Thursday, May 28, 2009

Kitty Sign Language

We've had a cat now for almost two years, and I've learned a few things about them, or at least about Hecate and Hyperion.

When Hecate needs to use the litter box, she needs it NOW and if it is unavailable, or below her standards, she will use whatever box is at hand. Fortunately, she does give us a few signals first. Usually a fairly reticent animal, she will become vocal and clingy, wandering around my feet and whining. Then she climbs into whatever box is nearby. She did that the other day when the litter box's cleanliness was not up to her standards. I noticed her start to squat and jumped up to clean the litter box. Cats always seem to get what they want.

Every day, when I sit down at my computer to start looking through the job listings, almost without fail, Hyperion will decide that is the very second he needs attention. He'll come sit by my chair and whine, and for such a big cat, he has a very small high pitched whine. Then he'll wander closer to the chair and try to rub his cheek on my foot or hand, or whatever is closest.

Ever since we moved, and are now at ground-level, instead of the second floor, Hyperion's main activity seems to be looking out the window. And opening the blinds, as in making them lay flat so you can see out, is not enough for him. He'll pull a few slats down with his paw and stick his head through them so he can see better. I call him "nosy neighbor kitty." I haven't been able to get a picture of him doing it yet, but it is vaguely hilarious.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

It's a tooth...well, I tried...

My mom is a great cook, don't ever let her tell you otherwise. Between tuna casserole, green pizza crusts on St. Patrick's Day, and that one time we ever ate meat loaf, I did not have a culinarily deprived childhood.

However...since I met Nathan, I have learned the value of festive and decorative foods. My mother-in-law, Pam, is the queen of making the right food for the right occasion, even if it is just switching jello colors to match the season.

The first Christmas Nathan and I dated, I learned about cornflake wreaths. My life has never been the same.

It's not a complicated recipe at all...but I think it might be family secret. Suffice it to say it involves a lot of cornflakes, a lot of marshmallows and food coloring...but not too much.

The second year Nathan and I were dating I made a cornflake wreath for my family. They all became believers, too, especially Elizabeth.

It is only this year that I am beginning to understand and explore the vast world of cornflake art beyond the Christmas wreath. This year I experienced the cornflake Valentine heart, the cornflake shamrock, and the cornflake "50" in honor of my mother's fiftieth birthday. (I was advised by my father-in-law, Craig, however, that it included bran flakes because, in his words, "she's fifty now, after all." Really it was just because they didn't have enough corn flakes.

Almost universally, these confections are tinged with green food coloring, the only exception I've ever seen is the Valentine heart and that was consumed before I got too close a look at it.

Well, Elizabeth has been having a lousy week, and seeing as it's only Tuesday, I thought I needed to do something to cheer her up. So, I obtained the requisite cornflakes, marshmallows, and food coloring. In honor of her first semester of dental school, which will be starting this August, I attempted to create a blue cornflake tooth. Blue because I thought red would look bloody, green would look gangrenous, and yellow doesn't really show up.

I think it turned out much more like an "M" than a tooth, but Elizabeth says she saw the tooth, and I guess that's all that matters. It's kind of hard to see in this picture...sorry.

Thursday, May 14, 2009


Last Friday, the day before my 25th birthday, I lost my job. It was the first time that has ever happened to me and at first, quite rightly, I believe, I panicked. Nathan's job doesn't make nearly enough for us to live on and I know how hard job hunting can be, I've already done it twice since we've been married.

However, upon reflection, I actually feel okay. The work I was doing, public relations, wasn't my favorite. It came with a nice paycheck, and it wasn't bad work, it just didn't inspire me. The more I thought about what happened, the more I saw an opportunity. This could be my chance to return to my first love, print journalism.

That being said, the newspaper industry in this country is in terrible shape, and I think I will have a hard time trying to find a job in it near home. But I try to stay hopeful and in the meantime I do housework and apply for other things. I'm even going to turn in an application in July to be a substitute teacher.

But, I pushed and persuaded and goaded and I finally coerced permission from Nathan to do something I've been wanting to do forever. He said I could start applying for jobs on a small island off the west coast of Europe. It seems like too much to hope for that someone will want me over there and then Nathan will say we can go...but I hope nonetheless.

Saturday, May 9, 2009


Today is my twenty-fifth birthday. I am spending it with Nathan and most of my family and my good friend Jules. My dad made pizza, and his pizza is my favorite food.

Here is a list of 25 things you may not know about me:

1. I am afraid of any bug with more than two eyes.
2. I hold onto three impossible dreams from my childhood: to climb Mount Everest, to live a summer in the Antarctic, and to compete in the Iditarod.
3. I aspire to be more like my sister-in-law, Janelle.
4. Every day, I think about the three months I lived in England, and if Nathan agreed to go, I would move back in a second.
5. I have one weird superstitious quirk, when I write, I get freaked out if I have to use anything other than a blue ballpoint Papermate pen.
6. I think my sister's name: Anne Cecilia, is the most beautiful.
7. The thought of putting in my contacts is enough to make me not want to get out of bed.
8. I hated my wedding dress.
9. I consider Anne and Elizabeth my best friends. (Nathan has moved above best friend status.)
10. I still hate taking my medicine every morning.
11. I'm extremely susceptible to nightmares.
12. When Nathan is gone overnight, I have to sleep with the closet light on.
13. I can recognize qualities I admire in people I don't.
14. Books are my favorite presents.
15. Giving up my maiden name is one of the hardest things I've ever done. If I weren't too afraid of needles, I'd get it tattooed on my hip.
16. I will do almost any chore before washing dishes.
17. I realize he was not the best actor, but I love every movie John Wayne ever made. They help me relax when I'm stressed.
18. I love getting to see my brother Nate and sister-in-law Alicia.
19. My friend Bonnie is one of my favorite people to have a conversation with.
20. Any day I don't write, I feel I've wasted.
21. My favorite thing about my life is my big family.
22. Nathan and I have favorite cats: mine is Hecate, his is Hyperion.
23. I actually do miss Macomb.
24. The only state I have ever lived in is Illinois.
25. I am lucky enough to have parents and in-laws I love.

Friday, May 8, 2009

More Like a Home

We now have a functioning stove, courtesy of Nathan's friend Joe. The oven doesn't work quite right, but at least we can boil water and sautee things now.

We also have a dryer, courtesy of Nathan's friend Jamie. It's a bit old, and I'm told it takes longer than most dryers to heat up, but it is a dryer.

I have weeded several of the flower beds around the house which badly needed weeding.

The house is starting to feel more like a home everyday.