Friday, April 30, 2010

But... I like my blood!

Oh, the doctor's office. I was nervous enough with going back to the doctor today, but I must admit a large part of that was the idea of the needle: knowing I was here to get blood drawn didn't make my experience any happier. When the first nurse took my blood pressure and said something about it being a little high, I just replied "I'm scared of needles". She checked what my blood pressure was the last time I came in (normal) and smiled at me.

I'm not scared of needles so much as I'm scared, oddly and unreasonably, of the pain of a needle-stick. I realize that most people barely feel it, but I usually feel a whole lot of it, and I don't much like that. No sir no way no how.

However, today was a good day. After my visit was the actual doctor, who is nice and has a great sense of humor and reminds me a lot of my older sister's childhood best friend Kari (which helps to put me at ease pretty quickly), I got to wait around for a while 'til the nice phlebotomist came to take my blood from me.

She was a very nice lady. She led me into the back room where they do this sort of thing, sat me down, and went to start getting supplies out. "I'm scared of needles," I blurted out, in the middle of our conversation about the weather.

"Oooh, okay," She said, with the no-nonsense tone of someone who hears this an awful lot. She assured me she would use the smallest needle, the 'butterfly needle' (which makes me think of butterfly shrimp, which is less than comfortable). She also kept me talking while she did it so I wouldn't freak out. All went well, really. In a few days, if anything is abnormal, I'll hear back. Otherwise, I won't. Because everything will be normal.

See? I'm such a brave girl.

Of course, other than that, I have to go pick up a prescription at the pharmacist tomorrow to help possibly deal with my problem (which I don't really want to go into in detail). And I have a thing I have to do on Tuesday as part of this too. Yay medical care?

Oh well.

There is a storm front rolling in that is supposed to basically get here and then just sit on top of us for the next several days. I'm not exactly thrilled with this prospect. Oh well. Maybe it'll hold off tomorrow morning long enough for me to have an easy time getting groceries? With my luck, that'll be the worst time. I was hoping to get laundry done tomorrow, too, but I'm not going to sit in a laundromat all day by myself while it storms up... a storm...

I'll figure something out.

In other news, I made a Pisces necklace and bracelet set! I was bored and had beads. Jason calls this "the kissing fish necklace".

I realize it's not the best picture ever, but we have kind of yellow-y light bulbs and I've been having an issue with getting my camera's regular focus to hold.

Close up!

Happy kissy fish.

I am going to drink the rest of my Bourbon County Stout now. If anyone is a beer fan, you need to go get this beer. Go get it right now. It's worth it.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

So, apparently these couple days of decent weather are headed out the door

We are being told to expect lots of rain, with thunderstorms all day Saturday. Ugh, I am not looking forward to that. my nerves can't take it!

I was a surprisingly productive domestic version of myself today. I managed to get all but one of the things on my list done, and a couple of things that weren't on the original list got added instead. I exercised, paid the rent, paid our gas bill (it seems like when the paycheck comes in, it goes out just as fast!), bought some of the more important groceries we were out of from Schnuck's, did the dishes, emptied the litterbox, took out the trash... And made a delicious veggie-heavy casserole for dinner. So... veggie experiment is going very well indeed! So far it hasn't really been hard at all to start sticking more vegetables into the meals we eat and a little less meat.

Tonight, I got restless. Jason... got sleepy. So he took a nap, and I read books so as not to pace around and keep him up. We ended up wandering over to Longbranch, wherein we sat in their little outside area watching the sun go down, while I ate what they serve for dessert in heaven.

Also known as a scone. Also a latte with Irish Cream syrup in it. These are things I know must be a part of heaven because otherwise, how could they be so freakishly delicious?

See? Almond creme scone and Irish Cream latte. The two different spellings of 'cream' is how you know it's a fantastic combination.

Jason had some of their incredible blueberry basil lemonade and a ginger scone, but I couldn't get a decent picture of that, so you must content yourselves with just thinking about how good that looked. Honestly, their scones are a little more like large cookies.

Our view of the town square from where we were sitting. It was a nice, mostly peaceful little time. It probably would have been crazier Friday or Saturday at this time, since all the kids start their bar-hoppin' early in this town.

Finally, at my husband's insistence, I would like to share with you yet more photos of my cat.

We have an elegant creature, let me tell you. She is all daintiness and well-placed footsteps... until, of course, it's very sunny outside and I open the front door. That patch of sunlight on the carpet is just too comfortable and lovely for our kitty to handle. Apparently, she can't even hold herself up.

She lets the bookshelf do that for her. Honestly, she looks really really comfortable here.

Of course I started snapping pictures.

She was less than pleased.

Doctor's appointment tomorrow, which I'm somewhat fretful about. I really don't like needles, and I am even less fond of having my blood taken. I hope it goes by very, very quickly.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Go ahead, click play.

Sure, at first you tell yourself that there's no way you're going to sit here for five minutes watching some squirrels run around but by the time you've hit the end of minute 1 it's all you can do to keep yourself from shouting "Go little squirrel go!" loud enough to make the neighbors wonder if you've lost your mind.

Chipotle and White Wine French Onion Soup, unappreciated weedy wildflowers, and a nightwalk

I had an interview today, with a company I won't name just in case I get called in for a second interview. I feel like it went pretty well. The lady I interviewed with was very nice, asked me lots of those form questions (tell me about a time when you had to work long hours on your own! which is in every interview ever) but also asked some more personal stuff based on what we talked about.

So there's that. I have an interview with a temp agency next Monday. We'll see how that goes. Jason and I went for two walks today: once during the day and once at night.

 I think weed-flowers are kind of unappreciated. They're so pretty and they turn everything into a meadow. Okay, undesirable for your lawn but really, you can't blame the wild things for trying to take back the land, now can you? It's neat to see how quickly last year's plowed-down field turned into this year's wild meadow (or at least, it WILL be this year's wild meadow until the farmer gets around to plowin' it down).

I have no idea what kind of flower this is, to be honest, what plant it is for. But I've seen it growing in the spring basically forever, and I'd never looked this close before, to see all the tiny little buds on it.

We went walking again at night, restless legs needed to move. I count it all towards my new attempts to exercise, so it's all good. I probably walked about two miles over the course of the day, counting when I was wandering around the mall. Night is very still. The moon and all the stars were out, and it was a little chilly, just enough to see a hint of our breath in the air. The world looks very different in the dark.

The same scattering of leaves in the road we walked past this morning seems a little more sinister in the dark. There's some piece of writing gathering in my head about this, I just know it. I had a hard time getting any pictures to be in focus. Jason actually pulled off a spectacular shot:
He pulled this off resting his hand on the bridge (which I did too! But no luck for me). Apparently, he is very good at spontaneous relaxation of the sort that helps you hold very, very still while the night-vision setting on the camera works. It takes about a full two seconds for the imaging to finish, and you have to hold still the whole time.

On to the recipe part of the game, and potentially the part of the post everyone was waiting for.

I wanted to make french onion soup, but I never like to make anything exactly the way it's usually made, so I tried to come up with a change I could make that wouldn't change the taste so much I'd have to start calling it something else. Also I didn't want to put the soupbowls in the oven. Also this is really the kind of recipe that is probably more called for in the winter, but since it's the easiest soup in the world to make, I will eat it any time of year, let me tell you.


Chipotle and White Wine French Onion Soup with Swiss
 See, look at that. Don't you just want to eat that right now? I know I do, and I already ate it!

What You Need:
3 medium or 2 large onions, cut width-wise but not chopped.
2 medium-ish cloves of garlic, or 3 small, chopped very small
1 or 1 and a half cups white wine (we had some leftover dry white wine, that was all we had: if we'd had more, I would have added more)
Chipotle Hot Sauce (we use Cholula , which is awesome)
Beef Broth
French bread, cut into smallish pieces
Swiss cheese (I only used about a quarter of a 1 lb package for our soup and really could have used less, I just like cheese)
Salt and pepper, to taste
A little olive oil, to brush on to the bread
Butter 1/2 tablespoon (you can use a whole tablespoon too, for slightly richer soup)

And that's all you need! French onion soup is so easy to make.

And... creation!
First, cut up your onions. If you are me, you will get less than halfway through cutting, start crying from the onion fumes, and make your husband finish. Or whoever is nearby. If no one is nearby and you're me, uh, just stomp around cursing about fumes for a few minutes, then finish cutting up your onions.

In a mixing bowl, pour in a 1/2 cup of white wine and a good three or four shakes of your chipotle sauce (if you don't like things to be spicy, this is all you need to add for flavor. If you do, add more hot sauce just before you pour in the beef broth). Mix the two together. Add your onions and garlic, mix around until everything in the bowl has some white wine/hot sauce mix on it.

Preheat your oven to 350 at this time.

Now, set your mixing bowl aside to sit and heat your butter in a medium-sized saucepan on the stove. Make sure you push the butter around as it melts to get a good, even coating. Once the butter is melted, pour in everything in the mixing bowl and let it all start to cookin'. Add salt and pepper, a little more than you think you'll need (because you'll add broth later). Make sure you stir the onions around often to keep them from sticking to the pan too much.

Once your onions and garlic have begun to caramelize, add the rest of your white wine (and a little more hot sauce, if you desire). Cook until the wine has reduced by about a quarter, making sure to scrape up any onion bits that are clinging to the bottom of your pan, get them into the liquid. Then pour in your broth, put a lid on your pot, and let it start heading towards a boil.

While the soup is working, cut your French bread into chunky slices. I brushed the white part of the bread with olive oil, but this isn't a requirement. Cut your swiss into small slices and lay on top of the French bread, with a piece or two of Swiss for every slice of bread. Bake in the oven for ten to fifteen minutes, until the Swiss cheese is thoroughly melted on top and starting to get nice and bubbly. Remove and set aside if this happens before your soup is done.

When the soup boils, take the lid off, stir, set to simmer, and allow to simmer for at least ten minutes. When you're done, spoon soup into bowls generously and put one to two slices of French bread on top. Enjoy!

The mystery chain in our backyard wishes everyone a happy night! Day. Er. Whatever time it is for you when you read this, have a nice one!

Seriously, I have no idea what that chain is. It's just hanging in our backyard off some kind of wire that appears to be strung through the trees.

Monday, April 26, 2010

And now that we're inside, it's sunny

Yesterday, we hung out with our friends Stevie and Jason and their kiddo Nolan in Cape Girardeau, MO. I didn't take my camera, so no pictures, but we braved the rain to see the River Heritage Museum (and an old fire truck!) and then the Glenn House, this really super pretty Victorian-era house. I correctly guessed the tiny tub next to the full-sized bathtub was a foot tub. Because I am awesome.

Sunday was a good day. Nolan is a ball of energy and enthusiasm at his best, and a ball of energy and righteous indignation at his worst. But the kid sure does know the cutest way to ask for a cookie.

Delicious, delicious cookies.

It is my mother's birthday today! Yay my mom! I have her present, I just need a weekend to go up there and give it to her. Hmmn. Plans must be made.

Jason doesn't work today, but does have class in the evening, so we went out early this afternoon for a little while and then went for an experiment with running and eventually, a walk when we got back. I think I can do this. I have some new exercise clothes, so... yay?

In any case, I have lots of pictures too!

First off, I would like to vividly show you just why the Irish Fest did not go as the planners hoped on Saturday.

That is me standing and taking pictures with the door cracked open while Jason napped Saturday afternoon. Isn't that frankly just sort of an impressive amount of rain all at once?

Your hostess and her husband in all their exercise-y glory:

Oh, yeah. I have no idea why I'm saluting and making that weird face. Sometimes, you just have to salute. And make weird faces.

 This is what the cat did while we exercised. She just... looks so very thrilled.

And now a few pictures from the walk! I was playing with my close-up focus tool, so that's basically what the pictures are... experiments with that.

Below is the only really good picture I got: it's of a clover flower! I love clover flowers... then again, so do the giant mass of rabbits living in the meadow down the street.

 The plants are coming up really well with all the recent natural rainwater they've been getting. The cilantro especially is starting to really take shape.

I am going to go lay on the couch... oh wait no I'm not, the husband appears to have fallen asleep there already. Really? This took like five minutes.

Oh well. I'll leave you with a teaser detail-shot of the painting I finished for Casey! You can see the whole thing once she does.

Everybody have a great day!

What is everyone up to today, anyway?

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Rain, rain, go away, come again when the farmers need you...

Let's see. It stormed last night, off and on. It continued storming off and on today, and apparently will continue to do so at least through the night. Believe me, I am throwin' a party. A very sarcastic party.

I stepped outside to take a couple of pictures of our plants blooming and I swear, the sky is glowering at me.

Irish Fest was supposed to be this weekend (and technically still is) and was meant to be really getting going today... except the thunderstorms chased off everyone but the most hardy and determined folk. Jason and I were not terribly determined (but then, I'm pretty sure we're not even remotely Irish either) and decided just to come back. He is napping right now. Wave very quietly to Jason, everyone!

I hit up the farmer's market and bought ingredients for us to take to see our friends in Cape tomorrow and their adorable toddler son! We're going to cook and Stevie is going to make her delicious, like, three-ingredient cookies. They're mint-chocolate cookies and they should be considered dangerous weapons, they're so good.

Then I mostly hung around the house, sketching. I took a couple of small pictures.

This is my sketch for the next painting I'm going to do. I'm not 100% done on even just the sketch yet, I'm trying to decide a couple of things. I've already started painting the canvas a dark brown to be my 'background' kind of color, just to see how it affects the painting. So we'll see. Going to work more on that.

This was originally just a doodle based off of a picture I took at Giant City park, but I got a little bored and started shading it in and decided I kinda like where it's going, so we'll see! I like using pencil and pen! It usually works out really well for me.

Our cilantro, bell peppers, and basil are definitely enjoying all this natural rainwater they are receiving. Especially the cilantro, though. It's jumped up noticeably in height is just a couple of days. The focus on my camera is being a bit wonky today and I ended up trying to play with our manual focus ability. I'm not sure how well it worked out, honestly, but you make do with what you've got, right?

See, that is one happy cilantro plant.

My yard is also chock-full of wet clover, too.

I will end on a cheerful note: one of the weedy wildflowers managed to survive our landlord's last mowing and is brightening up the yard where it turns into the gravel of our driveway.

Good job, little flower! Good job. I always believed you had it in you.

See, now that I've been thinking about naps, I want a nap. Give me one good reason I shouldn't nap. Just one. I beg you!

Friday, April 23, 2010

At random

1. I finally managed to find an online video of Buddy Miller's "When It Comes To You". If anyone were to ask me to pick one song that defines my relationship with Jason, this would be it. I have never been able to find anyone who had put it up on the internet, but finally I did! It's a live performance and it's a little slower than the version Jason and I have on a CD.

Baby, I got my love-light on
Baby, I got the beat
I got twenty dollars in my shoe
and rhythm in my feet
I got more than 40 different grooves
and twice as many moves
I'll be a cool rocking daddy that's who
when it comes to you

Well I'm a man with a plan honey

if you got the desire
We can go stepping out
& we can set the money on fire
Just come with me on a little trip
and we can give the blues the slip
There ain't nothin that I would not do
when it comes to you

If you push the first domino

we'll go flying like a GTO
Baby, just have to let me know
any time I'll be good to go

So let me know, Darlin'

if you ever wanna fall in love
I gotta tell you, it would not take
too much of a shove
I got you under my radar
Hey, I'm ready when you are
Yeah, I'm hooked and I'm stuck like glue
when it comes to you

You can send me out on a high wire

without a net below me
You can stick a feather in my hat
and call it matrimony
You got the time, baby, let's do the crime
We can dance while the wedding bells chime
 I see my future coming into view
when it comes to you

I'll be your cool rockin' daddy, that's who
when it comes to you
I see my future comin' into view
when it comes to you

2. My job has been cutting everyone's hours, and since I'm new and at the bottom of the totem pole, this means that I am getting terrible, absolutely terrible, hours. I'm talking like one shift per week kind of hours. I am getting proactive about this and signed up with a temp agency online. They've called me in to finish filling out an application Monday, May 3rd. One month of decent temp work could make us more money than a whole summer working these awful hours at my current job, so we'll see. Bad hours breed a lack of contentment and restless job-wanderin'.

3. I'm almost done with the commission painting! I just have to do the last layer of paint and I'm good! I'm so excited to have a real live commission where I am paid real live money under my belt. I have also proven to myself that I can paint things like flowers, too, not just people like I usually do. I will probably be opening for commissions across the board after this.

4. I have my mother's Mother's Day/Birthday present, I just have to get up to McLean to give it to her.

5. I like numbered lists, apparently. Who knew? I certainly didn't... when I make numbered to-do lists, I never finish them.

6. This website is awesome. Jennifer Strunge makes monsters out of recycled cloth/textiles. They're a little like the Ugly Dolls I've bought for my niece, but these are one of a kind! The artist makes them essentially without patterns, so they're always different. I am fascinated by people who can just create three-dimensional stuff like that... I certainly can't!

7. The Irish Festival is in Carbondale this weekend! Jason and I are heading over tomorrow when he gets out of work (he works until 10 PM tonight, boo) in the early afternoon. I may take pictures! I am growing to like taking pictures more and more, and I think I've gotten better at it since I started posting lots of pictures here for people to see!

I am very enthusiastic today. I'm going to go paint now.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Random Facts About Katie

I used to take rocks from the alleyway behind our house, or particularly interesting rocks anytime I saw one I felt was worth taking. I would wrap them up, take them to our house and wash them in the bathroom sink, filling it up with water and soap. The rocks would soak for a little while, until the water was cloudy or my patience ran out. I'd drain the water, then rinse the rocks over and over again until the water ran clear. Once the water was totally clear, I would dry them with a towel, then lay them out in the sun until they were absolutely dry. I would then try to wash the sink and wipe it up so it wasn't obvious I'd just been washing rocks in it.

When they were dried completely, I would get out the craft paints my mother had bought from JoAnn's Fabrics and I would paint them. Not paint on them, because I wasn't trying to make pictures or actual things. I would just paint them, red black green blue yellow, until the designs were what I liked. Then I'd lay them out in the toy room to dry on a shelf. There are still random spots of paint on those shelves or places where I accidentally pulled the surface up a little. I wasn't very good at thinking ahead, you see.

Once the paint was done drying...

Well, then I just kept them.

Most of them are probably still hidden in the storage room, the 'toy room' that I monopolized throughout the later part of my childhood. I took my favorites with me along with all the random buttons, rocks, shells gemstones, canadian coins and other things I've picked up along the way. I have them in a bag, still, as we don't have the 'decoration' space in this house to get them out and put them in the box I used to have them out in. They'll come back out at the next place, once we're out of state.

So... there you go.

I thought of it because I'm working on a commission for my friend Casey and it involves painting some white gravel on the canvas as part of the commission. And it made me think about how I used to paint ON rocks, and now I am painting rocks.

This made me smile, but also struck me as one more reason all the town kids thought I was weird. Because I was.

But then, I think everybody's kind of weird as a kid, and whether or not we talk about it, we all remember doing things that seem vaguely bizarre now. Like naming my bicycle when I started on my first 'adult' bike.

Now, see, aren't you so glad you know that?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Quick, before I drive off to my exciting job

Ha ha... ha ha ha. It's funny because my job isn't exciting at all.


Jason and I went on our customary 'Yay it is pretty outside' walk. No sign of the little stray white dog we've been watching, but that doesn't mean anything. He's good at staying away from the road, so I think he's fine.

This is what the field that has not yet been plowed looks like:

This is actually right across the road from the field he has plowed. It's a fun contrast.

 After that, Jason made food. Remember my entry yesterday saying I should have him make lunch more often? And that delicious hamburger thing he did? Well, today, he proved to me one more good reason to let him be in charge of lunch. He made this:

He calls it "Sausage Noodle Soup", which is somewhat inadequate in describing just how awesome this soup was. It involves out buckwheat soba noodles, sausage, green onions, shiitake mushrooms, and bok choy. Sausage and green onions are seared in a pot, then water poured in to make a kind of delicious onion-y sausage broth. Cook soba noodles in said broth. In a bowl, put the chopped-up bok choy and shiitake 'shrooms and pour the soup over them, mix around, let sit a moment, then devour. Devour the whole pot of soup...

At least, that's what we just did this afternoon.

Food plans for tomorrow? Jambalaya. Because I said so.

Then, I capped off my day by bothering the cat.

"Okay, fine, just one picture, though. And only because Jason is petting me."

"Seriously? Another one? You have got to be kidding me. I'm a cat. I'm not doing any tricks."

"See, now you're interrupting my nap and that is just rude."

See, work will be a lot more fun now.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Better day, less rant-y

Today I took it easy. I've been painting all day, working on a commission my friend Casey asked me to do for her. I'm not putting the in-progress pictures up here because that wouldn't be fair to Casey, for someone else to see things first like that, so I'll put it up after I'm done and she's seen it.

It's meant to be a rose with water droplets on it. I'm about 30% of the way through and not 100% certain it's going to end up as rose-like as I had hoped. As I said on facebook not long back, it looks a little like a red flower that would very much like to be a rose, bless its sad little heart.

Other than that, I haven't done much today at all. Jason gets off work in about two hours, and we're going to go pick up some things we need from the grocery store. Which does mean I'll have to change out of my painting clothes...

I must be honest with you. My painting clothes are just my regular pajamas, only they have splotches of paint on them. So... maybe not wearing my PJ's out into the world is a good choice. I feel like the moment we were out in public with me in pajamas, I would get a phone call from my mother, four hours away: "Katie, put real clothes on."

"But... how do you even know?"

"I'm your mother. That's what we do."

Hee. If you can't tell, I'm feeling a little silly today.

I've got a couple of pictures, I guess. Both of them are actually from yesterday, before we found the stray kitten. Obviously, I wasn't in much of a good mental place to post them then, but I'll put 'em up today. Please don't ask why I started posting pictures all of the time: I really don't know.

I just have a lot of feelings.


 This is the delicious food my husband fed me yesterday because I told him he was responsible for lunch. I am totally doing that more often. This is our Farmer's Market lunch! Everything on this plate was bought last Saturday except for the cheese slice underneath the spinach. This is the kind of food you want to share with everyone. No recipe, either! Literally just cook onions, cook beef with onions, put on awesome bread, add awesome things on top of it. BOOM, there's lunch.

From the early part of our walk, pre-finding of kitten:

One lone weedy flower holds out against the farmer's plow, just at the very edge of the field, by itself. All its friends and neighbors were plowed down. Good luck, little flower!

Every single one of the plants we planted is growing in a very quick way. I am pleased.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Bad day, With Long Rant Included

So, today hasn't really been a good day. To start it off, Jason and I went over to SIUC to pay his tuition for this semester, in which we discovered that the fees had spiked so enormously that his fees alone were close to double his actual tuition costs. This is maddening. Luckily, our tax return came in last week, so we had the good fortune to have that much money in the bank.

That money is gone now.

There was a happy little middle part of the day where Jason made some amazing food with our Lick Creek beef, cooked in burgers with onions and there was spinach and corn relish and frankly, a lot of delicious things going on. We took a nap, it was a nice afternoon.

We went for a walk, which is where things kind of change.

The first part of the walk was fine; I got some really good pictures, which normally I would put up here or something, but. But.

I had a picture up, a few days ago, that showed the view of the little wooded area that houses our neighborhood from the nearby field. The place where the country road meets the trees is, we are finding more and more, a popular place to dump your animals when you don't want them anymore.

For the lucky ones, there are some people down the street from us who feed strays, pay to neuter them (you can get cheap vouchers), and take care of them (the cats become less their strays and more free-range pets). The unlucky ones, however, don't make it that far down the road.

There's a little white dog we've been watching, for about a week. He stays in the same grassy spot by the road, but does not go into the road. He will growl, raise his hackles, bark, and eventually run away if anyone tries to go near him. But he always lays in the same spot, watching the same part of the road. I am guessing he's waiting for his people to come back and get him.

I don't think his people are coming back.

I've been able to inch closer and closer to him every time I see him. I'm working on it. If I can get him over to me, we can get him to a shelter. Even if they put him down, that is better than starving to death, alone, waiting for people to come for him who threw him out. Or being caught by the coyotes that sometimes roam back that way. I'm worried, but nothing I have tried thus far will get him to come over.

Although that dog is not the subject of what's bothering me today.

Today, on our way back, we saw a kitten on a log nearby. He was a beautiful ginger tabby with these absolutely gorgeous amber eyes. He was a few months old, but definitely not grown. He cried at us (you know that 'look at me' cry cats have) and scrambled off the log and ran right to us, rubbing on our ankles and purring hard.

Jason and I went to pet him and noticed there was something wrong with his back legs; he wasn't walking exactly right. And he was bony; light as air, barely weighed a thing to pick up.

The skin on his back legs was scraped off, infected. There was a nasty infection in his private parts, too. But he wouldn't leave us, and we don't leave living things who need help. So I took him off to a little pull-around just off the farmer's field and Jason went to get the car.

While we waited, the kitten and I got to know each other a bit. He 'talked' to me the same way our cat does: chirping, enthusiastic, willing to answer me every time I spoke. He rubbed on me nonstop, purred up a storm. I kept petting him as cars drove past; the people would slow down to gawk but no one stopped.

Jason came back with a little cup of food (which our newfound friend attacked with some serious desperation) and the cat carrier. We loaded him in and drove him to the Humane Society. Yes, they euthanize, but none of the no-kill shelters around here are taking cats ever as far as I've been able to tell.

They were pretty nice there: I was teary and not exactly calm about it, but we filled out the form and watched them take him into the back. Then we came back, and I'm here trying to calm down now, petting my cat and thinking to myself that they will probably put him down, he was pretty badly infected. And wishing that someone would let me be alone in a room for half an hour with the people who dumped him out there. Half an hour's all I need.

What I don't understand, what I will never understand, is that we human beings are responsible, directly, for the state of these domesticated animals today. We are the reason so many breeds of dog cannot survive on their own. We are the reason that so many cats are declawed or don't know how to hunt. We did that to them, methodically, over centuries of purposeful training and breeding. These animals are our responsibility.

Why do we treat them like disposable toys?

I realize I usually put pictures up to break up the text. I'm sorry. Today there aren't any pictures, just me wishing I could have done more, than we could have afforded to keep him and get him treated, that we could have kept him. I spent the ride to the Humane Society trying to figure out if there was some way we could have managed it.

I am just so angry right now.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

It's that time again

The farmer down the road just started plowing this week. I was on a walk and watched him do most of one side. You may notice his tractor is red and black, not green and yellow... That's how you know he's an awesome farmer.

In other news, I woke up with a headache right behind my eyes and the bridge of my nose, that has since moved into kind of a general, very low-level ache somewhere in my forehead mostly. So I don't know.

Fighters' Practice at the park went really well today, except for a free-range toddler that kept trying to be involved in the fun (said fun involves bashing each other with foam weaponry, so it's not exactly somebody's-strange-toddler-friendly) and a couple of dogs not on a leash who were VERY EXCITED to see people and wanted attention NOW RIGHT THIS SECOND.So kind of a slow start, but we got back on track!

Our friends Stevie and Jason came with their toddler Nolan, who was in a bit of a mood when they got here but warmed up to us by the end, mostly. Enough to give me a big hug goodbye! Yay kids.

I've had two cups of coffee so far today (up at 8 BOTH of my weekend days, blegh) and I'm kind of wanting more, which probably says something bad about me. Oh well. I'm thinking otherwise I might just fall asleep halfway through game later. Or maybe fall asleep right n- zzzzzzzzz...

Just kidding.

Hope everyone is having a good weekend!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Ramblin' Around, Saturday Edition

Yesterday was definitely a weird day. I had to go to the doctor first thing in the morning (check-up/deal with some issues, no biggie) and have to go back on the 30th for some tests, so I was already in kind of a surreal place... and of course, left my phone on silent because I'm silly. So my mother had some health issues yesterday and of course I missed the calls meant to tell me about it and let me know what was going on, but eventually I noticed and did the call around thing. They kept her overnight, but it looks like she did fine on her stress-test thing and everything's back to normal. She should be going home this afternoon! Keep her continued health in your thoughts, though, cross your fingers, your toes, whatever it is you've got to cross. We would definitely appreciate it.

Being who I am, of course, I went and bothered Jason at work because it was a slow day for him and took him out to dinner at Moe's when he went on lunch break. That was really nice.

Jason works an early shift today, and I helped out a coworker by switching shifts with him so I'll be working a night shift. At least we get to see each other in passing on my way out the door and on his way in? Oh well. Regular hours would be kind of nice, but you take what you get, I guess.

I've been waking up really early the past few days, and today was no exception. The up side to it is that today is the Carbondale Farmer's Market. I missed the opening market and I missed last week out of sheer laziness, mostly, so I was determined to go this week. So I pulled on some basically-decent clothing and went over there!

I love the Farmer's Market because there's so many different things. Right now there's a big emphasis on plants and flowers. I saw seven different varieties of tomato plants being sold. If this were a place we were planning to stay permanently in, I'd probably be buying up garden plants like crazy, since that's one thing we'd really like to do, is have a vegetable garden.

In any case...

This is what I picked up at the market itself. From Shady Maple Bakery out of Bluford, Illinois I got Tomato-Basil Bread, some Seed Bread, and Rhubarb Loaf (YES rhubarb yay). The family that sells this bread every week ought to be sainted, this stuff is so good. Jason and I bought a pumpkin roll from them once that I think was gone in two days. I managed to keep myself from buying molasses cookies, but I can't promise anything for next week.

The two jars are from Leepy's Gourmet Foods who come in all the way from Jonesboro. Corn Relish (oh man, anyone who has not tried corn relish should make it their goal in life to do so eventually) and Strawberry-Rhubarb jam (did I mention I like rhubarb? Like, a lot?).

I also picked up a good-sized chunk of ground chuck from Lick Creek Beef. I think Jason will be pleasantly surprised!

Then to the veggie stand, to buy a whole lot of vegetables for a very small amount of money. Now I just have to decide what to DO with all the veggies I got today. There were a couple kinds of Bok Choy on sale for a dollar a bag, so I grabbed those and some shiitaki mushrooms, also a dollar a bag. I'll figure something out. Stir-fry, I guess? We have bell peppers too? Eh.

I'll throw stuff in a pot, add fire and seasonings, and eat whatever comes out of it, haha.

The problem with the Farmer's Market is that it is right next to the Murdale Shopping Center. Which contains Larry's House of Cakes. They're the same people who made the cupcakes for my birthday party. They sell cookies, doughnuts, cream horns, all kinds of things that are essentially irresistible to those of us with a sweet tooth. Well... it turns out I have one. I went in there and picked up my favorite scone, the white chocolate raspberry, and got a large coffee. Honestly, I'd been awake a whole two hours without having coffee, I was starting to really want some.

Thank you, tax return. Your presence in my account has allowed me to buy lots of delicious foods.

On an ending note... the little egg-flower thing my grandma got me has started growing! We sit it outside during the day to get some serious sunlight, but I found that the night creatures that roam around think it is some kind of toy and mess with it if we leave it out after dark (by accident, I swear!).

 Why yes, Mother. That is a Longaberger basket the little egg is resting in. You raised me well.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Dance dance grow little plants

Our plants are finally starting to show! I planted cilantro, basil, and mini bell peppers and then promptly forgot what was in which pot (except I'm pretty sure the basil was in the round green-ish one? Oh well, we'll figure it out when they're bigger). I've been a little worried because it hasn't been showing much green, but...



Green things! I'm... mostly sure that this is cilantro. If it's not cilantro, it's the mini bell peppers. I probably should have labeled them. I'm just going to pretend I did it on purpose because surprise is half the fun.

And our first sign of basil. The other three pots (also basil or cilantro... we had a lot of seeds, okay?) aren't showing much yet, but that doesn't mean they won't. I am full of optimism! Optimism and coffee! Which you could probably tell from the tone of this update and the fact that I was enthusiastic enough about blooming plants to take pictures of them. And then force you all to look at them.

Honestly, I'm just trying really hard to put off doing the dishes.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

I like Wednesday. At least this one.

Yesterday I did a little cleaning while Jason was at work. One of the things I did was rearrange the bookshelves, and one of the rules I made for myself was that I could not have any more books than I had shelf space. I was even a littel stricer than was strictly necessary about it. I have about fifty books in a box waiting to be donated, books that I either don't read anymore or never read at all, books that I'm not so attached to that I cannot cut myself off from them.

They're just sitting there in the hallway, soon to be abandoned. This was very hard for me, but I'm trying to cut our accumulated Stuff by about 1/4 before we move. Moving cross-country is definitely a good excuse to downsize.

Today, Jason and I got a bit restless (he has class at 7 PM to 10 PM, but other than that, he had the day free) and went a-wanderin', as they say, through the stores.

They don't actually say that.

One thing I have to suggest to anyone I know that buys coffee; if you're in it for value, Eight O'Clock Coffee is some of the best you can find. It's cheap, sure, but it's also delicious. I've got a small pot of the Hazelnut flavor waiting to be poured into a mug right now and my whole house smells like hazelnuts and coffee. This is my happy place.

Once we were done shopping (and our landlady was done showing our place to some prospective tenants, who signed the lease for August on the spot, so I think everyone had a good day today that stepped foot through our door) we came home and he camped out on my computer playing Warhammer Online and I camped out on the couch reading my newest (and startlingly relevant) addition to my overwhelming book collection.

It is, essentially, a book about the detrimental effects of our desire for accumulating things. I'm not too far into it and so far the focus has been really on production-level issues (sweatshops, what exactly is in vinyl/PVC, why the BPA thing is not just about baby bottles, etc) but the consumer side of things is coming up. 

It is acting as a pretty good kick-in-the-butt to get me started on downsizing our collection of things.

Yes, I took that photo with the book propped on my legs. Those are my favorite shorts.

The cat came to lie down with me on the couch pretty quickly, as is her custom. There was no place for her on my stomach/lap (my book was already there) and, rejected, she took to lying in the empty space where my legs were at the end of the couch.

At first, she was pretty curled up.

A while later, I found myself shifting my legs from being less than comfortable, and found she had shifted:

And finally, in the end, she had that couch cushion all to herself:

I suspect this was her plan all along.