Thursday, December 22, 2011

Reverb11, no. 4 | Things

A few of my favorite things in 2011:

1. Tea. This is the year I truly embraced tea. I've been trying for years, of course, because my Grandma drew a series of photos years and years ago of her cats sipping green tea in boats on water, so whimsical and dreamy. Because green tea is chock full of antioxidants, because it hydrates better than water, because it prevents bad breath and prolongs one's life. But this is the year that, in an effort to break up the routine of my work day a bit, I began bringing tea with my lunch--a black or green (with caffeine) for the morning, and a rooibos or otherwise herbal for the afternoon. Just recently I even discovered the joys of iced tea (unsweetened), which is now my standard order in restaurants--it cleanses the palate as well as quenches thirst.

2. Clothes on the Line. Admittedly, this is not a new favorite thing. But, this summer I forwent using the dryer completely--hung everything on the line from towels to socks to unmentionables. There is nothing more pleasurable than watching one's bed sheets whip about on the wind. All summer long I felt like a pioneer woman. Who needs electricity, am I right?

3. Caramel. Strawberry Cow Tails are my favorite mid-shift treat while working at the convenience store. And I had to ween myself off of sliced apples dipped into caramel sauce this year--around August, it became a problem.

4. Color. Life is too short to wear beige. This year I stripped my closet of all brown garments, and threw all my white items into a mesh laundry bag to be dyed. I was inspired by bloggers like The Dainty Squid, who seemed to have a monopoly on the rainbow. I still have a soft spot for the sophistication that wearing black lends, but most days it's a cacophony of color or bust.

5. Art Prints. This sort of goes hand-in-hand with Color. While my walls are not blank, exactly, they could use some attention, a little make-over. So, this is the year I began trolling Etsy and the flea market and my Grandma's house for art, in all its forms. Now, if only Frames were among my favorite things. I have all this art and nothing with which to hang it.

6. Wine. See #TheWinoDiaries.

7. Naturalism. When I was a wee lass, I wanted to be a zoologist/ballerina. My interest in the natural world has not faded any (though I'm less enthused by the thought of studying science, or studying anything, really, so intensely). And, with the help of the interwebs and a little free time during lulls at work, my knowledge has expanded a bit this year. Various of my tumblr tags and clippings in my journal prove the point.

8. Epic Fantasy. I finished the Lord of the Rings books this year, finished the Legend of the Seeker television series, started the books upon which LotS is based upon, the Sword of Truth series by Terry Goodkind, and let us not forget my love for Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time, a world in which I am still happily immersed, and I listened to a lot of pagan metal featuring accordions and windpipes. I want Wolfman and me to write an epic fantasy series of our own, or live one. This is the genre for me. I've even been inspired to try my hand at playing Dungeons & Dragons, but as I told my husband, I'd need to practice with him before I joined his group. And as he told me, "That might end up getting sexy."

9. Kale. So crisp, so flavorful, so full of vitamins and good things, and it holds up so well in soup (my favorite being a kale, white bean, and sausage soup--so tasty)!

10. Witchery. Songs about witches, witch figurines in my house, pretending to cast curses on the middle schoolers who throw garbage in my yard. All of that.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Reverb11, no. 3 | Body

Wolfman came home tonight from a guitar lesson at the Alexander home with a loaf of Kim Alexander's pepperoni bread. She sent him home with a loaf of the same last year, a bread which I had just been dreamily reminiscing over not two days ago. So, I greedily ripped away the plastic wrap, sliced myself a piece, and had taken my first bite before Wolfman had even put down his guitar case.

Now is a good time to contemplate the word Body, and My Body in particular.

I've come to terms with my body. We all have to come to terms with our bodies at some point, right, else we live a life of misery and self doubt. And my journey, like that of many others, was a bit of an arduous one. I am tall, for one thing. At 5'6" in high school, I was taller than most of the other students, or so it felt, and never wore a shoe with a higher heel than that on my knock-off Birkenstock clogs. In college, I grew another two inches my first semester. But, you see, as I attended an all-girl's school, the thought of being tall, taller than the rest of my classmates, did not bother me. In fact, I have a very distinct memory of walking to Chapel one afternoon (required in my day for all first-years), catching a glimpse of myself among a gaggle of women in a hall mirror, recognizing I was a good three to five inches taller than everybody else, and thinking, "Holy Shit. I rule!" I had a love affair with three inch stillettos after that--wore them with everything for the next few years, including ripped jeans and t-shirts, much like my Southern Belle classmates wore their pearls. But, I digress.

Occasionally, I do still feel like the giantess who comes out of the hills to smash the village to bits. But mostly, my height, my strong shoulders, my posture, my legginess--all things that I not only accept about myself, but actually like.

Of course, when I was both tall and twenty pounds heavier? Eh. Is it easier to be short and slightly plump than tall? I'm not sure. While my weight had more body-length upon which to distribute itself, I did run the risk of further encouraging that giantess imagery of the last paragraph, at least and especially, to myself. But, once my body adjusted itself to birth control, magically, and I dropped the water weight, I shouldn't have had anything to complain about.

Except that then, oh man, I had tits, right. I mean, the weight dispersed but the boobs stayed behind. And these breasts are so unbelievable that when I met up with a couple high school girlfriends I hadn't seen since BB (before breasts), their eyes about popped out of their skulls. In high school, I was a pleasant B cup. And I was damn in love with my boobs in high school; if you'd asked me when I was 17 what my best feature was, I would've said my knockers--they had just the right amount of jiggle and could fit in the palm of some lucky boy's hands (there were no such lucky boys in high school, by the way, but while a bit of a prude outwardly, I knew that one day I would be a sexual dynamo; I never doubted that even in the depths of my virginity). But, at 18, without warning one morning, I woke up and my bras could no longer contain me--my cups runneth over. And my life, I was melodramatically positive, was over. I was no longer the lithe, long-bodied, nymph of a girl. I was Jayne Mansfield.

With a 22 inch waist and a triple D cup bra, I could and would be on cloud 9--if only I were a starlet in 1962, or a stripper in Reno. Quite frankly, there are still many a day when I am utterly embarrassed by my body, and most of my closet is filled with clothes that don't quite fit me. It's not easy being Jessica Rabbit, especially unsexy Jessica Rabbit. With a raspy voice and smoldering look like Scarlet Johansson, the body works. When you have a control over your sexuality and are learned in the art of flirting like Joan Holloway, the body works. When you are resentful of being hit on and are too serious and shy (not to mention the slight undiagnosed speech impediment) for flirting, the body works against you.

But, this year at the Renaissance Faire, I bought my first corset--a sales girl about half my size managed to strap me into a 20 inch corset (it was the last in its design, and she really liked it and wanted to see it on somebody), and then nearly lifted me up off my feet tightening the laces. I did not measure the end result, but it was inhuman, and I very nearly passed out while touring the dungeon, and my vanity knew no bounds on that day. And it was not entirely about giving Dita Von Teese a run for her money. It's like Freda Garmaise writes on the subject in her essay "Under Writers - Lingerie and the Literati", "Sometimes, I feel I could use a little whalebone in my life--not to flatten my stomach, but to stiffen my resolve; not to shape my body, but my purpose. It would be buckled on much like a suit of armor and would be just the impetus I need to dash off the major work." Freda speaks of writing here, but yes, while wearing that corset, the very embodiment, it could be argued, of sick body manipulation and outdated modes of femininity, I felt strong damn it. I felt like a champ, like a juggernaut, like the Amazon my husband (2 inches taller than me barefoot) tells me I am.

And if my body, without my consent, insists on being obnoxiously sexy, why not turn it into a fitness routine? Which is why I only work out to sexy dance aerobic videos. Aerobic strip tease, ab-crunching salsa, belly dancing. I took a free sample pole dancing class on a whim with a friend, and went away with a tighter core and feeling like I'd found my calling. I'm still contemplating installing a stripper pole in my--not bedroom, but--living room. And following along to a belly dancing video for a couple weeks, my body was noticeably tighter. I even moved differently. Due to an impossible work schedule, I regretfully have given up on working out with regularity, but I've worked on remedying this during my furlough. I can manipulate my rib cage like a pro.

My body is sometimes the greatest joke I tell. I don't play Scrabble because, as I tell Wolfman, "You married a woman with tits, not brains." This is categorically untrue. Given the right arena, I am a smart cookie. (Puzzles, however, are not my strong suit given my immense impatience, and I must insist that Scrabble is not a vocabulary game, but a puzzle game.) But, I came to realize upon meeting those old gal pals after the Breast Fairy came to visit, that my body is not something I can hide. People tend to notice the fact that I seem to have fallen out of Go-Go chorus line. So, I might as well own it. If that means making an off-color joke in close company or squaring my shoulders and stretching to my full height in the face of a problem, so be it. I am motherfucking Xena. I can kill a man with my thighs. In fact, I did accidentally bruise my husband's rib once when he was tickling my feet. Holy shit. I rule.

Reverb11, no. 2 | One Word

Reverb11, no. 2 | One Word: Pick one word that encapsulates 2011.

Contemplation. An inactive word, yes. And, perhaps such a passive noun is a sad choice for a word meant to describe one's entire year. And, yes, it is very true that as an intuitive introvert personality-type, much of every year of my life, past and future, could and will fall under the word: Contemplation. Or, Rumination. Or, even, Reverie. I am a thinker. I'm not sure that I look like much of a thinker and, true, if asked by my spouse, "What are you thinking?," I generally fail to come up with an answer that's not food-related, but thinker I am. I think.

It doesn't bother me, though, that this has been a year more of musing than action. Because, and this is exciting, all this pondering has led to some very real epiphanies about myself and my goals. In fact, for the first time since working toward a ballet solo when I was 17, I have goals--real, realistic goals. I have even managed to abstract the skeleton form of a plan toward reaching those goals.

I suddenly, this year, at age 27, know what I want out of life. I know what I want to do, how I want to live. Without going into too much detail, I have been ruminating on the Industry of Me. I have been musing on my potential, my ability, and how far short I have been falling. I know now that what I want is to live a purer, more earnest life, that I want to create and nurture and grow, that my very own hands are wunderkinds, they're long and spindly and strong, and I should be giving them more to do. I know now what I need and do not need in my life; I'm finally listening to this call, this nudging.

So, perhaps next year's word will be something more active, like Design or Intention. Perhaps, even, Pride or Deliberation. But, that would not be possible without this daydreamy, meditative year of long looks in the mirror and longer bus rides.

Reverb11, no. 1 | Begin

Reverb11, no. 1 | Begin: How do you begin each day? How does it set the stage for what follows? Is there anything about this beginning you'd like to change?

Each morning, I groan, and I ache, and I might even complain. And, I snuggle closer to my husband and try my damnedest to keep him pressed against me in bed for as long as possible. He's an early riser, as am I to a degree. But, while I like to wake up before the sun and then linger and lounge a bit, he is very much the get-up-and-go type. When he is awake in the morning, he is awake. There have been quite a few past instances in which I've gotten huffy and weepy and ruined the morning for both of us because Wolfman has popped out of bed as soon as his eyes opened, brushed his teeth, and left the bedroom to start coffee and his day. Leaving me to wallow in half-awakedness alone, which is less romantic and more lazy. That rarely happens now, after two years of marriage, however, there are quite a few more wrestling matches to get me up and out of bed. I don't mean that as a euphemism for something more tawdry, not entirely. I mean literal wrestling of limbs and pulling away of covers, and occasionally a foot to the butt to push me over the edge of the bed.

Once I am actually out of bed, though, I am fairly quick and bright about my morning routine. There are pets to feed, there is coffee to brew. I braid Wolfman's hair for him on his roasting days. I try to convince Wolfman to eat breakfast, and when that inevitably fails, I make a breakfast for myself--usually some sort of bread, some sort of sliced fruit, or grapenuts with almond milk and dried fruit, or I might fry up a couple eggs. Every once in a while Wolfman will do the whole skillet-caboodle and I'll have the works. I'm big on the morning meal, though, is the point. I'd no sooner skip breakfast than walk out the door naked.

And then, after breakfast, if there is time, we walk Lunchbox around the block. Sometimes there's no time, admittedly, and I guiltily stand with the dog out in the yard, promising him an extra long walk when I get home. I wish I could say he doesn't seem to mind, but on rushed mornings he gives me such a reproachful look when he takes his cookie upon coming back inside.

If I want, or need, to change anything, it is the rate of my languid waking for the sake of my admonishing pup, yes, but for my own sake as well. For a couple months this summer, in order to tend to the garden (ultimately, a failure, but we can discuss this later) I was waking and actually getting out of bed with the first alarm, a little after 5 each morning--sometimes even beating Wolfman out of bed. I would find myself with something like an hour to spare, and after Wolfman left for work, I'd sit on my front porch with my cats and eat breakfast, and sip coffee (something I otherwise would have no time for), and enjoy the morning shade and coolness before the heat and humidity, sun and bugs took reign of the day. I loved having that time, and for those months, my entire outlook on life was different. I was calmer, and I was more motivated for the day ahead. I'd like to have that hour again.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Domesticity Log, no. 2 | Some Thanksgiving Recipes, weeks after the fact

Wolfman's Ham Recipe
My honey makes one mean ham. And by mean, I of course mean sweet and spicy and tasty.

6-8 lb ham
whole cloves
1/2 cup honey or molasses
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup cola
1 tbsp mustard (dijon or brown)
1 tbsp ginger
1 teaspoon clove
sliced orange & orange zest

Mix ingredients (minus whole clove and orange) together and glaze ham. Spear ham with whole cloves, cover with sliced orange. For cooked ham: needs 18 minutes at 325 degrees in the oven per pound. Uncooked ham: needs 30 minutes per pound at 350 degrees. Remove ham from oven every once in a while to re-glaze. When finished cooking, remove whole cloves from the ham as they will make your mouth and your guests' mouths numb if eaten.

Autumn Quinoa

This quinoa recipe can be used as a stuffing substitute if you or a loved one is experimenting with a gluten-free diet. Or, it's just delicious if you just like delicious food. I also froze a few individual tupperware containers of this for work lunch on my vegetarian days--it's super filling and yummy on its own. Recipe originally via With Style & Grace.

2 cup quinoa (I used a quinoa that had dried mushrooms and onions mixed with it)
3 medium sweet potatoes
Scallions (or, 1/2 medium red onion; I, however, do not eat onion that way, so...)
1 garlic clove
1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons cumin
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup pecans, toasted
3 tablespoons parsley, chopped
salt & pepper to taste

Cook quinoa as directed. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cover baking sheet with foil, add sweet potatoes (and onions if cooking onions), season with salt and pepper and toss to coat. Roast 30-25 minutes. Combine sweet potatoes with cooked quinoa. Drizzle with olive oil. Stir in other ingredients. Season if necessary.

Honey Beer Bread
I have been touting this recipe to anyone who will listen. Super simple, a few easy ingredients, super tasty, and a great way to get rid of any extra beer in your fridge. As we often host friends at our house, our fridge is constantly full of beer that neither Wolfman nor I will touch. I've found that this recipe tastes best with PBR, and the only beer that has totally ruined the bread was Guinness. So, trust me on this, even if you like Guinness, do not use Guinness or Guinness-like beers in this recipe. You'll get a dark, tasteless, cardboard-like loaf of hellfood. Recipe originally from Gimme Some Oven.

3 cups all purpose flour
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 tpsp honey (or, agave nectar, but it's tastier with honey)
12 oz. beer (one bottle or can)
4 tpsp butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x5x3 inch loaf pan. In medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Using a wooden spoon, stir beer and honey into the dry ingredients until just mixed. Pour half the melted butter into the loaf pan. Spoon batter into the pan, and pour the rest of the butter on top of the batter. Bake 50-60 minutes. Serve immediately.

Pumpkin Pie with Fresh Cranberries

I don't do much experimenting with pumpkin pie; the simpler, the better as far as I'm concerned. So, this is the same pie recipe you'll find on the pureed pumpkin cans at the super market. My only addition (besides a ton more spice, because, seriously, a teaspoon of ginger? a single teaspoon, really?) is fresh cranberries. I like some tartness and something to chew on in an otherwise almost pudding-like pie.

Apple, Plum, Pear, & Cranberry Pie

Your basic apple pie recipe, but with more autumn fruits and, as with the pumpkin pie, a heck ton more spice. Also, yes, perhaps I cheated a bit. The bottom half of this pie's crust was a frozen store bought one my sister left in my freezer. Sometimes the thought of rolling out a pie crust is daunting, okay.

Pomegranate Double Chocolate Cookies

I have this thing with favorite fruits--cherries, blueberries, pomegranate--I don't like to "waste" them by baking with them. I'd much rather just eat them straight and raw. But, I decided to try this recipe, and these were very good cookies, but still, I think I would've rather have just eaten the pomegranate seeds alone. So, probably never again, but you never know unless you try. Recipe originally via Made.

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
2 cups chocolate chips
1 cup pomegranate arils (1 pomegranate should suffice)

Cream together butter, shortening, 2 sugars, vanilla, and eggs. Beat for 3 minutes. In separate bowl, mix dry ingredients. Combine with butter mixture and mix until incorporated. Add pomegranate arils and chocolate chips. A few seeds may burst during mixing, but don't stress over it. More flavor. Scoop dough into small balls on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 9-10 minutes.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Photo Journal, no 10 | Furlough, Week 1

My mandatory, month-long, unpaid "vacation" began on the 5th. My first year working for state government, this furlough happened right as my relationship with Wolfman became more--serious?, or just more, I guess. And that year Wolfman was searching for work and surviving on guitar lessons in the evening. But, whatever financial insecurity took a back seat to this little honeymoon of ours, all that free time with which to fall in love and hole up together, only wandering outdoors for trudges through the snow that fell that year and many brunches at Gypsy's Shiny Diner. It was wonderful, and I will always cherish the memory of that first furlough.

The furloughs that have followed, however, have all been major pains in my ass. And, though I'm more motivated to stay busy this year (learn a few more skills, knock some items off my To-Do-List), I'm still struggling day by day to focus on the positive rather than induce panic attacks thinking about next month's bills. But, there has been tea, some romantic comedies, and a few murder presents to document from my cats. I've been well-fed, and I finished my very first knitting project--Wolfman's 4th Doctor Scarf. I made mistakes, of course, and it's not an exact replica (the original scarf was 20 feet long, for one thing, and also, Wolfman requested no tassels). But, I'm proud of it, and more importantly, he loves it. And, Thanksgiving weekend precisely, Christmas began cropping up in my neighborhood--it's dreadfully cheerful.
In other news, Wolfman finally convinced me it'd be a good idea for me to get a smart phone, which has led to opening a Twitter account. It's just so dern easy! So if you're into that sort of thing, follow me @calamityvaughn.

And, for good measure, other places to find me on the interwebs follow:

I'm savvy, guys, as well as an expert time-waster.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Photo Journal, no 9. | Season Limbo

A brief radio silence, I know. Because, I was feeling slightly pukey for a few days--not sick, exactly, because as I will tell anyone who listens--I never get sick. But, my appetite was on a severe wane, which made me terribly miserable as food is one of my great pleasures in life. And then, also, the weather here became balmy and pleasant, a week of 70 degree days, which totally, completely depressed me. I look forward to winter all year long. Also, when the trees are stripped bare, as they are now, there's no defense against a sunny day. And if there's one thing I like even less than warm temperatures, it's a sunny day. I prefer much prefer bad weather, or simply, weather.

Here are some photos from Thanksgiving weekend, when Wolfman, the pup, and I took a stroll through the Apex Community Park greenway. I'm not usually one for greenways (too crowded; I much prefer actual nature reserves), but I do enjoy the swampy views Apex Community Park provides. And, also, that's one of our first "hang out" locations, the Wolfman and me, when we were just getting to know each other. That sense of nostalgia does pull me in.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Your Weekend Mixtape, no. 3 | Gravel Crunching Under Stout Boots

Gravel Crunching Under Stout Boots by Michelle Vaughn on Grooveshark

1. “Buried in Teeth,” Mariee Sioux; Faces in the Rocks, 2007.
2. “Kaufman’s Ballad,” Megafaun; Gather, Form, & Fly, 2009.
3. “Classic Girl,” Jane’s Addiction; Ritual de lo Habitual, 1990.
4. “For Today,” Jessica Lea Mayfield; With Blasphemy, So Heartfelt, 2008.
5. “Lake of Fire,” Meat Puppets; Meat Puppets II, 1984.
6. “I Will Not Be Myself,” Deer Tick; The Black Dirt Sessions, 2010.
7. “A Holy Measure,” Wovenhand; The Threshingfloor, 2010.
8. “Sanguine,” The Avett Brothers; The Gleam, 2006.
9. “Cursed Sleep,” Bonnie Prince Billy; The Letting Go, 2006.
10. “The Battle of Evermore,” Led Zeppelin; Led Zeppelin IV, 1971.
11. “Past Times With Good Company,” Blackmore’s Night; Under a Violet Moon, 1999.

12. “Kaiku,” Moonsorrow; Verisakeet, 2005.

Gravel crunching under stout boots is a very autumnal sound for me, and so this is an autumn soundtrack. Autumn makes me think of a number of things very fondly--warming up in the mornings next to the open stove with the sounds of a banjo filtering from my tiny mp3 speakers, and dressing in layer upon layer, flannel and knits, like the grunge superstars of my childhood in the Pacific Northwest, and of course, bonfires and my beloved Renaissance Faire and epic fantasy novels, and, yes, Past Times with Good Company. So, despite my best efforts, this mix is a bit disjointed, I know. These sounds, though, however disparate, all speak to me of autumn and the things I love so about this season, and they make me excited for my dark, deep, gloomy winter to come. How I love my winters, and autumn is like a gorgeous formal introduction to the grey season ahead.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Been Thrifting, no. 1 | Raleigh Flea Market for Black Friday (ish)

I'm not sure that this past weekend's whim of a trip to the Raleigh Flea Market would be worth posting about, if not for this amazing Schoolboy Kittens Smoking in the Bathroom portrait we snagged. When I saw it, I yelped. And Wolfman laughed and handed me a 20 dollar bill. (To all outward appearances, it would seem that we are a very anachronistic couple [that is a nice word for it], as he always has cash on him, and I never seem to; I am the debit card carrier, however, and all my cash ends up being broken for ones and used as bus fare. Such are my ultra romantic spending habits.) I've been sporadically collecting art and prints for about a year now, but have not hung anything on our walls yet. A) Because our walls are made of some indestructible material which will not take a nail and B) Because of a frame shortage; frames are much too practical an item for me to think about spending money on and C) Technically, our landlord did ask that we not put too many nails in the walls--ah, the woes of renting. Currently, these bad boy kittens only have a home leaning against the record player in the living room, but this hanging impasse will be remedied once I'm on furlough next week. It's on my To Do While on Furlough List along with watching "You've Got Mail" and "While You Were Sleeping" and learning myself how to weave rugs.

Wolfman's flea market habits consist heavily of scouring the military surplus and examining many an antique weapon. (He is a collector of blades and a bow enthusiast, specifically.) He found these boot covers in a plastic tub full of handsome military coats (think Captain Jack Harkness), and they sort of perfectly solve his Five-Finger-Shoe dilemma of only being able to find short men's toe socks, not tall socks to keep his shins warm in the winter.

Also found: a 12 cup coffee pot (sort of fortuitous considering Wolfman had been wishing throughout his entire four day holiday weekend that he had a gigantic coffee pot so he could sip coffee all day long--we previously had only a four cup coffee pot and a french press), and for five bucks, a leopard print knock-off snuggie which Wolfman models above. He predicts that I will fall asleep as soon as I put the snuggie on every night. He is correct.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Photo Journal, no. 8 | Carpet Sharks

I don't care so much for kittens. I told this to the teenage girl who works in the shop where Wolfman teaches guitar, she of lilty, whispy, indie songs on open mic night. This was back when Wolfman had just brought Xena home, and she still fit in the palm of his hand, and he didn't want to leave her alone in the house so would bring her with him to work. Lilty, whispy teenage girl had asked me, "So, how are you liking the kitten?," or something like. And I answered in my typically honest, socially inept way, "Well, I don't," or something like. Poor teenage girl looked at me as if I were some sort of monster, and I was quick to add the disclaimer, "I mean, I like cats okay, so I kind of can't wait for her to be an adult cat already," but it was too late for me. I could not redeem myself after admitting to not liking kittens. And, as it turns out, joke is on me because Xena and her sister Birgitte (who we brought home at my insistence [I had a moment of weakness akin to seeing a too expensive silk scarf while "window shopping" and buying it, followed by instant regret]) are never growing up, it seems. They will never be adult cats. They will never get big. Heather, whose wild outdoor cats are mother and siblings to our kittens, insists that all the other kittens are normal-sized now. But not our little runts.

The point, however, is that though I sometimes want to punt these little carpet sharks (as I've not so affectionately termed them), my husband sure does love them. And I sure do love him. (And look at those eyelashes! What a gorgeous hunk of man!) And, there's always our handsome boy, Lunchbox. I do love that dog. Best and handsomest dog ever.
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