Beset by a large carnivore…

October 20th, 2014

Or more likely omnivore. This is probably a raccoon leave behind. But it was unsettling as hell to find a freakin’ 6 inch long bone in a hanging planter when I brought it in for the season last night.

That is a business card on the right for size comparison.

That is a business card on the right for size comparison.

Dear lawd. It better not be a spider.

At last, a post

October 19th, 2014

And it’s a food post. So, not really a post. But it was good and it was easy so I thought I’d share.

pumpkin pecan dump cake 002

Pumpkin Dump Cake

1 can (15 ounces) canned solid pack pumpkin
1 cup brown sugar
3 eggs
1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 yellow cake mix
3/4 cup butter or margarine
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Heat oven to 350F. Whisk first 7 ingredients together. Pour into greased 9×13 inch pan. Lightly sprinkle dry cake mix over pumpkin layer. Slice butter into 1/8 inch thick pats and place gently on top of cake mix, covering as much area as possible. Sprinkle with pecans. Bake 1 hour till mostly firm throughout but not until cake is brown on the edges. Let cool at least 30 minutes. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or chill and serve cold or room temperature like pumpkin pie.

If you don’t have pumpkin pie spice on hand, mix 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ginger, 1/4 teaspoon each nutmeg and cloves. Or just use a lot of cinnamon and whatever else you have on hand of the others to make up 2 teaspoons. I don’t often use pumpkin pie spice since I share a lot of food with my Mom and she is allergic to ginger.


Seattle trip!

October 12th, 2014

IMG_3830Seattle travel blog is up!

good spam

October 9th, 2014

This one made me laugh:

You need targeted traffic to your ravening-gragask-demon.

Why, yes, he is much easier to feed with targeted traffic rather than with the random passerby.

I’m sorry you live somewhere you actually like…

October 8th, 2014

I’m working on a Seattle travel post but I just wanted to vent/bitch a little bit here since some of those involved might read the travel blog but won’t be stopping by here. I went to Seattle for the Northwest Tea Festival this past weekend. The organizers had generously agreed to meet with me and share some insider info about how to set up and run something of this scope. While we were chatting, one of them said, “So, you are having your festival where you live? Where is that?” I replied, “Kansas City.” To which their response was, “Oh, I’m sorry.”


Really? There was nothing apologetic in my tone. Nothing that might have led my listener to deduce that I wished I lived somewhere else. If there had been, I’d have understood a commiserating “Oh, I’m sorry,” with that small I-know-what-you-mean chuckle.

I do it, too – make judgements about cities to which I’ve never been. But I hope I’ve never been so rude as to diss them to the face of someone who lives there and who wasn’t inviting criticism.


Since the internet is all about cats, here is my Tumblr style reposting of other peoples’ cat stuff.

September 30th, 2014
True? Unlikely, but hilarious to think about.

True? Unlikely, but hilarious to think about.

I hate when this happens.

I hate when this happens.

Life. It's the same for everyone.

Life. It’s the same for everyone.

Cool art

September 25th, 2014




Read the rest of this entry »


September 20th, 2014



-Work has been kinda nuts lately. Deadlines stacked on deadlines. All of us working like crazy to be out of work in a month or two. Seriously, I hope this “recovery” is happening for some of you, because it isn’t happening at my job. I’m not terribly concerned on a personal level since I’m the only one who does what I do, though there are always other departments who have excess personnel who do what I do and I’m far from irreplaceable. Overall the bigger picture economy scares the poop out of me. It seems like “our betters” are perfectly content to play and screw around as long as they get theirs before everything implodes. The little people can go on the dole that they will graciously provide in exchange for any small remaining freedoms we have. Until I’m willing to give up things like all the conveniences that come with Being On The Grid though, there isn’t much I can do about it except cross my fingers and hope I guess.

-Guardians of the Galaxy really needs to come out for purchase. Need moar happy. I had to resort to an entire box of Wild Cherry Pop Tarts on Friday to assuage my anxiety and anger. I need to learn how to manage myself without using food…

-I just finished reading Stiff by Mary Roach. It’s an interesting book about what happens to bodies after death, how things like gross anatomy class, body donation and crash test dummies work, various ways to handle final remains and medical treatments through the ages. Interesting approach the material. She’s just a persistent someone with a lot of questions that people don’t often ask. Her writing style is a bit more casual than I care for but her research appears to have been thorough and the material holds up on its own.

The book before that was The Art of Hunting by Alex Campbell. The second in the Gravedigger series. I really like the idea of this world. Science (of the fictional variety), ancient civilizations, vengeance, the Common Man surpassing expectations, mental hoodoo powers, and alternate dimensions. Problem is that the series is still in the process of being written and now I’m caught up again. Good and bad, I guess. I can re-read the previous books whenever a new one comes out to refresh my Bear of Little Brain memory.

-After trying to understand tax regulations for this tea festival, I don’t understand how anyone sets up a small business. You pretty much have to talk to an accountant and an attorney. Just another way the system milks producers of profit I guess (Not that I count myself among those – I figure I’ll be lucky to break even) – being so convoluted that you have to pay other people to even get started. I found a nice accountant who was willing to consult with me on my best tax options for nothing more than a maybe of hiring him for tax help on a once a year event and a review on Yelp. All I really want to do is share some tea, increase my own tea options by improving appreciation for tea in the community, indulge my sick need to organize things like events and vacations, not spend much of my own money on it and not risk any of my own personal assets due to not fully understanding all the regulations to which every little thing we do is subject. I guess this is easier than learning how to write a business plan to start up my own tea biz. I’ve tried to teach myself that stuff but it bores me even sillier than the taxes and business regulations do.

And that whole “Paperwork Reduction Act” that is cited on all IRS paperwork? That’s just insulting. The only thing the IRS is good at (besides being used as a tool of political vengeance) is killing trees. If all of this is reduced paperwork, I truly shudder to think of what it would be like prior to reduction.

-The OAM took a circuit around the house and spritzed the arachnid invasion to Kingdom Come. I think he was probably tired of me peering paranoidly out of the windows.

-We do have car news coming soon. Hopefully on two fronts. A new arrival and the pending return of a paperweight to active duty.

-Got a fambly visit coming up this next weekend. Just a quick trip to Dallas for tea & chocolate.

-And that’s my life of late. Reading, tea, taxes, research, work, anger, depression, retail therapy aka distraction via consumption as conspicuous as we can manage, seek solace in food, repeat. So I don’t really have content to throw on here. Life is not bad, especially compared to some other situations, but it is routine. Pretty soon we’ll be down to cat blogging again and chronicles of laundry day. I’ll try to pick up a more interesting hobby than reading and playing the Carcassone video game app. :)


I will not be a horror movie victim. I won’t.

September 16th, 2014

We have had a garden spider making its home on our porch for several weeks now. I’ve been bravely ignoring it for that long as well – just keeping an eye on it getting ever larger. It never made a web where I ran into it in the dark mornings and had to do the frantic arm waving dance of panic. It wasn’t inside in my territory and it wasn’t invading my walking space all sneaky like so I figured I’d go the live and let live route. Heaven knows I’ve sent enough spiders to the Great Beyond this summer when I found them inside (or more accurately, when the useless cat alerted me to their presence by following them but not killing them).

We had new windows installed last week. I’m working my way around to getting new blinds put up in the living room. One miserable failure a day is my motto. First day it was measuring the holes in the wrong place. Second day it was skipping a step in the installation and thereby messing up being able to attach the wand to raise and lower them. Today it was not being tall enough with a step stool high enough to see well enough to take the blind down to attach the wand correctly.

Anyway, first day up on the step stool, measuring my placement incorrectly, I noticed a garden spider between nickel and quarter sized (Legs included. I always include the legs – those are the scariest part. Naturalist type sites that give the size as “legs excluded” are totally missing the point. The legs are attached the the crawling, jumping horror – they matter when deciding how big it is). Looked pretty much like the one that was on the front porch. Eh. Outside, not even near where I walk – no problem. Then… on the second day I noticed another one, same kind, about the same size, on the other side of the eaves. So… that makes three. I told the OAM that he should put his plans for garage expansion on hold. If one more spider appeared – well, I have seen that movie. We are burning the house down and moving.

Today I got home and not only were the two out front still there (although I think one of them was the dude from the front porch who had relocated) but there were TWO more down at the end of the eaves! When going out onto the back porch to tell the OAM we had to commence operation Burn-Salt-Flee-Like-The-Wind I spied yet another spider!!!!

So I am now officially creeped out for no logical reason. For another totally illogical reason if they had been the Argiope aurantia garden spider, I’d be fine. For some reason those lightning spiders don’t bother me in the least. But this is the European garden spider. (Fair warning, pictures at the links. I nearly made myself ill doing image searches on garden spiders since I couldn’t get an in-focus shot of one of the Occupiers around my house. I am that dedicated to providing Quality Content.)

Autistic man turns his house into a cat play tree

September 15th, 2014

After having had to corner one of mine in a hallway with closed doors to get her to the vet for shots today, I shudder to think what has to be involved in finding a cat who doesn’t want to be found in that house!

An otterly good time

September 9th, 2014


In case you are interested, Stinky & the Aunts made a quick trip to Vegas over Labor Day weekend.

Lemon curd for Fillyjonk

September 7th, 2014

1 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup melted butter

In microwave-safe bowl, whisk together sugar and eggs till smooth. Stir in lemon juice and butter. Cook in microwave for one minute intervals, stirring after each minute till mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a metal spoon. Remove from microwave and pour into storage container. Cover with plastic wrap directly on surface of curd till cool, then cover tightly. Store up to three weeks in refrigerator. If you overcook the mixture a bit or forget to stir, you can pass the mixture through a fine sieve to remove the bits of cooked egg.

You can halve this (since it makes 2 cups as is) by using 1 egg and 1 egg yolk instead of the 3 eggs. Halve all other ingredients normally.

I usually microwave 1 minute, then 45 second intervals, then down to 30 as it thickens a lot. Especially if I’ve halved the recipe. You can of course do this stove top as well, just like a pudding. Stir constantly, keeping just at a low boil or a bit less until it thickens.

This is sooo good. And much more lemony, less sweet than the stuff you buy. It really does last 3 weeks, too. I’ve never eaten it when I’ve kept it longer than that, but I’ve also not noticed it smelling strange or looking bad when I throw it out. So it’s highly possible that it would last longer than 3 weeks.

Good on almost everything. Brownies, cakes, biscuits, scones, pancakes, waffles, breads, carrot sticks, cookies… Okay, mainly good on things that are already not good for you. Also good by the spoonful as pudding or in a crust like a pie. It won’t set up as well as pie filling, though.

And easier than making your own salt. I swear. :)


September 4th, 2014

No, really. Awesome sauce.


Got some of this at Hershey World last weekend (not the one in PA, the one in Las Vegas). I have never seen it in the stores around home. I will be sad when it is gone. It is fabulous on vanilla ice cream. Add brownies to the bowl and even more yum occurs. I know – brownies are always more yum. But with dark chocolate peppermint? Wow.

If you mint chocolate is your thing, keep an eye out for this stuff. Om nom nom.

This is totally the face of my work week

August 28th, 2014


So, how’s your week been?

Loss of convenience is bad on two levels. At least.

August 27th, 2014

So, the dishwasher (that was here when we moved in 8 years ago) has finally decided to quit washing stuff even moderately well. Pieces of the racks and silverware basket have been breaking off for awhile but it’s been okay at the washing. This weekend it left black stuff all over everything. Done dealing, apparently.

I remember when we got our dishwasher when I was younger. I think I was in 8th or 9th grade. It was one that you rolled over to the sink and hooked up to the faucet with a hose. I hated emptying it. But since I had been the dishwasher up to that point, it was better than the dark old days.

I didn’t have a dishwasher again until we bought this house. I think. There may have been one at the first duplex the OAM and I rented when we moved to The City. I remember things about that place, but a dishwasher doesn’t jump into my head. Broken water heater flooding the downstairs, OAM pissing on a stray cat who kept hanging around, Azathoth (cat, not elder god) peeing on my papasan chair multiple times until I got tired of getting new cushions for it and threw it away (apparently there was a lot of peeing going on in that duplex). OAM buying his Camaro and putting it in the ditch that winter, making margaritas for the first time and hating them – tequila, blech. A cat – not sure which one anymore – falling off of the stair railing, OAM pinging and hucking the fire detector into the woods across the street when it wouldn’t stop beeping at 2 am. But no dishwasher memories.

Anyway, I’ve been doing dishes by hand for the last several nights. And because we have a tiny ant infestation that is not being eradicated by Terro, my normal ant scourge, I’ve been having to do them every night after dinner. First bad thing.

Second bad thing – doing the dishes every night means that I have it put in my face every night that we really don’t need more than 2 plates. Which is bad because my regular grocery store is next to Pier One.

So to sum up, my dishwasher broke and now I have to find a new grocery store.