Monthly Archives: December 2012

Happy New Year!

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I raise a glass to you: to all of you who are fabulous, funny, fur-covered, intelligent, photographic, creative, lovely, loving, sarcastic, punning, gourmets and gourmands at once, giving, colourful, kind, artistic, and wordsmiths every one.

Thank you all so much for being a part of my life in 2012. Here’s to 2013!

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Festive Fur!

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We’ve done our now-traditional torturing of the fur persons.

I have to say, the cats are incredibly patient with this indignity.

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The first victim.

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Get.it.off.me.

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I can’t move, ma!

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Is this your fault!?!?

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We only took three ‘official pics.’ They are all terrible! Can’t even see kitty faces in the first one, and I’m a giant white marshmallow cow. Moo.

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A little better!

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But of course, the one I like best is the one where none of us were ready and the smiles are real.

Happy Holidays, everyone!

My only thought on the supposed end o de world

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Clearly, all the hoo-rah has been a load of poo. But I am impressed with just one thing: the Mayan calendar, made umpteen years ago, predicted entirely accurately the day of the winter solstice in 2012. How wonderful. They had skillz.

Unless even that is a load of poo and whomever translated it decided this was the end date. In which case, someone out there has been giggling up their sleeve for at least a year now.

He/she also had skillz. And a fabulous sense of humour!

DethNog 2012

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Hey! I’m not exactly reposting from last year, just mostly. Pretty much all the text below the pics is from last year. But! I have new DethNog artwork to share:
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Sort of a comedy/tragedy theme this year – because for most of us, it had been that sort of year.

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Lokii, helping me draw on the jugs. I knelt on the kitchen floor because somehow that seemed easier than bringing the jugs into the living room so I could sit down. Eh, the light is better. Like the socks?

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Can you tell yet that I wasn’t the one with the camera?

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Whisky never looked so pretty.

I asked my dad and he said he didn’t have a patent on the eggnog recipe, so here it is!

I have some translations to do. The original recipe is in US measures. I’ll do that first:

(need an empty 1 gallon milk jug)
1 cup (1/2 pint) each of:
Brandy
Blended whiskey
Rum (not light or dark* – not spiced!)
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!

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:
Brandy
Blended whiskey
Rum (not light or dark* – not spiced!)
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. I make it in a big mixing bowl and use a funnel. Yes, it’s a bit messy, but after two glasses you won’t care.

Let’s talk about…Pee!

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I am SO going to bring the overall mood of my blog back down into the childish, scatological range. It must be done. Come along, if you dare!

I’m sure most if not all of my extremely intelligent readers know of the phenomenon known as ‘asparagus pee.’ I like to call it “asparapee”. This amazingly unique scent isn’t produced by everyone, however. I have understood for years that there’s a genetically inherited enzyme that lets you excrete this special odor after eating asparagus (I call it ‘special.’ I really don’t find it offensive, just pretty damn identifiable).

But…that’s not true. We all have asparagus pee! It turns out that only some of us can actually smell it. I have a super-sniffer so I am not surprised to know I am one of the supposed tiny fraction of 22% who can tease this odour out of the air. My challenge to those of you who know that you have the smell in your own pee, and have a partner who swears that they don’t: smell their pee. It won’t take much effort! It might take some bravery on the part of those (Socks, I’m looking at you) who keep their bathroom habits very private. You don’t have to look or observe, just sniff!

I don’t have the option of keeping private potty-time habits. Not in my own house with one tiny bathroom for two people. My guts are “not right” so when I gotta go, I gotta go and right now. I can’t afford to wait until he’s done with his shower. Or his shave. Or sometimes, horribly, his tooth-brushing. Disgusting but unavoidable. So! Being already accustomed to way too much personal intimacy, we agreed years ago to a green way of toileting; one used on ships, and probably a lot of other places where water is a premium: If it’s brown, flush it down – if it’s yellow, let it mellow. Hence my theory that hubby (who has no sense of smell whatsoever compared to me) only learned to recognise the scent of asparapee after he was informed in advance, by me, loudly and gleefully, that I had asparapee and he had a potty visit shortly afterward. It only takes about 15 minutes to come out: how cool is that? A science experiment right in my own bladder!

Moving on from asparagus. I have noticed for a while that my pee occasionally smells exactly like coffee. Not pee at all. Fresh-brewed coffee. I don’t drink that much coffee either. Just in the morning, maybe the equivalent of a cup and a half, and I use sugar and cream. But it is pretty damn strong coffee. It doesn’t happen every day – but when it does? whoooo, stanky! I’ve remarked on this to hubby but he seems unimpressed, uninterested, or unbelieving.

Last week, iDJ asked me if you can pee garlic. This was after he told me that a co-worker could smell garlic on him, the morning after the night we had split a bulb of roast garlic that was cooked with our Sunday chicken (if you haven’t had roast garlic, do it, do it now). My response, “Well, not in my experience so far, but I suppose it is possible?” I was rather unimpressed, uninterested and unbelieving. Until tonight when I opened the bathroom door to a mellow yellow and the reek of garlic about knocked me down. Wow. Took two flushes to clear the room (it’s very, very small). So how come he can pee garlic and I can pee coffee and neither of us does the other? I’d love to sign us both up for experimentation. I wouldn’t mind peeing in a cup for the answer to this question!

What I learned this week Dec 10 – 16

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I think we all learned what I learned on Tuesday. Never again.

I’ve also learned it didn’t work. But, thanks to Sled, I may have learned what is really wrong with me. This will take time, and I hope my physio will be able for it as so far, my experiments are fruitless. I know SFA about my musculature.

I learned that there isn’t a good version of C.W. McCall’s ‘Wolf Creek Pass’ on YouTube. Sometimes you hear something that sticks with you for life, and becomes “something I say all the time.” This song has one phrase I love and have used here on the blog, so I was trying to find it for a comment elsewhere. There’s tons of vid of the actual road. But there’s nothing that comes close to the droll, sarcastic redneck trucker perfection of McCall’s original. I would do such a better job than what I found online. Wonder if hubby could play the tune? Maybe there’s a future for me in cover versions of old comedy country songs. What a fun idea! I can do redneck and sarcastic with the best of ’em. And my singing voice, to me, is annoyingly nasal – so maybe country singing is my only hope.

I already knew that despite disliking country music as a rule, I have a soft spot for trucker songs. I blame my dad for having an 8-track tape of Trucker Music in our beautiful customised Ford Econoline van (how I loved that beast). However, I have just learned that I cannot find what that tape was anymore. I was going to post a picture. Wonder if dad still has it? Probably not, it’s been well over 20 years since we’ve had anything to play an 8-track on. And the tapes themselves went bad pretty fast, playing two or more tracks at the same time. Records are soooo much better, if impossible to play in a van. Yes, I still prefer vinyl above CD and most digital. The high end on CD hurts my ears, and I can’t afford a good sound system to let digital do all that it can do.

I’ve also just learned that despite talking about 8-tracks (and earlier today, rotary phones), I don’t feel old due to the changes in technology since those things were common. I’m totally confident that people who are kids today will look at iPads, CD’s and smart phones the same way when they hit their 40’s. Actually I think CD’s are already on the way out. I’m happy to be young enough to work the new tech without getting too irritated, and old enough to really appreciate how fantastic it is.

I think I’m done for the week. I’m not funny this time, if I ever am. I’m tired and hurting a bit, and worn out from getting packages ready to post to the states. At least we could do that much this year! Even if I really get cranky with all the tape and paper and tape and scissors and tape…

Why iDJ shouldn’t be allowed to shop alone

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I let the hubby go shopping alone today. He face-timed me at least a dozen times to ask my opinion of possible presents for family. But he didn’t ask me about a present he brought home for me.

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Aww, it’s a Santy lighter. No big deal, right?

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…until you get some size perspective.

I might have trouble fitting that in my jeans pocket.

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I couldn’t light it with just my thumb! It takes two hands!

I don’t ever want to do that again

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Had my spinal block done today. This will not be repeated, even if it works. I think. Depends on how well it works. If it really really works, I won’t need to consider another.

Got up a little after 6 am. Pitch black, 0.4 degrees Celsius outside, car iced over, coffee timer set just that little bit too late for it to be done brewing when I got downstairs. I got hubby up at the appropriate time, started the car to let it warm up (how come none of my neighbours know to do this!?!), and when ready I drove us. Normally hubby drives when it’s both of us, because he usually knows the local roads better. But I know this route quite well, and I’ve got more experience driving in snow and ice. Especially in this car, lately, with two certified-by-a-mechanic bald front tires.

Plus, a challenging drive would keep my mind off what was coming. Plus, if they screwed it up and paralysed me, at least I got to drive one last time (I didn’t tell hubby that last line of thinking).

Drive was a doddle. We got there 20 mins early and checked in via the A&E desk. This procedure kind of worried me until I realised the admissions desk isn’t manned yet at 7:30 am. The duty nurse was related to my hubby, and she realised it just by my name and address even though I didn’t know her myself. Ah, Ireland.

Went to the second floor, no – first floor, ah whatever. We went up one flight of stairs to the Orthopaedics ward. Checked in and began to wait.

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The waiting room. On my side of the room there were two more of the small chairs and two more of the orthopaedic ones. I was in an ortho chair by the window and the heater. The window was open a bit, but the heat was also blasting and I had to take off my medium-weight jacket. The lady who came in a bit later and sat in the small chair pictured looked at me like I was insane as she huddled deeper into her huge parka.

Someone came in and asked who was there for ‘injectons’. I wasn’t sure this was me as I hadn’t been calling it anything so childish. I started to ask what that meant and Inuit Lady tried to queue jump me. Ah, no. So I followed him into another room where I had to sign the consent form. I tried to ask some questions and he kept pointing at the signature line while I was trying to read what the hell I was signing. He, and the other men who kept coming in and out of the room, were very hard to understand, unfortunately. They weren’t Irish – well, neither am I. He also told me that they don’t start until 9, and apparently it’s a two-minute procedure. Steroid and local anaesthetic. Back to the waiting room to play a game on the iPad for a bit.

Once in the six bed ward (right across the hall from that open waiting room door), a fabulous nurse told me it wouldn’t be long and asked a student to take my vitals and history. Standard stuff, but the poor student was very, very new. Three minutes to put on the wrist band, and I finally had to tell her how to do it. Ten minutes of staring at the list of questions she was meant to ask me, instead of asking. Poor kid. She was really good at taking blood pressure, though – was the only one who didn’t make my arm go numb. And she had a great laugh, when I joked around to ease her obvious tension. I know how it feels to be tossed into the deep end at a new job.

Then I had to pee in a cup. Guess what they are testing for? It would be a Christmas miracle if I was pregnant, it would be THAT impossible. When I set up a ruckus of a sort, the nurse told me everyone under 55 and female has to have a pee test. Even if they’ve had a hysterectomy. No lie. Humiliation as pointless practice. Should have told her that the 6 X-rays the dentist took of me recently didn’t require a piss test. Ok pet peeve of mine, I suppose. I peed standing up and hope I dripped on the floor. I was already in the classic hospital Johnny robe – but with a twist. I wasn’t allowed to go bareback or wear my own undies. I had to wear these:

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Oh, feelin’ so very human now. The indignities! But it was about to get worse.

They told me to get into the bed and covered me up. This is why last Tuesday’s appointment was cancelled: the beds were all full. And yes, on our walk up to the orthopaedics ward we passed someone asleep on a hospital bed. In the hall. Ah, Ireland. Hubby came in and sat next to me for a few minutes, then two people came in, put up the cotsides, and jacked up the whole bed to move the lot elsewhere. I asked if I could leave on my glasses, as I had already taken out my tragus piercing and removed my wedding ring. Taping them to me was much worse than removal. I was laughing and joking with the bed pushers about being able to see their smiling faces and the great scenery I’d enjoy as they wheeled me away into what was signposted as the operating theatre.

The man (main bed-pusher and sayer of ‘excuse us’ on the trip) left as soon as I was parked in what looked to me like a bigger communal ward like the one I was on already. The woman, who turned out to be my OR nurse, immediately prepped me with no chance to get my bearings or look around, glasses notwithstanding. On to my belly; never easy and really uncomfortable for me. Robe pulled up to my middle back, and those fashion statement paper undies raked down below my butt-cheeks! I was mentally saying what the hell? but maybe I said it out loud, too, as she said, ‘I know! But it has to be done!’ as she threw something heavy over my legs and back and a lighter something over my protruding buttocks.

Then I was left for a bit as she pottered around with what sounded like a lot of equipment but no other patients. I tried to get comfortable, but I can’t lie face down and use a pillow under my head, it hurts. And ever try to wear glasses while one cheek is flat on a firm surface, or even a pillow? Doesn’t work. With 4, maybe 5 inches of pillow jammed upright above my head, my toes were touching the footboard. I kind of just splayed there and tried to relax and listen. I couldn’t see a thing.

Eventually, not too long, I hear the same difficult accents walking into the room. About four of them. Ah, the ‘surgeons.’ All from someplace where the sun is a lot hotter than it is in Ireland, from the genetic markers and accents I could observe. This does not mean I’m racist. I didn’t roll my eyes in return at Inuit Lady when she scoffed at the surgeons’ accents and skin colour back in the waiting room. It’s just an observation. The OR nurse was Irish, I noticed that too. And I noticed one other North American accent coming from a curtained-off section back on the first ward, too. But I still worry about my potential quality of treatment, especially after recent events, because when I moved here, I put this on my permanent health record:

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Observational ass-covering is done now. Physical ass still feeling very exposed.

I think they did the same procedure to someone behind me (everyone was behind me!) and to my right. They never made a sound. It took…two minutes. Then it was my turn. Some chat from the main dude who said hello and pronounced my name right and how he needed a stool to sit on. Then the covers were off my arse and I had five strangers (approximately, I couldn’t see) looking at my pasty white, surely pimply, possibly hairy, definitely flabby, 41-year old ass.

And then someone started poking at my tailbone. I didn’t realise it would be that low. Yes it was. Some poking to find the right place, some cold rubbing alcohol and the distinct, unnerving feeling that the cotton or whatever it was that was soaked in alcohol being sort of …poked… lower down into my crack to keep it out of the way. Maybe my crotch was smelly, too. Great, I’ve only just thought of that.

Suddenly the nurse is telling me to take a deep breath ‘down to my belly’ and before I could even decide if I’d done that or not, the invisible head surgeon shoves a needle into my tailbone.

It turns out that when someone does this to me, I say “fuck!

My face twisted down and my forehead dug into the mattress as I tried to concentrate on my breathing. I know this helps; it serves as a nice distraction. But other body parts moved without my volition. My right leg stayed flat, front of my ankle still touching the mattress. But my left foot popped right up, heel to the ceiling and toes digging in to the sheets for purchase. This is my ‘bad leg’ where all the weird nerve pain is, despite the disk bulge going to the right. This leg, with its weird nerve thing, is the entire reason I now have a perfect stranger shoving a needle in a very dangerous and painful part of my anatomy. And whispering to the rest of the doctors. I can’t hear. I don’t like that.

Then it is over. A big plaster/bandage is stuck on my coccyx and he gets off his stool to leave, everyone else presumably having been made to stand.

I now realise that I can drop the comedy façade and I start to cry and hate myself for it. It’s over, and I’ve been smiling and making jokes and after all the stress and worry (since at least May) and the physical embarrassment that I had to pretend didn’t matter, and the worry over having someone mess with my spine! my spine! they stuck a needle and then drugs in it! and the freaking PAIN being way worse than I could imagine… I knew I could come down off the adrenaline high and stop smiling but of course I still had to keep saying I was fine, I was fine, when I wasn’t, because the ways in which I was not fine were the ways that nothing anyone in an operating room could repair.

I was told I could move into any position I wanted, and after wetting the sheet under my face for a bit I curled on my left, my favourite position. I was left alone, mercifully. The nurse – being the only one still around – knew her shit and knew exactly what I needed – to be left alone to get myself under control. Then they wheeled me back to the six-bed ward, herself and the same man from before. I went onto my back as it seemed to pathetic to be in fetal position in the hallways. The man made eye contact and winked at me in a misguided effort when he saw the change in my attitude, and I started to cry again. Ugh.

Back in my first ward and hubby isn’t there waiting. Once I’m parked back up he comes in, saying that the other ladies in the room were having sponge baths and he was either asked to leave or felt that he should. I couldn’t talk, couldn’t tell him what I was feeling. It really upset me to have to look up at him with wet eyes and know I couldn’t talk or I would bawl. I let him leave again as the bathing was still going on and I knew he was right across the hall if I needed him. He’s learning most of this story for the first time here. I’ve apologised to him for being this way, and he understands. Ah, my lovely Irishman. Thank you, sweetheart.

My ass is still numb 13 hours later. Well, half my ass is. It turns out only the right cheek got any of the anaesthetic. Might explain the left leg having a freak out? I’m in no pain, other than the usual weird leg nerve thing. That will take a few days (if ever) to clear up, once the steroids let schtuff shrink and there’s no more swelling. And it’s a big if, as I said. I still have questions of course. And I’m very tired. Thanks for putting up with a very long and slightly depressing post. I have to write to get it out – I can’t speak the right words. But you don’t have to read it.

Madra Sneachta

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That says ‘snow dog’ in Irish, by the way…

I normally don’t put my copyright on blog photos, but one of these is really good. And hubby took them so I’m not keen on all the mad Google image searchers just taking these without asking. So, ask. Please.

Lagitana asked for a holiday scene with snow, done by me via the Brushes app. I immediately thought of Neko in the snow two years ago, because iDJ only recently realised he never uploaded the pics to FB. Problem is, this dog is hard to draw! So, Ms L, I thought I would give you these gawjus shots of our girl trying to catch snowballs. If you really want a copy ask and I’ll send without the copyright muck on top.

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Leaping for the kill

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Yum?

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That’s my favourite one. So intent on the snowball!

What I learned this week Dec 3 – 9

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Well, I just learned that I thought it was still November, when I was putting in the dates up there. Sheesh.

You already know, but it bears repeating: I learned that hubby can’t put the lights on a Christmas tree. Awww.

I learned that Bear, who hasn’t ever met iDJ, is still willing to make fun of him. I love that! Those two will get along so well when they finally meet.

I learned that when I told hubby the top of the tree looked bare, he was willing to try to fix it. He took a stance quite similar to Bear’s while doing so:

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His arse isn’t really that big. Those are my sweats he’s wearing; I stretched them out. His hair is that poofy, though, when it needs a wash! Yes, it’s a crappy iPad photo and hard to see. The brownish oval thingie behind his back (the brownish oval thingie that is bigger than the arse I was worried you would think is fat) is actually the rest of his hair. Floofy in human form!

I learned I have to wait until February for more Walking Dead. And, I like the show so much better now that a certain person is no longer part of the cast. I don’t ‘do’ spoilers, no fair asking who annoyed me so much! Guesses are accepted.

I learned that we have all of season three of The Killing (Danish version), so now I know that my TV for the holiday season is sorted, even without zombies. Wonder if Sarah Lund gets a new jumper this season?

I learned that I’m more likely to draw something if someone asks me to. Ask away! I need inspiration, it seems.

I learned that I’m getting a shit-ton of spam lately, mostly on my face-chewing and Poulnabrone posts. Wtf? Why those? And why is all the spam about knock-off handbags? When did I ever mention handbags, except to say I don’t use one? Must be a holiday thing. I expect you are all getting the same spam sandwiches, too.

I learned that someone in the UK has been reading a lot of my past nonsense. Thank you! But please say hello now and again? I’m rather sad that my older posts get no lurve anymore (not that I have the time to read back on anyone’s blog, either).

I learned my town finally stopped using full-sized incandescent light bulbs on the town tree! The bratty hellspawn locally would break the ones they could reach, and the cost to keep them lit? Ouch on tender dog-feet and ouch to the city’s electric bill. But unless the little brats bring pliers with them, the new LED’s should be safe.

We learned that we were the only two people wearing holiday hats at the tree-lighting ceremony. Except for Bella the greyhound with her antlers, we were the only ones dressed for the occasion.

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Ok so this wasn’t taken at the lighting ceremony, this is Bella being a grey at home on the couch. Tonight it was too dark, even next to the LED tree, for my phone. iDJ’s fancy new(er) one that has a flash decided it had no battery left (a dirty, stinking iPhone lie, we found out, after we got home). Bella looked much more festive tonight in her new jacket and holiday-themed collar.

I learned, on Friday, that I get another chance at having a needle stuck into my spine this Tuesday. Hopefully they will have a spot for me this time. I was looking forward to sharing this pretty scary experience with you last week, and it depressed me when it fell through.

Finally, I learned that Spottie still is obsessed with strings. Its probably been two years since we let him play with a cotton cord, because he goes, well, a bit OCD. Today I brought something out of the box room (a kitty no-go zone) and it had strings. (I can’t say what, it involved making something for gifts). Spot went nuts when he saw the first string, and started chirping in the way that I know means ‘MAKE IT MOOOOVE!’ It’s probably my fault as I know exactly what every tone of meow means, and I shouldn’t translate for iDJ as he’s a big sucker. I kept up with my work, but hubby chose to be trained by the cat. Over and over, for at least an hour. Many hours later, the strings are on the floor and Spot is obsessively sitting near them, staring, and asking me, iDJ, and even the dog to MAKE IT MOVE.

Back in the box room for another few years, I think.

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