Wednesday, December 31, 2008



For once, we have big plans for New Year's Eve. Got bowl tix and a room reserved downtown at the team hotel. I hope this goes well. Let me tell you why I'm nervous about this game. Because it is TECH playing in a BOWL.

Not enough, you say? OK, there's more: It's the Peach Bowl (no matter what they call it now, this particular bowl is not among the fifteen different bowls that Tech has won in the past). We're favored. And ranked. And playing an unranked opponent. And the fanbase has grown cocky and confident. And lots of people are picking us to win. And this is TECH playing in a BOWL (look up our bowl record of late). See? All the makings of an Epic Fail. I hope I'm worrying for nothing. We do have a helluva coach now, and some motivated players who want to end the season on a high note. But LSU is the defending national champ. They still have a lot of those same players. This game makes me nervous.

Have you figured out what you're going to do with that extra second we're getting this year? There is still plenty of time to plan. Whatever you decide to do, I wish you a happy New Year. Cheers!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry and Bright

forest of light
Happy Christmas and Merry Holidays from Fermicat and the kittenses.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Eat Mor Chikin

eat mor chikin

Silvio loves him some cow.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

So what would happen?

...if we just said "screw it" to getting any Christmas cards mailed out this year?

I'm pretty sure the world won't end, but if it does, please accept my apologies in advance. My bad.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Some Serious Change



That is how much change we have rolled up after today's session, not counting the dollar coins. My old silver dollars have sentimental value. The oldest dates to 1899. But all the other coins are just a nuisance.

We haven't dealt with our spare change in a couple of years, and it shows. We had several stashes around the house, not including what we keep at work and in our cars. And there was already a large amount of previously rolled coins that we never did anything with.

A pile of metal isn't easy to deal with as a unit of exchange. We'll be converting the stash into Christmas gifts and charitable contributions very soon.

If you haven't scrounged around your house, cars, coat pockets, couch cushions and other hidden places for spare change lately, I suggest you give it a try. You will be surprised how much money you might have just lying around.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Mrack! Meow! Mwoooowwwww!

Silvio has been getting the midnight cat crazies in a very vocal way lately. Last night was no exception. He was napping peacefully on our bed until about 12:20am. Then he turned into demon spawn -- stampeding through the house, howling, meowling, knocking over stuff, and terrorizing the other cats.

He had no trouble getting up early this morning for Round Two. The humans... not so much.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

'Tis the Season...

...for procrastination.

I haven't done much about whittling down the list of gifts I need to buy. Even after deciding to do it mostly online, I am not feeling any sort of inspiration. I want to find unique and original things for people, but I don't even know where to start. Other than a few very cool things I picked up at an arts festival, I have only gotten a couple of other items. There is a long list to work through. I'd like to do a good job and find things that the people I love will really enjoy. This is probably one of those situations where my near total aversion to shopping of any kind is getting me into trouble. If you never set foot in a store, you generally don't ever see things that you think someone else might like. Then you sit in front of your computer like an idiot, wondering where to look and what might be out there. *sigh*

And Christmas cards? Yeah, haven't even started.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Moxy Has Moxie

watching you

Unlike Silvio, Moxy took the crowded house in stride last week. She was comfortable in spite of the chaos and friendly with everyone. Plus, she had all the toys to herself and lots of people to play with her. Silvio spent most of the long weekend hiding in the closet and under the bed. Zima was outside sunning herself and chasing critters during those brief intervals when she wasn't napping.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

The Evening Sky

moonrise at dusk
The last of our family left today and we had a quiet evening alone for the first time in more than a week. And the robocalls have finally ceased (runoff election was today). Ahhhhh, silence.

Did you catch the conjunction of Jupiter and Venus with the crescent Moon last night? The thin cloud layer obscured the view of the planets here, but they are still dancing with each other tonight, even though the moon has moved on. Jupiter and Venus will slowly pull away from each other in the coming days. Look toward the constellation of Sagittarius just after sundown to see the pair shining bright.

My photos of the sky tonight didn't turn out well (no tripod handy), so I've posted a shot of the October full moon instead. I worked late that day and the rising moon greeted me when I walked out of the building. Instant mood changer. As for the conjunction, here is what it looked like for people with clearer skies than ours.

UPDATE 12/4: Astronomy Picture of the Day had an outstanding photo of the conjunction taken from Austria. It shows the Moon just before and after occulting Venus.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Pic Four

It's been a while since I've been tagged. Dr. Sardonicus did the honors this time.

The deal is to look at your "My Pictures" directory, pick the fourth photo no matter what it is, post it and then write four things about the photo. Then you tag four other people. I had to create a workaround, since my "My Pics" directory is full of a hierarchy of subdirectories. Instead, I looked into an image archive location on my D-drive that has a more or less random selection of stuff in it. That directory has some of my cropped and retouched images for posting and also is a bit of a dumping ground for images I grab off the internet for whatever reason.

snowy adirondack chairs

1. These Adirondack chairs were hand-crafted for me by my former next-door-neighbor in Massachusetts. They are identical to a set that he has been using daily in his yard for years. They are very comfortable to sit in.

2. The first Adirondack chairs were designed over a hundred years ago and were made of 11 pieces of wood that were cut from a single board. The deep slant of the seat accommodated placement on a steep slope. Originally they had a straight back and seat, but today's versions usually feature rounded seats and backs. The wide arm rests have been retained, and are a great place to rest food and drinks.

3. Since I moved these chairs to Georgia, they have an irresistible attraction for carpenter bees. Even though these bees do not sting, they still freak me out.

4. This amount of snow has been known to cause mass panic in Atlanta, Georgia.

I won't tag anyone specifically - if this meme appeals to you, then do it. Many of my blogger friends have been tagged already.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Pinch Me

Jackets win 45-42 between the hedges, and finish the regular season 9-3.

I still can't quite believe that third quarter comeback, but the long dry spell is finally over. Thank you Coach Paul Johnson for "getting it" about the rivalry, thank you DRad for hiring him, and thank you Yellow Jackets for playing a full 60 minutes and gutting out the win.

Happy now. And I don't have to take any crap from Georgia fans for at least 364 days.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Silvio's about a have a bad week.

We're hosting the big T-Day family gathering this year, and the most of the gang arrives tomorrow... with kids. Thirteen people for dinner, and eleven people sleeping here (including us). Silv was bashful with just PDM's older brother here last night. He'll probably spend the next few days quivering under the bed. Or maybe he'll finally grow a set and get over it. The girl cats do just fine, thankyouverymuch.

I took this week off, so preparations have gone on at a leisurely pace. Having company over forces you to clean things up. Having overnight company means you have to clean up stuff that rarely sees the light of day, such as the bottom shelf of the 'fridge. It's amazing how much expired stuff can accumulate -- and we had already kinda sorta cleaned out the old food last week (or so we thought).

I've done my best to ferret out all the hidden cat hair and other dirt. The linens are clean, and the cobwebs have been removed. The case+ of "two buck chuck" (only the best wine for my family!) has been lovingly selected from Trader Joe's, along with some crackers, cookies, nuts, and cheeses. I've got all the stuff we need to make hot bourbon-laced cider. All we need is a few last minute groceries and a beer run. Let the invasion begin!

Happy T-Day to all, and remember: TO HELL WITH GEORGIA!!!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

11/23/93 - Fifteen Years

I still miss my Dad.

Most of the time it's a dull ache; other times it still has bite. I do know this -- you never completely get over it. Maybe some people do, but I won't.

Fall is when I miss him the most. His birthday in October when leaves start to fall, the death date in November when the trees begin to look stark and bare. Every year I remember it like it happened yesterday. The cold, harsh, sunny day when it happened. The crushing migraine and tears. The numbness that followed.

So much water under the bridge. But, really, no time at all.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Clean, Old Fashioned Hate

It's rivalry week. Get your hate on.


Oh yeah, and GO VIRGINIA!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Zima in the sun with highlights

zima in the sun

When Zima isn't basking in the sun being petted, she likes to watch highlights of Georgia Tech football. She's a true blue fan.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


It wasn't just good. It was great.

The U at The I

Tonight. I'll be there. Freezing my butt off. Damn, this better be good...

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Tuesday is the new Saturday

I took today off as a comp day, since I spent all day at work Saturday not getting things done around the house. After allowing myself twenty minutes with some hot tea and the newspaper, I hit the ground running and didn't stop all day. I got surprisingly little checked off my list, although it should be vastly easier to clean the house for our Thanksgiving guests next week. I spent most of the day deep cleaning. I hate how it takes all that work just to get back to status quo (clean house, no cobwebs or cat hair). I only got a tiny bit of work done on the new bathroom. It is functional now, but I will save the picture show until we have painted and installed all the new hardware.

My reward was going to see Zack and Miri Make a Porno at the local movie tavern with a friend. (Getting out of the house was the only way I was gonna stop working -- I was obsessed.) The movie was fun. Raunchy of course, but the underlying story is actually kind of sweet. It was a good choice. We both needed to laugh and this movie delivered. Plus, I had wine and a quesadilla. And came home to a very clean house. Life is good.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

A Yellow Wood

a yellow wood

We live in a yellow wood in autumn. Makes me think of Robert Frost and "The Road Not Taken". It's very pretty, until the leaves fall. Then it becomes a ton of work moving the leaves around.

My back hurts, and I had almost no spare time this weekend. I could tell you about how frustrating my 12-hour day was at work with the water tank on Saturday and the part I couldn't find, or bitch about all the yard work we did today, or complain about the hours we spent removing the upstairs bathroom shower doors while we still have a construction dumpster in our driveway to throw them in. But instead, I choose to bring you this:

Gathering Leaves

Spades take up leaves
No better than spoons,
And bags of leaves
Are light as balloons.

I make a great noise
Of rustling all day
Like rabbit and deer
Running away.

But the mountains I raise
Elude my embrace,
Flowing into my arms
And into my face.

I may load and unload
Again and again
'Till I fill the whole shed,
And what have I then?

Next to nothing for weight;
And since they grow duller
From contact with earth,
Next to nothing for color.

Next to nothing for use.
But a crop is a crop,
And who's to say where
The harvest shall stop?

-Robert Frost

Whenever you want to feel grounded and still let your spirit soar, I recommend that you read some Frost. I find his poetry especially suitable in autumn.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

What I'll be doing instead of having fun this Friday and Saturday

this is what I do
This is how I will be spending my Friday evening, rather than having fun with good company, good food, and a glass of wine. Once a year, every medical accelerator has to have an extensive round of testing done. This tank is a "water phantom". It is pictured here with a Varian 21-EX linear accelerator. The water phantom is used for a variety of tests and calibrations. I'll be doing much of this work after hours on Friday and continuing on into Saturday.

Catblogging will continue when I am less busy.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

"Would you like to save 10% on today's purchase?"

No, I would like for you to STOP ASKING ME THAT QUESTION every time I come in here.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Backaches and Improbable Statements

The amount of work I get done around the house and yard on a given weekend is directly proportional to the intensity of the backache that inevitably results. I got a lot done this time. There is not enough naproxin sodium in the world to fix this. Now I'm sitting here with a hot pack wrapped around my lower back. I hadn't planned to work in the yard at all on Saturday, but the Tech game was such a crapfest that I went outside to burn off my frustration. For three hours. At top speed. *sigh* I was pretty mad.

At one point, I had to go get PDM and ask "Hey honey, can you move this toilet so I can get to the lawnmower?" Then I cracked up. Never thought I'd have to say something like that. That ranks right up there with the redneck classic: "Can you move this transmission so I can take a bath?" The bathroom construction project is still going on, and we have bath fixtures all over the place. Including the carport storage room, right in front of the lawnmower.

It wasn't all drudgery, although our fun plans for today were scuttled by my waking up with a sore throat -- we were supposed to spend the day on the lake in a friend's boat. That didn't seem like a great idea given the cool temps and my possible cold or whatever this is. We stayed home and painted the wainscoting in the new bathroom instead. But I did get to see my sister. She spent last night with us during an Atlanta layover. We went out to dinner, then watched Clerks II and drank the bottle of Bordeaux she brought back from Paris. Classy, no? Nothing goes with "ass to mouth" dialog like fancy French wine.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Silvio 2.0 and extras

silvio and moxy

Silvio is back to his old self again. Well, almost. The hair will grow back. But not the other stuff...

Oh, and just for LL (and The Offended Blogger, and Kathleen, and Kat again, and JennyLu, and The Offended Blogger, and Kat yet again), here is an extra special addition to this week's catblogging post:

If you can't get enough cheesy 80s video madness (or Adam Ant), how about Strip? And I dare you to watch Goody Two Shoes without at least tapping your toes.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


Here's to the millions of people who helped make history. Yes we can!

Monday, November 03, 2008

Hopes and Fears

It is Election Eve. I've already done my part -- I waited in line for one hour and forty five minutes early last Thursday morning to cast my ballot during Georgia's "advance voting" period. PDM did the same later in the day and waited for two hours and twenty five minutes. That is a lot of time to wait in line to cancel each other's vote!! But only on the top of the ticket. I would be willing to bet that we had a lot of the same choices on the ballot initiatives and other down-ballot items. We're pretty much on the same page about local issues.

I am a high information voter. I've read a lot of articles and blog posts over the last year, from a lot of different sources. The general flavor of the arguments is that Obama supporters tell you why you should vote for Obama, and McCain supporters tell you why you should vote against Obama. It is hope versus fear. The classic battle. Well, you know what? I'll take hope over fear any day. If that means I'm "drinking the koolaid", then pass the pitcher.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

No More Conehead

I removed Silvio's e-collar today for the first time in three weeks. A very thorough round of grooming took place immediately, followed by rolling around on the rugs and some play time. (The cat. Not me. Just wanted to clear that up.)

The dude abides. (Yes, he's still a dude. It's the attitude, not the equipment. Plus he still has that pesky Y-chromosome.)

Saturday, November 01, 2008


...was the last time that Georgia Tech beat FSU. Until tonight. After the game, the students rushed the field. I approve! The team deserves it. They won in spite of being way down into their depth chart because of injuries, both before this game and during it.

swarming the field

Before the game, we had our usual tailgating party. PDM made bite-size Jamaican jerk chicken, and it absolutely ROCKED. You want some, don't you?

jerk chicken

And to top off my excellent football weekend, Florida creamed Georgia (sorry Jenny) and got their revenge for that ridiculous stunt that UGA pulled last year. Unlike last weekend, I am looking forward to reading the AJC sports page tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Silvio's Stitches...

...are out!

The patient is still in solitary confinement, with his e-collar on until Sunday at the earliest. He'll get a taste of freedom then, under our supervision. Assuming that he doesn't do anything bad to his privates, and that he stops his "protest peeing" in unapproved locations, life will start to get back to normal for him.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Big Receipts

No, I don't mean the dollar amount. I mean the actual physical size. Receipts have grown in recent years. Especially grocery store receipts. Good gawd! There are several linear feet of extras in those stupid things. Coupons, surveys, and all manner of unwanted crap.

I save all receipts, at least temporarily. I enter them into Quicken, and keep 'em until statements arrive and everything matches. Durable goods receipts get put into a file, in case we need to take things back or prove when we purchased an item. Everything else gets binned for eventual shredding in a month or two. The smaller receipts are the easiest the deal with. Size, not dollar value. Just give me the basics. Gas station receipts are the best. Tiny size. No extras. Grocery stores are the worst. Way too much stuff, nothing terribly important. *sigh*

And why is it so hard to find the DATE and TOTAL? Those two bits of data are the only things I care about on most receipts. Would it kill companies to make them bold, or larger font? It takes far too long to find these amidst all the clutter. Inefficient! FAIL.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Fall Foods

Fall is the best time of the year for cooking up some great meals. Shorter days bring you inside earlier. The cooler weather makes it OK heat up your kitchen again. Sure, summer has dynamite fresh produce and is a great time to create cool salads and other less cooked fare. Maybe fire up the grill outdoors for the meat. But fall has the apple harvest and tailgating, the beers and sausages of Octoberfest, festivals and hot cider, and that huge turkey dinner. It is the time that we welcome hearty meals and comfort food. I start to crave substantial eats -- with roasted root veggies, cold weather crops, savory sausages and meats, sauces and gravies, mashed potato, and hot soup. It is a perfect time to cook up something spicy, or maybe a touch exotic, with strong flavors. There are still fresh herbs in the garden, just waiting for that last harvest before the first frost. We have basil, sage, thyme, chives and rosemary that need to be used before they go dormant for the season.

As I type, I am roasting a butternut squash and shallots in oil, seasoned with sea salt and freshly ground peppercorns. I'm trying a new recipe: southwestern butternut squash soup. After the roasting, the squash mixture will be pureed with chicken broth and cooked with cumin, lime juice, honey, minced chipotle in adobo sauce, and heavy cream. I'll throw in fresh chopped cilantro just before serving. I hope it is as yummy as it sounds.

I still miss the butternut crab bisque that I used to get at Margaux's Deli in Southbridge, Massachusetts. That would be a recipe worth searching for. Maybe I'll do that soon, because Fall is a great time for cooking, and what's not to love* about crab bisque?

* For the record, PDM is not crazy about cream sauces and bisque. Or crab. But he eats it if I cook it, which makes him a good sport, don't you think?

Friday, October 24, 2008

A creative endorsement, with nostalgia.

There have been some unusual endorsements so far this election, like Colin Powell, Christopher Buckley, and Scott McClellan. But the one below gets high marks for style and originality! If you can't trust Opie or Richie Cunningham, who can you trust? How about Sheriff Andy Taylor and the Fonz? Aaaaaaaay.

See more Ron Howard videos at Funny or Die

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Poor, poor pitiful he.

poor, poor pitiful he

Silvio is doing well. I can't say he is happy, but I did pick him up some good drugs today to help him get through the next week and a half. (My motives are not pure. I expect that his drugs will help us get through it also! He has been hard to handle since the painkillers ran out.) He REALLY wants to lick the surgical site, and he can't be allowed to for even a second. He's bored and so over the e-collar. It cannot be taken off, so we have to hand feed him. I come home during lunch time every day to check on him and make sure he hasn't hurt himself or gotten into trouble. Like when he gets his front paw stuck through the neck of the e-collar. Troublemaker!

He has ways of letting us know he isn't happy. Mostly involving inappropriate urination. Like when he got up on top of the shower doors and peed into the shower while I was in there!! Ok, I get it. Damn.

In honor of his present predicament, here is a theme song for Silvio's recovery. It is what goes through my head every time I see him with the shaved butt and the e-collar and the miles of unhappy.

He'll get his stitches out a week from tomorrow. He needs to wear the e-collar for a couple more days until the swelling and itchiness goes down. So we all have another week and a half of this to go. Can't wait...

unhappy cat

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Old Habits Die Abruptly

The pub is closed forever. The one that PDM has been going to for ten years. The one where he first took me to meet his friends back when we started dating. The same place that we've spent nearly every Friday night of our married life together.

There was no advance notice. In fact, the management shut it down in the middle of the evening shift on Monday night and kicked everyone out. A bartender texted a regular about what happened, and he sent a bunch of us an email to break the news on Tuesday. The pub is part of a small local chain. The management's official excuse for their decision is, get this, that they want the chain to be more "family friendly" and this particular location was next door to a strip club. I hate to break it to them, but it is a BAR. If it was full of kids, most of us would go somewhere else.

I am disappointed that it closed, and angry about the way it was handled -- pulling the rug out from under loyal employees and regular customers. There was no chance to say goodbye, no chance to get together and figure out where else to see each other, and no closure. I don't know even how to get in touch with some of the regulars that I will miss, because I don't know their last name (lots of folks are known by their first name, sometimes coupled with their sports affiliation or a nickname).

It hasn't completely sunk in yet. Last night was weird. We felt adrift... moping around at home when we should have been in our usual spot drinking our usual libations, trying to get on the trivia high score list, talking about tomorrow's games, and showing the bartenders the new pictures of Silvio. We ended up going to a place where it is more normal for us to spend Thursday evenings, but we were craving something at least partly familiar. Boomer did her best to cheer us up, and we did enjoy her company and the live music. But Friday night wasn't the same, and never will be.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Dumb Things To Do During A Financial Meltdown

1. Start a big home improvement project.

2. Drop several thousand dollars on your sick cat.

3. Open your 401(k) statements.


Monday, October 13, 2008


Silvio is scheduled for surgery tomorrow morning.

UPDATE (10/14 6:20pm) - Silvio had his surgery and everything went well. He should be able to come home tomorrow. Thanks for all the good wishes and concern!

Yet another UPDATE (10/15 7:20pm) - Silvio is home now. I wish I could say that he was resting comfortably, but he isn't. He is trying like hell to lick his privates. The Elizabethan collar he is wearing will not allow him to lick anything. So he is put out about it. Plus he looks ridiculous. More later (with pictures!).

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Silvio, again.

He's back at the emergency vet with another urinary blockage. The kid has a knack for dramatic timing. Once again, this happened when we were scheduled to travel. Fortunately, it was only an overnight trip, and Mom was here to take care of him. Silvio was showing a few symptoms yesterday morning. We took him to our vet for a quick look-see. His bladder was empty. So Mom came over, and we left for Montgomery. His distress just got worse. He didn't pee all day, in spite of constantly trying to. Then he started puking. Off to the vet! (Thanks, Mom.)

He is catheterized and is doing well. We'll take him to his regular vet Monday morning and figure out a plan for his treatment. That "turn him into a girl cat" operation is looking very likely. We don't want him to keep going through this.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Thanks, Zima. No, really.

Zima knocked over a container of sugar this past week, right next to the stove. Of course the sugar went damn near everywhere, including between the stove and cabinets. *sigh* So we had to pull the stove out in order to get to the spilled sugar. And found out that we have spilled a lot more than sugar over the two years we've had it. There was a lot of gunk that ran down the sides of the stove. The episode turned into a big deep cleaning exercise. So thanks, Zima. No, really. We mean it. Turns out we really needed to pull that stove out and give everything a once-over. Maybe more often than once every two years.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008


Getting any sort of rain here in Atlanta is, sadly, now a noteworthy event. It has been a bone dry September. Great for sports, but not so good for gardeners. The yard is a dry, dusty wasteland of crunchy weeds and dead grass. Trees are stressed, and smaller plants are comatose. We got less than an inch of rain last month, and no significant rainfall since the remnants of Fay passed through. Hearing the rain once again make music on the roof overnight was a welcome sound. Gray and rainy? No complaints here. It was a nice, cool change of pace.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Toilet-Shopping Misadventures and Other Hazards of Home Improvement

It turns out that shopping for a temporarily tax-exempt item on the last day of a sales tax holiday is a very bad idea. Who knew there would be such a run on high efficiency toilets? The timing seemed perfect. The State of Georgia was offering a sales tax holiday on energy- and water-efficient items for a few days, ending today. Our old toilet is in the dumpster and we needed to get a new one anyway, so off we went. Holy crap! There was a feeding frenzy going on in the toilet aisle. People were buying them two and three at a time. It was impossible to find anyone to answer questions or to look up stock. We went somewhere else and ended up coming back to the first place, where they had the bowl we wanted, but not the tank. We decided not to be so damn picky about it and got a similar model. It's just a toilet, right? As long as it does a decent job with #2 and isn't a pain to clean, we're happy.

One of the downsides to large home improvement projects is losing the use of the room you are renovating. This was really a problem when we had the kitchen done. Not such a big deal this time - we still have 1.5 baths that are usable, and only two of us live here. What's the problem, you ask? The problem is that the 1.5 baths are located adjacent to each other and neither has a fan or any other type of noisemaker. So if the urge strikes both of us simultaneously... lets just say that it gets awkward. We would both prefer to preserve a little mystery, and there are definitely some things you don't want to know and/or think about regarding your spouse. One of today's many purchases? An exhaust fan for the new bathroom.

Saturday was more enjoyable than Sunday, except for the early start and sitting in the sun for most of the game. (Yes, it is still really freaking hot here.) It was a defensive battle for much of the day, with Tech ahead 3-0 at the half. But by the middle of the third quarter when the shade of the upper deck finally reached us, Tech's offense started to heat up. It ended up not even close. I am happy that Duke's fortunes in general have changed this year and wish them luck with their new coach. And how about Vandy's excellent start? It has been a good season for academically challenging schools so far. Of course, some things never change -- even though Tech won and Georgia did not play this week, the Atlanta newspaper devoted half the cover of the sports page to Georgia, with Georgia Tech and the Atlanta Falcons splitting the remainder. We're still not getting any love from the polls either.

Friday, October 03, 2008


Moxy and Silvio check out the destruction.

The shower walls and tile floors, along with a lot of drywall, are now in the dumpster in our driveway. We'll be shopping for a sink and toilet this weekend. In the "good timing" department, this weekend is a statewide tax holiday for energy efficient and water saving appliances. So we won't be paying any sales tax for the toilet. Somehow this does not make me excited about toilet shopping. Never done it before. Not really looking forward to it. I'll probably have a hard time getting through the experience without making a lot of sophomoric jokes.

And speaking of sophomoric jokes, we'll be tailgating early for the Georgia Tech vs. Duke game on Saturday. The early start means two things: mimosas and sausage balls. Guess what happens when I drink a few mimosas and am around sausage balls? That's right! Raunchy sophomoric "ball jokes". I've got a million of 'em! PDM is already practicing rolling his eyes in advance. He does not share this aspect of my sense of humor. He's not a fan of ball jokes, salty or not.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008


Sink - gone.
Toilet - gone.
Shower wall and door - gone.
Wallpaper - gone.
Medicine cabinet - gone.

Cats - wondering what the hell?!?

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Here We Go Again

Starting another home improvement project tomorrow. We're not so stupid as to think we could do this ourselves. Someone who knows what he is doing will be performing the work. This time it is the downstairs bathroom. Totally gutting it and starting over. No, we never learn. And yes, we think this will be complete in time for the family invasion over Thanksgiving. Here we go again!

Friday, September 26, 2008


silvio in brown

It wasn't difficult to choose which cat to feature on this week's Friday CatBlogging post...

Silvio continues to improve. He's back to his usual mischievous self this morning.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

An update to the last update, plus an unrelated update.

I got home last night and was finally able to see Silvio. He was a bit standoffish with me. Other than that and his peeing tiny amounts very frequently, he seemed normal to me. Normal enough to be getting into everything and bugging the other cats. He warmed up to me overnight and decided to be snuggly once it got cold.

The other big update is that I PASSED PART 2 OF THE BOARD EXAM!! You know... the one I spent all summer studying for. Just got the letter today. One more test to go -- an oral exam given in the spring of next year.

We've got a lot of other stuff going on. Trying to get ready for a party we're hosting on Saturday, and lots more to do on that front. I had some catching up to do at work as well. I'll get around to your blogs again soon, I promise. But it might be Sunday before it happens. Gotta run - we're off to Trader Joe's to stock up on party stuff.

10:10pm An update to these updates: OUT OF GAS!!! Drove around all over and passed about eight gas stations. No one has any gas to sell. I have less than 1/4 tank now, and will of necessity be taking the shuttle in to work tomorrow, which I can catch a few miles from home. Since I have no idea when I will be able to find gas again, I will be driving as little as possible. They say the shortage is panic driven. Well, I totally understand getting panicked when you cannot find any gasoline ANYWHERE. I have never in my life encountered this situation, even after Katrina, when gas was available, just merely expensive. Damn! I'll try again tomorrow morning (maybe some of them get an overnight delivery), but if I can't find any, then I am pretty much grounded until the situation changes. I didn't get gas before my trip because it was so expensive. I figured by the time I got back, it would be nearly back to normal. Looks like my strategy was flawed.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

A Quick Update

Silvio came home this afternoon. He's not 100% back to normal with the peeing though. We'll see how it plays out from here. I worry because PDM has to work a long day tomorrow and I am not going to be home to check on him. It wouldn't do any good to have a friend stop in because Silvio would just hide.

That's all I have the energy to write for now. I've been out all day and still need to eat supper (yes, I know it is 10:30pm). I'll blog about it later, but today I saw some old friends - one here in Boston, and the other out in the boonies where I used to live. It was quite the project getting to Southbridge. Walked to the station, took the subway to the airport, then shuttle bus to rental car place, then long drive on the Mass Pike. It was gorgeous and sunny all day long, but somehow I had to drive through torrential rain to return the car to the airport. Weird. At least it stopped by the time I had to walk back to the hotel.

Friday, September 19, 2008

I'm in Boston, and Silvio is still not home.

Silvio started to get blocked again this afternoon, so he is spending the night at the "after hours" vet under observation. Will know more tomorrow. That "turn him into a girl" surgical option is starting to look more likely. We'll see what happens.

Meanwhile, I am in Boston for a conference until Wednesday. Finally got settled in. Nice hotel -- glad I'm not paying for it! (Especially with the cat week we've just had...) Now I am waiting on room service to deliver my very long delayed supper. 5:30pm is a bad time to fly. Too early to eat before you leave, and no decent food available until you land. I'm starving!!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Silvio - not home yet, but OK

He's been at his regular vet since this morning. He will be spending the night there, and might be able to come home tomorrow. They still have to remove his catheter and IV fluid line, x-ray him to check for stones, do some bloodwork to check his kidney function, and see if he is able to urinate on his own. The vet says he was more like himself today -- eating, purring, and making biscuits with his paws. It sounds encouraging. I still worry. Especially since I have to go to Boston tomorrow afternoon and won't get to see him. Terrible timing, but this is a business trip that was planned months ago. More about that in another post... I made sure to book a hotel with free wireless. I'll be there until Wednesday.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Silvio at the emergency vet right now. We came home from work today and noticed that he was lethargic, had weird posture and was wobbly on his back legs, was hunched over the water dish, looked bloated, and seemed to be in pain. Called the after-hours vet, who recommended we bring him in right away. The vet confirmed that he has a urinary blockage, which can be life threatening, so I am glad we did. They have to sedate and catheterize him tonight, and look for the cause of the blockage. Treatment options depend on what they find. If it is bad enough, one option is surgery to turn him into a girl cat. I wish I were kidding. (This should all sound very familiar to nypinta and everyone who read her "Stanley" post last week.)

That's all I know right now. Keep your fingers crossed for the little feller.

UPDATE (9:15pm): The vet just called. He was definitely blocked and they removed it. Bloodwork shows some toxins had built up and his kidney function was affected. Looks like we got him there in time to prevent the worst stuff. We'll have a better idea tomorrow. He will remain sedated and under observation overnight. Our regular vet will take over his care tomorrow morning. We're hoping for no more updates tonight because in this case, "no news is good news." They did mention that he is pretty young to be having these problems and they are likely to recur without some kind of intervention.

Monday, September 15, 2008

My Favorite Headline

Sure, there were a lot of bad news headlines today. It's enough to make you want to hide all your money under the mattress (whatever is left, anyway). But there is other stuff going on in the world. My favorite headline today? This one:

Paul Johnson calls TV announcers ‘morons’

Heh. It's nothin' I hadn't thought of myself. Sports announcers can be total doofuses. (Hmmm, I have no idea how to pluralize or spell "doofus". What I wrote doesn't look right, but you get the drift...) Any time you babble throughout an entire football game, you are bound to say something stupid. Especially those prissy TV announcers. Two games ago, the announcers spent the entire game calling Roddy Jones by the name 'Roddy Smith', in spite of his last name being written in large block letters on the back of his jersey. Idiots. It made me wonder if they were actually watching the game they were calling. This week, they were second-guessing Coach Johnson's strategy and making me very glad they were not on our coaching staff. Because coaches need, you know, balls. Ahem.

One of the good things about college football season is that no matter what else is going on, the football headlines just scream normalcy. The political races are a big sucking cesspool of nasty, and the country's finances are in the shitter, but it'll take a lot more than that to affect college football. For a few blessed hours on Saturday afternoons and evenings all across this country, the players and fans get together and forget that they disagree on anything except football.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Bottle Shock

more fun with wine

Saw the movie this weekend at an arthouse theatre. Had a good time, and it made me want to drink some wine. Big surprise, huh? Good thing I planned ahead (because you cannot buy wine in Georgia on Sundays, which is really stupid). I should show a photo of a Napa wine, but I don't have one handy. But this photo does tie in with a line from the movie: once the California wines bested the French wines in a blind taste test, one of the movie characters accurately suggests this this was just the beginning -- soon there would be award winning wines from South America, Australia, and even Africa. It was fun to see the British wine guy out of his element, and even more fun to see those French wine snobs get their comeuppance. The 1970s setting added to the fun of the movie, without it being about that.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Three Points

It was the margin of victory last week, and the margin of defeat today. I'm not happy about the loss, but there is reason for optimism. We never gave up. Never quit. Our coach plays to win rather than playing "not to lose". We were able to stay competitive until the end in spite of committing multiple turnovers in both games. If we can get a handle on the mistakes, especially ball security, we're going to be a very tough team to beat. Overall, the season has gone slightly better than I expected. I figured we'd drop both road games, and by more than three points.

Friday, September 12, 2008


It's Friday. You know what that means...
stairs, with Moxy

Thursday, September 11, 2008


Thought for the day: You can repeat a lie over and over, but that doesn't make it true.

I'm tired of bullshit.

Some good sources for cutting through the bullshit from both sides: FactCheck and/or PolitiFact. And there is always good ol' Snopes for those viral emails. Get outraged if you must, but not before you check the facts! No sense getting worked up about stuff that isn't remotely true. Be an informed voter. Policy differences are honest differences, and voters should weigh their choices. But those choices ought to be based on solid, factual information, not innuendo, rumors and lies.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Large Hadron Collider

The Large Hadron Collider is online today. It may be the end of the world, but I feel fine.

For some reason, whenever I try to type "hadron", I accidentally switch the D and the R. Hilarity ensues. I mean, what's not funny about a "large hardon collider"?

Monday, September 08, 2008

Still Raw

If this is your kind of humor, you'll find more here.

Sunday, September 07, 2008


No, it's not an acne product. It was the phonetic spelling of "nuclear" used on the teleprompter for the acceptance speech given by a certain veep candidate, in order to avoid a potentially embarrassing pronunciation gaffe. The "hooked on phonics" gimmick successfully prevented the pronunciation error, but the speech writers probably didn't mean to leave it in the transcript released to the media. Oops.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

An Ugly Win

Georgia Tech 19
Boston College 16

As Coach Paul Johnson said last week, “I learned a long time ago an ugly win is better than a pretty loss.” He said much the same thing today on the post game radio show.

It was a defensive game on both sides of the ball, with lots of mistakes to go around, but to my surprise Tech came out on top. We fumbled the opening kickoff return and recovered. First play on offense also featured a mistake. There were way too many fumbles today. It was getting ridiculous. But a good Tech defense kept BC settling for field goals, and we finally got enough offense going against a very tough BC defense to get the job done. Plus, we got a safety! That doesn't happen very often and is a lot of fun to watch. Good effort by both teams. We were on pins and needles the entire game. It could have gone either way, and was quite a battle.

Our gathering of friends was fun and the food was tasty (chili dogs and brats). We'll probably head over to the pub later to watch the 8:00 games and have some supper.


Friday, September 05, 2008

Get Me The Heck Outta Here!

looking up
For a short week, it sure has been awful. Software crisis at work stretching into its second week, working late every day without actually accomplishing the thing I wanted to stay late for, every day a reason I have to come in early in spite of having worked late the day before, equipment malfunctions of every kind, and me being all kinds of tired. This photo shows Zima's way of getting away from it all - namely a bratty Silvio determined to "play". I wish I had a handy rail to climb atop of to get away from all of my problems.

The weekend just HAS to be an improvement. We are having some folks over to watch the Georgia Tech at Boston College game on Saturday. We also have our sights on creating a detailed plan for our next home improvement project (the downstairs bathroom, which will be demolished and rebuilt from scratch, and needs to be completed in time for the Thanksgiving family invasion) and we need to create a menu and music playlist for our next party, coming up in a few weeks.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Lame Excuses For Not Posting

I took the weekend off, and I'm having to work overtime this week to get some machine stuff done after hours. Regular posting to resume soon, I hope. I have some post topics in mind, but the thoughts need to roll around my brain some more before they are ready to share. Plus, so many cat photos... so few Fridays.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Thursday Night Lights

Bobby Dodd stadium at dusk

Toe meets leather tonight!

New coach, new offense, new seats. The Paul Johnson era and a new season of Georgia Tech football kicks off at 7:30pm and I will be there having the usual "heart versus head" expectation war with myself. (And hopefully enjoying our new-and-improved seats in a slightly higher rent section of the stadium.) Seventy five of our one hundred and ten players are freshmen or sophomores. We've hired a new head coach and he has installed a completely new offense - his unique version of a the spread option. A lot of people say it won't work in a BCS conference, but when pressed they cannot articulate exactly why not. We'll find out soon enough. Georgia Tech might just surprise a few people this year. I hope I am one of them.

Whatever happens, I suspect that football is going to be fun again at The Flats.

Monday, August 25, 2008


... sure is nice.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Finally, it's over.

little stars

And now I get my life back.

It was nice having a glass of wine with my lunch. Nice to go enjoy a party tonight, guilt-free. Nice to be able to write this post without feeling like I should be studying, or sleeping. Whew! I can't wait to be totally useless tomorrow - I can sit around the house and waste time all day if I want to. Maybe I will... maybe I won't. But great to have a real choice.

The test went OK, I guess. Not terribly bad, nor terrifically good. I will find out in about four weeks whether or not I did good enough to pass. I am trying hard not to agonize about it and second guess myself to death. I will just say that some questions were ambiguous and that made it tough to make a decision about how to answer.

Friday, August 22, 2008


I got 'em.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Home Stretch

The test is looming in the very near future - Saturday morning, bright and early. The long, hot, miserable summer of study is almost over and I am spending the home stretch at home. I've taken a few days off work for last minute studying.

The plan is to study hard today and tomorrow, and then try to relax on Friday. So far, so good. I covered a lot of ground today and am taking practice tests tonight. It will be hard not to cross over into full on freakout mode by Friday, but I have all that herbal tea to help me. Ha ha. I'm looking forward to things getting back to normal. You know... when I can pound some drinks other than herbal tea.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

I read the Bigfoot articles so you don't have to.

It happened (allegedly) near my neck of the woods. Another couple of idiots claim to have found Bigfoot. It's all pretty standard, as Bigfoot stories go. "Evidence" so thin you can see through it. Ever-changing narratives. So-called "experts" that are anything but. In case you missed it, here it the latest claim in a nutshell.

Three different stories about how the finders are now in possession of a Bigfoot body: It was (a) shot by a felon and these guys followed it into the woods, (b) they found a whole family of Bigfoots (Bigfeet?) and bagged one, and/or (c) they were hiking in the north Georgia woods and stumbled upon a dead one.

They've had the body (allegedly) in a freezer for a month. Won't let anyone have a look, except for their own hand-picked "scientists", one of whom turned out to be the (non-scientist) brother of one of the finders. (They claim they were "just having some fun.") The low quality photo that was posted to the internet looks like an ape suit wadded up in a big Styrofoam cooler.

To match the three tales of the capture of the Bigfoot corpse, there were three DNA samples analyzed. Results? (a)human, (b) possum, and (c) cannot be determined due to technical problems.

Most damning sign that this is a hoax? These yokels are now charging $499 to lead weekend "Bigfoot hunts" in north Georgia. Because (allegedly) our woods are just chock full of Bigfeet (Bigfoots?) awaiting discovery.

So unless you think that Bigfoot is a cross between man and opossum, this probably isn't the discovery you've been waiting for.

But this does remind me of those TV specials from my childhood, about Bigfoot, UFOs, or the Loch Ness Monster. I loved those shows. Part of the magic was that these specials were fairly rare. They were not your ordinary TV fare. It wasn't as if you could hop onto the internet and indulge your taste for the paranormal. No, back then it was An Event. And back then, you could almost believe...

Friday, August 15, 2008

It's the cat's ass.

"Nothin' smells like a cat butt!"

Instructions for this product include:

"Hang the butt where it stinks." and "Do not eat."


Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Bad Vibrations

I'm talking intermittent-throughout-the-work-day, long lasting, very low frequency, drives-you-crazy-with-the-deep-humming-sound, rattles-everything-on-your-desk (and your desk too), feeling-it-through-your-feet-and-legs, can't-get-away-from-it-anywhere vibrations that have been occurring at work due to a major construction project across the street. I'm quite certain that this treatment would be an effective means of torture, because it drives. me. crazy. And it has been happening over and over for weeks.

Not sure why, exactly. I drive by that construction site every morning, and it just looks like a big pit with a pickup truck or two, a few construction workers milling around, and a line of port-o-potties. The building that used to be there is long gone, and the blasting stopped months ago. I don't see anything there that looks even remotely rumble inducing. Maybe the Psychology Department is doing an experiment on people cracking up in the workplace due to unexplained, loud rumbly noises that shake the foundation.

I'm not sure which is worse - the low frequency insanity-inducing rumbling or the far-more-frequent-than-is-reasonable testing of the extremely loud and startling fire alarm system. It's a close call. I'll have to go with the fire alarm on safety grounds. (It also scares the shit out of me every single time.) The high frequency of testing is very likely to lead to a "crying wolf" sort of result, where all I would do in the event of a real fire is slam my office door shut in annoyance as I try to reduce the eardrum piercing volume down to something that won't make me cry. It never occurs to me that it could be a real fire. I'm well trained.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Thirteen Days

...until I get my life back. The board exam is looming large - Saturday, August 23, 8:00 am (not usually my finest hour).

I've got cabin fever (in August - how sucky is that?), I'm stir crazy, I can't seem to function some days, and there are still nearly two weeks to go in this state. All I do is work, sleep, eat, and study. Well, and watch a little TV from 9-11 some nights. But damn, how boring and restrictive is that? Add to that a huge reduction in alcohol intake and you have a recipe for unhappy.

Aside from radiological physics, I've learned a few other things from this experience. Did you know that Tension Tamer tea can have some unfortunate gastric side effects if you drink 5-6 cups of it in one evening? Consider yourself warned. I suspect that it shares an ingredient or two with "dieters tea". Did you know that learning lots of stuff in one area can make you stupid in others? Well, some days I cannot put together a rational sentence, so there ya go. Did you know that if you stare at a book, your cats will be irresistably drawn to lay on it? OK, I already knew that, but they have confirmed it time and again. If you can learn physics from osmosis, my cats are pretty damned smart.

The only good thing about this weekend was the it was cool and dry enough for me to do my studying on the porch for a change. We turned the A/C off on Friday night and haven't had it on since. It would have been a great weekend for... ah, I won't go there. Lets just say the weather was gorgeous for late summer and I was grateful to be able to hang out on the porch for my miserable marathon study sessions.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Afternoon Snack


Will somebody please tell my cat she's a carnivore?

Tuesday, August 05, 2008


Ignorance is bliss. Turns out I've been driving around with an expired license since my birthday in May. The pollworkers noticed it today when I presented it to vote. Whoops.

Now that I know, I am going to be paranoid until I get it renewed. Which I could have done over the internet, very conveniently, on time, if Georgia had mailed my renewal notice to me like they were supposed to. They probably sent it to my former address. (Yes, I updated my address with them two years ago, but this is the DMV we're talking about.) If they did, I hope those renewal reminders do not contain any useful personal information, and that no one is driving around with my new drivers license.

Monday, August 04, 2008

The Voice of the Braves

The voice of the Braves has been silenced. Skip Caray died on Sunday. He was 68, and had spent 33 years calling games for the Braves.

Lots of people around here remember his enthusiasm and excitement calling the 1992 NL Championship Series: “A lotta room in right-center, if he hits one there we can dance in the streets. The 2-1. Swung, line drive left field! One run is in! Here comes Bream! Here's the throw to the plate! He is ... safe! Braves win! Braves win! Braves win! … Braves win!” I have heard that so many times on the radio or TV over the years that it is etched in my mind. And his excitement in 1995 was infectious: “Mark gets the sign, the wind and the pitch here it is... swung, fly ball deep left center, Grissom on the run... Yes! Yes! Yes! The Atlanta Braves have given you a championship! Listen to this crowd! A mob scene on the field. Wohlers gets 'em one, two, three. A couple of fans rushing on the field. The Atlanta Braves have brought the first championship to Atlanta!” Those were heady times for Braves fans.

Sure, Caray was around for the good years, but he also kept people interested and entertained during all those bad years of the 70s and 80s. His wit and humor were no doubt a big part of the reason that the Braves became “America’s team”. I like that he didn’t make any pretense of being impartial. He also called it like it happened and wasn’t afraid to say what was on his mind, even when his comments were not flattering to the team.

All that said, the memories that stand out in my mind are from much quieter times. After I moved far away from home after college, all the nights I tuned into the Braves game on TBS just to hear the familiar voices from Atlanta, easing my homesickness and lulling me into an “everything is OK” feeling. It worked every time. Thanks for everything, Skip. May you rest in peace.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Bookstore Block and Almost Forgetting My Anniversary

Don't you hate it when you have a mental list of books that you want, until the minute you set foot into a bookstore and then you draw a complete blank? I happened to me again this week. My stack of unread books had dwindled to zero. I had about twenty minutes to kill before my haircut appointment yesterday, so I stopped into the Book Nook, a used bookstore near my workplace. I walk in, say "howdy" to the guys at the register, and stride purposefully to the science fiction section... and then instantly lose my focus. Can't think of anything that I want. *sigh* Why does that happen?

I ended up simply going with some old classics, mostly. Nothing newer than 1987, and some stuff dating back to the 50s. You can't really go wrong with Asimov and Bradbury. I also picked up a Haldeman, somebody else I had never heard of, and I loosened enough mental cobwebs to remember to get Seventh Son, which I wanted because PDM has the whole Alvin Maker series except that first one and I like to begin at the beginning. I probably would have fared better if I had not had a deadline. I can spend hours in a bookstore - used or new. Next time...

My absent-mindedness is growing to epic proportions. I do hope it is a temporary side effect of the "all work no play" (and no wine) regime. Last weekend PDM asked me where I wanted to go for dinner on Thursday night. I gave him a puzzled look and shrugged. Thursday night? WTF? We don't usually plan that far ahead. He laughed and told me to "quit being such a guy." And then it hit me -- our anniversary! It wasn't even on my radar. I'm glad he said something. Between work (with a big software upgrade looming for this weekend) and studying for the board exam, I hadn't even thought of this. There's no guarantee I would have remembered on my own. Yeesh!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Close Encounters of the Fowl Kind

feeding the babies

There's been a lot of fowl play around my place this weekend. This bird house is on the side of the carport. There is another one hanging from a branch in the back yard. Both have been taken over by wrens. This is a vast improvement over their choice last year of raising a family in my hanging flower basket. Mama bird would fly out abruptly and scare the crap out of me every time I watered the plant (very carefully avoiding the nest), even though I was expecting it (except for the first time, when I wasn't).

I haven't seen the babies, but I'd say they're getting bigger and hungrier. They sure do make a ruckus when mama bird flies in with some vittles. And I'm not the only one who has noticed the cheeping of the chicks. Zima has taken to hanging out on top of PDM's truck, parked in the carport adjacent to the birdhouse. I give it about 50-50 odds that one day she takes a flying leap for it. The odds would be higher if she wasn't 14 years old. She'll probably just sleep on the truck cab and dream about catching the birdies. If we were letting Moxy outside, she would be all over it. Moxy used to climb the tree and literally go out on a limb to mess with the other bird house earlier in the spring.

The neighborhood hawk attempted to land on a tree branch across the street this morning, but he broke it. For some reason, this made me laugh. Maybe he needs some avian Slim Fast. He quickly flew over to the power lines in front of my house. I got one photo of him before he flew away, but it didn't have enough magnification to see much of anything. Darn it!

Our hummingbirds have grown fiesty. For a while, they would visit the feeders one at a time. Very calm, no fighting, no competition. Now there are at least two going at it. It is much more entertaining. Aerial acrobatics galore, and twice the sighting potential. Now that they have goaded each other into being all territorial, they've grown much bolder about the non-bird "challengers", such as humans and cats, and even yellow jackets. I cracked up yesterday when Moxy and one of the hummers were having a "face off" through the kitchen window. Moxy was chittering and pawing the window and that little bird was holding his ground and getting all up in Moxy's face. Today the bird did the same thing to PDM through the window, mirroring his every move. I hope he doesn't get attacked by the killer hummingbird while he is outside grilling our steaks tonight.

And now the gang's all here! I just erased the bit I wrote about the barred owls being the only regulars who didn't show up for all the bird action this weekend. It is half an hour before sunset, and the owls just started calling to each other. I can't see them, but they sound like they're pretty close.

BAT UPDATE: PDM called around, and it turns out that bats are protected here until August 15, in order to let them complete their nesting season unmolested. So we can't do anything about them until then. We've decided to mount a bat box on the house close to the vents that they are currently using to get into the attic. That spot is ideal for bats, which is probably why we have them in the attic to begin with. They'll be able to continue ridding our yard of skeeters and we'll get our attic back.

Friday, July 25, 2008


dreamy moxy

Things have calmed down over the last twenty four hours, and I feel as mellow as Moxy looks here. Two cups of chamomile and citrus tea will do that for you. The headache is finally gone and that makes a huge difference in my attitude. It is difficult to avoid being bitchy when you are in pain for several days straight! It feels so good to be rid of a migraine. My good mood today bordered on silliness, and it seemed to be catching on with others around me.

More training is scheduled at work tomorrow, and it continues into next week. I'll take it one session at a time, and try to save a little room in my schedule for surreptitiously goofing off. One advantage to having a dual monitor setup on the work computer is that you can have work up on the more visible one and slip in some extracurricular activities on the other. Besides, I need something to do while I'm waiting on the computer to finish a long calculation.

Have yourselves a swell weekend. It won't be hard for you to top mine (unless you are moving or getting a root canal) - I will have my head in the books again for two days of marathon study sessions. Yeehaw.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


It was inevitable.

Yesterday - home sick with migraine (a rare event, me taking a sick day).

Today - worked in spite of dull headache. New equipment training session sprung on me. Was miserable.

Bailed out as soon as I could, and went home to crash. High winds and a power outage woke me up abruptly. A thunderstorm soon followed. The power outage is widespread. I'm irritated because it is hot in the house, and dark. I had planned to have some down time this evening, but sitting around in a hot, dark house is not what I had in mind.

So now I'm at the pub (but not drinking - I cut way back because of studying). Had a hot meal and a club soda and feel marginally better. There is air conditioning, computer access, good eats, trivia and TVs, and a few of our friends are here. But I just sit here huddled over my laptop, not feeling very social. PDM keeps trying to make me feel better, and I keep disappointing him by being non-responsive. I'm stressed and crabby and tired. There is a huge weight on my shoulders and this is not going to change until after my test. I just want to be left alone. (And fed. I like it when he cooks me a nice dinner.) It doesn't help that we keep getting new stuff at work - a major software upgrade next week, plus lots of new hardware. I have to learn all that stuff during the day, then go home and study all of the test material. Some days it is too much.

And if I haven't driven all of my readers away with my pity party post, I promise to post about something other than my stupid test next time.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Four more weeks, err, make that five

The cats study physics with me.
Counting down to my board exam. Second of three. I've got cabin fever, but I feel guilty if I am not studying, working, eating or sleeping. Argh!! As usual, the cats are always willing to offer feline assistance, whether you want it or not.

OK, break's over. Back to work!

UPDATED 7/22 because I am stupid and cannot count. It was five weeks from last weekend. Duh.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Caption Contest!

moxy, mid leap

Thank God It's Friday... Again.

Caption contest -- give it your best shot. The real story is that we were hanging a picture in the kitchen. Moxy thought that the wall anchors looked like bugs, and went after them. Again and again. What can we say? The cats like chasing bugs. Real or imaginary. Doesn't much matter.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Not Feelin' the Love

It's not even August and I am already irritated by our local newspaper's coverage of college football. Last week the online poll asked who would win more games, UGA or Georgia Tech and the Atlanta Falcons combined. Hmm, maybe they should ask which team will have more members arrested. UGA is number 7 on the latest Fulmer Cup list. Go team.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Bat Country includes my attic. While I appreciate the fact that the bats spend their time eating mosquitos, I'm not exactly thrilled at the prospect of my attic filling up with bat guano. And I am wondering if they are the reason the attic fan isn't working very well.

Any ideas how to encourage them to find another place to roost? Should I get a bat house?

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Who's afraid of The Big Bad Wolf?

How 'bout a Big Bad Wolf Omelet for Sunday morning breakfast? PDM makes beautiful omelets. (When I try to make omelets, everything gets mangled and I end end up making "scrambled eggs with stuff in it".) Today's treat hardened my arteries just looking at it. But who cares about that when it is this delicious? And now I'm nearly comatose. Time for a nap...

Saturday, July 12, 2008


Happy 43rd, PDM!

It wouldn't be a birthday around here without the gift of geeky T-shirts. Here was today's haul:

* A.I.Y.C.F.O.W.T.A.M.Y.M.B.A.G.O.S.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Kinda Sorta Catblogging

fun with wine

OK, I do not usually buy wine* because of the label, but this one caught my eye (and I needed a white wine for a shrimp recipe). I'm not super particular about white wines, preferring reds, and I do not really have a white wine favorite. Add to that the feeling that what I do at work some days feels an awful lot like herding cats, and you have made a sale. Used a few tablespoons for cooking and we drank the rest (which was not bad). Then I had a little fun with Photoshop Elements.

Happy Friday, everyone.

*This was a 2007 Herding Cats Chenin Blanc-Chardonnay blend from South Africa. I had low expectations (having purchased it on a whim, because of the label), and was pleasantly surprised. My caveat - I am a red drinker. I probably wouldn't know a great white if it popped out of the bottle and did a genie dance.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Strix varia

barred owl on a branch

We had a visitor this evening just before a thunderstorm rolled in. I still hear the barred owls once in a while, but I haven't seen any of them in weeks. They are tough to spot in the dense summer vegetation unless they perch in a very conspicuous spot, as this one did tonight. This branch is a familiar hunting spot for both the owls and a hawk that comes around now and then. Lucky for us it is directly in front of the back porch, and the birds don't seem to mind us quietly watching them.

Sunday, July 06, 2008


The blog turns two today.

Once again, I will thank all of you who read and comment here. You are the reason that this is fun. I have enjoyed the friendships that have developed over the past two years (and much earlier for those of you from FMD and SSD).

Two years ago, I was in the summer doldrums and going a little bit crazy trying to study for Part 1 of my board exams. Back then I was posting about stuff like Dilberty things at work, laughably annoying and incompetent people I used with work with, how it never rains here (the big drought was just getting started then, and I had no idea I'd still be bitching about it two years later), and of course books, TV, and movies. Catblogging started very early on, as did LL complaining about the cat pictures. But wait! There's more! Top ten lists, bizarre "research" into odd subjects, and shameless YouTube filler posts. There was also a generous helping of the habits, hazards, and just plain goofiness of ordinary living.

Two years on, I'm in the doldrums of summer, studying for Part 2 of my board exam, still not getting enough rain, and posting about the same old crap as in 2006. You would think that doing something for two years would involve getting better at it, but sadly, that doesn't seem to be the case here. Maybe the third year's the charm?

Friday, July 04, 2008

Independence Day


Happy 4th, y'all!

Oh, and just for LL: red white and blue

Well, it IS Friday, you know. And Zima looks good in red, white and blue!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008


We were up in north Georgia this past weekend for PDM's 25th year high school reunion. It was a casual affair - BYOB - so we stopped by the local liquor store first. Got carded. The clerk was visibly shocked when he looked at my license, and said so. Twas very flattering...

And strange when we got there, how varied a group of nearly-the-same-age folks could look. PDM still looks young for his age. Some of his classmates were not so lucky. It makes me wonder how much is luck or genetics, and how much is lifestyle. Neither of us smokes or gets much sun exposure, particularly on our faces. It seems to make a big difference.

Monday, June 30, 2008

The Photos

By popular request, some photos of last night's amazing sky show.

The sky was yellow at first, and bright enough to illuminate everything with an eerie yellow hue. It was truly like looking through yellow tinted lenses. Or being on another planet with a different atmosphere. (Yes I read a lot of sci-fi. What of it?) The clouds were roiling around after the rain stopped without any lasting or discernible shape at first. Soon, they began to form rounded shapes here and there.

yellow sky

The yellow mellowed out into a rosy golden glow just as the spheroids became more pronounced.

golden sky

As the sky darkened and the colors deepened, the spherical shapes stretched out into streamers and began to break up.

amber sky

The colored, diffuse illumination was so strangely beautiful that I wished it would last. But sunsets happen quickly and all too soon the show was over. Good thing I had a camera handy! I tried to take some long exposures to capture the lightning bugs. That venture was not successful. I caught a few, but the photos were not very dramatic, and seemed to be missing the spirit of how they look in person.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Golden skies and lightning bugs

Thunderstorms passed through just before sunset, resulting in an unusual color cast to the sky. It began as a golden yellow hue from the low clouds that made all of the wet trees and grass look greener. Then the thinning cloud cover took on a rosy orange hue before fading to twilight blue. The clouds were constantly in motion and bubbling into strange spherical masses as they broke up. The illumination from the sky made it feel like I was looking at the yard through colored filters. Everything took on the color of the clouds.

Once it was mostly dark, the lightning bugs started their show. They really outdid themselves tonight. Not sure why, but there seem to be many more of them this year than usual. Maybe I am just noticing more of them because I'm spending so much more time outside on the porch. Whatever the reason, I am grateful. I could spend hours watching them dance and glow.

Friday, June 27, 2008



Both Moxy and Silvio were adopted from the shelter in the month of June, so this post is for them. Moxy came on the scene just a few weeks before I started this blog. My first post about her was only my second blog entry here. I also posted a photo of her first (and only) bath. Moxy was a darned cute kitten.

moxy and mousie

Silvio joined the family almost exactly a year ago. (Yes, I had a major camera upgrade between these two pictures, and it shows!) Don't let those big, innocent eyes fool you. He is Trouble with a capital T. He gets shot by "Winona", the disciplinary squirt gun, a lot.


I was saddened by an article in the local newspaper about the record numbers of euthanizations of unwanted pets in the Atlanta area brought on by the foreclosure crisis. All the shelters are maxed out. That really sucks. I wish landlords were more accepting of pets. If you think about it, pets are far less likely to damage property than children. They might poop or puke in an inconvenient spot now and then (as will children), but pets won't write on the walls with permanent markers or play with matches. I'm just sayin'... It is a terrible thing that families lose their homes and then have to give up their pets as well. Especially when it is highly likely that those older pets will never find another home and will end up being put down. Very sad.

Monday, June 23, 2008

And I thought my dreams were weird...

PDM doesn't usually remember his dreams, but he remembered enough of last night's dream to describe it over dinner tonight.

He dreamed that Gene Roddenberry's wife had his brain preserved after he died. She fled into outer space with it. Then she began to clone the brain and sell slices of it as cheese to aliens on the black market. Yes, cheese. Turns out it was all a grand plot to lure the Enterprise out to come and get her, because she wanted to implant the original brain into Captain Kirk's body. Young, hot Captain Kirk from the TV series, not old Kirk from the movies. It got weirder and more convoluted from there.

Like I said, I thought my dreams were warped and strange. I'm feeling downright normal now. Lately my subconscious is weaving in stuff from work and the material I am studying into the usual themes of dreams. Not nearly as exciting as black market cloned brain cheese.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Timely Delivery

The new porch furniture arrived on the first full day of summer. Seemed quite appropriate. Moxy kept a keen eye on the delivery process from her kitchen window perch.

We spent nearly the entire weekend out there in our outdoor bug-free (mostly) room. Studying still sucks, but it sucks a little less when I can do it on the porch with my cats. On comfy furniture.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Oh, the drama!

Once again, it is "Drama Central" at work because of a reassignment. Thankfully, not mine. This time. My last reassignment was about six months ago, and I was happy with that change.

I've worked here for three years. One thing seems certain - they continually change who is working where. Our department covers four different facilities. We are all one group, but we don't all work under one roof. No matter what the current situation, the reality is that things change all the time. The best approach is to "make lemonade" and to try to ride out the changes. Easier said than done. But all the facilities have their ups and downs. None of them are Siberia, and they should not be thought of as a punishment.

Meanwhile, the stuff that was making me have to work long hours last week is also affecting this week. I haven't been home before 7pm all week. *sigh* It will get better. It has to. Sometime. I hope. Because this work schedule is not conducive to studying for my board exam. And it is summertime, dammit. Girls just wanna have fun!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Suburban Widowed Pot-Dealing Mom

Five simple words successfully used to pitch TV show Weeds to the execs at Showtime, according to an interview with the show's creator, Jenji Kohan.

It's back for a fourth season starting tonight. I'll be watching. The plot twists are wildly absurd and silly. While this show makes light of heavy topics, it does so without ever taking them lightly. If that makes any sense. And it probably doesn't, if you haven't seen it. Great cast, unpredictable show. Yeah, I will definitely be watching. Good TV is hard to find.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Porch Sittin'


The glider is back from the powder coater and looking better than it has in decades. The finish is sleek and glossy and the rust is gone, sand blasted to oblivion. Makes a very nice sittin' spot on the new porch. My mom fondly remembers sitting with her high school dates on this glider on her front porch, circa 1950s. I remember it from Big Daddy and Grandmother's back porch in Stone Mountain, and later in McDonough. Nearly every family gathering ended up on their porch at some point, with the glider in motion and fully occupied.

This photo is desaturated and sepia-toned. I wanted it to look vintage, like the glider. (A more abstract/artistic view can be seen here.) The glider's true new color is a dark blueish green. The original color was seafoam green with white squares on the seats and seatbacks, but the only color I ever remember it was hand-painted white with generous amounts of rust showing through the brush marks, and a black base. We won't see any rust for a very long time now...