Saturday, June 28, 2008

Isn't She Lovely?

I won! The Arte Y Pico Award! Many thanks to Ronalyn, discoverer of all things artistically interesting, over at A World of Creativity for the honor. Ronalyn, herself a recipient, chose our blog (along with 4 other fabulous bloggers - you can read about them here) because, in her words, "this girl is smart and funny, her cats are cute and I like it." Ronalyn, so sorry to disillusion you, honey. The Kitties tell me what to write, generally after waaaay too much catnip. And, yes, they are cute. Which is why they are still around after throwing irreplaceable handblown glass lamps to the hardwood floor.

But, I digress. I just LOVE the pretty award lady, all dressed in - how did they know? - PURPLE! And I didn't have to find a dress for the Awards Ceremony, I accepted the trophy in my pajamas. Of course, since I heard the news, I have been working on an acceptance speech. Here is what I have, so far:

You like me! You really like me! Oh, wait, that's been done before...

I would like to thank all seven of my blog readers, especially Ronalyn, who likes cute Kitties. And my mother, for spraying FeBreeze down the vents when there was a dead thing in the basement. I loved writing that post. And my friend David, for slogging through treatment for colon cancer, and getting a ZERO on his circulating tumor test, BIG YAY!, and giving me a reason to blog about colonoscopies. And my dad, for persevering through 13 different doctors who thought they had the answers to his dizziness. And laughing at his own convoluted treatment regimen when I documented it. And, of course, those cute Kitties. Who are not much on Thank-Yous; and are rolling in catnip at this very moment. They look like breaded pork chops with legs.

I'd better not forget my friend, Penelope; and Stacy and Clinton. But I have to say, those constant emails angling for prominence in yet another post is getting old, guys.

Speaking of Stacy and accept the Arte Y Pico award, I have to agree to The Rules. Now I have to decide on future recipients, like this:

1) I must choose 5 blogs that I consider deserving of this award by virtue of creativity, design, general interest, and contribution to the blogging community, regardless of language (the Arte Y Pico site is in Portuguese. Did I ever tell you about the time I was in Lisbon and I thought I asked the waiter for a napkin? When, in fact, I asked for a sanitary napkin? It would be best to use an online translation site if you want to read the Arte Y Pico blog, rather than asking for my help.)

2) Each award must include the name of the author and also a link to the blog, so that everyone can visit.

3) Each award winner must display the award and include the name and link to the blogger who bestowed the award.

4) The award winner, along with the award giver, must include a link to the "Arte Y Pico" blog.

5) The Rules must be displayed.

So, like I'm not busy enough picking up lamp shards and growing organic catnip; now I have to go blog shopping. Geez...I can't wait! Stay tuned. It might take a while, but you'll be the first to know when I make my decisions!

In the meantime, don't forget the auction for the displaced animals in Iowa, here. There are just a few days left! And I've got that BIG project moved from the back burner to the front burner. I will need your help.

Mwa! Mwa! (Air kisses!) Thanks for checking in, and thanks again, Ronalyn!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Who Needs an Alarm Clock?

When you have Sweet Little Dewi, the Precious Black Kitty.

Who recognized that I overslept this morning; and knew that would have grave consequences. Specifically, that Dewi's morning treats would be delayed.

7:15 AM: Poke, poke, poke

"Dewi, leave me alone."

7:15:30 AM: Poke, poke, poke

"Dewi, I mean it. Go away."

7:16 AM: pull, pull, pull strands of hair.

"Dewi, get lost."

7:16:30 AM: lick, lick, lick cheek.

"Dewi, that's disgusting. Shoo!"

7:17 AM: study on problem.

7:17:30 AM: poke, poke, poke handblown, irreplaceable glass lamp on nightstand. Poke really hard.

CRASH! Glass and animals scatter, scatter, scatter.

Kitties get treats to keep them out of glass shards during clean-up.

All - I have taken a little break from Funny this week, to make an auction item for a fundraiser benefiting the animal victims of the Iowa floods. The website is

and the auction begins on Wednesday, 25 June. Please bookmark the page, and check out the offerings later this week. And Dewi and I (along with the whole Frillz Furry Family) ask you to please be generous so that these animals and the people who love them can be reunited.

Also Coming Soon to This Blog...

A BIG project that will warm even the coldest heart. I am very excited to be a part of it, and I am going to beg you to hop on board.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Everything Old is New Again

I have always been rather proud of my cleverness. I can string together words and sometimes people laugh. I can make art out of trash, which probably wouldn't have gotten me a seat on a Titanic life boat. I can get a pill down a cat gullet, which I don't mention often, because my friends all have cat gullets in need of pills; and they are not shy about asking for assistance. And I usually know how to get from here to there, which used to mean a lot of panicked calls to my cell phone until I gave out GPS units one year for Christmas.

But now I realize my "clever" is really just "marginally clever." Maybe even just "kinda clever for a non-clever person." Possibly even, "well, she THINKS she's clever. What's the harm?" I have just faced Mega Clever, And I've had a two-hour drive to marvel over it. I have returned from the house my brother-in-law (with help and encouragement from my sister-in-law, of course) built.

Oh, so YOUR brother-in-law builds houses, too? I bet he feels very clever. But I'll also bet he doesn't build log cabins.

Yeah? He built one? Put the kit together all by himself in a week? Well, nanny-nanny-boo-boo...he didn't build it out of

raw trees.

No joke, BIL cleared a "footing" ("place to put a house", if you're not building literate) and peeled the resulting trees, which were now officially logs. I mean, I guess he peeled them. They don't have any bark anymore. They are about the size of interstate bridge pilings. I have trouble peeling thick asparagus.

Then he stood some up on end, and glued others lengthwise in between. I understand the concept, but I can't imagine how. The strongest stuff I know is Gorilla Glue, but I wouldn't trust it to keep a pile of eight foot long logs in an eight foot high, one atop another configuration. Maybe he used that stuff they show in the infomercial where they put a blob of it on the roof of a Volkswagen Beetle and stick a crane hook in the blob and crank the VW up to the top of a building. Which I think is a pretty stupid idea these days, given all the crane accidents. So now crane manufacturers are scrambling to prove that not only were none of those accidents their faults; but their cranes are also perfectly safe for lifting Volkswagens with blobs of Infomercial Adhesive.

Eventually, BIL made a Log Box. It had a main room and a sleeping loft; and an outhouse. So if nature called during the night, one had to shimmy down a ladder and walk through the wilderness to answer the call. Prompting my sister-in-law to maintain a 4 PM fluid intake cutoff, until BIL decided to add a real bathroom. (I think that was very clever on her part. A Fluid Boycott.)

There was a problem, though. BIL had used up all his native pine trees, and had also run out of friends and family to convince that "that pine there really needs to come down. A little bit of ice, and it's Hello Living Room! Hey, I just happen to have my equipment with me - let's deal with it and I'll haul it away for you." So he had to come up with a new method of tree collection.

You know when there's a storm and everything gets knocked around and amazingly a Good Samaritan in a flannel jacket shows up (with a gas powered chain saw) and kindly clears the road for you? And tells the local On The Scene news reporter "Just trying to help a neighbor..." That's BIL.

He next added a living room and a bedroom, using logs cleverly scavenged (with permission) from a logging site nearby.

Then he built a fireplace out of pieces of an old patio a friend replaced. (BIL marvels, "They were going to throw them away!") My repurposed candy wrappers and bottlecaps are now mere specks of dust in the recycling universe.

My sister-in-law pointed out a subtle but Oh-So-Clever touch in The House Made of Trees - the curtains (can't confirm or deny whether they were dyed by boiling them with local plants) are held back with, not ties! Oh, no! Antlers.

So I was thinking as I drove, these folks have it going on. They are prepared. Yeah, I can change a dead-bolt, and I can get my car radio out of "Safe Mode" (whatever that is. I think it means "doesn't work") without going to the dealership. In case of emergency (or getting chosen to be on a Reality TV Show) it is good to know how to build a house out of trees. And how to peel them, and stick them together.

I spend too much time on this computer. I am going to shut it down for the night, churn some butter.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


Not a typo...a Yard Sale for ART! It's all over Etsy. Just jump through the portal below to see what The Kitties and I have contributed (in the section labeled "Yart Sale") and use our shop as a comfy home base to check out the other vendors! There are PEPSIs in the 'fridge, and extra pillows in the closet. And The Kitties will show you where we keep their treats. Have fun!

Nancy and The Kitties on Etsy

Sunday, June 8, 2008

I'm Not Wild About Harry

Harry is a neighbor who could make even Mr. Rogers cry. It is one of the great mysteries of life how Harry snagged a mortgage on what was once a showplace; decorated by an Artiste in a gold Lexus with a license plate that said "le peche." The couple who hired The Peach to decorate the showplace spent about 75% of their waking hours beautifying yard and pool, and the other 25% sipping perfect martinis poolside, with Frank Sinatra crooning in the background. Harry, well, he has "worked" in the yard once since he moved in; when the grandkids were coming to visit and it was impossible to enter the house through the front door because the bushes had grown through the railings and across the steps. After he cut the bushes (with a box cutter) he reverted to his normal routine, sitting by the algae-green pool with a bottomless beer, smoking assorted things like, but not limited to, cigarettes and cigars; and throwing the butts into the "swamp."

Harry gives new meaning to the concept of MacGuyvering. For instance, when the glass panel in his front door shattered about a year ago, he covered the opening (inside and out) with clear packing tape. You can hardly tell, except for sometimes the "glass" comes unstuck and flaps in and out of the house with the breeze. Then there's his clever solution to the "algae pond," which has been a problem for a few of the neighbors, resulting in complaints to the county and a few (unpaid) fines. Forget pricey pool chemicals. When it gets green enough to cause comment - approximately every 10 days or so - Harry just pulls the plug, then runs the hose for a few days to refill it.

Which might have something to do with the fact that his water bill has apparently been, um, neglected for some time. Like long enough to earn him a disconnect. I wasn't aware of this, and would have been very happy in my ignorance-is-bliss; had the county not accidentally cut off our water instead of his.

The very day after the air conditioning decided to take its annual summer vacation. Don, our amazing Fix-It Guy, is very proud to have coaxed 21 years (so far) out of our antiquated HVAC system. Once when the "fan basket" (who knew we had one?) broke (or that they could break?) Don told us not to worry. He saw one on the ground behind the Dairy Dip in Hopeville, and he would fetch it. So I can't exactly entrust the system to anyone else. It likes Don. Don likes it. But Don can't get out here until the first of next week because of a crisis with the A/C at the Sizzler; and so we swelter.

With no water. Not having a clue why we were dry, I called the county water department. There is an outage 3 zip codes south, says the Customer Service Representative; after I have been assured that this conversation could be monitored for quality assurance. I replied that I didn't think that was close enough to affect us. "Please hold a moment" gave me enough time to log in to on-line banking, check that I had paid the water bill (whew,) see that it had been processed by the water department (double whew!) and bake two batches of chocolate chip cookies with coconut chips instead of the chocolate, and walnuts rather than pecans. And let the dogs out twice.

Finally, the Customer Service Representative returned, thanked me for holding, and explained that our water had been disconnected "in error." But she was going to write a "Service Ticket" and it would be "Highest Priority" and someone would be dispatched posthaste to turn the water on.

I gave thought to dragging our hose to Harry's pool deck, site of his outdoor faucet, to hook it up and collect the water that was Rightfully Ours so that I could at least flush; until a cursory peek out of an upstairs window yielded the following:

The pool deck was inhabited by a very large woman in a hot pink bikini and a thick coating of very shiny oil sunning herself (and swatting flying things) by the opaque, emerald-green, uh, hole in the ground.

So I deadheaded gardenias instead. In the 100 degree heat. Sweated myself silly, sure I'd have a shower waiting. Came back inside to find, 3 hours later, no water. I called the county again, and got a different Customer Service Representative (probably second string, because all the regular folks were at lunch) who told me this was all news to them, there was "no report on our account." She took the information grudgingly (because she didn't get to go to lunch until the Important Customer Service Representatives returned) and I could tell she thought I was scamming her. Again, she promised me "highest priority."

I'd hate to be "lowest priority", which might be sometime after the next ice age. (Oh, Ice! Glorious ice! I would wallow in ice! I would crunch it, caress it, worship it!) Four more hours passed, and closing time for Customer Service was imminent. I called again and got yet another Customer Service Representative, who assured me that my "report" was "in the system" but I had to be patient. There were Many, Many Important Things that had to be attended to by the people who turned water off and on. I told her that I had small children at home (didn't mention that they had four legs and fur) and that I had to make their dinner. And that, if someone didn't show up soon, I would call back every three minutes until someone DID show up - and I would cry.

I think the Customer Service Representatives were getting tired of toying with me at this point. Fifteen minutes later a woman came to turn my water on, but she did not turn Harry's water off. I think her job is "On Only." An "Off Only" technician, or possibly an "On/Off Technician" is required to "Off" someone, which is clearly more dangerous than "Onning." Plus, the "Onner" was talking on the phone, so she might have been just too busy ordering dinner to "Off" Harry, even if she was qualified to do so.

Really, I don't care. No more Evian in the dogs' water bowl. I can wash lettuce for a salad. And I can rinse off that dang gardenia juice. Best of all, we can flush. Life is good.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Two, Four, Six, Eight! Colonoscopies are Great!

Easy for me to say. Mine is, ahem, behind me; and I don't need another one for a couple of years. You, however, are a different story. You, or someone you love, might be putting it off. So your Colonoscopy Cheerleader is here to Kick Some Chicken Butt.

You Can Do It! Let's Get To It!

Step number one: Call the doctor's office. You will be put on infinite hold. DO NOT HANG UP, even if you are really, really planning to call again tomorrow. Clean out that drawer with the warped birthday candles, ball of string and keys to cars you had in college. The Front Desk Lady will finally come back, and your drawer will be empty (except for two yellow candles and one green one that didn't look so bad.) When you explain to the Front Desk Lady that you would like to (well you wouldn't really LIKE to, but try to be polite) schedule a colonoscopy she will connect you to the Office of the Colonoscopy Scheduling Lady (and, no, the Front Desk Lady was not giggling as she transferred you.) Choose another drawer to work on, because the Colonoscopy Scheduling Lady will have to put you on hold while she checks the Colonoscopy Schedule. The Lady will return to tell you that she has one appointment next February, and a cancellation on Monday you want that?

Don't Be a Baby! Say YES! Not no, or maybe! Y-A-Y, You!

The good thing: you will not have to worry about having a colonoscopy for months before you have it. The bad thing: yes, you do have to cancel your Sunday dinner plans. You will, um, be catching up on your reading. But that new fusion Mexican Vietnamese restaurant will still be there next week. Maybe.

You, You Got It! You, You, You, You Got It!

The Packet Of Very Important Information. From the Doctor's office. Confirming your 7 AM appointment on Monday. Containing the prescription for two gallons of something that tastes like a can of Gatorade mixed with an entire box of baking soda, a canister of salt, a whole bottle of those little Saccharin pellets and some "lemon" flavoring concocted by a mad scientist who had just come from a Going Out Of Business Sale at the Mad Scientist Store.

And instructions, which tell you to drink one gallon of the something the night before the procedure. And to drink the other gallon FOUR HOURS BEFORE the procedure. Hmmm...7 AM minus 4 hours would be about 3 AM? It's probably safe to guess that you were not the only one "lucky" enough to ever snag a Monday morning 7 AM cancellation.

One Day! To Go! It's Time to Start This Show!

Sunday! Sunday! probably won't dawn with its usual happy possibilities. If you're going to church, I strongly advise the early service. You have laid in your supply of Jello (no red flavors,) unless of course you are me and you have a rule about not eating anything that wiggles more than you do. Then you have vegetable broth, ginger tea and water. Which might be enough to have you looking forward to the gallon of artificially flavored Gatorade, baking soda and Saccharin. Well, until the first sip. (My recommendation is to hold your breath and drink it, as fast as you can. It is not really, really terrible; but the shorter the time on the palate the better. And you are going to dream about that second gallon, ready and waiting on the kitchen counter, all night. Or at least until 3 AM.)

Be Strong! Be Good! Tomorrow You Get Food!

No cheating. Because if your doc can't maneuver that Mercedes of MiniCams around the ess turns and hairpin bends, you are quite literally SOL. And your doctor will be quite disappointed in you; perhaps recommending that Nurse Ratchet administer a serious enema next time.

I'm Here! I'm Ready! Let's Get This Done Already!

Worryworryworry your way to the hospital. Worryworryworry in the waiting room. Worryworryworry when they call your name. Stick you in a cubicle. Take all of your clothes (except your shoes? True that, so they have traction when they "rearrange" your legs, and your legs don't fall on the floor.) Give you a very thin sheet as cover, in a very cold cubicle. Worryworryworry when the chipper (who the H-E-Double Toothpicks is CHIPPER at 7 AM?) nurse asks if you are ready to go. Worryworryworry down the hall, into The Room. See lots of medical stuff, worryworryworry, get some ahhh anesthesia and ahhh have a lovely nap and ahh ask the nurse when you wake up 20 minutes later if you were good; and if so, could you take a little of that sleepy stuff home as a prize? Get dressed, get a visit from the doc who tells you that you had the cleanest colon he had seen all day (forget that it was also the ONLY colon he had seen all day) thank him for the compliment and go out to breakfast.

You Are A Champion!

It might occur to you that Blogging About Colonoscopies is weird, and that maybe Nancy and the Kitties are weird, too. You might be right. But, my mother is a colon cancer survivor. A very, very brave one. My friend, David, who I have know since before either one of us had to shave, is a colon cancer survivor. He could use your support, you can visit him here:

David's Caring Bridge Site

Colon cancer stinks. It is not funny. Bottom line - Wipe it out. Get a colonoscopy.