Tag Archives: cats

Yes, We Have No Wine, and Other Random Things…

Welcome to another chapter in my oh-so-exciting existence! We’ve got lots to cover…the transitions will be abrupt, so please keep a firm hold on your tea, lest it spill as we careen around corners!

1. Monday morning was sunny…I hated to have to work, but came into the bookstore anyway…I had three boxes of books to photograph, and 90 pages of our database to print off!  Hope was off school that day, so she came into town with me and helped take the pictures (it’s much easier for a 12-year-old to get up and down off the floor than it is for me!).  Anna and Brianna went to the mall…Anna used the money I gave her for jeans to buy shorts (because apparently 47 pairs aren’t enough!).  Brianna got some nail polish which is the perfect colour for my toes…maybe she’ll let me borrow it!

Anna and Brianna goofing around with the webcam last fall...

2. My friend, Dale, surprised me by dropping into the bookstore…I first met him in 1980 when we worked in two neighbouring stores in the Quinte Mall in Belleville, Ontario (I worked in a camera store, and he worked in the record store next door). I used to go into the record store and buy all kinds of albums (that was before I had kids to spend my money for me!). The following year, my boss decided to move his store to another strip mall in town, and Dale and I lost touch. Fast forward to the early 2000’s: I was receiving correspondence about an upcoming reunion of some of my buddies from Loyalist College, and saw a familiar name on the e-mail list. I e-mailed the guy and asked “Are you the same Dale who used to work in the record store?” Sure enough…turns out Dale went to Loyalist about the same time I did, and used to hang out with the radio guys I knew! We were reunited at the reunion, and have been in touch ever since…coincidentally, Dale now lives in Moncton, New Brunswick, which is only a little over an hour’s drive from where I live now. We chatted for quite a while, and then Dale left to get to a business meeting, promising to return soon to add to his “classics” collection.  We’re planning to meet up with some more friends from school this fall at the Gregg Allman show at the Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival in Fredericton in September.  I’m looking forward to seeing them all!

3. When we got home in the afternoon, Hope checked her e-mail, and excitedly called me over to the computer.  “Look at this, Mom!”  There was an e-mail from the Marketing Coordinator for Market Square…on the weekend, Hope and Gabrielle had sent her a clip of them singing “O Canada” and had asked if they could sing the national anthem at the Canada Day celebrations on July 1st.  The reply said that she would like to have the girls sing, and would be in touch soon to arrange the details!  Hope called Gabrielle right away to tell her the good news!  We were really proud of her for taking the chance to do something like that!

Gabrielle and Hope singing at a Talent Show last fall...photo by Jim

4. Monday night (after writing my Easter blog post), I remembered that Tuesday was our long-awaited book club meeting…we hadn’t gotten together since bidding our friend, Selina, “Adieu” in December when she moved to Winnipeg. We usually bring food of some sort for book club. Our book was “Secret Daughter” by Shilpi Somaya Gowder, which is set mainly in India.  What I know about East Indian food would fit neatly on the head of a pin (and I don’t eat much spicy food), so I Googled a local store where I might find something to bring to the meeting.  Upon reaching the website, I was confronted with the name of the product, a photo, and the price…no description whatsoever.  Back to Google…Nanak Gajar Halwa: “carrot fudge”? That sounds disgusting!  Nanak Rasmalai: “Soft Cheese Patty in thickened milk and sugar sauce”.  My lactose-intolerant stomach actually did a somersault after reading that!  I decided to go with something a little safer…I had a bag of Ganong Chocolate Marshmallow Eggs I’d bought on the weekend…everybody likes chocolate in our book club (and these are made in St. Stephen, New Brunswick)!

5. Tuesday morning was rainy, but at least I didn’t have a lot of work waiting for me at the store when I got there…I took the opportunity to catch up on the 40-50 blog posts I hadn’t had a chance to read over the long weekend!  It took me a long time, but there weren’t many customers wandering in to disturb me, so I was able to get it done!  I bought a Meditteranean Chicken Salad from Sagratti’s in the City Market for supper, and brought it back to the store to eat (I picked out the black olives…yuck!).   I hoped the family would save me some of Jim’s famous Turkey Soup…

Jim's soup and homemade biscuits...yummy!

6. I was the first to arrive at our Succulent Bookworms meeting (as usual – I don’t like to be late!).  I chatted with our hostess, and one of her three cats soon curled up on my lap, where it stayed for the rest of the night (if only I hadn’t been wearing black…oh well…that’s why they invented lint brushes!).  My friend called to me from the kitchen and offered me a drink, apologizing that she didn’t have any wine on hand, but that one of the other girls would probably bring some.  I declined…book club is the only time I get to indulge in red wine…I would wait until it arrived!  When she came back, she extended a ceramic plate towards me with little brown things on it.  “Oooooh…what’s this?” I squealed, thinking these must be some of those unidentifiable Indian delicacies I’d seen on that website.

“They’re the marshmallow eggs that you brought!” she prompted.  “Don’t you remember?”

I’m sure I turned about three shades of red before muttering, “Oh, yeah…” (damn peri-menopausal mushbrain!).  The chocolates looked a lot classier on that plate than they did in the compostable bag they came in!

The other girls trickled in over the next hour-and-a-half…nobody brought wine, but we did have a nice selection of food to choose from by the time everyone arrived!  There were two kinds of naan bread with mango chutney and guram masala for dipping, some pita chips with yogurt dip, some mini caramel muffins, and some decadent squares which were purely Western but awesome anyway!  We had some delicious mango juice to drink, which I’m planning to seek out next time I’m at Costco!  The hostess’ 3-year-old daughter demonstrated some of her ballet moves for us before her dad took her up to bed (he was mumbling something about getting her away from us before we corrupted her…another Bookworm man thinks we’re “witches”)…

We chatted about the book for a while (everybody liked it – excellent choice for a book club read), and then got off on our usual tangent…that was the first Worms meeting I’d ever attended where no one was drinking!  It was weird, but good…I can’t wait for the next meeting!

I was happy to get home to bed soon after 10:30…it had been a long day…

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Filed under blogging, books, food, friends, satire

Gentlemen…Start Your Search Engines…

Last fall, I did a fun post about the search terms people had used to find my blog.  Six months later, I found myself facing an empty screen, so decided to put together another one (note to Ironic Mom and her “Tangled” accomplice – I am purposely leaving out search bombs)!
Technically-Challenged Searchers
use Plunger.  I sincerely hope this person’s toilet wasn’t overflowing while he stopped to Google what most people instinctively know.  That might be difficult to explain to the insurance company!

"Gee, which end should I use?" (photo from plumbinghelp.ca)

easiest roller coaster out of sticks.  Generally, I try to avoid amusement parks.  When I do get dragged to one by my teenagers, we have a rule that no one is allowed to ride the roller coaster made of sticks (at least not without a helmet!).
letter p blackberry fell off.  It is terribly inconvenient when my “p” falls off!  It really ‘isses me off!
Consumer Searchers
what kind of watch does jack carter from eureka wear.  A sexy one, of course.  It would also have all the latest gadgets.

Jack Carter with his sexy watch (photo from wormholeriders.net)

high school music hall pom pom girl wallpaper.  Bad news, ma’am…wallpaper is getting very difficult to find, and high school music hall pom pom girl wallpaper has to be special-ordered from Texas.
cast iron giraffe toilet paper holder.  A regular plastic spindle just will not do.  And it can’t be a rhinocerous either.
macho en calzones. This poor person was looking for men’s underwear…he was probably really surprised to be directed to a post about deer challenging electric fences and pizza pockets!
Spelling-Challenged Searchers
mr. been.  I assume this person meant Mr. Bean, who isn’t a has-been yet.  They still show his specials on CBC all the time.

Mr. Bean...still funny after all these years (photo from slidephoneblog.blogspot.com)

pumpkinks attack.  That sounds scary, and twisted, all at the same time!  This isn’t that kind of blog!
fune catsin wedes.  This is a head-scratcher: my blog is fun, I have the word “cats” in the title, and I have talked about “weeds” occasionally in gardening posts…any other guesses?
Food Searchers
garlic and brown sugar cheese ball.  This misguided soul obviously didn’t get the memo about cheese balls not being served at parties held after 1980…I was horrified to discover that an actual recipe exists for this abomination.  It is not on my site, and never will be!
define chicken heart.  Okay, bud…put down the plunger, and think really hard!

This is not a chicken heart...(photo from southviewfarmcottage.co.uk)

Medical Searchers
flatulence in 10 year old boy.  I can’t help you with that.  I only know about farting teenagers, and 48-year-old men who spend a lot of time “reading magazines”.
does zumba work make your legs chunky.  It’s possible.  My legs are definitely chunky after that one time I tried Zumba.  And it wasn’t “work”…it was torture!  I’ll never do that again!
Animal Searchers
the monkees with cats.  Did The Monkees own cats?  I don’t know.  I talked about them once (the musical group), but the discussion was about Mike Nesmith’s mom and her invention of Liquid Paper.

Does Mickey have a cat under his poncho? (photo from 8notes.com)

wet tail.  What was this hapless searcher looking for?  Whatever it was, I don’t think he found it on my blog.
Searchers With Too Much Time On Their Hands
welcome sing to my room.  I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest this person may not have had English as his first language.
taylor swift just a zombie baby.  I wouldn’t go that far…she’s actually not a bad singer!

Not very zombie-like at all...(photo from theimproper.com)

“my holy pants”.  I have never been a religious person.  However, I do have a pair of pants which are not fit to wear in public, but too good to throw out.  I tend to wear them around the house on Sundays…hence “my holy pants.”
What are some of the strange terms people have found your blog with?

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Filed under blogging, satire

Of Pigeons, Puppies, and Other Pets Which Go Poop in the Night…

The first pets I remember having were a pair of turtles…I was four, I think.  They were tiny, dark green things with the little red spots on their heads.  I can’t recall what their names were.  They lived in a clear plastic bowl that didn’t smell very good most of the time.  It’s a wonder that my brother and I didn’t die of salmonella poisoning…I don’t ever remember my mom telling us to wash our hands after holding those turtles!

After the turtles went to that “great terrarium in the sky,” we got Toby, a miniature dachschund (weiner dog).  Toby lived in a pen in our basement, and was a very good barker, especially as my brother and I raced around the basement on our tricycles!  After a couple of years, he was diagnosed with distemper, and we had to put him to sleep.  I don’t think my mother missed him much!

Me and Toby...

One night, as the family ate supper, we heard a big thump…a pigeon had flown into one of our windows.  His wing was damaged, and he couldn’t fly.  My dad built him a cage in the basement with scrap wood and chicken wire.  We named our new pet “Hector Birdwell.”  I think he eventually recovered from his injuries, and we released him back into the wild…

In roughly that same time period, we discovered a rabbit nest in our back yard with four tiny bunnies in it…the mother was nowhere to be found.  We brought them into the basement (do you see a pattern here?) and named them Flopsy, Mopsy, Cottontail and Peter.  Unfortunately, none of them survived without their mother.

After we moved to Canada, we had cats…they were all outside cats…my mom didn’t allow cats in the house until we had all moved out!  At our first house, the stone house, we had Tripper.  He was a beautiful striped tomcat with a great personality.  He was my brother’s cat, mostly…he’d ride around on Jeff’s shoulder.  After we moved to Rednersville, we got Nicky (whose full name was “Nicholas Saone Georges Chat”…I was ten, and had just started taking French at school).   Nicky was a honey-coloured tabby with the personality of an angel, unless you were a rodent or a bird (those were captured and the remains left proudly in front of the back door for my horrified mom to find!).  We had Nicky for about ten years…one day, he just didn’t come home… 

My brother and I were in Towers, a local department store, one day, and saw a cage full of white mice.  Begging ensued.  My parents caved, and we each brought home one white mouse.  They didn’t last long, and soon we were back at Towers buying a pair of hamsters, Tops and Harold (named for a wonderful couple who were like grandparents to us).  Since they were male and female, one morning we discovered that there had been six hairless hamster babies born during the night.  Being novice hamster owners, we didn’t know that you’re supposed to take the father out of the cage when there are newborns…it wasn’t long before the babies “disappeared”…who knew that daddy hamsters were cannibals?  The second time Tops and Harold presented us with offspring, we relocated Harold until the babies were big enough not to be devoured by their father.

The eight hamsters lived in a large wooden box covered with a window screen.  One night, we were invited to another family’s home for dinner.  When we came home, some irresponsible child (might have been me…nobody really knows) had left the screen off the top of the box, and we had hamsters all over our house!  After several hours of searching, we’d found most of them, except for Harold (he’d probably had enough of his brood, and found some young hamster hussy to shack up with).  One of the babies had managed to fall through into the basement (they lived on our first floor), injuring his spine.  “Dickie” just dragged his useless back legs around after that.

I was fourteen when we got Pixie, a small black chihuahua/terrier mix, who was pregnant when we brought her home.  Pixie also liked to bark, and would terrorize any boy I brought home.  She must have mated with a much larger dog…the four puppies were huge, and had to be literally pulled from her straining body (she chose to give birth the day my brother and I were being interviewed by a local newspaper reporter about our community newspaper, the Rednersville Review…we kept getting up from our chairs to go over and see how the dog was doing)!  We named them Samantha (Sam), George, Chestnut (Chessie), and Cleo.  Sam and George were black with white on their paws, and the other two were a lovely light brown.  I crocheted each of them little coats to wear.

We gave away the puppies when they were eight weeks old…they all ended up to be bigger than their mother was.  Mom had Pixie long after my brother and I had moved out, and was sad to have her put to sleep after Pixie eventually lost her eyesight and control of her bowels.

My first pet after I moved out was Mandy, a dark striped tabby.  We never had the money to get her fixed, and she got nastier and nastier whenever she was in heat.  When my oldest daughter was about a year old, we decided it would be best to have Mandy put to sleep, as we were worried about her attacking the baby.

Then we got another “Nicky.”  He wasn’t nearly as nice as his namesake…he was also a blond tabby.  He didn’t like people to come into the house, and would howl at them if they came near him!  One time, Nicky accidentally got into our downstairs neighbour’s apartment, where he spent the next nine hours trapped with SEVEN other cats!  Judy was at work, and we had to wait until she got home to rescue Nicky…it took an hour-and-a-half…I ended up just throwing Judy’s comforter over him and scooping him up.  He was traumatized for weeks!

We got Rusty from my oldest daughter’s babysitter.  He was a beautiful, big ginger tabby without a brain in his head.  One night, I was in bed and my ex-husband came in to wake me up.  “Rusty’s in the living room, dead as a doornail,” he said.  “What?” I asked, in a sleepy stupor.  He repeated what he’d said.  I roused myself and followed him into the living room.  There was Rusty, lying on the floor with his head thrown back…to this day, we don’t know what killed him.  Kaylee was seven at the time…she was heartbroken!

We replaced Rusty with Buddy, another dark brown tabby.  Buddy was Nicky’s opposite…a big suck who would soak up any attention anybody gave him.  Nicky sulked for a while, but eventually accepted his new brother.

A few years later, my ex-husband and I split up, and I had to take the cats to the SPCA, as we were leaving the city.  That was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done…

Fast forward to the present…we can’t have cats in the house, since Jim and his kids have severe allergies.  Our Schnoodle (miniature schnauzer/miniature poodle), Jake, just turned two (we got him when he was eight weeks old).  He continues to amaze us, and at times, drive us crazy, but we love him anyway (to read more about him, search “Jake” in the Search box at right).

Jake, shortly after we got him in December, 2008...

Anna’s trying to talk me into getting another dog to keep Jake company, but it’s not happening…

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Filed under family, memories

Excuse Me, Sir, But Your Search Engine Has Run Amok…

This is another assignment set by my friend over at Hippie Cahier…she suggested we write a post about search terms people use to find our blog.  Since I’ve been thinking about doing this already, now is as good a time as any…

1. transistor radio.  This now obsolete device was mentioned in exactly one blog post about waiting for a hurricane, and 31 nostalgic people found my blog because of it.

2. Mia Michaels.  Nine people with nothing better to do were searching for info on this ditzy dance diva, who appeared in this post because she used entirely the wrong word to describe a dancer’s performance on So You Think You Can Dance.  Mia’s catty claws were out last season…a lot of her comments were nasty and unwarranted!  Please bring back Mary Murphy (believe me…I never thought I would say that!).

Mary...we want you back!

3. how were readers digest condensed booksTwo poor souls typed this into a search engine.  Hmmm…how were they?  Heavy.  Expensive.  Good fire starters or doorstops.  The boxes they came in are handy for mailing other books though…

4. price to put cat to sleep saint john, nb.  This one mystifies me…yes, my blog is called Herding Cats in Hammond River, which is near Saint John, but it really has nothing to do with cats, and I don’t remember ever talking about putting a cat to sleep in any of my posts.  I have no idea how much that costs, and I don’t want to know.  And yet, two people found my blog this way…go figure!

5. the dog eat my homework.  This search had to have been typed by someone whose first language was something other than English (at least I hope so).  It got me two hits on this post about my Schnoover (Schnauzer/Poodle/Hoover) who eats everything in sight, including things not normally consumed.

Jake's favourite things to eat...

6. sock pile.  How bored does one have to be to Google “sock pile”…twice???  I wish I had their phone number so I could invite them over to sort them…they obviously have more time than I do…

7. deviated septum how to fix ontario.  I talked about Jim’s deviated septum in this post.  I have never tackled the issue of “how to fix Ontario.”  I don’t live there any more for a reason…

8. tapioca cheese steak like made in school.  That lunch lady needs to be fired…if she’s putting tapioca in the cheese steak, she’s doing it all wrong!  I don’t remember them ever serving cheese steak of any sort in our school cafeteria…tube steak, yes!

Hold the tapioca please...

 9. dirty girl sneaker.  Okay…this is just wrong.  I write an innocent story about a family trip to Hopewell Rocks, and this is how they find it?

10. muddy kids.  See #9.  Ditto.

11. blue jay cheerleading.  I’ve written about blue jays, and I’ve written about cheerleading, but I’ve never seen a blue jay cheerleading (it’s tough for them to find spankies small enough to fit).  Maybe some poor sap hoped that major league baseball games have cheerleaders now?  Not happening…

12. huge bean pod.  This person wasn’t just looking for any bean pod…it had to be a huge one!  Apparently, size does matter!

P.S. Did you notice how I put all the terms into the tags, so people could find them again?  Never let it be said that I’m not Internet-savvy…

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Filed under blogging, rants, satire

Honourable Mention…

Wow…first the Bloody Brilliant Blogger’s Award, and now I’ve been “tagged” by Hippie Cahier, a self-described “woman of mystery” who shares my appreciation of both Todd Pack’s Messy Desk and Blurt.  I checked out some of Hippie’s blog last night…nearly peed myself laughing at this post: Confessions of a Worrier Princess

Thanks, Hippie, for tagging me…I’m supposed to answer 8 questions about myself, and then tag 8 other bloggers (who then repeat the process).  So, here it is:

1. If you could have any superpower, what would you have? Why?

I want the ability to tell when people are lying, and then be able to point that fact out to other people.  Anyone who lies for their own gain would experience an immediate change of colour to their tongue…the bigger the lie, the brighter red it would turn (husbands who lie when asked, “Does this outfit make me look fat?” would be exempt).  I think my superhero name would be Lady Lie Detector (and my costume would be tasteful, but show lots of cleavage).

This guy told his wife he was working late...it was a lie!

2. Who is your style icon?

If I had lots of money, I would like to dress like Meredith Vieira.  She dresses casually, but always looks good.  I also really like Sears’ Jessica line.  Most of the clothes I buy now come from consignment stores or Value Village.

Meredith Vieira...cool style...

3. What is your favorite quote?

This is a hard one…I am a “quote junkie.”  I’m going to give you two:

Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.  Mahatma Ghandi 

I learn something new every day, even if it’s something small.  If you ever stop learning, I believe you’ve got one foot in the grave!

Well-behaved women seldom make history.  Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

I have this quote on a mug, and a tote bag.  I’ve never let men tell me what to do, and I never will!

I want this shirt!

4. What is the best compliment you’ve ever received?

“Your daughter is so well-behaved!” (and then I turn around and look behind me to see who they’re really talking to).

5. What playlist/cd is in your CD player/iPod right now?

Hmmm…don’t have an iPod…don’t know how to work one!  I often just pop a CD into my computer and listen to it.  It would probably be something folk or blues (probably one of the artists I have links to on the right side).  I’m also fond of CBC Radio 2 Concerts on Demand.

6. Are you a night owl or a morning person?

That’s an easy one: morning person.  I’m up at 5:30 during the week, and might sleep in until 8 on weekends.  If I don’t get to bed some time between 10 and 11, I’m really cranky the next day!  Being a morning person can be a problem when one sleeps with a night owl, but I’m slowly getting him “trained.”  At least he’s stopped staying up half the night!

7. Do you prefer dogs or cats? 

I like both, but I think dogs are my favourite.  Cats really don’t need us except to look after them…they usually don’t follow you around unless they want something.  Our dog is a huge suck…he always wants to be with us, wherever we happen to be!  Even if we’ve only been out of his sight for a couple of minutes, he jumps around like it’s Christmas when we come back!  “Oh, Mommy!  I’m so happy to see you!” 

This is Jake, hanging out on the trampoline with the girls...

8. What is the meaning behind your blog name?

Well, let’s see…I live in Hammond River, New Brunswick, with Jim, our four teenagers, and my dad.  Managing daily life is sometimes nearly impossible, like “herding cats” (refer to #7).  I have to tell a funny story about my friend, Renée, over at Life in the Boomer Lane:  Renée is a tiny bit technically-challenged, and was talking to her daughter in England on Skype to get her to add a link to my blog on Renée’s.  Her daughter misheard, and added a link to “Hurting Cats in Hammond River.”  We try not to do that here…

So, I’ve finished my assignment…the taggees are Maura at 36 x 37 (a recent discovery from Freshly Pressed – she’s funny and thinks I’m “delightful” – plus, she’s from Ohio!) and anyone who comments on this post and feels like doing it…I already gave most of my blogging friends a “shitload of homework” (as my friend, Nancy, at Embracing Myself so eloquently puts it) when I passed on the Bloody Brilliant Blogger’s Award!

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Filed under blogging, friends, satire, self-discovery