Escape your life for a little while — come play in mine.

Archive for April, 2012

Milk: It does a kitty good!

Posted by Lissa on April 30, 2012

At least, that’s what Rajah was telling me. I remain unconvinced.


“No really. It’s soy milk so I won’t throw up!”


“Maybe if I reach . . . ”


Aaaaaaaaand that’s when he got unceremoniously booted out of the kitchen. Mommy needs her calcium – it’s for BabyKitty!

Happy Monday, all!

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I absolutely cannot make this stuff up.

Posted by Lissa on April 27, 2012

Double-bookings are always terrible. It means, most likely, that someone in our office screwed up with the calendar. It certainly means that one client will have to wait for quite a while or come back another time, i.e. that s/he made the trip for nothing.

Yesterday started with a double-booking. The clients involved?

1) A widow whose husband recently died, along with her now fatherless daughter.

2) A widower whose wife was murdered last weekend.

I swear to you, the next time my day starts like that I’m going home and going back to bed!

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The real value of an alarm system on your house

Posted by Lissa on April 26, 2012

A few days ago I grabbed my cup of coffee, hooked my cooler handle over the crook of my arm, slung my elephant-sized purse onto my shoulder and opened the door to the garage.



I hurried back inside and punched frantically at the alarm code box to shut up the godawful noise. Panting, I glared at it. (Rajah didn’t stir from underneath his blanket, if you’re wondering.)


I put down my things and waited.

And waited.

And waited.

About three minutes later the phone rang.

“Sunshine State Alarm System, do I need to send the police?”

“No,” I babbled, “my name is Lissa, the code is ****, false alarm, false alarm, thank you.”

She wished me a nice day, I hung up, and I dashed off to work.

Let’s add this up. Three minutes for the alarm people to call and check. At *least* another five minutes for the police; I’m sure they are a very good and dedicated force, but I live in the WAY back of our neighborhood. Unless they can get here as the crow flies, sheer geography says five minutes or more. That means eight minutes from when your door is kicked in to when your rescuers arrive.

So really, what’s the point of an alarm?

Actually, that’s quite easy. The point of the alarm is to give off an earsplitting shriek when someone opens my door or my windows.

I’m a pretty sound sleeper. I don’t know if I’d hear it were someone to pick my lock at 2:37 A.M. If they smashed something, I’d probably wake up; but then again I have yet to experience the true sleep deprivation that will come with kids, so give me a year and ask me again 🙂

In a nutshell – I really like my house alarm because it will wake me up if someone opens a way into my house. It’s not a signal for the cops to come rescue me — although that would be very nice, time constraints mean that serious stuff would have gone down long before they arrived. It’s a danger signal more than a rescue beacon.

Make sense?

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Orwellian. OR-WELL-I-AN. Look it up.

Posted by Lissa on April 25, 2012

I guess I missed when 1984 was no longer required reading in high school. (That’s a lie. It wasn’t required by the time I went through. I read it for fun.) I just can’t wrap my head around the fact that someone – lots of someones – thought this was a GOOD idea.

Kicking off the week after the world somberly marked Holocaust Remembrance Day, President Obama marked the 67th year since the liberation of Europe’s death camps with the announcement today of his new Atrocities Prevention Board.

‘”Never again” is a challenge to nations,” Obama said. “It’s a bitter truth — too often, the world has failed to prevent the killing of innocents on a massive scale. And we are haunted by the atrocities that we did not stop and the lives we did not save.”

And if THAT doesn’t work, the President will have his staff send them a very angry letter. And it will arrive with postage due.

“Never again” should go hand-in-hand with “Molon Labe.”

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The State of the Garden

Posted by Lissa on April 24, 2012

Good morning all! The weather is just beautiful down in Florida — highs in the 80s every day — and my garden is thriving! I planted everything in March … look how it’s doing!

First, my herbs:


Starting from lower left and going roughly counter clockwise, that’s Greek oregano, sweet mint, peppermint, more mint, flat parsley, and curly parsley. The oregano is spreading like crazy, as does the mint, both of which are welcome developments. (It’s a very weedy garden bed – the previous owners let the weeds run wild and didn’t plant anything – so herbs that I can eat are encouraged to spread out.) The curly parsley and the mint survived from last autumn; everything else is a new planting. And NOTHING tops off homemade cooked-for-six-hours spaghetti sauce like fresh picked oregano and sweet basil.

Speaking of which —


I’ve got four basil plants with a Greek thyme plant in the foreground. (I don’t know why the herbs are Greek. It’s just what Home Depot was selling.) The basil actually looks happier now that we’ve had two days of rainstorms – much greener and perkier.

My rosemary bush is the only herb that survived my first planting in October 2010 –


The bush to the right was planted last year; the baby off to the left was from this March. Rosemary, BTW, is extremely hardy and therefore I love it. I mostly use it for pork chop marinade and rosemary reduction sauce for chicken, but one of these days I’m going to clip branches and use them as skewers to grill chicken!

Last but not least, see my tomatoes!


I babied them over the weekend and painstakingly picked out AT LEAST FIFTY of these disgusting little beasts:


Don’t get me wrong, I love butterflies, and I like moths. But I was nearing the point of just nuking the damn things from orbit when I discovered . . . THIS.


AAUUUGGGHHHHH!!! I narrowly restrained myself from lighting them on fire before flinging the leaf off the edge of the garden into the bracken. I resisted largely because I didn’t want to leave them there long enough to go inside and grab a lighter. BEGONE YE MONSTERS!!

I don’t spray anything in my garden because I like being able to pick and eat while I weed. My neighbor recommended spraying them with an olive oil solution. Does anyone know if that works?

Anyway, that’s what’s growing besides BabyKitty 2012!

(I’ve also got some lemon chives and I’m experimenting with jalapeños, but this post is long enough as it is.)

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“So, when are you due?”

Posted by Lissa on April 23, 2012


I told the folks at work about BabyKitty on Friday. I meant to wait until next week – we’ve a big function this Saturday and I wanted to wait until after it was all done – but that all changed Friday afternoon.

I was saying goodbye to Mr. M — actually, I was *trying* to get him out of the office while he was lingering and, I swear, starting at my bustline — when he looked me up and down and then said the fatal words:

“So, when are you due?”


Dear readers, PLEASE tell me you know better than this. The cardinal two rules of pregnancy:

1) Never ask when someone is due unless the words “I’m pregnant” have just come out of her mouth.

2) Never congratulate someone for being pregnant unless there is an actual baby emerging from between her legs at that very moment. (Or the words “I’m pregnant” have just come out of her mouth.

How Mr. M lived to be 65 without knowing these rules, I don’t know.

What was I to do? I couldn’t say “yes” — I hadn’t told my bosses yet! I couldn’t say “no” because it would be lying, and I’m not a good liar. (And they’d know I was lying when the news came out.)

So I popped my eyes as wide as they would go and looked at him with my head cocked sideways, trying to communicate wordlessly – and clearly – “OH MY GOD DID YOU JUST F***ING SAY THAT?!?” and said, “Excuse me?!?!”

That wasn’t enough, oh no. Because he replied by gesturing at my abdomen and asking, “Are you in the family way?”

My head tilted a little more, my eyes got even wider, and I mentally added more curse words to my silent communication.

At this point his wife came to his rescue and instructed me to ignore him.

I wished them a nice day – my eyes still wide – and dismissed them.


On the bright side – it turns out one of my bosses didn’t know the cardinal rules either, so I’m fairly sure I’ve saved him from being slapped, stabbed or shot at some point in his life. There’s that.

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Teaching to the positive, not the negative

Posted by Lissa on April 20, 2012

Unsurprisingly, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how to teach lessons to kids, as well as how this ties in to societal norms, shame, and stigma. Let me explain . . .

Just looking at the data, the best way to stay out poverty is to get an education, not bear or sire children out of wedlock, get married, and stay married. People who do that are much less likely to live below the poverty line; children raised in such situations are more likely to do well. (I’ve read this in enough places that I’m stating this as fact; however, if you really want me to dig up the studies, I can do that. Also, this is NOT a knock on my single readers; I’m speaking in broad generalities. My friends who happen to be single are doing just fine, thanks.) Furthermore, it is detrimental to one’s health to be obese. While I don’t buy the “OBESITY IS GONNA KILL US ALL ZOMG!!” stuff, kids who are overweight will suffer both health consequences and social/professional knocks.

So. I want my kid to believe that such behaviors – dropping out of school, having babies out of wedlock, being unhealthily overweight, etc. etc. – are bad and to be avoided.

BUT . . . I *also* don’t want my kid judging people who *do* reflect such behaviors (are obese, have a child but no husband, etc.) as *bad people.* It’s generally a waste of time to judge strangers anyway, and it’s impossible to know what factors played into their decisions. (Can YOU tell by looking whether that’s a single mother whose kid never knew its father, or whether it’s a widowed army wife? I can’t.)

I want my kid to grow up with a good sense of what’s healthy and what’s not, what will better lead to life success and what will make success more difficult, while still being compassionate and not overly judgmental.

On the face of it, it seems an impossible task.

The only thing that I can think of is to teach to the positive, not the negative. To try to reflect as many healthy behaviors in my own life as I can (while knowing dam’ well I’ll never be perfect person, let alone a perfect parent). To point out good role models (relatives, athletes, fictional and nonfictional heroes, etc.) while not pointing out seemingly *bad* role models that we pass on the street.

What do you think? Parents, how have you handled this with your kids? Whether you have kids or not, do you think this approach makes sense? What can be added?

P.S. Stay tuned for the “Manifesto of a n00b parent”, coming soon!

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Happy anniversary, honey! Here’s a holster!

Posted by Lissa on April 18, 2012

Three years ago today I walked down the aisle to marry Mike. And, despite what the picture shows . . .


. . . I’ve never once looked back.

As a token of my esteem, I presented Mike with this piece of gorgeousness:


That’s a Chimaera holster from our own Dragon Leatherworks. He really matched the colors beautifully, don’t you think?

Have a happy day, everyone! I know I will!

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Don’t miss NCIS tonight!

Posted by Lissa on April 17, 2012

Good morning everyone! Thank you so much for the kind words yesterday. Mike and I (and our families) are very excited and thrilled and eagerly anticipating the arrival of BabyKitty in mid-October. I’ll try to keep the mommy-stuff interesting and/or funny!

Speaking of BabyKlarman, I don’t know that this would really be a good kindergarten lunchbox . . .


. . . but it should be perfect for Abby! Make sure you catch the show, and kudos to our own Dennis from Dragon Leatherworks!

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Well, how would YOU tell your husband you’re pregnant?

Posted by Lissa on April 16, 2012

Written back in February . . .

I took the first test on Saturday, February 11, 20112012 [thanks Christina!], at 1:30 AM. I had to pee badly enough to wake me in the night and haul me out of bed. Since today was the first shot I had at the EPT – about five days before my period was due to begin – I thought, why not? (Note: ordering a bulk pack of cheapie early pregnancy tests from Amazon helps. Cheapie as in 30-for-$10.)

There was the usual dark control line and . . . huh . . . was that . . . a very faint second line? Or was I just really sleepy?

I made a mental note to check again when I was *actually* awake and stumbled back to bed.

I took the second test about 7:30 that morning when I was up for real. In fact, I took two. (Again, they’re cheap; as long as you have pee in a cup ANYWAY, why not? BTW, the Solo 2-oz cups are PERFECT to keep in the bathroom for this purpose.)

Aaaaaaand . . . one dark control line . . . and a lighter second line, where before there’d only been pristine white.


I told myself not to count my chickens. I went to the living room and drank my morning coffee as usual, reminding myself not to get ahead of the game.

I took the fourth and fifth test at 10:30 before I went grocery shopping. One dark line, one light line.

I bought an expensive digital EPT test at Publix ($16 for two, no cheapie this!). Aaaaand . . . a plus sign appeared.

“Oh my god. Oh my god. This says yes.”

With slightly shaking hands I capped the test and walked over to the study where Mike was eating his lunch. (I thought he’d finished. I swear.)

“Hey, love?” I called out as nonchalantly as I could.


“Could you do me a favor?”

“Sure, what?”

“Could you clean the kitty litter today?”

(That’s been one of my duties since we moved into the Raj Mahal (house). In fairness, it was Mike’s duty for the years before that in the Kitty Den (apartment).)

“Um, okay. Why?”

“And, actually, could you kind of clean it for the foreseeable future?” And I showed him the test.

(P.S. I took a total of ten EPTs. They all turned up positive. I was therefore fairly sure that BabyKitty 2012 was a go!)

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