Thursday, December 30, 2010
Well, none of that got done. There was a blizzard, for one thing, which required hours of staring out into the snow and bad TV and internet surfing. And then it later required serious digging to find my car; well, the back half, to be precise, since the snow drifted so much. This was a tad problematic, as my shovel was in the trunk of my car. Yesterday, I had to take the cat to the vet, and now know way more about feline anal glands than I ever wanted to. I was happy to know hers were just a bit clogged up and there was nothing serious, but phew. The smell was just indescribable, and certainly not fit for public consumption. And for the past few days, construction crews have been in the downstairs apartment tearing out the floor and playing loud Latin rap music, which has sent me into PTSD mode from flashbacks to my NYC apartment, where I endured months of the walls vibrating from the exact same music. (So much for quiet meditation and writing.)
Friday, December 17, 2010
Awhile back I mentioned that I read the book “Half the Sky” and it really had an impact on me. I wanted to start a little personal side project related to women’s empowerment issues, and for lack of anything else I’m referring to it as my “Half the Sky Project”. I don’t think the authors will mind, since they want to start a movement, but just so I don’t get sued let me be clear: this project was inspired by the book Half the Sky, but is in no way affiliated with or endorsed by the authors or Mercy Corps.
It’s charitable donation time again! As part of my project, I decided I would contribute to one charity per month that supports women's empowerment. Admittedly, these are small donations ($25 or so), but I’ve worked in the nonprofit sector long enough to know that every little bit helps, particularly when the big checks are few and far between.
I donated to Kiva in October, and in November I contributed to my (nonprofit) employer’s staff campaign (which may seem a little self-serving to some people, but I didn’t *have* to contribute, and our mission is to support women’s economic empowerment, so it counts). December’s little check was mailed today to the Maine Women’s Fund. In addition to leadership programs, MWF provides grants for a number of nonprofits in
One thing that I am trying to do is balance giving to international organizations with giving to US-based organizations. I find that having a small budget makes the international organizations far more tempting – $25 in Africa goes a lot further than it does in
this guy out - he's giving $5 a day, every day, to charities. A really interesting social experiment!
As we get closer to the end of 2010, don't forget to support your own favorite charity! If you are looking for some inspiration, check
UPDATE: Nicholas Kristof, one of the authors of Half the Sky and a NYTimes columnist, has a great list of organizations worthy of support this season - you can find it here.
this guy out - he's giving $5 a day, every day, to charities. A really interesting social experiment!
Thursday, December 16, 2010
But onward. The second Reverb10 prompt was about writing: December 2 –What do you do each day that doesn’t contribute to your writing — and can you eliminate it? (Author: Leo Babauta)
Pertaining to my own writing (as opposed to the grant writing I do at my job), I feel like I thought more about writing this year than I actually wrote. I will exceed my goal of 52 posts here on this blog (one per week), so that’s something. I did send three or four essays out, all of which were rejected. I’m actually not so fussed about those rejections, mainly because the pieces I sent out had been workshopped and I know they were well-written enough such that I am not embarrassed about them. I did, however, recently contract with a writing instructor to review one of the pieces; she gave me great feedback, and I will be reworking that over my Christmas vacation. I kept a fairly good personal journal until I changed jobs, but that kind of petered out. Last month I started using 750words, although I have rarely managed more than 3 days in a row. But it’s something. Also, I have about 70 pages of something drafted. I’m not sure what this “something” is, whether it is a collection of essays or the beginnings of a little book. I’m not sure yet what it wants to be. I suspect 2/3 of it is garbage, but there’s enough there to make me want to keep going.
There are a million things that keep me from writing as much as I want to, but the biggest problem is that there is always something else to do. Knit, sew, read, watch a movie, surf the internet, watch TV, play with the cat, call my sister, read in the bathtub, etc. For all that I do to avoid writing, one would assume I hated it. But I don’t – I actually really love it. So, then, why is it difficult to carve out time for something I love? It’s not like I have kids or a husband to take care of. (Although, conversely, this means everything gets done by me or it doesn’t get done – full time job, paying bills, oil changes, trash duty, laundry, dishes, errands, making dinner, cat wrangling, it’s ALL on me.)
Despite all this, though, I actually do a pretty good job most week days of writing something, even if it is dashing off a page or two at lunch. But I need a good chunk of uninterrupted time to really work - to revise, rewrite, mash things up, etc. And the one day of the week I have such time? Sunday. The day I always *say* I'm going to go to church/yoga class/brunch with friends but inevitably wind up sleeping until noon and spending the rest of the day in my pajamas on the couch watching chick flicks and sewing. And I really love having that one whole day with no commitments (Saturdays are guitar lessons and errands and family things. And why, yes, there IS a nagging little voice in my head that is clearing his throat, suggesting that the guitar lessons make an early exit, but I'm committed until June. And I'm determined to be a decent guitar player.) In my fantasy life I work part-time for just this reason, but right now that isn't feasible.
So I don't quite know yet how to solve this dilemma. It's a privileged dilemma, I know, but thorny nonetheless. If I could just function without sleep...
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
“It” is REVERB10, which is a series of daily prompts to encourage people to reflect on the past year and plan for the next. It's sort of ingenious, really, and complements so much of my blog reading this year, including The Happiness Project and The Art of Non-Conformity (specifically, the author's encouragement to create yearly plans). Plus, I'm a big fan of navel-gazing, particularly my own. I may not post a response to every prompt here, but rest assured I am following along. (Incidentally: one new writing tool I discovered recently is 750words, which is a place where you can write privately about things, based on the Morning Pages concept from The Artist's Way. It's free - right now, anyway- and provides a simple way of making sure I get at least some writing done every day, even if it is stream-of-conscious whining.)
But I digress! On to prompt #1: Find a word to describe 2010, and identify one for 2011.
I love this idea as I like succinct, even if the concept rarely applies to me. And I had actually been thinking about this anyway, as I wanted to spend 2011 focusing on one concept and thought that it might be helpful to find a word to sum up 2010. After much thought, I came up with the startling realization that 2010 was all about “Better”. Things got better in 2010. And, hallelujah…because for awhile there I thought I was truly doomed.
There are a host of reasons for this. 2009 was a really horrible year, for reasons I won't get into, and there really wasn't any way to go but up. My job change in August was a key factor in making 2010 "better", as was getting my cat. Having my family back from California also really helped. My guitar playing got better. My stress levels plummeted. While you wouldn’t know it to look at me, my health got better too, including my tension headaches (while they haven’t completely gone away, they became much less frequent after I changed jobs). And, save for a few icky weeks in October, I did not endure a raging case of seasonal affectedness disorder or a major depressive episode.
There are still a million things that need improvement, but for once: things got better. And there is much gratitude for that in my little heart.
As for 2011...I’m turning 40. Forty!!! My life is officially more-or-less half over, and I have so little to show for it that it is embarrassing. I’ve wasted so much TIME that I get anxious thinking about it. And a couple of recent conversations have left me rattled – one with my friend S. about the notion of ambition, and another with my guitar teacher about having a passion for something (in his case, guitar). At the moment I seem to be lacking in both the ambition and passion departments, and I’d like to end 2011 having one or both figured out. On a less ethereal plain, I need to lose weight, exercise, and start saving money like crazy so I can buy a house or a condo in the next few years so I can retire without a mortgage.
So despite the obviousness that I loathe, 2011 is the year of Forty. I don’t know exactly how this will manifest itself – lose 40 pounds, write 40 blog posts, write 40,000 words, read 40 books, sew a 40-block quilt…at the moment there seems to be enough possibilities to justify the theme. And let’s face it: it’s what I’m going to be thinking about anyway, so I may as well get something productive out of it.
Saturday, December 11, 2010
I don't know what's happened to me lately, but for the past couple of weeks I have been completely unable to sleep before 2 am. I find myself in bed watching stuff on Hulu -- like old Mary Tyler Moore episodes, and most recently this cancelled ABC Family show based on the movie "10 Things I Hate About You", which wasn't quite "My So-Called Life" but actually pretty good. I was a lot like Kat in high school...and my sister was a lot like Bianca. In some ways, it's kind of scary how close to home it can hit...for example, in one episode an elderly woman chastises Kat and tells her, "I know a lot of girls like you who wound up being old cat ladies", a fate I am beginning to wholeheartedly embrace. (Except that tonight the cat managed to drag my sort of heavy wool coat off the chair and onto her wet cat food, which she likes to cover up despite my regular reassurances that I have no interest in eating it.)
But back to the not sleeping thing. It's not stress. I'm not depressed. It might be caffeine but I don't think so. The last time this happened I had a week of really bad dreams about an ex-boyfriend of mine who was being exceedingly mean, and it got to the point where I didn't want to sleep because I didn't want to dream about him being mean anymore. But there are no bad dreams this time. Mostly it feels like...procrastination. Possibly my worst habit; in fact, sometimes I worry I will procrastinate my entire life away, with a college friend's words echoing in my ears: "I could have wasted my time in much better ways". And it's weird because I have a list a mile long of things I want to do (or need to do...), but I cannot get any of it done to save my life. It's not just finishing knitting projects or cleaning out the fridge, either; it's stuff that is really important to me, like my writing projects. I'm avoiding them big-time. I don't know why.
The other thing is, my hair has been giving me fits. It's too long now, to the point where about all I can do is put it in a ponytail. I fantasize about taking my pinking scissors to my ponytail, just to see what would happen. While I'm not a big drinker anyway, I am currently avoiding all alcohol just so that I don't act on the scissor impulse. It's a pretty strong compulsion, actually; even just writing about it is making me think about those scissors, which I happen to know are on the dining room table. The problem is that every time I cut my hair short I hate it and instantaneously regret it. But...wow. Just...chop. So tempting...
Sunday, December 5, 2010
3) Knitting. There has been an inordinate amount of knitting mittens around here. Alas, the knitting has been accompanied by a ridiculous amount of un-knitting. I knit this mitten for my 10-year old niece J. (from the new Cascade 220 book), using yarn she had picked out. Stupidly, I thought that knitting the mittens just as the pattern instructed would result in mittens that would fit J. I was, alas, hugely mistaken. Thankfully, I only knit one of them, and this one fits her mother (my sister). So not all was lost. But it's taken me several tries to rework the pattern in order to get something that fits J., and that's where the ripping out has come in. I *will* figure this out though!
Meanwhile, I had my own mittens to knit. For the past two years I have knit myself mittens, with matching hats. And for the past two years, I have lost what I have knit. Come spring, these things just disappear. I assume I've left them on the train, but they never turn up in the lost-and-found.
This year, I had a picture of exactly what I wanted in my head, but couldn't find a written pattern so....well....I winged it. And all was good until I got to the increasing part. You'd think I would have anticipated this, it's not like I haven't knit mittens before, but no. Totally didn't occur to me that my two black/one red scheme would get thrown out of whack when more stitches were added. So, there was a lot of "improvising" (also known as, "screw it, its yarn, what's the worst that could happen?"). Ultimately these were a pretty quick knit, but I was honestly *this close* to ripping them out because I didn't like the way they tapered off. In the midst of my indecision, it got cold out, and that was the end of the deliberating. Plus, since it's stranded knitting, they are really warm!
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
I’ve also had some less-than-positive interactions with TSA agents. Once at Logan, changing planes to fly to Portland, I was confused about why I had to go through another security screening; I was genuinely unsure if I was in the right place, but the agent threatened to arrest me when I asked him why I had to be rescreened (he didn’t like my “tone”, whatever that meant). Another agent once dumped my prescription medication (in its original bottle, with my name and prescription info on it) out on a dirty table to make sure there weren’t any “illicit” drugs in there, spilling some onto the floor. I can understand maybe opening the bottle, but at least have some reasonably clean place if you are going to dump it out! (She picked them all up and put them back in the bottle “because she had to”; I threw them out and got a replacement from the pharmacy, which incidentally was a pain and required authorization from my doctor in order for the insurance to pay for it again. And I'm aware that I was lucky to have insurance!)
But mainly I’m wound up because I’ve had exactly two parking tickets in my lifetime and that is the extent of my “criminal” activity, but I’m supposed to feel safe because they are making ME take my shoes off?
The truth is, we’re spending millions if not billions of dollars to screen thousands of innocent people on a daily basis. And we are (apparently) not even marginally safer than we were pre -9/11. And now, we’re putting innocent people through machines that may or may not be safe, and we’re letting the TSA literally stick their hands down the pants of innocent people in front of their children (I’m not making this up; my nieces and nephew watched as a TSA agent did this to their father on a recent trip). We’re forcing the pilots who fly the planes through the same idiotic procedures, despite the fact that if a pilot wanted to destroy an aircraft, all he/she would have to do is, y’know, crash the plane (these people need to watch The Event!).
This is supposedly all legitimate because when you buy your airline ticket you are presumed to give up certain rights. First, I just bought a plane ticket for travel and at no time was I ever told, “by purchasing this ticket you give up your right to unreasonable search and seizure”. Second of all, really??? To me, the most reasonable comparison is to road blocks set up for drunk drivers. Drunk driving is a serious threat to the public good; I can tell you right now that infinitely more people die from drunk drivers each year than are affected by terrorists blowing up airplanes. So fine, we accept that it is legal for the police to conduct random checkpoints. You go through the checkpoint, you give the cop your license, and unless s/he has reason to believe you have been drinking, you get waived through. But each driver is NOT routinely taken out of their vehicle and frisked, or forced to take a breathalyzer, or strip searched. Can you imagine???
But we let the TSA railroad us into believing we’re safer because every day they frisk and/or radiate thousands of innocent people, who in any other circumstance a police officer would have absolutely NO just cause to search? Honestly, these shenanigans make me feel even LESS safe, because it tells me they honestly have no clue how to stop the real terrorists. And THAT is what really terrifies me.
What if it was my family that got blown up? I think about that question a lot, and let me be clear: I'm not at all advocating for ditching passenger screening entirely. The problem is, from what I can tell these new procedures may still enable a real terrorist to make it through. I heard on a news program last night that during a training exercise, TSA agents confiscated a bottle of water, but missed a bomb right beneath it. That hardly gives me faith in the system. But bigger (philosophical) picture here: one of the fundamental tenants of American jurisprudence is that it is better to let a guilty man go free than to persecute an innocent man. But that’s kind of what these regulations do. And why is that ok?
Sunday, October 31, 2010
Sunday, October 24, 2010
The Girl Effect - The Girl Effect: The Clock is Ticking
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
1) There was a great article in the New York Times today written by Nicholas Kristof, one of the authors of "Half the Sky", which has some great examples of women helping women. You can read it here. I get chills up my spine just thinking about it.
2) I hemmed and hawed, and hemmed and hawed, and then tonight I was rummaging around the TED website and discovered a talk by one of the founders of Kiva, a nonprofit that provides micro-loans across the globe (including the United States). By the time I was done watching, I was convinced it was worth at least trying out - and lets face it, $25 is the cost of a skein of sock yarn, which I have plenty of. So I donated (my lender page is here), and I chose to lend to a woman in Cambodia who SEWS for a living (technically, she's using the money to help her daughter's clothing business, but close enough).
3) I also signed up for action alerts at Equality Now, because I'd like to do something in addition to donating money.
4) I really need to find a catchy phrase for this project...suggestions?
This spring, in a rare fit of closet cleaning, I threw the last two coats out – they were completely wrecked, with Wilbert the Cat’s hair imbedded so deeply that the lady at the dry-cleaner just shook her head and said in broken English, “We do best.” And both had holes and torn linings, so donating them wasn’t feasible. I knew this would force me into buying a new coat this fall, when the prices are the highest, and so I’ve spent the past few weeks bracing myself. Every day this month has been just a little bit shorter and a little bit colder than the day before, and I kept telling myself, “just one more day, one more day”.
Yesterday, though, I folded. I had on a long sleeved shirt, a sweater, a handknit scarf, and my lightweight jacket – and I was freezing. So I left work, made a detour into Macy’s, and twenty minutes later walked out with a new, bright red winter coat that was seriously on sale (I suspect it was a left-over from last year, but who cares). I will grant you that this was easy because they had very few coats in sizes above a Medium (what’s up with that?!), but I’ve always wanted a red coat, and it makes me really happy to wear it. The only problem? All my winter hand knits are purple, and I’m not quite ready to walk around looking like a Red Hat Society member. I rooted through the yarn stash last night and came up totally empty handed, so sometime in the next week or so I’m going to have to do some yarn shopping. (It’s a real tragedy, I tell you what.)
Part of me would like to knit a new striped Noro scarf, but those are so time-consuming; I knit right-handed so switching back and forth between knitting and purling every other stitch is a nightmare for me. And, I’m constantly stopping to check out how the color patterns are evolving, which is of course half the fun of using Noro but it seriously lengthens my knitting time. (Plus, the scarf alone takes 4 skeins of yarn; at $12/skein it becomes a pricey project.)
The other part of me is obsessed with the new Cascade 220 book, which is chock full of great hat, mitten and scarf patterns. I’m currently muddling my way through the Spotted Fair Isle Mittens pattern, which when finished will go to my niece Julia. She originally picked out the octopus mittens, but she’s 10 and really tall (with long hands/fingers), and it became readily apparent I would need to do some way-beyond-my-skill-set pattern tweaking to make them big enough for her. Julia chose navy blue and lime green yarn, which I initially grimaced at but as it turns out, actually go rather nicely together. (Also, don’t tell the Cascade folks but I’m actually using a different yarn, because the yarn store Julia and I went to didn’t have any; I'm using yarn from Ella Rae.)
I’ve never done any stranded knitting before, so this took some getting used to. I’m almost finished with the first mitten and I’m still not completely sure I’m doing it right. Initially I was twisting the yarns to carry them, but I read in one of my Elizabeth Zimmerman books that she believed you could safely let the yarn “float” for 5 stitches. After that I stopped twisting (because this pattern most of the floats are 5 or less stitches), which made the knitting easier. The floats almost create a second layer, and I suspect these mittens will be supremely warm. But it is tricky to get the tension right – it’s very easy to knit too tightly or too loosely. There are definitely some wonky places that I am hoping will block out (is this serious denial on my part?). The other tricky thing, which I haven’t gotten to yet, is the thumb. Usually when I knit mittens the thumb stitches stay live and get put on a stitch holder. In this pattern, you use waste yarn to hold the thumb placement, and then when you are ready you are supposed to remove the waste yarn to reveal the live stitches. I am terrified of doing this and dropping stitches! Photos to follow soon...
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Women perform 66 percent of the world’s work, produce 50 percent of the food, but earn 10 percent of the income and own 1 percent of the property.
Sometimes I get so self-absorbed in my own little dramas (usually self-induced) that I forget to stop and think about how privileged I am in the grand scheme of things: I’m a white, well-educated American with a full-time job in a heated/air conditioned office, whose idea of being oppressed is not being able to afford to go back to school and get a second master’s degree. (And I probably *could* afford it if I gave up discretionary things like guitar lessons, cable TV, yarn, and fabric.)
Further fueling my fire: I stumbled across the book “Half The Sky”, written by two (married) Pulitzer-prize winning journalists. It’s all about how women across the globe are being oppressed (though truly, “oppressed” seems too sanitized a word for what is going on out there). I’m telling you: if you are a woman, or if you have a mother or a daughter or an aunt or a sister or a niece, you have to read this book. It is at once heartrendingly depressing and oddly hopeful, impossible to read and impossible to put down. By page three of the introduction I was in tears (and truthfully, there were a few sections that were too difficult for me to read and I skipped over them; I can be unreasonably squeamish). [Also, let me just say I completely disagree with the Amazon commenters who claim the book is anti-conservative; I personally found it quite balanced. Yes, the authors criticize abstinence-only programs but also give props to a school in India heavily supported by the Catholic Church. Continuing to frame these issues in a western political context is part of the problem, which the authors address early on in the book.]
I’ll warn you, though, that I think it would be hard for anyone with half a conscious to read this book and NOT want to take some sort of action. I’m not entirely sure what I’m going to do myself. On the plus side, I work for a nonprofit that helps low-income women start their own businesses, so in theory every day I go to work is a contribution. And there are plenty of other organizations I can contribute to financially (and there is an extensive list here). But there’s an itching to do something more, and I’m not sure what that it is. I can tell something is percolating, though, as evidenced by the 3 am wake ups. Plus, a good part of this year was focused on my Happiness Project, and while that’s been a valuable experience I’m thinking that the next thing is to focus on something external. (As Gretchen Rubin points out, making others happy makes you happy.) Stay tuned…
Also, on a completely different note: for you fellow cat people out there, make sure you read this.
Monday, October 11, 2010
I manged to finish it last night, and then spent an inordinate amount of time getting the cat hair off from it. It's not my usual "thing", so to speak; some of these fabrics I would never use. But it's an interesting mix of pastels and brights, modern and old-timey prints. (This was a Westminster "Free Spirit" charm pack, which had a lot of Heather Bailey prints). And I think that after being washed a few times and loved a little bit, it will be a nice soft blankie for a little girl to lug around:
And, this evening, I whipped up a little basket to kinda-sorta match (pattern from here), and stuck the booties I knit inside.
The other thing I did this weekend? I got my baking mojo back! I made some excellent bread, with some new yeast -- I think the problem I had last weekend was a dud batch of yeast. I also made some chocolate cake, which was excellent with peanut butter frosting. My nieces and nephew came over this afternoon and helped me finish it off.
I love weekends like this -- but they make it really, really hard to shift focus back to work!
Sunday, October 3, 2010
I've admitted before that fall is my least-favorite season. Living in New England, this is about as treasonous as routing for the Yankees would be, but it's the truth: I hate it. I can't explain this coherently, but it has to do with the light - it changes in the fall, and the shadows get longer, and it makes me want to hibernate. Over the years I've learned ways of dealing with it; in fact, I find the less I try to fight it the better I am at getting through it. I let myself sleep more, take longer and hotter baths, and re-read children's books I've loved in the past (the Wrinkle in Time series and Harry Potter are in frequent rotation at the moment). And, while I'm still taking guitar lessons, I just don't beat myself up if I go a few days without practicing. It sounds awfully self-indulgent as I write it, but I've learned the hard way that forcing myself to be more energetic and social during these months just makes me miserable and lands me on antidepressants.
And then there's the sock knitting. Like many sock knitters, I don't really like wearing mass-produced socks anymore, preferring to wear my comfy and soft hand knits instead. But a casual survey of the sock drawer this morning was a little guilt-inducing: to wit, there's been an awful lot of sock yarn purchased in the past six months but very little in the way of sock knitting done. And so, despite the oodles of unfinished projects littering the apartment, despite the fact that every single room in the apartment needs a good cleaning, and despite the state of my laundry, I curled up on the couch and commenced knitting a pair of socks. At this point, I have memorized the basic sock recipe from Stephanie Pearl-McPhee's book Knitting Rules, which means that these make excellent travel knitting projects as I don't have to pay a whole lot of attention, just knit.
Fall is also the start of baking season. This year is not off to a particularly great start - last weekend I made bread that was an unmitigated disaster (hockey puck on the outside, raw on the inside). On Friday, armed with a 40% off coupon and the remnants of a gift card, I went to Borders and bought the Baked Explorations book, then came home and tried making the Maple Cupcakes. I was up until 11:30 frosting the suckers - and...well. Let me just say that when a recipe calls for 2 cups of maple syrup, and you only have one cup, and you are too stubborn to either a) leave the house to get more maple syrup or b) admit defeat, you should not count on spectacular results. They weren't terrible or anything - just a little bland, and the cream cheese frosting sort of turned them into cream cheese cupcakes. It's a little telling when you bring cupcakes over to your sister's house and her three kids ignore them. Later this afternoon I may break out the bread recipe again, or perhaps I'll try the red velvet whoopie pie recipe?
(This book, by the way, has reasonable facsimiles of both the chocolate whoopie pie and no-bake cookie recipes that I've written about here before. It is also so beautifully put together that I felt a little guilty bringing it into my kitchen, where it was unceremoniously christened by an exploding box of powdered sugar.)
And now, I must gather all the gumption I have to go watch my sixth-grade nephew play football...
Sunday, September 26, 2010
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
I'm also not sure what happened to a childhood friend's house. The anniversary party was nearby, and I was shocked to see that the house is now gone. There's now just a vacant, empty lot - and this was a nice house! My friend's family hasn't lived there in a long time, and honestly he hasn't been my friend in like 25 years, but it was always his house, y'know? And now it feels like one more relic from my childhood is gone forever. It's a pretty strange feeling.
So it probably goes without saying that there was no sewing or knitting, and I have nothing to share in the crafting department. But let me tell you about the cookies I made. I don't think they are a Maine thing per se, but I've never seen them sold anywhere else; back home, almost every mom & pop general store sells these, and they are a staple at bake sales. These are one of the first things I learned to cook, mostly because my mom was something of a health nut, and my sister and I inherited my dad's sweet tooth. We usually had the ingredients on hand to make these, though. (And fifty bazillion cans of fruit coctail.) Mom hates these; she's very proper and ladylike, but refers to these as "cat shit cookies" because they look like...well. No need to explain further. The rest of us love them and call them "no bake cookies", though I will tell you don't eat too many; they have the tendency to sit in your stomach like lead.
1 stick of butter (1/2 cup)
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup milk
4 heaping tablespoons of cocoa
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1/2 cup peanut butter
3-4 cups oatmeal (quick oats)
Put peanut butter and vanilla in a bowl. Melt butter, sugar, milk, and the cocoa in a saucepan and bring to a rolling boil for 1 minute, stirring frequently. Pour over peanut butter and vanilla. Once the peanut butter is melted in, stir in the oatmeal.
There's a fine line betwen too much and not enough oatmeal. The more oatmeal you add, the faster the mixture will begin to set. Once it's all mixed in, quickly spoon the mixture by dropfuls onto wax paper and let them sit for about 15-20 minutes.
Excellent with cold milk. And, the sugar aside, they are full of oatmeal and peanut butter and have been known to be used as a substitute for a granola bar in certain households that shall remain nameless.
Sunday, September 12, 2010
Sunday, September 5, 2010
Sunday, August 22, 2010
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Every night when I get home I pick up the cat and cuddle a bit – it is a great de-stresser for me, and she seems to like the attention after being home by herself all day. I may have mentioned she does this weird thing when you hold her – instead of staying vertical, she twists her body so she lays horizontally across your chest, and snuggles up as close as she can to your neck. And then we sit down on the couch and she walks back and forth, rubbing her head and then her back up against me.
Last night she was doing the walking back-and-forth thing when I thought I saw something weird under her tail. I thought it was a piece of white embroidery floss. And then it moved.
Let me just say: you have not lived until you’ve chased a cat around a small one-bedroom apartment with a tissue trying to grab some possibly wriggly thing off its hindquarters.
And then there were more wriggly things later peeking out of her bum.
And then I panicked.
The cat has worms. Most likely, a tapeworm.
After scaring myself by Googling, I called the vet’s emergency line and was told it really wasn’t an emergency and to call back in the morning to schedule an appointment. But, of course, the only time the vet could see us this week was right smack of a staff meeting I was supposed to be at IN ANOTHER STATE. And, while I love this cat, as this is my 7th day on the job bailing on the monthly staff meeting seemed just a tad risky! Part of being a responsible pet owner is being able to pay for vet visits (at least, that’s how I dealt with the guilt.) So, I called the vet used by the shelter she was at, and they can see us at 8 am tomorrow morning. They confirmed she’d be fine, that it wasn’t a life or death situation, and that waiting 24 hours was not going to hurt her. And she seems perfectly fine otherwise, although a bit cranky because I am now reluctant to pick her up, lest I get those wriggly things on me.
Thankfully, I am sick with some ridiculous cold and there was Nyquil in my medicine cabinet; otherwise, I would never have slept, envisioning those wormy things burrowing into my pillows and blankets.
To top it all off? no hot water this morning. Arrrrrgh!