Monday, November 30, 2009

Now My House is Trying to Kill Me!

I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say that Thanksgiving weekend 2009 was like a roller coaster ride in which the ride going up was great and the part where you spiral down out of control kinda sucked.

Thanksgiving itself was pretty good. Much better than last year when a former co-worker of my ex turned up at the same dinner and proceeded to spend the evening asking me about my ex and his new sweet young thaing spouse and her daughter. (Like I freakin' care? Hell, at that point, I didn't even know what their last name was and hadn't a clue what her daughter's first name was!) Happily, this year we had dinner with some of our oldest and dearest friends who provided great food and plenty of levity. A lovely contrast!

Friday, Vlad and I escaped the shopping hoards of Black Friday to watch the Zombie hoards chase our heroes and heroines in Zombieland.

Anyway, I was fine until Saturday, when I discovered I only had $24 in my checking account to last until next Friday. So I decided to throw myself a major pity party. (Apologies for the total downer post on Saturday... I couldn't help myself.)

Late Saturday night I started cheering myself up by fleshing out my "Let's Go to Prison for Retirement" plan. (Getting back to my usual irreverent brand of humor.) And boy, have I gotten a lot of great suggestions for how to make that work! I can taste that prison food on my tongue already. Sure hope they have Dr Pepper at the prison store to wash it all down with. (Or maybe Quirky could bake a couple of cans into a cake for me when she comes to visit.) But I have yet to reconcile myself to the fact that there's no beer in prison... that might be a deal breaker.

Which brings us up to Sunday. Considering I still have to work until I come up with the perfect victimless crime, I decided to do a little planning for the wee ones. Which meant going up into the scary attic to look for some supplies. And there was some great swag to be found up there. All sorts of gems in the costume department, fabulous picture books galore, great fabric for making tents and my army surplus parachute for who knows what. I'd hit the Pre-Kindergarten mother lode! So, I loaded up my arms with as much booty as I could carry and started down the attic stairs.

That's when a book slipped from atop the pile and planted itself beneath my feet. At which point I fell to my knees on the steps, hurtling forward until I slammed my head against the wall at the bottom of the stairs.

Not good.
Now I'm convinced my house is trying to kill me!

Okay! Okay! So it wasn't really the house's fault, but in my present mood, I was ready to blame anyone or anything, including the four year old imps who provided the reason to go to the attic in the first place. Thank the goddess Vlad was home for the weekend and heard the crash and thud. And for once I actually threw off the mantle of the Midwest Martyr and said, "Take me to the Emergency Room". (The fact that my head was bleeding and my pupils were varying sizes kinda sealed that deal.)

But let's not get too carried away. I had Vlad drop me at the ER door and sent him on his merry way to study for the afternoon. I'd be "fine... just fine" by myself. Poor Vlad... later I found out he thought I was mad at him for tripping over the shit on the stairs... he thought it was his shit I tripped over. In all fairness, it's the house that's evil... and to be honest, we both contributed to the detritus placed there.

Of course, if you're going to go to the ER, I suggest going on the Sunday afternoon after Thanksgiving. By that time all the people who got food poisoning from undercooked turkey or stabbed in the hand by their cousin because they were trying to take the last dinner roll have all been discharged. I've gotta say I was a little disappointed, though, when I wasn't greeted by these guys....

No dishy Doug Ross or Peter Benton to hold my hand while I got a CT scan of my head and multiple x-rays of my knee? I feel so cheated. I would have settled for Neela or Abby, (both hot chicks.) Even NGIP got to meet Anthony Edwards earlier this fall and she didn't have a head injury or anything. No fair!

The good news is I have no brain bleed, but I'm supposed to take it easy for a couple of days... and have someone check in with me every four hours to make sure I'm lucid. Since I live alone, I'll just have to set my alarm clock and wake myself up... I can always write the questions I need to ask myself on a post-it note next to the bed.

The bad news is I have an avulsion fracture on my knee... don't know if it's new or a remnant from when I tore my ACL and MCL about five years ago. They sent me home with another "immobilizer" and crutches... then it's back to see the orthopedist later in the week. Oh joy, oh rapture! (But, seriously... do you think this immobilizer makes my leg look fat?)

Yes, that's a pizza box next to my foot... since I was incapacitated Vlad went on a pizza run so I wouldn't starve.

Looking at the sunny side... maybe this will prompt them to do something to alleviate the chronic pain I have in my knee. Maybe my house isn't trying to kill me after all... maybe it's just trying to tell me something.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Let's Go to Prison!

So, about that retirement plan...

I've been thinking about this for some time. I decided long ago to pursue a teaching career in which I could follow my principles and personal philosophy rather going for the "big bucks" offered by the public sector. Which means I also gave up access to the pension fund. But I managed to tuck a little away for a rainy day and probably could have held out until social security kicked in. Then a few wrenches got thrown in the works.... spouse left for co-worker 20 years his junior so I now have no one with whom to share expenses or affections and I lost my "principled job" prematurely so my rainy day fund got used up long before retirement.

So, as I age and my prospects look a little bleaker, I started thinking about other ways to finance my golden years. Ideas came and went until I came up with my brilliant plan...

Number one on the retirement hit parade is now Let's Go to Prison!

Seriously! It actually sounds pretty good:

~You get a clean, dry place to sleep.
~You get three meals a day.
~You get someone else to pick out your clothes for you every day.
~You have access to the prison library for entertainment purposes.
~You can get another college degree, or two, or three.
~You can still blog with the internet access available.
~You get free medical care, compliments of the state.

Just one major dilemma... how to get there?

Now, this would seem like an easy thing to most people. Perhaps kill ex-spouse or his new bride... but I'm pretty well over that by now. Or steal the company funds... if only I worked in a place that had company funds. Ponzi schemes are probably out at this point in the game. Arson is a bit extreme... unless I burn down my own house, but then where would Vlad and the Wonder Dog sleep? Prostitution seems like just too much work and let's face it... I'm just not alluring enough anymore to attract customers. I'm too old to join the army and then desert. Shoplifting... yeah, that might work but then I'd just be shafting some other poor slob.

The biggest barrier to making this dream of going to prison a reality is that I wouldn't feel right doing something that would hurt someone else in order to get sent to prison. I'm far too nice for this scheme to work. Dang! I keep thinking about ways to get sent to prison that wouldn't hurt anyone and gosh darn it... I just can't come up with any.

But then, last month I heard about a grandfather in England who got arrested for shining a bright light at a military helicopter. (They accused him of trying to "dazzle" the pilot with the light.) That would work! I don't think it would hurt anyone to shine a light at a helicopter, would it?

Now all I need is to get somebody to fly this bad boy over my house..

I'm sure that if I could only get to prison, I could figure out a way to avoid early parole. That, in and of itself, could provide years of blog fodder.*

So, how about it... anybody else out there have any ideas for how I could go about getting into prison for my golden years?

*Of course, if only I were a real writer like Jayne, I could put this whole prison as retirement plan idea into a book or screenplay... isn't that what creative people usually do? Kind of like "Golden Girls Do Prison." In which case I could use that for my retirement plan. I call dibs!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

I Got Plenty o' Nuttin

Now that Thanksgiving is over, I can stop being thankful for shit and get down to brass tacks.

It's slim pickins around the CatLady's house these days. Four months of unemployment with no unemployment benefits, followed by re-entry into the workplace at a salary less than half of what I was making before has put a bit of a strain on the old pocketbook. So, what to do, what to do?

I think what's really needed is an attitude adjustment:

Or not... the reality is, I do need a few basics to keep going. I've cut back a lot in the last year, preparing for my descent into poverty. Turns out, it still isn't enough, though. How can that be?

I've lived in the same house for over 20 years... so I can't save anything by moving. An apartment would cost more than my meager mortgage. (I had to refinance after the divorce, so I still have 10 more years of payments.)

My health insurance premiums are higher than my mortgage. That just seems wrong to me, but what's a woman to do? Can't really cut that out of the budget... too many "pre-existing conditions" and I love my "happy pills" too much.

Car... it's 15 years old with over 150K miles. Perhaps I can get by with fewer oil changes and repairs. It's still too far to walk to work.

Then there's the utilities. I've always kept the heat low... my dad used to yell at me that I was going to catch my death because of it. So far I'm still alive, but if I go much lower with the thermostat now that winter's upon us, I'm afraid the pipes will freeze. And I'm afraid I'd lose the few friends I have left if I stopped showering. (Good news, though... the advantage of bloggy friend is they can't smell you.)

Internet service... gotta keep that for communication purposes, at least until the computer craps out. Especially as there's no access at work. The basic cable may have to go, though. So must the ridiculously extravagant iphone... just as soon as the service contract is up. Damn service contracts! (I got the phone originally so I could keep track of appointments and things for my old job... the job that paid more, so I could afford it back then.)

Food... this fine physique could certainly do with a bit less. But give up the Dr Pepper? I might start twitching or something.

A second job? If only I had the energy.

I could get a room mate. Preferably one that cooks and cleans. Probably the smartest move. I wonder if Vlad would mind giving up his room?

Okay, enough feeling sorry for myself! If push comes to shove, I can always implement my secret retirement plan...

Prison is actually sounding kinda good right about now!

To be continued...

Friday, November 27, 2009

My Un-American Activities

Yes, it's true... I am Un-American. How so, you may ask? I freely confess... I am single-handedly destroying the American economy by once again staying home on Black Friday.

Image from

Horrors! How could I be so unfeeling? How could I not help boost our struggling economy?

I have never once felt the need to go out and spend, spend, spend on the day following Thanksgiving. It's just not my idea of a good time. Because:

1. I hate crowds.
2. I hate spending money I don't have.
3. I don't need any of the things that my television is telling me I need.
4. I don't need to get my picture on a People of WalMart web site.
5. I hate crowds.

To make matters worse, I've been hanging out at the Heathen Social Club again. We have a little program going on there called the "Greater Good Project" in which we take what we would have spent on the holiday, cut that amount in half, and donate the half we don't use to service projects. The idea being to become aware of needs greater than our own and to live a little more simply so that others may simply live. For each of the past several years, the Heathen Social Club has donated close to $75,000 to this fund. The money collected goes to programs such as "The Honduras Project". The Honduras Project involves members of the Heathen Social Club giving their time and money to help provide clean water, support medical care and improve schools in Honduras.

So, yeah, it's a pretty Un-American concept... staying home on Black Friday so that we can share the wealth with others who need it more. Besides... I'm still on my tryptophan high from all the turkey. Gotta go take a nap!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Missed Opportunities

So, I was over InJaynesWorld a little bit ago, reading about how utterly cool she was in high school. I was having a lovely movie party in my head, imagining Jayne cruising around in her Spitfire, getting high and hanging out with the Airplane, Creedence, CSN&Y and Santana. Do you know how cool I might have been if only I'd had a friend like Jayne to hang out with?

Of course, to be that cool, it would have helped to have grown up in California. Me... I was stuck in Iowa, where nothing much was happening. Every once in awhile you heard about somebody scoring some Iowjuana... the home grown version of the coveted dope. And you heard tales of acid, but never actually knew anyone who dropped any. We just weren't that sophisticated.

To hear any awesome bands, (like the ones that Jayne was hanging out with on a regular basis,) you had to make a 100 mile road trip to the University of Iowa fieldhouse in Iowa City. My first trip there was to see Laura Nyro. We were so bold, we got up on stage and sat next to her piano. She was very kind about it and didn't order us thrown out. But that's the closest I ever got to a real, live, famous musician.

Later, I enrolled at Iowa because it was the "cool" school. (My parents told me they'd pay for any of the three state schools and the others just didn't cut it for the cool factor.) The Grateful Dead and Moody Blues became my bands of choice... along with chick favorites Joni Mitchell, Judy Collins & Joan Baez. And I laughed uproariously at showings of Reefer Madness at the dorm.

But, cool I was not. I'm afraid that even if I'd been transplanted to California, I would never have been cool enough to hang out with Jayne. For a very simple reason...

I am a wuss.

Yep, no question about it. I am not a daring person, despite having been incarcerated briefly at an early age for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

I was a "good girl" who believed everything I was told about how you could drop acid just once and suffer a lifetime of flashbacks. How heroin would leave you addicted after the first time you shot up. Not to mention the fact that I was so squeamish about sticking a needle in my body that heroine addiction was never going to happen. After all, I was the only person in my high school science class who couldn't get up the nerve to poke my finger to determine my blood type, resulting in a failing grade for that particular assignment.

In college I finally succumbed to the demon weed and thought I was a real badass. (But I always mooched off of other people because in my mind I would undoubtedly get arrested if I ever tried to score any on my own.) And we hung out at the bars regularly, getting drunk on cheap beer and dancing to whatever local band was booked for the night. (Again, sneaking in because I was too afraid of being caught with one to have a fake ID.) But that was the extent of my wild and crazy ways.

So, yeah... I suppose I coulda been sorta cool, even living in Iowa.

If only I wasn't such a wuss.


So many missed opportunities...

Thursday, November 19, 2009

A Day Late and Postage Due: Theme Thursday

I'm late! I'm late! For a very important date!

This week's Theme Thursday topic is "Late", so rather than being late in getting a post out, I thought I'd recycle this sad statement on my dating history...

(Original post date: February 5, 2009)

Valentine's Day is coming soon. Someone just pointed that out to me today. It's not one of my favorite "holidays". Probably because I've never experienced the joy of getting a heart-shaped box of candy or a dozen roses of any color from a boy. My older sister was the one to whom those deliveries were addressed. I always watched with the hope that one day the delivery would be for me.

As a kid I loved decorating a shoe box with pink and red crepe paper each year in the hope that my classmates would fill it full of valentines. Back then the valentines were usually homemade. Red construction paper, doilies, glue and crayolas were the basic materials used to make them. (There's something really cool about the sound of kid scissors cutting through construction paper. Very satisfying.) Those who were really creative used glitter as well. Of course there were also the candy hearts that some people would glue onto the cards. Definitely not as tasty after being pried off the cards three months later, though. Most exciting to find in your box were the heart-shaped cookies with pink frosting that some mothers would make with their children. You were truly blessed if one of those ended up in your box. Sadly, there weren't any rules back then about making sure you gave a card to everyone in the class. Invariably there was some poor schmuck who had noticeably fewer cards than the other children. (Usually the kid whose box was a plain paper bag.) While I never had the fewest, my box was occasionally not quite as full as some others'. It always made me a little sad.

As I got older, the girls I knew started getting frilly cards from boys in the mail. However, the only time I ever got a valentine from a real live boy, it arrived a day late and postage due.

Seriously! I'm not kidding!

I was in college at the time and apparently the young lad thought he was depositing the card into the campus mail box, which provides free delivery between campus buildings. In actuality, the box he deposited the card into was one designated by the United States Postal Service for the collection of letters with stamps on them. When you don't affix one of said colorful stamps onto the envelope, the dedicated men and women of the USPS go through rain or sleet or dark of night to find you a day later and demand payment for the service they have rendered by bringing the card to you. Needless to say, I was not impressed by the young man's ardor. (Or lack thereof.) Especially as the card itself was extremely tacky, featuring a leering young man and including an equally distasteful sentiment written inside. Ewww! Gross!

What a disappointment!

Years later, I still await the thrill of a well-appointed card, chocolates or flowers from a boy on Valentine's Day. I'm not holding my breath, though. If I get a postage-due slip from the post office in my mailbox on February 14, I think I'll just leave it there.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Fight Injustice by Feeling Your Boobies!

Here it is, WTF Wednesday, and there's news out of the medical community that we're getting too many mammograms. WTF? This is NOT the kind of thing I normally like to parade out for WTF Wednesday. This one is an Injustice worthy of fighting against.

For years our doctors have been trying to talk us into getting poked, prodded and squished once a year after age 40. And we listened.

Having your boobs crushed in a mammogram machine to the point of exploding is not the most pleasant of experiences. But I've had several friends who are now cancer survivors because they tortured themselves yearly with these exams. So I believe! I'm always a little nervous going in to the procedure and always feel a sense of relief getting that slip of paper saying nothing untoward was seen on the films.

So why are they now reversing their recommendation? Is it a cost saving measure? Why do I keep thinking that it's as simple as that? If that's the reason, then it's wrong! Are our lives not worthy of a simple procedure once a year?

Guess it's up to us now to
Feel Our Boobies!

And guys... you can help us out here too... feel our boobies! Because you care!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Faerieland: Sundays in My City

Unknown Mami has a series called Sundays in my City and I'm joining the tour this week. When you're out for your Sunday blog walk, be sure to visit her to see who else is participating this week!

During my recent stay in the country I got to explore my friend's gardens with their hidden treasures. Now is the time of year that the gardens are being "put to bed" for the winter. But there are still things to discover... especially the faeries.

Some are in plain sight and others are hidden.

It's a treat to come across one of these.

One saves water in a flower for the birds.

Some are impish.

While others are more

Some faeries show the effects of the seasons, but have friends to keep them company.

Their expressions seem to change depending upon the time of day and the time of year.

And there's always the frog prince to keep them company...

All are a delightful treat to stumble upon!

Here's hoping that you'll find your own hidden treasures this week!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

OMG! What Happened? Where Did She Go?

After being idle for four months, I started my new job this week. This cut way back on the time I had for my daily blogging regimen. Sacrifices had to be made in the pursuit of gainful employment. (Or at least that's the impression I was getting from my creditors.)

But what's this? Policemen at my door, making inquiries about a missing persons report? It appears several people became alarmed when they hadn't seen the CatLady for a few days.

Had she been away fighting Soft Drink Injustice? Was she buried under a pile of miscellaneous crap that finally became unbalanced? (We already knew for some time that she herself was unbalanced.) Did the Wonder Dog eat her out of boredom? Had she finally been hauled off to Mommy Jail? Was she engulfed in flames by fireworks mistakenly ignited inside the home? Had she been kidnapped and ransomed for her substantial weight in gold? Was she laying motionless at the bottom of the stairs after tripping over all the Dr Pepper empties? Did she finally just forget to get out of bed for five days straight?

The answer was "none of the above."

As the kind officers looked over my shoulder in disgust at the chaos within my home, I tried to explain that I just got busy trying to get settled into the new job. There hadn't been an awful lot of time for personal communications. That comes with the territory, I'm afraid, when you have an obsessive compulsive personality. You get kinda focused on one thing and soon the rest of the world has been blocked out momentarily.

Poor officers. They didn't understand how that could keep me out of communication with the world for so long. So, I carefully explained further how I had to venture into the scary attic to look for teaching materials long buried. I had to plumb the depths of the basement for games and toys and my collection of rubber sea creatures for our first theme. This takes time. It's not easy finding your way through those dark and dingy caverns.

I explained to the officers that I hadn't meant to alarm people. I simply made a basic tactical error. I neglected to notify my friends that I would be gone for a few days.

So, I apologize for upsetting all of you with my unannounced absence from the blogging world.

But, I also have to say... it heartens me to know that there are a few people who actually notice when I'm gone.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Battling Soft Drink Injustice

It's no secret that certain bloggers out there (who you know and love) have a penchant for that wonderful elixir, Dr Pepper. (Myself and Quirky being amongst the most prolific in shouting the praises of our chosen addiction.) Have you ever noticed how much Quirky looks like the Dr Pepper guy...

Dr Pepper is an acquired taste, much like crystal meth or heroine. It's not for the faint of heart. Only truly BadAss Bloggers delve into the mysteries of The Doctor. To this day, the exact ingredients remain a mystery, locked within a steel vault somewhere deep in the heart of Texas.

But, with all addiction comes pain. Not the least of which is withdrawl when our lifeblood is withheld from us. Which leads me to today's HBDC Anti Injustice Rant...

I'm here today to ask you to join me in protesting against

Dr Pepper shortages in the airline industry.

How do they expect those of us with addiction issues to maintain a cool, level head during flight if they deny us our beverage of choice? They offer a vast array of alcoholic beverages, as well as Coke and water and orange juice. But ask for a Dr Pepper and they look at you as though you have two heads or have just tried to commandeer the plane. Yes, we may begin to twitch for lack of a Dr Pepper to mainline. That shouldn't make us suspected terrorists, nor should they treat us as inferior to the Coke addicts on board.

What makes Coke the king of beverages on airplanes? What makes it so special? It's not even as old as Dr Pepper....

"Dr Pepper is a native of Waco, Texas, and the oldest major soft drink in America. It was created by Dr. Charles Alderton at the Old Corner Drug Store in 1885, predating Coca-Cola by one year. From “Vim, Vigor, and Vitality,” “Drink a Bite to Eat at 10, 2 and 4,” “I’m a Pepper” to “Just What the Doctor Ordered,” Dr Pepper’s slogans over the years have made it one of the most unique success stories of American free enterprise."
-actual quote from the Dr Pepper Museum website

Don't airlines want to get in on the ground floor of soft drink superiority by supporting "one of the most unique success stories of American free enterprise?"

It used to be you could at least carry your own Dr Pepper on board with you, but not anymore. The new security measures instituted by airports around the world now make it impossible to sneak in a bottle of the bubbly. Simply outrageous! If they don't let you bring any through security, the least they could do is have a stash ready and waiting for you once you put your shoes back on and gather your belongings. But, NO!

Airline terminals are wastelands when it comes to finding your beverage of choice. I always schedule my flights so that I have plenty of time during layovers to scour the airport for Dr Pepper. Often I am thwarted in my search. And if you grab the microphone out of the hand of the service counter employee to ask if there's a Doctor in the house, all you get is taken down by airport security once they determine you're not having a "qualified" medical emergency. This demonstrates their total lack of understanding, as this is indeed a medical emergency! Your mental health depends on having a sip of that delicious nectar of the gods. Why do they insist on denying us our "Vim, Vigor and Vitality?"

So I ask you, is there no justice? Does anyone out there know of a single airline that serves Dr Pepper as part of their in-flight beverage service? If anyone can point me in the direction of such an inspired airline, I shall personally award them an official Dr Pepper refrigerator magnet from the official Dr Pepper Museum gift shop.

I ask you today to join me in the fight against this outrage.... I ask you to stand up and be counted. I ask you to

Be a Pepper!

(Since this is an unsolicited endorsement of Dr Pepper and no money has exchanged hands for my endorsement, I have no qualms about using the Dr Pepper Museum's patented artwork to illustrate my rant. I'm sure they'll thank me rather than sue me. At least, I hope they will. If I guessed wrong, please accept my apology!)

A special thank you to Dr. Smarty-pants for correcting my spelling of Dr Pepper... maybe that's why I haven't been able to find any in airports... I was asking for the wrong thing.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Mom Likes Me Best! Happy Hour Friday

It's Friday! There are many happy events to share with you for Happy Hour today....

I got a job! I'm no longer a deadbeat! Once again, someone is actually going to pay me real money to play with little kids. Works for me! The only downside is that it takes away from valuable blogging time. And I'm sure I'll be totally wiped out next week... teaching the wee ones is one of the most physically exhausting jobs there is. But, for this Friday, the fact that I'll be back doing what I love makes me very happy!

I got a lovely blog award from a lovely lady... the one and only Ms. Eolist Petite.

Thank you Ms. Petite!

And since I get to pass this award along to some other lovely bloggers, I'd like to take this opportunity to award it to these lovely bloggers with truly lovely blog sites:

Spudballo over at Chez Spud with her lovely photos
Nancy at Body in Balance who will help you find balance in your life
Michelle, who pretends to be a Surly Writer, but is actually quiet lovely

Mom also likes me best this week! Mine was the winning entry in Kirsten's caption contest this past week over at The Soccer Mom Files. Here's my winning entry:

Register now for our parenting classes. Satisfaction guaranteed or your ammo back.

Did you like it... huh? Huh? Here's what I won:

Now I get to be the blog sheriff for the week! Yay! That means you all have to do everything I tell you to do for the entire week! (Isn't that how this award works, Kirsten? Or should I just save time and send myself to my room now?)

Please be sure to stop by and say howdy to Otin and RxBambi and see who else is participating in Happy Hour Friday this week!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Castle: Theme Thursday

This week, the folks over at Theme Thursday chose Castle as our topic. I love castles!

Beaumaris is my favorite castle.* It's a sweet little castle (by castle standards) on the isle of Anglesey in Wales.

Getting there can be a bit tricky, as you may recall from my story of the Worst Airplane Trip Ever, but believe me, it's worth the effort.

Not too big, not too small, I imagine that it could be a lovely place to live, if you had about eleventy-bajillion dollars to restore it. As you can see, it could use a few windows, maybe some floors, and a roof.

And can you imagine waking up to this view of the Welsh mountains every day?

Beaumaris is also one of the most perfect examples of the concentric castle. (For anyone out there who's not a castle aficionado, that means there's one ringed wall inside of another one.)

Originally, the sea came right up to the castle, creating a water barrier around the entire outer ring. Here's a picture of the gatehouse, or portcullis gate... the portcullis is also known as the little grate thingy that comes down to keep the bad guys out.

My friend Julie Bero is also a fan of Beaumaris and created this sketch of the offset interior doors. Beaumaris was designed so that if invaders penetrated the gate house, they wouldn't have a straight shot at the next entryway. The sketch hangs on my living room wall to remind me of this lovely place.

But although I have fantasies of living in a castle and Beaumaris in particular, what I really want is to be Castle. If you haven't yet seen it, Castle is a new television show featuring a mystery writer who gets to hang out with police in New York to do research for his books. (It stars Nathan Fillion as Rick Castle.) He even gets a bullet proof vest with WRITER on it in lieu of POLICE. And Castle is uber rich, so he gets to do whatever the hell he wants. No money worries for Castle. I want to be the blogger version of Castle. I'd have nothing to do all day long, but go around checking things out to see if I'd like to write about them. And I want me some BLOGGER body armor... now that would be the epitome of cool!

*Giving credit where credit is due... since all of my photos of Beaumaris are in slide format up in the scary attic, I took the liberty of sharing these beauties with you from Jeffry L. Thomas. (They're surprisingly very similar to the photos I took.) All the Beaumaris photos are copyright 2009 by Jeffrey L Thomas.
To learn more about Welsh castles and see more of Thomas's photos, you can go to

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Run, Sparky, Run!

I hope you all enjoyed the scenic photos I posted yesterday of my home away from home in the country. I promised you some more for today. Not all the fun occurred outdoors.

Relaxing inside after doing all my chores was delightful. I especially enjoyed the fireplace... nothing like it on a cool, fall night.

A good book, a glass of wine, a roaring fire, a kitty curled up at my shoulder and the trusty canine curled up at my feet.... doesn't get any better than that!

There was just one itty-bitty problem we didn't count on. There's a new kitty who arrived since I last stayed in the country. Sparky the Wonder Cat showed up on the doorstep one day not long ago and decided to stay. Lulu Belle and Bad Jake (the other two cats) don't seem to mind nor do the dogs.

Sparky is one of those cats that's fearless. Nothing bothers her. Where the other cats would dart out of your way, Sparky holds her ground. Several times I turned around quickly, only to trip over Sparkles.

Sparky is short for Sparkles... perhaps because of her sparkling white coat. However, Vlad and I noticed that Sparky might be a good name for her for another reason... which we found out accidentally. And I do mean accidentally... or nearly so.

Sparky is fascinated by flames. Which is all fine and good until she starts poking her nose into the roaring fire. We had the door of the woodburning stove open to get the fire started and that's when Sparky decided to explore.

Meow... I wonder what this could be? It looks pretty!

Purrrrrr... Oh, my! It feels so nice and warm... I'll just get a little closer...

Oh no! Watch the tail Sparky! Nooooooo! Run, Sparky! Run!

That was close... too close! Somehow I don't think Sparky would have gotten the concept of "Stop, Drop & Roll!"

Only a little soot on the right side of her face... Whew!

Yeah, I'm pretty sure that soot wasn't there before.

From then on, Sparkles was only allowed to enjoy the fire with the door closed!

Because it's just bad form to burn up your friend's cat while you're the responsible adult in charge.

So says the catless CatLady.
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