Thursday, April 22, 2010


I've relocated to here! So mosey on down, and sorry for the hastle if you've bookmarked me and all that.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The problem with airplanes and big groups of people, regardless of how much airborne and zinc and multivatims you booste, is you're bound to catch something. Which, we inevitably did, incubating it in our lungs, and bringing it back to Madison. So here we are, tight heads, swimming lungs, hacking and coughing and sneezing and sniffling while we try to pack and enjoy each other's company in our last week and a half here.

Last night we went to Target (ohh, Target, I'm so tired of you. Why are you so convenient? And so close to my house? And why do you carry everything?) to buy a few staples, including robitussin, zicam, and airborne. As we were checking out, the cute, elderly midwestern saleslady stopped us in our tracks and asked us for our IDs. She erroneously thought it was for the Airborne, even though it was actually for the Dextromethorphan in the robitussin. So Charlie says, "Really? For Airborne?" and the elderly saleslady, in her innocently charming Midwestern accent says, "Yep. There must be something in Airborne that you can make into Meth."

Meth? Are you kidding me? This woman doesn't even know the first thing about meth. Airborne is totally homeopathic; it's a mix of herbal extracts, amino acids, electrolytes, antioxidants, and vitamins. Some higher power in Target told her that any time she had to take an ID it was because someone could allegedly make "meth" out of it, and that's the information she's now doling out to customers. Awesome. Now you probably have some teenage kid trying to get high off of Airborne. Good luck to you, buddy.

The Curse of the Wet Food

When we traveled to Massachusetts for the wedding, we abandoned the Bitter and the Leopold for four full days with bowls of food and water staggered throughout the house, the sliding glass door wide open, soft places to curl up, and our blessings.

Upon returning, it seemed that the "wet food" curse had been broken. Bitty is the one that dictates the wet food in the household. Though mild tempered by nature, she turns into a tiny demon in the morning, opening her throat and gargling out loud meows from deep in her chest cavity until you have no choice but to feed her. Her meows aren't normal, either. Leopold has a variety of meows to choose from- the pathetic boy meow that's high pitched and slight, the deep, booming meow he uses when you're breaking his "closed door policy" (which, he's found, is incredibly effective if he puts his mouth to the bottom of the door, and projects his voice into the entire room), the short and tiny trill he uses when you wake him up from a deep sleep, etc. When Bitty meows, it's like someone's got a chokehold on her throat. Like her vocal cords have been grated. Her meow rattles around in her throat until it comes yelling out, sore and angry, and her face contorts into a jackal's smile.

The day after we returned, as I mentioned, I thought the curse had been broken. I stumbled out of bed to make my coffee, and Bitty sat in her little bed dwelling underneath our dining room chair and just blinked at me repeatedly. And Leo, who takes cues from Bitty, stayed calm and collected, folded up like a little chicken with his legs tucked under in the morning sunlight. So they didn't get wet food. And I joyously retold the story to Charlie when he awoke, and he said we could save wet food for "special occasions" (whatever special occasions for a cat are).

But the next morning, when I stammered out of bed, bleary eyed and annoyed to be awake without caffiene in my system, the chorus of chortled meows hit my eardrums more angry than ever to have missed a day of wet food. Bitty ran around the kitchen island like an irate baffoon, scuttling between my legs and meowing non-stop, which set Leopold off with his high-pitched whines. Charlie and I are 100% sure that Bitty is a mentally challenged cat. My dad, a man of wisdom, will say he tries not to attribute much intelligence to a cat... but I've lived with many cats in my day, and can tell the difference between a normally functioning cat and Bits. She sleeps at least 22 hours a day, she is deathly afraid of everyone but me (she's warming up to Charlie, and she loves our friend Nick, go figure), and I've already covered the meow. She doesn't understand the function of the squirt bottle. It works well with Leopold-- we've got it down to simply showing him the bottle when a bad behavior is on display or even being considered, and it stops him in his tracks. I can squirt Bitty repeatedly and she just looks at me, confused and upset, and then continues to meow. And on the last visit I had to the vet, they told me she'd never lost her baby teeth. That's right. All the teeth in her tiny skull are baby teeth. All the teeth that contribute to her strange overbite (that's right, my cat with the huge, lamplike eyes and the ridiculous overbite) are baby teeth. And her bottom incisors are in the wrong spot.

So we're back on the wet food track; there was a bit of an issue when we switched from the seafood pate (which made our house smell like the Boston Harbor) back to the meaty bits but we've overcome this problem, and we're eating again without complaint. We love her to death. But we're pretty sure she's not at 100% functioning capacity.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


The first two years I lived in Boston were spent in a pretty thick fog of depression. The adjustment from country to city was not easy for me, and it was culminated by the fact that my classmates around me seemed thrilled to be there, happy to leave behind their rolling hills and star-dappled skies. My body yearned for clean air, wide open spaces, rivers and streams and mountains to hike.

The city seemed to hang in my window, a constant reminder that I wasn't home, and even though it would seem that I had more opportunities there than I'd ever had in Vermont, I felt trapped. I was limited to how far the subway system would take me, and the return to my dormitory was always inevitable.

By year three, the transition finally happened, and Boston started to feel more comfortable, and by year four and five, Boston felt like home. By year six, I was itching to go, so I did.

We went back to Massachusetts this past weekend for Lydia and Todd's wedding. It was a whirlwind of a trip (as our trips always seem to be) and on the last day, we traveled via commuter rail into the city to visit with our dear friends Mikki and Ezra before heading back to Logan Airport. While riding the commuter rail, I was surveying the Beverly- Salem- Lynn- Chelsea- Boston scenery and realizing that Boston is a dirty city.

Graffiti peppered the walls of every building, every train station, every stopped truck. The backyards had piles of trash-- shopping carts overturned, bumpers and fenders sticking out, plastic bags waving around in the breeze, piled ten feet high. The buildings were all dilapidated and crumbling. Had I become so numb to the city by year three, four, and five that I stopped noticing? That the graffiti, piles of trash, and crumbling buildings looked like home? That the rainbow oil stains floating atop the water seemed natural? That every bit of normal land was a "wildlife preserve" and not just "land", and that was o.k?

Of course, there are beautiful parts of the city. For example, where my friends Emily and Jeremy live in Brookline. Or where Mikki and Ezra live on University Ave. And the historic parts of the city, as I explained to Charlie as we flew in, pointing out tiny buildings from the airplane window. This is a city that I know and love, though will probably never call home again. We're still finding home.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Easter Bunnies!

Easter rolled in with a family day, which is exactly how we wanted it. We went to the 9:20 church service (my sister-in-law Tina suggested we could go to the 7:45 but those of us without children quickly nipped that idea in the bud), followed by an exhilerating Easter Egg hunt at David and Sydney's house, and finished it off with a filling, delicious home-cooked meal.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Dust Bunnies

Despite my impeccably clean (and OCD) husband, it's hard to keep up after 2 cats and a wife with a really full head of hair (and little interest in cleaning, though I'm reforming my ways). Yesterday, we were sitting on the couch with the sliding glass door open, soaking up the fresh warm air, and a dust bunny went sailing past us, followed closely by Leopold, who was hunting it through the house, as if it were prey.

Caught by a gust of wind, it took a sudden change of path and flew straight up above his pointy black ears, and Leo, without missing a beat, leaped high into the air, and clapped his paws together in a vain attempt to capture it.

When Charlie first realized what was happening, he looked on in horrified repulsion, before yelling, "EEEWWW, DISGUSTING!". I, on the other hand, was amused and entertained. Then, he started cheering him on as if at a sporting event, calling, "You can do it, Leo! Catch it! Catch it!" Which only further encouraged the cat. When he finally did catch the little ball of fur and dust, he sat there chewing and spitting, fur stuck to his wet nose and scratchy tongue. Not that it'll deter him next time.

Welcome to my life.