Friday, February 27, 2015

Exercise Plan

Hello loyal readers!

I have been away for a few days.  Nothing exciting.  No vacations, although I could use one. I headed north again.  This time was for two days with a stay over in between

Different car this time.
I liked this one MUCH better than the last.  I liked the way to drove, I felt more comfortable in the driver's seat, and I had a better feel for how fast I was going.  The last car I had a difficult time "feeling" how fast I was going. Once I thought I was going 40mph and looked down and I was doing 70!  I am used to Little Red and how she performs, so that was  shocker.  This vehicle was better.
We also rented one these for vacation two years ago, so I was familiar with this model.
I wish I could say I was at the spa for two days where I pampered and spent the day exercising.  I did spend the day exercising, but not in the fashion you might think.
Here was the exercise plan:
4 computers needed installed upstairs.

Each computer had the following boxes:

1 -- 22" monitor
1 -- 22" monitor
1 -- laptop computer
1 -- docking station
1 -- keyboard
1 -- mouse

The keyboard, mouse and docking station could be carried together.  1 trip.  The laptop was in a separate box.  Trip #2. And each monitor.  Trip #3 and trip #4. 

4 trips up and down the steps for each computer.

And any other parts I might have forgotten.  Trips up and down. And then there was a bad docking station.  Another trip up and down.  And another bad docking station.  Another trip up and down. Then there was a bad computer.  Another trip up and down.

Needless to say, by the end of the day, I was ready for this:

I liked the corner vanity and mirrors in the bathroom. 

The lobby had a nice gas fireplace and they had a wine and cheese reception from 6 to 8pm. 

My youngest niece will also be pleased to know they had a waffle maker and fixings for breakfast in the lobby, too.
I'm home with Walt Kowalski, but I have a feeling this is not the last time I will see this place.
(I also need to learn to hold my phone steady.  it doesn't have the stabilizer like my camera.  Practice.)

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Star Star Moon

Actually, planet, planet moon.
The only, *ONLY*, good part about this cold weather is the show in the sky.  With the moon setting on the evening horizon, the dark blue of the fading sunset is beautiful.


By morning darkness, all you can see is thousands of stars.  Now, if only I could stand being out in the cold. 

I've got to get my telescope out this summer.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Delicious weekend

Some weekends are busy. Some weekends are quiet. This weekend was full of snow and ice and delicious food.

One of our favorite traditions on Saturday and Sunday mornings  (and any day we have off together) is breakfast.  Sometimes it's just peanut butter toast we stuff in our faces before we run out the door.  Other days it's eggs and toast, tea and coffee, the newspaper and the cooking channel.  Friday night we went to the store, which means Saturday and Sunday breakfast was going to be delicious. 

Sourdough toast.

{breaths deeply} Ahhhh, I can still smell it. 

Sunday night was pretty good, too. We spent most of the day picking (actually with the pick) away at the ice in the driveway.  1 inch of it on everything.  A skating rink.

We persevered.  Picked, shoveled, scrapped the ice and salted and salted and salted and salted. the temperature was just over freezing and this was our only opportunity before the next deep freeze came.

To celebrate our successful day, I treated Walt Kowalski to a traditional Sunday night of sauce.

I really need to stay away from recipes online.  I cooked rigatoni halfway, then stood them all on their ends in a spring form pan. While the pasta was cooking, I mixed up some ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, and spices.  Then I used my cookie decorating bag to fill each rigatoni with the cheese filling. 

I covered the top with sauce and mozzarella cheese and baked it. 

(I put the spring form pan on a cookie tray before baking, just in case the cheese oozed.  It did. I learned that lesson the hard way with an apple tart.) 

After letting it cool for a moment, and running a knife around the outside, I was able to release the pan and see the deliciousness.  It sliced like a cheesecake. A cheese case covered in red sauce.  Delicious. 

A fitting reward for a day of hard work.

Thursday, February 19, 2015


Headed north today.  Due to new rules for expenses, using my own personal vehicle was not cost productive.  So I got to rent a car.

Much like the one I drove a few weeks ago, this one also has a very fancy dashboard in it.

I like the temperature reading feature, but I don't like that temperature!

It has it all and then some on this dashboard.

But no power seats in this model.  That's fine, I'll only have it for 2 days.

Walt Kowalski had plenty of leg room, but noticed that from the front passenger seat he could reach across and touch the window of the passenger behind the driver.  Too small to suit him.

I'm going to have the opportunity to test drive these rental cars every two weeks.  I'll know what I don't want in  my next new car.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015


Just to temp you on this Ash Wednesday, here was the ice cream Walt Kowalski surprised me with.
I could lick the screen right now. 

One of my favorite parts is that I get to use my meat cleaver to cut it.  There aren't enough opportunities to use the meat cleaver. 

Monday, February 16, 2015


Saturday was an adventure.  Walt Kowalski and I woke up to a winter wonderland.  It was snowing! No need to rush, we'll just wait until the snow finished to shovel.  We had a nice breakfast, read the newspaper, cleaned up the house, cleaned the bathrooms, and started some laundry. By this time the snow had quit. 

The snow was powdery.  I attacked the hill with my leaf blower while Walt Kowalski worked on the flat driveway.

Less than 45 minutes later the driveway was  clear and you could even see the asphalt.  Time to warm upside for a few minutes before we finish our chores for the day.  We had one errand left on our to-do list.  A quick run out in Big Red and we should be back home before 6pm. 

I ran upstairs to hang up some clothes and gather phones and keys before we left, when Walt Kowalski called from the basement "Boy is it snowing again!"

It was!  "Give it a minute, it will pass." I said. 

15 minutes later it was still snowing. 

"We'd better leave now if we want to get there by 4pm." Walt Kowalski said.

We didn't leave soon enough.  Normally we would have taken back roads, but with the snow we decided to stick to the main highway. 


Then it got a little more snowy.

And then more snowy. 
And then even more snowy!


Thank you Walt Kowalski and 4-wheel drive for a safe trip!

We made it home safe, but the road to the Cat Ranch was terrible.  The main roads must have been worse elsewhere, because we normally see the plow regularly.  We didn't see a big yellow truck all night. 

We did see lots of other lights.

This van was not so lucky to make it home safe.  Nobody was injured, but he was stuck in a big culvert.  He's very lucky.

Add at least an hour, one, police car, one fire truck, a tow truck and this mini van was out of the ditch.  But he still couldn't make up back up the hill.  He turned around and tried back the way he came with little success, too.

Finally, after backing up the hill and getting a running start, he was able to make it up the small hill and back towards the highway. 

Never a dull moment. Every time it snows and someone gets stuck, Walt Kowalski says the same thing "If you don't live on this hilly, bendy road, why do you come this way when it snows!?!? The risk is not worth the 5 minutes of travel time it would save. " 

He's right, but they still try.

Friday, February 13, 2015


Here was the conversation at the Cat Ranch yesterday:
Walt Kowalski: "Did we miss any calls?"
Me: "Alabama called again."
Walt Kowalski: "What?"
Me: "The only call we missed yesterday was a call from Alabama. The only call we missed today was also a call from Alabama."
Walt Kowalski: "The state?"
Me: "Yeah, I guess. The caller ID says 'ALA'. Maybe they just called to say hi."
Walt Kowalski: "Well, I'm calling Alabama back and asking them not to call again." 
A few minutes later Walt Kowalski comes upstairs.
Walt Kowalski: "Sorry to disappoint, but Alabama didn't call.  However, the American Lung Association did call."

I wasn't expecting that.

Friday the 13th

I'm tired of the cold weather. The sun is out, which is nice, but it's still cold.  8 degrees at the Cat Ranch this morning.


So instead I will leave you with some warm thoughts on this Friday the 13th.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Be My Valentine

Walt Kowalski surprised me with an early Valentine present.
He's bought me flowers in the past for holidays and special occasions, and while I love flowers, the price of flowers on February 14th is killer.   
(Don't even get me started on the Christmas flowers I tried to buy for Grammy this year.  I had a coupon for $20 off of a minimum order of $20.  I picked out a nice, small bouquet in a fancy snowman mug.  The total of the order was $23.99. Perfect.  Grammy will love it.  Then I proceeded to finish my order. 
Shipping tax.
Handling tax.
Delivery cost.
Holiday fee.  (What is a holiday fee?!?)
State tax.
By the time the ordered was ready to be submitted the final total AFTER subtracting the coupon was $47.00!
Delete. I love you Grammy, but some coupons are not a bargain.)
Walt Kowalski also knows how I can't stand to be wasteful especially with money. 
But he's also sneaky.  Sneaky in a good way, that is.  He still bought me flowers for Valentine's.
Except he bought me flowers that will bloom all summer.  {smiles}

I love them.  After I hugged him he stopped and pulled away and said "I just realized I created more digging work for myself didn't I?  Crap." 

It's ok.  It's outside "work" in the summer. That is the kind of work we like.  

Oh and I got Walt Kowalski a couple of gifts, too.  Nothing as fancy. New headphones (he needed them badly!), a couple of scratch off lottery tickets, and a hockey decal for the bar mirror.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Gentleman Bug

All evening last night Fudge was transfixed with the light on the ceiling fan.

I looked and looked and looked didn't see anything.

Then Oreo got involved.

OK, what am I missing?  Stinkbug? Spider? Bigfoot?

Then I saw it.

A lady bug.  Or maybe a gentleman bug.  He blended in on the pull chain for the fan.  (Don't look at the dust!)
These are the cats that can sit, watch, and focus on a bug smaller than my pinkie finger nail, yet cannot see the piece of cheese I toss them on the floor.

Monday, February 9, 2015


Our log pile is empty.

We have three piles of logs.  A small rack next to the garage door.  It's out of the weather and easy to get to in slippers. A medium rack of logs on the opposite of the driveway.  These logs are split and have been seasoning all year. We keep this covered with a big plastic tarp. Then there is the BIG pile of logs at the bottom of the driveway.  They were most recently split and are drying for next year. 

This is the medium sized log pile at the top of the driveway.  It's empty. We've been busy having fires all winter.

This is the BIG pile of logs we have at the bottom of the driveway.

Saturday was a cold, but sunny day.  A perfect day refill the medium log rack by bringing several truck loads of logs from the bottom of the driveway to the top and get ready for the second half of winter.

Friday, February 6, 2015


There was excitement at the Cat Ranch last night.

We heard the sirens coming.  Oreo is never happy when the emergency vehicles use their sirens on our road.  Even worse when they stop at the bottom of the driveway. She runs around meowing.  She doesn't like loud noises or whistles. 

We were down in the Ski Lodge, staying warm by the fire, and had no idea anything was even going on outside until we heard the sirens.
All I could see was one vehicle.  Then the fire truck arrived.

Then the Fire Chief and police came.  All of this for just one vehicle stopped along the side of the road?  Maybe they hit a deer.  No ambulances arrived, so it appears everybody was ok.  But no evidence of a crash.
I stepped outside to listening to the conversations and radio chatter. I could only hear bits and pieces, but it sounds like what ever happened to this vehicle happened a few streets up and this was a far as they made it. Leaving the scene of the crime? 
The loudest thing I could hear from the conversations below was "WOW is it cold out here!" I agreed and went back inside to the Ski Lodge. Nothing to see but some flashing lights.
This morning the vehicle was still at the bottom of the driveway.  Even in the dark I can see there was more to this than a vehicle versus deer accident. 
Yikes. Never a dull moment at the Cat Ranch.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

New Equipment

On the road again.  Installing new equipment.  Here have a look:

When you think your computer is old and slow...just remember how far we have come! Nobody was actually using this old terminal, but I did use these in college!
The sun is shining, too!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

More Snow

I turn my back for just a few minutes and Walt Kowalski had the entire driveway shoveled. He got out his big snowplow shovel and make quick work of that first inch. 

Very soon he had another inch to shovel.  It was pretty. 

Almost as soon as he finished shoveling that second inch, there was another inch to be shoveled! He and I agree, I'd rather shovel 1 inch three quick easy times than 3 heavy inches once.  He got his 10,000 steps for the day for certain.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Cabin Fever

Fudge has cabin fever. He misses the open windows and door.
Meow. Meow. Meow. Meow. Meow. Meow. Meow. Meow. Meow. Meow. Meow. Meow. Meow. Meow. Meow. Meow. Meow. Meow. Meow. Meow. Meow. Meow. Meow. Meow. Meow. Meow. Meow. Meow. Meow. Meow. Meow. Meow. Meow. Meow. Meow. Meow. Meow. Meow. Meow. Meow. Meow. Meow. Meow. Meow. Meow. Meow. Meow. Meow. Meow. Meow. Meow. Meow. Meow. Meow. Meow. Meow. Meow. Meow. Meow. Meow. Meow. Meow. Meow. Meow. Meow.
We were home.  I was working at the kitchen table.  He was bored and should have been napping.  Boredom doesn't not mean Fudge should be feed.  No matter what Fudge thinks.
Walt Kowalski said "I'm going to put my boots on and go feed the birds. I'll take Fudge outside and let him play in the snow."
Fudge only *thought* wanted to go outside.  He really didn't.  After having to drag him out of the house, he wasn't even outside long enough for me to get his photograph.
Oreo was out there for about a minute.

They preferred if we brought the snow inside to them. 

This was the only evidence of Fudge being outside.