Thursday, May 24, 2007

Happy Birthday, Jango.

Truthfully, we don't know when Jango's birthday is. But it was one year ago today when we adopted her from the shelter, so we have decided to proclaim May 24th as Jango's birthday.

Life with Jango didn't start out so swimmingly. For starters, she spent her first few weeks here living quietly under Kyle's bed. Thankfully, she came out at night to use her litter box. But in time, she came to realize that we are not going to hurt or abandon her. She can count on us for lots of love, frequent brushing, ample food, and fresh sink water.

In the time that she has been with us, Jango has become a fifth member of the family. She sleeps on the back of the sofa cushion while the rest of us watch TV. She seeks out one of the boys when she wants someone to play with her. She keeps Kyle's bed warm for him. And--much to Q's dismay--she has become our pre-dawn alarm clock. I'm beginning to think that Jango might be part rooster. Yesterday, she got me up at 5:00.

But most of all, Jango likes to keep tabs on me. If I leave room, she follows me and carries on these mostly one-sided conversations the entire time. For the most part, this isn't a problem. But when I was working on a sewing project, Jango would jump on the table and pace around in front of my sewing machine. That's when I took her into Kyle's room and enlisted him to babysit the kitty until I'm done. Jango spent the rest of the afternoon napping in Kyle's beanbag.

Speaking of Kyle, he loves Jango almost as much as I do. In fact, I have informed him that when he grows up and gets his own place, he can take Jango to live with him...just like I did with my childhood cat.

A few other facts:
Jango has also acquired quite a few nicknames. These include: Jangs, Siamese Muffinhead, Jiggers, The Meeze, Jango the Beautiful (this one came from Ces), Puppy Cat (this one comes from her propensity to play fetch), Chocolate Girl, and Fluppet.

Early on, I bought Jango a few cat toys. But she quickly rejected all of them. Instead, she prefers to play with trash. Her favorite playthings include wadded up Kleenex, plastic grocery bags, candy wrappers that are used for peppermint disks, wadded up Scotch tape, and those little plastic seals that encircle the caps of milk jugs. We probably have about six dozen of those things lying around the house.

Her favorite hiding spot is in the corner of my closet, under a rack of dresses that hang all the way to the floor.

Jango has her own little window perch in our bedroom. I built it by stacking two milk crates upside-down, covering them with a white sheet, and placing a pillow on top. She likes to sit in that window, watch cars go by, take naps, get agitated at the loud birds in the tree outside, and take more naps.

Jango is a big girl, and should probably be put on a diet. When she runs, her belly sways from side to side. Admittedly, it's kind of funny to watch.

Happy Birthday, Jango. This is your day. Why don't you celebrate by sleeping least until 6:30. Please?

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The "Get Off The Airwaves" List

--TV poker
--Personal injury trial lawyer ads
--Auto racing
--J.G. Wentworth ads

--Britney...Paris...Lindsay...Lindsay's Mom...
--Riches in Real Estate infomercials

--The Fox News Channel
--reruns of Mama's Family

--Greg Behrendt (I'm sorry, but the guy is difficult to look at)
--The Golf Channel

--Any Flavor-Flav-derived reality spectacle on VH-1
--The Geico gecko commercials. How could such an annoying and unfunny ad campaign come from the same company that brought us the cavemen?
--Tim Russert

--The Girls Next Door
--"Mark Mitsubishi...MARK Mitsubishi" (All two of my local readers will understand this one)

Monday, May 21, 2007

Men, Women, and Shopping

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Stages of Life

Male Stages of Life


17 - beer
25 - vodka
35 - scotch
48 - double scotch
66 - Maalox


17 - My parents are away for the weekend.
25 - My girlfriend is away for the weekend.
35 - My fiance is away for the weekend.
48 - My wife is away for the weekend.
66 - My second wife is dead.


17 - sex
25 - sex
35 - sex
48 - sex
66 - napping


17 - "tongue"
25 - "breakfast"
35 - "She didn't set back my therapy."
48 - "I didn't have to meet her kids."
66 - "Got home alive."


17 - getting to third
25 - airplane sex
35 - menage a trois
48 - taking the company public
66 - Swiss maid/Nazi love slave


17 - roaches
25 - stoned-out college roommate
35 - German Shepherd
48 - children from his first marriage
66 - Barbie


17 - 25
25 - 35
35 - 48
48 - 66
66 - 17


Female Stages of Life


17 - Wine Coolers
25 - White wine
35 - Red wine
48 - Dom Perignon
66 - Shot of Jack with an Ensure chaser


17 - Need to wash my hair
25 - Need to wash and condition my hair
35 - Need to colour my hair
48 - Need to have Francois colour my hair
66 - Need to have Francois colour my wig


17 - shopping
25 - shopping
35 - shopping
48 - shopping
66 - shopping


17 - "Burger King"
25 - "Free meal"
35 - "A diamond"
48 - "A bigger diamond"
66 - "Home Alone"


17 - tall, dark and handsome
25 - tall, dark and handsome with money
35 - tall, dark and handsome with money and a brain
48 - a man with hair
66 - a man


17 - Muffy the cat
25 - Unemployed boyfriend and Muffy the Cat
35 - German Shepherd and Muffy the Cat
48 - Children from his first marriage and Muffy the Cat
66 - Retired husband dabbles in taxidermy, stuffs Muffy the Cat


17 - 17
25 - 25
35 - 35
48 - 48
66 - 66


17 - He offers to pay
25 - He pays
35 - He cooks breakfast the next morning
48 - He cooks breakfast the next morning for the kids
66 - He can chew his breakfast

Friday, May 18, 2007


I usually see these commercials on the weekends when Q is watching a Diamondbacks game. These ads bug me on so many levels. First of all, nobody is THAT stupid. Second, they're a total scam. According to the fine print, each text costs $16.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Ms. Val's Bargain of the Week

I have long believed that best stuff is found when you're looking for something else. Yesterday, I went to Big Lots in search of accessories for Q's new office. There was nothing good in that part of the store, but as I was about to leave, I wandered through the pool toy aisle. There, I found a treasure trove of rafts, beach balls, floaties, tubes, noodles, and these goggle packs:
6 pairs of goggles of $4. I'm not sure about the quality, but then I don't expect them--or any of our other pool toys--to last through August...if we're lucky. Around here, if the kids don't do damage, the weather will. The sun and heat will fade and weaken anything made of plastic. And an evening windstorm will send an inflatable raft sailing all the way into La Paz County...if it doesn't get punctured on a cactus first.

It seems that whether a raft costs $3 or $30, it's useful life is pretty much the same. That's why I've resorted to buying the cheap stuff and replacing it every year. I suppose I could curtail wear and tear on the pool toys by bringing them indoors when not in use. But I'm not willing to turn my family room into a storehouse for garish dayglow inflatables.

As for the goggles, if a strap breaks, there's a replacement pair at the ready. Also, I won't have to deal with four kids fighting over three pairs.

I'm probably going to have to buy another pack.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Happy Mother's Day to Me!

For awhile, I had been nosing around ebay, seeking out a piece of Harlequin Fiesta in the spruce color. Specifically, I had been wanting either a nut dish or an egg cup. Well, Q had apparently been studying my ebay watch list because he found a spruce egg cup and gave it to me for Mother's Day. As a bonus, he bought me the rose egg cup as well.

Kyle kept really quiet about his Mother's Day gift. On Sunday morning, he presented me with a piece of paper that had been folded no fewer than eighteen times. It was his progress report--all A's and B's!!!!! I'm so proud. I reminded him that if he can keep this up for another week and a half, he'll make the Honor Roll.

Lucas gave me a card in which he described my features: ears with cat-like eyes to watch me...shiny red hair...nose: totally useless...can't smell a thing...mouth to smile with and to eat and talk with, too. Enclosed was a coupon book for free Double-Three (double scoop of ice cream, three toppings), free bed making, free back walking, and free 2 hours of Dr. Mario, popcorn, and Pepsi. All coupons expire on Tuesday.

Thursday, May 10, 2007


Wednesday, May 09, 2007

He Does All His Own Stunts, Part 6

Lucas attended his best friend's birthday party at an indoor rock climbing gym. I just wish I had remembered to bring the regular camera instead of having to use the one on my phone.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Under Construction

I finished school last week, but the boys have 2 1/2 weeks left. Yesterday was my first day of the quiet solitude that I will get to enjoy until I have to endure days of fighting, complaining, and whining that "I'm bored". The next few weeks will almost be like a mini vacation that happens from 8 to 4 everyday.

And I plan to spend much of that time organizing and moving the boys TV, video games, and toys from the large upstairs loft area down to the much smaller den. And I'll be moving Q's desk, computer equipment, and books up to the area formerly known as the toyroom.

And this project has taken on a life of it's own. What started out as a simple paring down of stuff and moving of furniture has turned into a full-on redecorating project. For starters, TAFKATTR has been painted a golden mustard yellow. Now, the search is on for a very nice, yet very cheap ceiling fan and new window treatments.

Here's how the toyroom looked before. Unfortunately, I neglected to take these pictures before the dismantling began.
When we bought this house 8 years ago, the boys were much smaller and we made this their space for spreading out toys. They would build entire room-sized train track layouts, create entire towns and parking lots with wood blocks and Hot Wheels, and generally make messes that were sequestered from the rest of the house.

In recent years, this room got used less for toys and more for TV watching and video games. Also, the elliptical and weight bench invaded the space.
This room started life as our home office. On days when he would work from home, Q would set up shop in here. But during the dog days of Cushing's Syndrome, he moved his laptop out to the living room, where he would read e-mails and take phone calls while lying on the couch.
While Q was in the hospital, I used this room as a dumping ground for insurance statements, tax papers, and other important crap that I didn't want to deal with at the time. It's also a storehouse for books, old magazines, winter coats, obsolete computer peripherals, and all my purses. There is no organization whatsoever.
Well, times have changed and we now need more space than the boys do. I now face the daunting task of packing up these rooms and getting them ready for the mini-move. I anticipate that the dumpster will be overflowing by the end of the day.

Monday, May 07, 2007

I'm Sew Done With School... least for the semester. Below are photos of my final project that I made for home sewing class. I'm pretty proud of the way it turned out. But then, the instructor gave me a perfect score of 300 points. Although, she did admit that she graded everyone very generously.

Also, I felt that I got off easy because everyone else in the class made curtains...some of which employed very complicated techniques. One lady made drapes with goblet pleating and ornamental piping and tassels strung through them. Another lady made custom quality curtains with a matching reversible valance. Since I didn't need curtains--or even possess the confidence to take on such a large scale project--I figured I'd make something I do need--a reversible table runner.

The "A" side. The photos don't do this piece justice. Shiny organza fabric is rather difficult to photograph. Plus, my dining room is kind of dark.

The runner matches perfectly with the cinnabar, cobalt, shamrock, and plum Fiesta, and the amber water goblet.
The "B" Side.
Here's a few things I learned in the class:

--SAS Fabrics by the Pound only takes cash or credit or debit cards. I found this out the hard way when I showed up there with $13 and a debit card. Good thing I was able to buy what I needed for $10 and change.

--Thread multiplies. When you clip loose threads and fibers off a project and let them fall to the floor, they will to reproduce. Later, they will go into hiding whenever I bring out the vaccuum cleaner. Just like Christmas tree needles, I'll be finding miniscule sewing remnants until Halloween.

--Your good scissors will always disappear when you need them most.

--The seam ripper is your best friend.

--A 4" seam allowance is NOT too much. You can always trim it down to 5/8" later.

--There's no such thing as a quick stop at the fabric store.

--The dining room table makes a great flat area for spreading out, measuring, and cutting fabric.

--The kitchen table is too small for family dinners.

--JOANN Fabrics' 40% off coupons are worth their weight in gold.

--Siamese cats REALLY love taking naps in the middle of your project. Keep a lint roller handy!

--It takes no fewer than four tries to get a zipper installed correctly.

--I was told that thread has a limited shelf life. And in the dry Arizona climate, it has an even shorter shelf life. I'm just not exactly sure what happens to items sewn with expired thread. Will they get thread poisoning? Will I have to take the article to fabric hospital to get its fibers pumped?

--All ironing board covers are NOT created equal.

--Taffeta shows every needle and pin hole long after the pin or thread has been removed.

--There are some types of tassles, fringing, piping, and trims that cost 95 DOLLARS per yard. We found this out on a field trip to a custom curtain shop. The wonderful ladies in the sewing room even let us HOLD and TOUCH that stuff.

--The best selection of home decorating fabrics is at Fabric Depot at Cave Creek and Bell in north Phoenix. I just wish they would open a store in the northwest part of city.

Friday, May 04, 2007

How To Use an ATM Machine


1. Drive up to cash machine.
2. Roll down your car window
3. Insert card into machine and enter PIN
4. Enter amount of cash required and withdraw
5. Retrieve card, cash and receipt
6. Roll up window
7. Drive off.


1. Drive up to cash machine
2. Reverse back the required amount to align car window to machine
3. Re-start stalled engine
4. Roll down the window
5. Find handbag, remove all contents onto passenger seat to locate card
6. Locate make-up bag and check make-up in rear view mirror
7. Attempt to insert card into machine
8. Open car door to allow easier access to machine due to its excessive distance from car
9. Insert card
10. Re-insert card the right way up
11. Re-enter handbag to find diary with your PIN written on the inside back page
12. Enter PIN
13. Press cancel and re-enter correct PIN
14. Enter amount of cash required
15. Re-check make-up in rear view mirror
16. Retrieve cash and receipt
17. Empty handbag again to locate purse and put cash inside
18. Place receipt in back of checkbook
19. Re-check make-up again
20. Drive forward ten feet
21. Reverse back to cash machine
22. Retrieve card
23. Re-empty handbag, locate card holder and place card into the slot provided
24. Re-check make-up
25. Re-start stalled engine and move off
26. Drive for 3 - 4 miles
27. Release hand brake