Quote of the Day

Actually it was from August, but, so...okay, I'll renomer (is that a word?) it:

Quote of August:

"Well, lookie here Pippi Longstockings -- I'm not going to quit whining. I'm going to whine as much as I want to. Go ahead -- pass some kind of namby pamby UN resolution to try to keep me whine free -- GO AHEAD. See if I care. I'm going to whine my way into the 22nd century full steam ahead, and you can't make me stop!
I reiterate:
So put that in your pipe and smoke it, senor and senora poopypants!"

This was a comment on the cobWeb Fafblog from "thepuppethead" who continued to whine in comment form throughout August.

Yes, yes, I know. Fafblog. I had to, I just HAD to check, just to see if there would be a Halloween treat waiting for me there, but alas! The last posting was STILL July 12, 2006. I know, I KNOW I should let it go and move on with my life, but it's so HARD! I mean, I'm a Leo. I'm loyal to the death. Shannon is counting on my being loyal to the death. Rev wouldn't have married me to Shannon if he wasn't certain that I'll be loyal to the death. The Meiers-Briggs says I'm loyal to the death. Even the Peepster's Greek Mythology Personality Test says I'm fiercely loyal (Daedalus) to the death (implied). So, because I'm fiercely loyal and maybe more than slightly tenacious, and add to that a touch of (healthy! I swear!) obsession, I found myself scrolling through the 332 comments (I didn't read them all! I swear!) attached to Fafblog's last entry, the last of which was posted:


There's a commenter who goes by "An Enquiring Mind" who is currently posting a knock-knock joke in the comments. And s/he's the only one answering. So don't tell ME I have a problem! HA HA!! There's someone out there who's even worse than I am!!

So, though obviously I'm having a hard time saying "goodbye" to Fafnir, Medium Lobster and most of all Giblets; there are several, SEVERAL who have been visiting on a regular basis chatting amongst themselves while trying to coax the three back to blogdom. One of them has created an "I MISS FAFBLOG!" blogspot of his or her own.


One of the comments that made me laugh out loud:

"Dear Fafnir,
You suck. I hate you.
Regards, Bob."

Sums up my feelings pretty good.

I DO miss Fafblog. *sniff* *tear*

But not enough to rename mine to anything other than Orange!

OrangeMoJoJo Declares on France....

...for killing Halloween!

Whether you plan to spend it trolling through Justice, IL for Resurrection Mary (above), braving a truly haunted house, carving a pumpkin, reading scary stories by candlelight, or simply handing out treats and doling out tricks to the neighborhood kids, I hope you have a frightfully fun Halloween!


The Official "Be OrangeMoJoJo's Muse!" Contest!

Clio, you know, just thinkin'.

November is National Novel Writing Month and Mugsy has challenged me (or is using me as a motivator - I'm not sure which but I sure took the bait!) to write a novel with a minimum of 50,000 words by the end of November. Thing is, I don't have a CLUE as what to write about. I mean, I've consulted the original Muses and they are giving me all kinds of ideas, but none of them really appeal to me.

Clio believes I should write some historical fiction, maybe something on the Templars, but the research involved....I only have a month! Granted, of the muses, she's had the best idea so far. I really need to get off my butt and start researching, why not use this novel challenge as a vehicle for doing so?

Calliope (above) is of the mind that I should write an epic along the lines of The Odyssey.

Urania thinks I should write a space odyssey.

Thalia thinks I should write a story set in a glorious country setting.

Euterpe thinks I should write the story entirely in verse so I can set it to music (Calliope thinks this is a grand idea and has agreed to collaborate).

Erato, well, I really can't write what she thinks I should write a story about, so it goes without saying that if I can't even print the premise here, I'm not going to be able to sustain an entire novel.

Salma Hayek as Muse in Dogma. I asked the Muses what they thought of her interpretation.
Their responses:
"I would NEVER allow myself to be seen wearing that in public! remarked Melpomene dourly,
"Yeah! Why on earth would she cover up her breasts like that?" replied Erato.

Melpomene wants to collaborate with Thalia and write a Bronte-esque novel. Also intriguing, but we really can't afford my flying over and living in the Dartmoor for the next month when it's at its bleakest.

Polyhymnia was too busy coaching Hildegaard of Bingen on some new harmonies (they're gorgeous!), and Terpsicore was doped up on meclizine after making herself dizzy again. The coherent parts of her suggestion - something to do with a goat, a dancing parasol and a clever Brazilnut - sounded too close to Planter's signature peanut to risk the lawsuit. I don't believe the prize for winning this contest would cover the court costs.

So once again, I need your suggestions! Make them as banal, bizarre or off the wall as you want. If I use any of them, even if used in combination with others, I'll send you a prize of your own, regardless of whether or not I win!


Halloween Weekend is a SCARY TIME for the 49ers!

The Bears play the whiner-49ers on Sunday - a game that Shannon and I have, of course, bet on - Shannon being a 49ers fan and myself a Bears fan. When the Bears win I get an order of CHEESE FRIES at Portillos! If the 49ers win, Shannon will have to first pinpoint the alternate universe in which it happened. If he can successfully do so, I will have to take him to dinner at The Red Lion Pub and sing a Bears Loser song while dancing an animated Bears Loser dance.

Let's just say I haven't been practicing.

As if things didn't look bad ENOUGH for the 49ers, the Bears will be bringing themselves some (unnecessary, I'm sure!) extra mojo and will also be making the game even MORE watchable to OrangeMoJoJo by wearing:


From Chalk Talk at ChicagoBears.com:

Larry: Are the Bears going to wear orange jerseys this year? If so, what game? I like them!

Sheldahl, Iowa

Ted: I believe that the Bears are going to wear their orange jerseys against the San Francisco 49ers for the second straight season Oct. 29 at Soldier Field. The highlight of last year's game was provided by Nathan Vasher, who set a record for the longest play in NFL history with a 108-yard TD return of a missed field in a 17-9 victory over the 49ers.

I've already decided what I want the next time Shannon and I bet on something and I win. He'd better choose his next bet very carefully!

Look on the bright side, Shannon! The Portillos we'll be going to is located just a few blocks away from the most wickedly awesome decorated haunted house I've ever seen! The fright will help dull your pain, though I'd think, being a 49ers fan and all, you'd be numb to this sort of thing by now....?


Happiness Time Bomb Kitty

Usually my morning procrastination frustrates me to no end - I always find JUST ONE MORE THING to do before I leave, but I was thankful for my difficulty in adhering to time constraints on Wednesday morning. I was also thankful that I didn't feed Oscar before my shower when he was crying for food (again), but decided to wait until just before I left for work so he wouldn't have to wait QUITE as long until his next feeding (when Shannon returned home 'round 5PM). I was all ready to go, as usual, I was ALMOST on time, and the last thing I had to do was feed OzKat. I pulled out a fresh dish and shook the packet from the top so all the food settled at the bottom - an action in itself that usually brings him running - but he didn't come. I filled his dish and called him - no answering ascending thunder of quick paws on hardwood floors. Needless to say, I knew immediately something was wrong, even though not 20 minutes before he had been calling for food.

I went looking for him and found him under the bed in our back bedroom lying very still. After a few moments of hysteria in separate room so as not to alarm Oscar, I called work, called the vet, and called Shannon while wrapping Ozzie in a warm towel and bringing him up front where it was warmer, brighter, and we could both sit comfortably. I held him there for about an hour - he didn't appear to be in any distress, but he was incredibly still - just talking to him and petting him. Shannon advised I give him some Karo syrup - he had diabetes and had suffered a hypoglycemic attack two weeks ago resulting in a trip to the Kitty E.R., and though the Karo revived him enough to start purring up a storm, and stimulated his muscles enough where he could get more comfortable, he never regained his strength. Now, we knew he didn't have long, but we'd only found out conclusively on Monday that his diagnosis - in addition to his diabetes - was liver (and possibly pancreatic) cancer. His liver was about four sizes too large. I can't believe how quickly he declined after that diagnosis, but I am thankful we knew what we were dealing with and what to expect.

Oscar T. Kitty and Shannon snoooooozing on the futon

Oscar was a fabulous cat. I got him about 5 years ago when Earl's (my other kitty) then-vet's technician, knowing I was a sucker for strays (all of my animals have been strays (cats) or "hand-me-downs" (ferrets)), advised me there was a cat patient of theirs who would soon be in need of a home. His biped was an elderly woman who would be moving to Oregon to live with her son who had 7 cats of his own and didn't want to take on hers, too, so she wanted to find him a good home before she moved. I had very little intention of taking in another cat, but agreed to meet Oscar, who was then named "Stripe". Stripe and I hit it off immediately. He had his biped trained to open a can of food at the first syllable of the shortest "meow," and though I knew I'd have to break him of that demanding little habit, I also knew I was taking him home and renaming him Oscar Wilde for his confidence, attitude, and ability to command a room with little to no effort.

Oscar on "Shannon's" chair - or so he let Shannon believe.

Little did I know that I'd have given my left arm to see him eat half as lustily not 2 years later as he had when I first got him. Turns out he was one sick kitty. He had a heart murmer that was a "time bomb" according to one vet. And his blood was wily - it took 2 years to positively diagnose his diabetes. By that time he was all skin and bones and patchy fur with absolutely no appetite. He'd only eat because we begged him to. When I first moved in with Shannon, Oscar was at death's door and his second vet - this one out in Mt. Prospect - was stumped. "Inconclusive" would have been a good back-up name for Oscar - all of his tests came back that way. Dr. Gil, a wonderful vet at A Central North Animal Hospital in Mount Prospect for those of you northwest suburb dwellers - finally concluded that Oscar's blood sugar level had been consistently rising. At this particular visit it was over 500, and he wanted to try Oscar on insulin - 2 units twice a day. Though Oscar's appetite didn't return right away, whenever he heard one of us open a can of food he'd come running, knowing it was time for the injection that was helping him feel better. Eventually his appetite did return with a vengeance though he never exceeded 8 pounds.

Anyone who has met Oscar knows how confident and friendly he was. He LOOOOOVED to be petted, but didn't need to be the center of attention. He loved being petted so much he'd forget he was eating, or would come out of a full snoooze to stand up and get the most out of the petter. If he didn't feel you'd petted him long enough he would grab your hand by the wrist and guide it back to his head with his paw- a game that kept Shannon amused for countless hours. He loved getting his belly rubbed so much he occasionally fell off the bed or couch he was being scritched on - his desire to be scritched far outweighing his sense of mortality. If you held our hand out above his head, he'd jump to rub his hand on it. Sometimes he'd do that if you were just standing with your hands at your sides.

Though he was an excellent birder/mouser (I found at least a dozen mice and birds on the stairs at my parents', often with a pround Oscar sitting over his gift), Oscar held a terror of cat toys with bird feathers on them. Perhaps he felt they were his prey come back to haunt him.

Oscar looking over The Sparrow, waiting patiently for the promised bird to show itself.

Oscar was definitely a one-cat-kitty. He didn't mind other cats living in his house, just didn't want anything to do with them. When I got him, I already had Earl who is an EXTREMELY neurotic cat. At the time, I was living in my parents' condo and Earl would have to be on my lap AT ALL TIMES. If Oscar somehow got up there, Earl, the big bully, would his and growl at him and force Oscar down. OzzKat didn't mind - he just bode his time until he could exact his revenge. One night, I was reading in bed on my side with Earl curled up under the covers against my tummy. Oscar jumped on the bed, landing squarely on the hidden Earl. Earl let out a surprised yelp. Oscar jumped to my other side, then off the bed. Then back on the bed, over me and onto Earl, who let out another yelp. Oscar jumped up onto Earl, over me and off the bed... *thump*"YELP!"*thump*thump*.....*thump*thump*"YELP!"*thump*....*thump*"YELP!"*thump*thump*
This went on about 4 times before Earl finally vacated his spot and Oscar snuggled in his spot at the curve of my back. From then on Oscar slept at my back and Earl at my tummy. Good thing I don't move - at ALL - in my sleep! Later on I moved back in with my parents who had 2 cats of their own. I also had 2 of my ferrets by this time. Oscar, much to my mother's chagrin, could be found any time of day squarely in the center of the dining room table. He wanted to be away from the other animals, but squarely in the center of the bipeds worlds. If you tossed him off the table, like a paddleball he'd spring right back up. You could toss him off 70 times and he wouldn't bat a whisker, maybe just sigh heavily and squint at you.

Oscar, Oscar Wilde Toxic Kitty, Platinum Kitty, OzzKat, Oscar Poo Kitty,
Boojah (not the nasty "urban" definition of "boojah," just a nonsense word my friend Cle made up) Kitty, StinkKat Oscar T. Kitty, Stripe, Punkin' Kitty, FuzzButt, Sphinx Cat

Almost exactly a year ago, Shannon was at Shecky's watching the Chicago-Niners game. I took the opportunity to pick up the hassock that matched his wedding gift - The World's Comfiest Chair. As soon as I got it home and out of it's wrapping I knew there was going to be trouble. Oscar sauntered over from whereever he'd been snoozing - he had the best walk, by the way, paw over paw like a runway model, NEVER in any hurry - sharpened his non-existant claws on the hassock, and hopped on. It was the beginning of a war that lasted for months - the war between Shannon and Oscar over the glider hassock. Every so often Oscar would grudgingly allow himself to be nudged to one side allowing Shannon's feet to occupy the other, but usually he's perch himself dead-center and close his eyes as though he were sleeping and not to be disturbed. Shannon would never shove him off. I also bought Shannon a triangle from a nearby toy shop to use when he was too comfy to get up from his chair. The ONLY time he used it was when Oscar was sitting on his lap. Though OzzKat loved to be near his bipeds - up until the last 2 months or so he could almost always be found in the same room as one of us, or sitting directly between us in the hallway if one of us was in the front room and the other in the kitchen - rarely did he use us as furniture. When he did, 9 times out of 10 it was Shannon who loved Oscar as much as I did. Shannon's ringing of the triangle was absolutely and completely justified.

Though we knew the end was near, and though he was never in any distress from the time I found him until we brought him to the vet, putting Oscar down yesterday was incredibly sad, and the sadness still lingers. We're going to miss being awakened at 4AM with loud, staccato "MEOW!"s, and greeted after work with loud, staccato "MEOW!"s. Thank all of you who ever took care of Oscar: Peepster and Papa Schuetter and Naomi who dosed him whenever we were away, and Drs. Gil and de la Navarre - the most amazing vet, in my opinion, on the planet. Just one example: Dr. de la Navarre startled us out of bet at 11PM one day last week to tell us Oscar's AGAIN "inconclusive", lab results. He had shipped the results off to 4 colleagues around country to determine whether their conclusions aligned with his. As soon as the last one called back - from California - he couldn't wait until the next morning to let us know he didn't think Oscar had FIP after all. His staff and his wife, Tracy, another veterinarion on staff, are also wonderful. They each came in to wish Oscar goodbye and offer their condolences as we were holding him. Oscar had made an impression on all of them. Thank you again, Peepster, for introducing us to "Dr. Byron". He made us know, without telling us directly, that we were doing the right thing in putting Oscar down.

Thank you, Oscar, for choosing us as your bipeds. We were so, SO lucky to know you!



Dinner Companion

Sunday was my seeeeeeeeeester, MaBob's, birthday, so we took her out to a lovely Italian restaurant in Glenview called Cafe Lucci for dinner. The food was great (I had the scampi - YUM!!!), the Australian shiraz Shannon picked out was lovely, and the price after Momster (via Papa Schuetter) picked up the tab (2/3 of the tip!) was amazingly cheap for the quality of the food and the service.

On our way out the first time (I had to return to retrieve the leftover containers I'd forgotten on the table, so there was indeed a second time), I noticed the occupants of the table that had been seated next to us. There was a man in his, say, 40s and his two kids sitting at a 4-top, leaving the head of the table unoccupied. Or so it appeared at first glance. There was an occupant at the head of the table. Seated to the left of the 40-something male, was...

a black Motorola RAZR.

Now, I realize these phones are expensive. People feel all flash with 'em. They're sleek. They're cool. They're eyecatching - heck, I noticed it! They don't eat much so you can take them to the trendiest, most expensive restaurants without running up your tab. But in my opinion, it's totally rude to have your cell phone occupying any spot on the table when you're out to eat or even when you're eating in. I don't care if the two kids at the table were his kids and he sees them every day, it's disrespectful to them, his having his RAZR "sitting" next to him, it's black casing starkly visible against the pristine white of the tablecloth. It seemed as though he were anticipating a call, ANY call, that he would, of course, HAVE to take, being an important person and all, thus giving his children the impression that anyone on the other end of the line is more interesting than they are. For one, any caller is announced with a catchy tune and brightly flashing lights!

Now, it is possible that he was expecting a call, maybe even a very important call, maybe his wife is in the hospital and he's awaiting any news and that's why she's not at dinner. However, I see cell phones on tables ALL THE TIME, and I'm pretty sure that at the very least most of the tweens who sport 'em tabletop aren't expecting a call from the missus. I can almost hear him talking to his golf buddy, "Hey Rick! Yeah, we're at dinner! Cafe Lucci! Fine, fine. Everything's great. My son's sitting here moping again, though. You should see him glaring at me across the table! What a mope. I can hardly get a word out of him. He's in that "my dad's so embarrassing" phase, and Linny's sitting here dressed like a tramp - honestly, what was Margaret thinking when she bought her this outfit? She's only 8! Hey, Rick, let me call you back. Linny's crying and making a scene again. Yeah! *laugh!* Kids! Alright, I'll see you at 7! Bah!"

UNLESS he was expecting a call from the hospital and was terrified he'd miss it, that phone should have been turned OFF or at LEAST set to "vibrate" and tucked away in his jacket pocket. Heck, he could set it to "vibrate" and put it in his pants' pocket if he wanted a little unexpected excitement.

Cell phones - on tables, in use, or even visible in restaurants - Yet another display of rudeness and disrespect that I'm finding to be alarmingly on the rise in the Chicagoland area - especially the north suburbs. Don't get me started on the drivers in Northbrook. OMG. Let me just warn you to stay far far away of the Village Square of Northbrook's parking lot. I have to brave it once every week or two to get to the PetSmart, and just turning into it raises my blood pressure about 40 points....Luckily my blood pressure is almost dangerously low, so this is a good thing.

The ONLY cell phone that warrants a spot ON the table, yes, at ANY restaurant is.....

the ORANGE!! Motorola PEBL.

Shalene's Shortest Bet EVER!

aka: "If You Blinked, You Missed It!"

aka: "JoJo Needs A New Pair of Boots!"

Late last week Shannon and I *gasp!* made a bet. (I know!!! Shocking!!). Okay, it was more of a pact really, with bet-like outcomes. We have been HORRIBLE about going to the gym (mainly thanks to Buffy the Vampire Slayer ("Just ONE MORE EPISODE! I SWEAR I can turn it off ANY TIME!! C'mon!!!!!")), so we decided (again) to challenge ourselves and eachother by agreeing to go to the gym 3 times a week. The twist? UNLESS we went three times a week, we wouldn't get to eat ANY junk food. This is similar to the bet we made LAST month dubbed by Rev as "the stupidest bet ever," but with a twist: as long as we were good and went to the gym, we could eat ANYTHING WE WANTED. We could even eat junk food starting on Sundays on credit with the understanding that if we didn't go to the gym three times that week, we'd lose the bet. Oh, and we couldn't go twice in one day, like, before and after work. That would be cheating. And we defined the weeks as beginning on Sunday and ending on Saturday. This is key to the whole noshing on credit thing. If I lost, I'd owe Shannon a weekend at Chanticleer. If HE lost, I would get a pair of shoes at Traipse. I know, Chanticleer versus a pair of BOOTS???? *sigh* Unless you're LaLa, you just couldn't understand my boot fetish. I would die a very happy woman if I could just find the pair Eddie Izzard is wearing below. I have a feeling that he shares my large calf affliction.
So why is it I was able to eat a hunk of chocolate mousse cake last night without concern for losing the bet, you ask? It was only Monday! I couldn't possibly have gone to the gym three times, even if I had cheated and went more than once in a day.... Sure I could have been eating cake on credit (sounds like a good band name - Cake on Credit), but would I risk that?


But that's not what happened!I have lost so many bets in a ROW to Shannon, including the one where I would have SWORN that Derek Jacobi was in that "Gethsemane" episode of Babylon 5, or the time I bet that the allosaurus was larger than the tyrannosaurus, not to MENTION losing last month's bet by eating a taste of ice cream no bigger than a peanut, I just have to backtrack to Saturday and revel in this win! It may never happen again!

Saturday we went to the GRAND OPENING OF THE NEWEST CENTRAL BARK LOCATION in Grayslake to wish our friends Laura and Kevin THE BEST OF LUCK!!! Judging from the turnout on Saturday, they're going to do really well. Shannon and I were really impressed with their space - it's bright and HUGE and sports lots of ORANGE! On the way home, I decided to get off at the exit for Long Grove Village to take Shannon to the Apple Haus, located on Coffin Rd. - how tres Halloween-y! - for a mini carmel apple pie. I was planning on eating one on Sunday on credit. Little did I know I wouldn't have to wait that long!

Long Grove is a really neat place full of unique shops located in barns and old houses. It's worth a visit - if you can find it (I ALWAYS get lost trying to find it! I kind of circle around it in an ever-closing spiral until "HEY! There's the covered bridge! WHEW!"). We wandered about the shops, found a really cool furniture store where Shannon found the Christmas gift he wants from my brother, and we of course had to pay a visit to the Long Grove Confectionary, even though neither of us planned on buying anything there.

We each wandered in a different direction in the Confectionary and met back up near the door. Near the back of the store, by the registers, they were giving away free samples of chocolate covered prezels. I had to catch myself from trying to grab a piece, which would have cost me the bet. What a drag that would be - losing two bets in a row for eating a tiny bit of junk food.

Isn't it Shannon? A drag I mean? You see, Shannon popped a tiny piece of chocolate-covered pretzel - not even a whole pretzel, not even a QUARTER of the size of a mini-pretzel - into his mouth before realizing what he was doing, and thereby lost the bet. I lost the last bet with only 24 hours to go, and he lost not two days into it. We've both got the best willpower when it comes to junk food, and each lost from ingesting the smallest amount. We're well matched, my man and I!I honestly don't intend to collect on this bet. It just makes me happy to have won for almost exactly the same tiny amount of junk food I'd lost for last time (how poetic!!!). If I did choose to collect, though, I'd be tempted to opt for these Shan-tastic boots for the name alone! Too bad they can't spell!


The Official Entries for the "Scare the Bejeebus Outta OrangeMoJoJo" Contest!

Eternal Silence - Graceland Cemetery, Chicago

I may not finish all of these stories by Halloween, but as soon as I do I'll declare a winner. I'm of the mind that, like my birthday, Halloween should last at least 2 months.

I'll be judging the scariest from among the following books (I only chose one per contestant - that way there's plenty left over for next year!

Chuffed: House of Leaves - Mark Danielewski

your first choice,
They Thirst by Robert McCammon, is unfortunately out of print. I'll track it down for next year, and take your second choice - The Haunting of Hill House - Shirley Jackson - instead.

Mu: The Turn of the Screw - Henry James

'DER: In Cold Blood - Truman Capote

Ghost Story - Peter Straub

To warm up I've been reading a Poe story every day at lunch (I've got a pretty strong stomach!). Next week I'll start on Lovecraft.

Confidential to Mu: You totally got me back for that decapitated cat video by recommending
The Black Cat by Poe!! The guy terrorizes his beautiful, loving cat, then puts it's eyes out, then kills it by hanging it!!! Why do you hate me?!?!?

Confidential to Morita: I hope you remember the name of that story for next year! Sounds way creepy!

Gacy's "Pogo" was scarier than King's "Pennywise."
He may have killed more people, for one... Real ones.
DANG, I hate clowns!! *shudder!!!*

Thank you all for your suggestions! There were many on the list I've "wanted to get around to...." and now I have an excuse, and a few I've never even heard of. I'm sure at least one of them cause me to leave the lights on!


Grand Opening Event at the NEWEST Central Bark Location!





My friend Laura and her boyfriend Kevin have dumped the 9-5 and have taken the risk of starting their own business doing something that they love - watching dogs. If you or anyone you know lives in the Grayslake area, and you would sleep easier knowing your canine family member was being watched while you were at work, don't miss their GRAND OPENING EVENT next Saturday, October 21 from noon-4pm. If you don't have a dog and have a good home to offer one, Save-a-Pet will be hosting an Adopt-a-Thon so you can adopt a dog who needs a home! Then sign up for Doggy Day Care with Laura and Kevin! Everybody wins!




There will be food and a doggie Halloween costume contest, so bring your socialized best friend hungry and dressed to kill!


Laura and Kevin were recently written up in their local newspaper, the scanned copy of which I've inserted below:



What's That Catchy Tune I'm Hearing Faintly in the Back of My Brain...?

Could it be...? Don't you think it's too soon, really, to start hoping....?

20 years later and Steve Fuller's still a dork.

Actually, Ditka, we don't seem to need you back, but thanks anyway!

Here are some highlights from the 1985 Bears Season, because Shannon can't get enough of them, despite his highly vocal and emphatic and frequent claims to the contrary.


It was the best of weekends, it was the worst of weekends...

Like Shannon has already written, this past weekend started out wonderfully. My psychometrician coworker (don't ask me what a psychometrician does. It has something to do with statistics and probability and, from the occasional whiff of patchouli eminating from her office, the black arts) had given us her two tickets to the Member Appreciation event at the Lyric Opera on Friday night, so we got to see Renee Fleming for free! The Tchaikovsky was my favorite. Saturday we woke up early and headed for the Co-op Book Sale in Hyde Park with Rev and Evandebacle where we scored like Ewan McGregor in Trainspotting, only our high will last well beyond next years' sale seeing as we've barely touched LAST years' take.
Renton looking miserable for having missed the
Co-op Book Sale in favor of shooting skag.

After the book sale was bocce in Winnemac Park (Shannon was the big winner! Must have been the magnets in the palino and the green bocce balls...) followed by a dinner of Indian food at Passage of India with Shecky and Shivvs. Shivvs was practicing some sexy voodoo mojo during the bocce game that I tried to mimic to improve my own game only to wake up with sore thighs the next morning. We left the Square after dinner feeling tired, but content in a day well spent.

As soon as we walked in the door we knew something was wrong. Oscar never leaves a mess - not even when he's really REALLY mad that we haven't fed him in a long time - ie: over 4 minutes. As I was cleaning up, Shannon took him to the other couch to get him away from the stinky cleaning product only to realize Oz was really really weak and floppy. He asked me calmly if Oscar's vet was still open, and I immediately started calling around for an animal ER open at 10PM on a Saturday night. We found one not 10 minutes away on Clybourn off of Western and Belmont. Luckily, Clybourn STARTS at Western and Belmont, so I didn't have to decide which way to turn - there was only one way. Oscar started convulsing just as the technician brought us into the room. He was severely hypoglycemic - they couldn't even get a blood sugar reading. We were SO relieved about 5 minutes later when the tech brought us into the back to see Oscar standing up and looking for food. The vet, Dr. Klein, wanted to monitor Oscar overnight, so we had to leave him with instructions to the staff to refrain from feeding him anything but chicken - EVERYTHING else makes him puke, but he'll eat ANYTHING. Even mushrooms.

The next morning, I couldn't wait for the vet to call, so I waited until a reasonable hour - 10 AM ( I wanted to call at 7 - hey! They're a 24-hour facility!) - to call and check in. The vet said Oscar was still doing well but they'd discovered his stomach was distended, so they wanted to do some investigating. Turns out his tummy is full of fluid. They drew some off and Oscar's regular vet - Dr. de la Navarre whom we can't thank Evandebacle enough for introducing us to - drew some more (a total of 25 cc's!) on Tuesday to send off to the lab for analysis. Whatever it is, it isn't good. Best case scenario - we get to bring him in to be drained every so often. GROSS! But whatever it takes....! Worst case scenario, and the one Dr. Klein suspects, Oscar has FIP - a fatal kitty disease caused by a coronavirus that progresses rapidly once the tummy starts swelling with fluid. We are hoping like mad it's the former, but even though his appetite is voracious, he's weak in the back legs and seems a bit disoriented at times. We're trying not to hover too much, but for the first few days after we brought him home one of us would check on him in the middle of the night. We'll know more when the results from all of the tests come in - sometime tomorrow. Tests for FIP are inconclusive, but at least everything else can be ruled out, or maybe we'll be surprised to find something more benign! I can't help hoping!

Tuesday was a really really hard day, and I don't want to experience anything like it for at least... 10 years. For some reason it's hitting me hardest today, and I don't know why - could be the snow, could be the weight of it all. Shannon attributes referring to pets as "happiness time bombs" due to their relatively short lifespans to Rev, and I can easily see him making that poignant observation, so I'm crediting him with it, too. Unless you own a turkey buzzard or a giant tortoise, you're most likely going to outlive your pets. I've had a great many pets throughout my life, but I've never had to personally put one to sleep - until Tuesday.

Chart depicting the Riordan state 'o' mind
Blue:Oscar, Red:JoJo, Yellow: Shannon
If you continued the red line, you'd end up at 95th.
Seriously, I fully expect that line to be creeping upwards very soon.
Today's just, for some reason, kicking my ass. "UNCLE!!!"

I got Donnatella and Umberto from a friend at my old job when she found she couldn't take care of them and play with them often enough, what with work and her new college classes. I offered to take them, having owned ferrets in the past that I had had to give away upon going to college, so I could relate to her predicament. I'd always found ferrets to be delightful pets.

Donnatella sucking down a cold one.

Donnatella has been deaf since birth, and earned her name, Donnatella Versace, from her white blonde fur and serious attitude, exhibited most clearly when she wanted OUT!!! of her cage, and would grip the bars with her teeth and try to pry them apart by shaking them violently. Once out of the cage, she was calmer than her "brother," Umberto. She was content to poke around, eat from the cat dish and drink from the cat's water. My cat Earl realized early that you should never, EVER try to point out, no matter how gently, that the food is not hers. After their initial meeting, he followed her at a safe distance and watched her warily. You see, during their first encounter, Donnatella was lying on the floor with her little arms at her sides, stretched out full as if sunbathing. Earl came up to her curiously, sniffed her, sat down in front of her and curled his tail around his front paws. It was so cute. He sat there watching her, head cocked, and Donnatella reached forward with her head, seemed to yawn mightily with her mouth wide open, and clamped onto Earl's tail with her jaws. With her arms still flopping at her sides and without the slightest indication of distress or alarm, Donnatella clung to Earl's tail as he ran full-tilt from room to room, wailing from the diaphragm.

If you lost track of Donnatella, and she wasn't in her cage an hour after you'd let her out, all you had to do to find her was look for any article of fabric - a rag, shirt, or blanket - on the floor or low couch. Shake out any clothing lying on the on the floor, and see which article she fell out of. I'd set these preferred articles about as 'Donnatella traps' so that she'd be easier to find after her hour of play time. Umberto always outlasted her at playtime.

When I attained Max from another coworker after moving back home, Donnatella would often act as a decoy, distracting me from where the real trouble was taking place. Max and Umberto would stealthily run up the stairs and get into, well, everything, while Donnatella made a holy racket on the first floor. You see, if you own ferrets, or you live with Shannon, you learn quickly that when it's quiet, they're up to something. Something bad. Or they're asleep, but you can't take that chance. Donnatella would make sure Umberto and Max had ample time to check out whatever they had to by making the racket of three ferrets. Donnatella made up for this ability to raise such a commotion by sleeping like the dead. Literally. I can't count the times I had to poke her because I couldn't see her breathing, and the position she was sleeping in could not possibly be comfortable..could it?? Like the countless times she'd be sleeping on her back in the hammock with her head flopped over the side at an impossible angle, or in the CuddleCup underneath Max and Umberto with no visible access to air.

Donnatella was my parents' favorite ferret - maybe even my mom's favorite pet. My mom could be in the foulest or mosty unhappy of moods, and within seconds of letting the ferrets out, she'd be laughing out loud at their antics. Especially Donnatella. She had a gift for making my mom giggle, and she often caught Donnie and tried to snuggle her for as long as she'd let her. I once bought a ferret sweater with an egg embroidered on it for Donnatella to wear on Easter. I was going to dress her in the sweater and put her in Momster's basket. I believe the sweater lasted, oh, 14 seconds before being shred to bits by Donnatella. It apparently was a Versace knock-off.

A ferret that was obviously paid a LOT of raisins to look this happy in a sweater.
Donnatella's lasted about 14 seconds.

Donnie developed adrenal tumors - benign or cancerous, it's hard to tell without a biopsy - that almost all ferrets develop if they live long enough. We brought her to Dr. de la Navarre - one of the few exotic pet vets in the city. She was at least 9 - remarkably old for a ferret (they usually live from 5-7 years). We treated her with monthly Lupron injections which worked STUNNINGLY well for almost a year, but the tumors came back and either grew so large that they were pinching her nerves, or she had developed diabetes as well which caused her to completely lose the use of her legs. Whatever the case, she couldn't walk - couldn't do much of anything. Umberto took care of her best he could by making sure she had food and using himself as a blanket to keep her warm (this was the most heartbreaking part - thinking how much Umberto would miss her), but we had to make the heartbreaking decision of putting her down. Shannon and I stayed with her throughout the process, which was as peaceful as it could be, though I hated, HATED having to make that decision. I would be a totally SUCKY god. The planet would be overrun with ferrets and cats, yet wonderfully mosquito-free....

I want to thank Shannon for adopting my crazy pets and loving them as much as I do, and for making sure I wasn't alone during any of this. You've taken excellent care of our pets, not to mention of me! I also want to thank Rev, Momster, and Papa Schuetter for all the extra time you spent with Donnatella, and Dr de la Navarre and Mitch for the excellent care you've given Ms Versace, and thank you, Sandie, for the hug.


Quote of the Day

Credit: M.

"He even attended a meeting he wasn't even at!"

The Official "Scare the Living Bejeebus Outta OrangeMoJoJo!!" Contest!

I've had my own little twisted tradition every Halloween every year since high school where I'll read a scary book - by candlelight - starting the evening of the 30th and ending somewhere in the wee hours of early Halloween. I don't always get the entire book read - ie: I started reading Stephen King's IT somewhere around mid-September and finished it during the playoffs -Go Bills! Oh, never mind... - but I love to be reading something extra-scary on and around Halloween. Thing is, I haven't got an idea for a book to read this year. I need your help. If I'm not terrified on Halloween, the whole year's a bust, and since since grade school my year officially starts Labor Day weekend and NOT on January 1st, I have a LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONG way to go. I need your recommendations.

What is the scariest book you've ever read or heard about? While I'm open to horror novels, books about true crime and biographies (ie: The Family by Ed Sanders), I would probably not read anything political. I don't want my initial terror to be followed by a month and a half of profound depression. If you suggest a book and I read it and am truly scared, I'll send you a treat (no trick!). Since I'm a pretty fast reader and Halloween is my thang, I may read more than one book this month, so keep those entries a-comin'! Thank you in advance for scaring the crap out of me. I really appreciate it.

Halloweens Past Reading List (not in any particular order):

The Monk
The Keep
The Amityville Horror
The Family
Pet Semetary
The Exorcist
The Minister's Black Veil & Young Goodman Brown
The Pit and the Pendulum, The Telltale Heart, The Gold Bug, The Masque of the Red Death,
and the Cask of Amontillado


OrangeMoJoJo Loses "Stupidest Bet Ever!"

And not in a cool way, like, having been hypnotized by an evil magician at a carnival and forced to eat cotton candy, or abducted by aliens who had been studying Shannon so they believed that all humans ate nothing but chocolate so that's all they had on board the mothership for me to eat, or I was tempted by the most awesome dessert ever - one that only appeared once in a lifetime like Brigadoon, or even that I went to a restaurant for a committee dinner and we were locked in by the staff who turned out to be cult members who worshipped sweets so I had to eat a dessert to try and convince the busboys I was one of the cult members, too, or they'd sacrifice me and my committee to the dishwasher gods.

Oh no.

Shannon and I have been determined to eat healthier and get all fit. After trying for months to do it on our own, we decided to resort to the most effective method we've found so far:

We bet on it.

We'd bet that aside from our anniversary, neither of us could eat junk food for the month of September. The bet would have ended at midnight on Saturday, September 30th, but it ended almost EXACTLY 24 hours earlier. We'd already thrown in the towel and called it a draw - neither of us even WANTED junk food. Heck, I STILL don't and the bet's over!

Stupid Blogger. (That has nothing to do with the bet, just wanted to throw that in there again as I notice it's "not communicating with the outside world" again.)

Here's what happened: Shannon and I arrived at Eevam's in Michigan
just after midnight on the 29th. She was all ready to go to bed when we arrived. We said our goodnights, and started downstairs to the guest room. Shannon was on his way downstairs when this transpired.

"Jo! You have to try this!" she said, opening the freezer. "I bought it just for you. It is SOOOO good!"

"No thanks, Eevam! I can wait another day! I'll see you in the morning."

*opening container lid* "You can have a bowl full tomorrow, but you just HAVE to try it so you know what you're in for!"

"No, thanks, really! I'm sure it's wonderful, but I'll have the bowl full tomorrow."

*pulling out a spoon* "Just a taste. This is wonderful! It's cappuccino chocolate chunk ice cream and I bought it because I knew you'd love it."

"Oh, gee, really, that's really sweet of you, but it's only one more day..."

*drawing out a tiny tiny scoopful and handing it towards me* "Just a taste. Just have a taste and you can go to bed."

How on earth could I deny my mother-in-law a tiny tiny taste of ice cream that she'd bought 'specially for me?

This is NOT a picture of me tasting that tiny scoop of ice cream,
this is a reenactment, although I do look that bad some mornings.
I wanted to give you an idea of how tiny it really was.
Sad. So, so sad.

I had been prepared all month for Shannon's sneaky stealth tactics like baking me a burrito with chocolate inside, or bringing home my favorite treats from Dinkel's, but I couldn't say no to Eevam! I would have sworn they were in cahoots if she didn't feel so badly about it the next day. I have resisted the ever-full candy dish on the way to my office, desserts at LeFrancais, fried chicken, fried cheese, fried pakoras, potato chips, Dinkels - even the threat of losing my job for refusing to taste my boss's homemade apple cake (actual quote: "Jo, I MADE that cake, if you don't eat it you're fired!").

But I can't resist the mother-in-law. If she allies with Shannon I'm in a whole lotta hurt in future bets to come. Oh, yes - I'm certain there will be future bets. We have one going now as a matter of fact concerning the upcoming election! Shannon bet "reality and reason" and I bet "wishing and fantasy".

Actual picture of sample size of ice cream tasted. See it? It's right there...
Move the curser to just left of center...See it now? No? Know why?
Because it's invisible to the naked eye, that's why!!!


Not that you NEEDED more proof that I'm a nerd....

But here's some anyway for those of you on the fence.

I have no idea why this text is underlined. More proof that Blogger sucks and is out to get me personally. AH! I figured out how to turn off the underliney thing'm'bob! Awesome!

.....I digress.

So anyway, Shannon and I have been watching Buffy, The Vampire Slayer (Shannon for like the 8th time, me for the first). We finished season 1 in what seemed like 30 minutes, but was actually closer to 60. When we were done, Shannon's brother, Mu, awesomely lent us Seasons 2 & 3. I believe he did this mainly to insure I'd never send him another SportKa decapitated cat video.

But I digress again.

About two episodes into Season 2, Seth Green makes his first appearance as Oz. I love Seth Green - he cracks me UP! - so I was very excited about season 2. ESPECIALLY since he's attracted to Willow as soon as he lays eyes on her - dressed as an eskimo. To quote, well, everyone, Willow is really freaking cute. Especially dressed as an eskimo (see picture at left.

If you needed to read this prompt, please sign off and take a nap. We'll be here when you get back).

Shannon had stated early on that he'd have hung out with Willow in high school, and I couldn't really like see myself hanging out with any of the characters on Buffy, really, like until Oz showed up. I'd have totally hung out with Oz. Oh. My. GOD! What am I saying?? I'm such a complete total dork!!!

But I digress. Again.

Another character we've been introduced to is Spike.

*grin!* Wha-huh? Oh! Heh heh! You're still here! Ummmm, I have no further comments. *grin!*


Stay Tuned!

I apologize for not blogging in WAY too long, but it's been a hectic couple of weeks! OrangeBlog has NOT become a CobWeb and will be back up and running by tomorrow latest. The past few weeks have found me in a whirlwind of endless meetingsssszzzzzzzzzzhuh?wha? and committee functions. Then whenever I DID have a free minute, Blogger decided to suck and refuse to upload anything from new posts to images. Stupid Blogger!

Anyway, thank you for your patience, and thank you, Rev, for keeping an eye on the Missing Persons pages!