Wednesday, August 31, 2011

What's For Dinner?

Fall is getting closer. When my alarm goes off in the morning the bedroom's still a bit dark, and we're turning on the lights in the family room earlier in the evening. However, Summer's decided it's not quite ready to leave the area yet. The forecast for the rest of the week is hot (pushing 100 degrees) and humid. Tony and I decided if the tropical weather was going to linger, we'd pretend it was still the middle of the season. We're taking advantage of the last extended admission day of the year at the Missouri Botanical Garden.

The kitchen was last-day-before-payday empty, but I managed to put together a picnic to take with us. The planned homemade pizza morphed into calzones (which are easier to transport). I started the dough in the bread machine, then went on a search to see what I could put in them. I found one leftover chorizo sausage in the freezer, which I thawed, skinned, and crumbled in a bowl. I chopped green and red peppers from the garden, then added them to the sausage along with a can of mushrooms and a can of tomato sauce from the pantry. To make the assembly easy, I even mixed in the shredded mozzarella.

When the dough was done I divided it into four pieces (two for tonight, and two for leftovers tomorrow), and rolled each one out into a circle about six inches in diameter. Each circle got a quarter of the filling, then I folded them in half and crimped the edges so the filling wouldn't ooze out during baking. The calzones went on a baking sheet, and in a preheated oven for 15 minutes until the top was golden.

Main dish taken care of. For a side dish, I found some asparagus in the refrigerator that was a bit past its prime. I removed the offending parts, then cut the stalks into bite sized pieces and blanched them. After they cooled off in ice water, I portioned them into two plastic containers, adding today's small handful of ripe cherry tomatoes, and a squirt of balsamic vinaigrette. The containers still looked a little empty, so I chopped a stalk of celery, blanched it, and put half in each container. I put the lids on tightly, shook everything together, and left it to marinate till dinner time.

There was already some Diet Pepsi in the refrigerator, so I didn't have to worry about chilling drinks. For dessert, I found one sleeve of graham crackers in the back of the pantry, and filled sandwich bags with red grapes.  Cool food went in a cooler with some ice packs. Paper products and warm food went in a bag, and we were ready to go!

Monday, August 29, 2011


Recently, I got an interesting fortune from the cookie that came with some Chinese carryout:

I don't know if I should be pleased that I was received a message that recognized some of my good traits, or insulted by the command at the end.

Or should I take it as a challenge? What do you think?

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Retro Saturday Night

I had to work until the mall closed at 9, and by the time I cleaned up the Customer Service area and left there were only a few scattered groups of people walking around, most heading for the exits. It was easy to find my car in the parking garage, because it was the only one in the row. I got in, turned the car on, and tuned the radio to my guilty Saturday night pleasure.

The local oldies station, which usually plays a variety of pop and rock hits from the '60s and '70s, turns their airwaves over to disco on Saturday night. Disco was the music I danced and socialized to in high school and college. Listening to it takes me back to those days, and gives me a shot of energy as I drive home.

Tonight was no exception. After I suffered through a long commercial break that was just getting started as I turned onto the Interstate, the tunes started. "Upside Down" by Diana Ross. "When Doves Cry" by Prince. "That's the Way I Like It" by KC and the Sunshine Band. "Hot Stuff" by Donna Summer. Each time another song came on, I turned the radio up a little more and sang along.

Won't you sing with me? I know you know the words!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Bird Seed Buffet

This is our bird feeder, which hangs from a shepherd's hook on the deck railing, the only place I can put it and see the birds. Because it's easy to get to, we get our fair share of squirrels, who scamper across the rail, climb the pole and sidle down onto the plastic seed tray. I've experimented with dowsing the bird seed with hot sauce and red pepper to keep them away, which works well, but this year I've gotten lazy and stopped doing it.

Last night just before dark I looked out the kitchen window and saw two raccoons on either side of the bird feeder. They were symmetrically up on their haunches with their backs to the house, front paws resting on the seed tray, dining at the all-you-can-eat bird food buffet. They looked to be about the size of our cats, so I'm guessing they were about eleven or twelve pounds, but their fluffy hair and big tails made them appear even bigger.

Eyes glowing from the camera flash
It was one of the most fascinating (yet irritating) things I've ever seen. I grabbed my camera and tried to get pictures from inside the house. That didn't work, because it was dark and I was shooting through a window screen, so I went into the family room and opened the door to the deck. The raccoons looked up from their meal, but didn't move. I took a couple of steps toward them, and they reluctantly stopped eating, put all four feet down onto the deck rail, and watched to see what I'd do. With their black eye masks and striped tails, they were quite cute, but I was determined to move them along. I started slowly towards them, stopping every few seconds to take a picture.

Hi there!

Finally they got the message and climbed into the red bud tree next to the deck. That allowed me to get close enough to the feeder to remove it from the hook and bring it into the house. Buffet closed. However, five minutes later when I looked out the window I saw them still walking along the deck rail eating the seed that was on the rail.

This morning I cleaned the feeder, refilled it, and put it back outside. However, first I mixed a healthy splash of hot sauce and a substantial amount of red pepper in with the bird seed. If the raccoons come back and eat more seed, I hope the capsaicin in the red pepper goes straight to their taste buds! And if it keeps the squirrels away, that's good, too.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


A few weeks ago we had our annual termite inspection. For the first time ever, the inspector wanted to look in our attic for signs of damage. He brought in a telescoping ladder, which he used to access the attic through the hole in ceiling of my closet. Coincidence? It turns out not. The company now also installs insulation.

He gave us information about the benefits of increasing the amount of insulation in the attic. It turns out the U.S. Department of Energy now recommends an R-value almost double what we have now (which is in the form of pink fiberglass bats). We got some additional estimates, then decided to let the pest control company do the project. The installers came last week and blew an additional layer of cellulose insulation over our existing stuff.

The crew of two arrived right on time. After I showed them the access they got to work. First they attached a long tarp to the attic entrance that hung down to the floor like a tent. Next, they ran a flexible hose from the closet through the master bathroom, out the window, and down to the ground behind the garage. They got a large metal hopper out of their truck, set it up on the grass, and attached the hose to it. After they'd finished with the setup, both installers donned white jumpsuits and dust masks. One went up into the attic, and one stayed outside. He turned on the hopper motor and started dumping in bags of insulation. It blew up to the attic, where the other installer used the hose to spray the insulation into every corner of the attic.

Since all the mechanical equipment was outside, I barely noticed the work being done, except for a "thump" from the attic now and then. It took about an hour for them to finish the job. They disconnected the hose from the hopper, rolled it up, and put everything away. They did a great job of cleaning up; there was no evidence in the closet or bathroom.

The salesperson told us that most people notice a difference in the temperature of their upper level with additional insulation. Today was the first big test. This afternoon the temperature was close to 100 degrees. Before, you could feel things get hotter as you walked up the steps to the second floor. Today it was just as comfortable as the main level!

I love it when stories have a happy ending.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Text Talk

Because my job is part time, I may only see my boss once or twice a week. His preferred way to communicate with his staff is via text message. That was turning into a problem.

I don't text. Before I started at the mall Customer Service counter in July, I think I might have received less than a dozen texts and sent six. Last month I had 10 incoming messages (and responded to three of them). So far this month there has been a total of 16. Since I've never had a need for it, I don't have a texting plan on my phone. Individual text messages (both incoming and outgoing) cost 20 cents each, and the costs were adding up fast. My cell phone carrier (AT&T) only offers an "unlimited" texting plan for $20 a month. I didn't want to do that, either.

Enter Google Voice. Son Brian told me I could get a separate phone number that would allow me to send (and receive) free text messages. Yesterday I set up an account and started using it.

The first step was to choose my Google Voice phone number. The first couple I tried weren't available, but in the end I was able to get one in which the last four numbers spell out part of my last name. After I picked my number, I entered a forwarding phone number (the phone that rings when someone calls my Google Voice number); after verifying the number I was ready to go!

Google Voice is a computer-based program, but it has an app that works with my cell phone, which I downloaded. Then I sent my first my boss, and each of my sons. It was slow going; I make a lot of typing mistakes on the cell phone's small keyboard, but the auto correct feature helps out a lot.

Google Voice actually does a lot of things besides text messages. You can set it up to have multiple phones ring when someone calls the Google Voice number and pick up the one that's most convenient for you, have certain phones ring depending on who's calling, or switch phones in the middle of a call. You can also make international phone calls for rates cheaper than most carriers, and have have voice mails transcribed and read them online. Right now I don't know how much I'll be using them, though; it's a lot of work to get a new phone number out to everyone!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Let's Do Lunch

I had to work today from open till close. (That's not as bad as it sounds. The mall's Sunday hours are from 11 am-6 pm. Add on a bit of time at the beginning and end of the day to set up and close down the Customer Service area, and I still worked less than eight hours.) Usually on Sunday Son Donald comes over and cooks dinner with Hubby Tony. I always look forward to seeing what they come up with. But with my schedule that couldn't happen today, so I requested that they come eat with me at work. Donald picked the restaurant...Five Guys Burgers and Fries. There weren't any objections from his parents. Five Guys food is tasty, and the service is usually pretty fast, which was important since I only had a half hour lunch break.

My guys showed up right on time, and we made the short trip to the restaurant. Five Guys' menu is pretty simple...hamburgers, a handful of other sandwiches, and fries. The hardest part is figuring out what size hamburger to order, and which of the thirteen toppings they offer to get. If I'd heard my phone ring midmorning, I could have relayed my order to Tony and he would have done everything online so our food would have been waiting for us. It wasn't a problem, though. There wasn't anyone ahead of us in line, and ordering went smoothly. We got our drinks, grabbed a bowl of peanuts to munch on, and waited for them to call our number.

In less than five minutes we were eating. I'm always glad when a place wraps their burgers in foil--with ketchup, mustard, lettuce, pickles, tomatoes, grilled onions, and grilled mushrooms, my hamburger got a bit messy. The foil helped keep things contained so I could eat every bite. Donald had a hamburger, too, but Tony went a non-traditional route and ordered a hot dog. It had been split down the center and grilled before the toppings were added. We shared a large order of crispy french fries.

All too soon my break was over and I had to go back to work. Tony and Donald walked me back and said goodbye. They were planning to kill some time, then go to a movie. It was great to see them today; it made my day go so much faster.

Friday, August 19, 2011

This and That

A couple of updates:

  • Yesterday's woodpecker seems to have found her way out of the garage and flown away. (Although I'm still looking around the garage carefully before I leave the house)

    First critters were getting them outside, then the cats got the first set I brought inside. For most of July, the weather was too hot and dry for tomatoes, so no fruits were setting. Now that the weather is more seasonally normal, I've been picking one or two tomatoes (Romas and cherries) every day. I was excited yesterday to see that one of the big fruits was just about ripe.
    Not wanting to take any chances, I picked it and brought it inside, along with the day's handful of small fruits, put them in a bowl, and set the bowl on the kitchen counter. After dinner Tony and I were sitting in the family room when we heard one of the cats jumping down from something. We didn't think much of it, but a few minutes later Tony went in the kitchen to get his shoes and called me to come take a look at something. The big tomato was laying on the ground, with a large chunk taken out of the side.
    (I know which cat is doing it--Jackson, who's been on a diet, but he didn't even have the decency to look guilty when we asked.)

Thursday, August 18, 2011


This morning as I was getting ready to run some errands, I went into the garage and heard a whooshing noise. I looked up and saw a crazed bird flying around the garage at the ceiling level. The garage door had been open for several hours, so it must have flown in and didn't know how to get out.

After several frantic circles, the bird landed on top of the ladder we have hanging on the side. Even from the other side of the garage I was able to get a good look at it. It was mainly black, but had a white strip down it's back and white spots on the wings. I was looking at a woodpecker!

Downy Woodpecker
Peter de Wit--Wikepedia

I didn't see a red patch on the bird's head, so I'm pretty sure it was a female.

It's not the first time we've had a bird stuck in the garage. When I'm home during the day I usually have the garage door open, so we go through this once or twice a year. I know that after a while the bird will eventually find the door and fly away.

However, I still don't like to deal with it. Keeping one eye on the bird (in case she decided to fly at me), I opened the back garage door all the way and put a bag of topsoil in front of it so it wouldn't close. I got in my car, backed it out of the garage, the closed the garage door with the remote and left. I was gone for three hours, and I was hopeful Ms Bird would find her way out through the back door while I was gone.

It didn't happen. When I came home I opened the garage door, and was greeted by my friend the bird flying more circles around the garage. Quickly, I gathered my packages and went inside. My plan was to cut the grass this afternoon, but the lawn mower was in the garage and I didn't want to upset the bird any more than I already had. After 20 minutes, I peeked out into the garage and didn't see anything. Just in case the bird showed up, though, I double-timed it to the lawn mower, gassed it up, and pulled the mower out on the driveway. Since I didn't see the bird the whole time, I assumed she'd found her way out.

After I finished the lawn I put the mower away and started to go inside. Halfway to the door, I heard a rustling noise. I looked up and there was the bird, flying the same crazy circles. There are a couple of places where the ceiling drywall has come down, leaving the eaves exposed. The bird must have been up there. Either that, or she'd left and decided she liked the garage and came back.

That was hours ago, Ever since then I've been opening the door to check occasionally, and she's still there. When Tony got home he didn't see anything, and I was optimistic she was gone. However, after dinner I stepped out in the garage and heard the sound of frantically beating wings. She's NOT gone.

Maybe when it gets dark?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


Today I don't have to go anywhere. It's a wonderful feeling.

This morning I caught up on housework and tasks that had gotten shoved to the back burner. The umpteen reminder notes I'd written to myself that were scattered all around the kitchen have been whittled to just a handful on my desk, and I hope they'll be gone by the end of the day. The tidying also filtered down to my email inbox. I deleted quite a few messages that I didn't need anymore, and moved others to folders. Buried at the bottom of the inbox I found a link to a recipe for making almond butter I'd gotten back in January. I decided to try it today.

I know there are many types of nut butters, but I've never eaten anything other than the peanut kind. I buy standard grocery store peanut butter, alternating between the smooth and chunky varieties. However, we always have almonds in the house. (I buy them in bulk at Costco, where they come in three pound bags); they're a great snack or non-meat protein for meals on the run.

The recipe for Homemade Almond Butter I used came from Rebecca Wood. It called for exactly three ingredients-almonds, salt, and oil. No sugar, no preservatives. Because we were low on almonds, I decided to cut the recipe in half, figuring if I liked it I could make more another time. Rebecca recommended toasting the almonds to enhance the flavor and aroma of the finished product, so I measured out nuts onto a cookie sheet and put them in a preheated oven. At the end of the toasting period the smell of the nuts was intoxicating. I dumped them in the food processor with a pinch of salt and pulsed them until they were finely ground. I added oil to the bowl, and kept processing the mixture. When the oil was incorporated things still looked pretty dry, so I added more oil (which was an option in the recipe).

Even though it was only 10:30 in the morning (and much too early for lunch), I decided to make myself a sandwich. I spread a layer of almond butter on a slice of whole wheat bread, added apricot preserves to a second slice, and put them together. The almond butter was good, but a bit grainy, which I think was probably the result of making a small amount. The nuts kept getting thrown to the sides of the processor bowl and didn't puree correctly. Next time I make the recipe, I won't try to modify it!

Since the almond butter doesn't have any preservatives I stored the leftovers in the refrigerator. I'm already looking forward to having more tomorrow, and if Tony wants he can take some for lunch, too.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Are You Busy?

The other day at work a young teenaged boy came up to me at the mall Customer Service desk, told me his cell phone's battery had died, and asked if he could use our phone. Following policy, I dialed the number he dictated and handed him the receiver. He stood there for a few seconds with a quizzical look on his face, then gave the phone back to me with a funny look on his face, saying there was a strange noise on the line.

I put the phone up to my ear so I could hear it, then had to stifle a laugh. The phone was giving off a busy signal.

I told the boy he had called an "old school" phone, which seemed to make sense to him.  After he walked away I started thinking. How many younger people have never heard a busy signal? Nearly every cell phone and most land lines now have voice mail or call waiting.  Who was he calling?  Maybe it was a grandma or older relative that had no need of newfangled things.

I guess I'll never know...

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Road Test

Yesterday I got a message on Facebook that my local Whole Foods was having a Toyota hybrid car test drive event that starts today (and ends on Sunday). They promised me a gift just for showing up, but I didn't really need that extra incentive. I've never been in a hybrid car, so I thought this would be a great way to check it out.

As I pulled into the parking lot, I saw a roped off section with several bright red Toyota banners around it, and another banner next to a registration tent by the store's entrance. I showed my driver's license at the registration table, was fitted with a paper wristband, then directed to the cars. They had three types of hybrids available--Camry sedans, Prius hatchbacks, and Highlander SUVs. I chose the Prius, because there was one available.

When I got in the car, the first thing I noticed is that the Prius actually had a place to store my purse between the seats, which is always a plus. The Toyota representative, who acted as co-pilot for my drive, was very nice. First he explained some of the features, including the strange-looking energy monitor screen in the middle of the dashboard which shows if the car is using battery or engine power. (If it's running on the battery, the car is amazingly quiet. In fact, I was amazed when I found out the car I was sitting in was on, because there was absolutely no engine noise.) After his short explanation, I put the car in Drive and stepped on the gas pedal. That's a misnomer, though, because I wasn't using any gas! The car was running on battery power. The gas engine only kicks in to recharge the battery, or when it's needed for extra pickup.

My test drive was very short. We went through the parking lot, exited onto Clayton Road, turned on Woods Mill, then circled back into the parking lot. However, the short trip was enough for me to figure out I liked the car. It ran very smoothly, and seemed to have enough power. I would like to have taken it on the highway, though.

When we got back, I learned a bit more about the car's features. The representative pointed out that there were three seat belts in the back, but like most cars I've been in, the three people would have to be really small to fit comfortably. I was interested to find out the car doesn't have a key. To turn it on or off, you push the POWER button, and there's a fob that locks and unlocks the door.

One thing that that I didn't like was the horizontal bar that ran across the car's hatch window area. I could see it in the rear view mirror, and thought was quite distracting. The representative said that when he drove the car, after a few days he didn't notice it anymore, but I don't know if I could get used to it.

After my drive I had to complete a short computer survey, after which I got my gift. I figured it would be a promotional tchotke, but I was pleasantly surprised to find out it was a Whole Foods gift card! As I left, they encouraged me to come back and try out a different car. I might just have to do that.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


Last Friday I took my wedding ring in for it's biannual cleaning and inspection. The jeweler took a look at it with his loupe, made some hmmmming sounds, and announced the prongs needed to be replaced. He recommended I leave the ring with him so the work could be done right away.

Of course I agreed. There's no way I'd want to have something break and take a chance on losing the diamond. However, that ring's a part of me, and I feel strange without it, since I've been wearing it for 31 years. The first day I kept looking down at my finger, not see the ring, and get a sinking feeling that I'd lost it.

It's been a few days now, and I no longer feel panicked when I see my ringless hand. However, I've noticed something interesting. There's a definite "ring dent" where my finger was covered by the band on the palm side of my hand, and the area on my finger where my ring sits is smaller, a permanent symbol of what's usually there.

Fortunately, I don't have to rely on symbolism much longer. The ring is done and I'm picking it up today on my way to work. It will be good to have it back.

Monday, August 8, 2011


I went to bed last night knowing our oppressive weather was supposed to break today. Sure enough, after breakfast when I went outside to throw some scraps in the compost pile it felt much nicer, and the radio confirmed that it was 10 degrees cooler than it was yesterday. Since the temperature was more acceptable, I decided to take a walk through the neighborhood today instead of going to the gym. That would save me a half hour of driving time on a busy day, and let me discover what had changed in the last few weeks when it was too hot to be outside. I decided to document my observations in terms of all five senses.

Sight-The bit of rain we got on Thursday wasn't really enough to green up the dormant grass, but enough to encourage the weeds; they were really obvious among the straw-colored turf that's our front yard. My route took me past several schools, and I figured out that today was the first day of practice for high school sports. I saw a group on the soccer practice field, some girls assembled around their coach on the track, and the football team on their practice field.

Hearing-As I left I started up my mp3 player. Today's selection was a musical meditation that lasted the entire half hour of my walk. However, the volume was low enough that I could hear the greetings of the three people I passed, the noise of an industrial sized lawn mower in a neighborhood common ground, and the "hut hut" of the football players as they ran drills.

Touch-The nicest thing is what I couldn't feel. It wasn't hit-you-in-the-face, like-a-sauna hot it's been the past few days. There was a slight breeze blowing that helped dry off the sweat that accumulated on my face. I walked over some red, bumpy handicap warning ramps that had been installed in some newly-replaced sidewalks.

Smell-They were adding another layer of blacktop on the street in front of the elementary school. The acrid asphalt smell was quite unpleasant, and I was happy to get past it.

Taste-The best part of my adventure happened when I got back home and drank a big glass of cold water!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Downside-Up and Back-To-Front

˙ɹǝʇndɯoɔ ǝɥʇ uo ʇxǝʇ uʍop-ǝpısdn pǝʇɐǝɹɔ ǝʌ,noʎ ǝʞıן ʞooן ʇı ƃuıʞɐɯ 'pǝʇɹǝʌuı sʞooן ʇɐɥʇ ƃuıʇıɹʍ oʇ sɹǝʇɔɐɹɐɥɔ ɥsıןƃuǝ ǝɥʇ ƃuıʇɹǝʌuoɔ 'noʎ ɹoɟ ƃuıɥʇʎɹǝʌǝ sdıןɟ ʇı puɐ 'xoq ɐ oʇuı sʇɥƃnoɥʇ ɹnoʎ ǝdʎʇ sı op oʇ ǝʌɐɥ noʎ ןןɐ ¿ʇxǝʇ spɹɐʍʞɔɐq puɐ sɹǝʇʇǝן uʍop ǝpısdn ǝɔnpoɹd oʇ pǝʇuɐʍ ɹǝʌǝ noʎ ǝʌɐɥ

HUH? Should I write it again so you can read it?
Have you ever wanted to produce upside down letters and backwards text? All you have to do is type your thoughts into a box, and it flips everything for you, converting the English characters to writing that looks inverted, making it look like you've created upside-down text on the computer.
(Thanks to Sage at Wise Herb's Random Jottings for the idea, and sevenwires for the Website.)

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Tavern

The Tavern Kitchen and Bar is a newer restaurant not too far from us in a Valley Park strip mall. It opened last October, had good reviews, and ended up on several end-of-the-year "best of" lists. Even though it's only a few miles from our house, I hadn't been there yet, and when Tony and I decided to go for our anniversary I was excited to try it.

Since we were dining early in the evening on a weeknight, we didn't have a problem finding a parking space close to the building. We walked through the bar area to the hostess stand, where we were greeted and led to a table. There's an open kitchen on one side of the dining room, and I noticed some chef's seats along one side of the kitchen. (Which I'll remember for our next visit!)

We ordered drinks, then started looking over the one-page menu, which was divided into Appetizers, Salads, Entrees, Steaks, Sides, and Add-Ons. In addition to the printed list, a board above the kitchen area listed a few small plate dishes, the Fish Market offerings (several kinds of fish--salmon, cod, mahi mahi, ahi tuna, and halibut, that could be prepared in one of four ways), and the desserts. The waiter brought our drinks and a small rectangular cast iron pan of Parmesan pull-apart biscuits. They were sprinkled with chives, had a bit of a kick, and were some of the best I've ever eaten.

Since the restaurant wasn't crowded, it didn't take long to get our food after we ordered. We shared a mixed green salad with baby greens and frisée lettuce that was tossed with a creamy dressing. Tony got the Jalapeno-Honey Mustard Pork Tenderloin. The perfectly-cooked slices of pork were sliced on the bias and served on a bed of slaw and came with a side order of baked beans. It was hard for me to decide, but in the end I ordered Sizzling Soy Salmon. The thick piece of fish was seared and served on a bed of vegetables (broccolini, bok choy, red peppers) that had been mixed with a teryaki broth and placed on a hot cast iron plate so it sizzled. The fish came with a small bowl of rice, which was the perfect accompaniment.

Because of all the biscuits we'd eaten, we decided to pass on dessert, but next time I'll make sure to save room. As we left, the chef called out a goodbye from the kitchen, and the hostess echoed his farewell. I left with a full stomach and a good feeling about the Tavern.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Looking Good

This is our cat Jackson. He's been on a diet for the last year.

Yesterday I took him and his brother Pepper to the vet for their annual exam. The vet put Jackson on the scale, and announced he'd lost one and three quarter pounds. According to the Pet Obesity Prevention Website, that's the the equivalent of 27 human pounds!

How did he do it? The same way I would-exercise and portion control.

The first thing we did is figure out how much food he should have, based on a calorie count provided by the vet. Each morning we put the day's allotment of food in a small cup with a lid, and portioned it out to Jackson at each meal. (Both cats have been fed on a regular schedule for years, so he was used to that part.)

We also made sure that Jackson got regular exercise, encouraging him to run a circuit through the living room, dining room, and kitchen a couple of times a day before he gets his meal. He started with a few laps, but now he does somewhere between 8 and 10 rounds each time. Sometimes he has to be urged into it, but once he starts he trots around with a resigned attitude. (Kind of like my attitude towards exercise!)

The vet said very few people are able to get their cats to lose weight. I have to admit It wasn't always easy. The cats can be relentless about bugging us for food, and Jackson's been known to take a bite out of freshly-made bread that's setting on the counter. (We now cool any baked goods inside the microwave.) All of our work has been worth it, though. Now when we look down at Jackson, we can see his waist. Just like with humans, extra weight on a cat can lead to all kinds of health issues; we're doing our part to make sure he lives a healthy, long life!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


What do you think of when you hear the number 31? For me, the first thing that comes to mind is Baskin-Robbins ice cream.  And today, my wedding anniversary.

Tony and I were married at noon on August 2, 1980. Tonight we're going out for dinner, but other than that we don't have big plans. After all these years, we don't need them. Just enjoying each other's company is enough.

In honor of our day, here's a corny composition, using the names of some of the original and current Baskin-Robbins flavors.
Dear Tony,

All those years ago, it didn't take many Date Nuts to know you were the one for me. You're quite a Peach. Honey Nut Crunch, life hasn't always been a Cherries Jubilee. We've had our share of Rocky Roads. However, I hope you don't think that I'm Nutty Coconut when I say you're World Class Chocolate.

Call me Old Fashioned Butter Pecan, but I can't imagine my life without you. We've had some great times and raised three wonderful boys that are Chocolate Chips off the old block.

How should we celebrate our anniversary? We could go stick our feet in the Mississippi Mud, or exchange presents wrapped up with a Gold Medal Ribbon. It's supposed to rain tomorrow, so maybe there will be a Rainbow Sherbet we could look at. Whatever we choose to do, let's finish the day with some German Chocolate Cake and a nice cup of Coffee.