Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Happy Southern Hemisphere Hoodie Hoo Day

As I'm sure you ALL know, tomorrow is Southern Hemisphere Hoodie Hoo Day.

Long awaited by our Southern-half friends, August 22 is the day to go outdoors at high noon and yell "Hoodie Hoo!" to chase away winter and help usher in spring (no, really). And as silly as that sounds, I for one am so done with winter by the time January 1st rolls around that, if I thought it would help, I would be Hoodie-Hooing like a boss all day long until the Evil Cold had retreated back to wherever it goes during the Happy Warmer Months. I mean, once the holiday season is over is there really any point to winter? I think not. If you want to wear cute sweaters and boots and Curl Up With Your Boo Next To A Roaring Fire While Michael Buble Plays Softly In the Background, fall can successfully accomodate you in all of those areas. If you want to ice skate, you can do it indoors year-round. And if you want to make a snow man, simply do it between Thanksgiving and New Years.

While those of us in the Northern Hemisphere are not preparing to transition from winter into spring, we are getting ready to bid a Very Fond Farewell to summer. With this in mind, here are Five Ways You Can Shout "Hoodie Hoo!" (except please please also do it in the traditional way, because it's funny) And Prepare To Welcome Autumn Into Your Midst. But, please hold off your Hoodie-Hooing for a few weeks, as I am not ready for Maxi Dress Weather and 9PM Sunsets to go away yet. Thankyouverymuch.

Watch "It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown"


Light Fall-Scented Candles Which Includes But Is Not Limited To Anything With "Harvest", "Spiced", Or "That Smell When People Burn Leaves Outside" In The Name

Apple and Pumpkin and Cinnamon, OH MY!  Click the link below to check out the newest fall fragrances from Yankee Candle. And then lament over the current lack of pie in your house. http://www.yankeecandle.com/whats-new/new-fragrances

Make Fall-ish Type Food So That Your Noms May Know No Bounds

Like pie! As well as chili and stews, breads, spiced cakes and cookies, cider, and Pumpkin Anything. All leading up to the Blessed Climax Of The Fall Food Frenzy which is, of course, sweet potato casserole Thanksgiving Dinner. IHEARTTHANKSGIVINGDINNER.

Check out one of my most favorite fall chili recipes. If, like me, you only enjoy a Moderate Amount Of Spiciness in your food then you may want to half the chili powder. If, like my husband, you enjoy Very Spicy Things, then put in the whole amount. And, for the love of GOD, even if you Never Ever Drink Alcohol, please don't leave the beer out. Please. http://cheaphealthygood.blogspot.com/2008/02/comfort-me-with-chili.html

Go Through Your Fall Wardrobe And Figure Out Who You Want To Keep And Who Is Getting Cut From The Team.

If you would like some guidance, here are a handful of things that will be Trendy this fall: Barouque-styled things, capes and cloaks, cozy sweaters, leather skirts, school-girl styles, colbalt blue and oxblood, tartan/plaid, peplums, colored jeans, knee high boots, hats, and hardcase handbages. If you provide me with a picture of yourself rocking all of these trends simultaneously I will be your best friend or at the very least send you some Lindor chocolate truffles. Actually, the truffles are probably the better of the two options. But, anyway.

Go Apple Picking (Even Though Its Easier And Slightly Cheaper To Get Them From The Store) Because They Are (Probably) Extra Tasty When Picked Straight From The Orchard And Its Fun To Show Off Your Amazing Apple Selecting Skills So Shut Up

I rather enjoy the Orchard Fruit Picking Experience, and highly recommend the Carters Mountain Orchard here in Cville if you too would like to pick your own fruit. Carters Mountain, in addition to having lots of Trees With Tasty Fruit On Them, has a great store, delicious refreshments, a wine shop, friendly staff, and a great view from the mountain top. I would suggest bringing a Not Heavy Person with you because, sometimes, the best-looking fruit is higher up on the trees and you need someone that is light enough for you to hoist. Make sure they're an Okay Climber. http://www.cartermountainorchard.com/

Hoodie Hoo!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Guest Blogger: Gabriel the Cat

Greetings. Gabriel, here.

Something incredibly disconcerting has recently come to my attention and I felt it was imperative to hijack my mom’s blog for the purpose of addressing it. My sister, Bella, and I have been overhearing a disturbing amount of Humans ask my parents when they are going to Hurry Up And Have Children Already.

I beg your pardon?
What bestows upon you the right to ascend into MY abode and start uttering such preposterously offensive language? Are you under the impression that just because I’m a cat I don’t know what you’re saying?

Oh, I know. I know.
I hear you, every time you inquire as to when they are going to Start A Family. Every time you unwittingly imply that Cat Children Don’t Count. Every time I am indirectly equated with Chopped Liver (except, I never actually understood that expression, because I find liver rather delectable).  We ARE a family. Cat Children DO COUNT. And I AM NOT CHOPPED LIVER.

Okay. I apologize for my outburst. Believe it or not, my usual demeanor is rather agreeable and extremely pleasant in fact - I also actually quite fancy the vast majority of Humans who call on my parents.  But, I must ask you – no, implore you - to PLEASESTOP trying to get them to Have (Human) Children.

 Bella & I have discussed this, and we prefer for things to remain just as they are.  We have been previously exposed to Human Children (well, not Bella because most people scare the crap out of her, but she can hear the Human Children and their Noise from her Secret Hiding Spots when they are on the premises). They are vile, odious creatures - vermin best kept to those Humans who are not evolved enough to reside with cats.
In an effort to prove my point, I have compiled a list of Reasons Why Cat Children Are Better Than Human Children. I humbly request that you read it, and do so with an open mind, as I believe that the logic behind my reasoning will speak for itself. Let us begin.

Our Parents Already Have Someone To Nurture And Love And Post Obscene Amounts Of Pictures Of On Their Social Network Of Choice

Often times a couple will have a Human Child because they desire to have something to love and nurture and raise and discipline and populate the earth with. This is all well and good – but a cat can meet all of these needs for you. We need lots of love and nurturing. In fact, because we’re animals, we will always need you just as much (if not more) in the middle and end of our lives as we do in the beginning. We aren’t  ever going to learn how to get our own food and water, scoop our own feces, put on our own preposterous outfits, drive ourselves to doctor’s appointments, or what have you (and even if we did we sure as HEdoublehockeysticks wouldn’t tell you about it).  If you want to feel needed, HERE WE ARE. We won't outgrow your love either. True, some cats get crotchety as they get older, but the majority of us will still sleep in your bed, and cuddle up on your lap and purr, and let you kiss all over us well into our teen years. How many Human Children can you say that about.  It’s the same results as Attachment Parenting, but way less creepy.
And we certainly need discipline. Bella & I still jump onto the counters sometimes, even though we know those are in the Forbidden Zone, and Lord knows we still try to scratch on our parents’ nice leather couches even when they are sitting right there and even though we have a Very Sweet Cat Tree with scratching posts in our room. Why do you think we try to scratch the couches in front of them sometimes even though we know we’ll get into trouble?  It’s for them, not us. The opportunity to discipline and mold and shape us into becoming Good Cats Who Make Good Decisions is a rewarding experience that they derive a deep (though, granted, likely unacknowledged) satisfaction from – and, even if they aren’t keenly aware of this, it’s still quietly, subtly filling a void in that area of their life that they now do not have to seek to fill with a Human Child or (shudder) Children.

And, as far as the pictures go, I’m pretty sure my Mom has over a hundred in her Gabe & Bella album on Facebook, so.

Let’s Just Get This One Out Of The Way
No Human Child could ever be as Really, Really Ridiculously Good-Looking as I am. I’m just saying.

Human Children Are Loud. We Are Not 
Our parents are able to maintain a quiet existence with us in their lives. That’s not to say we NEVER meow or make noise, but the instances are infrequent and short-lived. Like, we’re pretty much quiet all the time. Human Children are loud most of the time. So are their toys.  And their god-awful television shows. And have you ever HEARD a Human Child throw a tantrum? That alone should be effective enough to make the rest of my list unnecessary.  But, I’ll continue.

Human Children Are Messy. We Are Only Somewhat Messy
Have you ever noticed how much CRAP comes with a kid?  Our home is relatively clutter free and only gets messy if my parents are sick or Currently Addicted To A TV Show That They Haven’t Seen Every Episode Of Yet and don’t clean it as much as they normally would. Admittedly, Bella and I do leave a toy or two on the floor from time to time, we aren’t the World’s Neatest Eaters, and we do sometimes get cat litter on Things That Are Not The Litter Box. However, our mess is manageable - utterly and completely manageable.  A Human Child’s mess, on the other hand, will kickyourass. Every hour of every minute of every day. There will always be Kid Furniture And/Or Supplies everywhere, toys scattered throughout every room, and every surface will have a Mysterious Stickiness on it. Your house is not your own anymore, it has been taken over by Human Child Crap. And, let me just say,  if I couldn’t stretch way out on the carpet because a pile of Hot Wheels Cars and a pink baby doll stroller was in my way, I would be slightly pissed.

 Have I Mentioned Diapers?
I realize that we cats use a litter box, a litter box that has to be scooped out and maintained...once every day or two.  And I can GUARANTEE you nobody has to wipe my derriere. A Human Child means changing diapers into the double digits, every single day, until they are old enough to use the bathroom by themselves. I came to my parents already potty trained. I win.

My Parents Still Know What Sleep Is
We never wake our parents up during the night. And, in fact, we let them sleep as long as they want to on the weekends, even though that may mean getting our breakfast several hours later than what we’re used to. We’re just awesome like that. Human Children will wake you up during the night often and don’t really give a crap if you want to sleep in on the weekends. Our parents get to sleep as much as they want. And, as a cat, I understand that sleep is a Very Beautiful Thing.

Baby-Sitters Need Not Apply
Our Mom & Dad can get up and go anytime the mood strikes them, without giving it a second thought. Whenever, wherever. Heck, they can even go away for MULTIPLE DAYS if they so desire, without having to worry about us. Since Human Children, however, are Pathetic Creatures That Require Constant Supervision, our parents would either have to bring them along or find a Baby-Sitter to come and sit on the children in their absence; they would also probably have to pay said Baby-Sitter for their services. Which brings me to my next point.

Human Children Are Expensive Little Boogers
My mom is currently the only one bringing home a pay check, because Dad is in school trying become a BAMF Fighter Pilot Dad. That being the case, they can only afford to accommodate the living expenses for the four of us – trust me.  And Bella & I do cost money. We go to a Nice Vet’s Office that only treats cats, we eat Good Food, we pee and poo in High-Quality Litter. We do not, however, eat three meals a day (plus snacks) or drink anything other than free water, wear clothes and shoes and diapers, get an ear infection once a month, own more toys than what could fit in a small warehouse, need an obscene amount of Supplies,  or have any plans to attend college.  Human Children are fricking expensive. We are only slightly expensive. Slightly > fricking.

We Do Not Require Our Parents To Watch Nauseating Kids Shows That Make Them Want to Stab Something Sharp In Their Eye And/Or Ear
Our parents have full control over the remote, 24/7. Sure, there are shows that are more interesting to us than others, but we are happy to watch whatever floats their boat. Lately, it’s been a lot of Supernatural. (Partly because it’s one of the greatest shows ever made, and partly because Mom has a crush on Dean.) But, the point is, they can watch their show as often as they want, for as long as they want. They don’t have to wait until Bella and I go to bed, and they don’t have to spend our waking hours watching Dora the Explorer and The Wiggles. And, as shallow as it sounds, I think there’s something to be said for that.

(Bella would like to add one)
People other than my Mom & Dad are Very Scary. Me no likey people. NO MORE PEOPLE NEED TO LIVE HERE EVER.  

Okay, I’m back. I hope that my list was enlightening. If you already have Human Children and are now like, “Blast, this sucks”, I apologize. I would never want anyone who has already been saddled with the little vermin to get rid of them or anything on my account. My only point is that my Mom & Dad (and Bella & I, for that matter) are still Free And Unaffected By The Things Discussed In The Above List. And I for one would like to keep it that way as long as possible.

So, stop telling them to Hurry Up And Have Children Already. Or I will find you and claw your eyes out with the nails that I’ve been sharpening on their leather couch. You have been warned.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

No Offense, But...

You know what bugs me? The phrase, "no offense".

When people preface a statement with "no offense, but...", all I hear is, "I'm about to insult you, but don't get mad at me" (aka: I'm trying to say something douchey without actually sounding like a douche).


I would much rather someone just say whatever it is they want to say, sans the aforementioned introduction, because then I could at least pretend that they honestly didn't realize that whatever came out of their mouth immediately following said introduction would most likely be interpreted as Mean, Insensitive, Hurtful, Rude, And/Or Highly Offensive. When someone says "no offense, but...", it's like they're saying "It definitely occurred to me that the following statement will most likely be interpreted as Mean, Insensitive, Hurtful, Rude And/Or Highly Offensive but, not only am I going to say it anyway, I'm going to be condescending enough to assume that me telling you not to get offended by it will magically make it less Highly Offensive".

This, of course, also applies to people concluding a Highly Offensive Statement with "no offense". When you were growing up, and you hit another kid with a stick or snatched their toy away or held them down and farted in their face, an adult would always make you say "I'm sorry". It got to the point where you felt like you could get away with anything as long as you followed up the Preposterously Vile Act with a flippant and barely recognizable "Sorry." You remember how it went.

"MOM, he punched me because I wouldn't jump off the roof to see if thinking a Happy Thought will really make you fly."

"But I said sorry!"

"Since you punched your sister, you get no dessert tonight.


Saying you were sorry was like a Magic Eraser, the "abracadabra" in the disappearing act that made whatever you had just said or done Cease To Exist. Except, it really didn't. Your sister's eye still turned black. The kid who inhaled flatus through all of his facial orifices still puked his guts out. And the kid who got their toy snatched still cried for two hours, even after it had been returned and they been given both a pony and an entire baseball team as consolation.

I'm not saying that kids, and adults, shouldn't apologize when they do something hideous to someone else. They should, especially if they mean it. The point is that you shouldn't do something that you know is mean just because you think you can justify it, or Magically Erase it, by saying you're sorry afterwards. Nor am I saying that it isn't, at times, appropriate and/or necessary to say something to someone that they might find Highly Offensive. I'm just saying that that adding a "no offense" to it does not make it any Less Offensive and, perhaps, makes it even More Offensive than it would have otherwise been, for the reasons previously mentioned.

"No offense, but you're One Of The Most Mind-Bogglingly Annoying People I Know."

"Your singing is so terrible that it actually hurts my feelings. No offense."

"No offense, but you smell like Dog Poo That's Been Sitting In The Sun For Twelve Days."

"You look like a Creepy Mentally Impaired Clown. No offense."

See? It doesn't really work.

I realize that, sometimes, when people preface or conclude a statement with "no offense" what they are trying to say is "despite the fact that I'm telling you something that will most likely be interpreted as Mean, Insensitive, Hurtful, Rude And/Or Highly Offensive, I want you to know that I'm not doing it with the intention of hurting your feelings." This is a nice thought but, let's face it, there is only one person in the entire world who can successfully pull off Saying "No Offense" And Having It Come Across As Not Douchey, and that is my brother, Billy, who happens to be the Sweetest Person In The United States Of America And Possibly The Universe. If you are not my brother, Billy, then you are not allowed to say "no offense" without causing me to experience Obscene Levels Of Annoyance. Just so we're clear.

No offense.

PS: This post is not Me Passive-Aggressively Telling Someone Who Recently Said "No Offense" In My Presence That I Think They're A Douche - I actually just heard the phrase "no offense" about seven different times on T.V. today, while watching Supernatural and Late Nineties Teen Movies, and it got me thinking. It got me thinking.

PPS: Don't worry, I also love my brother Brian - very much, in fact - but, honestly, if he ever made a statement to me that was prefaced or concluded with the phrase "no offense", he would most likely be saying it in a snarky tone with a Giant "I'm Laughing At You On The Inside" Smirk. Let's be real here.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Top Ten Fav's From the Month of July

My Top Ten Fav's from the month of July are, in no particular order, as follows:

1. My Birthday
Happy Birthday to ME. I turned cough29cough this month, and had so much fun celebrating with family and friends! I have not yet decided if my birthday is going to be in my Top Ten Fav's for July 2013 - it depends on how traumatized I am by turning thirty. Someone plan me something uber cool for that birthday, to help take my mind off becoming an OLDLADY and to ensure that my birthday definitely merits a spot in my Top Ten that month.

2. Independence Day
First off, I want to publicly thank Fergie for ensuring that I never forget how to spell any form of the word "independent", ever.

Also, the 4th was a blast. Hubby and I started off the morning with a hike up Humpback Rock, or The Gigantic Mountain That Made Fun Of Me For Being Super Out Of Shape And Hurt My Feelings. Really though, despite it kicking my butt, it was actually a lot of fun and only about an hour round-trip - the view from the top was pretty spectacular too. More importantly, I made a new friend! Some of Anthony's buddies from school hiked with us and, thank the Lord, one of them brought their wife and I had someone to walk at an Incredibly Slow Pace with. Walking at an Incredibly Slow Pace gave Dara and I the opportunity to get to know one another, and she's awesome! So, all in all, the hike was a win. Then, a bunch of us went to a local park with a beach and cooked out and then we went back to our place and played Rock Band 2 (like true Americans) and then we went to watch fireworks. All of which were also a win.

3. I Got A Raise
Not a huge one, but I'll end up with about an extra $75 each month. Of course, it's probably all going onto the Giant Evil Student Loans STOPTAKINGALLOFMYMONIESDAMNYOU but it's still pretty sweet. I've always been a big fan of raises.

4. I Started A Blog
I started a blog! And you're reading it! Right now! I really appreciate all the positive feedback I've gotten from some of you. I started blogging basically just to have an excuse to write, but it makes me so happy to know that other people are able to derive enjoyment from it. Also, to the Woman Whose Cat Made Her Bleed Profusely Because She Was Laughing So Gregariously While Reading My Post About Dog Vomit And Apparently It Freaks The Cat Out To Be Sitting On The Lap Of Someone Who Is Laughing So Gregariously About Dog Vomit Or Anything Else For That Matter: I'm so sorry.

Most awesome picture ever.

5. THIS.

Please note: If the above picture makes no sense to you, refer to item #4 of my July 27th post then return here and commence hysterical laughter.

This is why Faith (pictured above, but not on the shirt - that's me) is my BFF. If you too would like to become the proud owner of your very own Sara Forrest T-shirt (please also refer to my July 27th post for suggestions regarding proper use of the shirt), then you should know that this Stunning Masterpiece was created by the good people at Airbrush Customs. Visit their website at www.airbrushcustoms.net or give them a call at 1 (303) 744-7848 and GET HOOKED UP WITH THIS SHIZ. Also, don't be afraid to think outside the box - hats, onesies, hoodies, and tattoos are also acceptable ways to display this Very Important Information. I don't think they actually do tattoos there, but they might know a guy.

6. Masontasticness
We got to see part of the original Mason clan this past weekend. The Masons are, basically, some of the coolest people on the planet, and we have the kind of unique bond with them that only comes from working alongside someone for Years & Years through the blood, sweat and tears of church ministry.

Also, the patriarch of the Mason clan is Really Really Ridiculously Good-Looking. Obviously.

 Check out their website www.lifeontheverge.com to read about the exciting things they've been doing, and consider helping to support their powerful and kick butt musicianary ministry, Life on the Verge, so that you can also become kick butt.

7. Private Selection's "Southern Red Velvet Cake" Ice Cream
Imagine sex, Michael Buble's voice, and sweatpants combined into ice cream form. It's SO GOOD. I strongly suggest that you travel to your nearest Kroger and procure a carton or twelve. RIGHT NOW. I'll wait.

8. Supernatural, or I Might Actually Be A BAMF But Probably Not
I discovered this month that Supernatural is not a Show That's Way Too Creepy For Sara To Watch. I thought it was. I was wrong. I'm glad to have had this little misunderstanding cleared up because it's really a pretty great show (and I appreciate Dean's sarcasm). It  occured to me that, perhaps, Supernatural really is as creepy as I always thought it was and that I'm just turning into a total BAMF who doesn't mind watching Very Creepy Shows but, really, it probably isn't all that creepy and I was simply being a Very Large Wuss about it before. Maybe.

9. Buffalo Chicken Dip
My friend, Jenn, brought some Buffalo Chicken Dip to my house this month, and it was DELISH. She gave me the recipe and everyone to whom I’ve served it has raved about my Mad Skills In The Kitchen (except I really have no Mad Skills because it's pretty much the easiest thing ever, but shhhh). Here is the recipe in case you too would like to fake having Mad Skills In The Kitchen or just enjoy a super tasty dip that is Very Very Unhealthy (you could make it healthier by using fat-free everything, but why ruin a perfectly good dip? If you're truly worried about it then eat some celery instead, or perhaps a rice cake).

Preheat oven to 375

1 package of cream cheese
2 cans of chunked chicken breast
1 cup of Ranch dressing
1/4-1/2 cup Franks hot sauce (I use 1/2 cup)
2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese (medium or sharp)

Soften cream cheese in the microwave for about 1 minute.
Drain the chicken and add to cream cheese.
Add the Ranch and hot sauce.
Add 1 cup of the shredded cheese.
Combine mixture until everything is mixed together.

Spray the dish with a bit of nonstick spray, Add the dip and cover with the remaining cup of cheese.

Bake in oven for about 10 mins or until the top layer of cheese is melted and bubbly.

10. Juno
I finally bought Juno on DVD. Ellen Page & Michael Cera in the same movie? Duh.

This has been my Top Ten Favorite Things for the month of July. Tune in next month for ten more examples of awesomeness.

Happy August.