Category Archives: Kid Substitutes

Never Gonna Get It.

Once upon a time, the cats had the rule of the land.  They claimed corners and stairways, hallways and garages.  In fact, in 2008, Snug had his very own corner in the house.  See Exhibit A.  Sadly, he lost that corner to my file cabinet, but never completely gave up hope that it would come back… see Exhibit B.

Alas, I think it’s safe to say, Snug’s corner is no more.




Don’t worry.  Snug has found another corner, clear on the other side of the house, guarded by the obstacles of a gate, a table, a chair… and I’ll bet he even wishes he could wear ear plugs.




Filed under Kid Substitutes, Our Kid is Cute

Wordless Wednesday.

Stacked cats.

On the ball.


Filed under Kid Substitutes, Our Kid is Cute

Changes in the House.

I mentioned a few months ago that I gave my remaining beloved cichlids to Fish Whisperer.  I have moments these days when I miss them, but then I remember all the maintenance and random acts of violence they had and that niggling feeling rapidly disappears.  Also, the removal of their tank opened up a corner in our living room that is now a devoted play area for William and the removal of the two cycle tanks opened up space on our kitchen counter for William’s bottles.

We do still have the original 12 gallon tank where my cichlids originally lived.  We use that tank to cycle the water for the remaining tank of guppies that we have.  It seemed a waste to just have it sitting empty, gurgling water around, so I put some fish in it.  Fake fish, that is.  Please meet the five plastic fish that now live in our cycle tank.

Occasionally, I will walk by and say to Tony, “You know, I’m worried about these poor fish.  They’re hiding in corners and aren’t eating… it’s just not good.”  He’ll nod sympathetically and tell me he knows and understands.

So, you see, their behavior is pretty much the same as the real fish, except these fish don’t poop, don’t get sick, don’t kill each other and I don’t have to change their water or medicate them.

I think I’m really over being a fish momma.


July 25, 2012 · 9:58 am

Week of Weird.

The weird weather has continued in these parts, with a dramatic thunder and lightning storm on Saturday morning and then sun in the afternoon — as if all the morning weather drama never happened. I had chosen to sleep in that morning, and Tony, who was on his way back from the gym and was quite relieved to see that I wasn’t lap swimming at the time. Since the lightning sounded like it cracked something about 10 feet from our house (I was awake after that, for sure, although we didn’t see anything amiss), I decided it might be best to delay my swim to later that afternoon when the sun came out.

We decided to spend last Saturday morning driving around and running errands together. There are some pretty, tree-lined roads in the back part of our county and the roads curve around each other. Somewhat maddening if you’re used to a grid-like city pattern of roads, but beautiful in a simple way if you’re just out for a drive together on a rainy Saturday morning with your heads stuck out the windows of your car like a pair of oxygen deprived dogs inhaling the fresh smell of just rained on earth!

I’m not a huge follower of things like LivingSocial or Groupon, but occasionally they have a pretty good deal… like super cheap movie tickets and that awesome Amazon deal back in January. I was pretty excited when this week they had a pay $10, get $20 to spend at Whole Foods. There’s a Whole Foods pretty close to my work place (meaning I can zip over there on my lunch hour and be back at work with time to spare), and they do have bins (we all know about my affection for bin food, right?), so I was pretty tickled to get in on that deal. I love when I catch deals for things that I love.

It’s quarterly audit time at work, which means the outside auditors have come in and are sitting in the work spaces near me. As usual, the one closest to me is sick with a cold (or something, it’s always something). She sits over there and complains about how she doesn’t feel well, all the while sneezing, coughing and sniffling her nose. As usual, my immune system holds out for a week and then succumbs. It’s so frustrating to me. I’ve made mention the last two times this happened to my co-worker about this maddening pattern, but this time I made a bit of a bigger deal over it. So, they moved the ill culprit two desks over — which is great! But sadly it was too little, too late. The bug had already started settling into my immune system. I lost some pay this week because I went home sick… the whole thing just frustrates me (in case I haven’t mentioned that, like, 12 times).

This week, in case you didn’t know, there was a full moon. Or a harvest moon, the farmers call it. Or in our house, the Crazy-Ass Cat Week.

Our two alpha cats hate each other all the time, although the one just can’t comprehend the constant hate of the other and is constantly sticking his face in the other one’s face to be sure, or mosies by him, or just gets in his general vicinity when there are other, faster paths to his destination he could take. He always gets swiped or hissed at. So, lately, when he does that, I’ve taken to saying to him, “Slasher, Tug still hates you!” Slasher then looks at me with an aggrieved look on his face and goes on his way. But this week, and all weeks with a full moon, the hate is taken to an all new level with constant late night yowling, growling and feline yodeling. The hate, it’s really quite impressive.

I’m looking forward to the weekend as if it’s a reset button. To my health and to our cats’ sanity. Here’s to a new us next week!


Filed under Health/Endo, Kid Substitutes, Life Encompasses Me, Money Hump Building

Blogabilities – Week of 08/14/2011

* I went to Costco today and at check-out, the cashier applied a coupon (which I didn’t supply him with) for $2 off one of my items. In fact, I didn’t even know he’d done it until I was already back at work reviewing my receipt. That was really nice of him. So, I give a virtual “thank you” to cashiers who are kind to their customers, even when the customer is oblivious to their kindness.

* I found out this week that a friend of mine and his wife are expecting after an 8 year battle with infertility. I am truly speechless with joy for him and his wife. They have worked so hard for this. With a long, long road ahead of them, every time they cross my mind I pray that the road they’re facing will be smooth and enjoyable. So much I want to say, but … speechless. It really made my week when he shared their news with me!

* On the pet front, all the fish seem healthy for now. The bird is moulting, so she’s just a little bit cranky. The cats? Well, we discovered tonight that one of them has diarrhea with blood. We’re not sure if it’s just a weird thing, like maybe one of them ate something he shouldn’t have and he’ll be OK after a couple days or what. So we’re just observing for now.

* We went to Disneyland on Tuesday night. We got Tony a “Happy Birthday” pin (it was Wednesday) and also a “Happy Anniversary” pin (coming up on Saturday). It was fun, although I totally think the Buzz Lightyear ride is rigged. Otherwise, how to explain the HUGE gap in points?

* No glamorous sunrises to go with my sunrise swims this week. It’s been really foggy in the mornings, which brings the gift of really fresh smelling air and makes the pool feel warmer once I’m in. I continue to revel in my outdoor swims (vs. indoor). *happy sigh*

* A mountain trip is on the agenda for this weekend. Really looking forward to that.


Filed under Blogabilities, I have Friends, Kid Substitutes, Mermaid Envy

Wordless Weekend.

Snug went to the vet yesterday for his wellness exam.
Tug went along to reduce post-event Alpha Control Syndrome.
We’re not sure if the strategy worked or not.

Driving to the Vets Office from Jammie J. on Vimeo.

Parking lot at Vet’s office from Jammie J. on Vimeo.

It was a fun drive. In fact, I’m still laughing about the vision I must have been. A yowling red convertible on a Saturday drive. Nothing like a clown car!


Filed under I feel Amused, Kid Substitutes, Tidbits

Blogabilities – Week of 05/22/2011

* It’s been a bit of a rough week for me at work. I know I’ve mentioned how glad I am when both of my bosses are in the office. A main reason for that is, I have one boss who seems to have the worst travel luck I’ve ever seen. Delays, cancellations and other bizarre happenings always, without fail, seem to happen to him. He started traveling this past Monday for a two week journey. This week he happened to be right in the middle of all the tornadoes, hail storms, heavy rains and winds… (sigh) You can pretty much guess what happened. Not looking forward to next week, either.

* A couple nights ago, we were all comfy, watching a movie. Tug was curled up on my lap, happily soaking up some human time. All of a sudden, we heard a HUGE yowling noise. One of our other cats (Ripper) had jumped the little black cat (Snug, also known as Tug’s cat) in an attempt to play. The huge noise was Snug making a scene since he didn’t want to play. Tug leaped out of my lap and bounded to Snug’s defense and we immediately had to act as referees (anything with Tug involves refereeing). An hour later, I got up to go to bed and saw blood spots all over the entryway (where the huge fight happened). There was a trail of blood out to the cat run, another one out to the garage, trails of blood everywhere. So much blood. It was unbelievable, really.
A small sample of all the blood…

We spent the next 20 minutes herding cats so we could inspect them and, of course, the last one to be inspected (Tug) was the culprit. And it was just a torn ear. Look at all that blood splattered inside his ear, too. Stupid head wounds.

* Next month, auto insurance and home insurance come due. That’s always a huge chunk of money that pains me greatly when I have to write the check. I have to say that the bill paying, money spending part of being a grown-up is a big incentive to want to stay a kid forever.

* There are two tree shrubs over by our community pool that bloom the most gorgeous, scented pink flowers every year. Last year, I took a picture of them a day before the gardeners heavily pruned them back, making them look like immodest sticks. This year, I missed the initial blooming, but tonight I noticed there were two renegade stalks of flowers. I picked one of them and brought it home, justified by the suspicion that I just know the gardeners are waiting, watching, and will snip them off and discard them tomorrow.

* Lap swimming. God, how I love lap swimming. It makes me feel good all over. I swear, I should have been born a mermaid.

* I’ve always loved lemonade, and when at restaurants can be found inquiring, “Do you have lemonade from a mix or squeezed from lemons?” If it’s fresh squeezed, I’m all over it. (Side note: Chick-Fil-A makes their own real lemonade, in case you were wondering. So does Lucille’s BBQ, but theirs is really sweet.) I found a recipe online that uses fresh lemons and Splenda. I customized it a bit, and now I just make my own lemonade.

* I called the lady who cuts my hair this week to see how she’s doing. I’ve been praying for her, because she had surgery to eradicate a cancerous tumor from her intestines back in March. She’s doing chemotherapy and sounds somewhat upbeat, if a bit confused at how quickly it all happened. In the course of our conversation, she suggested that I go see “Dalia, the lady who worked at the station next to me” for my hair trimming needs. Today I worked up the nerve to do so and am so happy with my freshly trimmed hair. Swishy, swishy. Loving it!

* Facing a three day weekend. Also, tomorrow is a “work 6 hours, get paid for 8” day at work. Seems fair to me, so that’s what I’ll be doing!


Filed under Blogabilities, Kid Substitutes, Mermaid Envy, Money Hump Building

Blogabilities – Week of 05/15/2011

* Remember the cat barf on my car I mentioned a couple weeks ago? i wasn’t sure how the barfer could top getting barf down in my gas filler area, but I am now able to tell you. For Friday the 13th last week, the Barfer barfed on the side mirror… and my hood, but the side mirror is the one that mystifies me. Trying to figure that one out… like, if it were bird crap, I could totally understand how it happened, but a cat? Mystifying.

* Also, on Friday the 13th, the coffee maker at work went out. Our Facilities Manager created this sign for the occasion and vehemently denied it being a Friday the 13th gag. I finally believed him when I saw the coffee machine fixing man out on Monday working on it.

* Did you know there are people whose job it is to go around to companies and restock their first aid kits with band-aids and Tylenols? I sure didn’t, at least not until I saw some dude in a uniform restocking ours at work. I’m still pondering what the guy puts on his resume as his official title. Also, what his qualifications have to be and how would one go about landing that kind of gig?

* Given my love for watermelon, and all melons in general, I have to say this story made me really, really sad.

* The owner of a company who partners with my company told someone pretty high up at my company that I am one of the nicest, most helpful people he’s ever worked with. He phrased the compliment in such a way that it sounded like he’s worked with me for years, although he hasn’t. Just goes to show that things do go through the grapevine, both good and bad. I’m glad this one was good.

* offered a deal with Fandango, 2 movie tickets for $9. Of course, I was all over that! We’re presently scheduled to see the new Pirates movie on Saturday morning and I can’t wait! Per Tony’s Movie Rules of Conduct, if the movie we’re going to see is a series, we have to watch all previous movies prior to seeing the new one… so, we’ve been watching all the previous Pirate movies this week. It’s a good thing I’ve been in a movie mood lately.

* Update on the washing machine fix… Tony determined that the broken part was actually a $30 part that we could buy at Sears. Once it was in, tested, and proven to be working, I called the company from whom I had ordered the $100 Brain/timer and asked to return it. In the course of the conversation, they learned that the part had actually been delivered slightly damaged. I told her it wouldn’t affect the operation at all, it’s just one of the four clips that hold it in place, the other three are just fine. She said not to worry, just go ahead and discard the part (umm, right, that will be happening) since they can’t sell it damaged and she would process the refund to my credit card.

* Last week, Tony’s parents went up to the family cabin in the mountains. For breakfast, they went to our favorite restaurant, pointed at our picture on the wall, and said they wanted one of “those messes for her” (“her” being me). The waitress knew exactly what order to put in for that (the Mess, no cheese, extra jalapenos), and then that night, my in-laws delivered said Mess to me at home. To say I was astounded and touched at their thoughtfulness would be an understatement. Then, when I opened the bag and saw these messages from the crew at the restaurant, I nearly cried. You guys, sometimes (a lot of the time), I either forget or don’t believe it, but I am so very loved.

Also, in case you were wondering, the breakfast is delicious. I separated it up into tortillas and rolled them up into “breakfast burritos” and froze them. There was enough for six of them. First time doing that, and it won’t be the last.


Filed under Best Husband, Blogabilities, Entertainment can be Cheap, I have Family, Kid Substitutes, Money Hump Building

Blogabilities – Week of 05-08-2011

* On Saturday, I put a load of laundry in the washer and figured it’d be done in an hour and I’d then put it in the dryer and then I would have freshly clean laundry. That’s what usually happens in my happy little world. That is not, however, what happened. No. Apparently the timer/brain control part stopped working and it refuses to go into the rinse or spin cycle. So, instead, it fills, agitates and then soaks and never drains. Which means if I had any stains at all on my clothes, they have now been suitably pre-treated. God bless my in-laws who allowed us to rinse and spin my load of laundry in their washer. And my wonderful husband who transported it from here to there and back again for the drying. Now, I’ve just gotta cough up the spare $100 I always have lying around (ha ha) to buy the washer a new brain.

* While I was researching washer parts at 10pm on Saturday night, I went to print out a couple of “finds” on my “wonderful” HP C7250 printer that I bought a couple years ago. It refused to print and gave me a printer cartridge error instead. So, I changed out the printer cartridge it indicated and reset it… but the error didn’t clear. Despite re-inserting the cartridge, and all manner of acrobatics, the error refuses to clear and so the printer won’t print. I have had problem after problem with this printer and am at about my wits end with it. While searching for a resolution online I came across hundreds of bad reviews for this thing that weren’t out there when I bought it (guess it was too new?). The best one of all was something along the lines of, “This piece of crap isn’t even worthy of being a boat anchor.” I laughed because that about sums up how I feel I about it, too.

* This was my hamburger on Monday, and just before I took my next bite I saw the frowny face made out of seeds (if only it were the face of Jesus, I could have sold it on eBay for a fortune!) which pretty much shows what my face was like after the washer part breaking and my printer having an unresolvable error.

* Say hello to WATERMELON! I held off buying them, even though they were there, because last year I bought some at this time of the year and was soooo disappointed. The rind was over an inch thick and the fruit was like eating pithy, tasteless water. I guessed it was too early in the season. I finally gave in this year, because I could hear them taunting me, “Jammie — come buy and try us….” And, lo, they are very good. I am waiting impatiently until blueberries drop in price and then I shall have my mostest favoritist seasonal snack ever … watermelon and blueberries, together. I live for this time of year!

* It was so hot last week, I was searching out anything and everything that was cold… have to say, these Dreyer fruit bars are pretty good. Even on a cold day (like we’ve had this week).

* When we were over at Fish Whisperer’s house a couple weekends ago, I noticed that in his cichlid tank he had some big, plastic pipes that he’d bought at Home Depot for a couple bucks. The cichlids LOVED them, and used them as tunnels, even going out of their way to swim through them. A light bulb went off in my head, and Tony went and bought a couple of them, which I added to my cichlid’s tank. At first they were scared, but after a day or so, they were swimming through them and it is so fun to watch them do that!

* I saw it coming a couple weeks ago, and this week it finally happened. The star jasmine that is everywhere alongside the street where I exit the freeway to all around the building where I work, and in the parking lot at work, has just exploded. The scent from that jasmine is like a drug to me, it smells so sweet and good. I’m savoring that scent because I just know the gardeners will come through and cut them all back… probably in a couple more days. They always do that, you know.

* The street I take home from work is lined with magnolia trees. It goes on for several miles, and I tried to count the trees but lost count after 30… I would guess there’s maybe 100 on that street? I don’t really know, but they are all preparing to bloom (again) this season. The huge blossoms are still green and closed, lifted straight up in the air like fancy light bulbs in a candelabra, just waiting for someone to illuminate them for unfolding. It’s quite magnificent, and I am really looking forward to their blossoming. The scent will be amazing.


Filed under Blogabilities, I have Family, Kid Substitutes

Shadows Cast by Clocks.

I crept quietly downstairs, the gurgle of water in the fish tanks a soft constant sound, disguising the patter of my stealthy steps. I remember reading somewhere that if it’s dark, to look to the side of my target. By doing so, I will actually see what’s in front of me better than if I attempt to look at it directly. Which is how I avoided cracking my shin on the coffee table. That and the glow from the green digital clock on the microwave.

Who says reading stuff on the Internet doesn’t come in handy sometimes? Or shin-saving, as the case may be.

I grabbed the utensils I had set out earlier that evening, prior to the house darkening; a small flashlight, fish transporter and two fish nets.

Then I lifted the lid on the tank, turned the flashlight on and set it at an angle on the counter. My prey was floating softly, drifting really, at the bottom of the tank. I have about 30 seconds before she wakes up enough to realize something is coming for her, so I easily swooped her into the net and went to put her into the transporter… except the net didn’t fit into the transporter correctly, and she woke up more quickly than I expected and darted out of the net back into the tank.


I turned the flashlight off and waited a minute. The reset button for fish capturing. Using the smaller net this time, I again captured her easily and moved her into the transporter. I hung the transporter on the lip of the tank for a minute while I set the net down and then carried her across the room to the big tank. I acclimated her for a few minutes and then dropped her in.

(It’s much easier to catch non-nocturnal fish, such as cichlids, when it’s dark. Also, since they’re such aggressive, territorial fish, it’s better to relocate them when it’s dark, too. Their tankmates don’t see the new addition until the next morning and then assume they’ve been in there all along. Which saves us all a bunch of injuries and suffering.)

The glowing green clock from the microwave sufficiently lit the lower part of the house for me to rinse the transporter, fill it with sterilizingly hot water and then head upstairs to bed. Again, avoiding my shin on the coffee table.

The next morning she was swimming around with the rest of the fish as if she’d been in there all along. Somehow, she’d already established a territory of her own, and came out to eat when I fed them.

What that means is, the fish hospital tank is now just an empty tank. It’s a little weird, but it’s a good thing. Once again, Fish Whisperer was right — she’s been ready to go back into the big tank for a long time.


Filed under Kid Substitutes