Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity Jog...

Dave & Debra

Andrea, Travis, and Laura
Highlights of the trip:
Playing the "Canadian!" game in my car (hear a song and see how long it takes to guess that it's a Canadian band. I will beat you in this game.)
Telling the customs dude what I was bringing up as gifts (a bottle of Absolut, 4 bags of potato chips, and two boxes of baked goods. For some reason I felt really stupid saying "baked goods").
The crows eating the shortbread - one square at a time - it was like an airport runway. Bird dips down, takes a square, flies up. Repeat times ten. All coming and going in the same direction.
The eagle attacking the crow which made about ten crows try to attack the eagle. Right over our heads. Lemme tell ya - that is a ruckus.
Catching the grill on fire. Which I thought was scientifically impossible, considering what it is supposed to do, but it turns out you can, in fact, set an actual hibachi grill ON FIRE. And I stood there dumbfounded with the lid in my hand while Laura runs up with a bottle of water saying "Shield me!!"
Eden telling us that she doesn't want to drink because in an hour she has to go speak to a group of teenagers about following their dreams and then.... ah well what the hell - she is representing herself as a rock star, after all.
Meeting a Dane, an Aussie, a Jamaican, and an American (Los Angeles) at Tara's party. And those were the ones that I knew of.
Realizing on Sunday that I never called MJ and wanting to crawl under a rock. I mean, sure, Saturday's party on the beach was Andrea's party but WHY DIDN'T I CALL MJ?? And I could have brought him as my date to Tara's party. And he could have met us for brunch Sunday morning too - we weren't even that far from his house. I'm a horrible friend.
The blatant hooker at 2 pm on a sunny Sunday in a lovely suburban area. I think she got off at the wrong bus stop or something.
The DOGS. Vancouver was just rated the Second Best City for Dogs in North America after Chicago. I guess all the times I went to Chicago I never noticed all the dogs because in Vancouver I SEE DOGS. Walking down 4th you'll see one dog waiting for their owner every three or four storefronts at the front door. They are EVERYWHERE.
Stargazer by The Tea Party. "You say that your heart, when it beats it's like a landslide...." Oh man, that one made me laugh for like ten minutes. That's the first line of the song. Where I yell "CANADIAN!"  I WIN!
Sorry to miss you again, Mark.

Off to Vancouver

Sean shaking the
Puppy Chow
Sean and I baked from 9 pm to midnight, then I woke up early to bake some more. It's like an illness. And through it all, he's got my back.
I'll post on Flickr while I'm up there!

Manuel, Chas, Tara, Jeff, Phil, Samantha...
Any of you able to do this for me? It's more the pure white background I'm concerned with. The measurements have to be absolutely perfect or they won't allow me to use them.
Today's rap song (what is happening to me?) is H ate It or L ove It by The G ame. (Right click Save Target As please.)
Bonnie chose me for a meme, regarding five favorite songs right now.
This week, they are:
5. "W oodstock" by C rosby, Stills, Nash and Young (down to number 5 because I've overplayed it for the past month and it'll be on its way out soon)
4. "L ong Train Runnin'" (You know.... Without love, where would you be now) by the D oobie Brothers (it sounds so good in my car!)
3. "The P ower is On" by The G o Team
2. "If O nly" by Q ueens of the Stone Age
1. "L eave a Clean Camp and a Dead Fire" by J uno - and I have a specific write-up regarding Juno coming soon.
Those top two are ALWAYS the top two, and the other three are seriously like just this past few weeks. It depends on what CD's I have in my car right now. It'll probably change soon since I'll be switching my car CD's around for the Vancouver drive.
My schedule today is RIDICULOUS. It includes floating checks and baking four different things tonight. And I just made chocolate chip cookies last night. After visiting my landlords. Which I can't talk about or I'll cry.
More Flickr pics up.

What It Means
A lot of people have asked what the next steps will be in the immigration process, so I copied an e-mail that I sent to a few people and posted it here.
The green skirt is done! Pictures forthcoming.
Very fun song by the G orillaz. Will have this up for only a couple days. Right-click Save As, please.
This weekend I'm helping Andrea with a party on Jericho Beach Saturday day and going to Tara's Housewarming Party Saturday night, and now? I'm also looking at rentals :o)
Somewhere in there I'm also hoping for a family night with the cousins and Uncle Pete. CELEBRATE!!!

05-23-05 again
Got the passport request from Canada just about twenty minutes ago! Sean is in a state of shock and I am trying to pass the news out to as many people as quickly as I can!
We're movin' to Vancouver!



Sewing class
We're gonna be quick here - I have to leave for work in 12 minutes. And my skirt is still in the dryer.
Saturday I don't remember very well - I think I slept in then napped further then read a lot and baked cookies. Not much else.
Sunday I had my sewing class at Stitches to make Sean's moose pajama pants (almost done - just need to do the drawstring). I was annoyed because I left half of my necessities at home - including the part that plugs my sewing machine in. So I had to use the ghetto machine. (No offense, ghetto machine - your pedal is too sensitive, though.)

Tuesday's class - my springy skirt

Kim brought flowers!

We love weekends
Sunday was also more reading (JenB sent me "Taking Charge of Your Fertility" and I read the whole thing) and baking more cookies. While working on my skirt my neighbor Kim came over and brought us a big bouquet of flowers that she used as a sample at a Flower Show of some sort (for a presentation or something). It was a beautiful surprise! Sean and I also made Crockpot Italian Chicken (served over egg noodles, with asparagus and a side salad), which I highly recommend. Sounds boring, but it's not. Although I think we'll add a chopped onion next time. We even thought about using tuna instead of chicken, and adding peas.
We are brilliant, c'est non?
Mr. Flapper & Georgie had babies!
I want to hug Jimmy and burrow my face in him until I cry.
The return of Piglet.
MAN I love Flickr.


Remember the morning meltdown that I posted? We'll start there.
It was dark and cloudy and windy and cold and rainy that day. Go figure.
I put on a tank top under a turtleneck and grabbed a toque on the way out.
I was still mad at Hobbes all the way to work.
The usual gang went across the street for coffee, but I stayed at the office because I am trying to cut out my daily decaf americano down to maybe three a week. But after a couple hours I was still strangely cold - like cold down to the bone, so I decided to go across the street to Coffee Crew and get a hot americano (I usually get iced - even in the winter). It was lightly sprinkling when I walked over there, but suddenly POURING once I was inside the cafe. They offered me an umbrella that they keep at the cafe for just this reason, and I told them I would return it at lunch. What you see on the left is me after returning to work from across the street - with the umbrella. You can't really tell, but I was soaked pretty much everywhere - including my face. The wind was whipping the rain all over the place.
About an hour after this picture it was time to take Rita (the office dog) for a walk, and it looked fairly safe outside (a break in the rain) so we headed out, only for this bizarre movie rain to start pouring down as soon as we were a block away from the office. And I forgot the umbrella that the cafe loaned me (I'm just not used to having an umbrella - I never owned one in my history in Seattle!).

Hobbes tortures Estella's Sticky Guy
Needless to say, when Rita and I ran back to the office, we were soaked. And I was cold. And pissed. And it just seemed like maybe I wasn't meant to be at work that day. I realized that I at least had to go home to take a hot shower and change clothes, but as soon as I thought about the going-home-hot-shower part, all I could think of was crawling back into my bed and listening to the rain come pouring down.
So that's what I did.
As soon as I got home, Hobbes was quietly waiting for me in the main entrance (he's usually right at the front door meowing before I even get to the door). I walked in, sat on the floor, and held my arms out. He crawled onto my lap and there we sat for a few minutes.
We had a good long talk. I told him he drove me crazy, but I loved him, and I was responsible for him. He purred. I then took a hot shower and slept a deep sleep for a couple hours. Then I woke up and cleaned my house. The floor along my bed has only a box of Kleenex and the phone. The bar and dining table have a few things on them, but I also threw away quite a bit.
The next day, Sara and Lauren M from work offered to come over Wednesday night and help me purge.
So, things are better for now.
Thursday was my mammogram - ugh. I hate those things. I was 45 minutes late due to the rain and Seattle traffic along Montlake Blvd but thankfully they still took me. I was seriously stressing, since I would have had to take time off from work AGAIN to re-schedule the appointment, as they're only open during office hours (as if no one in the world works? Why do they do this??).
Friday was Blue C Sushi and Kung Fu Hustle, which I had planned before knowing that I would be on a $100 budget for the next week (this includes groceries - I am cashing in our change jar tonight because it's almost gone and it was supposed to last until NEXT Friday).

Remember Sadie?

Manuel at Blue C Sushi
More pics from Friday night (and etc.) on Flickr.

Ladies and Internets,
I now present to you... a tater tot.
Because I went on a rampage and cleaned out the stuff along my bedside (pictured below). Then I scooped out all the stuff that was under my bed.
Note the layer of cat fur and dust to keep it preserved.
Hobbes and I have made up (for now) and I took a half-day yesterday at work - although there was a reason for that. But I'll write more about that tomorrow.
Just know, for now, that the second I felt this thing under the bed, brought it up to my face, and concluded that it was, in fact, a tater tot, you all know that the first thought that ran through my mind was not "This is so. gross." or "When was the last time we had tater tots?" but "OH MY GOD I AM SO GOING TO BLOG THIS."

P.S. Thanks Pinder.

I'm having a major falling out with my cat. Yeah I know that sounds silly, but really, it's seriously depressing me. Styro went through something similar a couple months ago.
Hobbes pees on things. He has psychological issues and pees.
Last night I went directly to my sewing class after work and I didn't get home until 9. Sean got home from work in the afternoon but didn't pay much attention to Hobbes and played video games. So Hobbes peed on the bathroom rug. The bathroom rug that always has a limited number of days until it's peed on.
And that's the thing. I have things that I know will get peed on, and I don't want to live this way.
It makes me realize that no matter how nice of a house I get or no matter how nice I decorate where I live - no matter how nice I dress or how good of a job I have - I will always have peed-on stuff. I will have bits of litter spread all over the floor of my house. I will always have cat pee and cat shit in a box somewhere in my house.
I came home last night and Sean told me that the brand new giant Costco detergent fell off of it's shelf and into the open clothes washer - filling the washer full of soap. He spun most of it out then washed a blanket and quilt to get rid of the rest. That was an expensive load of laundry. Plus ARRRRGH now we're out of detergent even though I was smart and had a back-up!
Then he said "Oh and Hobbes peed on the bathroom rug again."
And I lost it.
Now, who knows when Hobbes actually peed on the rug. I'm sure it was long ago enough that Hobbes had no idea why I was carrying him to the washer (where Sean put the rug) and rubbing his face in the cat pee on the rug. This just caused Hobbes to do his horrible Siamese "Rorrrrorrrrorrrrorrrr growwwwl" and run under the futon to make those noises some more. As loud as he can. And when he does this? He can go for HOURS. So I yanked him out from under the futon (even though he had all four emergency brakes on) and threw him out on the back patio.
Then I turned off all the lights, and went to bed.
With the kitchen full of dishes and yesterday's crock pot meal.
With boxes of books and shopping bags all over the bar and dining room.
With papers covering the living room table and floor.
Every once in a while I look around and realize that we're living like trash.
And Hobbes yeowled. And yeowled. And yeowled. And HOURS later, Sean let him in.
And Hobbes trotted through the house yelling "ARRRRARRRRARRARRR ARRARRARRRARRRARRR ARRRRARRROWOOOWWWWW OWWWWWOWWWWOWWWWW" and Sean caught him and put him in the garage.
Where Hobbes yeowled. And yeowled. And yeowled.
And Sean's saying "He's a family member we can't do that."
And that's when I said "HE'S A CAT - HE'S AN ANIMAL."
Because really, at some point? You just break. And you suddenly don't have the patience. And suddenly you just think "I don't need this."
This morning I let Hobbes in from the garage. The second I opened the garage door, he was yelling at me. And then he came inside and yelled at me. He's currently under the bed yelling at me. He has unbelievable yelling stamina. I have KEXP blaring to drown him out.
I know a lot of you have cats who pee on things. I know this is just part of making an outdoor (male) animal into an indoor pet. But it's the psychological part - his yelling at me - that's making me hate him. He just doesn't stop yelling.
When I come home from work? It's OWWW OWWWWOWWWWOWWW OWWWWOWWW until I drop EVERYTHING and squat down and pet him and talk to him for at least a minute.
I want to separate the mail-play the messages-put the groceries in the fridge-go pee-hang up my coat-kiss my husband- and I CAN'T because there's a cat SCREAMING at me NON-STOP at my feet. And after 15 years it suddenly exasperates me. I suddenly can't take it anymore.
Also? Can we step into Litter Land now?
I am tired of bits of litter all over my floor-my socks-my clothes-my bed sheets. We've tried Feline Pine litter (currently), the stuff made from newspaper, the clay clumping stuff, the non-clay clumping stuff, the plastic-looking pearls, the grocery store crap. None of it stays in the litter box - it all gets tracked on cat paws and onto me. I go through more pairs of socks than anyone I know because I have to change socks the second before I put on my shoes and walk out the door or I'm walking with sawdust in my shoes. Same with crawling into bed - remove socks first or that litter will be spread throughout the sheets and GROSS it's like sleeping with little bits of sawdust everywhere. Jalen sleeps in the pants drawer, Dominique in the sock drawer. Litter. Everywhere.
This stupid thing? The top and bottom don't seal, and since our cats are too old/lazy to squat when they pee, the pee goes out between the top and bottom and pools outside of the litterbox.
Maybe there's a way to build a step to get to the top of this.
is my ultimate dream, but with a larger box built around it with an outdoor mat type thing to take the litter off of their paws. Who has space for a litter center that's like 4-5 feet big??
What about cats that kick litter everywhere?

It's not just the litter and the cats causing me Home Distress.
I am just so tired of the clutter. I have piles of stuff everywhere and I just can't ever find where to put it. So it just lives along the edges of my house.
This is my house this morning:

Needs vacuuming. Rug used to be black
and white. Sean's chair never pushed in.

Mostly my mess.

Dining room/fish table always covered with stuff

Junk on the bathroom counter

Bar is ALWAYS covered with stuff. It's a Hot Spot.
Boxes that we packed a month ago just sitting there.

Hobbes under our bed.
Extremely angry with me.

Sean found this TV tray in the garage when we moved in. It lives in our bedroom.
That lampshade has an inch of hair/dust on it.

Piles of stuff by my bedside. Always.
And I HATE this old saggy ripped bed. It's GROSS.
(It's also cat puke alley here)

Piles and piles and piles...

and piles and piles.

Stupid Litterbox
Cat-owning readers - help me. I need advice for a litter system without making my cats into outdoor cats (we live on a busy corner).
Owners of psychologically bizarre cats - please tell me how to deal.
Hoarders/OCD/Perfectionist Slobs - tell me how to get rid of everything so I don't need a four-bedroom house just to hold my mess. I'm am overwhelmed.
Man, I thought this ranting would help but now I'm just shaky and mad.
And embarrassed.
I'm going to work now.
(Do you ever have days where you wish you could just call in sick so you could ball up and cry for an hour or so? Just to get it out? That's how I feel. And I'm not even in the right time of my cycle for this.)

Y'all can rest assured now. (Alternative Title: Now We'll Never Know)
The party has been cancelled. They may just go to a Mariners game instead.


Melissa & Wookie

Knitty Food
Friday evening - brought carrots and coconut cream pie (they cancel each other out) to Knitty Night at Melissa's. Ate WAY TOO MUCH. But I got some knitting done, so maybe that cancels each other out, too. Yeah. Probably not. Melissa has four cats, so I actually spent just as much time with the cats as my knitting.
Saturday I woke up at 8 and did pilates (thank you, thank you). Then I took a shower and got dressed up for Amy's shower (not super dressy, but more so than a usual Saturday). Left the house around 10 to meet the girls for more knitting at Starbucks, but came across my neighborhood's annual plant sale and ended up studying many plants, and walked away with five tomato plants that cost fifty cents each!
Went to Starbucks to knit - Check out Meredith's short haircut! I love it!
After that, I went to Office Depot to get more sheet protectors for Amy's Bridal Shower gift (the binder with printed recipes). Got to Amy's shower late, but it's just as well, so I didn't dominate the bridal shower games. It's not fair to the others.
Amy's shower was beautiful and she managed to rake in even more merchandise. She and Jon will have to build a kitchen with an amazing amount of cupboards and storage.
After Amy's shower, I had a hankering for doing some gardening, as I had these little tomato plants looking at me from the front seat of my car, so I went to Lowe's and spent $60 on flowers for the front flower bed, and veggie plants for the side driveway bed. Pictures forthcoming.
The reason I don't have pictures yet is because I ended up doing this gardening shit for about FIVE HOURS and still have more to go. And I don't want to show before and during pictures, I want to show before and LOOK! IT LOOKS BETTER NOW! pictures. I had to dig out all of the remaining, living hostas from the front flower bed and MAN! They put up a FIGHT! In the middle of this Sean is making chicken broth from the rotisserie carcass and on the phone constantly because a remaining Kinko's manager at his store got in a car accident and can't work. Did I mention that Kraig is no longer at Kinko's? That leaves two managers instead of FIVE.
But I digress....

Dawn's Bridal Shower
Sean and I decided to make Leftover-Rotisserie-Chicken and Asparagus Risotto and spent many hours in the kitchen prepping. Recipe and pictures forthcoming for that as well.
I'm forgetting something else I did that day, but I'm drawing a blank. Trust me. I was busy all day and night.
Sunday I also woke up early to do some stuff around the house before my sewing class at Stitches (pajama pants for Sean), and after class I went to get Dawn's third installment of her Bridal Shower gift, which was across from Old Navy.
You see where this is going, right?
Yes. I'm afraid so.
Only $50, but still. That's $50. But I needed t-shirts! And now I have them! And no! I didn't need super-short short-short orange shorts with the rainbow belt but now I have them! Even though they're super short but still make my butt sag. (Man, you guys, can we PLEASE stop it with the low-riders? When the pockets start below my butt it's really not flattering - especially since I'm low-waisted anyway. Thanks.)
Picked up Amy and we raced to Dawn's Bridal shower in Kent and got lost along the way - as in three cell phone calls and STILL couldn't find it. But we weren't the last ones there so we felt better about that. After Dawn's shower I had my lovely Sean time that we planned ahead for, which ended up being spent.... BATHING JALEN! Yayy! This time we worked out a system ahead of time and his white fur is sorta-kinda white again. And mint soap! Stronger than the coconut soap! Poor guy. He slept right against my neck last night which was a bit like sleeping with wet hair, but he purred a lot, so I think he appreciated it.
So in the end, I have a big batch of risotto, a back yard full of divided hostas in the shade where they belong, a flower bed full of flowers, another bed full of tomatoes, jalapenos, and cilantro (salsa, anyone?), a semi-clean cat, a knitting project finished and another half-way done, two bridal showers down, (OH! I just remembered what I forgot! While Sean and I were making risotto I was also making a big batch of homemade tahini dressing to combine with the Annie's Dressing), and some t-shirts from Old Navy.
It was a good weekend.

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