Thursday, March 29, 2007


...or rather borrowed from Amanda's site. I'm afraid it's going to be pretty pathetic, since I'm not much of a movie buff, but it looked fun. :)

1. Name a movie you have seen more than 10 times. Airplane!
2. Name a movie you’ve seen multiple times in the theater. Honestly, I can't think of one. But if we go with seen multiple times, and take out the in the theater part, there was a time when we didn't have cable, and relied heavily on our VHS collection. I'd say I've seen Aladdin about 100 times.

3. Name an actor who would make you more inclined to see a movie. Go ahead and roll your eyes, but I've got a think for Kevin Costner... and John Cusack

4. Name an actor who would make you less likely to see a movie. Adam Sandler

5. Name a movie you can and do quote from. Monty Python & The Holy Grail, Airplane, Office Space.

6. Name a movie musical in which you know all of the lyrics to all of the songs. Rocky Horror

7. Name a movie you have been known to sing along with. Dora's Pirate Adventure

8. Name a movie you would recommend everyone see. A Perfect World

9. Name a movie you own. Watership Down

10. Name an actor who launched his/her entertainment career in another medium but who has surprised you with his/her acting chops. Wil Smith

11. Have you ever seen a movie in a drive-in? If so, what? If I have, it was way back before I developed any sort of memory.

12. Ever made out in a movie? Ummm... *ahem*

13. Name a movie you keep meaning to see but you just haven’t gotten around to yet. There's probably a million.

14. Ever walked out of a movie? Yes.

15. Name a movie that made you cry in the theater. Gee, that's not hard. Most recently? Armageddon

16. Popcorn? Jumbo, extra butter. It's part of the reason you go to the theater, isn't it?

17. How often do you go to the movies (as opposed to renting them or watching them at home)? It's been at least 4 years...

18. What’s the last movie you saw in the theater? One of the Lord of the Rings movies, can't remember which.

19. What’s your favorite/preferred genre of movie? Drama/suspense

20. What’s the first movie you remember seeing in the theater? Batman

21. What movie do you wish you had never seen? Signs

22. What is the weirdest movie you enjoyed? The jury is still out on this one.

23. What is the scariest movie you’ve seen? Cape Fear (I have to agree with Amanda on this one) Also the Faces of Death movies when I was just a kid. *thanks big brother*

24. What is the funniest movie you’ve seen? Office Space (going with Amanda again) Also loved The Naked Gun when it first came out.


Tuesday, March 27, 2007

A Tangled Web

The handsome boy on the left passed away today, and it has me thinking about how strangely entwined our lives become.

Booger came to be Heidi's pet via a long and strange chain of events that started in the fall of '99. It was a time of major change in my life, and without the help of friends like Heidi, I never would have made it through.

I won't bog you down with all of the details, but Booger originally came into my life as a scrawny little juvenile boy as a temporary thing. Heidi, Wil, and I had just recently signed a lease together on an apartment that didn't allow pets. My friend, Mary, was in the process of moving and had to find somewhere to house her 4 kitties while she looked for a new place. Being the suckers we are for wayward hairballs, they somehow all came to live with us.

Anyone who has ever tried harboring 4 curious cats AND hide them from public knowledge can only imagine how much fun this was.

Through whatever turn of events, all but one of the four ended up permanently finding a place with us. Hulk became mine and Wil's, and despite the fact that Hulk and Hogan (hey! I didn't name them!) were littermates, it was Booger and Hogan that were inseperable, and so Heidi kept them. The fourth, in case you were wondering, stayed with Mary.

Fast forward a few years...

We lost our Hulk, the scrawniest of the four, just last year to renal failure. I've never quite been able to come to terms with the fact that a cat of such young age could have such profound kidney disease. He was the sweetest of cats- gentle, soulful, loud in that way that only a siamese mix can be.

Hogan is the same, only about 3 times the size of our Hulk.

Both Booger and Hogan lived a royal life at Casa de Heidi and Tom. Having no children to spoil, the cats got all the doting and affection they could stand, and have always been a source of constant joy to them. I'm not trying to paint a portrait of my friends as "the crazy cat people" or anything. Honestly, they're quite normal. But they do have several framed pictures of their boys adorning the walls, and even a ceramic figurine of the two of them snuggled together.

It was quite a shock to me this afternoon when Heidi called to tell me she had found him dead on the back porch. Up until now, he was the epitome of health. No warning signs at all.

What really sucks is that Tom is out of town on business, and she's there to sort through it all alone.

I spent some time with her tonight, but I'm terribly inadequate at consoling the grief-stricken. I did my best, though. And she was probably more than happy to see me leave.

And so, tomorrow I will take Booger to the clinic with me and have him set up for cremation. It may not be much, and it may be a bit gruesome, but I'm honored to be able to do at least that much for her, and for him.

You see, out of all the friends that have wandered in and out of my life, there are only two that have remained consistently there- Heidi and Mary. Sometimes I wonder if the strange and convoluted saga of our lives, and the intertwining lives of the cats, might have played a larger part in that than we consciously realize.

May our sweet little Booger rest in peace.

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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Spring cleaning, daydreaming

Lately I've been daydreaming about a ton of household projects/renovations that I'd like to start, but I don't really know where to start.

The biggest will be enclosing this tiny little useless porch that's off the kitchen and converting it into a laundry room/pantry to free up space in my kitchen. I'm sure it's going to cost more than I really want to spend, but it'll be completely worth it, I think. I can finally have a kitchen table!

As is, our house is not very storage friendly, and we happen to be the packrat type that have a lot to store. So, we've had to add a cabinet in our kitchen to use as a pantry, since there isn't one. And on top of that, the laundry is in the kitchen, too. Makes for a huge mess in there at any given time, and it frustrates me. I love to cook, and I'd really love to be able to invite friends over for dinner, etc. But, seeing as how they'd have to eat on their laps in the livingroom floor, it's not something I'm able to do.

We'd also like to renovate the guest bath, as it is in serious need. Ahhh, but one thing at a time, right?

For quite a long time we've talked about moving, but with the market the way it is right now, it's just not a good time to be doing such things. So, our best option is to try and find a way to fall in love with this house again, and make it more useable. In the end, even when we do decide the time is right for moving, all the work we put into this place should pay us back. At least, that's what I'm trying to convince myself of.

A friend sent me an email last night inviting me up to visit in PA and I'm having a hard time turning her down. Airfare is cheap right now, so I may just book a flight. :)


Monday, March 19, 2007


Sunday was supposed to be a more relaxing sort of day, and so we went to visit the grandparents. They were embroiled in outdoor chores, enjoying the great weather.
Jonas, never missing an opportunity to play with dangerous and heavy equipment was so excited to help Daddy Dave mow the yard.

He also took some time to do some artwork. Only to a 2-year-old can a pile of leaves and grass, a bottle of glue, and a sheet of paper turn into something spectacular.

And I'm including these two just because they're cute.

He was so tired from his busy weekend that he fell asleep in my arms at about 7. So I put him down for a ridiculously late nap, and decided to use the time to catch up on some knitting. Here's a picture of Granny's birthday socks. I grafted the toe of the first one on the way home from the gardens on Saturday, and cast on for the second one Sunday morning. This picture is from this morning, and I'm just starting the gusset decreases. Seriously fast socks. I love magic loop, and I love these mindless 3X1 socks. Soemtimes simple is best, and with this busy yarn, there was really no sense in trying to incorporate an elaborate pattern.

And three posts later, I've finally filled you in on our weekend. Now I'm off to plop my little dirty boy in the tub and then we're off to meet Aunt Heidi for lunch. Man! Where did this busy social life come from?!

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On a tip from a magazine, I learned that McKee Botanical Gardens, which is less than an hour south of here, was having a "Dinosaur Invasion!" event for the next few months. An artist had sculpted and laoned for display roughly 80 different life-sized dinosaurs. They were cleverly scattered throughout the park. They even had an area set up where the kids could play paleontologist and dig for dinosaur bones. The weather was absolutely stunning, and I couldn't think of a better way to spend a day than wandering through some of the most amazing gardens in FL while J explored the dinos.

I can't believe we've lived here this long and I've never even heard of this place before. I can't even begin to describe how beautiful it is. At several points along our walk I couldn't help but daydream about being alone on a shady bench- just me and my knitting. It would have been the ultimate in zen.

But since I did have the munchkin and Wil with me, I was perfectly content, and only a little sad that I was going to miss out on the meditative knitting experience.

In the slideshow you will see some pictures of J checking out the Spanish Kitchen which is on site. He shares my love of a kitchen, for sure, and probably spent more time gawking over it than he did the dinosaurs. He was particularly intrigued with the enormous cauldrons and wanted me to make soup with him. Too cute.

There's also a picture of the front of the Hall of Giants. This is a really unique structure with some eclectic stuff adorning it, as in several different bells and lots of stained glass. It was built to house a particular table, which is about 40 feet long and made of a single mahogany plank. It was stunning, and yet the lighting so poor that I couldn't get a single picture of it to turn out. Still, it was really neat.

In it's prime, McKee Gardens was a major tourist attraction in FL, and along with the plants, was home to several species of imported primates and birds as well. Once the Rat took over Orlando and changed the idea of tourism, the visitors slowly dwindled, and the 80 + acre paradise closed it's doors to the public. Sadly, all but 18 acres were sold and turned into condos and golf courses over the years. But what remains is truly an amazingly beautiful place, and I'm glad that they're restoring it.

Here are some pictures from Saturday.

What a weekend!

We had the most spectacular weekend here! On Friday Eve and Anthony came down for a visit and we met at the zoo. The kids had a great time together, and so did we. It was such a pleasure to finally get to meet Eve in person after all of these years of talking with each other. Man! We've known each other ever since those strange teen-aged years! And now look at us, both moms with gorgeous little boys. I really hope that she had a good time, too, and that while she's here in Fl. we find lots of opportunities to get together again.

I've assembled a slideshow of some of the pictures from the zoo. Eve proved to be the better photographer, though. The pictures she shared with me were MUCH better than the ones I took. BTW, if you think getting a picture of one moving kid is next to impossible, try getting 2! And then try getting 2 along with the zoo critter all cooperating at once! Impossible!

Anyway, this is the first installment of our weekend goodness. Hope you enjoy the slideshow.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

It's Magic!

Despite the fact that I've had rotten luck on the knitting front lately, I haven't stopped knitting. Oh, no, not at all. As a matter of fact, I think I got my good karma back and I'm zipping right along on two of my 5 projects.

So, what got my chi flowing again?

One little circular needle.

Yes, that simple.

You see, I always thought that I didn't mind using DPNs all that much, and so any time I wanted to knit something circularly, it was my standby. Sure, I'd tried two circs before, but was only mildly more amused with this method, as you still had a mess of stuff flopping around while you worked. That, and I hardly ever had two circs of the same size.

Fast forward to Christmas day when I opened a package from the most wonderful sister-in-law in the world
and what is inside? The Knitpicks Options set! Now, if you've ever spent any time with this set of needles, you know the luxury of which I speak. And if you're not a knitter, they are the equivalent of slipping into your cushy slippers after running a marathon in stilettos. Yeah, that nice. She knew that I'd never spoil myself with such a thing, and knew how much I needed them, and so there they were. See, I told you she's the greatest. :)

So, now that I was in love with the Options, and knew that there existed cables that were flexible enough to actually bend, I decided it was finally time to give magic loop a try. With my last order from Knitpicks, I picked up a size 2, 32 inch circ, and it arrived last week.

Enter Granny's birthday socks. Just a simple 3x1 rib pattern that I'm making up as I go along. I figured that since it was a simple sock, I could concentrate on learning the method instead of worrying about detailed patterns.

Holy cow! I'm zipping right along on these babies! Cast on the first one Monday night after J went to bed, and I'm nearly done with the gusset decreases now... and that's after putting in a 19 hour day yesterday, and attending to things like baking dessert for dinner with friends tonight, making a big pot of soup for me and J for tomorrow, and doing other various housely duties.

So, I'd like to thank all of you out there that have urged me in the past to try this, and I'll sit here happily while you all gloat and say "I told you so!"

I'm in love with sock knitting all over again.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Knitter's block

Over the past two days, I have started and frogged the same project a whopping 8 times. Yes, really. It's not really all that difficult, either, but for some reason, my hands did not want to cooperate. Or maybe it's that my brain didn't want to interpret the pattern properly. Either way, it's a super-secret project that I really want to make perfect for the recipient, so knit and frog I did. And finally, about ready to just throw my hands up in despair, I set aside the project, grabbed some waste yarn from my stash and practiced the pattern over and over again, analyzing each and every stitch until I figured out what my mistake was. When I finally got it, I think I actually yelled a triumphant "YES!", because J came running from his room to see what was going on.

So, now that I've "got it" I've cast on for the 9th time, and have completeled the part that had me near tears. It should be smooth sailing from here on.

Friday, when I went to JoAnn's, I picked up some super bright and funky sport weight yarn. It's the closest think to sock yarn I can get my hand on around here without a trip far to the north. It is destined to become a pair of socks for Granny because she is a bright and funky person and she's managed to wear holes in the mystery socks which were gifted to her not so long ago. Maybe the heavier yarn will last a little longer. Besides, she doesn't wear them with shoes, but around the house where the thermostat seems to be stuck on "arctic." Hopefully I'll finish them before her birthday at the end of the month.

I'm also working on a pair of socks for myself, but haven't gotten very far on them. For some reason things for myself always seem to get set on the back burner.

And finally, there's the saga of the little hat. It's another one of those projects that, while quite simple, doesn't seem to mesh with my knitting mojo right now. No matter what I do, I can't seem to get it to come out the way that I want it to- too big, too small. And while it is the perfect yarn for the project, I absolutely despise knitting with the yarn I'm using for it, which makes it an easy project to set aside.

So, four projects stalled in the needles over the past week, and none of it progressing. It's almost depressing. But I have faith that eventually whatever kink I have in my karma will smooth itself out and I'll be back to blissfully zipping along before I know it.

In other news, J-man officially has the cold I had last week. He's handling it like a trooper, but he's whiney and his nose is like a faucet. On the brighter side, my non-napping kid is now interested in 2-3 hour naps, which is heaven for me, despite how terribly bad I feel that he is sick. And the cuddly, snuggly time together isn't bad, either.

School is creeping along more slowly than the knitting. I have no idea why it is taking me so long to complete it, and I wonder if maybe I've chosen the wrong thing to invest my time and money into. I mean, there's potential for great earning, but I'm so burnt out on the repitition already, and this is what I think I'm going to do for the rest of my life?! It's a bit scary.

Maybe it'll be different when I'm actually getting paid to try and decipher doctorese ad nauseum instead of just doing it as a very long and tedius exercise that must be complete before I take my final exam.

I've always been a pretty good and quick test-taker, catching on to key elements much faster than everyone else. Not bragging, just stating a fact. It's a great thing, but it also sucks because long after I understand everything I need, I still have miles and miles of repetition to complete before I can actually "complete" whatever it is I'm doing. In other words, I understood the formatting and language nuances and how to edit subject/verb agreement long before the 200th report. Now it's almost punishment, and I don't see where anything new is being introduced with each report. I'm nearly tempted to skip ahead, but in order to be able to take the final I have to have submitted each and every report through the grader. Blech.

I originally had next week off of work, so my plan was to send J to grandma's for the 2 days that I usually work, and simply sit here and bang out the reports, but then something fell apart, and long story short, I'm working again. Ugh. So, I'll have to make the best of the incredibly small amount of time I have, and get as much done as possible. I feel like there's no way I'll ever complete it, though.

Ok, rambling post over. You are now free to go about your day.

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Saturday, March 10, 2007

Date Night

You know, back in the day Friday night after a hard day at work meant sliding up to a smoky bar and indulging in loud music, obnoxious people, and copious amounts of fermented beverage. Not to say that I was a party-animal at all, but I certainly could hold my own.

Sometimes I think I miss that, being free to go where I want when I wanted. No worries about kids and bills and other household things. Sometimes I envy my younger coworkers who make these elaborate plans, whisk themselves away to the keys or Orlando for the weekend.

But then there is knitting, and I don't think I'd trade that for anything right now. And yes, my friends do look at me like I'm about 90 years old when I tell them how excited I am about this new yarn I've bought, or the new pattern I want to try out. You can see the eyes glaze over, and it's all lost right there. But it's ok, because I have it, and I love it.

And then there is the new definition of date night for me. It starts with a trip to JoAnn for a few things, and ends with ice cream and my favorite guy in the world.

And I realize that I am the luckiest girl in the world to get to share my life with him.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Ask and you shall receive

Yesterday I took both of the cats with me to work to have their regular checkups and urinalyses to determine which one is making my life a urine-soaked hell.

Despite being caged or crated since 6 am, by 2:40 that afternoon both of them had still refrained from using their litter boxes with the nosorb (non-absorbent *duh*) litter. I suppose they felt it necessary to do everything the hard way, and stretch my wallet to the limit in the process. So, two cystocentesis later, and we've got pee, which I could readily have retrieved from a number of inappropriate places around my house, if only I knew who it belonged to. You can refer to my previous post to see how I feel about that.

I'd like to take this moment to personally and publicly thank Dr. T. for his virtuous patience and tolerance for my satan cats who were both hell-bent on destroying anything pink and fleshy presenting in a nicely pressed labcoat. For the record- I gave him permission to tank them or beath them at his discretion.

So, depositing the difficultly collected specimens in the lab, I utter to the tech that "someone BETTER have a problem!"

Ends up they both do. And of course, they have two separate problems.

Of course they do.

Problem one: Chloe- UTI with some blood. Treatment: A week of antibiotics.

Problem two: Bumper- crystals. Treatment: A lifetime of specialized diet, to hopefully keep the crystals from turning into stones which will then require cystotomy. Great.

And so, with fingers ravaged from poking pills down the evil cat's throat today, and rationing out the rather expensive prescription food, I wonder why in the heck I always end up with the defective ones?

And for the record, cats don't particularly like scheduled feedings when they accustomed to their bowls being constantly available for grazing.


Monday, March 05, 2007

Watch your tongue

Last night, sitting in the parent's kitchen, J-man upon Granny's lap and extremely fussy. I'm trying to make conversation with him to get him to stop whining.

Recently he's begun to realize that our two cats are, indeed, individuals and that they have names of their own. Up until now they were just "kitties", a collective furball fun for chasing and otherwise tormenting. But the other day I was pleasantly surprised when he paused to squeeze one of the slumbering furballs and said "Look Mama, this one Bumper."


And later in the day, he correctly pointed out the sour-puss Chloe.

So, back to last night. We're all sitting around the kitchen island, J is fussing and being uncooperative. Trying to get him to focus and engage in something other than fit-throwing, I ask him "J-man, can you tell Granny what the kitties names are?"

He thinks for a moment, and then with all his two-year-old sincerity he tells her "Kitty Stupid."

A little shocked and wondering where he picked that up I gently remind him that her name is Bumper, and she's a good kitty.

Not content to leave things as they are, I ask him what his other kitty's name is. And once again, he didn't fail to amaze me when he piped up "Kitty Fucking!"

Everyone was in stitches, except me, of course.

Thinking back, I realized that the other day, while cleaning up the cat urine incident on the couch, I did indeed utter something along the lines of "Stupid F@%$ing cats!" Of course, I believed at the time that J was well out of earshot.

And so, excuse me while I go chomp on this bar of soap.

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Saturday, March 03, 2007


Ugh. Saturday night, not quite nine. I'm in flannel pajamas again, sweating and shivering all at the same time. I'm drinking coffee because even the non-drowsy cold stuff makes me sleepy and I've been nodding off on the couch for the last hour. And that's AFTER taking a 2 hour nap with J earlier. Anyone who knows me knows that I must be S-I-C-K if I'm taking a nap in the middle of the day. Not once in his life have I ever napped with J. That's my time to get caught up and to do all the things I want to do for myself.

I feel like world's worst mother today. J's watched the same DVD about six times because I just don't have the energy to do anything other than hit the button on the remote for him. I've got this Go, Deigo, Go! video committed to memory.

It was sort of cute this morning- on the way to work J was doing the half-awake, half-asleep thing in his carseat and out of the blue he piped up with "Mama? Sick?"

"Yes, baby, I'm sick, but I'm ok." I tell him.

Silence for a second or two while he thinks about it, and then, "Bless you, Mama. "

How sweet. Sometimes he's so incredibly wonderful that I just want to squeeze him.

I'm hoping this crap will blow over by Tuesday. I've got a busy week ahead of me. Besides needing to stay caught up on the transcription stuff, which is a chore on a regular week, I have to work an extra 12 hour shift at work, and I have the air conditioning people coming out to inspect our system. We just had it replaced a few months ago and I'm not very happy with it. I mean, functionally it's fine- it cools the house. But it also chokes if you close the door that it sits behind, and it leaks water through a cracked hose. WTF?! So, we'll see what this punk-ass 20 something installer has to say about it. It'll be the third time I've complained to the company, and I'm just about to the point where I'm handing it over to the husband to deal with. No one takes a woman seriously, I guess.

Ok, so my coffee is finished, I'm feeling a bit warmer and a little less drowsy. Diego is almost over (again) and I'm going to go see if J will read a book with me or do something just a tad more mentally stimulating.

And since I can't go more than a few days without showing off my kid:

We;re still working on the table manners, but he's got the sharing thing down.

A favorite seat for tv watching, or just hanging out.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Friday Grumble

Am I really allowed to grumble this early in the morning?

There's been a nasty virus thing going around the office. It seems to go something like this- you start with a sore throat. Then comes the runny nose, fever, chills, headache part of it. When you think it can't possibly get any worse, there's the gastrointestinal team stepping up to make your life just that much more miserable.

I went to bed last night with the sore throat/cough, which progressed overnight to the fevers, chills part. So, I spent the night sleeping in flannel, despite the 80+ temperatures outside, and the rather balmy 76 that I set the thermostat to. (sorry to make you sweat, boys) I slept that weird sick sleep that's full of strange dreams and lots of tossing, only to be awakened at 3:00 by a puking cat. Nice.

On top of that, one of the cats, and I can't figure out which one, has a UTI and has been peeing in places she shouldn't- like on my couch! I swear, I'm ready to send them both packing. I mean, I know it's not her fault, but couldn't she pick a nice square of tile floor instead of the couch?!

Fortunately, there's this stuff I've found in all my years of cleaning up critter messes that really does take the smell and stain out of just about everything, and I always have some on hand, just in case. So, the couch, while bearing a giant water ring, is clean and odor free. Now, to figure out who the culprit is. I guess I'll separate them into the bathrooms with just food and water and litter and narrow it down that way. Fun times at the Mommyleek house.

Lately, it seems like everything I knit is a disaster. I've frogged more in the past few weeks than I have in my entire year and a half as a knitter. No matter what I do, things just don't seem to work out. I know I could probably relieve some of my stress by simply doing a better job of swatching. But come on, do YOU really swatch every single thing you knit? I mean, do you really take the time to swatch something that isn't a garment and is going to be felted? Tell the truth.

And hats... by the time you knit a swatch, you've pretty much got a hat anyway. I posted a while ago about knitting a hat for a 3-year-old girl who is going to be undergoing chemo. Well, despite my best efforts, I have frogged 4, yes 4 different hats for her. I don't know why I have such trouble knitting hats. Even going down two needle sizes hasn't alleviated the problem. Fortunately, I've only gotten about an inch or two into the pattern each time before realizing it's not working- in other words, I could wear it as a belt. :)

So, I'll be casting on again for it over the weekend. Hopefully my streak of bad luck will run it's course by then.

And now, despite the fact that I have more negativity to spew, it is time (or past time, rather) for me to be off to work, dragging my sleeping toddler along with me. It doesn't seem fair to have to wake your kid up at this ungodly hour, does it?

Hope everyone's weekend is off to a great start.