Thursday, December 29, 2011

Be still my heart

  This Christmas we received a most fabulous gift. An espresso machine!! It's made by Nespresso and it's simple to use, delicious to drink, and I'm worried about adding another addiction to my life. Seriously, it's so damned good. I've always been a big fan of strong coffee, but truth be told I'd never tried espresso. I always figured I didn't have the chops to handle the boldness of the flavor. I've heard people at Starbucks ordering lattes with skim, or half caff and cappuccinos with foam, etc., but I never got past ordering a plain ole coffee, which I would carefully doctor with half/half and sugar with the precision of a mad scientist. Coffee is so taste specific. I can't drink my husband's version of coffee. Too much sugar, not enough cream. Yet, if I get him a coffee and add two drops too many of cream, he will not drink it and deems it "disgusting". I always think the next line after he waves away the ruined brew will be, "Off with her head". It seems that serious of an offense to mess with a person's cuppa coffee.
  But I digress (which I can blame wholeheartedly on the amount of caffeine racing through my bloodstream). Back to the espresso, oh heavenly dark nectar, blessed magic, foamy brew.  I learned on the first morning we had the machine that doing a back to back cup for a novice drinker was a BIG mistake. Rather like when you drink your first alcoholic beverage and think to yourself, "Heck, I don't even feel it. May as well have another." And so you do. And then you feel it.  After downing my second cup with a satisfying smack of my lips, I began to feel an inner vibration. It started in my chest, wrapped around my heart and went up to my eyeballs. My eyeballs began to spasm in their sockets. I lost all ability to concentrate. Paranoia set in due to my lack of ability to concentrate, and I was suddenly the most ADD person on the planet with ideas and worries playing a ping pong match in my cracked out brain. Espresso, I learned that fateful morning is not only delicious, but it's serious shit.  I had tons of stuff that I'd wanted to get done that morning and guess what I got done? Nothing. Unless you want to count checking Facebook every ten minutes.  Touche, espresso. I'm a big girl and learned my lesson. As with most things in life that are almost TOO enjoyable to be true, moderation is the key with espresso drinking. At least until you get some practice under your belt, which I aim to do one luscious, heart stopping cup at a time.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Holiday Spirits

     Now it's always fun to get into the holiday spirit, but when you combine that with holiday spirits (read:booze) things can get a little tricky.  We hosted a low key holiday party this past weekend, just a few friends, casual dinner, drinks by the Christmas tree, etc. For some reason, the day of the party I woke up feeling exhausted. All day I dragged myself from one chore to the next, shoving the vacuum across the floor, swishing a rag splashed with Pledge over the furniture, throwing together a large vat of Provencal Vegetable soup and numerous other details that had to be attended to. Before the guests arrived I mixed myself a martini (my usual cocktail of choice) and sat down to catch my breath. In the nick of time the vodka began to weave its way through my veins, giving me a renewed vigor and voila, it was time to greet the first guests. And I was ready!

 All was going smoothly (as smoothly as my second martini was going down), and the guests were happily chatting, drinking and snacking on appetizers. It was around that time when I started to get a little fuzzy in the brain department.  We set out the dinner and I sat down to eat a large bowl of beef bourguignon, which I supplemented with a few big pieces of bread & butter (helps to soak up the poison in theory). Don't get me wrong, I'm no amateur when it comes to handling my liquor, but vodka is a sneaky little fellow. You can be fine one minute then WHAM, you're wasted. This my friends, is what happened to me. I became the Sloppy Drunken Hostess. I'm reporting this with great remorse, not pride. I'm pretty sure that I didn't say anything too stupid, or make too much of an ass out of myself, except for the moment after dinner when I attempted to sit on a heavily Pledged wooden chair, slid off the side and hit the floor. Yup. At that moment, my pal Hot Shame came over to join me. His presence made my cheeks go red and fill me two new feelings-embarrassment and humiliation. Two of my good friends were sitting with me and witnessed my "bobble", but as I recall neither of them reacted. That means we all drink enough to know that someone is going to get sloppy at some point and they were glad the lottery skipped them, or they were too drunk themselves to actually stand up to help me.  What I do know is that the minute Hot Shame joined me I became sober. Well, not totally sober but I gathered my wits and pulled my wasted self together before I had more to regret than a bruised backside. The rest of the party carried on without incident, except for a dropped glass platter on our front walk that totally shattered. As I was kneeling down to pick up glass shards,  I realized my theory of it's not a great party till someone falls down, or breaks something had to come to fruition. I just wish I hadn't been the one to fall down. I wished that over and over again in the middle of the night. But I did. I guess we've all had a turn at being the Sloppy Drunken Hostess at one point or another. There should be a S.D.H. Barbie. She can have smeared makeup and a martini glass clutched in her plastic fingers. I'm going to write to Mattel now.  Cheers to Christmastime everyone!

{Not everyone saw me miss the chair, but one guy did and he poked Jonathan and said, "Hey, your wife just fell off her chair".  Jonathan told me that he replied, "Oh don't worry, she does that all the time". God, I love that man. }

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A Gradual Descent

     This past Saturday while trudging through a thin layer of snow to bring in a horse from the back field, it occurred to me that we've been introduced to winter temperatures in a much more gentle fashion this year (minus the Oct. snowstorm that was like a bad acid trip). As I went through the path between the hedgerow, into the open field the wind caressed my face with silky cold air, causing my cheeks to grow pink. For a moment, I was captivated by the incredible pastel palate across the westerly sky as the sun began to sink below the Catskills. I even smiled.
    Each week I look ahead for the upcoming forecast. A few weeks ago the presence of a 60 degree day in the weekly roster would make my heart soar. With the exception of mud and continuous blanket changes for the horses that is a blessed temperature for this time of year. Then I let my expectations drop to a more realistic number, mid-50's would be just fine, even low 50's, totally acceptable. Yesterday I was outside hanging up Christmas decorations in the crisp 45 degree sunshine, with no gloves on and strangely enough it felt tolerable.  Now I'm no rube when it comes to northeastern winters, so I know it's going to get ugly at some point. There will be bitter cold, winds that feel like a dish towel snapping at your face, snowstorms, power outages, etc. It's all coming. But for now 44 is the new 74 around these parts. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Sick Musings

   I'm really, really curious about something. Is there any reason why the folks who make cough syrup can't make it taste any less toxic? And who came up with the brilliant combo of "cherry menthol"?  Why not "earthworm dung peppermint"?  Or "rotting leaves bubble gum"?  The stuff is just disgusting and the flavor actually lingers forever in your mouth. It envelops the tongue with its poisonous goo, which allows small amounts to seep down the throat with each swallow.  Maybe that's the goal to help quell the coughing, but I'm feeling like I'd rather cough than endure this heinous assault of my taste buds.  The taste also induces immediate nausea.  I'd like to talk to these cough medicine developers and give them a piece of my mind. If we're sick, then why kick us when we're down? We need to feel better when we take the medicine, not worse.  I'm of the opinion that the folks behind the Tussin flavor department are sadistic bastards.  I remember taking a green liquid cough medicine as a kid and that was no better than this cherry garbage. In thirty years they can't improve upon that flavor? I'm not buying it.  They don't WANT to make it taste better.  They chuckle amongst themselves in their little white coats, delighted with the prospect of grossing out millions of poor, coughing victims. I bet they did come up with a nicely flavored cough medicine, but then chose not to market it.  Instead they keep those private batches for themselves, or to give out to special friends and family as Christmas gifts.  It's all a conspiracy against the coughing public.  So in addition to body aches, stuffy head, sneezing, coughing, and blowing my nose, I now have a vile flavor in my mouth that even a cup of strong Irish tea is having trouble erasing.  Four words...I want my Mommy.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Was that really necessary?

   Last week we had a truly epic October snow storm. I was on the verge of committing a crime, or killing myself in the hours before the storm, because I couldn't freaking believe that it was going to SNOW in October.  I walked around the stable in a haze, making sure to avoid direct eye contact with my customers, muttering oaths under my breath and going over a checklist of what needed to be done for storm prep.  It was terrible.  The only thing that briefly cheered me up was a quickie trip to the store for some last minute provisions. NO, I didn't buy milk and bread like all the other dummies.  I bought food, seltzer, vodka and American cheese (from the deli counter, not that gross crap wrapped in cellophane).  The fun was watching my fellow Americans grocery shop like it was the last time they'd ever be allowed in a grocery store. The vibe was positively frantic in there. People were freaking out. The liquor store was a much calmer environment. Drinkers know how to get themselves by.       And it never hurts to have an extra bottle of hooch in the house for emergencies. By the time I got into my car the first flakes of snow had begun to drift down from the sky in a lazy, nonchalant manner.  That changed in about a half hour. The snow became a driving, relentless blizzard that lasted all thru the night. We awoke to a ridiculous scene of mountains of snow piled on the cars, patio furniture, roofs, etc. At least 20 inches dropped at our house.  I really wanted to cry. Or have a screwdriver for breakfast. Wisely, I did neither of those things and waded down to the barn and fed the horses. Because that's what you do when you run a barn. It's like the post office, it doesn't matter what crazy shit weather you're getting you have to do your job. I admit it did help to have to go about the day doing the normal chores in a near lobotomized state, like the old Dunkin Donuts commercial when the guy repeats, "Time to make the donuts" over and over again.

 Enough about that nightmare. The snow has all melted at our house. The leaves are still on the trees, sort of, and it's going to be in the mid sixties this week. Amen.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

What are people thinking?

Here are some random things that I've been thinking about lately:

When someone tells you that they have a very high threshold for pain, kick them as hard as you can on their shinbone and note the reaction. It's a good way to weed out the liars from your life. 
Why do people feel the need to mention their particular threshold for pain? Do they think it makes them a member of some kind of super human sub-race? I swear, I've had three people tell me about their fancy schmancy, high falutin' tolerance for pain in the last month and I'm damn sick of it. I KNOW none of the people who said that to me have even the slightest tolerance for any kind of pain. It's just ridiculous. And it's been bothering me. I feel better just writing that down. Next time I see them I'm going to monkey bite each of the high pain tolerator's right inside their inner arm flesh.  You know who has a high tolerance for a pain? People that don't talk about it.  It's like bragging about being ambidextrous. Who gives a crap? Big deal you can write with both hands. Cure cancer, then I'll be impressed. I find it odd that some folks just like to brag about themselves in bizarre ways. Is it for attention? Do they want to possess a certain stature in society? Like, "I'm so frigging superior that I can take a bullet to the chest, while simultaneously writing a page from Shakespeare with both hands. Oh, and I'm double jointed".   

I just started taking an online writing class, which is proving to be a lot of fun (and duh, educational). However, there is one smarty pants in the class, who actually bragged that he is naturally skilled in every aspect of writing. He wrote that. It made me want to email him and say, "Really? Then why the hell are you here genius??"  Maybe he didn't mean it that way and it was just the way he wrote it that made him sound like a bragging jackass. Maybe I should feel sorry for him because he lacks the ability to properly express himself through words. Maybe I shouldn't concern myself with stupid stuff like this and I'd get a lot more work done. 

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Lady of the Flies

Living at a horse farm has always been one of my dreams. I love rolling out of bed and heading down to the barn to feed our horses. I could do without the dramatic whinnying, pawing and kicking, but that is the "music" of impatient, hungry equines. It's best to just block that part out and dole out the goods as fast as you can. Once they've been fed, the sounds of rhythmic hay munching, birds chirping, watching my dogs trot across the dew laden fields and speculating that I can do whatever I want to on a gorgeous summer day is the best feeling ever. Life on the farm has a magical quality on those days. And then...comes fly season.
Fly season is dreaded by the people who take care of horses almost as much as the horses themselves. The flies reach a crescendo around August and the hot, humid days are when they are in their most potent form of irritation. They swarm. They bite. They drive the horses crazy in the paddock.They land on us repeatedly. Worst of all, they come in my house. If we were clever people we wouldn't leave our doors open, but we're not, so they're open and the flies feel welcome. They freak me out.
This is our second summer living at the horse farm. The flies seemed much worse last year and I'm crediting the fly predators that I started using back in May for the lower numbers. Don't get me wrong, there are a lot of flies, but somehow it seems a little better. Still, I have resorted to turning into a fly killing Ninja maniac with a rolled up New Yorker. I'll be fine one minute and then in the next, I grab my rolled up magazine and go on a stealthy fly smashing rampage. I have tactics, too. Successful fly smashing revolves around patience, timing and aim. I'm very good at all three of those things. Should I be proud of my fly smashing skills? Who cares. I like killing these little fuckers, especially when they're trying to land on our food. Sometimes I start talking while I'm on a bender, a little like Bill Murray in his famous gopher eliminating scene from Caddyshack. I like to kill one fly, then I start trash talking to the others in the room. "You want some of that, huh? You want some of what he just got?" I'll even leave a dead fly on the counter, just to show the others that their next on my hit list. While I take on this other persona of Fly Ninja, our dogs and cats usually flee from the room and Jonathan just shakes his head. He can sit on the couch with his legs stretched out on the coffee table and not even flinch as the flies land on him. This drives me crazy. If they land on me it incites feelings of reckless anger. I become obsessed with killing every fly I see. The most satisfying killing is getting two at once. Oh yes, that can happen and it's a sweet victory to get a double header. Very sweet, indeed. The gross part is cleaning up the smashed flies from the various surfaces that I've killed them on. I use a strong bleach fueled kitchen spray for this job. Also, I've learned that flies will not land on a freshly beach sprayed counter top. So, I spray and wipe down my counters a lot during this hellatious time. Being the Fly Ninja isn't a glamorous job. Wielding a blood smeared magazine that has random wings and legs stuck to it isn't something that every woman in the world is game to do, but I'm comfortable with that role, it suits me. I embrace the challenge to kill ALL flies that dare to cross our threshold. I'll restrain myself from laughing an evil laugh as I do it. Even Fly Ninja's have to draw the line somewhere.
The flies will be gone in a few weeks, for the most part. Then life will return to it's former bucolic bliss here at JEM Stables. Lately I've noticed people are already talking about fall and winter. Do they not remember the last winter we just endured? Shouldn't we get some sort of court order that makes it illegal to talk about cold weather this year until say, Christmas 2011? Let's just enjoy fly season while it's here, people.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

A New Level

Don't be fooled by the benign squint on Mia's face. She's a member of a gang of cold blooded killers. A gang that lives in my house. I've unwittingly been supporting this gang for years. They're reign of terror over small woodland creatures knows no boundaries. I'm sure there are wanted posters with their faces on them hanging in every vole hole and chipmunk den for miles around.
Even though she's the smallest, I think that Mia is the ringleader. Her method of choice is to catch said quarry and then bring it into the house and release it for hours of bait and switch fun. She and Marbles are the main serial killers, though Big Zeke isn't above joining in the game now and then. Miss Girl would never, never participate in any sort of killing behavior. She's a perfect lady (partly why she's my favorite, there's no blood on her paws).

We had a chipmunk living in the house a few weeks ago that I would see darting around periodically. He got so bold (and generally pissed off) that he would jump at the cats, and Becks when they came near his hiding spot (behind a curtain, in the bookcase, etc.), chirping in as angry a tone as a teeny furry creature can muster. It was almost cute, but also a little sad. He just wanted to go home, I'm sure. Well, I found a dead chipmunk on the oriental carpet in the dining room two weeks ago and figured that was the poor, angry chippie who finally met his maker at the claws of Marbles. Then I had an awful thing happen last Monday. I mean, awful. I walked into my bedroom at approximately noontime and I was bowled over by the smell of dead animal as I passed thru the doorway. GROSS. Immediately, I got on my hands and knees and began searching for the offending carcass, cursing the cats the entire time. Jonathan asked me what I was cursing about and when I told him he said, "You better find it!" Thanks, honey. The thing is that I could not find it. It was baffling and smelly. And there were flies buzzing around. Ewww. Jonathan came in to take a turn at the morbid mission. HE couldn't find it either (ha!). This was really not funny. The flies were buzzing around our bedroom like B1 bombers. The room was virtually humming and I needed to find the carcass. So, I followed my nose to the strongest scented area. It was Jonathan's beautiful antique mahogany bureau. Please, no I said to myself. Removing each drawer gingerly, I could tell that I was onto something for the scent of dead was escalating to a gag inducing odor. Pointing my flashlight into the back corner of the bureau revealed the source of foulness. A decaying chipmunk carcass. Apparently, he'd been forced into hiding and forgot to come out. So he died. In Jonathan's bureau. And I had to tell Jonathan.
Well, of course it was all fine despite the small speech on cats, my cats and how horrible they are and why do we have to have them, etc. He even removed the carcass since I couldn't possibly touch it even with gloves on and several layers of plastic bags. Very gallant of him. I chose not to tell him about the small maggot collection I found in the corner of his drawer. Instead, I had to man up and get those nasty suckers out of there by myself. Marbles actually had the nerve to come into the room and poke around in the drawer that was on the floor while I was doing this wretched job, acting all curious and cute. Unbelievable. So that's this week's grisly tale of life at my house. Just when I think I've had to deal with the grossest thing yet, my animals manage to trump me with a new adventure of disgustingness. It's absolutely ridiculous. I don't know many people who have had to excavate rotting chipmunks and maggots from their spouse's prized antique bureau. I might be alone in that particular category. Lucky, lucky me.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Why was Mary, Mary so contrary anyway?

While we were plunging headlong into the darkest depths of February frigidity, I truly thought we'd never see green grass, or flowers blooming ever again. Here are some photos to prove that I was wrong. Phew! Top left is a shot of some dahlia's (which I LOVE) and Becks (who I also LOVE). Top right is our front porch, with Marbles (aka Barbara Ann) sitting as the greeter on the steps. She's a photo whore. As I was walking up the front lawn with my camera she pranced out from the side garden and placed herself square in the middle of the shot. It's all good, she makes a nice compliment to the moldy steps. (note to self:paint the front porch steps this year, they look trashy) Bottom left is a pic of the garden in front of the barn that Jonathan completely revamped this year. That's Dan, the horse peering out from his stall. And lastly, the bottom right photo is of one of the lovely hanging baskets that Jonathan planted himself. And that's Dan, the horse, again. Have you noticed all of my photos seem to have an animal in them? They are freaking everywhere.
Jonathan turned into some kind of ninja/Martha Stewart gardener this year. I threw some ideas out there of what I had in mind and the next thing I knew the dirt was flying and he was calling out, "Come see this and tell me if you like it here!" He was all very feng shui about the whole placement of each plant/bush. It was serious business and he got irritated when I didn't give each planting the proper amount of attention. I'm glad he got so into the whole project, because gardening really hurts my back and frankly, I don't have the eye for it. My contribution has been dead heading religiously and watering. I can handle those two jobs. Looking at the melange of colors and variety of petals makes me happy. What the hell, it's June. How can you not be happy in June? I'm going outside to sit amongst my cheery flower pots and sip my coffee. I wish I could bottle the feeling of a cool summer morning so I could dispense it in small doses over the course of a cruel winter. But that's what vodka is for, I guess.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Wow, over a month since I last wrote a blog. I'm embarrassed to be here. I just want to slink in, type a few sentences and then slink out. After a few days of purported slinking, I'll give the impression of diligent blogging. "Look," I can say when I announce on Facebook that I've got a new blog(s) written, "Four blogs in four days. See I'm a dedicated blogger, not a pretender who only writes on a whim of passing fancy". (although, who doesn't love a passing fancy?) I could be like the bloggers that fill their posts with pictures. That's way less time consuming. Just hit a few buttons, write a witty sentence or two of explanation and your blogger status is sealed with a gold star. I'm a slacker blogger. A wannabe. It's going to take some dedicated effort, but I'm going to try to do some consecutive blogging. No promises, no pressure, just going to "attempt" this feat. And by the way, that's a picture of Big Zekie working on his summer figure. He becomes a barn helper when the weather turns warmer. Here he is keeping an eye on our new young horse in the paddock. He's a good employee. Works for Friskies and doesn't talk back. I love Big Z. Okay, I'll stop now. Hope to be back soon. :)

Friday, April 22, 2011

Wow, its been a stupid amount of time since I last wrote a blog. In fact, I haven't been writing anything at all. Instead of using the free time that was afforded to me during this miserable winter to hone my creative musings and warped imagination, I chose to allow the weight of the wicked weather to smother any potential ideas and much needed writing practice. Lately I've been having flickers of story ideas which is probably due to the fact that I was able to leave the farm for several days and stimulate my nearly frozen brain matter. Please don't get me wrong, I LOVE the farm life, but this winter combined with monotonous chores every day dulled my edges. Fortunately, just before I turned into a full fledged zombie we decided to go on a trip. We went to Holland-see photo.
It was a first visit to this petite country for both of us. Our intention for the trip was to look for new sales horses for our small stable. I'd put many hours into arranging visits to our various contacts, working out the logistics of geography, booking hotels, rental cars, etc. It was nerve wracking because I was so unfamiliar with the lay of the land, and I spent quite a bit of time studying a map of Holland to familiarize myself with the peculiarly named towns and cities. Dutch is a language unto itself and by that statement I mean it's unintelligible unless you know it. I am now determined to learn it. It's on the bucket list.
I won't go into all of the details of our trip, but I can assure you it was some business and a lot of pleasure. Amsterdam is amazing. The streets are chock full of bicycle riders, zigging and zagging between cars and pedestrians, ringing the bells on their handlebars to announce their presence behind you. Canals snake throughout the city, lending it a peaceful quality despite the hubbub occurring on the streets above the gentle waterways. Wafts of pot smoke greet your nostrils wherever you may be walking, whether it's 8 a.m. or 8 p.m. However, during our 6 day stay no one was visibly impaired, no one was drunk and disorderly, it was all very civilized. Take a lesson from that U.S.
I came home feeling so privileged to have packed windmills, canals, Rembrandt's, tulips, horses, old friends and new friends into a magical 6 day extravaganza. One thing is for sure, we'll be going back. Until then I'm going to revel in my memories and enjoy the advent of spring which is tentatively beginning to emerge one blade of bright green grass at a time.

Monday, February 28, 2011

To Tweet, or not to Tweet

I'm not a tweeter. I don't officially follow anyone on Twitter, but sometimes I find myself coming up with tweets that I would write, if I tweeted. I live in a land of tweet make believe. It's not that I've got anything terribly earth shattering to report, just an occasional flicker of wit that will bubble up and make me think to myself, "Now that right there would be a good tweet!" I have a friend who tweets and she's wickedly witty, often tweeting tweets that make me crack up and shake my head at her mastery with the english language. I told her about my closet tweeting and she encouraged me to get a Twitter account. "Do it!!" she said, but I'm reluctant to go down that road. I already have a FB account (who doesn't at this point?). FB keeps me acutely aware of keeping it real and crossing the line of too much information on the status updates. What little I know of tweeting bears the same peril. Everyone has at least one FB friend who writes about going to the grocery store, then Petco, etc., etc. I'm friends with a woman on FB whom I really don't know at all (does this happen to anyone else?), but I've learned a lot about her through her posts. Many times I've come close to unfriending her after reading a particularly inane post, but somehow I'm bizarrely fascinated by her ability to post such drivel on a constant basis so I keep her on the list for entertainment purposes. Sure, she clogs up my news feed, but I always know what she's having for lunch, dinner and who has hurt her feelings, made her smile, what she's wearing, etc. She even posts pictures that she taken of herself asking her friends to comment on her latest weight loss. Gross. I'm kind of amazed that none of her "real" friends have taken this person aside and said in a low voice, "Um, you might want to ease up on the extremely boring and way too personal status updates. Just saying." Although, I suspect this person is a giant drama queen and she would burst into tears and immediately post something like, "it's always enlightening to learn who is a true friend and who is just jealous of my honesty and willingness to give of myself. Goodbye, XXXX XXXXX"

There are times when I do a status update that causes my friends to make amusing comments and that's always a good time. I get a little rush when I see a list of comments under my current status. Of course, it's easy to blow an hour on FB without even realizing it. Straying from page to page. Stalking this person and that person. It's quite time consuming and I always swear that I'll limit the time I'm on it. But it calls me back like a siren on a rock, wooing me with notifications and updated news feeds. I can't possibly add Twitter to my list of daily chores, too. It would mean getting up at 3 a.m. to get everything I need to accomplish for one day. I think I'll just stick to fantasy tweeting. At least for the time being. Okay, time to check my news feed one last time before I start doing real work. It'll just take a second...

Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Haunting

Have you ever woken up in the morning feeling like your dreams kept you so absurdly busy that you barely got any rest? Do you ever have nights when you wake up multiple times and each time you go back to sleep you're transferred into another whacky dream sequence? Or does this just happen to me? Last night I had a series of four very detailed dream segments that were all variations on the same theme, which was coping with my (now deceased) cat, L.B. and his habit of peeing all over our house. I have no idea what sparked L.B.'s "Jason-esque" return to my life, albeit thru my subconscious, but it was haunting and disturbing. I can clearly see the blatant impudence that was so vividly displayed on L.B.'s grey, furry face as he looked me in the eye, backed up to the sofa and squirted. This isn't the first time I've had a posthumous return of the peeing pussycat. L.B. crossed over the Rainbow Bridge (probably spraying during the entire crossing) a little over 2 years ago. We had him for 14 years and he started off as an adorable, normal kitten and then for inexplicable reasons at about age two, he took to a life of crime and began a pissing spree that became the stuff of legend. He literally pee'd on everything in our house, including Jonathan and I at different points. He seemed to really love me, but as he aged he got more and more crazy. Sometimes I'd be petting him and he'd be purring and preening, then for no reason he would spin around and slash me with his nails. I began to identify his behavior with that of a veteran suffering from post traumatic stress syndrome. L.B. would often cautiously walk out the door, peer left and right then make a run for it in a crazed zig-zag pattern to the bushes at the back of the lawn. If he could've put on some camo and bandana, I feel he would've thought himself complete. My other cats seemed to look at him with pity, but he was so asocial that none of them made friends with him. He was sad, insane and tormented. It took me about five years to make the decision to "help" him start his journey to the afterworld, so after one last pee-fest on a new comforter I made the dreaded call to a friend/veterinarian. I am a diehard cat person, so this wasn't a decision that I took lightly, in fact it pained my very core to do it. However, the fact that we were moving to a new house that was freshly painted and cat pee-free helped reinforce it. The thought of watching (and smelling) L.B. as he darted through a new abode marking it was just too much. It had to be done. So it was. And ever since then that grey S.O.B. makes guest appearances in my dream world, always the same, furtively scurrying about the house, spraying pee in random patterns. Each time I see him I have the same reaction, "Oh NO! It's L.B.! How is this possible? We killed him!!" I know it's self imposed guilt that creates these dream-drama's. I did love L.B., but I'm fairly sure most people would've done him in/abandoned him/given him away long before I made the final choice. Twelve years of hard time with a pissing feline and now I'm doomed to an eternity of his resurrections through my dream land. I just now got his odor off the silk drapes that hang in our living room.
I really hope that tonight I get some well needed rest, or at least get to dream about a caribbean vacation, complete with warm sunshine and fruity rum drinks. With the way things have been going it's more likely I'll be laying on the beach and then L.B. will go sailing by and pee on the palm tree I'm sitting near. Here's to cat urine free dreaming!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy V-Day to me!

It's Valentines Day!!! I woke up this morning knowing that it was a perfect day to use my heart shaped waffle maker. Yes, I actually possess a heart shaped waffle maker. It was given to us as a wedding present from a friend (and she's a follower of this blog). Before I continue I must add, "friend" if you're reading this and thinking to yourself, "Oh yes, the waffle maker gift for which I never received a THANK YOU NOTE!", please accept my weak, eleven years too late apology for my complete absence of etiquette. I was a very uncouth bride in that I wrote out about five thank you notes and then gave up. Honestly, after a ten day honeymoon on St. Barth's armed with enough marijuana (again, wedding present-they got a thank you note;) to keep Snoop Dog and his posse high for a week I could scarcely remember who gave us what so I took the low road and pretended that thank you notes weren't really necessary at all. Note: Not proud of that fact and before anyone starts planning an intervention just know that I'm completely drug free these days and have been for many years. Okay, back to V-Day...

Jonathan and I aren't big V-Day fanatics. He usually gets me a card, something silly with a cat on the front that he knows will make me laugh and a bouquet of tulips, which he knows are my favorite flowers. We'll cook an elaborate dinner, light some candles, etc. He's more difficult to buy a gift for and he really doesn't care if he gets anything or not, but I usually come up with something. If only he liked waffles I would've gotten some Valentine's bonus points for serving heart shaped waffles for breakfast. Alas, he thinks they're gross, and neither sweet nor savory versions can tempt him. So in all honesty, I made heart shaped waffles for myself this morning. How sad is that? Actually, they were dang delicious in a completely syrup-y sweet,non-nutritious breakfast kind of way. I now feel like a bloated Valentine with sticky fingers and waffle batter on my sleeve. Why is it that waffles, pancakes and French toast always sound like a great idea, but after you've eaten them the regret over filling your stomach with their doughy sweetness far outweighs the pleasure of their flavor? Guess I'll put the waffle maker away until this time next year for surely by then I'll be ready for another batch.
Happy Valentine's Day everyone!!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Winter Possibilities...maybe...

This is what my animals have been doing these last few weeks. They all like to sleep in various positions around the house, some upside down like Remy, other sideways to accommodate their girth ala Big Zekie. I won't post all the pet pics, because I'm sure you're getting the idea without seeing the entire brood in their relaxing glory. It's the season to rest and reflect while the winter winds and snows blow around the frigid outdoors. I am unlucky in this respect because I cannot nap once I'm up in the morning. Jonathan can stumble down to the barn with me, feed the horses, then stumble back to the house and be back asleep in record breaking time. I'm pretty sure he believes he's dreamed most of the morning feedings. Better that way, for him and me, he's incredibly intolerant of the winter weather. However, while the rest of my household returns to a blissful slumber after the flurry of feeding pets, my mornings entail trolling around on the internet, visiting the refrigerator multiple times, reading a few pages, writing a few paragraphs, struggling with the Sunday crossword (a week long endeavor for dolts like me), paying bills, and attempting to organize my desk. Not necessarily in that order. It's my way of "keeping busy". And I'm sick of it!! I won't add bitter words about winter, because it's become a redundant theme for me and everyone else in the northeast and beyond. Suffice to say, it's a test of will to stay upbeat and positive this winter. But I'm doing it! Despite my recent dealings with another tooth gone bad, despite a root canal that proved to be a painful experience and recovery involving a new, powerful antibiotic to quell the pain in my jaw, despite a sore elbow that's been giving me crippling pain, I'm oddly content. Is it acceptance? Stupidity? Blind faith that this too shall pass? I can't answer these questions and maybe it's better that way. La la la la laaaa, I won't look at the weather reports, I won't think about all the clothes I must don to prevent frostbite to go outside, I won't think about my swollen face. I'm like a rat on a wheel that just keeps on running, no destination in mind, just motion and that is the tonic that fuels me. Keep on truckin', like the weirdly popular bumper sticker that came about in the 70's. Keep on, keeping on...and soon it will be green and warm. Hey, that rhymes! A new bumper sticker for the winter of 2011! I can spread mindless hope for all of those pining for spring! I'll manufacture these bumper stickers in neon colors and shamelessly sell them at trade shows. They'll be pasted on Chevy's and Honda's worldwide. I'll become a doyenne of catchy phrases and make my fortune! Or, more likely I'll just watch dumb Youtube videos and eat voluminous quantities of leftovers to pass the time till the snow melts. :) p.s. if I see MY bumper sticker on even one car, there will be a copyright infringement suit! what is that silly kitty doing with a laser pointer? Hold on, I'm getting some more mashed potatoes out of the fridge...

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Is it a fact that Hell is hot? I beg to differ.

I took this photo just after Christmas during sunrise. It's the view from our side porch, heading down to the barn. I had it as our screen saver for a while, until Jonathan said he was finding it depressing. Why do you ask? How could such a lovely palette of winter colors make one feel depressed? I happen to know the answer. It's because the winter weather has become all consuming, totally taking over lives, ruining our plans and in general making every detail of daily existence more difficult. Let's start with the snowfall, for example. What you see in the picture here is considered a delicate dusting compared to the additional snow that was added in January. We have "feet" of snow. Multiple feet. And it's snowing right now. Nothing serious, but just a little fuck you snowstorm. As in, are you sick of winter, yet? Yeah, well here's some more snow=fuck you. It's ridiculous. On the other hand, whenever it isn't snowing the temperature plummets way down to the negative digits making a brief hike to the mailbox feel like you're conquering the peak of Everest. Mind numbing, f-ing Little House on the Prairie cold. Lately, everywhere I go all people can talk about is the damn weather, and that my friends has truly gotten boring. I'm thinking of bringing my snow shovel around with me and whenever someone makes an inane comment about the weather I'm going to smack them in the ass with it. Another thing I really love about right now is when my southern friends call and ask "how cold is it up there?" or "how many inches did you get?". When I finally unclench my jaw and tell them the answers, then they try to make me feel better by saying "it's cold down here, too". 40 degrees isn't cold!!! I'd be wearing a t-shirt at this point if the thermometer were to hit 40. But enough about the weather for now. I'm done with my rant. There is small shred of hope that I can salvage out of this frost filled misery, which is that it will be February 1st this coming Tuesday. Goodbye January 2011! You made your point and you will go down in history as one of the worst winter months on record. Happy? Ironically, as I just typed that the sun came out here making the snow sparkle like a zillion tiny diamonds strewn across my yard. I could almost call it pretty. Almost.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Oh my darlin'

I'm no fancy photographer, but I love this shot I took of a fresh box of clementines basking in sunshine on my dining room table. Looking at it makes me feel warm and happy, just behold those goldy-orange mini-orbs of juicy sweetness, effulgent in the natural glowing light. In general, I'm not a big citrus fruit fan, but these little beauties are a delicacy that only come around during the winter holidays. I gobbled up most of this box by myself (with the exception of a few that were sacrificed for a juggling demo at our New Year's Eve party), and I have the cankers to prove it. I will also report (although this is probably the kiss of death) that I've staved off any colds/flu's this year, despite having several hacking house guests over the holiday season. I believe the added infusion of fresh Vitamin C must have something to do with it. Or is it just luck? Whatever the reason, I'll take it. And I'd better just shut up about it, because if I don't I'll surely wake up tomorrow with a sore throat.
I've been trying to avoid writing anything about the weather lately, because frankly it's become boring. Basically the weather report goes like this, "big ass storm, followed by bone cracking cold temperatures, a seasonably reasonable day, then big ass storm..." Get the picture? It's like Mother Nature went on vacation to the Caribbean and put winter's weather pattern on a loop. This morning it was -12 degrees. Twelve degrees BELOW zero. Ridiculous. It won't rise about 15 degrees today, so they say. It's survival time. Get plenty of vitamin C, dress appropriately, stock up on booze, and hunker down. This will all be a distant memory come July...or I'll be getting shock therapy, one of the two.

Friday, January 21, 2011

I'm a little teapot, short and stout...

Let me start this post by saying that I've always been a diehard coffee drinker. Not that I drink it black, or anything, but I really like a strong cuppa java in the morning to get me going. I've got a system that I use, like a religious process, of making coffee. First, put on the kettle. Second grind the beans. Third pour boiling water over ground beans in a French press (must be strong, good quality beans-no Folgers, or Maxwell House). Fourth, wait 15 minutes, depress the plunger and voila- powerful coffee magic. Mmmm, it really is good to the last drop. The press confounds my Mother in-Law, which I find strange since it's probably one of the earliest, therefore primitive methods of making coffee. She's a drip brew kinda gal. Press a button, walk away, minutes later, brown liquid is ready for the taking. I appreciate the instant gratification of that brewing method, but I can't stray from the flavor produced by coffee made in a press. Coffee people tend to come from one of two camps. You're either a Dunkin' Donuts fan, or a Starbucks aficionado. And if you're the type who can buy a cup of joe at a gas station, then you have no taste buds and deserve to burn your tongue. I can't abide any strange flavors in my coffee. No french vanilla, no pumpkin (gross!), just wholesome beans, handpicked by Juan Valdez and his tiny, overburdened donkey.
This Christmas I gave Jonathan that cute little teapot in the photo. One of our friends served us a delicious tea after a dinner party and we both flipped over it. It was simply brewed in a vessel just like the one above, and it had a mellow, yet addictive flavor. Ti Quan Yin is its name. We couldn't get enough of this brew and like gluttons we drank cup after cup. That night opened up a whole new world of hot, caffeinated beverages for us. There is a tea company in our area called Harney and Son's who maintain a "tea house" in Millerton, NY. I'd never ventured into the tea house, because frankly I've never had that much passion for tea. But after trying the one flavor, I knew there must be more so it was time to take a trip. The tea house was packed with people on the day we chose to check it out. I perused the shelves of tins of loose tea, bobbing and weaving between nattily dressed couples and their perfect miniature replica's (otherwise known as children). Upon closer inspection, I noticed that the women all appeared to be botoxed and their hair was coiffed and colored just so. The men were rugged, handsome, yet sensitive fondling the tins with faraway looks in their eyes, as if they were recollecting a lovely memory that involved drinking that very brew. Did everyone have a sexy, foreign accent in this place but me? The entire crowd looked as though they'd just been prepped for a magazine shoot, for say Brooks Brothers, or Nieman Marcus. I looked down at my faded jeans and Ugg knock-offs that smelled faintly of horse. Pulling my carhart knit cap down over my brow line, I hastily selected a promising citrus blend, paid for it and slunk out of the store. Jonathan was waiting for me in the car already, since five minutes in that atmosphere had been enough for him.
"Honey, that was just creepy," I said to him. "Is that what "tea people" are like?"

When we go to the coffee house up the street there are often men in flannel shirts, with beards and long hair. Mother's with sticky fingered children, jostle in line, maneuvering their baby carriages and smiling apologetically when they bump you by accident. They are REAL people. The tea house was a surreal experience. There was definitely a Stepford Wives vibe in that place. I'm sure that I'll have to go back for more tea at some point, but I'll make sure I go to the hairdresser right before and wear my finest woolen togs. And I can fake a British accent with the best of them. But just know, I'm no tea person. I'm a coffee lover all the way, just dipping my big toe in the fancy tea pool for some variety on a cold wintery day. Seeing how the other half lives, as it were. Pinkies up and all that rot...

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


I'm doing it again. I'm using my blog to avoid writing anything "serious". The blog is a light, airy, non-judgmental place for me to visit. I get to spout off on a certain topic, or recent occurrence in my life. Some folks read it. They give me positive feedback. I satisfy a certain writing urge. It's a win/win situation, right? Except for my angst over not actually making a solid effort to write anything else. Angst? Oh YES, angst!!
Why do I look at a blank page on my new iworks office program and feel like I'm staring into a snake pit? I actually managed to write a couple of pages the other day, but then pathetically the creativity dwindled, I lost interest, and I found myself on ...Facebook. I'm like a student with bad study habits. Do I need to lock myself in my office? Chain my leg to the desk chair? Have parental controls applied to my computer so I can't go on the internet for several hours a day? Quit Facebook? Get some black market Adderall? Is there an answer? No, I don't think so. I've been told that I need a writing plan. My plan is to write. Something. Anything. Fiction? Non-fiction? The idea of writing a novel is way too intense. How about some nice short stories? Or an essay? I continue to receive encouragement from many sources telling me that I should write. Oh blog, you've become my prostitute. I visit you for quick, impartial satisfaction a few times per month and neglect the other "relationship" that I'm supposed to be having with "real" writing. Don't worry blog, I can't quit you ( one of my favorite lines from Brokeback Mountain, from one gay cowboy to another). I do feel better now that I've stopped by for a quickie. Guess I'll log off and see if I can come up with anything spontaneous and brilliant that will get me published and famous and driving a Porsche and buying a house and... Maybe that's a bit too much pressure to put on myself. Therein lies the problem. I think I'll just make a quick cup of tea before I settle in...