Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Cat-Trap Meme

So, you might have seen the meme floating around FB about the way to catch a cat.  Namely, you draw or create a circle on the floor--tape, rope, whatever--and the cat will sit in it, regardless of the fact that there is no actual object they're sitting in.  The explanation is that cats like small spaces, even suggested ones.

And so, I tried it.  With a stuffed snake.  And then a drawing on a posterboard.

Yes, I had a lot of time on my hands; I was home with a cold, drinking fluids, resting, and making chicken soup (I'm much better today.)

And the cats mocked me.

Until I caught one.

And the other cat mocked this one.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Damned Onions

What is it about our cat Albus that leads him to onions?

Onions, which you might not know, are very toxic to cats.  (Along with poinsettias and lilies and garlic and chocolate.)

He is fine.

But for the umpteenth time, he got hold of some onion skin that I had inadvertently left out (this time from cleaning out the veggie bin and forgetting his passion for onion skins.)  I heard the onion roll off the table from upstairs but didn't know that was it.  I found the abandoned but wet onion about 15 minutes later.

And had to call the ASPCA poison control yet again.   (888) 426-4435

Yep, I've called them about onion-eating before.

But I never know what the weight of the cat to amount of the onion ratio is.

Here we go, for next time:  in our 7 1/2 lb cat there is only danger after ingesting 1/4 oz (about the weight of one US quarter.)  That's actually a lot of papery onion skin.  Before that quarter ounce, there might be some upset stomach--we watch for vomiting and take food away for an hour; more than twice warrants another call to the hotline.  More than that quarter ounce might affect red blood cells, but even then there can be transfusions and other support.  (And they told me this time that onion skin vs. the onion flesh really isn't different in toxicity.)

But they don't expect him to be ill.

And he hasn't been any of those other times (I figure it's happened about 1 a year or so for his seven years.)

Still, stressful.

Makes me want to ban those damned onions.

Thank heavens for that ASPCA hotline though, just in case.

Picture This

We have a routine in our family now, when it comes to taking photos, especially of the kids together.  They pose nicely, sometimes even close enough to touch, if and only if I let them do a silly one, too.

Which usually means they pretend to pummel each other.

Here they are, waiting for the bus on picture day:

Monday, October 20, 2014

Thoughts and Prayers

For our friend on her birthday
On a friend's loss of her mother

And another friend who lost her mother (above the doodle, it says "May memories bring you . . . ."

And for a friend whose mother has a terminal illness

Mug Shot

Bud's new cartoon character, called, I think, Mugs.  He's even done a few comic strips.  


Sunday Photos

Lovely day for a drive in Connecticut.

Saturday Photos

Saturday was a beautiful New England autumn day.  We started it off with our usual kung fu/ice skating.  Then we went to Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.  It was . . . as corny as it's supposed to be, but with two leads who aren't really Broadway singers.  But we had fun.  

Then we headed to the orchards, once the rain stopped.  But the clouds and light made for great ambiance.  

And then we went for Tibetan, one of our favorite restaurants.  


Last-Weekend Photos

Here are some photos to and from Comic Con last weekend.  

The brick building on 38th where the carriage horses live. So sad. I'm for the ban.

SMAUG!  This was one of our favorite booths.  We bought some mini-Hobbit houses.  Bud posed with a cosplay Gandalf.
LOVED some of the t-shirts.  Here, fan girl.  
A t-shirt for Sis.
These made me laugh.

Thursday, October 16, 2014


We came to our senses and did not take in the two senior cats.


Their current owner is pursuing other options and we're only a last resort.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Historic Hell

UPDATE:  Why does it always rain on field trip days?  I think of the seven or so days of tours we've had, it's rained 6 times!!  This means damp kids (because they walk over, money being too short for a bus), lunch inside (oh, the smell of bologna sandwiches on a wet day!  It's like wet dog.), and no outdoor activities, so they don't get the full historic house experience AND are restless and extra noisy.  Do we have to make up the deficit in our annual rainfall in October???

Okay, it's not that bad.  But we have been having a few glitches with the historic house tours this season.  Volunteer shortage is always a challenge and this year is no different, but we're filling in the slots and I'll end up doing about half of them.  Almost a chance for me to wear all my different costume pieces!  (Though, if it doesn't cool off, I'll be wearing my vest instead of my bodices and one skirt instead of two!)

But there have been other things.  The biggest challenge has been our new activity:  making butter.  We talk about prepping for the winter and storing the harvest because there were green grocers. per se.  We used to string apple slices on string and hang them in the fireplace, talking about pie for breakfast and lunch and dinner so that Americans were called "pie eaters," but this year we're making butter.  Kid are fascinated to learn than a.) butter was not available all year long because cows don't naturally produce milk all year b.)  butter was salted to preserve it because there was no refrigeration (butter is still salted as a preservative--buy unsalted; it's fresher.)  c.) butter isn't naturally golden yellow, though it does have a faint yellow hue when it separates--real gold color is obtained using marigold petals and d.) YOU can make butter yourself.

Except it hasn't been working.  In theory, you shake heavy cream (not half and half or, heaven forbid, any low-fat project--you need the fat) in a container with some kind of agitator; this mimics the old-fashioned butter churn with the plunger-stick.   We started with glass jars with screw-top lids and marbles.  I even tested it with the kiddos--voila, butter in less than five minutes.  But on the very first day of tours, in the first class, the bottom of a glass jar just sheared right off, spraying cream, but luckily not glass, everywhere.  I guess there was a flaw in the glass, though I expect better of Ball jars.

Better safe than sorry, we switched to screw-top Ziploc snack containers, the kind in which my kids take apples to school.  But the plastic can't stand up to the use--perhaps it's the marble or the dice (or sometimes the Lego) hitting the plastic, but small cracks appeared in every single container, even on the first go-round.  I even bought a second round of containers, but, still, leakage.

We were going to go back to jars today, but there were two kids with dairy allergies so we returned to stringing apples.  Besides, the class was 45 minutes late, and apples are faster.  Still, the kids are fascinated by the butter and we'll return to that tomorrow.

But the late classes these last two days has been another headache.  Docents have to trim the tour, sometimes by as much as 45 minutes!  That's hard on the fly.  Especially after the kids have been inside all day and are noisy and restless (they go to another museum before us)--with the wet weather, they can't eat outside before the tour or play outside afterwards. (Today, one of the teachers had just given up, wouldn't even try to quieten the kids.) This causes chaos.

Especially with cream flying everywhere.