Showing posts from December, 2008

If I Were In Charge of the World......

* No one would be allowed to put food coloring in drugs intended for cats. Red food coloring can indeed stain walls and cats have a marvelous spit-up trajectory

* Liberal arts would be considered as important as math and science in schools

* One could opt out of all campaign mailings if one votes early via absentee ballot

* Dusting wouldn't be necessary

* No one would be allowed to buy things they couldn't afford

* Vets would have to follow their own advice one day every month. Let's see a vet keep a cat quiet and inactive without the use of drugs

* If you had 4 coffee makers fail in one week, you would get a free Starbucks giftcard for frustration

* Houseplants would make a bit more of an effort to stay alive

* If people didn't say "thank you" for gifts, the gifts would immediately be revoked and given to charity

* Thermostats would not be able to just reset themselves in the middle of the winter for no reason whatsoever

* People would spend as much time w…

A Little Holiday Recap

In no particular order.....

We heard from lots of friends & loved ones...
Learned new relaxation techniques....Hung our stocking by the chimney with care....Got a bit creative with breakfast in bed...Enjoyed a white Christmas...
Explored new fashions....Opened the first jar of homemade salsa...
Discovered the way to cope with a jealous catFinally found a way to stop Theo from removing casts....And received some very unusual Christmas gifts....Ho! Ho! Ho!

The Coffee Maker Saga Continued.....

When we last left the sleepy Sutton-Goar household, Andy had just purchased a new coffee maker from Fred Meyer. Defying all odds, the new coffee maker didn't work either. Quite positive that it was impossible to have 4 coffee makers not work all in one week, Toni and Andy--in sheer caffeine-deprived desperation--READ THE MANUAL. Nothing.

Unfortunately, the receipt was nowhere to be found. Expecting the worst, Andy boxed the defective coffee maker up and returned it to Fred Meyer this morning. The cheerful sales associate looked up the transaction using Andy's credit card, found it, and issued a FULL refund. No in-store credit, no we'll-only-give-you-credit-for-the-lowest-price-it's-sold-for-in-the-last-three-years. Nope, full refund. Toni has always found Fred Meyer store personnel to be helpful and personable, and today was no exception. Kudos Fred Meyer!

Andy's next stop was Costco to see if the coffee urn--purchased more than a year ago but never opened--…

Christmas 2008 - The Battle of the Coffee Makers

When one is hosting 3 parties in 2 days, it's advisable to have a ready supply of coffee on hand. On Monday, I picked up 15 bags of coffee beans--fifteen! We had 2 coffee makers and a large coffee urn we had never used that we were planning to dig out for Christmas Eve, so we honestly thought our caffeine needs were covered.

By Christmas Eve, coffee maker #1 had taken to superheating the water, burning the coffee, and creating large amounts of steam and one cup of mud. Coffee maker number two simply refused to give out any coffee, though it makes a nice humidifier. The coffee urn was taken out of the box for the very first time and found to have a broken piece (luckily it came from Costco, so is likely to be cheerfully exchanged but not on Christmas Eve). With this track record, we were a bit worried about digging the French press out of Andy's camping gear, but after careful examination and a discussion of what we could possibly break on it, it was attempted. Coffee was…

The Christmas Letter

Happy Holidays!!!
Once upon a time, in a far away place called Boise, there lived a husband and wife.They were very happy, but as we know happens in all stories, there were bad things as well called “plot twists.”One was called the “economy” which fell apart because too many people were greedy and wanted to own houses that they couldn’t afford.The “economy” cost many people their jobs, including both Andy and Toni.Luckily, Andy and Toni were careful with money and hadn’t bought a too-expensive home, and Andy was able to use a magic power called “telecommuting” to get a job in another state.To learn to be even more careful with money, Toni and Andy decided to go 90 days without buying anything except food and “gasoline,” which makes cars go.Unfortunately, “gasoline” and food became so expensive that it was all they could afford anyway.They had a large back “lawn,” which is also known as a “freaking waste of water in a desert climate,” so they converted much of the “lawn” into a gar…

How I Did On Yesterday's List

So my plan of action for yesterday was:

1. Make spicy peanut soup
2. Make the Mexican layered dip--using homemade salsa
3. Mix the onion dip (would it be Christmas without Lipton Onion Soup Mix dip?)
4. Bake an apple cake
5. Mix up an herb cream cheese spread
6. Dig out all the serving plates & pieces we received for our wedding.
7. Watch the cat to make sure the current cast lasts more than 24 hours (1 hour 10 minutes being his fastest removal time to date)
8. Mix more onion dip when I have eaten the first batch
9. Send 10 more Christmas cards
10. Gloat that I don't have to be out driving around in the 3 inches of new snow!

How yesterday actually went:

1. Spicy peanut soup - MADE
2. Mexican layer dip - MADE
3. Lipton Onion Soup Dip - MADE
4 Baked 2 apple cakes because there was a slight misunderstanding involving how many sticks of butter compose one cup......
5. Herbed cream cheese spread - MADE, but a little bland so still in progress
6. Serving plates - still exactly where they w…

Today's Plan of Action

We're having a bit of an "open house" over Christmas Eve & Christmas Day with a soup night/ornament exchange Christmas Eve, and a brunch and dinner Christmas day, so today the cooking starts. Today's plan:

1. Make spicy peanut soup
2. Make the Mexican layered dip--using homemade salsa
3. Mix the onion dip (would it be Christmas without Lipton Onion Soup Mix dip?)
4. Bake an apple cake
5. Mix up an herb cream cheese spread
6. Dig out all the serving plates & pieces we received for our wedding.
7. Watch the cat to make sure the current cast lasts more than 24 hours (1 hour 10 minutes being his fastest removal time to date)
8. Mix more onion dip when I have eaten the first batch
9. Send 10 more Christmas cards
10. Gloat that I don't have to be out driving around in the 3 inches of new snow!

A Few Numbers....

28 - number of days of having a cat in a cast
2 - number of casts the cat has managed to pull off so far
4976 - number of attempts the cat has made to pull off the cast
4 - average number of hours of sleep now averaged at Chateau Sutton-Goar
10 - number of cups of coffee now averaged at Chateau Sutton-Goar
160 - number of Christmas cards sent to far
100+ - number of Christmas cards still left to send
0 - number of new friends Toni is going to allow for the next month or two
66 - temperature that Toni programmed into the thermostat for "daytime"
70 - temperature that Toni bumps the therm0stat to each day after all fingers and toes have gone numb
9 - days until the Year of No Processed Foods begins
312 - number of forbidden foods that will be consumed in the next 9 days
147 - number of times Lite 108 has played Frosty the Snowman so far this month
11 - Christmas stockings made and wrapped
538 - number of errors made on the 11 Christmas stockings
18 - number of times Toni has watched "M…

I Have Been Tagged

I have been tagged by No Blog Rachel (and yes, she gets the irony--I believe she intends it.)

The rules of this one:

* go to my 4th picture folder
* go to the 4th picture in the folder
* tell you 4 things about that picture
* tag 4 more people

So, this is the 4th picture in my 4th folder:
Theo "helping" me type. This picture is pre-injury and way before the whole cast saga & sleep deprivation marathon that we're currently on. My four things about this picture...

1. The vet who vaccinated Theo thinks he is part Maine Coon, which is an American cat breed that might be descended from 6 cats Marie Antoinette sent to the New World in preparation for fleeing France herself. (Do you think they guillotined aristocratic cats as well?) Legend has it that domestic cats mated with raccoons and that is how the name was born. Besides being biologically impossible, have you ever known a cat that didn't have the sense to keep a healthy distance from raccoons?

2. Some of the Maine…

Be Vewy, Vewy Quiet...We're Hunting Mouses....

Obviously in the holiday gift-giving spirit--and probably because Theo is getting so much attention lately, Callisto brought in a lively little mouse this morning, and promptly lost it here:
That's right--in the Christmas tree. Originally we thought he was just under the tree, but after removing (and thoroughly checking) all the gifts and the tree skirt, the mouse was nowhere to be found. Now mice can actually climb, and if you were a mouse and the alternative was to be slowly tortured to death by a cat, I'll bet you would be willing to attempt to climb an artificial Christmas tree. Which we think he did.

Callisto lost interest after a few minutes, so I brought out the heavy artillery:
I know his mousing ability has been seriously impaired by the cast and broken leg, but had I been able to convince him that there truly was a mouse loose in the house, I'll bet he would have been pretty amazing.

As it was, Theo spent the morning napping on the rug in front of the fire, Call…

New Lessons Learned

* The very things that I love about cats as pets--their independence, their lack of self-pity--are the very things that make them dreadful patients.

* Each year I set high expectations for how much I can get done during the holidays, fail miserably, and yet I still think I can do it the following year.

* If you kept separate last names, decide which name you'll use for your pets BEFORE you get to the vet clinic. This will save a lot of confusion and explaining.

* Keeping a cat in a cast is damn near impossible.

* Trying to save money by turning down the heat loses its appeal when it drops below freezing.

* After 3 emergency trips to the bet clinic to have a cast put back on your cast, designing kitty suspenders becomes immensely appealing.

It Was Probably Inevitable...

...and is oddly satisfying:

It's nearly Christmas And We Have Snow!!!

Which you would think would be almost a given in Idaho, but Boise usually doesn't have snow on the ground. It will snow overnight or in the morning, everyone crashes into each other on the drive to work because they can't remember what driving in snow is like from year to year, then it melts off by afternoon. But it snowed this weekend and yesterday and it's still around. I have to admit, I'm thrilled. Not having to drive in it much helps, but it just never seems like Christmas without snow.

Of course, I always manage to forget that in order for the snow to stay on the ground it has to be really cold. Yesterday I finally relented and agreed that 66 degrees in the house is not really adequate when it's 19 degrees outside. Geez, just because Andy can't type with mittens on....

Kitty Rehab, Day 20

So, tomorrow is the three-week mark in the fun experiment called "kitty in a cast," and the days are getting longer. Theo is now aware that casts come off, and we are now aware that Theo can pull casts off, so it has become a pretty constant battle of wills. On our side we have control of drugs, control of food, and control of the doors. On Theo's side, he has control of sleep and the fact that at least one of us is a big freaking softie where her pets are concerned. So far, I'd say Theo is pretty much winning.

New Lessons Learned Today

1. While Valium is in general a sedative, for certain cats it has the completely opposite effect.

2. Three hours of a mad injured kitty on speed can really suck the life right out of you.

We Have Regressed

Yesterday morning our injured kitty, Theo, surprised us by pulling the cast off his foot entirely. Just two weeks after the surgery, there were lots of kitty screams going on--matched scream for scream by Yours Truly as I tried to keep a very angry cat from chewing up his own leg and causing a few thousands of dollars more in damage. Andy came running like the faithful husband he is, and we got him to the closest vet.

Today we're back to this:
Even with the new kitty pain killers (which mercifully cause serious drowsiness), Theo is now aware that the bandages come off and keeps trying to chew on it. The Elizabethan collar, the poodle-do--I can't say I really blame him for being angry. That's why we got kitty valium.

I wish I had known that helping him use the litter box might have been the high point of this whole process.......

December Hopefulness

December--specifically Thanksgiving day to Christmas day--is the only time I listen to normal radio. The other times of the year it's audio books or Public Radio International, but in from Thanksgiving to Christmas, one of our radio stations plays nothing but Christmas music, which is fun and much easier than continually changing cds.

Since this is my one dose a year of normal radio, I might just be a little overly-sensitive to advertisements, but does Christmas in any way make you think of dental work? I guess I could see after Christmas when a filling or two has been removed by Grandmother's homemade toffee, but leading up to Christmas, I just can't say that I would be at all swayed by a special on tooth caps. Is it just me? Have fillings really become an impulse item?

The Good News & The Bad News

Yesterday was the 2-week mark in Kitty Convalescence, and Theo got a festive new cast for the holidays:
The bad news is, the vet mentioned 6 more weeks--not 4. And of course, all 6 weeks involve keeping Theo quiet & inactive. Do you think this vet has ever encountered a cat that wasn't sedated? Granted, cats sleep around 18 hours a day, but it's those remaining 6 hours that can really get you.

Today is relatively easy as there is something different about this cast versus the old one, so Theo can't move as fast with this one, but that's only a matter of time. To add insult to injury, they didn't give me any sedatives--either for the cat or for me. Maybe it's time to introduce Theo to the world of white chocolate martinis.......

White Chocolate Martinis

In a martini shaker, mix:

6 oz. vanilla vodka
3 oz. clear creme de cacao
3 oz. Godiva white chocolate liqueur

Add ice & shake until chilled. Serves 2

Now I Don't Feel So Bad

OK, last week I was sort of regretting the decision to not do a Christmas party this year (it seemed a little like overkill with Soup Night tonight and having people over for Christmas), but now that the holiday party invitations are pouring in, I'm relieved. I thought there would be fewer parties this year with the economy the way it is and all the job uncertainty, but we are double & triple booking on weekends from now until Christmas. The food! The merriment! The extra hours at the gym to burn off the food & the merriment!

Ho! Ho! Ho! No wonder Santa is fat. 'Tis the season!

A Nice Little Surprise

We've been married for over two years now, and when I say that we received a LOT of gift cards for our wedding, it's almost an understatement. In fact, we still have some of them, which is a really bad idea as many merchants continually decrease the cards' value over time (Johnny Carinos is really bad about that). Today I discovered we still had a card for Linens & Things, and as they are going out of business, it was now or never.

I was a bit concerned that they wouldn't honor the card as they are in liquidation--or that it had decreased to a value of about 37 cents, but I am pleased to report that they indeed honored it AND without decreasing the value at all. I know it's a bit too late for them to be of any help, but KUDOS to Linens & Things anyway.

It's quite an interesting experience to shop in a store that is ready to sell you ANYTHING in the store--light fixtures, shelves--anything that was physically in the store that didn't have a pulse. …

'Tis The Season Of Friends

As I sit here with writer's cramp from addressing Christmas cards and juggling our schedule to get in all the holiday invitations, I am just overwhelmed by the good fortune to have so many wonderful friends in our lives. We should be having a bad year having both gone through layoffs and having to rework our budget a few times, but between being surrounded by great people--and having an attorney to keep the ex wife away from us so we're not receiving the hateful letters every week/day--we're having the most marvelous holiday season I could imagine.

Thursday night we had dinner with some friends--an older couple who grew up during the Great Depression--and besides just being wonderful people, they could teach us all a lot about being happy with who we are and what we have. They grew up with large families and little money, and learned to enjoy card games because cards were inexpensive. Board games were not. They taught us a marvelous game called "Hand and Foot,"…

The Countdown Begins....

January 1 begins the "Year of No Processed Foods," which makes December "Use Up Forbidden Foods" month, also known as "weird casserole month."

Our rules for next year are:
1. No corn syrup in anything. (That's just a personal thing for me because food manufacturers slip it into almost EVERYTHING and I find it highly annoying in addition to being unhealthy)
2. We are each allowed 2 "forbidden" items a week, which might very well translate into 104 diet Pepsis.
3. Processing that we could do ourselves is allowed, such as canning, freezing, dehydrating, washing, pickling, making butter, making cheese, etc.
4. No ingredients that we can't identify. Chemicals really aren't food.

I'd like to say we're trying to lower cholesterol counts or something measurable, but we both had physicals when we took out life insurance, and all our scores were actually very good. Andy's could maybe be better, so we might use him as the benchmar…

Philosophical Thought for the Day

"If you need to know the measure of a man you simply count his friends."

--Muppet Christmas Carol

Have You Ever Noticed....

that the stupider the injury, the more noticeable it is?

Tonight I have a big knot on my forehead which is brilliantly visible even to the pretty much clueless. Did I get it while roller blading or even winterizing the garden? Nope. I was putting up Christmas decorations. I can't even explain it exactly, but somehow I walked smack into a door--a door which has been in the same place the entire time we've lived in this house. And of course being December, the holiday party invitations are already stacking up, so over the next couple weeks I'll be explaining this beauty to almost everyone I know.

I wish I were a good liar. Then I could say I was slalom skiing or doing a tricky ice skating double-axel. Instead, I get to explain how I got my arse kicked by a door.

Let the holiday fun begin!

Random Updates

* Until the last week, I'd never given much thought to how often a cat might need to pee, or how often a cat should pee, or how much a cat should pee. N0w this consumes much of my day.

* At some point, one has to simply decide "enough" on Christmas decorations. Otherwise it could go on indefinitely.

* Now that the "experts" have finally announced that the country has been in a recession since December of 2007, I can't help but be optimistic that the bottom is near. Economists are generally the last to know anything.

* I have promised myself not to find a cat sitter when we're out at holiday parties this month. Theo really is fine in the kitty cage at least once in a while.

* While I love that one of our "easy listening" radio stations plays Christmas music continuously from Thanksgiving to Christmas night, Delilah really just makes me want to drink.

* When I don't have a lot of time, my ability to live on soup and salads knows no limi…