Thursday, March 31, 2011


Yet another Homer doppelganger. This one is fat. Period.

Funny Pictures - Fat Cat Facebook
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Homer doesn't have a double chin.

Due to the miracles of bad photography, I created my very own LOL. Yes, this is Francine.

Lazers on Kill

You can vote for her.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Not my age, I'm past that.

No, its 45 days of school (work) left. 3/4 of the way through the year. Whoo-hoo.

I am burnt out. It doesn't help that the students are working hard at misbehaving for the sub. (Teacher is on maternity leave.) I wish they worked that hard on their math facts. One boy moved away for 2 months. I assessed him when he came back. He hadn't learned any math while he'd been gone. He didn't even remember having math at his other school, although he remembered having breakfast, library, and P.E.

It doesn't help my mood that Frank will be done on May 15, Ernest on May 27, while I slog away in the trenches until June 9. They both have spring break before me, too.

Well, enough of my little pity party. Homer has flopped on the floor by my feet, indicating he wants petting. Ah, Homer, you always make me feel better.

What makes you feel better?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Old School

Jen on the Edge asked about phones. Yes, I still have a landline. And when the power goes out, I plug in a phone that doesn't need electricity.

This is not a vintage has pushbuttons. (I originally bought it for my retro guest room, which is now occupied by Frank.) It does the job. It doesn't take messages, but you get a dial tone, which is important in an emergency.

We had a power outage a few weeks ago. A strong wind caused some power lines to go down which stared a brush fire, and the electric company no, the other one had to turn the power off before the fire dept could put out the fire.

In addition to the phone, I got out my alternate lighting devices.

And one of these.

Ever seen one of those? I made Frank use it. I think he's seen one before on camping trips.

I believe our power will be out again today, due to replacement of a pole. A neighbor came over last night and warned us...he had a letter from the electric company which we hadn't gotten. I've had problems ever since I tried their e-bills and recently called them to go back to paper. Apparently the e-bills cut off all communication whatsoever?

So wish us luck for our powerless day.

...UPDATE...1:00 and I still have power..

Monday, March 28, 2011

In the Pink

You can't possibly be tired of cat posts yet! I've been alternating them with other things.

If you don't like ADORABLE CUTENESS, click away now. I've warned you. I'll count to three...


Look, looook at his anerable pink nosicle. Such delectable pinkness. And the whisker dimples!!!

The plump pink pads and the anerable hair between his toesicles.

(Loook, loooook, loooooook ...he has the paw tufts of the NFC.)

Nom nom nom.

This post inspired by Cute Overload.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Apple Pancake

I printed out this recipe several years ago, but never made it. Frank wanted to try something new, so I handed it over to him.

German Apple Puff Pancake

(serves 2)

1 large or 2 medium, firm apples such as Fuji, Braeburn, or Delicious
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon ground Frank's secret ingredient cinnamon
3 eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup milk, at room temperature
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

2. Mix the cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl.

3. Peel the apples and cut into 1/4-inch slices.

4. Melt the butter in a skillet that’s 8 or 9 inches at the base. Add the apple slices so they cover the bottom of the skillet completely. Sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar mixture evenly over the apples. Saute the apples about 4 or 5 minutes, until they soften and become light golden brown on both sides.

5. Pour the batter over the apples and place the pan in the hot oven.

6. Bake approximately 18 minutes. Don’t open the oven door while it’s baking. Turn on your oven light to see if it’s done. The pancake should no longer appear wet on top.

7. To serve, invert the pan over a large round plate. If using the pie plate or regular pan, run a spatula under the pancake before flipping to make sure the apples don’t stick to the pan.

From the

We didn't have the appropriate pan, so Frank sauteed the apples in my large skillet and then scraped them into the pie plate quiche pan (be sure to grease it).

Before flipping.
Very tasty!

After flipping.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Actual School E-Mail

I received this e-mail yesterday morning. Names changed for privacy.

From: Hogwarts
Date: Thursday, March 24, 2011 8:22 AM
To: Smalltown Mom
Subject: "Snow Day" Declared, Day Student Pickup at Noon

Dear Smalltown Mom,

Due to a freak blizzard that seems to be centered only over the Hogwarts campus, school officials called for a “snow day” beginning this morning at 8:20 am. “Classes and athletic practices have been cancelled for the day,” said Associate Head of School for Internal Affairs Minerva McGonagall. “Students, faculty and staff are free to pursue a day of rest and recreation.” Day students can enjoy organized activities during the morning and may leave campus at noon.

Seriously! (For those of you who don't know where I live, let me just say THERE'S NO SNOW!) I guess the admin decided everyone needed a day off. Then Ernest called me at 8:30.

We're having a snow day. Can you bring my computer?
Why, do you need to do classwork on it?
No, just to play on.
Sorry, that would make me late for work. You're just lucky that I'm getting off work at noon today instead of 1:30. See you!

Thursday, March 24, 2011


Francine spent a lot of time hiding during her first week with us.

behind the piano
in Ernest's closet
under Ernest's bed
behind Ernest's bookcase
in the wine rack
in Handy's closet
in our bed

Do we sense a problem here? Not just with the cat but also perhaps with closets? And Ernest's room in particular, which is a giant rat's nest storehouse.

The first day, I was accused of leaving my closet door open (well, she wasn't there, I found her behind the piano). But my fruitless closet search did inspire me to purge a lot of stuff.

The second day, my crawl through the back of Ernest's under-the-eaves closet (imagine a triangular space), shooing out the cat, was exhausting and excruciating. There was lots of space in there, it was just all jumbly.

I organized it a bit better and shoved some more of his crap in there. And there was still space.

So I crammed in all the Guitar Hero equipment. And there's STILL space! We could probably fit the Taj Mahal in there.

(By the way, I actually got the Taj Mahal out of the living room at Christmas, but it ended up in my sewing room because Ernest didn't have a place for it in his room. I finally shoved some things aside and put it on his dresser last week.)

I'm pleased to say that Francine has made great progress with Frank, the Cat Whisperer, and is no longer hiding.

I have to continue my progress with the closets.

What have you made progress with lately?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Pizza di Franco

Three years ago I swore I would never make pizza at home again.

But when Frank wants to try something new in the kitchen, I can't say no. So he made pizza dough from scratch.

Mr. Scientific, he kept asking me questions like "how does the yeast work" and "what does kneading do" and I did my best to explain, but I am no Alton Brown (that's probably where I got my answers). Frank might be interested in the cookbook Jen talked about, Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking.

But back to the pizza. Between the forgiving homemade crust and the pizza stone, these pizzas turned out really well. So well that he made them again 2 nights later.

Frank's tips: Sprinkle cornmeal on a piece of parchment paper and form your crust on that. Use an old cookie sheet as a giant pizza spatula to slide pizza and parchment onto the stone.

I hereby turn over the job of Head Pizza Chef to Frank Franco. I think I'll get him his own pizza stone, then he can make two at once.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Norwegian Forest Cats

I was watching Cats 101 on Animal Planet and suddenly started screaming, "Frank, Ernest, come in here! Homer is on TV."

(If only they had spelled NORWEGIAN correctly.) Here's a link, in case it doesn't play correctly.

I searched for pictures of Norwegian Forest Cats and not only did I find Homer's doppelgänger...

Stock Photo


I also found Francine's.

Stock Photo


Francine has the true fluffy tail of the Norwegian Forest Cat. Homer's tail has some mixed genetic material as it's not nearly fluffy enough.

They should be right at home here. We love Norwegians, being half Norwegian myself.

Monday, March 21, 2011


Seven plus inches of rain Saturday night/early Sunday.

As the crow flies, this was only a block or so from my house.

(This photo borrowed from a friend's facebook page.)

Behind those white condos lies my creek, which was flowing bank to bank for the first time ever.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Soft White Underbelly

We make a lot of jokes about Homer's appearance but we love the heck out of the big ol' guy.

Here he is exposing his (to use one of my favorite phrases) soft white underbelly.

Now where did I get that phrase?

At first I thought it was from one of Frank's favorite childhood books, A Most Unusual Lunch. But no, that frog just had "six tiny little legs on his underbelly."

So I Googled. Soft White Underbelly was the original name of Blue Öyster Cult. Hmmm.

No matter where I picked up the phrase, this lol cat's soft white underbelly beats Homer's.

We still love you, Homer.

Friday, March 18, 2011


One of my favorite refreshments is half Perrier/half limeade, served in a vintage glass. If it's not in that glass, it's just not the same for me.

Like my husband, who always had to have his coffee in the same cup. Until it broke. That broke him of the habit, ha ha ha.

Do you have any quirks like that?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Cat Whisperer

You've heard of the horse whisperer and the dog whisperer. I think we have a cat whisperer in the house. That's what I'm calling Frank, because he has made the most progress with Francine.

If I go near her, she goes all Penelope on me and runs away. All she needs is the paint splash down her back.

(Penelope, the frightened paramour of Pepe le Pew)

Frank can pick her up, brush her, cuddle her briefly, and feed her cat treats.

I call that progress.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Bette à Carde sans Escargots

The handy husband brought home some fresh chard from a co-worker's garden.

I sauteed the stems with some garlic.

Then I wilted the leaves.

However, I left out the fresh escargot.

No snails were harmed in the making of this dish. I asked Handy to take them out to the garden.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Separated at Birth

Handy sent this to me with a one word message.


demotivational posters - THE INSPIRATION!
see more Very Demotivational

Homer's a little too squiggly for a pillow but he makes a damn fine footwarmer.

Monday, March 14, 2011


I wasn't always moody. Often I had a good time

Swinging and sliding would always make me smile.

What made you smile when you were little?

Prince Charming

Last year a frog, this year a prince. Ernest is moving up in the world.

Sunday, March 13, 2011


I have to give you a break from the all cats all the time blog.

I was looking through slides I've scanned and found a theme. Did the erstwhile photographer (mother, aunt, uncle?) ask me to be serious, or was I just moody?

The sun is in my eye.

Leave me alone, I have a book to read.

The happi coat is obviously not making me happy.

This brownie looks a little blue.

It's tough to be a flapper with only a candy cigarette.

I prefer to be a wallflower.

Maybe it's genetic. My Norwegian aunts look downright grim. (Hold on, the Grimms are the other side of the family.)

No, the more I think about it, the more I think it was my small act of rebellion. Smile? Say cheese? I don't think so. One little stab at independence.

Saturday, March 12, 2011


It's nothing but cats cats cats around here.

It's been about 19 years since we had cats using a litter box. Cat litter has improved considerably. I highly recommend World's Best Cat Litter.

Francine is a fastidious little darling and one would hardly know she used the box at all, she is so tidy and dainty.

Homer, on the other hand, has inspired a whole new vocabulary having to do with his bathroom habits.

  • biggun...they all are
  • pungent...their aroma
  • slider..he's so big he barely fits in the litter box. Do they come in extra large sizes? Sometimes his bigguns slide down the side. And worse, over the edge.
  • wafting...when the pungency of his bigguns spreads through the house
  • cutlets...the clumpy stuff looks just like breaded chicken

The cat litter claims that "World's Best Cat Litter™ clumps so well you don't have to scrape and chisel like with other litters. Moisture is absorbed in a compact and easy-to-scoop clump." Francine's moisture makes lovely round blobs that are easy to scoop, but Homer's moisture sprawls and sticks to the edges and corner and I still have to scrape and chisel the cutlets. Sigh. I'm sure he's pining to go outside, and we are too, if we ever find a cat door big enough.

Friday, March 11, 2011


Not just the weather, my brain is a bit foggy this morning too.

Yesterday was a strange day. Chaos at lunch duty, due to a change in schedule. Everyone (grades k through 5) was to have lunch at the same time, in order to have an assembly right afterwards. The second graders would not stop complaining about the change to the smaller soccer field, the too small goals, etc. I finally told them, "If you complain you sit out the game." One of the more vocal kids gave his friends some good advice: "Guys, just deal with it!" My nerves were quivering for hours afterwards.

Just when I was settling down with Frontierville (my little online weakness) at 5:00 the power went off. For 2 and a half hours. I'm ever so grateful to have a gas stove. I was only slightly afraid we would be asphyxiated by my husband's antique Coleman lanterns, so I made sure all the windows were open. It was like camping without the dirt.

When I woke up to a foggy morning, I was relieved. I can ease into the day without the harsh glare of sunlight. I wonder what today will be like. At least it's a short day for me (only 20 minutes of lunch duty) and Frank and I will have our Friday sushi date.

I hope you ease into your day, too.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Dialog Revision

One of my favorite bits of dialog from Saving Private Ryan, between Ted Danson and Tom Hanks:

Danson: You got to take Caen so you can take Saint Lo.
Hanks: You've got to take Saint Lo to take Valognes.
Danson: Valognes you got Cherbourg.
Hanks: Cherbourg you got Paris.
Danson: Paris you got Berlin.
Hanks: And then that big boat home.

In Homer's world, it goes like this...

You got to take Dining room so you can take Chair.
You've got to take Chair to take Table.
Table you got Counter.
Counter you got Plate.
Plate you got Food.
And then that big jump home.

Table taken.

Note to self...don't leave any food on the counter.

Don't leave kitty treats lying around, either. This is what happens.

Although we suspect the culprit was Francine and not Homer.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Strange Fruit

Today's random fruity thoughts...

Ernest needs to shave. It's not quite beard hair but it's far thicker than peach fuzz.

Plastic wrapped bananas are ridiculous.

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Intro - Pantry of Shame
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I've been buying various kinds of energy bars for Ernest, to refuel after his bike rides. He loves the chocolate chip Clif Bars, but I'm partial to the apricot myself.

What's fruity in your world today?

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss

Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!! Here's some background music, "It's Possible" from Seussical.

Here's Donny's version, which I LOVE!!

McElligot's Pool is a favorite of both mine and Ernest's. This is the only Seuss book with water color I swear I was told in a museum but when I looked it up on google it said colored pencil illustrations. (And I can't pore over my own copy because I left it at school today.)

Frank went through a moose phase and his favorite was Thidwick the Moose.

What's your favorite Dr. Seuss book?

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Separated at Birth?

Does anyone think Justin Bieber's new haircut looks familiar?

Look at these cute little pixies. They could be siblings.

"Mo-o-o-m, I had the pixie hair fiiiirrrst! Make Justin change his!"

My apologies to Emma Watson. She would never actually whine like that.