drum up business. The ample parking spots at malls and shopping centers, even during their "busy" time. Last week, there were no lines in the children's department at Macy's--usually a notorious time-wasting vortex filled with noisy clusters of the stroller-set--even though it was their much-touted "Red Star Event." The place was like a ghost town. I must admit, I couldn't remember the last time I'd been there myself, but I think it was before Christmas.

I'm at the point in my life where I've lived long enough to see the typical "economic slumps" and their subsequent rebounds. This is different, no matter what the Powers That Be would have us believe. The recession isn't some spectre looming in the distance. It's already here.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Tiger's Turn

Okay, like, is this thing on, or what?

So, I'm hearin' that my brother Mittens got a chance to blog on here for his birthday, and I was all, "Hey, when's my turn?" and he's all, "You suck, you don't get a turn" and I'm like, "Oh says YOU" and he's all, "Whatever" so I go, "That's not what yo momma said last night" and he's all, "I'm outta here" and I'm like, "I know you are, but what am I?"

I may be younger than him, and smaller than him, but I know the 411 on Mom's PayPal password, and can log onto to order up a ten-spot's-worth of catnip anytime I want. Eat that, furball.

WHOA, what was that noise?!?

Okay, I'm back...had to go hide under the couch for a sec. That was a close one. The washing machine turned to the rinse cycle and made that wrrrussssh sound that I hate. Scary stuff. I'm never quite sure if its the machine, or if it's a gigantic space alien landing on the roof to suck my brains out, you know? Better safe than sorry. Good thing I peed on the curtains in the dining room earlier, otherwise that could have been really embarrassing.

*yawwwwwwn* sheesh, I'm beat already. Freaking out for no apparent reason can be SO draining.

I think I'll take a quick nap, and blog more another time. 'Night all!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Some wisdom from Shel Silverstein

Lately, my 7-year-old is obsessed with the poetry of Shel Silverstein. She loves his whimsy and his silliness. She's read The Giving Tree many times, so she likes his serious side, too.

Today, I purchased Falling Up for her. As I took it from the shelf--thinking to myself, "When the heck am I ever going to see one of MY books on a bookstore shelf?"--the book fluttered open to page 65. I'm convinced the poem that's printed there was meant as a kick in butt to me, to stop procrastinating and get back to editing my novel-in-progress.


All the Woulda-Coulda-Shouldas
Layin' in the sun,
Talkin' bout the things
They woulda-coulda-shoulda done...
But those Woulda-Coulda-Shouldas
All ran away and hid
From one little did

Enough feet dragging already. It's time to get that novel whipped into shape and sub it out. Thanks, Shel.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Creepy corporate logos

While watching TV this afternoon, we saw a commercial featuring the Burger King Guy. My 7-year-old shuddered as she watched, and asked, "Why do they have to make him so creepy?"

Hey little want fries with that? Heh heh heh...

I wish I knew the answer to that question, because the kid has a point. He IS super-creepy.

She also wondered why the makers of Cookie Crisp cereal (please, she does eat fruit and veggies, too) switched the character on their boxes to the scary-looking wolf. The old character used to be a lovable little dog bearing a cookie sheet full of chocolatey goodness.

Cookie Crisp, old version

The wolf, on the other hand, looks like he's ready to devour the cereal and then jump off the box and disembowel you right at the kitchen table.
Cookie Crisp, new version

I wonder what the thinking is behind these menacing logos. Is it for shock value, or are they really that clueless when it comes to picking out characters that appeal to kids?

Monday, April 7, 2008


We had our annual "Spring Tune-Up" done for the central air conditioning, and the tech found evidence of some "invaders" in the attic.

Right where some pipes meet the roofline, there's a gap, and yellow jackets or wasps have been coming in and setting up shop. Last summer, we found an occasional wasp in my daughter's bedroom, which is right below this spot, but we assumed they were getting in through the window.

Nope. They found a spot where the pipes are either leaking or retaining moisture from the roof, so that they have a perfect water source throughout the hot summer months.

The insects are dormant at this time of year, but not for long. I have an exterminator arriving any minute to eliminate the nests (and make SURE there are no sleeping critters having a siesta up there), and then it's time to get some roofers in here to plug up the holes.

Do yourself a favor: have a peek up in your attic over the next few days, before the weather starts warming up. Now is the time to clean this stuff out and secure your house!

Friday, April 4, 2008

Guest blogger today: Mittens

Oh. It's you. Hey.

So, if you came here expecting to hear from Lisa today, you're up a scratching post without your front claws, 'cause she's not here. In honor of my 8th birthday, she's allowing me the privilege of being a guest blogger on her site.

Well, actually, that's not true. The truth is, she's in the other room getting herself another cup of coffee (caffeine-addicted wench) and she left her browser window open, so I have to make this quick. The keyboard on this Mac makes it tough to type (I'm a PC feline, myself) so forgive any typos.

So, today is my 8th birthday. Whoopdy-frickin'-doo. Cats don't really celebrate birthdays, per se, because EVERY day is our special day. If only you humans would treat us as the gods we truly are, the world would be a much better place. The Ancient Egyptians were so wonderful in that regard. *sigh* The good old days.

Of course, my Amy has something special planned for me. She thinks I don't know, but she does it every year. I have the whole, "What?!? Oh, you guys, is this for ME?" look downpat, so I'll have to be sure to trot it out later when she "surprises" me with some wet food in a crystal serving dish with one of those flaming wax sticks in the middle that I hate. A candle, she calls it. Every year she tells me to make a wish, and every year, I wish she'd take the darn thing and pitch it right at Tiger--just for laughs, mind you--but she never does. She ends up blowing it out and giving me a scratch behind the ears, which was the other thing I would have wished for anyway.

Some of you might be wondering if cat years work the same way that dog years do. Let me clear up any misconceptions right now: THEY DON'T. In fact, there is absolutely NOTHING feline that even remotely compares to anything canine. Got that? Good.

In cat years, I'm as old as I damn well want to be. Humans could take a lesson from us cats, I tell you that right now. No mid-life crises or existential melt-downs when you're a cat. You just live your lives (all 9 of them) and take each day as it comes. Don't think about what's happened in the past (that old couch needed shredding anyway) and don't worry about the future (I've got a hairball due to arrive in about an hour, yet do I look worried?). Just live for the moment, and remember:

Cats rule.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to do some serious lounging in the front hall. But don't worry--as soon as that hairball starts to show itself, I'll make sure I move to the rug in the dining room. Wouldn't want to mess up the nice tile floor, now would we.

Ha! (sorry, cat humor. Most humans don't get it. S'okay.)

I'm outta here. Later, peeps.


Tuesday, April 1, 2008

My least favorite day of the year

April Fool's Day: the one day a year where usually-sane people seem to think it's perfectly okay to make someone else look and/or feel foolish.

I love to laugh, and appreciate all types of humor, but I never did understand the appeal of "practical jokes." Shows like Punk'd and Candid Camera always seemed sad and desperate to me.

Only 16 more hours to go. Oy.