Soothing the Pangs of Clown Class Withdrawal

In order to alleviate the withdrawal pains when our Tuesday night Risk, Play, and Relationship classes ended, we finally used our Christmas present from SisDER, Sammy, and Paul from last year and booked tickets at The Second City to see the critically acclaimed Between Barack and a Hard Place. Our last class was on the 6th, so we went to the SC on the 13th. Shannon had never seen a show there, and The Second City is one of my favorite places to go in Chicago so we were both very excited. Neither of us was disappointed. The actors were excellent (especially Joe Canale who did an awesome south side guy giving an audio tour of the Art Institute - our favorite sketch of the night!), and the timing was great. We agreed there was only one scene that left us with a "...huh." feeling, and ...I can't remember what that scene was, so it's like it never happened and the show was therefore flawless!

JoFact: The Second City was the first place I drove to in The City - before I even had my license! (#379 on the list of "Things My Parents Never Wanted to Know.")

In keeping with our Tuesday night tradition whilst taking our clown classes, I took the Metra downtown to meet Shannon, then we went to eat. Instead of going to My Thai,* though, we decided to try something new - I took Shannon out for pizza at Coalfire,* reported by Time Out - Chicago magazine to have the best thin crust pizza in Chicago.

It was really good pizza, and I would argue that it is the best I've had in Chicago. Bella Napoli in New York may be better, but I'd have to have lunch at Coalfire, take a taxi to ORD, fly out to NY, and have dinner at Bella Napoli to be absolutely certain. It's that good.

I got the white pizza, which I'd never had before, and Shannon had the margarita with onions. Both were excellent! I was especially pleased with mine, though: I'd never had a white pizza before, and this, our waiter's favorite, was a delicious introduction to a whole 'nother world of pizza!

From Coalfire we walked back to the Brown Line and took the El to Sedgewick - a platform you couldn't have paid me to stand on after dark back when I was taking classes at the Second City in 1992. Now it's all fulla trendies, just like the Western stop in our neighborhood! I tell you, Mayor Daley's doing something right - he's somehow turned all the riff raff and gangbangers into trendies, DINKs, hipsters, and yuppies with their puppies (of both the two and four legged variety). It really is pretty awesome to be able to safely take the El and get off a block south of North Ave. and walk the 3 blocks to Piper's Alley rather than driving and illegally parking across the street in the Treasure Island lot where you'd be fretting through half the show - the half before the Chicago River specialty drink served in a souvenier glass kicked in - that maybe you'd leave the show only to find your car had been spotted and towed while you'd been chuckling away at the antics on the Mainstage.

I really did feel old talking to Shannon as we approached the Sedgewick stop: "Back in my day, a suburban girl like me wouldn't even think of parking a half block south of North Ave. for fear of being carjacked or raped or worse! Back in my day, this was all burned out buildings, now it's full of 1-bedroom condos starting at $600,000.00! 1-bedroom! Back in my day Corcoran's was called The Last Act and I spent the better part of 2 years there. Now it's owned by a high school classmate of mine. Good on ya, Eamon! Small world. Back in my day O'Rourke's had the best pint of Guinness in the city. You'd have liked that bar, Shannon. It was quiet. Dark wood. Very authentic pub feel. I'm still sad they had to closed. Heck, so's the Steppenwolf! They took the bar and use it in their sets once in a while! Great place, O'Rourke's.

Back in my day Jim Zulevic and Chris Farley and Martin deMaat and Don dePollo were all still alive and three of them were teachers of mine and, God, Don - he was one of the nicest, most cheerful people I've ever met in my life. Don, along with people like Adrian Danzig and Rachel Dratch and Molly Brennan and Tina Fey and Mick Napier, and you, Shannon, and each of the Buttresses and Mugsy - who, by the way, is actually responsible for getting me back into improv after what was a 5-year hiatus - Don was a guy who, if you felt down on Chicago improv and wondered why the heck you wanted to be involved at all - I mean, it was hard! And just like in retail, it seemed the pushier people, the takers, the loud ones, the "LOOK AT ME!!!!'s HEY! OVER HERE!!!!"-types were the ones who were getting ahead, getting noticed and why would you even want to be involved in that anyway? Then you'd talk to Don for, like, 15 seconds and be like, "...Yes. THAT's why I got into improv. Because it's supposed to be fun. Really fun. And when I do my best, when I'm on, it's the closest thing to flying there is."

At this point Shannon asked if I could just give the woman our gift card so we could find our seats. Oh, and would I please stop talking like Dana Carvey's old man character? That'd be great.

We got to sit RIGHT UP AGAINST THE STAGE, just off center. We were sitting so close to the actors that during the performance one of the actors slapped my hand because "white people dig that shit!"

Thank you Kelly and Paul and Sammy for treating us to such a fun night out!

Barack Obama will actually attend Between Barack and a Hard Place next Friday, December 7 at 5PM. Tickets are only $750. Act now! I'd be a little miffed if I were the Second City, though. They'll be raising all that money for him, and he didn't even put the event on his Website. The event he DID put on his Website for December 7 - he'll be attending the Go Chicago concert at 8:00PM - will only be raising $75 a ticket. What is it with this man and the numbers 7 and 5, anyway?

Here are two random shots taken while walking from the Art Institute to Coalfire:

This building wouldn't look out of place in Oxford!

Then from Coalfire to the Brown Line at Chicago:

Good thing it wasn't open - it was a superpricytrendy furniture store fulla superpricytrendy expensive things, and I would have just had to buy something - just to get a bag.

* JoPetPeeve: Why,
WHY doesn't the restaurant's home page come up on the first page when you Google a restaurant? I don't CARE what ChowHounds and UrbanSpoons and CenterStagers and Yelpers and MetroMixers have to say about Coalfire and My Thai, I want to see the restaurants' home pages! And they get harder and harder to find! I'm glad there are sites that collect reviews from people who've actually eaten at these restaurants - Lord knows I was on Yelp offering my opinion of Bhabi's Kitchen's atrocious service 10 minutes after I got home, but most of the time I know exactly where I want to go and just want to see the restaurant's menu and hours. I don't want to find this information on a third party website, I want the ACTUAL Website. And it's getting harder and harder to find the actual Website for almost any restaurant! Even when you add "menu" to the search, all that gets you is some "helpful" review site giving you their menu recommendations. I just. Want. The restaurants'. Home. Pages. Is that so much to ask???
-End rant.

For now.

My Camera's Died and Gone to Heaven!

Or, maybe it's just out of power. But the timing was perfect! I'd just taken 4 pictures of a LOT of ORANGE! Our offices are virtually glowing orange today! I'm so excited I can't stop putting exclamation points at the ends of every! Single! Sentence! WOW!

I arrived at work to find myself smack in the center of a veritable sea of orange packing crates! Dozens upon dozens of towers of them! I rode up the elevator with at least 50 of them. They didn't talk much, but the silence was companionable. We're moving to a new building next week and the company that supplied us with the crates uses orange crates! My coworkers are thrilled for me. Linda even took a couple of pictures of me posing happily among the 200 crates piled in the small committee room as soon as I walked in this morning. This move already proves to be SO much more pleasant than the pharmacy board move was - they used blue and green crates.

Needless to say it's been a pleasure working and packing today. I'm trying not to think about the unpleasantness that will ensue once the moving company wants their crates back from me after the move - it'll be pretty traumatic. Maybe I should take that day off. Until then, however, I'm going to enjoy having everyone store their extra crates in my office. I only wish I could paint the wall I face this shade of orange - it's really cheering!


R.I.P. (pun intended) Orange Travel Bag

Aethelred kissing his favorite hangout goodbye

My $15.00 ORANGE!!! TJ Maxx travel bag is dead, murdered by the American Airlines baggage handlers who'd packed the plane for flight 1861 to Kansas City 13 days ago.

Yes, you read correctly - that tag DOES read "2406" and not "1861." Flight 2406 was my return flight. I didn't have another bag to pack my stuff in for the return flight, though, and I wasn't about to go shopping for a new one when I was A) sick for most of the trip and B) wouldn't know where to shop for an orange bag in KC even if I was feeling 100%, so I just had to figure out how get this one home.

And I did!

Siler accents! Classy!

See Aethelred? Look at the awesome job I did fixing that bag!
Imagine what I could have done with your paws!

I was halfway to the airport with Shel before I burst out laughing, realizing I'd left 4 or 5 long strips of duct tape hanging from the lamp in the corner of the hotel room. I can only imagine what the maid must have thought when she came to clean my room later that day. I'd originally planned on wrapping the whole bag in long strips of duct tape, but realized the TSA might have to undo all that work and cut it all off in performing a security check. I opted to just tape up the affected corner as best I could, but then promptly forgot to throw away the rest of the strips of tape.

Aethelred's pretty excited about getting a new bag - his tail's totally outgrown the old one.

Holy Stigmata, Aethelred!

Seeing is it's about lunchtime for my reader on the east coast and dinnertime for my European readers, I've decided not to include any pics of Aethelred's stigmata along with this post.

"Did somebody say 'dinner?'"
Aethelred claiming his seat at the table early on Thanksgiving morning.

Rev asked yesterday what was wrong with Aethelred after I'd mentioned that his Padre Pio-like stigmata had healed, and I decided to make him sorry he asked by actually responding.

We realized about 2 weeks ago that Aethelred had two claws we had never noticed before - and that's not for lack of looking. He'd had stinky feet for weeks, and we simply couldn't find a cause for it. We just thought they were just stinky! Turns out he had two claws - one on each front paw - growing up underneath his front paws and into the center of his paw pads in a stigmata-like fashion. They were totally covered in his freakishly huge furry slippers.

Aethelred's freakishly large paw held by Ann Coulter.

My first thought on finding these extra claws was something like "EEEEWWWW!!!!! EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEWWWWWWW!!!" The mom side in me almost always kicks in first with a revulsion at all things nasty and a desire to flee screaming into the night so somewhere, anywhere NOT nasty, like a spa.

This initial "mom" reaction is almost always immediately followed by the dad side in me: "Huh. I bet if I used my cuticle nippers and some gauze I could get those out in a snap. There's no quick! I could snip 'em, clean it up with some of that there Betadine and Hibiclens I have left over from my last 'ttoo, and wrap 'em right up with some of that gauze I've been saving since 1986 because I KNEW I'd need it for a moment like this!" If Shannon hadn't stepped in I probably would have gone ahead and done this just like my dad would have. I'd have had all my nippers and snippers and scissors and 14 different sizes of gauze and antibiotic foams and cleansers and maybe some sterile padding materials to make sure the wound was all padded and comfy and wrapped like an Ugg boot. I'd be sitting there, absolutely focused, considering Aethelred's paw carefully and clinically, looking at it from every angle under the brightest flashlight I could find (which I'd have had rigged to the back of a chair next to me with duct tape so it pointed exactly where I needed the light) trying to determine exactly the best point of attack on the errant claws while poor 'Red looked around frantically for help.

I can totally identify with 'Red here, though I would be totally removed and clinical when performing the procedure myself. I remember clearly from my childhood that every time I got a splinter Papa Schuetter, no matter where he was, he could have been visiting family in Hungary, sitting in a loud pub on his 5th pind of Weiss, but as soon as I uttered the words "OW! Dang! A splinter!" I'd hear him call, "I CAN GET THAT!!! DON'T MOVE!!!! BARB? GET MY TWEEZER SET!!"

It's good for several reasons that Shannon insisted on taking Aethelred in to Dr Byron instead of letting me take care of him: A) The Animal House has lidocaine which instantly numbed his paws right up making the procedure painless, B) Animal House vets have probably performed similar procedures hundreds of times so it was done super-quick, and C) the mom side of me probably would have kicked in and realized what I was doing right in the middle of my trying to remove the errant claws and I would have either passed right out or run screaming into the night in a beeline for the Aveda in Lincoln Square yelling "OH MY GOD!!! WHAT WAS I DOING???? HOW DID I GET THERE?!?!?? SO GROSS!!!! GROSS GROSS GROSS GROSS EEEWWWW!!!!"

"This is as close as you're getting to my paws, Mom. I'll only let you see them when Dad's in the room."

Shannon took a day off and brought Aethelred in two weeks ago today to have the claws removed and Aethelred's doing just fine. In fact, we never knew if he was ever even in any pain - he never limped, never hesitated in jumping from the hardwood floor to the ceiling fan, never wavered in his sneak-attacks on Bou. He just had stinky feet!


A Brief Break from Turkey-Induced Coma Land

aka hypertryptophanosis.

I didn't take any pictures of our Thanksgiving holiday, but I sure was pleased with how it all turned out! Shannon had been sick since Monday so I started cleaning then, a room at a time, letting him rest as much as possible. Wednesday I worked a half-day so I could stop at Jerry's Fruit and Garden market in Niles on the way home for the rest of the veggies, thinking it wouldn't be too crazy at 1PM.

WRONG!! It was insane!!!

I know most Chicagoans swear by Stanley's Fruit and Vegetables, but in my opinion, Jerry's is the best place to go for your fruits and veggies, hands down. Everything is fresh, and talk about cheap! 8 oranges for a buck?!? Lettuce at 29 cents a pound?!? I have never spent more than $15 at Jerry's, and that was for 6 bags full of beautiful, fresh produce.


If I had expected to have the place to myself, though, I was sorely mistaken. It was PACKED, and not a basket to be found, only carts, which only added to the chaos. Turns out Wednesdays are "senior citizens days" where seniors get discounts off of the already reduced prices. Let's just say, nobody but me was moving through an aisle (in the market or outside in the parking lot) at a speed greater than 4 minutes a foot. Turns out I can maneuver around carts and crumblies with amazing dexterity! I should go to Jerry's every Wednesday as a part of my workout routine!

I was out of Jerry's in record time - just under 25 minutes. Despite the ridiculous number of shoppers, there are always enough check out clerks with lightning quick ringer fingers who know at a glance a fennel/anise from a celery, so you never have to wait very long to pay and go - it's just getting through the clogged aisles and chaotic parking lot that'll really test your patience. After I emerged from Aisle 4 with 3 full bags that had cost me less than 7 dollars, I wasn't even bothered by the well-fed mouse I saw scurry across the doorway. Mice don't have pockets (it's a fact!) and they have very tiny paws, so they can't carry much money at any given time. They have to stretch their dollars as much as the next guy.

One of the many many things I love about Thanksgiving is how motivated I get to clean, organize, and declutter. I finally got rid of all of those half-used notebooks left over from Shimer so I could open up more space in the dining room for places to put FOOD!!! I also rid my makeup box of tons of outdated powders and pencils; lipsticks and liners. Hey! When I organize, I organize indiscriminately. That's why I had to start on Monday. If I'd wanted to get to the back porch, I would have had to start the previous July.

By Wednesday night we were in really good shape. We had all the food parts we needed for to combine to make food wholes; my allergy-prone brother would have to literally rub his face in a cat to provoke a reaction; and all of the serving dishes were located and ready to be filled.

On Thursday I started cooking at 7AM. I "X"-d all of the chestnuts and popped 'em in the oven for 25 minutes to toast for the stuffing while I made the spinach lasagne. Shannon was still recovering but he did an amazing job of baking chocolate chocolate chip cookies and making his Mexican bean pie, mashed potatoes, home-made biscuits, and black bean salad - all of which were hits (though nobody had room left for the cookies after the meal! We had to send them home with them!) At 11 I prepped the turkey with garlic, butter, and ginger ale and popped it in the oven then started chopping fennel, chestnuts, parsley, dried bread and onion for the stuffing. We didn't have the poultry seasoning the recipe called for, but it turns out McCormick's Italian Seasoning has many of the same ingredients, so I used that instead with some extra sage and black pepper.

My parents and brothers arrived just before 1:30. My little brother brought beer, my older brother brought champagne and red wine, my mom made her AWESOME!!! Caesar salad and had cut up tons of veggies for dipping which she'd brought with two homemade dips as well as potato chips, and my dad baked two apple pies - one with raisins (EEW!!) and one without - for me (THANK YOU!!!). He also brought his wonderful homemade cranberry sauce.

We pulled out the turkey at 3PM thinking it was done. WRONG!! It needed at least another 45 minutes, which we didn't realize until Papa Schuetter started carving it. Everything else was ready and served, so I figured we'd have it for, I don't know, dessert.

Turns out we already had dessert - pie and cookies - and we could barely make a dent in either of those, so

The turkey.



Let me point out, however, that though I do love how motivated I become in the cleaning department when hosting a holiday dinner, the thing I love most about hosting Thanksgiving is...

the leftover turkey sammiches.

I had a whole turkey. To myself. For leftover turkey sammiches. I would have shared some with the kitties, but seeing as they're Maine Coons, they only eat seafood, apparently. More for me! *urp!*

I had alot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. My family had a wonderful time at our home, and we loved having them there. Shannon, though he wasn't feeling 100% and had to take a couple of breaks throughout the evening, was well on his way to recovering from his nasty cold. Aethelred recovered from his stigmata surgery beautifully and no longer resembles Padre Pio. Bou has been super snuggly - with the onset of colder weather she's been cuddling up with us whenever we lounge or sleep. We got to enjoy 2 wonderful holidays - one to Maine with my parents and many of our dearest friends, and one to Ireland with my parents - vacations that were both so awesome my mom and I couldn't decide yesterday which one was more fabulous, though we think Ireland eked out not only over Maine, but our trip 4 years ago to Oxford as well.

The thing I'm most thankful for this year, though, as I was last year, is being married to Shannon. Without Shannon there would have been no Bou, no Aethelred, no vacations to Maine or Ireland. As I've told him before, I was pretty happy on my own before falling for him on the spot about 4 years ago, but now I can't imagine life without him.



Can you can finish the sentence "As God as my witness....?"

Did you answer "...I thought turkeys could fly?" If you did, you remember my very favorite episode of WKRP in Cincinnati - my favorite show back when I was but a wee sprout. I had such a crush on Andy Travis (Gary Sandy)! Musta been the tight cords and feathered hair. Niiiiiice!

Hey, escorting Loni Anderson makes him look...even dorkier.
No, wait! In this pic he looks like a high schooler who didn't have a date for the prom so went with his mom! "Gary, dear, your ties askew." Way to go, Sandy!

My dad and I can quote this episode nearly as well as we can The Blues Brothers, and that's saying something.

As a special Thanksgiving treat, I've shopped online at YouTube and found you two of the most classic moments in American TV history from this episode of WKRP.

In this first clip we hear Les Nessman's report from the site of the turkey drop. Turkeys are to be let loose from a helicopter to fly to grateful crowd below as a promo for WKRP.

In the second clip we see the aftermath: A turkey feather covered, shell-shocked Mr Carlson and a dazed Nessman who's convinced the turkeys started organizing upon hitting the ground.

"Happy.....Thanksssss........Giving! From W......X.......R......P!" (And OrangeMoJoJo!)



I found a box of clothes under the bed whilst vacuuming the other day and got very excited thinking it was a box of winter clothes.


Turns out it was a box of pants (as in trousers to my UK contingent). They're all sizes 6-8, they're all really really cute...

....And they all USED TO fit me. BLAST!!!!

For about the 10th time this month I announced I had to lose weight. "Shannon" I called, "sit down. I have an announcement to make."

"You like orange?" he asked.

"Huh? Nononono! Wait, I mean, yes! Of course! But that's not the announcement."

I could see his mind going down a list in his head.

"Aethelred is cute?"

"Well, he is, but that's not the announce-"

"Billy Corgan is a tool?"

"You do listen to me! But no, that's not -"

"Ummm, the Templars are really cool?"

"Totally! But that's not..."

"You hate scones with raisins?"

"Yeach!! Gross! Hell yeah, but that's -"

"Pope Steven VI's posthumous trial of Pope Formosus in 897 was most likely politically motivated - the Cadaver Synod, or Synodus Horrenda, saw Formosus brought up on charges of 1) transmigrating sees in violation of canon law, thus violating the 15th canon of the Council of Nicea, 2) serving as a bishop while he was still a layman, and 3) for perjury - not to mention his being an all-around wienie-head - and though Steven VI hated Formosus and certainly enjoyed exacting revenge on his corpse the trial was probably politically motivated as revenge for Formosus' having invited Arnulf of Carinthia to invade Italy not once but TWO TIMES - in 893 then again in 895 - due mainly to his fear of Guy III whom he wanted to keep distracted, then when the trial was over and Formosus' corpse found guilty, Steven VI wasn't content with stripping the corpse and reburying it with the three fingers of benediction cut off, he dug the body back up, weighted it down, and threw it in the Tiber?"

"....Wow. I, uh...Wow."

"You're trying to lose weight?"

"Huh? Wha-Oh! Yeah! I, uh, think so...Cadaver Synod? Wow. So....Lose weight?...Oh! Yeah! Shannon, sit down. I have an announcement to make. I have to get my butt to the gym, eat better, and lose weight. I have to wear these cute clothes because they're cute, and I like them, and I used to fit into them so there's no reason I can't do so again. I know I said this before - at least 9 times this week (and it's only Sunday), but I. Am going. To lose weight."

"What size do you want to get down to?"

"A 6. Then I can fit back into all my cute clothes! I'll have, like, a whole 'nother wardrobe fulla cute!"

"Tell you what. You get down to a size 6, and I'll take you to London."

"...? wha...? You're ON!"

Now THAT's motivation! They don't offer this incentive plan at Galter, who, incidentally, I should become reacquainted with right soon!


Coolest Laptops Ever Awards

I still think the ORANGE!!! Apple iBook is the most awesome computer ever made, and am still upset they stopped making them:

Sam's computer is so cool it inspired a blog:

....and this...it's just too awesome for words.


Confidential to my Hair

Seriously, what's up with you lately? I can't get you to do anything remotely resembling what we had going the last time we left the salon. Like a car with an ominous-sounding noise, you are fabulous when I take you to the shop and then you go haywire as soon as I get you home. You flop limply, hang in my face, flip out to one side, or stick up like I'm walking around with my finger in a socket. No matter what I try, or how I think I've tamed you on walking out the door, the next time I catch a reflection of myself in a window or bathroom mirror at work I'm horrified to find you've pulled an Einstein-Trump-Jessie-from-MTV on my ass.

Come on! Cut me a break! I know you're still upset that Suave discontinued their moisturizing shampoo - I still cry myself to sleep over that myself sometimes - but you, we, have to let it go. I mean, I've I only use that awesome-smelling smoothing shampoo that is perfectly suited to your straight-textured self, I color you to give you some texture, I condition you but gently so you don't feel weighed down, I rarely ever blow-dry you because you complain it makes you too dry (and you and I both hate the noise of the dryer in the morning), I use very little product unless I absolutely have to because I hate the word "product," - heck, I even take you to that cool retro salon in the Square where you're trimmed and fussed over by that woman with more ink than a Proust collection, yet you're still treating me like you hate me.

Was it the bangs? I'm sorry. I am trying to grow them out. Again. Truly I am. I know I have a problem It's just that every time you get long enough to put into a ponytail, I see a picture of Louise Brooks and think how cute I'd look - how cute we'd look - with a bob.

(...I wish I hadn't downloaded that picture - now I know I'll be asking Lisa for the Louise Brooks next month. Dang!)

Maybe you're still paying me back for the 80s. I was young! Forgive me! I never should have subjected you to those rotten-egg-smelling perms and straight up bangs!

*shudder* Yeeesh.

Please let me know what to do to. Is there a perfect length or style you prefer? Do you NOT like the smoothing shampoo - maybe you'd prefer pumice? Do you, *gulp* do you want the bangs? Should I get out the lavender Aqua Net? Should we move to a climate more suited to you, say, Maine or the UK? Shannon will understand if we have to move for your sake. I know you were happiest after that 3-hour cut-n-color at that place in the St. Germain des Pres district in Paris, but there has to be another way short of flying into Heathrow and hopping the Eurostar to Gare du Nord every other month....

Though that wouldn't suck...

Please let me know what I can do to make you stop punishing me.




Oh, Happy Day!

I was bored at work waaaaaaaaaaay back in July and started searching for ORANGE!!-themed blogs, when I came across this picture of a pair of woollen arm warmers the author had made for a friend of hers.

Wool arm warmers. In July. The only time of year I would probably NOT be able to wear them in Chicago!

I went mad trying to figure out how to email her to see if I could commission a pair for myself (my arms get cold below about 76 degrees. Celsius.), or at the very least tell her how very awesome these are, but to no avail - her comments weren't enabled! Blast!!

But I still read faithfully. Hey - she's got a good blog! It's all fulla orange! She even has me trumped in at least one area of the orange department - she wears something orange every day.

Then, a couple of weeks ago, she enabled her comments! (see subject line!) (o:

Since then we've been emailing back and forth getting to know eachother, which has been absolutely delightful. I just wish she didn't live so far away so I could raid her wardrobe.

On Friday, she posted that she'd purchased the wool for my very own pair of arm warmers! (see subject line and add four more exclamation points!)

Jo needles! Hee!

When we get back to Maine this summer, I'm going to have to get to The Orange Cat Cafe in Kingfield - before they close this time - and pick up TWO t-shirts!

In the meantime, however, I'll be sending along another orange THANK YOU!!! gift. Orange Girls view orange as currency.


Ginger Dog!

Ginger dog!! Note how his spots match my hair!
(I've since dyed it back to brown to better match Bu.)

Let me just preface this for to avoid any confusion: I am not a dog person. I am even less a "person who doesn't clean up after their dog, (the dog they chose to own, boy that really burns my britches! Though I totally blame the biped not the dog)" person. I do truly like most dogs, though, in a formal, "mmmYes. Nice to meet you. I see you arrived accompanied by Mr. Carter from 2A. Lovely. Ah! He has plastic baggies attached to his belt! Good chap! Well, it's been lovely and your coat is fabulous, but I truly do have to be going. Finicky, jealous, screen-shredding cats and all that, what what," sorta way. I like to pet the friendly dogs and I respect the protective ones, but I have never held any desire to ever own a dog of my own.

This was totally challenged in Ireland when I met the Ginger Dog, aka Dolmen Dog (this clever name originated from the fact that we met him when we got out of the car to inspect, you guessed it, a dolmen).

This dog was awesome. If I could have figured out a way to smuggle him home, and could be assured that Bu and 'red would welcome him, I absolutely would have. He didn't bark, he didn't jump, he just followed me around and let me carry him about to keep him out of the way of cars. As we were trying to leave, he kept following the car so he could follow me home. I got the distinct feeling that the Atlantic wouldn't have been much of a deterrent to his course. It almost made me cry to leave him, he was so awesome. I have a very good feeling he is loved by his bipeds, though, and has an excellent home already, free of freakishly large cats.

FLC (Freakishly Large Cat)

Some Times It's Just Better Not To Have Plans

Over the years I've found I'm not only pretty good at "winging it," I usually have more fun when I do!

October's my favorite month, and Halloween my favorite holiday. This isn't much of a secret, so when my family and friends asked me throughout the week what my plans were, they seemed surprised that I didn't have plans for Halloween or the weekend before other than to read, watch scary movies and TV shows via Netflix with Shannon, and hand out candy and go wandering around looking at Halloween decorations on Halloween night. I think parties are fine and good - especially if you get to see some creative, homemade costumes - but I really enjoy seeing the costumes the neighborhood kids are wearing, handing out candy, and complimenting neighbors who go out of their way to decorate. I'm totally at ease and in my element on Halloween.

Headless Jo (courtesy of a Bad Hair Day)
This is what I wore to work yesterday, but with black pants in lieu of jeans
(we're not allowed to wear denim. I know! Scary, right??)

Last night was one of the best Halloween nights I've ever enjoyed. I got home just before the trick or treaters arrived, propped open the doors leading into our apartment building, put up a sign saying that candy was indeed available in our unit, and got the candy ready near the front door. I decided not to light candles for fear Aethelred's ridiculous tail would catch fire from across the room (his tail is like 7 feet long now and 2 & 1/2 feet across. To use a Peep-ism - it's ridiculous), but at least we had a light up pumpkin. Shannon came home and we made a portable dinner of veggie burgers and fries, then we popped in the second disc of Supernaturals, season 1*, pausing whenever someone pounded on the door demanding candy.

*(side note: I find it interesting that I can get totally creeped out by ghosts, vampires, and urban legendy creatures like The Hook Man and Bloody Mary (I STILL, to this day, will NOT say "Bloody Mary" three times in a mirror - with or without the door closed), but when it came to the swarms of killer bugs, I was like, *yawn*)

At about 8:30, after three episodes of Supernatural and a door that had been quiet for well over an hour, we decided to go wandering about the neighborhood, checking out the decorations before they were all shut down for the night. Well, for the year, actually! We ended up in front of our favorite house in the neighborhood, and not by accident. They have a huge yard that they obviously spend hours working on every week, not just for holidays, but we expected something special for Halloween and were far from disappointed. There was Spanish moss hanging from the trees, a life-sized grim reaper, a dragon dressed up as a witch, a witch lounging in a chair next to a reading lamp...It was fantastic. As we were calling our "BraVO!!!"s and "nicely done!"s up to the porch, we heard a witch's voice call us ("come here, little girl and boy!") up to the porch for some candy. Once we got to the porch, they decided to invite us in for a glass of wine instead (I got both! WooHoo!!). We were there for about an hour and a half, enjoying the company of the owners of the house, and some of their neighbors and friends. It was a really nice visit! Bonus - the inside of the house was even more spectacular than the outside. They did a beautiful job! And the spread! Oh, MAN! The smells from the oven and the stove top made my mouth water, even though I was too stuffed on fries and chocolate to eat anything. We plan on wandering by on Thanksgiving, you know, to see if they've dressed up the dragon as a pilgrim.