Thursday, July 29, 2010

Identity Crisis

To bring you up to date, Mom brought Oscar home from the vet last week with a bag of prescription meds and the information that Oscar was in fact a girl.  At first, I polled my peeps and we were all in agreement that Oscar was still a fine name, even for a girl.  After all, our family does have a history of (to paraphrase my sister, Haley, here…) not conforming to society's gender-based rules regarding pet names.  Recently, we had George and Butch who were Merle's mother and sister, respectively.  Holly's family adopted Fred and George (named after the twins in the Harry Potter books, since I'd just finished reading book seven around the time we found them) and they both turned out to be girls.  Years ago, we had a black male cat named Morticia and his sister was named Gomez.  And at least 75% of Larry, Daryl, Darrell, and Darryl were female.  My point is, as a family, we aren't generally worried about such things.


But Mom really had issues with the whole Oscar thing.  And frankly, I was having problems remembering to call her Oscar.  (Remember I was instantly a whole year older during this time frame.)  About that time, the Veterinary Pet Insurance Co. came out with their list of the top 10 most unusual cat names from the roster of their insurees:  1) Purr Diem; 2) Bing Clawsby; 3) Cleocatra; 4) Admiral Pancake; 5) Optimus Pants; 6) Chairman Meow; 7) Boo Manchu; 8) Watts in a Name; 9) Chenoa Azure Marshmellow-Puff; and 10) my personal favorite, Senor Nachos.  I intended to mention these names to Mom, but before I could, she suggested naming her Gracie.


Gracie was fine; in fact, I got a wee bit of a thrill saying "Goodnight, Gracie" each evening!  Although my fellow crazy cat lady/co-worker, Deborah pointed out that Lucy would be better because when we got home we could call out, in a sort of Spanish accent, "Lucy!  I'm home!" and if there were a hairball horked up, we could look at her and say, again in the Spanish accent, "Lucy, you got some 'splainin' to do!"   And she has red hair, so Lucy would have been a purrfect fit, but Mom wanted Gracie.


The next few days, she was Gracie.  Until yesterday morning when Mom says that she doesn't know… she just doesn't LOOK like a Gracie.  I pointed out that most 16-week old people don't look like their names either, but most parents don't change horses not once, but twice, in the middle of that stream.  I suggested that she take yesterday to think about it, and come up with a name.  But that by the end of the day, she needed to have a name and we were NOT going to change it.  Mom agreed.


I had lunch with Jennifer yesterday and she said she really liked Cleocatra.  I said I'd suggest it to Mom.  Meanwhile, Shawna (a girl at work) mentioned the name Uniqua… I don't recall in what context, but it was work-related, and we loved it.  I said I'd suggest it to Mom, too.  When I got home, Mom had not come up with another name.  I suggested Cleocatra, and we could call her Cleo for short.  Mom liked it.  (I forgot about Uniqua… more than a few chickens had crossed my path since that conversation.) 


So it was official (again), Oscar was now Cleocatra, Cleo for short.  And we were happy.  Although I found the hard "ka" sound to be disconcerting.  So this morning, as we're taking our walk, Mom asked me to remind her what Cleo was short for… Cleopetra or Cleocatra.  I said, well, it was Cleocatra, but now that she said it, I really like Cleopetra. 


So now it is REALLY official, she is Cleopetra, Cleo for short.  And we've short of waffled our way into deciding that she should be brought inside.  I mean, if the Lord provided her as a companion for Merle, then we have issues because Merle hasn't been around since his hissy (literally) fit the day Cleo showed up.  And I feel SO bad shutting her outside at night when we go to bed.  She just sits there on the welcome mat and looks inside with such hope in her greasy little eyes (greasy from the medicine we've been putting in them twice a day).


This weekend, Cleo will be done with her meds.  She will get a good bath – may have to use Dawn to tackle her greasy face!  She will then be quarantined in Mom's bathroom (don't worry, it's a big bathroom, and she's a tiny cat) until we can get the current residents used to her presence in the house. Last night, I stopped and bought her a litter box and a fluffy pillow to sleep on.  She is now 4 months old, and she should be 4 pounds soon, if not already, since we've gotten rid of the fleas, mites, worms, and respiratory infection.  So we can get her fixed and before we know it, our little family will be back to (semi?) normal.  (And once we get her greasy face washed, I'll get a better picture posted.  I'd love to get a family portrait, but it's difficult to get everyone to light in one place long enough to focus a camera.)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Found a Tick!

A year ago or so, I was at Holly's house, and she showed me her cats' tick cat toy.  I was jealous (on behalf of my kiddlies, of course) and we looked at her Petco store, but were unable to find.  So today, for reasons unbeknownst to me, I thought about said tick and decided to Google "tick cat toy" and found/ordered my kiddlies one.  They probably won't be in the least bit interested in it, but…

It's too cute, so I decided to share.

Rose Knows Toes

I love my toes.  I think I have very cute footies.  I go on vacation to the beach and I have to take the ubiquitous photo of my tootsies in the sand.  Hopefully, I have a good pedicure at the time.
I have this friend, Donna, who got me hooked on getting massages.  I'm poor, though, so it has to be a special occasion, like when my boss got me a gift card.  And for a while there, I was getting them semi-irregularly, like once or twice a year, because he was on a gift card kick.  But then he got me a gift card to Absolute Beauty and I wasted time and never got around to using it until it was almost expired.  So I called to schedule the massage, which was not going to use all of  the gift card, and I scheduled my first (of many) pedicure to blow out the rest of the money.
I made the mistake of getting the pedicure before the massage, because the pedicure was so good the whole massage experience was now sloppy seconds.  PLUS, my footies looked faboo!  Since then, I got Jennifer hooked on the massage experience and now, for our mutual birthdays, we take an afternoon off, have lunch, then go to Absolute Beauty for a massage (her) and pedicure (me). 
Our birthdays were last week, and Friday was the day.  The temperature outside was 150 degrees Fahrenheit (okay, that's an exaggeration, but it was hot, and humid).  The temperature isn't relevant except for when I drove home, I had the air conditioning on high and aimed at my feet because my toes looked great and I didn't want the polish to melt.  Seriously, I once had nail polish melt off my toes.  But I get ahead of myself.
I had my fingernails already polished a lovely color - Sally Hanson Blackberry Frost... or it might've been Blackberry Forest.  I can't recall .  I'm sure it involved blackberries, though, and I don't have the bottle near me to double check.  Anyway, I decided that this color would look great on my toesies, so I took it with me in case they didn't have anything similar.  But then when I got there and looked over their colors, found that they had the exact same shade (OPI shade - I'm Not Really A Waitress - although if you look it up on the OPI website, it's much lighter than it is on my toes - I mean, if you've seen my car, you know what I mean) in their brand and why not use their product, instead of my own, eh?   So my decade (look it up, "any set of 10") of digits now match my fingers AND, it turns out, my car!  AND, it would appear, per the OPI website, I could even get a DELL laptop with the case the same color.  Super cool, eh?  Hmm...I do like this color.  I may have to think about this.
Ok, so that chicken just got me totally lost,.... and now the thought of chicken is making me think of lunch.  Dang!  I guess I'll just take my gorgeous toes out and go see what we can find.  But long story short, if you want a good pedicure... OH, the chair!!  I almost forgot!  I don't know how other pedicure places are, but at Absolute Beauty, you get to sit in this chair that all but gives you a massage while your piggies are being beautified, so for the price, it's like you get a two-fer!  Anyway, if you want a lovely pedicure, go to Absolute Beauty - tell them I sent you (I'll get points for referring you).  Now, I'm off for nuggets!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Thanks for All The (Birthday) Fishes!

Today is my 42nd birthday.  I decided years ago that 42 was my favorite number.  Mostly because I like to be unique and who chooses a number in the 40's to be their favorite??  Most people choose 7 – but how dull is that?!


42 is all around, if you keep an eye open for it.  I think there are a lot of geeks who participate in the production of today's pop culture that have read and absorbed Douglas Adams' The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy trilogy. 


For those of you who have not read those books and are thinking, "huh?":  In the first book, near the middle to end of it, the number 42 is revealed to be the answer to the ultimate question of "Life, The Universe, and Everything" by a supercomputer named Deep Thought, specially built to come up with the answer to the ultimate question by highly intelligent beings. It takes Deep Thought 7½ million years to compute and double check the answer, which, as I've already let out of the bag, is 42. Unfortunately, no one thought to ask Deep Thought what the "ultimate" question was, so they aren't happy to hear that the answer is 42.  They ask Deep Thought was the question was and he says that he can't come up with it, but he can help build another computer that can.  They build this computer (the planet Earth) and it takes 10 million years for it to compute the question, but seconds before it finishes its computations, it gets destroyed to make way for the construction of a planetary superhighway. 


The above snippet is, of course, only a small part of the story, and is also only what my increasingly aged mind can recall of the story, as it's been a while since I read the book. 


My regular readers know that I've always seemed to be easily distracted (those darned chickens, you know) so the lights were on, but you couldn't be guaranteed that anyone was home, you know?  But since the day I turned 40, I mean down to the minute, those lights started flickering a lot – in fact I think one of the bulbs went out completely. 


However, my main point is that today is my birthday and as of this moment, I've had a very nice day.  I slept in, mostly due to the fact that I'm fighting a sinus infection and mom hasn't been waking me up to walk since I've been sick.  We dosed Oscar up with her meds and she was a sweety to deal with and I went to work.  I made my usual stop by McD's for some iced tea, but since it is my b-day, I allowed myself to get sweet tea.  uhh…, sweet tea...mmmm....


I got to work, and there was a spread set out on my desk of cookies, donuts, a fruit tray with some yummy dip, and cheese and crackers.  And for dinner, Mom, BK (regular reader Becky), and I went out to Western Ribeye.  I am nothing if not a carnivore, but the incredibly good steak at WR is almost secondary to the salad bar.  See it's just your usual salad bar, but at the end of it, there are two things that I could fill myself up on... 1) a mondo wheel of cheese - although looking at the mondo wheel of cheese, it seems smaller in real life than it is in my memories.  Sort of depressing.  But I carved off quite a hunk and chowed it all down.  ummm.... cheese!  oh, and 2) the tub-o-apple butter along with the butter and bread.  In retrospect, I could (and should) have did like Mom and BK and just had the salad bar, but the prospect of a good hunk of beef had been what got me through the week, so I couldn't resist.  I suppose I could have taken the steak to go.  I'll have to consider that next time.
So now here I am, home, stuffed with beef and cheese, and happy.  I'm trying to post this, but my computer isn't cooperating, so I'm going to have to go to bed and post in the morning.  Don't let the posting date fool you, though, this is my O-fficial birthday posting and we're off to a good year, I can tell.  By this time next year, I will hopefully have my new iPhone, a new vehicle of some sort, and will have just got back from a trip with Mom and the Sibs to England.  Good things all.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Meet Oscar

Ok, so I get home last night, not feeling well, and mom asks me if I saw a little orange kitten outside. I said no, but then I barely made it up the sidewalk with my eyes open (I'd promised myself that I could immediately climb into bed if I stayed awake long enough to get home without killing either myself or someone else.)  Anywho, we trotted outside and there, ambling up the sidewalk is this adorable little orange fluff ball… sneezing and snorting, and its eyes looked sort of mucky, but ADORABLE. 

Mom had been concerned that Merle was lonely now that Blackie was gone.  I told her I didn't think Merle missed him all that much, but… we left it up to God – told Him that if He felt Merle needed a companion, then He needed to provide one for him.  Lo and behold, here comes Aunt Marilee, yesterday afternoon, with this kitten.  It had been hanging out and driving Buddy up a wall – I gather it was hanging just outside of Buddy's invisible fence… sort of like the way Boots (our cat from the 80's) would lie just outside the perimeter of Brandy's (our dog from the 80's) chain.


This thing is so small, he sits in Merle's food bowl and eats.  Too cute – not sure Merle is overly excited about him. 


I say "him", but he could easily be a SHE – we'll find out this morning, since mom took him/her to the vet to be checked out for THE TEST that Blackie failed, and fleas, and worms, and ear mites, and for whatever is making him sneeze and snort, and his rheumy eyes.  Either way, his name is Oscar.  Mom asked what if she's a girl and I looked at her and said, "asks the woman who named a girl cat Butch!"  She said she saw my point. 


I think he'll grow into a good sized cat, too.  His legs are incredibly long and his paws are huge!  And I'm happy to say that his head looks normal sized too.  This is reassuring, since Merle has an unusually small sized head and gets ridiculed frequently (usually by me) for it.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


Ok, Merle's fans want to see him and his beautiful eyes. So I took my camera and some Meow Mix outside when I got home from work tonight and took the following pics:

With this picture, you get to see his handsome physique, but not so much the eyes. So I tried again.

And while this doesn't show the eyes that well, you can see how deep and thoughful this handsome dude is. So since this picture is downright artistic, I decided to stop trying for a better pic. Enjoy!

Monday, July 12, 2010

On the Road Again...

For the latter part of last week, we realized that Merle (the outside cat) hadn't been around much, if at all.  We set his food out in the mornings, as we left for our daily walks, and then in the evening, we brought the food dish, with pretty much no food eaten, back in so as not to feed Rocky the raccoon. 


Merle was one of three surviving boys in his litter.  When Mom and Dad were getting ready to drive them to the vet to be fixed, I said that they needed names because the vet was going to ask.  So Dad popped out with "Willie, Waylon, and Merle."  So it became official, we had Willie Nelson, Waylon, and Merle.  I never really called Waylon and Merle by their full names, but I got a kick out of yelling for Willie Nelson to stop playing on the road again!  Hahahah!


One by one, the boys did what happens to outdoor boy cats and either got hit by a car (Waylon) or disappeared, presumably to cat around (Willie – although again, it would have been funnier if he'd been hit by the car, playing on the road again.)  So that left us with Merle.  By our calculations, and relatively foggy memories, we think Merle is about 5-6 years old.  I'm pretty sure we had Merle before I got Sophie and Gizmo, and they had their 5th birthdays this past April.


For an outdoor cat, especially in the country what with raccoons and coyotes out looking for a snack, 5-6 years makes Merle an old man.  The only other cat I recall hanging around for more years was Boots, and he survived a myriad of things, including being kicked in the hip by a cow and he had to wear a satellite dish on his neck and he'd get his head/neck caught in the fence and I would laugh hysterically as I helped him get loose.  Boots would wander off, sometimes for weeks at a time, but then he'd roam back home. 


So the ostrich in me just assumed that either Merle had found himself better digs or that he was out roaming and would be back.  The realist in me was thinking that we had a lot of Meow Mix and no one to eat it.  So yesterday on our way to church, mom and I were discussing what we should do with all the food – either donate it to a shelter, or to Haley, as she has recently adopted a family of kittens in her garage.  We'd pretty much voted on Haley.


When we got home from church, though, who is sitting on the front porch looking for us (or more likely, his food dish), but Merle!  Merle has the prettiest green eyes I've ever seen in a cat, and he loves to have his belly scratched.  So we get out of the car and tell him how happy we are to see him, and quick like lightning, he runs to us and starts lolling on the sidewalk looking for scritches, like we haven't been worried about him for 4 days!  Men!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Since We’ve No Place to Go, Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow!

It is July, and we've been having a heat wave.  It is hot and incredibly humid outside, but inside our office, it is a winter wonderland.  Sometimes our AC isn't working all that great, but today, it's pumping out the cold air by the butt-load.  You can look down the row, as we sit at our desks, and see that we all have sweaters or jackets on.  And I'm listening to Christmas music.  I can't explain that one, really, other than when I opened iTunes this morning, I accidentally clicked on my Christmas playlist and decided to stay with it.


This has been a very rough week at work.  One of the partners at the firm up and resigned over the holiday weekend, and the remaining partners have been scurrying around dealing with the fallout.  Meanwhile, the support staff sits quietly at their desks and watches one closed door meeting after another going on and wonders how, if at all, it's going to affect ME… because that's truly what we're concerned about – is this going to affect me?  Plus, it would appear that we are, very hush-hush, secretly hiring some attorney away from another firm in town, and that has been adding to the secret meetings and therefore adding to the tension around the place.


I've been battling a cold, and am only barely alive at the moment due to CVS's version of Day-Quil.  I think I'm getting addicted to the drug merry-go-round – Day-Quil in the day to be"high" and Night-Quil (?) at night to stay "down."  Someone tell me, is that one of the warning signs??


Jennifer has been on vacation all week, so I've been dining off the mystery drawer in my desk and after eating the final can of Campbell's chicken noodle soup yesterday, I'm down to that one weird Healthy Choice meal that I've tried my best not to eat since the last time I filled the mystery drawer up, and today, the final day of the week from hell, I just couldn't face it.  So I decided to wonder across the street for some pizza.


Unfortunately, I've sat here so cool and cozy in my warm and comfy sweater, that I've forgotten that it is July out there.  As I opened the door to the outside, wearing my sweater, I'm immediately reminded and take off the sweater before it becomes a SWEATer.  I scurry across the street lest the blinding sun burn my unshaded retinas and enter the shady, cool, garlic fest that is Milano's.  My original aim was pizza, but as the aroma hits me, I head for the Carbonara Rigatoni.  Since moving in with Mom, I have discovered that she doesn't believe that pasta is one of the four major food groups.  I don't think we've had macaroni in over a week, and the semolina levels in my blood are plummeting.  I weakly wobble over to the counter and ordere some to go.


I nabbed my ill-gotten booty (or ill-booten gotty) and blindly ran back across the street to the coolness of our office.  I sighed with comfort upon reentering the lobby downstairs.  I say a quick prayer of thanks and strongly suggest to the Good Lord, that Willis Haviland Carrier, the inventor of modern day air conditioning (yes, I Googled it), deserves an especially comfy cloud in heaven.


Now, lunchtime is about over, and I have eaten my cholesterol-filled take out order of carbs.  My sweater is back on and my core temperature is back to a "cool" level.  I think I'll go back to my desk and listen to some more Christmas carols.  Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow…

Monday, July 5, 2010

Family Reunion '10

Sunday, July 4th, was the annual Barger Family Reunion at my Aunt Linda's house in Eddyville, Illinois. It's been a yearly tradition for about the last 25 years or so. My dad was the baby of 9, and at that time, all of them but 1 was still with us. So we had a pretty large group of family... most of which I barely knew! Another tradition was lining up the original siblings in order and taking a group picture. I'm sorry to say that only one of the original 9 was able to be at the reunion, so this year we took a pic of all of the cousins - my level on the tree.

Yup, that's me in the center. I'm the baby, by the way.

Bargers eat very well at reunions. Generally we have BBQ from the infamous Eddyville Fourth celebration as well as tons of fresh out of the garden veggies and melons. This year, unfortunately, I think we had more food that people! The picture below is only 1 of the card tables covered with food.

This year, some of the younger people organized a softball game. Personally, I'm thinking they were crazy, it was hotter than... well, it was hot, and that was in the shade! I came up with my own brand of fun in the shade.

I know Mom was not keen initially on going to the reunion this year, since this was the first year without Dad. But I'm pretty sure that she was glad she went. She got to talk to the people she wanted to talk to, and she got an opportunity to hang with her hot, hip, happenin' girls....

We even talked her into sporting a Hello Kitty tattoo. She wouldn't let us paint her nails, though.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Review - Toy Story 3

(Disclaimer: If you haven’t seen this movie, there may be information in this review that might be considered a “spoiler” - although I consciously try not to put major spoiler info in my reviews. Proceed with caution.)

Mom and I went to go see Toy Story 3 the other weekend. I had enjoyed the previous two Toy Story’s and figured this one would be good, too, but I honestly wasn’t aching to go see it. Mom wanted to, though, and there wasn’t anything else on that I really wanted to see, so we were off….

Just the night before, I had read the article in my Entertainment Weekly which was entitled something like “Why Toy Story 3 is Making Grown Men Cry.” I thought, ok, I can do with a good cry. After all, I cry at the drop of a cookie.

Plot-wise, there were no surprises because I’d seen the preview. That is not to say that it wasn’t fun. Basically, Andy (the toys’ owner) has grown up and is preparing to leave for college. His mother makes him go through his toys and separate them into categories: 1) going with me to college; 2) storing in the attic; 3) to be donated to a daycare; and 4) going to the dump. By mistake, the toys get put in the “dump” pile and set out for the trash man. DO NOT FEAR, though, the intrepid toys make their escape from the trash man in the nick of time and decide to jump into the “daycare” pile. Also in the daycare pile is Andy’s kid sister’s Barbie doll. This is relevant because when the toys get to the daycare, she discovers Ken, the doll of her dreams. At first the toys are very happy with their decision, because life at the daycare seems wonderful, but then they discover that not all kids are so kind and loving to their toys as Andy was, and they decide to escape.

Long story short, they do. But the way they do was pretty funny. At one point, after Ken breaks Barbie’s heart, Barbie encourages him to put on a fashion show of his (mostly) 70’s era clothing in order to keep him from his post. To the beat of disco music and under a mirrored ball!

I’m not sure why grown men have been crying at this movie. I will admit, I did shed a tear, but only one. I don’t recall what reason the Entertainment Weekly article gave for all the tears. Frankly, I lose interest in most articles by the end of the first column.

Speaking of articles, there was a review in the paper by somebody who was having problems with the movie because its plot wasn’t very strong. To this person I have to ask, what was he expecting? King Lear!? Exhibit “A” – talking toys; Exhibit “B” – not just a sequel, but a threequel; Exhibit “C” – it’s a movie made for CHILDREN! Moe-ron!

So what did I learn by going to see Toy Story 3? I did not learn why grown men are sobbing when they go see it. I learned that movie reviewers can be morons. I learned that while a bear might be friendly on the outset, just like Stephen Colbert has preached for the past several years, bears are god-less killing machines. And I learned that the field of movies so far this summer has sucked. Sigh…

Long review short, rent Toy Story 3, it isn’t necessary to see it on the “big screen”, and have a box of tissues handy if you’re a man.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Review - The A-Team

(Disclaimer: If you haven’t seen this movie, there may be information in this review that might be considered a “spoiler” - although I consciously try not to put major spoiler info in my reviews. Proceed with caution.)

I recently went to see The A-Team remake with Liam Neeson, Bradley Cooper, and a couple other guys I didn’t know reprising the roles of Hannibal, Face, B.A., and “Howling Mad” Murdock. I had hopes for this movie, because the preview looked good. However, I’d been misled by TV show remakes before (e.g., Dukes of Hazzard, Starsky and Hutch, and Charlie’s Angels), so those hopes weren’t very high.

However, I’m happy to say that my modest expectations were met! I enjoyed the movie a lot. At the start of the movie, they weren’t a team yet, so we got to see how they met and joined forces. I found this to be mildly confusing, but figured it out quickly. And instead of being Vietnam-era soldiers, the “Team” members were Gulf War-era soldiers. Otherwise, the movie had everything that the original guilty pleasure TV show had, tons of explosions; BA’s fear of flying and the team’s subsequent drugging of him to get him from place to place via air; lots of gun fights with, it would seem, no one ever being hit; and Hannibal’s tagline “I love it when a plan comes together.”

The movie details how the Team is dishonorably discharged for a crime they didn’t commit and follows them as they take action to clear their names. Of course, to leave room for potential sequels, and to be true to the nature of the original show, the Team must remain fugitives from justice who, “If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire … the A-Team.”

Surprisingly, there was even a twist in the plot that I did not see coming – an occurrence that would have been unheard of in any A-Team episode. So if you were a fan of the show, want a decent plot, and enjoy seeing BA kicking tookie and taking down names, then this movie is for you! I pity the fool who doesn’t enjoy this movie!