Musing on Cats vs Dogs


I just watched iDJ succumb to the cats begging for treats, again. They know where we keep the treats, and pester him until he caves. This is not something I would ever do, but they have him sussed and play him like a piano.

Because he is a big softie and thinks that animals have human emotions like jealousy, he also gives the dog a treat after he gets suckered into the cats’ pleadings. 

This is something I strongly disagree with. The dog could kill any cat without trying very hard at all, and relating their food to her food is a terrible idea. She is food-motivated, unlike our previous dog, and hubby just doesn’t get the difference in how she thinks. The only good thing he does is to make sure that the cats get theirs first, which is vital to keeping the cats above the dog in pack order. 

All of that isn’t actually why I’m writing this. It’s because the dog eats her treat as fast as possible and then goes running back to iDJ, looking for more. Which never happens. Ever. It doesn’t seem to matter, however. She scarfs up the treat with barely a chance to taste it, and hopes for more she can’t even savour.

The cats? They have had theirs, and are happy with what they have gotten, and proceed to leave him alone for a few hours.

I’m pretty sure this is why I’m more of a cat-person. I understand their thinking, and have more respect for it. I can’t really ever understand why you would rush through a pleasurable experience. Especially when there is zero chance of another one happening right away.

I wonder how many humans act this way? 

Still Got a Ganglion – Hear it Roar!


I had an appointment at the local hospital today. I was all excited, and thought for sure I’d be coming home with a groovy new scar. Sadly, I was disappointed. Instead, I first had an assessment by a fun Indian doctor (we so had the craic) and he sent me off for X-rays.

    Sweet! I LOVE X-rays! 

    The pen tip on the right is pointing at the cyst, which doesn’t show up in an X-ray. I can kinda see it? Maybe.

    I was wondering about the round density next to the first joint of my thumb, and my dad asked about it too, so off to the ‘net I went. It is a sesamoid bone (named because they are usually the shape of a sesame seed – I’ll never forget that name, now) and perfectly normal, if slightly mysterious: ‘Sesamoid bones are small more or less rounded masses embedded in certain tendons and usually related to joint surfaces. Their functions probably are to modify pressure, to diminish friction, and occasionally to alter the direction of a muscle pull.’ [emphasis mine, source is courtesy of]

    This is why I love seeing my innards! So educational. 

    Side view! I am probably strange, but I think these are rather pretty. And fascinating as hell. It’s astounding that this – my right hand, responsible for the majority of the things I do every day – looks so fragile. Check out the thickness of my ulna and radius in each picture (long arm bones, just in case you aren’t a nerd like me). My thumb bone is thicker than both of them in the side view. That is crazy. From the top view, they are nearly parity with the thickness-win going to the radius. So surprising I’ve never broken any bones but my pinkie toes (not for lack of trying).

    I also like that the veins I can see through the skin on my thumb show up here, too. And all the tendons that must be doing one hell of a job because those bones are…bony.

    Anyhoo, after my irradiation the main doctor who runs the clinic came in. She had a trio of young women trailing behind her, and asked if they could observe. Well, sure! Doc asked a few questions, poked at my still-unnamed cyst (because not one of you gave me a name last time I talked about it, for shame), and said they would schedule me for surgery. Under general anesthetic. I whined (I’ll admit it) when she was leaving; “But…I want to see!”

    Hope you enjoyed these pics as much as I did! Thanks to Dr M for letting me take shots of the X-rays with my phone, changing the operation directive from general to local because I want to see, having a laugh with me, and being able to pronounce my whole damn name with no hesitation (that is huge, let me tell ya). He’s a good doctor, I hope he goes good places.

    Now let’s see how long it takes to get to the next level! October 20, 2015 and counting. 

    Spiders Makes Firelighters! 


    I first talked about making firelighters wayyyyy back in my second month of blogging. I hadn’t tried to make them at that time, but in the four years since I have made them often. They work a treat, and cost me absolutely nothing but the time (and electricity) it takes to make them. These firelighters are made entirely out of things most people would throw away without a second thought.

    What things?

    Dryer lint!

    This is a small shoebox full of lint. I save it everytime I clean the dryer filter. There is a lot of hair and fur in our lint, of course. No matter, we all know hair burns nicely. Unless the trap is full of fur from washing the dog bed, in which case it is 100% hair and not worth keeping.

    Next? Paper egg cartons!

    I cut the pointy bits off, to make separation of the individual cells easier once the lighters are finished. The great thing is that all those little points – other than being great fun to put on your fingertips and make creepy noises and theatrically scary movements at the other (human or not) occupants of the house – is that they are compostable.  Being the plant fanatic that I am, of course I have a big compost bin for making my own good soil. In they go!

    Lastly, used wax! 

    You can use the stubs of candles, if you aren’t nutso like me and save those for making new candles. In our case, we eat a lot of cheese. Cheese that is coated in wax! So hubby and I save the wax coatings and after a few months, you have a lot of wax! Baby Bell is so yummy. It’s my breakfast five days a week. 

    After cutting the pointy bits from the cartons, I stuffed the cells with lint. I do try to keep each one separate, for ease of tearing apart when finished.

    You kind of get a feel for how much lint to use after a few goes at it. I did try to use less, but then it took two to get a fire lit. More lint=more heat. I use about this much per cell: but my hands aren’t small and this is a quite dense lump of lint. So kind of a pointless picture, actually. Meh. 

    I will say that this process is messy. Dusty. I’ve had to clean lint dust out of my nose afterward. Purple or grey nose goo! Says a lot about the colour of fabric we wear, or own. 

    I had way more egg-cartons than lint, so when I was done lint-stuffing, I moved to wax-melting. I have a small, €1 pot that is just used for wax. It really isn’t worth doing this if you have to wash out the wax after – wax smells strongly, sticks to everything, and requires a lot of hot water and towels to remove. I also have a crappy little teaspoon just for this job. It could be bigger, but it is what I have.

    Melting wax! Once it is liquid, spoon a bit over each lump of lint. For my tiny spoon, it takes three spoonfuls. I use the spoon to poke the lint down, too. Sometimes if the wax is really hot, and the lint sizzles a bit as it settles. But it won’t catch on fire.

    Half-waxed. Wax-on, wax-off?

    Wow, look at all the hair. Eww. Two cats, one thick-furred dog, and two humans with super long hair. This is why I love a dryer, despite the electricity used. It does take a lot of the fur off our clothing. Not all. Never all

    I figured out today that the unused extra cartons make a good platform for cooling off the finished product. One dozen-sized carton can cool three dozen lighters, with no worry about getting wax on your countertop or table.  
    A few common-sense tips. Put paper or cardboard down before dishing out the hot wax. It gets everywhere, no matter how careful you are. I use an expired credit card to scrape up any messes that hit the stovetop or counter. Make sure to clean any drips off your pot before putting it back on to the heat. Don’t use plastic or styrene egg cartons, just paper ones. And if your hob is gas, make these well away from the flame, or turn it off while working with such inflammable materials. Am I covered? I hope so – but I am going to have to state that I am not responsible for any accidents or injuries incurred by following my advice.

    That is it – once cool, one cell of the carton should be enough to light your house fireplace, or even your charcoal BBQ grill (but it’s wise to let the firelighters burn up completely before you get food near it – you will have no idea what chemicals are in fabric lint, after all! And who wants to eat food that smells of burnt hair, yuk).

    Question Time! Opinions Wanted.


    Our beloved Mini is dying the death of a hundred papercuts. We have spent enough on it in the last three months to decide a monthly payment for a non-death-trap car is no longer an option, but a necessity.

    The big question is – what colour? I’ve asked a few of my family and friends, but why not ask my blog friends, too? 

    So:  Deep Blue?

    Or Moonwalk Grey?
      I have a negative reason for each colour, but I’m on the fence as to which I like more. Neither photo is exactly what we will be buying, but these are as close as we could come via Ms Google. We’d not have the orange bits on the headlights and side lights, and it would have a sunroof. Stuck with those ugly wheels for now, though. Likely the side, or wing, mirrors on the blue one will be the same flat black as on the grey one, too. (Pics stolen randomly off the internet, sorry if I’ve violated any copyright. Will remove on request!)

    What do you think? Blue or grey?

    More Dead Birds – Redpoll


    Well, hell. This time he wasn’t dead yet.
    Again I was at at work, but this time out the front of the building – right outside the main doors, actually. Which is a large glass-fronted lobby. I’m still doubtful that Mr Redpoll was injured from flying into the glass, as it was dark out.

    Still, it was wonderful that the girls in the office came to get me, as I’m the “one who is good with birds and whatnot.” So, I went out, and there he was. Alive, but not for long. Gasping and having spasms. I scooped him up – so tiny – and held him close, hoping the warmth of me would help, as it was so very cold on the stones outside.

    It didn’t help. He didn’t last more than 20 minutes, and was gone. I expected it, of course.

    In any case, I brought him home for identification and photographs. As I do.


    Now You are in Trouble! Cat Videos 24/7?


    Bwah ha ha! Now I have the power! The power to make you all look at videos of my cats. Yes!!!

    Next in the rotation is a (sideways, sorry) clip of my boys being disgusting.

    Disgustingly cute!


    I’m pretty sure this video is a few years old, but they still have a mutual admiration society of two.

    Love these guys to bits.

    More Dead Birds – Bullfinch


    My best mate at work shouted for me to come see something. 

    He’s the same lad that calls me to come see all of the big spiders, weird bugs, and my last dead bird: the stunning kingfisher.

    It’s nice when someone knows your interests. Or it might be because he likes it when I pick them up and gross out all the other guys. I have to admit, I find that amusing, too. 

    This time it was a bullfinch.  
    Oddly enough, this one was in nearly the same spot (outside one of our big roll-up doors) as Mr Kingfisher. I don’t get it. Yet again there was no sign of a broken neck or any other injury or illness.

    Poor wee thing. I knew it was a finch, from the beak, but had to bring him home for a positive identification.

    Such stunning colours. This is a male, by the bright plumage, and adult by size. I can’t imagine why these birds are dying right outside of our warehouse. We don’t create any heat or chemical output, and even if we did have windows (we do not) their necks aren’t broken.

    There is even evidence on his beak of a recent feeding. I’m baffled as to what is killing these birds, and why. He’s still a beauty – it could again be old age but twice in a few months? Seems odd. 

    Deth Nog 2015!


    Every time I type it that way, I feel like I’m talking about a bad movie – Death Race 2000, now that I think about it. But I’m not posting about racecars, and David Carradine isn’t involved. It’s all about the Nog, baby!

    Every year I make at least one batch of seriously potent eggnog. It’s my dad’s recipe, so it has to be good – and strong! 

    Half the fun of making it is drawing on the jug(s). This tradition started a long, long time ago when my mother accidentally put Nog into her morning coffee instead of milk. I sure hope she wasn’t planning to drive that morning!

    It seems I didn’t post this last year, which is odd, because I did in 2013, 2012, and twice in 2011. I’m reposting the recipe below, but the links are fun if you want to see the “art” on each year’s jugs.

    Since I forgot, this is last year’s design. I used some super-quick photoshop to remove our real names from the middle stripe of the baubles, so it’s a bit sloppy looking:

    Okay, a lot sloppy-looking!

    And this year, back to traditional skulls:

    And on to how to pleasantly poison yourself! This is NOT low fat, NOT low calorie, and NOT virginal! This year I used Jameson Whisky, Hennessy, and… cheap supermarket rum. 

    As always, I have both a US and Not-US version.

    US version:

    (need an empty 1 gallon milk jug)

    1 cup (1/2 pint) each of:


    Blended whiskey

    Rum (not light or dark* – do not use spiced rum, yuck!)

    4-6 whole eggs – depends on how big they are, of course

    2 cups (1 pint) heavy cream

    1/4 to 1/2 cup sugar (I think I hit about the middle between the two)

    1/4 teaspoon each cinnamon and nutmeg (may need a bit more, I didn’t have the measure written down! Dad said start with 1/4 and add more if you think it needs it. I’ve used as much as whole teaspoon of each and it was fine.)
    Beat eggs until smooth.

    Add cream and a bit of the milk, doesn’t matter how much but not TOO much just yet!

    Add all the alcohol. Add the sugar.

    Stir until the sugar melts.

    Add nutmeg and cinnamon.

    Pour into empty 1 gallon jug, top up with milk until jug is full.

    Shake well!
    Not-US Version: Okay, same thing but converted into metric! Doesn’t matter if it isn’t perfect, it’ll be tasty.

    (need two empty 2-litre milk jugs)

    237ml each of:


    Blended whiskey

    Rum (not light or dark* – do not use spiced, yuck!)

    4-6 whole eggs – depends on how big they are, of course

    473ml heavy cream

    4 to 8 tablespoons sugar (I think I hit about the middle between the two)

    1/4 teaspoon each cinnamon and nutmeg (may need a bit more, I didn’t have the measure written down! Dad said start with 1/4 and add more if you think it needs it. I’ve used as much as whole teaspoon of each and it was fine.)
    Beat eggs until smooth.

    Add cream and a bit of the milk, doesn’t matter how much but not TOO much just yet!

    Add all the alcohol. Add the sugar.

    Stir until the sugar melts.

    Add nutmeg and cinnamon.

    Pour into empty jugs, try to put the same amount in each, oh how fun, top up with milk until jugs are full.

    Shake well!
    * I can’t find ‘not light and not dark’ rum here; I just use the white or clear rum. 

    Please let me know if you try it!