Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Christmas randoms

It is the usual busy life around work and Christmas around the Cat Ranch. 

Here's just a few photos of our week.

We went to a Christmas party.  It was a at the house of an old friend of Walt Kowalski's.  We've gone several years in a row now, so I've gotten to know the people who attend.  It was nice, even if the ladies are a bit snooty falooty.  I don't wear nearly enough jewelry.  I did were my hair up and earrings! Walt Kowalski approved.

Here was her cheese ball.  He was almost too cute to eat.

He looked better than he tasted.

Then ornament Chewbacca found himself a dance partner. Nobody else had short enough legs, except for sister bunny. Chewbacca was a gift from the neighbor's eight-year-old daughter.  She said he was a cousin of sasquatch. I can see the family resemblance.

But you know, every time you take a nice photo with your dance partner, some bunny comes along an photobombs you.

Walt Kowalski said "That's a nice photo.  Where were you guys?"  I said "Sitting at our bar in the game room."  He said "Wow, that looks really nice."

Finally, I had extra milk from baking.  Not being a milk drinker, I was looking for recipes to use it up. Walt Kowalski said "You know what uses milk? Pistachio pudding. with extra pistachios."

He's too funny.  How could I resist.  And it's in the shape of a Christmas tree. AND those are my grandmother's pudding cups. 

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Busy Morning

Mornings are fast. 

Walt Kowalski started his early winter shift, so we're out the door by 5:40am. He's done at 2:30pm now.  JEALOUS!

I *should* get up earlier, but the big bed is so hard to get out of.  I *should* go to sleep earlier, too, but this is the Cat Ranch, it never happens. 

The morning race goes like this:

Wake up
Feed Cats
Walt Kowalski wake up (he gets 5 extra minutes)
Fix hairs
Walt Kowalski shower
Remove cat from heat register
Find work clothes
Remove cat from work clothes
Get dressed
Slap on a little makeup
Put on left shoe
Remove cat from table
Fix lunches
Find right shoe
Get gym bags
Feed cats
Remove cat from chair
Put on right shoe
Wash hands again (about a dozen times so far this morning)
Fix snacks
Fill water bottles
Find coat
Find car keys
Find phone
Find house keys
Search for water bottle that was just here a moment ago
Find gloves
Make travel coffee for Walt Kowalski
Put on gloves
Take off gloves
Clean up hair ball
Put on gloves
Warm cars (if needed)
Turn off lights
Turn on lights
Find phone and keys that were left on table when looking for water bottle
Turn off lights
Lock door
Confirm phones and keys in pocket
Pick-up newspaper in drive way

That's the short version.  Sometimes, like today, there was a clean litter box in there because it was stinky.  Breakfast is when we get to work. 

Yesterday, everything was running smoothly.  We weren't even in a rush. Walt Kowalski said "I'll take your bags out to the car and get the paper.  You lock the house."

So I did. 

Hug, hug, kiss, kiss and away we went to work.


When I got to work, I thought "what is this extra lump in my coat pocket?"

ARGH!  I have the house keys!  More specifically, I have Walt Kowalski's house keys AND my house keys.

Oh I dreaded sending that text message. 

We have talked about hiding a key outside, but it's one of those things that we'll get around to one of these days.  But it never happened.


So I manned up, or rather womanned up and told the boss.  I said I would work through my normal lunch and then go home a little early and log on and finish my last hour of work at home. He was ok with that.  Walt Kowalski had a good laugh, too.

Weekend Project #1:  Get hide-a-key hidden. 

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Christmas Memories

On the way home yesterday, I heard a song on the radio I haven't heard in years.  It was " 'Twas the Night Before Christmas" sung (spoken) by Perry Como. 

The moment that song started, I knew it instantly and a flood of memories came back. Now, I can't find my keys, phone, wallet, shoes, cat, on a regular basis, but when I heard this song I was instantly transported back to 1981.

My grandmother would always play the record on her Hi-Fi and her Hi-Fi stereo was more than just a radio, it was a piece of furniture.

I remember the front slide open to reveal the record player and dials inside.  The speakers where hidden by fabric on each side. You can see it in the background to the right here:

(Gee, the living room looks much larger now.)

She had a record player that could be "stacked" with records.  Once one record finished, the needle would raise, the arm would move, and another record would fall and start playing.  As a kid, it was the coolest to watch when the record would change.  "Don't touch!" You didn't want the needle to scratch the record.

I loved Christmas and Christmas music then and I still love it today. Gran had a big collection of records with lots of Christmas albums.  I'm certain she was tired of hearing this song, because I asked for her to play it all the time. What's not to like about the smooth voice of Perry Como?

I can remember standing at the top of the stairs, looking out the small windows in the front door, at the Christmas lights adorning the neighbor's house on the street below.

Gran and Pap would also put candles in the windows.  Not the single flicker candles or icicle lights like we have today, but an electric, 5 blub candle with a switch on the cord.

Getting all the same color bulbs was always the tough part because any bulbs you had from last year were always just a slightly different color from this year's. Nobody wanted a missing or burnt out blub.  And you'd better be careful when you turned off the switch or pulled the curtain, because one slip and the entire base would fall and then you'd be replacing all of the bulbs.  Oh and don't let the bulb touch the sheer curtains either!

I still remember all the words and sang (spoke) along with Perry in the car on the way home. Even now, when I read the words, I hear Perry's voice.

A Visit from St. Nicholas

by Clement Clark Moore

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house 
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse; 
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, 
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there; 
  The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
And mamma in her ’kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap,
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below,
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,
With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;
“Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! on, Cupid! on, Donder and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall! 
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!”
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of Toys, and St. Nicholas too.
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot; 
A bundle of Toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a pedler just opening his pack. 
His eyes—how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly. 
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself; 
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head, 
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose, 
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle,
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night.”

Thursday, December 3, 2015


I have lived here forever and I have never seen the dam. I even had a friend that lived close to the dam, but never saw the dam. Walt Kowalski and I were out on an adventure this weekend and made a right onto what we thought was called Alien Road.  It was actually Auen Road, but we made a lot of alien jokes.

Before we knew it, we were just a mile away from the dam.  We've come this far, let's go see the dam.

Dam. Hee hee.

The dam was authorized by the Flood Control Act of 1936 and completed in 1952. It is one of 16 flood control structures in the area.

If this dam wasn't here, the point downtown would be under at least 4 feet of water. 

Holy cow! That's a dam.  I have seen smaller dams, Kingston, and larger dams, Hoover, but this was still impressive. 

It was a miserable cold and rainy day, but the dam was still cool.

I want to go back in the rainy season to see how high the water is and see more water shooting out.

Dam.  Hee hee.