Thursday, December 31, 2009
Q: Wait -- what about the traditional Kovach cat holiday photo?
A: Franc and Kina aren't crazy about New Year's celebrations. Is this because they eat dinner at 11 pm, and therefore have trouble staying awake past 11:2o? Or because their mother can't in good conscience make them New Year's hats to wear for the occasion? (Not yet, with the Christmas hats are so fresh, or I risk becoming one of those ladies who dresses their pets). Or maybe Franc and Kina are bitter that they're too young (and feline) for the champagne. Possibly they're also too busy taking ornaments off the Christmas tree to celebrate the beginning of a new year (True story: The tree comes down tomorrow just in time, because Franc's taken about half the decorations off, and strewn them around the house. He leaves them by my bedside like little dead bird gifts. And he has a point. He tracked them down in a tree).
Here are my two excuses:
(1) I have been overwhelmed by the holidays and working, two words that should not be in the same sentence ... but that is my sentence, because I work in a residential program.
(2) Our (neighbor's) internet at home has not been working reliably. Sometimes. So that's a bad excuse.
But your holiday gift to me can be to cut me some slack, because I had to work on Christmas. (Is it selfish if I think of that as one more reason for all you kids out there to practice safe sex? Use condoms, and put me out of a job on Christmas!)
And here is a story about how God gives you what you need when you need it.
I have a resident who is mildly retarded and bipolar. Let's call her Princess, but don't feel sorry for her! She is a bully, and I blame her for the fact that I was compelled to top off my coffee with a little Baileys yesterday (morning at 10:00). The past few days, she has been giving me way more than I know how to handle, and with the holidays, there aren't other staff members in the building for me to lean on (or send her to harass). Yesterday two of my sweetest clients were in the lounge watching television, and I got there fast when I saw Princess walk in and heard her start cursing. She was pitching a small fit, and quickly moved to the television and begin changing the channel. She continued to flip through the channels as she argued with me -- she hasn't really accepted that the lounge is a community area, and she has to share it with other people. The other girls avoid it, since Princess resides there almost constantly, and she's not exactly a peach. I told her if she couldn't socialize appropriately, she would have to leave, and living in community means blah blah blah. She argued, she cursed, she continued to change the channel, she refused to leave, she yelled... while the other ladies in the room looked at me wide-eyed. I came closer than I ever have to losing it. So I seized an opportunity to walk away, and happened to check my email.
On behalf the Professionalism Committee we would like to congratulate Karen K. for being selected staff for the December Character trait of Patience- The quality of being patient, as the bearing of provocation, annoyance, misfortune, or pain, without complaint, loss of temper, irritation, or the like.
Maybe there's a little Holy Ghost in me after all. Thank goodness I wasn't the only one working over the holiday.
Friday, December 25, 2009
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Monday, December 14, 2009
I am also days behind at work, and days ahead at Christmas presents. Of course, that means I'm taking on one more project, because I might be crazy, and it wouldn't be Christmas if I wasn't stress-crafting!
Oh, and today one of my (African American) clients found out that I was born in Africa, and said that makes me a "half nigger." ARE YOU SERIOUS? Was the African or the white girl in me more offended?
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
There is a giant, live Christmas tree in my apartment right now, which is proof that putting your cat in a Santa hat will get you whatever you want. This is what they mean when they say "the magic of Christmas." It's the cat in the hat.
When I put little Kina's hat on, I think the grinch inside my (incredibly loving but Christmas-hating) husband ran screaming or melted. Because it was too cute. He couldn't stand it. And surprise! The next day, he took me Christmas tree shopping. (We found a perfect one, and hung all 12 of our ornaments on it last night.)
Even the cats feel the magic, because when Abe tries to put the hats away, they look for them. Abe hid them behind some things on the bookcase last night, and then - what? Franc, where did you get that adorable Santa hat to carry around in your mouth like a dog?
So, Lexi, maybe if you're lucky, little Luna will get a Santa hat this Christmas, and make all of your dreams come true.
Monday, December 7, 2009
- We already spent all our Christmas money on gifts.
- We both have to work Christmas Eve and Christmas anyway.
- Abe is a Christmas-hater. He says "Bah, humbug," and sprints past the storefronts where they're selling wreaths, because he knows I want one.
Here's what you need to melt the heart of your own Scrooge with Santa hats for your pets:
- red felt
- white feather boa (and white pom poms, if you prefer those for the top)
- needle and thread (red and white)
- elastic (I used hair elastics cut in the middle, which was cheap and awesome, since I have a stash of elastics without hair to put in them)
Start by cutting a circle out of your paper. This is to create a pattern for the cone of the hat. I recommend tracing something round, or using a protractor to get a circle that's even all around. Make a cut from the edge to the center of the circle, and fold it around until the cone shape is the width and height that you want. Mark a line where that is, and cut a pie-piece out of the circle that's 1/2 to 1/4 inch larger than the cone you want. Now you're ready to cut your felt, using the pattern you created from paper.
At this point, you'll want to stay-stitch, which means grab your red thread and needle, and stitch all around the circumfrance (by which I mean just the rounded side), about 1/4 inch from the edge. This going to help your felt keep its shape as you work. Don't worry if it's crooked - it'll be covered by the trim.
Next, you form your cone. You'll want to pin a couple places to make sure you don't end up with a big hole in the top of your hat, and then stitch from the bottom up to the tip. At this point, your hat should look like this one. (Kina kept tabs on my progress, because she fell in love with the feather boa and couldn't wait for me to get to that part.)
You're ready to attach your strap. (I used dark elastic because that matches my cats best, and it's brilliant - you can't even tell it's strapped on. so I recommend choosing a color that will blend with your pet.) If you want the seam to be in the back of the hat, fold your cone in half, with the seam in the center. Tuck your elastic into one side like so:And stitch the elastic to the felt on both sides. All that's left are the trimmings! Cut a short piece from your feather boa (an inch or a little more) to top the hat with, and measure around the bottom circumference to cut the piece for the bottom trim. (I used fabric glue on the cut ends to try to manage the deluge of feathers coming off the boa, and that seemed to do the trick.) Use your white thread to stitch your feather trim to the hat. Kina got a fitting before I added the final trim.
And ta da! Franc can't wait to (m)eat the reindeer.
Friday, December 4, 2009
crazy little thing (called love). I discovered it when she was a kitten, and I put toothpaste on my toothbrush, walked away to answer the phone, and returned to find a naked toothbrush and a tiny kitten sitting by the sink. She had her mouth open just a little bit, and she was looking around from side to side, like "golly, surely somebody'll come by and notice how I'm minty fresh!" I freaked out and called the vet, who told me not to worry. Who knew? A lot of cats have unusual tastes. (Just at my house, their tastes require veterinarians.)
So since then, we don't leave our toothpaste unattended. And since then we do this thing after we brush (besides leaving travel covers on our toothbrushes to keep her from sucking on them). I'll open my mouth really wide, and she gets really, really close, and sniff, sniff, sniff. When I let her do this, I am very popular, and since the rest of the time, she could take me or leave me and doesn't seem to care either way, I let her do this all the time. (Shut up. You have issues too.)
Tonight it was just the same old thing. And then she kissed me. She actually licked my tongue. So really, I'm the victim here.
I especially like that they send me e-cards for all the important kitty holidays, like Kina's birthday, Franc's birthday, and Christmas. These aren't just any e-cards. These are the e-creepiest cards ever. (Be sure to watch all the way to the end, to see the ultimate creepy kitten Christmas dinner.)
Thursday, December 3, 2009
But today was the best I've had in months. All my residents got along! I had productive meetings! There was laughter! There was news of a bonus (holla!) that I wasn't expecting! There was an encouraging conversation with my supervisor, when she told me she understands second-shift burn-out, and is willing to put out 'feelers' for me on some potential new grant-funded positions!
On a high from all of this positivity, I agreed to be the agency's Substance Abuse Coordinator. It's not a new job or a promotion - more of a title I'm taking on for grant purposes (I tell myself this over and over to ease the fear that I'm taking on more responsibility without more compensation. Again). I'll continue to do the substance abuse work I've been doing since I started: dragging reluctant and sometimes kicking-and-screaming women to NA meetings, administering a drug/alcohol assessment tool to new residents, convincing (read: bribing, pleading, begging) residents to attend their recommended treatment classes day after day after day.... And pee testing.
So a little good news may be a dangerous thing. But I still want to celebrate.
And I also have this:
This list is an awesome resource if you're cutting back on expensive gifts this Christmas, and need a few good homemade suggestions, or if you're just at that point in life when everyone you know is having babies (93 maternity/infant/toddler tutorials?! Even I don't know that many pregnant women!).
Saturday, November 28, 2009
I was yawning as I finished my second cup. We all were! That's how we knew we'd been decafed. I got home and slept ... slept ... slept. It wasn't just a litte cat nap, it was a New York City Napathon. I woke up disoriented, with a headache. Like I was drugged! And half of my Saturday was gone. So a lump of coal to servers everywhere who think they're too busy to brew the regular.
Friday, November 27, 2009
I started this apron last year for Kimberly's birthday. I made some good progress before my sewing machine started "acting a fool".* My dad can fix anything, so he came over recently to help me set my machine aright. And we were off! I finished the apron shortly before Kimberly's birthday this year. (All the good crafts do seem to go to her house.)
This was the first thing I've sewn without any kind of pattern, and I made it from an enormous wraparound skirt I bought at Goodwill (by enormous, I mean like Sisterhood of the Traveling Skirt, in which we could all wear it together for traveling in order to pay much less for our tickets). This was brilliant on my part, because it means the cute details came ready-made: red hem tape! a button! flirty red lining! The key to this project is finding a massive enough skirt to begin with (and one with a cute lining, since it will show). You need enough material for the bottom half of the apron (I used the existing front of the skirt to get the wraparound detail), the top half, those seam allowances, and all the ties. I had enough lining to make a pocket, and just to be cute I reused a little of the hem tape across the top like so:
Fabric and notions - buttons and hem tape - can be a little pricey, so reconstructing an existing garment is a great way to save your cash. All in all, a success, and a project I'd recommend if you're going homemade for your gifts this holiday.
*Do you like that? It's a little something I picked up at work, along with the cough/cold/flu that knocked me out for most of the month.
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Here's to your Thanksgiving holidays - may you have a wonderful day with family, and may your turkey dinner not come in a can.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
I thought they were just being difficult about taking medicine, until I dripped a little of the solution on my cell phone case. And it melted the plastic.
So toot that horn, Advantage, for your 100% percent effectiveness, because enough acid will kill anything! And I now I fear PETA may be coming for me.
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Hopefully you'll find the hand sewing therapeutic like I did, because by the time you get to the end, you'll be needing some therapy. Here are the other things you need to make your very own birdmobile:
- the bird pattern, which is a FREE pdf, right here
- scraps of fabric in coordinating prints. I chose pinks and greens, since those are the colors in AK's room.Tip: I harvested cloth from little girl's outfits from the thrift store. This is clever because they have all the right colors and you won't end up with tons left over.
- needle and thread
- cotton - to stuff the birds (I bought a terrible throw pillow from Goodwill and gutted it.)
- topstitching or upholstery thread - that's to hang the branches from each other
- a dremel tool
- fish hooks, straightened
- hot glue/crazy glue
- the patience of a saint - or my father, since he is the only person I know who can get through (more than) five hours of balancing a bird mobile and still have his sanity
- Map out which branches to put where, and start at the bottom.
- Don't be silly. Sewing the birds to the branches and tying the branches to each other would be simple enough, but because of the weight of the birds on the top of the branches, you end up with a batmobile. This is where the dremel and fish hooks come in.
- Use the dremel to drill a tiny hole in your branch(es). You'll insert the straightened fish hook into that hole, and thread your upholstery thread through the top of the fish hook. The fish hook is going to provide leverage, or something else that comes from physics, that will keep your branches from flipping over with the weight of the birds. See?
- Use the crazy glue to reinforce all your knots, because trust me - you're not going to want to do this twice.
- Hot glue is more effective than sewing in terms of keeping the birds upright on the branches; using both glue and thread will make it all more sturdy.
- For our easiest branch, we ran the middle bird straight through so that the topstitching thread runs through him, tying to the branch beneath him and the branch above him. This is an easy way to get your birds and branches balanced, so try to plan so that most of your branches can hang this way.
Friday, November 20, 2009
It was meant as a compliment, but it's not exactly what I wanted to hear after dragging my tired, lazy bones out of bed this morning to work out.
I went to a yoga/pilates class at 9:15, and afterward I was feeling so zen and great about life that I made a grievous error: I went to shop for yoga pants. I should clarify that while I'm a generally tiny person, I have the hips and posterior of a much larger, more African woman. And I think those hips may be the reason why yoga doesn't come from Africa. They don't make pants for hips like this. Of course I had to try on twelve pairs to realize it, and then I came home and cried over the cats' breakfast that I can't work out because I'm too fat to work out -- which of course was ridiculous. I meant too "thick."
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Today at work, we kicked off three days of RealCare, which is not a program in which I pretend to actually care for three days in a row (but since you brought it up, we should probably consider implementing one of those). RealCare is that fake baby thing that they do in high schools to promote not getting pregnant, and that we're doing here to "increase awareness about issues related to caring for an infant." Like wanting to leave the fake baby in a dumpster and run for the hills? That's one issue.
As far as the program goes, the RealCare babies have only been activated for two hours, and let me testify! It works. At least, it works on me. And you can trust me: after the last 120 minutes of non-stop simulated baby crying, we are all in a state of dangerously increased awareness about issues related to caring for an infant.
Friday, October 30, 2009
I admit I had sort of planned a special "100th" post, which was going to feature 100 fun facts about me. I even wrote 20 last week before I hit "save now." And now I wish there was just a "save" button to rescue that idea from the drafts box. Because today I'm too busy making tea for Abe and blowing my nose to think of 80 more things about myself. (80? I think that's the number of tissues I've used in the past two days.)
I'm sick with a cold, and Abe came home from work last night with flu symptoms, so today we both called in sick. So far today we have slept until almost noon, fed the cats, and put laundry in the dryer. Also, we cooked a huge breakfast like this:
but not exactly this, because this picture's from our trip to Tennessee. (What can I say, it's a breakfast favorite: eggs with mushrooms and spinach and breakfast potatoes with onions, garlic, and orange peppers). You can hardly expect me to cook and take pictures, with this rhinovirus taking over my body.
Later, Abe says, our plans include long naps, lengthy movies, and laying back. And I'm considering a butternut squash soup.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
It goes a little something like this: Chop up some salted almonds. Put them on top of vanilla ice cream. Mmmm.
I don't have a picture of the ice cream, because that's what God gave you an imagination for. But I do have a picture of the donuts.
Monday, October 26, 2009
Saturday, October 24, 2009
Til then, cheers!
Friday, October 23, 2009
One of my presents this birthday was a bluetooth headset. I was a little surprised when Abe handed it to me, and thought that either my mother bribed him to give it to me, or my husband is under the impression that I am a terrible driver. (Surely not because I told him that I once tried to back out of my parent's garage with the garage door still closed? And it can't be from the time that I got my car stuck in the landscaping at a local shopping center? Hey. It was dark. I was tired.)
Anyway, at first I resisted the bluetooth, because:
- I blame my bad driving on genetics (sorry, Mom), not cell phone use.
- And I'm not sure I've ever seen anyone under the age of 40 using a bluetooth outside of a cell phone store.
- And people who use bluetooths walk around looking like they're talking to themselves.
- And I look crazy enough all by myself. (See above).
- And my mom used to drive me crazy, trying to answer her phone when her bluetooth was set to automatically pick up. I would hear her faintly say, "hello?" and I would shout, "Mom! I'm on your headseat, in your purse!" and she would hang up on me. I thought, "A bluetooth makes me feel frustrated and small and helpless."
Here are other great things about my bluetooth:
- I can call you while I'm washing dishes. Look, Ma! No hands!
- I look like I'm crazy, so people leave me alone.
- It is the only way I know to make my clients be quiet. They come to the pod shouting, and I point to my ear. Suddenly, their voice drops to a loud whisper. "I'm sorry! I didn't know you were on the phone." (No, Ma, I don't usually answer my phone at work. But sometimes work folk call me on my cell, so I keep it handy.)
- It's smaller than my earrings. (I wear big earrings. This is because I am "so native," according to my noisy clients.)
- "With the flexible bluetooth headsets, the drivers have no need to answer a telephone during driving. So it makes sure drivers’ safety. So for those business men, bluetooth headsets actually play a key role during driving. It releases drivers’ hands free and enhances extra safety." (New rule! You have to read that article, because it is awesome. Maybe the most awesome thing about it is that it was edited by Cynthia. You catch me? It was edited.)
Now Abe wants his own bluetooth, so we'll have blueteeth! (Don't tell my dentist. I would hate to cause undue alarm. This must be what all those whitening products are for.)*because of my incredible powers due to amazing technology, not because I'm bats-in-my-belfry crazy. That is just insulting.
** actually, "yes."
Thursday, October 22, 2009
The thing about my cats having fleas? That's true. I'm not too worried, because I am basically a professional exterminator at this point. In college I lived in a house where the infestation was so bad that the university paid to put us all up in a schmancy hotel. While we enjoyed the heated pool and complained about the long walk to campus, they built a tent over the entire building and flea-bombed repeatedly. Last year I freaked out when a friend's pet brought fleas into our apartment. Poor kittens. They were more annoyed by incessant searching through their fur for fleas than they were by the fleas. Also, we vacuumed constantly (ah-ha!), and they hate the vacuum. This time, I'm handling the situation like a seasoned professional. (This means that I threw down everything I was doing when Abe found the first flea in order to run to the vet for flea/tick/heartworm drops that cost almost as much as two nights in Tennessee.)
The thing about two nights in Tennessee is Can I Have Them, Please? Because the only thing I didn't like about our mini-vacation to Gatlinburg was the fact that it ended. It was a-maz-ing, and I took pictures of our meals like food blogging's my job. Lucky for the internet, food blogging is not my job, because we ate mostly unoriginal things like pizza biscuits and pecan pancakes and grilled chicken/grilled vegetables. But it was delicious, and I can't spoil Christmas by posting about my Christmas crafts, so you can look forward to reading about it anyway.
I also have pictures of nearly everything else we did - nearly - so you can look forward to some scenic vistas, since I have given up entirely on posting photos on facebook. More like, I-want-to-hit-you-in-the-face-book, because you keep loading all my pictures over and over again like everything's fine, and then telling me "upload failed!" after twenty minutes. Facebook, you are fired.
(I may overdone it with the coffee today. Is it that obvious?)
Saturday, October 17, 2009
And I'll definitely try to liven it up in here, because I know it's been a little quiet this week. See you on Wednesday!
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Sunday, October 11, 2009
Also, please watch over my family on their travels. I trust them in Your hands, because You've been so good to me.
Thursday, October 8, 2009
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Mathematically, my cute nephew > your cute nephew. Abe's holding him, and you can see Leslie in the background. Hi, Leslie!
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
So here's how to make yummy Apple Blueberry Crisp that will feed 50, if you stuff them full enough first and serve it with ice cream. (Or one, if you leave it alone with me for 5 minutes.)
Peel and slice four apples. Mix the slices with a splash of lemon juice, a dash of cinnamon, and a small handful of sugar. Stir! Put the apples in a 9x13 pan, then sprinkle on a decent cup on blueberries. (Frozen is fine) It should look like this:
You're almost done. Already? Yes. I told you it was easy.
In another bowl, mix a cup of oats, 1/3 cup of flour (whole wheat, please!), another dash of cinnamon, a small handful of brown sugar, an even smaller handful of white sugar, a little lemon zest, and a stick of butter. A stick? Yes. I promised delicious, not low-cholesterol. No one said this was health food. Use a wooden spoon or a pastry cutter if you have it to mix the topping together. Do not get smart and think that a whisk is really just a pastry cutter on a long handle. All the butter will immediately jump to hide inside the whisk, and with one stupid idea, you will have turned this easy recipe into the stuff of nightmares where there are oats eternally glued under your fingernails.
Drop bits of topping all over your berry/apple mix, and bake at 375 for about half an hour. Ta da!
Monday, October 5, 2009
Number of warm bodies in my house: 6
Number of bedrooms in my house: 1
Number of warm bodies in the bedroom at my house on four legs: 3
Number of warm bodies that were feline: 2
Number of warm bodies that were 70 pound labs: 1
Number of felines successfully befriended by the lab: 0
Number of meals eaten at home: maybe 1?
Number of potlucks attended: 2
Number of calories consumed: more than enough for everyone who attended, everyone reading this and the 70 pound lab.
Number of enflamed tonsils in my throat: 2
Number of times the chiropractor adjusted my neck this morning: 4
Number of cookies I was inspired to bake for him: 100
Number of residents on my case load: 17
Number of times I've checked the clock to see if it's 11:00 yet: 1,000
Friday, October 2, 2009
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
"Atkins for Catkins." That's what I wanted to call this post, but I decided I should try not to let on how crazy I am, at least not so soon in our relationship.
Apparently, canned cat food is high in protein and low in carbohydrates, which is just what Dr. Atkins ordered for People. Another bonus? It contains more water than dry cat food (duh! But I promise I'm going somewhere with this), which is good for cats and good for me, because Franc likes knocking over the water bowl to play in it more than he likes drinking from it. And I'm tired of cleaning up.
Since we're already feeding him the recommended 1/4 cup of dry food twice a day (No more! No, Franc, you really can't have more.), the vet told us to put him on a canned food diet and increase exercise. So of course I told him to chase his kitten sister around the house twice daily and spend more time jumping into the bed with me.
He said, "I hate you, Mother, for making me see the mean cat doctor. And where is my dinner?"
Monday, September 28, 2009
Afterward, we went to dinner with our friends and a whole slew of their friends. I was going to make this whole post about how Abe accidentally hit me in head in front of them, because I thought "ow!" and "this will be hilarious later!" It turns out I didn't know any of those people well enough for it to turn into anything except humiliations galore. (Surprise! Not all accidents are funny.)
So I'm out a good story for today.
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Saturday, September 26, 2009
(In case I don't, come back tomorrow! I just may write about the International Festival at UNCC and our delicious dinner afterward, when Abe socked me in the head in front of 8 strangers.)
Friday, September 25, 2009
- It tells me everything about you. (Don't worry, not your social security number.) By you, I mean you people out there reading this. It tells me if you have dial-up or broadband. It tells me your rough geographic locations. It tells me which of my blog pages you most enjoy looking at. It tells me how many "you" are.
- It revealed that I have a reader in Pakistan. Hello, Islamabad! I am glad you're here.
- How did you find me? Some of you came via Lexi's blog. Some of you stopped by after visiting Joie. Some of you came from Google!
- Google led you here when you were looking for "out of office email jury duty," "pool side fun blog," and "worldwide pants" (really?!) This sort of makes my day.
- All of this information - and believe me, more - is presented in clever little line graphs and pie charts. And who doesn't like pie?! I remember nothing from school about Cartesian coordinates or x- and y- axes, so it boggles my mind that Google Analytics writes them about me.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
I'll tell you: a safer neighborhood than the one where the guys with guns aren't cops.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
This time, the dentist finished the exam, and said "everything looks good!" Shocked, I said, "weawy?" (meaning "really," because it's hard to talk with someone's hand in your mouth). Surprised at my surprise, the dentist said "yup."
I suspect he may be blind, or maybe just bad at his job. But I'm going to keep seeing him anyway, because he made me feel great about my teeth. And that's worth flossing for.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Monday, September 21, 2009
I'll give you the run-down for free, because I'm considering adding advertising to this blog, which will obviously result in fabulous wealth (or $1.00 would be fine) that will more than make up for me giving you my two cents for nothing.
Based on my two days of experience, here is how to make the most of a weekend alone.
- Meet up with people. You could do this in all sorts of ways - I did via church, since it was conveniently Sunday morning when Abe left. Make sure these are people who care about you and have food.
- Make sure you mention you're alone. Even though you are a grown-up person and fully self-sufficient, these people will most likely feel (a) sorry for you, and (b) obligated to take care of you, especially if (a) they are your parents, and (b) you are still sniffling from a cold (fake it if you're one of those people with a functional immune system).
- You have already scored. The above actions will result in an invitation of some kind (85% of these invitations will involve free food. Don't ask how, this is science). In my case, I got invited for an entire sleepover, because I took full advantage of all the results-boosting options (listed as (a)'s and (b)'s above).
- You will need at least two and a half* full-grown adults (or one adult per cat, plus at least one half additional adult. Here is this convenient equation, because I took algebra once and then forgot everything: x=y+1/2, where x=adults and y=number of cats) in good health to attempt this.
- You may want to wear long sleeves, long pants, long socks, and long gloves, or borrow a beekeeper's suit from a friend. (Also, introduce me to that friend?) Or declaw your cats.**
- One adult should pursue each cat. It's wise to shut off any doors by which the cats might try to escape before introducing the carrier(s) to their environment. A frightened cat with any brain waves whatsoever will immediately look for a place to hide. Don't try this in a bedroom! Your cat Will Not Ever come out from under the bed. Even for earplugs (a.k.a. food).
- The additional half adult should watch and try not to laugh. Because this is serious business. They should also be put in charge of the carrier(s) - opening the doors and closing them once the cat is contained. Lightning speed is of the essence!
- Once the cats are captured, hold on for your life. And stuff them as quickly as you can into the carrier(s). If you have trouble remembering, just think: "hold and stuff."
- Then you may need some ear plugs of your own, because the cats will mew and meow furtively, and plaintively, and at first it will be hard to resist letting them out. And then it will just get old. So the ear plugs will be good either way.
*My mother is suffering from a broken elbow acquired in a bicycle wreck. The alleged "accident" involved her son-in-law Ben, who is an experienced rider who has won prizes in bike trials as well as ridden a ten-speed across America. Is this suspicious? You ask yourselves.
**DON'T! I shout because I actually don't at all believe in declawing. Because (a) how would you feel if somebody ripped your fingernails off?, and (b) without claws your Fluffy has no way to protect herself if she ever gets lost or a crazed possum breaks into your house.
Friday, September 18, 2009
- At Charlotte's Greek festival. If the gyros and loukamades and men dressed straight out of 'Troy' weren't enough to get you there, they call it "Yiasou!" A good name for any party.
- Accidentally, at a pagan festival - because Abe was trying to read the sign wrong-side front, and said, "it's the Pecan Pride Festival!" And I'm a sucker for a free sample. (Tarot card reading, not so much.)
- Riding bikes on the greenway by Freedom Park. They have bridges and creeks and ducks and snakes, but the wildlife mostly leaves you alone.
- Bouldering at Crowder's, where they've opened a new area that is all for bouldering! (And by "bouldering," of course I mean climbing around for a little while, and then napping in a hammock.) I should also mention that my climbing shoes have angry monkeys on them. Perfect.
- Out for jury duty.
- Working, and madly, because I have 15 pregnant ladies and only 8 hours, 2 hands, and 1 brain (possibly less) to deal with all of them.
- Out for what I thought was tonsillitis, but turns out to just be a cold. Again. Our friend Josh said, "geez, are you ever not broken?" The answer seems to be a pretty clear "no." (My coworkers think this is hilarious justification to carry on with their crappy eating habits, since I eat more vegetables in a day than they do collectively in a work week, and have used more sick time since I started than probably everyone else put together.)
- Making homemade applesauce in my crock pot. (Now you can too: cut up your apples and core them. You can peel them or not. Put them in your crock pot with a little water, a little cinnamon, a little vanilla. You can use a weensy bit of brown sugar, but you don't need to. Cook on low until you can mash the apples with a fork. Mm.)
- Drinking tea. Constantly. (See #7)
- Reading other people's blogs, and gaining an internet inferiority complex. (Other people are funny! Other people have great pictures on their blogs! Other people's blogs are focused. Some people's blogs are about food! And crafts.) I'm trying to turn some of that moping around, and I'm playing with a couple of ideas to liven it up in here. So stay tuned!
Friday, September 11, 2009
My Civic Duty: unfortunately, not test-driving a 2010 Honda hybrid with a dual point sequential ignition system, whatever that is
I told someone at work that I was freaking out about jury duty. I think she was trying to reassure me when she said, "Don't worry, you'll never be selected anyway. They only choose people who are reasonable."
Thursday, September 10, 2009
(Thank you. That would be my expensive 'eau de social work.')
I pointed out to her how that was a fairly racist sentiment, and challenged her by saying that sometimes we grow up with certain prejudices or ideas about others that it's healthy to grow out of as we learn more about the world.
(Please, God, help me not to point out how much she stinks.)
Then she said, "They smell like wet dog and spoiled milk."
(Then I said, "You are a brat. You should get over thinking that you are better than everyone else, and to do that, I'm going to move to you a suite of All White People until you smell just like them." To myself.)
I nearly ended it there by saying that I didn't think I should continue the conversation in the interest of maintaining a shred of professionalism. (I have that.) But the good Lord was with me, and so instead I asked if she realized what she had just said.
"Oh, but Ms. Karen, I don't think of you as a white person."
At this point, all I could do was stare at the hand in front of me, and wonder what color she thinks it is. So I beg the question: if you can't tell by looking, how do you know if you're white? Here's the evidence against me:
EXHIBIT A: Last week, one of the minors was describing where her neighbor lives. "It look like a white person house," she said. Everyone laughed, and all the heads in the room swiveled toward me.
EXHIBIT B: People are surprised when I tell them I'm from Africa. They say, "I didn't know white people came from Africa."
EXHIBIT C: As a teenager in Cameroon, men frequently asked me to make metisse babies with them.
In less snarky news, I have another resident who wears a t-shirt that says "Worldwide Pants Incorporated." Maybe when I'm too burnt out to social work, I'll get a job in Worldwide Pants.
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Here is a problem with vacation, especially vacation with old friends: it makes work seem even less fun, because it points out what you're missing in all of those hours that you're copying and filing and trying to convince pregnant women to quit smoking and fighting each other. If you haven't taken a vacation in a while, you may be missing:
- late night "fast walks" - not runs - to the store
- a good Dark 'n' Stormy (HINT: add a splash of bitters!)
- hilarious conversations that should definitely not take place in public (...oops.)
- photo ops (sometimes photo oops) on street corners and in front of historic buildings
- much less sleep than you would be if you were trying to cram five years of fun into less than five days.
Friday, September 4, 2009
In my defense, most of those hours were spent trying on outfits that I didn't pack and tearing apart the bathroom, because when I travel I become obsessed with finding the tiniest containers. Tiniest suitcase? Check. Tiniest face cream? Check. Tiniest lotion? Where is the tiniest lotion?! The size of the emergency is inversely proportional to the size of the tiniest lotion.
So hopefully after all that I remembered to pack my underwear, because in fifteen minutes, I'm off!
Here's hoping that you have a wonderful labor day weekend, and interpret it less literally than my coworker (who will be - you guessed it - working) and my client (who should be in an entirely different kind of labor this weekend).
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
We had house guests last week, which was terrific. Deb (my most humorous friend from high school) and her mom stayed a few days in the middle of a road trip. They ended up showing us around the city, since I apparently know nothing about Charlotte. Deb (most humorous) took us to Wing Haven Gardens, which is a 3 + acre garden in the middle of Charlotte where the wildlife is supposed to be bountiful and tame. We saw hardly any wildlife, so I can only assume that the "aviary" part was referring to the mosquitos, which were bird-sized.
The Prayer of St. Francis was carved on a plaque in the garden.
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy;
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
(I think he might have worked at NYM Maternity Home.)
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
a) have carpet in your habitat
b) hate to vacuum.
In a few short steps, I will now explain to you my proven, evidence-based method to turn you into a lover of vacuuming. THIS INCREDIBLE PROGRAM IS FREE OF CHARGE.
1. Get a cat
-the more, the merrier (and the faster this program will work!)
-bonus for long-haired varietals
2. Carry on as usual for one week.
3. Vacuum. Now bear with me - it's just the one time. You don't even have to move the furniture.
4. Clean out the inside of your vacuum/vacuum bag and filter. Force yourself to acknowledge the vast amounts of pet hair and dander. If you don't immediately feel like vacuuming again, look a little longer.
5. THAT IS ALL. IT DOES NOT EVEN TAKE FIVE STEPS.
Personal Testimonial: This program has so radically changed my life, that now, all I want to do is vacuum. Before, I was the kind of wife who would secretly put off vacuuming for so long that my husband would feel guilty and do it. In the last week, I have vacuumed the floors three times, the rugs, and the furniture. I have vacuumed everything that is not nailed down, and have even discovered this great FREE BONUS TIP: Your vacuum most likely has a hose/brush attachment system that will let you vacuum all over and around those inconveniently nailed down things. This same hose is great for removing pet hair from clothing!
*Side effects may include: worn carpets, soreness in the neck, back and arms, a staggeringly high electric bill, and a drastic reduction in the pet hair, dust, and muck in your carpets. You may or may not find that once you begin this program, you are unable to do anything without vacuuming first. There are currently no support groups for those who are struggling with over-vacuuming, however, one will be starting at the Klekov residence as soon as I figure out how I'd hear you knocking over the sound of the vacuum. This program may also be detrimental to your relationships with neighbors and/or your adopted pets, if they should fear the noise of the vacuum.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
- Franc feels like a million dollars after the bath he had today. (It also turns out he's not nearly as fat as we took him for - just fluffy.)
- Tomorrow I get to jet ski at work.
- Having plenty.
- I overheard a client telling my newest resident how nice I am. (Shut up, Lexi! I am too nice! At least professionally.)
- One great husband.
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Yesterday Lexi and Ben came over for an early breakfast, and amazing-because-I-like-sleeping-in, I pulled off a delicious blueberry coffee cake. I am the sloth of kitchens - I enjoy chopping, whipping, sauteeing and all of it, but I'm very, very slow. On Friday night I mixed my dry ingredients and assembled everything else, which saved time Saturday morning (and the coffee cake, because you should never measure baking soda while sleep deprived).
Whole Wheat Blueberry Coffee Cake
Heat oven to 350. In a large bowl, mix until blended:
2 c. whole wheat flour
3/4 c. sugar
1 TBS baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/3 c. oil
1 c. milk (I used soy)
zest of 1 lemon
Beat the mixture for 2 minutes, then spread in a greased 9x13 pan. Spread a heaping cup (or two) of frozen blueberries over the top, and sprinkle with streusel made from following ingredients, lightly tossed with a fork:
1/3 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. whole wheat flour
1 tsp cinnamon
enough oil to moisten - probably 1-2 TBS
(Also, nuts would be delicious.) Bake about 40 minutes, or until the cake is set with lightly browned edges.
Now I'm off to hide in the bathroom, because I am terrified of cicadas, and Abe just gave the cats one to play with. It's another wild weekend at my house....
Friday, August 21, 2009
Thursday, August 20, 2009
It's my nephew, making his international internet debut! His name is Samson, and he was born yesterday morning. Obviously, snuggling his sweet cheeks has taken priority over updating my blog.
Other things have also been more important, like my mystery illness. Symptoms: 2. Doctor's visits: 2. Vicoden prescribed: 30. Kidney Ultrasounds: 1. Referrals made: 1. Calls back from the doctor I've been referred to: 0. Days ago: 3. Sick hours used: 30.
Today I did finally go back to work. I wore mascara and put on a cute outfit to convince myself that I Feel Great. Something in the kitchen garbage was smelling rotten, so I got my things together to take the trash out on my way. I had parked a ways from the apartment because I wanted my car to be in the shade, so of course as I was locking the door and heading down the stairs, it started to pour. And in a moment unrelated to those 30 vicoden (I swear I haven't taken one in days), I stood in the rain for a good 20 seconds wrestling with the trunk of my car before I realized it was strapped shut by the bike rack we had used over the weekend. By the time I put the rotten garbage in the car with me, I was drenched. Which was awesome, since I had taken the time this morning to actually Iron. And I think that when you're wet, you're more absorbant of stenches.
I dried out eventually, and as soon as I did, my pen broke and leaked ink all over my skirt. I curse you now, Sharpie pen that I loved.
Welcome back to the world, little kidneys.
Monday, August 10, 2009
It of course started pouring less than 2 minutes after we pulled into the parking lot on Turkey Pen Road. Abe and I were 100% soaked by the time we built our own camp site in the woods (don't tell, as I believe that may have been illegal), and there is now a "20%" chance that I'll never return to wunderground.com for my weather forecasting needs (At wunderground.com, see,"20%" apparently means "100%. Look out, weatherman. Now I'm catching on. I'm speaking your language). And a 20% chance that I'll find that weatherman and attack him with a hose on the day he's wearing his cute pumas. Lucky for weatherman, we had a good time in spite of the rain. We "enjoyed the instant gratification of a delicious Cup Noodles," floated down the river on inner tubes, befriended the wildlife (by which of course I mean that I found a tiny frog, and Abe put it on his nose so we could take hilarious pictures), and rode our bikes until Abe's pedal fell off (which was not probably so long as it sounds).
Then we came home without getting lost to a clean house and very grateful kittens (at least until they realized we'd put them back on their feeding regimen. Sorry, fat Franc). We unpacked, did a little yoga (Abe said "Turn it down!" when I started the video, "This is embarrassing!"), and washed clothes using my Highly Successful homemade laundry detergent.
So thank you, Pisgah National Forest, for this weekend, which was memorable, crazy fun, and with my favorite husband.
P.S. This is all about saving water.
Friday, August 7, 2009
ps) If you are tempted to adopt one or more adorable kittens, please be advised that they may grow up to eat your yoga mat and leave their hair all over the place. Also, no matter how cute they are, or charming, they will not ever help clean the bathroom.
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
So I can check that off my list of things to do before I die.
The same client also verbally assaulted another resident , who then came to me worried that she would retaliate, stressed that she has to deal with this during her pregnancy, and clearly very hurt. (She said her peer was afflicted by a demon. Should I have argued?) I had to tell her not to personalize, to be the bigger person, and to remember that this is the stuff that Makes Us Stronger.
Then I was so strong that I turned green and sinewy and huge, and burst out of my clothing. (Side note: How do I feel that the Incredible Hulk and I have the same haircut? I feel unoriginal.) And obviously, after that happened, I needed a day off. So hooray! Today I'm celebrating My Sister's 26th Birthday all day long.
Saturday, August 1, 2009
But it was my schizophrenic client, and she came to me so pathetically, and told me she was supposed to check it every day, but couldn't see it over her stomach. And could I please come and look at it? I couldn't say no (really? really, Karen, you couldn't say no? If you had wanted to be a nurse, you could happily be paid a lot more. But you didn't, you aren't, and you should have said no). I went with my client to her room, and she carefully closed the door behind me. It occurred to me to ask what I would be checking for. "Leakage," she said, "or if it's open at all." It occurred to me that if I saw leakage or openings, I would probably pass out. I think I turned two shades whiter. She told me to come in to the bathroom, and closed that door as well. "I'm not going to hurt you, miss," she said, probably noticing that I appeared close to passing out. I reassured her that I'm not afraid of her (just her possible pus or internal organs falling out), and I know she's not dangerous. "I've had a rough life, that's all, miss." She peeled her layers of clothing up and down, and down and down and down, and that's all I'm going to tell you about exactly how low they cut a woman to take out her baby.
And how does it cut to lose your child? Earlier that day CPS took custody of her child (a beautiful girl, just a week old). She sounded angry when she told me she doesn't like the foster mother. She sounded ready to cry when she said "I'm hurting and I'm feeling let down." Then she changed the subject. She told me she had been hit in the head, and if I touched it, I could feel the bump. I asked how it happened, and she told me it was when she was a baby. She said "I haven't been right since. That's trauma." The tears came when she said "That's trauma, miss. It stays with you for the rest of your life."
Friday, July 31, 2009
Since then, I have gone soft. I work one job and take no classes. I drive everywhere. I think about volunteering and going back to school, but have yet to sign up. I get no exercise. I force myself to cook - sometimes. And I get up the next day and I do it again.
So I need to get it together. I need to get busier, and back to the discipline that I used to practice. I think goals are a good place to start (and I don't mean watching soccer).
Plug away on my embroidery project, which one day will be a beautiful throw pillow. Also, master the stupid french knot! (Embroidery is not like kissing. The french version of "knotting" is "knot" more fun than our regular old kind.) (HA! Pun intended, obviously, or I would have spelled it right.)
Make peace with my sewing machine, which hates me.
Clean more regularly, maybe on Friday mornings, so that I'll quit freaking out about what a mess my house is. (Poor Abe. Someone give him a cookie.)
Make jam out of the blueberries in my freezer. Mmmm. To do this, I will first need to actually win an ebay auction for a pressure cooker. Please pray for me.
Five is good for now. Wish me luck!