Friday, December 31, 2010

30 Days of Me: Day 30

It is day thirty of my 30 Days of Me challenge. Today's task on my list is: "in this past month, what have you learned".

In the last 30 days I learned that there is really no reason for not posting a blog at least a few times a week. I had a plan, made the time, and followed through. There were a few days in the beginning where I kept forgetting but then I put up a post-it note reminder on my laptop.

Having a specific goal in mind definitely made it easier. I really like the concept of the 30 day challenge and will have to make up one for myself for the next 30 days for this blog. I think I might do a 30 day picture challenge. Hmm...

But in the meantime I'm going to take a week off this blog to recuperate from holidays, in-law visit, and finish off the updates on the Book-in-a-week site.

I hope you ring in the New Year with a bang and a sparkle and lots of love!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

30 Days of Me: Day 29

It is day twenty-nine of my 30 Days of Me challenge. Today's task on my list is: "our favorite song".

I don't have a favorite song but if I had to listen to one song every day for the rest of my life then it would probably be... I don't know what to say so I'll simply say "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious".

Yes, I'm talking about the song from Mary Poppins. That movie has been on my mind a lot lately for some reason. It's a fun song that is upbeat and I can't imagine it ever bringing me down. Here are the lyrics in case you want to sing it to yourself tonight while you're lying in bed trying to fall asleep:
Um diddle diddle diddle um diddle ay
Um diddle diddle diddle um diddle ay
Even though the sound of it
Is something quite atrocious
If you say it loud enough
You'll always sound precocious

Um diddle diddle diddle um diddle ay
Um diddle diddle diddle um diddle ay

Because I was afraid to speak
When I was just a lad
Me father gave me nose a tweak
And told me I was bad
But then one day I learned a word
That saved me aching nose

The biggest word you've ever heard
And this is how it goes:

Oh, supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!
Even though the sound of it
Is something quite atrocious
If you say it loud enough
You'll always sound precocious

Um diddle diddle diddle um diddle ay
Um diddle diddle diddle um diddle ay

He traveled all around the world
And everywhere he went
He'd use tis word and all would say:
"There goes a clever gent"

When dukes refused to pass the time of day with me
I'd say me special word
And then they'd offer a cup of tea!

Oh, supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!
Even though the sound of it
Is something quite atrocious
If you say it loud enough
You'll always sound precocious

Um diddle diddle diddle um diddle ay
Um diddle diddle diddle um diddle ay

You know, you can say it backwards
Which is dociousaliexpilisticfragicalirupus,
But that's going a bit to far,
Don't you think?


So when the cat has got your tongue
There's no need for dismay

Here, here!
Just summon up this word
And then you've got a lot to say
But better use it carefully
Or it may change your life

Um, for example?


One night I said it to me girl
And now me girl's my wife!
Oh, and a lovely thing she is to!

She's supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

30 Days of Me: Day 28

It is day twenty-eight of my 30 Days of Me challenge. Today's task on my list is: "a picture of you last year and now, how have you changed since then?"

The first photo was taken last December and depicts my attempt at creating a smokey eye, yet again, and failing. But it is definitely better than the raccoon eyes I have created in the past. I honestly don't know why I keep trying.

The second photo was taken via Facebook webcam last month and is currently my favorite picture of myself that I keep using to update my social networks. I only wish it was a better quality and less grainy.

How have I changed since the first photo was taken last year? Well, my hair is probably five inches longer and I know it is definitely blonder. My weight hasn't gone up so that is a good thing. I'd like to say I'm more relaxed but I'm still working on that. I'd like to say I'm less whiny but I'm still working on that. I'd like to say I'm productive but I'm still working on that too. So basically, other than the physical and being one year older, I haven't changed a hell of a lot. I guess that is something to work on for 2011.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

30 Days of Me: Day 27

It is day twenty-seven of my 30 Days of Me challenge. Today's task on my list is: "why are you doing this 30 day challenge".

I like challenges, especially short ones. And for some reason 30 day challenges are fun for me. I've been working on a few the last few weeks. There's the hair challenge which I haven't completed yet because it requires me to actually do my hair and put make-up on and take photos (or bug Jeff to take photos) and there is the Zendalas challenge which has been an enjoyable mindless creative outlet that I seem to be continuing on past the original 30 day challenge and finally there is the 30 dresses in 30 days blogging challenging over at the Curvy Shopper I started not long ago. But the main reason I wanted to do this particular challenge was to get me visiting my personal blog on a regular basis with the hope of keeping it up after it is over (maybe with another 30 day challenge).

Sunday, December 26, 2010

30 Days of Me: Day 26

It is day twenty-six of my 30 Days of Me challenge. Today's task on my list is: "what you think about your friends".

I don't want to center anyone out specifically but I like to think of my friends as supportive and encouraging people who love to live life, even if it is overwhelmingly busy at times.

True friends never stop being your friends. When life gets hectic and you don't hear from them for days on end or some times weeks it doesn't mean the friendship is over. Friendship almost always picks up where it left off at least that is how I see true friendship.

I have friends that I have grown up (or old) with and ones that I have never met (online). They are all important to me in their special way and I appreciate and love what they bring into my life.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

It's late on Christmas Eve or early on Christmas morning depending on how you want to look at it. I still have stocking stuffers to wrap so I'm considering it Christmas Eve.

Jeff and I had our Christmas supper tonight (ham) and will have leftovers on Christmas Day after we get back from the theatre. Every year we take in a movie on Christmas Day. It's Jeff's turn to pick and he's limited it down to Tron Legacy or the latest Narnia.

However you spend your day I hope it is lovely.

30 Days of Me: Day 25

It is day twenty-five of my 30 Days of Me challenge. Today's task on my list is: "what I would find in your bag".

I used to be one of those people who carry everything but for the last five years or so I've whittled it down to what I consider the necessities... at least for me.
  • wallet
  • car keys
  • house keys
  • mini mirror
  • emergency lipstick
  • folded up cloth bags from Baggu (shopping bags)
  • tape measure
  • CAA card
  • mini flashlight
  • floss
  • mini eye drops container
  • MOO cards for BIW and PlusShe
What's in your bag?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

30 Days of Me: Day 24

It is day twenty-four of my 30 Days of Me challenge. Today's task on my list is: "a letter to your parents."

You have no idea how incredibly hard it is to write a letter to my parents. A/ They have been separated since my birth. B/ I've never met my father and have already written him "the letter" with negative results. C/ I'm pretty much estranged from my mother -- she gets a Christmas gift every year and I respond to her letters on the few occasions she sends them but contact is pretty low.

I remember when I was really little that I was close with my mother, like all kids are I guess. But as I grew into my teens I began to see her for what she was and while I can accept who she is I refuse to put myself into situations where I am the one who gets hurt. I think I deserve better than that no matter how old she is getting. In my opinion, getting old is not a get out of jail free card, it doesn't erase the history that preceded it.

So, as you may have guessed there will be no "Dear" parent letter today. I hope you have better luck.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

30 Days of Me: Day 23

It is day twenty-three of my 30 Days of Me challenge. Today's task on my list is: "something you crave a lot".

When I think of cravings I immediately think of food. The first food craving that comes to mind is salt usually in the form of potato chips. I went about six years without having a potato chip and about the time I started having my seizures I couldn't get enough of them buggers. I've never been an "additional salt" kind of person. I add it to recipes as they are written less a quarter or half but I generally don't add it to food except my other craving food -- french fries. If french fries don't have salt they suck. I don't want ketchup or vinegar (although a good malt vinegar is a nice change) or mayo on my fries, just the salt.

The other thing I think of when I think of when it comes to food cravings is "comfort". When I think of comfort food my first thought is black bean pumpkin soup -- for the last few year it has been one of my favorite comfort foods. The warmth, the heat, the smell, the color. It's a complete package of comfort. It freezes into individual servings beautifully, too.

So... what's your craving?

Monday, December 20, 2010

30 Days of Me: Day 22

It is day twenty-two of my 30 Days of Me challenge. Today's task on my list is: "what makes you different from everyone else."

What makes me different from everyone else? This is an interesting question. In essence, I believe there is absolutely nothing. I'm a tall fat blonde woman who's married with no kids. I want to be treated with love, respect, and kindness. I want to be successful, loving, and kind in return. While I would like to think I'm different. I know I am not.

I believe that we are all basically the same with mirror physical traits and desires. It's easy to focus in on physical characteristics and habits but with a world with over eight billion people I really don't believe anyone of us is all that unique. Sure some of us are more beautiful, smarter, successful, dangerous, etc but to look at them, really look at them, they are just like everyone else... or at the very least like someone else.

With so many similarities you would think we would be nicer to one another. Since we are all practically family.

30 Days of Me: Day 21

It is day twenty-one of my 30 Days of Me challenge. Today's task on my list is: "picture of something that makes you happy".

I took this picture on my iPod today. It's a picture of Suzie and JD getting along. They seldom come near one another unless it is to hiss or slap one another. This is the closest they have ever been. Suzie is on the blue sweater that she has slept on for the last ten years. For the last year JD had kind of taken it over. For some reason today Suzie decided she was sleeping on it and she wasn't budging or acknowledging JD. He was kind of put out by her being there but didn't do anything. He just hopped up and plopped down next to her and went to sleep. This makes me very happy.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

30 Days of Me: Day Twenty

It is day twenty of my 30 Days of Me challenge. Today's task on my list is: "someone you see yourself marrying/being with in the future".

Since I'm already married it kind of seems like a moot point. I can't imagine myself with anyone else. Jeff and I started dating in 1988. After celebrating twenty-two years this October I realized we've been together for more than half my life. When it comes to getting old together I often think I'm the one that should go first because the loss of him would be so devastating on too many levels. He's the person I share everything with and I can't imagine my life without him. Even writing this short thought has made my eyes well up. So that's enough about that.

This is a photo of Jeff and I from 1991 (because I was too lazy to go get one from upstairs for one from 1988, and it's the middle of the night). I can't believe I wore white pantyhose.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

30 Days of Me: Day Nineteen

It is day nineteen of my 30 Days of Me challenge. Today's task on my list is: "nicknames you have; why do you have them."

When I was in grade school I had a lot of nicknames.
  • My Aunt Ida used to call me "Charlie Brown". I have no idea why.
  • My "adoptive" brother used to call me "Cabbage Head". Supposedly I used to visit his mother's garden and go straight to the cabbage patch.
  • There was a boy named Alan who used to call me "Turkey Tits". He was an ass.
  • And of course there was "Four Eyes" which every kid with glasses surely had to put up with.
In adulthood my nicknames have been fewer -- thankfully.
  • My most common nickname is "Moe". It started in high school with my girlfriends. "Moe" if you don't know is just an abbreviated nickname for Maureen. Some people use "Mo" but mine has always had an "e" on the end. It just makes sense to me because there are two e's in Maureen (Yes, I know there is no "o".) Moe has pretty much become my personae for all my online dealings. Mostly because it's just easier for me to type.
  • My other nickname is "Moey" which is what Jeff calls me. His mother started calling me that the last few years and it annoys the hell out of me. I've asked her a few times to not do it. I like it when Jeff calls me Moey but not anyone else.

Friday, December 17, 2010

30 Days of Me: Day Eighteen

It is day eighteen of my 30 Days of Me challenge. Today's task on my list is: "plans/dreams/goals you have".

I'm really not a long term planning type of person. Beyond making sure the mortgage gets paid off in the next four years I try not to think too long term.

Most of my short term goals revolve around time management and productivity. I want more of both!

As for dreams, most of my dreams have to do with renovations for the house and yard. They definitely include someone (not Jeff, he deserves down time too) else doing them and having them all done with a week, two at the most. That is totally impossible but that is what dreams are for.

I would also like to do some more RV traveling in a less rushed atmosphere. The three weeks we did a few years ago was just too short. And wi-fi for internet would be a must. I want to be able to work from the RV anywhere. I'd love to drive to Alaska, Vermont, West Virginia, Maine and of course go through Canada again.

My few plans/dreams/goals in a nut-shell.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

30 Days of Me: Day Seventeen

It is day seventeen of my 30 Days of Me challenge. Today's task on my list is: "someone you would want to switch lives with for one day and why."

There are so many people I could think of that I would want to switch lives with for one day. One day is excellent because you get a glimpse of the fun stuff you expect but don't get completely ruined by whatever bad stuff we can't possibly know about.

The first person who comes to mind is Steven Spielberg. I have always had an addiction for movies of all kind. Even B (and C) movies. But Spielberg has produced many of the all-time best films in the world of which I have numerous favorites. I would love to have that cinematic genius for one day to see through his eyes as he creates a moving masterpiece.

My Top Fave Steven Spielberg (directed) Movies
  1. Jaws*
  2. Close Encounters of the Third Kind
  3. Raiders of the Lost Ark* (and sequels)
  4. E.T.*
  5. The Color Purple
  6. Empire of the Sun
  7. Jurassic Park*
  8. Amistad
  9. Saving Private Ryan
  10. Catch Me If You Can
  11. War of the Worlds
  12. Munich*
The ones with a * are extra special and I highly recommend if you haven't seen them.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

30 Days of Me: Day Sixteen

It is day sixteen of my 30 Days of Me challenge. Today's task on my list is: "another picture of yourself."

I took this picture on Facebook to make my profile look festive for the remaining weeks leading up to Christmas. I took a second one for my Twitter profile so they wouldn't look exactly alike.

Monday, December 13, 2010

30 Days of Me: Day Fifteen

It is day fifteen of my 30 Days of Me challenge. Today's task on my list is: "put your iPod on shuffle: First 10 songs that play".

Thanks to today's task I actually learned how to put my iPod on shuffle. I've had it for almost two weeks and I haven't even played music on it yet. My ten songs are (I warn you now I have a lot of old stuff):
  1. Voulez Vous (Abba)
  2. Swing (Harry Connick Jr.)
  3. One More Night (Phil Collins)
  4. Can't Fight the Moonlight (LeeAnn Rimes)
  5. Rene and Georgette (Jenny Gear)
  6. Cinnamon (Tommy Roe)
  7. Money, Money, Money (Abba)
  8. California Dreamin' (The Mamas and the Papas)
  9. Pilgrim (Enya)
  10. The Sound of Silence (Simon & Garfunkel)
Apparently, I have so much Abba on my iPod that the probability of more than one song appearing is pretty high! I also realized that these musical choices make me appear much older than I actually am. My CD collection is more varied than my iPod collection but I have always been interested in music older than my generation. I blame it on the movies I watched growing up.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

30 Days of Me: Day Fourteen

It is day fourteen of my 30 Days of Me challenge. Today's task on my list is: "a picture of you and your family".

The only time we take a picture of all of us is at Christmas. We haven't tried yet this year. It's usually an event full of laughter, flying fur, and numerous retakes. In an effort to delay the inevitable here is my make-shift family photo done the easy way (I only decided at the last minute to add the names/salutation/graphic to use with our Christmas letter).

The photo of Jeff is a bit blurry because I cropped his head out of the full shot. I took this picture with my iPod when he was out putting up lights. It's currently my iPod wallpaper so as you might have guessed I really like it.

30 Days of Me: Day Thirteen

It is day thirteen of my 30 Days of Me challenge. Today's task on my list is: "a letter to someone who has hurt you recently."

Well, there's no one who has hurt me recently (fingers crossed) that I wish to write an open blog letter too so here is my Christmas letter which I still working on (it's been passed to Jeff for his additions):

Season's Greetings Everyone!

We hope this letter finds you all happy and healthy. It's hard to believe we are almost to the end of 2010. Where did the year go? Well, we'll tell you where some of ours went:

In January Jeff finished up the semester and started teaching a new class about the environment. Maureen started a short-lived writing assignment with the Budget Fashionista. No worries, it was a good experience and she's happier working for herself anyway.

In February Jeff's back gave out unexpectedly and took a few weeks to get to normal. It's been a bit twitchy all year but seems to be holding up. The first real snow fall will be the test.

In March our new addition (JD, the feral kitten that moved in Sept 2009) had his first car ride; a toodle around town. He peed all over his kennel and his lovely fur coat and mewed the whole time -- fun had by all! Jeff had a better car ride with Shelby when he took her on a Duke camping trip for a weekend. This is one of Shelby's favourite things -- lots of kids to dote on her, fresh air and sleeping with dad.

In April we had a few minor renovations when Jeff added French doors to the kitchen entries (he's so handy). With the extra mouth to feed, feeding times were becoming challenging with all the food theft going on (JD likes both Suzie's and Shelby's food, and Shelby likes Suzie's and JD's food). Now we can close the doors and feed JD in the kitchen while Shelby and Suzie can relax eating in the living room.

In May Jeff signed up to help organize Nicholson's 50th Reunion. He put a lot of work into developing a website, maintaining a Facebook page and arranging for memorabilia.

In June our furnace fan died just in time for the hot weather. We were without air conditioning for one week because they were so busy.

In July Jeff decided all on his own without any help from Maureen that he wanted to remove the shower tiles from our main bathroom. We had talked about it for many years because many were looking cracked and the grout was diminishing. Once he started ripping out the tile he noticed the drywall underneath was spongy, so he ripped that out too, then he noticed the tub was rusted so with much effort and an additional hole in the wall the tub was taken out. So that was a planned weekend job quickly turned into a three week nightmare. The whole house was glad when it was over. It was a very hot and humid month, thank goodness for air conditioning. JD turned one this month. After looking through many photos and talking to a few experts we decided that JD was a least half Maine Coon (a very large breed of cat). He currently weighs 13 pounds. Maine Coons don't stop growing until their fourth year. In which case it's expected he'll weigh almost 20lbs.

In August Shelby turned ten. Hard to believe really, it seems like yesterday she was driving Maureen nuts. Oh yeah, she was. Some things never change. August was a special month because Jeff's parents Mavis and Gene came for their first visit since Gene's hospitalization last year. They terrorized us for a whole week -- the critters loved being spoiled.

In September Suzie turned fifteen which is also how long we've been living in Belleville.

October was a difficult month as we found some more strange lumps on Shelby and to be safe she had surgery to remove them. Luckily they turned out not to be cancerous but she suffered numerous skin infections in the incisions and ended up having three sessions of antibiotics. We got around to getting our passports this month. We have no travel plans but at least we have them should we win a trip to Hawaii. It could happen.

In November JD had his official one year check up and received a clean bill of health and a shot in the keister for good behaviour. Yes he peed in the kennel again. Jeff and Maureen are hoping he will grow out of it by the two year mark.

And here it is December again and we are writing all of you. Mavis and Gene are making the journey to visit us on the 27th for a week. All the crew is excited to have the company and to celebrate the New Year with them.

Thanks for making it through another Christmas letter / short-cut year in review which mostly centers on animals and what kind of mischief we get into ripping the house apart (that was Jeff).

Have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Jeff, Maureen, Suzie, Shelby, and JD too.

Friday, December 10, 2010

30 Days of Me: Day Twelve

It is day twelve of my 30 Days of Me challenge. Today's task on my list is: "how you found out about Blogger and why you made one".

I've had this blog for five years. At the time Blogger was the premium option for creating a blog. It offered a variety of themes and was easy to use almost immediately. I was a regular visitor of a few blogs but didn't really get into the idea until a realized there were a number of Book-in-a-Week writers/members who were making use of it.

Even though all my other blogs have migrated to the WordPress format I continue to keep this Blogger blog so I can keep in touch with the technology as they update it and I guess for sentimental reasons -- it's important to remember where you started even with blogging.

What do you use for blogging? Blogger or Wordpress or something else?

Thursday, December 09, 2010

30 Days of Me: Day Eleven

It is day eleven of my 30 Days of Me challenge. Today's task on my list is: "another picture of you and your friends".

Here is a picture of me and a bunch of my twitter friends. Why did I choose my twitter friends? Other than Jeff they are the people I spend most of the time with. They are a hoot (bet you can't find my picture!):

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

30 Days of Me: Day Ten

It is day ten of my 30 Days of Me challenge. Today's task on my list is: "songs you listen to when you are Happy, Sad, Bored, Hyped, Mad."

When I was growing up (I'm growed up, don't you know) I listened to a lot of music whenever I could. At one point I was so proudly on the hub of what was hot, unique, and introspective. I was very eclectic when everyone else was either into pop or heavy metal. I guess I still am today but I am stuck in the past when it comes to music, buying maybe two or three new CDs a year.

I don't listen to music according to my moods really (not like I used to), but my mood is often affected by music and I try to avoid sad provoking music as much as possible unless I'm in the proper frame of mind.

Happy -- silly songs tend to make me happy Barbie Girl, I Come from a Land Down Under, Sound of Music, Wizard of Oz, and Footloose.

Sad -- for some reason, Air Supply makes me sad even though I think Phil Collins is a music making god. Johnny Cash, Jewel, Norah Jones, Nina Simone, and Boys on the Side.

Hyped -- pretty much anything that Ricky Martin would shake his hips to. Blondie, Madonna, and Will Smith.

Mad -- Avril or Alanis Morissette; enough said.

My all time favorite artist this year is Adele "Make You Feel My Love". Here's the video for it:

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

30 Days of Me: Day Nine

It is day nine of my 30 Days of Me challenge. Today's task on my list is: "something you’re proud of in the past few days".

The first thing that came to mind is how well I'm doing on my iPod playing Angry Birds Seasons. I think that sentence kind of says a lot about me. Not all good but kind of funny.

Jeff bought me an iPod for my birthday on Saturday. It arrived on Friday (yes, it was a surprise) and when I told my twitter friends about it the first message I got back was from Roxie/Maria: "you must download the Angry Birds Game." After getting my iTunes up to date and syncing my tunes I was ready to surf "apps" and the first thing that showed up was Angry Birds Seasons. 99 cents later and it was mine. And a new addiction was born.

One of my first action after downloading the game was to watch this youtube video which gives the back story as to why the birds in the game are so angry at the green pigs:

When the game is first opened up it kind of looks like those monthly calendars that you open up and there's a little treat inside (picture, chocolate); in this case it's a new game to work through where the birds sling shot through the air to destroy the green pigs and their abode for points. Different birds have different tricks they can do (i.e. one is an egg dive bomber). Each game seems to have three levels (based on number of points attained) that you can work through until you get three stars.

The first day I had no clue what I was doing and was sling shotting all willy nilly. Now that I'm on to day seven I feel like I've attained some skill and am getting more precise with my shots. I'm also reaching final victory quicker by destroying all pigs which can range from three to seven. In some cases with a few birds left over.

There you have it -- something I'm proud of in the last few days. If you have a phone where you can download apps I have to say "you must download the Angry Birds Game" too.

Monday, December 06, 2010

30 Days of Me: Day Eight

It is day eight of my 30 Days of Me challenge. Today's task on my list is: "short term goals for this month and why".

All of my short term goals are work related. Why do I want to get them done? Because it's efficient, because they need to be done, because some of them I've been procrastinating on and it will feel good not to have them hanging over my head. I'll limit my sharing to five.
  • Finish changing over book-in-a-week site so all pages are nice and pretty and the background has less noise. I feel pretty good about the look and feel and have had good feedback from members. Hopefully this will be the last month I will be working on site changes.
  • Finish the ebook I've been working on for the Large and Lovely site. I've had formatting and anxiety issues with this project but things are zooming along. I look forward to finishing it and sharing it with the BellaOnline readers.
  • Complete this 30 days challenge with no more "oops I forgot". I fell off the wagon on Friday as I was gearing up for my birthday weekend and computerless Saturday.
  • Publish at least three of the lenses that have been patiently waiting in the cue for the last year. I have fifteen works-in-progress at the moment. I usually have about 10 at any given time. Some have been in there longer than others. I would really like to clear 3 of the older ones out.
  • Drink more water (you may not think this work related but when I drink more water I work better).
What are your short term goals for this month?

Sunday, December 05, 2010

30 Days of Me: Day Seven

It is day seven of my 30 Days of Me challenge. Today's task on my list is: "a picture of someone/something that has the biggest impact on you".

This is a panorama picture (using the 360 app on my new birthday iPod) of my creativity board which sits on a base above my desk. It really hasn't changed much over the years -- I add the occasional slip of paper, notecard etc.

I look at it every day while I'm sitting here, numerous times actually, waiting for the computer to boot, or restart, unfreeze, or if I'm just looking for a mental prompt. Every time I read a quote or note I've posted it is like I'm reading it with fresh eyes. I never know what I'll learn from that particular moment or what it will spur on. One of my favorite recent additions are the glass push pins with the words: wish, inspire, cherish, joy, and laugh (Etsy). They are great reminders.

I highly recommend making your own creativity board whether it is above your desk, or above your microwave, or just a cut out piece of cardboard stuck on your book shelf.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

30 Days of Me: Day Six

It is day six of my 30 Days of Me challenge. Today's task on my list is: "favorite super hero and why".

I think my favorite super hero has always been Wonder Woman. She was the first super feminine super hero I came across in my childhood through television (Lynda Carter) and comic books.

While the tv series could be a little campy at times I still enjoyed the loving and strong character; yes, I also thought she was incredibly beautiful. In the comics, Wonder Woman went beyond what television could do at the time for the budgets they had. She expanded my imagination and provided a sense of feminine strength I didn't feel I had in my life.

At 40 (today), I still love her. (Please Joss Whedon, hurry up and make a Wonder Woman movie before I'm 50!)

Friday, December 03, 2010

30 Days of Me: Day Five

It is day five of my 30 Days of Me challenge. Today's task on my list is: "A picture of somewhere you’ve been to."

This is a picture of Mount McKay. You can see it almost from any lookout in Thunder Bay, Ontario. I grew up in Fort William end of town looking at this sill every day. To the average person it probably isn't much but I have always thought it was beautiful during every season. I didn't get the opportunity to go up until my late teens when I went with a good friend to a Pow Wow put on by the Ojibway First Nation. It was an incredible experience sitting on the ground watching women and children and men in native ceremonial garb dance around while drums vibrated through the earth. It has always been one of my fondest experiences.

When Jeff and I were dating he took me up to a manufactured lookout that gives a splendid view of Thunder Bay in the summer. Another fond early date had us going up there in the winter, or at least trying, and getting the Bel-Air (big car Jeff was driving at the time) stuck in the snow. His dog Sandy was with us and not particularly co-operative. It was the first time I heard Jeff swear.

Every time we back to visit I'm always excited to see it. It like an old friend standing up to welcome me home.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

30 Days of Me: Day Four

It is day four of my 30 Days of Me challenge. Today's task: "A habit that you wish you didn’t have."

This is easy and it is a little embarrassing. But luckily I already got it over with and mentioned it on day one:
"For the last two years I've had this incredibly weird habit of picking (picking, not biting) at my fingernails. The nails are so short my fingertips actually hurt. I used to have lovely nails. Not super long but long enough to be considered feminine and fun to paint. I'm not sure why I developed this habit."
Every day for months I make a goal to grow my nails. Some days I will even go so far as file them smooth and apply a conditioner only to find that by evening I'm picking at them again. It is an insane habit.

But I think I've found a reason and a solution. Yesterday while I was driving home with Jeff I realized why I developed what is essentially a boredom habit. For a good twenty or so years of my life whenever I watched TV or went on long drives I also knitted or crocheted something at the same time; usually something easy like an afghan, keeping my hands too busy to be picking anything let alone my fingernails. Essentially my hands were always kept busy.

It seemed like the busier I got on the computer the less time I put in to crafts like knitting and crocheting. The whole nail picking of the last few years must have developed out of my lack of keeping my hands busy with thread art.

My solution? To take up knitting/crocheting again. Now to find a project pronto.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

30 Days of Me: Day Three

It is day three of my 30 Days of Me challenge. Today's task: "A picture of you and your friends."

My closest friend is Jeff and it has been that way since 1988. This is a somewhat recent picture of us (within the last two years). We had gone for a winter hike and there was a flash snowstorm. It was a great day and I think it shows:

It's not the greatest picture of me but I remember having so much fun that day and laughing an awful lot. It's hard to believe I don't wear glasses anymore -- and so much more convenient. Glasses are not conducive to hiking in the snow. I think we'll have to make a point of going back again this winter.

Three days down and twenty-seven to go.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

30 Days of Me: Day Two

It is day two of my 30 Days of Me challenge. Today's task: "The meaning behind your blog name."

I started BigGirlBlue on March 05, 2005. It's hard to believe it has been five years. Over that time this blog has taken many twists and turns but has never really settled on a style or focus. I don't remember exactly why I decided on the title but my about section pretty much explains what it means with the tag line: "I'm big, I'm a girl and I like blue." So... BigGirlBlue. It's short and sweet and easy to remember. And kind of cool sounding if I do say so myself.

Over the last five years BigGirlBlue has become part of my online personae pretty much every where that I am required to make an account: facebook, myspace, linked, twitter, squidoo, youtube etc. If you do a search for biggirlblue all my social networks are guaranteed to come up including this blog.

I guess that pretty much sums up the name of my blog and my task for day two.

Monday, November 29, 2010

30 Days of Me: Day One

It is day one of my 30 Days of Me challenge. The first task on my list is: "a recent picture of you and 15 interesting facts about yourself."

The Picture

The most recent picture of me that actually shows my face is this head shot I took with my web cam to replace my avatar photo in my Facebook profile. It was taken a few weeks ago shortly after having my hair lightened. This is one of my favorite photos of me.

15 Facts About Me

  1. I taught myself to juggle. Most people take about three hours to learn, it took me three months.

  2. When I was younger I used to be obsessed with the moon. I still love the moon today and I even have a moon program on my computer toolbar that tells me what phase the moon.

  3. I'm a night owl. I have always been a night owl. In fact as I type this it is 5 a.m. and I haven't gone to bed yet.

  4. I have a scar on my forehead from falling over the back of a chair and hitting my head on my aunt's fireplace. I was playing with a kitten. Luckily, I didn't land on the kitten. I probably should have had stitches as it looks like it might have gaped.

  5. My best friend when I was eight was a boy named Wayne. We used to sit on his grandmother's iron fence and yell at vehicles as they went by, "Peace, brother!"

  6. I've given two bloody noses to other women. Both times they deserved it but I still felt guilty about it afterward.

  7. I have a half sister I never met who's name rhymes with "folly".

  8. I ran away from home when I was ten. It was down a back alley, about a block away and I was gone for a whole three hours. No one noticed.

  9. I am smarter than most people think I am but not as smart as I would like to be.

  10. I'm currently addicted to doodling. Seriously. If I wasn't doing this blog post I'd be doodling.

  11. The big toe on my left foot is usually blue. I've had it since I was sixteen. There's a medical term for it but I never remember it. It has like twenty letters and I couldn't pronounce it for a million dollars.

  12. If I could be any animal it would probably be an elephant, as long as it was on a reserve (I wouldn't want to have to live with the fear of poaching). Why? Because elephants are humongous, most people are afraid of them charging, children like to ride around on them, they live a really long time, and they have a beautiful trunk.

  13. For the last two years I've had this incredibly weird habit of picking (picking, not biting) at my fingernails. The nails are so short my fingertips actually hurt. I used to have lovely nails. Not super long but long enough to be considered feminine and fun to paint. I'm not sure why I developed this habit.

  14. If money and space were not an option I would have more animals. More dogs, more cats, horses, probably a cow, some sheep and geese. Maybe a donkey too. And a few turtles. And an outdoor pond with fish.

  15. I sigh a lot. I really mean a lot. I sigh so much that the dog mimics me. There's been times where I've sighed at least four times in 40s. My sighing has often been confused for lack of patience. While I'll admit that could happen, in most cases it has to do with getting my body to relax. I tend to hold myself in a tensed state which is tiring. When I sigh, I relax... briefly. I keep sighing because I'm continually tensed. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
There you have it. One photo and fifteen facts. Day one is over and I'm going to bed.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

30 Days of Me

While reading the blog Simplest Form of an Elle I was inspired by her Thirty Days of Me Challenge to do one of my own on the BigGirlBlue blog. I invite you to do it too (let me know)!

The just of this challenge is to create 30 posts in 30 days about moi (me). And since December 1st is around the corner that seems like a good day to start except it is on a Wednesday which seems like a weird day to start something new so I'll start on Monday the 29th. I'm sure you see my logic.

There is a simple format of prompts to make the whole process easier. And here they are as follows:

Day 01- A recent picture of you and 15 interesting facts about yourself.
Day 02- The meaning behind your blog name.
Day 03- A picture of you and your friends.
Day 04- A habit that you wish you didn’t have.
Day 05- A picture of somewhere you’ve been to.
Day 06- Favorite super hero and why.
Day 07- A picture of someone/something that has the biggest impact on you.
Day 08- Short term goals for this month and why.
Day 09- Something you’re proud of in the past few days.
Day 10- Songs you listen to when you are Happy, Sad, Bored, Hyped, Mad.
Day 11- Another picture of you and your friends.
Day 12- How you found out about Blogger and why you made one.
Day 13- A letter to someone who has hurt you recently.
Day 14- A picture of you and your family.
Day 15- Put your iPod on shuffle: First 10 songs that play.
Day 16- Another picture of yourself.
Day 17- Someone you would want to switch lives with for one day and why.
Day 18- Plans/dreams/goals you have.
Day 19- Nicknames you have; why do you have them.
Day 20- Someone you see yourself marrying/being with in the future.
Day 21- A picture of something that makes you happy.
Day 22- What makes you different from everyone else.
Day 23- Something you crave a lot.
Day 24- A letter to your parents.
Day 25- What I would find in your bag.
Day 26- What you think about your friends.
Day 27- Why are you doing this 30 day challenge.
Day 28- A picture of you last year and now, how have you changed since then?
Day 29- Your favorite song.
Day 30- In this past month, what have you learned.

Wish me luck!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

A Clean Sink

A couple years, actually more than a couple years really, I came across a website called The Flylady. I like to call her a "organized cleaning machine". In reality she's more gentle than that. At the time I started her amazing program and recommended to everyone I knew (even when I wasn't using it, I recommended it). Then some where along the way I fell off the wagon.

I wouldn't call myself a slob per se but there are certain areas of my home that get more attention than others and it has kind of been driving me crazy lately. So I decided to visit The Flylady website, print off all her instructions and give it another go. Except this time I'm using my schedule and not hers. She's more of a catalyst for me this time.

The first and most necessary order of business was cleaning the kitchen sink. Not the usual fly by night cleaning most of us would do but a deep cleaning that leaves the sink sparkling. It does, look:

The whole process takes a few hours to complete. You're not standing at the sink the whole time but from start to the "oooo, ahhh" takes a few hours. And it's totally worth it. Every sink can benefit from this kind of cleaning.

For just over a month now I've been able to keep this up both in the kitchen and in the bathroom. I've made it a nightly routine. Every night the counters and sink get a vinegar and water spritz (50/50) and wipe down. I have to say it is a strangely wonderful feeling to wake up to a clean sink every morning. Jeff has even said so with no prompting on more than one occasion.

On the downside it is very hard not to get neurotic about it. On more than one occasion I've chastised Jeff for using the sink after I had wiped it dry during the day -- how dare he! But I've learned to get over it. Sort of.

Another thing The Flylady has encouraged to me do is to schedule cleaning activities. Instead of wondering when the last time something was cleaned or having to do a mass cleaning all at once. I'll clean something, then schedule the next cleaning in my computer reminders. Not only can I forget about it, I get a gentle nudge of my own choosing to clean something. This breaks things up through out the month so I don't feel like I'm always cleaning. An example would be Thursday, my reminder popped up to tell me to wash the shower curtain and wax the kitchen and bathroom floor. Done, done, done, and forgotten until the next reminder pops up.

When I feel I have settled into my new scheduling and habits I'll consider adding another one of her baby "to-do's" but for the meantime, I'm happy with what I'm doing and my incredibly clean sink.

Topic Links
* The Flylady
* Directions for cleaning your sink

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Day Trip to Reptile Zoo

Summer feels like it is quickly drawing to a close and it feels like Jeff and I are scrambling to spend some quality time together since the bathroom reno threw the beginning off quite a bit. One of the things we wanted to do this summer was re-visit the Indian River Reptile Zoo.

We had visited the Indian River Reptile Zoo a few years after it opened and have read there were numerous additions since then. The reptile zoo is east of Peterborough on highway #7. They have over 200 reptiles on display including snakes, turtles, lizards, one alligator, and one crocodile. They are Canada's only accredited reptile zoo and also house Canada's largest exhibit of rattlesnakes.

One of the first things we saw was their miniature version of Stonehenge, visible from the parking lot. You could walk up to them and sit on some of rocks but I chose the from the parking lot perspective. It's pretty (and sparkly) but I came for reptiles!

Jeff paid our entry fee ($10 each for adults ) while I looked around the gift shop which was full of stuffed animals, candles, and other items the zoo uses for fund raising. We learned from the cashier that there was going to be a presentation at the new barn in fifteen minutes so after a quick potty break we headed out the back and over to the barn.

Just outside the barn were some foot high enclosures where we got a good look at the African Spurred Tortoise... or the Red Footed Tortoise. We couldn't really tell them apart. This little guy was sharing the enclosure with at least ten other ones all roughly the size of the palm of my hand. It was really cool to be able to hover over them.

The presentation was orated by Lacey who has been with the reptile zoo for three and half years. She provided an introduction to reptiles with the help of Sheila the Lizard, Speedy the Turtle, and Friendly the Python.

Yep! I petted friendly. And Jeff took this flattering photo of me doing:

Here's a video blurb of Lacey introducing us to friendly:

After the presentation we left the barn and visited a few of the tortoises who live in an outside pen. They were surprisingly speedy! As you can see from this video:

They have beautiful shells:

Here's a close-up of the Alligator in his indoor habitat. You could never get this close to one in the wild. Even though there was glass between us I still had a heebie jeebie racing around my back. After I took this picture he winked at me. Ok, he didn't wink, he closed one eye. I went around to the other side and his other eye was open. I purposefully didn't use flash but I think he might have thought one was coming.

The crocodile was either in or he was out and both times he wasn't up for having his picture taken but he does have an awesome backside. The tip of his nose is out of the water toward the outdoor exit. We couldn't decide if he was catching some of the breeze or not.

On the way out we noticed one of the staff crawling in the back window to clean the alligator's pen (we had wondered earlier why there was no water). What a creepy job that would be. You'll notice that he keeps the garbage can between him and the alligator. We were told that this alligator is pretty sulky when people are in his enclosure and there's never been a problem. He tends to move to the opposite end. The crocodile is a little more aggressive with his space so they always have two people clean -- one always on look out.

Overall, we both had a great time and will definitely go back again in the future. If it was closer (we had to drive 1 1/2 hours to get there) we'd probably go more often and take guests when they came to visit. We have a nephew who is totally in love with reptiles who would love this. We'd like to go back again when it is cooler (and my ankle is better) and walk the nature trail.

Topic Links
* Visit the Reptile Zoo online

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Fat Asses and Skinny Bitches Kind of Day

I was having a great day today. It usually is when I'm having a great day that someone seems to go out of their way to make sure it stops. So you think I wouldn't be surprised but I was.

After physio I had a couple errands, one of them was stopping at the grocery store to pick up bananas, canned tuna, and chicken breasts. I didn't even get a basket. I was walking down the last half of the isle leading up to the checkout when the voices of a few girls suddenly came into my radar.

"Is my ass that fat?" asked one. As I moved into line at the check out they stepped in behind me. Another replied.

"You could wrap me around your ass two or three times and your ass still wouldn't be as fat as hers." With the inflection she used on hers, I knew she was referring to me.

Yes, I have a fat ass. Duh! No rocket scientist needed for that. But there is still no excuse for being so incredibly rude. There are two words to describe what I felt at that moment: dumbfounded and angry.

Immediately following the above statement was a shush followed by giggling and a "I don't care."

Obviously, I felt they were talking about me. And if they weren't it was definitely some fattie in the immediate vicinity. Still rude and still uncalled for.

Now, I know I'm fat. But for another woman to be so incredibly rude really threw me. I wanted to turn around and say something so badly, and as an afterthought I probably should of. But at the time all I could think was if I turn around I will be arrested for battery and embarrass my husband (no he wasn't there but he'd have to come and bail me out).

A minute or so later the one with the mouth went past me to get a box for the groceries they were buying. And I immediately thought, there is a girl who thinks her shit doesn't stink. I bagged up my things and left. As I was pulling out and saw the girl with the mouth full of disrespect, I had my first look at the other two women she was with; another young slim girl and a slightly overweight older woman, probably one of the girl's moms. This seemed to bother me even more.

I've never been a fan of Mo'Nique's stand up comedy (but I love her movies) mainly because of her use of the term "skinny bitches". Something about it has always bothered me because, let's face it, not all skinny women can be clumped into one category like that just like fat women shouldn't be. But for the first time I feel like I truly understand what she means by "skinny bitches" because today I definitely had my first run in with one.

Now to let it go and get on with the rest of my day!

Monday, August 09, 2010

Sticking Out Your Neck

I came across a great quote today:
"Behold the turtle. He makes progress only when he sticks his neck out." ~James Bryant Conant
I'm a totally visual person. I often relate difficult scenarios/decisions to taking a deep breath and stepping off a ledge but I think this one is much better. No?

Sunday, August 01, 2010

OMG! Book Giveaway

My online friend Keris Stainton has her first young adult book in print. Della Says: OMG! was published by Orchard Books in May of this year but because Keris lives in the U.K. the book wasn't immediately available here. Actually, it still isn't available on (boo) unless you own a Kindle and it's sold out at where I bought two copies. One for myself and one for a blog giveaway right here. Yeah!
About the Book: Don't miss this fantastic debut novel - Keris Stainton is a fabulously contemporary, witty and fresh new voice who teen girls will adore. Della's over the moon when she kisses her long-standing crush at a party -- but then she discovers her diary has disappeared...When scans of embarrassing pages are sent to her mobile and appear on Facebook, Della's distraught -- how can she enjoy her first proper romance when someone, somewhere, knows all her deepest, darkest secrets?

About the Author: Keris Stainton is a new, incredibly promising young writer, with a magazine journalist background and with her finger firmly on the pulse of what rocks in a teen girl's world. She co-edits the online reading group Chicklish ("Reader, I snogged him...") -- Keris also has her own books blog ( in addition to her original blog --
Prize Details:
  • One copy of Della Says: OMG!
  • Retail value: $10
How to Enter:

For this giveaway there is the option of one to four entries. To get four entries you must leave a separate comment below for each method following these directions. You must include a contact email. To avoid your email getting spammed use this format: imagery [at] cogeco [dot] ca:
  • Main entry: This one is a must to enter. Leave a comment below telling us if you have ever kept a diary and worried about someone reading it. Easy peasy!
  • Second entry: Leave a comment below after you follow Keris on facebook. Include your facebook address in comment.
  • Third entry: Leave a comment below after you follow Keris on twitter. Include your twitter name in comment.
  • Bonus: Leave a comment below after you follow BigGirlBlue on twitter. Include your twitter name in comment.

One entry per person is allowed -- suspicious entries with the same IP address will be deleted without notice. The lucky winner will be chosen from the comments at random, using, on August 30, 2010 at 3 pm EST. This giveaway is sponsored by BigGirlBlue and I will be mailing the giveaway after the email and mailing address of the winner have been confirmed by myself (so make sure you enter the right email). This giveaway is open to person 18 years and older living in the United States or Canada only. Void where prohibited by law. The winner will have two weeks to claim the prize; after which time it will be rewarded to someone else.

UPDATE: The winner was announced in the comments below. Congratulations to Suzanne Culp-Veldpaus.

Topic Links
* Keris Stainton's official website
* Della Says: OMG! on Kindle

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Summer Irritation Be Gone

Two things give me grief in the summer: sweat/friction between the thighs and sweat under the breasts.

For years thigh rub or what some call chub-rub led me to avoid dresses and skirts like the plague because they were too uncomfortable to wear them. A few years ago I was introduce to thigh protectors called Luvees. They slip on separately for each leg so you don't get the added warm of wearing a full short underneath. They are quiet. And they are quite comfortable. They have opened up a whole new world for maxi dresses. I love maxi dresses!

Sweating under the breast never caused any real skin problems for me but it was uncomfortable to walk around in the summer with a wet bra and I had to wash them often. This year in walked Pambras. It's a bra liner that goes discreetly under the band of the bra with a little dip that comes between the breasts. I LOVE THESE! After a hot day running around doing errands I can come home and yank out the liner and my bra is fresh again without having to change into a new one. I also use them after a shower when I'm cooling off.

If you have your own battles with a sweaty summer I highly recommend trying out these two products.

Hope you are otherwise having a delightful season!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Chicken and Mushy Pea Wraps

The other day Jeff and I caught an episode of Nigella Lawson cooking up one of her favorite side dishes -- mushy peas. Neither Jeff nor I had ever heard of it so we watched intently as she loaded them up with a whole lot of salt. By the end of show I had pretty much decided that I was going to attempt my own version. I offhandedly mentioned to Jeff that I was going to make them then forgot about them until today.

Today was one of those clean out some of the stuff in the freezer days. I found eight whole grain and flax wraps (who knows how long they were in there but it was a good sign there was no freezer burn), strips of barbecue chicken I had Jeff cook up a few weeks ago, and what do you know frozen peas.

The first thing I decided was I didn't want a huge pot of mushy peas in case neither of us liked them. The recipe had to be a maximum of two servings. The next thing I decided was I didn't want them as a side dish. I was going to dollop them in the wraps and roll 'em up with the chicken. I shared this bit with Jeff and it was met with mushy face.

Here's my Mushy Peas for Two Recipe:


1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup frozen peas
1 teaspoon instant skim milk powder
1 tablespoon skim milk
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon margarine / butter


Bring water to boil in a small saucepan. Add sprinkle of salt (not the salt from ingredients, just enough to excite the water). Add peas and continue to boil ten to fifteen minutes until they are no longer crisp. While peas are boiling prepare other ingredients.

I have a Bullet blender with a small 500 ml container for blending small items so this is what I used. Fill your blending container with remaining ingredients, stopping after cornstarch to stir until dissolved.

When peas are done, drain and add to top of ingredients in blender. Pulse, then blend until desired consistency. Mine looked like guacamole.

These were mini wraps so I divided what looked like two chicken breasts between the four wraps I had available. I then divided the mushy peas between the four wraps, rolled and served with canned peaches.

I actually tried the mushy peas beforehand and I would definitely serve this mushy peas recipe as a side dish.

Going forward, Jeff and I decided one clove of garlic would be best as it was a bit strong later in the evening if you know what I mean.

If you give them a try let me know!

Topic Links
* Who's Nigella Lawson
* More of My Recipes

Friday, July 02, 2010

Sturdy Shelf

It's the little things that make me realize how lucky I am. Like when Jeff made a shelf topper for the little storage unit on my desk. The top of it has been progressively sagging for months causing the stuff I regularly use to constantly slide off. I've been complaining of course, although I thought it was silently to myself.

Last weekend I woke and found my desk dismantled and the storage unit missing in action. I heard noise outside and had a look out the back door to find Jeff fiddling with my unit, some wood, and some guy tools. Here is the result:

It is so sturdy I can stand on it... ok, if I was 10 to 15 lbs, I could stand on it, which is how much the stuff I had on top probably ways. It's like a new unit, no sagging and the top drawer opens and closes without me having to do battle with the sag. I was just going to stick a piece of scrap wood on top. I like Jeff's version better. He cut it to the shape of the unit, painted it, then screwed it to the top. It is not going anywhere and either is the stuff I have piled on top. I might even be able to add more!

Now that is love. I appreciate this so much I'd say it is better than a box of chocolate. And you know how much I like my chocolate!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The FURminator

During one of my many travels through Squidoo, I came across a cat lens that had a cat grooming tool called the FURminator. After a good half hour of internet searches and how to video examples and reviews of this brush I decided to get one for JD and one for Shelby.

The absolute best prices were at where they were up to 50% off retail (seriously, we have these locally for $50 and I got them for $25 or less); at the time, if I spent $70, I also got free shipping but Canadian shipping is pretty reasonable from them still making it cheaper.

Here's one of the demonstrations that hooked me. The cat demo is about 2:11:

I had my FURminator order from within a week and was very excited to try this product on JD. Up until this point JD hasn't really shed much and during our brushing sessions I got very little to no fur on my current cat utensils. You can't tell from the photos but he's quite plush in the fur department.

One of the things I learned in my research was that you need to use the FURminator in a large space where you can easily clean up the fur. I chose the kitchen. I rolled the mat out of the way and Swiffed so I could sit with JD between my legs while I worked.

I started off with his regular brushes as recommended to make sure there were no knots. As you can see, I didn't get very much out.

I found the FURminator easy enough to hold in my hand but awkward to use on a squirming cat. I had to keep moving around the kitchen to brush him. Fur was flying up my arms (I found this to be both gross and irritating) and into my face. The official website for the FURminator insists this tool does not cut the fur but I really have my doubts (it sounds like it's cutting). I found the corners of the blade to be quite sharp. I could very easily draw blood from my hand or the cat delicate skin. It seems odd that they would not round these off for safety.

As you can see the FURminator produced a considerable amount of JD fur for the compost. He wasn't any more put out by the experience than using the other brushes. I know I could have gotten lots more but it was just so irritating to have flying fur all over the place. Before I cleaned up I did a once over touch up with his needle brush and put the tools away.

The main reason I wanted this tool was to decrease the amount of fur under JD's armpits and his backside (he looks like he's wearing genie pants from behind). These areas are what I think will be problem areas in the future when it comes to potential mat formation.

Yes, the FURminator removes fur. But as I mentioned I'm not so sure it's not cutting the fur or should I say shearing it, like that special bladed comb the hairdresser uses to thin sections of hair. The sharp corners really concern me, especially with a wiggly kitty. But most importantly, for the next week JD was dropping fur like crazy. Apparently the FURminator loosened up a lot of fur that even doing a touch up after using didn't pick up. I'm not completely satisfied but I'm not ready to do away with it. Like any new tool, it needs to be used more than once to be mastered and I definitely don't feel like JD and I have mastered it enough to say it sucks... completely.

As you may have guessed, more to come on the FURminator

Topic Links
* Get your own FURminator from

Friday, May 28, 2010

The Heat Doesn't Agree

To coin one of my favorite phrases, "It's like Africa hot. Tarzan couldn't take this kind of hot" (Matthew Broderick, Biloxi Blues).

That's right folks, summer has arrived in my little neck of the woods. The air conditioner is running and I'm avoiding going outdoors as much as possible. It was 37°C the other day. It's considerably cooler today but still hot and humid enough to make me whine.

I would not be exaggerating if I said the heat doesn't agree with me. After a few hours outdoors in heat like this I could be sick and bedridden for 24 hours. Throw in a sunburn (20 minutes of direct exposure is all it takes) and I'm a very unhappy camper.

Today I had to go out to get the dog because she refused to come in when I called her. Apparently she doesn't mind "sweating her bag off" (Jeff colloquialism), kiddie pool or not. On stepping out the back door I was greeted with the beautiful site of my clematis in full bloom. Apparently the heat works just fine for it.

It's beautiful moments like these that make short summers worth while. I ran back in and grabbed the camera to take this picture. You would think standing there for all of 30 seconds taking in nature's beauty I would be safe but no, damn mosquito found me.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Purina Maxx Scoop Week Two

As I mentioned last week, I was going to put on the hood of the ExquisiCat Cosy Corner litter box but without the trap door. Done!

I also mentioned that I had some concerns about it becoming a trap for Suzie since JD is overly protective of the litter spots. Up until this point Suzie hadn't bothered with the box and it was being exclusively used by JD.

Thirty minutes after putting the lid on the litter box, Suzie was in there digging up a storm and leaving her mark. Jeff and I were both shocked. I made Jeff take the picture. Don't worry, she's only digging.

Both cats have been using it all week intermittently with their regular boxes. I empty the litter box every day and I have to admit it is a bit of a pain to empty. I have to remove the hood, find a horizontal space to put it down, then put it back on when I'm done. I thought for sure the litter would become stronger with the cover on but it is still freshly scented.

The plan is to add the door this week but I really don't think it needs the door and I have concerns about it not being used as much. Time will tell!

Topic Links
* Week One
* Please do this Purina Maxx Survey after reading this blog post. It's really short. For every completed survey Matchstick will make a $2 donation to The Redwood Women's Shelter.

Closing in the Kitchen

For the last few weeks we've been hymning and hawing about what to do with the animals at feeding time. There's a whole bunch of crazy stress centered around feeding times mostly because of JD. He tries to steal the other animals food and is quite successful unless one of us is standing over the other animal. As you can imagine it is not convenient. For months we've tried different scenarios mostly involving moving Suzie around. Now we've decided on what we hope will be the last and perfect solution -- a closed in kitchen.

Today Jeff started the process of hanging a french door on each entrance. We picked them up this week at Home Depot for $69 along with hinges and handles (about another $20) that match the kitchen finials. They actually only had one door, the other is on order (more on that later).

Before the door can even be permanently hung there was some prep work that needed to be done. The door had to be shortened to fit the opening. Space had to be chiseled for the hinges (3), and a hole had to be drilled for the handle mechanism. Oh, and Jeff's favorite part, it has to be primed and painted.

The image here is Jeff doing a pre-hang to make sure the hinges on the door align with the space on the door frame. It did.

At the moment of this posting he has finished priming the door and it is drying in the basement. If he has time tomorrow he'll put on the first coat of paint. Why am I not painting you ask? Because I suck at painting. It would be all over me, the floor, the glass, the ceiling, the animals. It's just not my thing.

The fogginess you see on the glass is to protect it while it's being painted, no taping required. Jeff is heading up for a shower to wash away the work of today. He tells me he's decided to return the second door we have on order to get an already primed door instead (painted and pre-drilled holes). Apparently the little extra money is worth the time and effort he had to put into what we thought would be a simple project.

I think the door looks pretty cool though! I can hardly wait to see the project finished so we can work on getting the crew into a new eating pattern. And of course I'm looking forward to the first time one of use walks into one of the doors.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Purina Maxx Scoop and the Big Test

I was contacted by Purina Maxx Scoop to be apart of a small collection of reviewers whose cats test Purina Maxx Scoop litter and the ExquisiCat Cosy Corner litter box. Once accepted into the program they sent me a kit which consisted of the following:
  • Litter box
  • Rubbermaid scoop
  • Cat treats
  • Coupons for Maxx Scoop
For the first few days that we weren't able to make it to the store to use the coupons we had the litter box sitting in the living room. After day one both cats were easily introduced to the inside of the box. JD with some treats and Suzie because she was trying to hide from JD; ok, there might have been a little fanny push to get her the rest of the way in. Both cats were able to find their way out by pushing on the door no problem.

Here is one of our current kitty litter set up:

As you can see we use Special Kitty which costs about $8 for 18 kg. We get it from Walmart and have been using it since we got the second cat. We have a second box in another location because sometimes JD doesn't let Suzie do her "business" in this room which is the original "business" location. To the right is the Kitty Locker which we highly recommend for containing litter once it is removed from pan. Again we found the locker and the refills to be cheapest at Walmart (a lot cheaper).

Here's what the kitty corner litter pan will look when we use it:

When I first opened the Maxx Scoop container it didn't look as dusty as the special kitty and when I poured it into the base it definitely was not as dusty. I used one complete 7kg container to fill the base.

Because the kids aren't used to a sheltered potty space I'm started them off with just the base:

I brought Suzie kitty up and introduced her to the new box and litter. She sniffed it and walked over to the old litter and peed. Personally, I would have preferred using fresh litter first. But perhaps she was waiting for JD to do the first pee test.

On day two JD did the official doo and pee test more than once. He also did a good job of removing about a 1/2 cup of litter out of the pan. My little digger (this new kitten has so many nick names already: dust buster, swifty, bruiser, brat...).

At this point I wasn't sure Suzie would use the new litter as she is acting very sensitive to scent lately. And the Maxx Scoop has a subtle sent that I noticed when I was emptying the pan for the first time. It's actually find it kind of pleasing as I'm the one usually in charge of goody removal.

It has been a week and I still haven't found any of Suzie's business. But I have noticed that JD has been using the spare box we set up for Suzie less than usual which is definitely a bonus as it probably increases Suzie's comfort level in there.

I haven't had to top off the Maxx Scoop yet even with JD shoveling stuff out. I picked up back-up litter yesterday just in case. I wasn't the only one buying kitty litter and couldn't help chatting up the Maxx Scoop a bit.

Overall I'm enjoying the litter. The covered box however, I'm not so keen on. I'm currently reading Cat vs Cat by Bennett Johnson and she has dissuaded me considerably against using them exclusively. She explains how they are acceptable in a single cat household but not for a multi-cat household where the user can't see what is coming or may become trapped inside. And since we already have control issues with the litter box it's probably not even a good idea to encourage Suzie to use one. But if I can get JD to use one almost exclusive then I might have less litter to clean off of the floor.

The plan for the next week is to add the cover and have the door open. We'll see what happens.

Topic Links
* Week Two
* Please do this Purina Maxx Survey after reading this blog post. It's really short. For every completed survey Matchstick will make a $2 donation to The Redwood Women's Shelter.