Book Signing Success
I had a ball at DubuqueFest on Saturday signing books at the Author Fair. I felt like a total rock star sitting at my neatly decorated table
complete with gorgeous flowers provided by my sweet husband, surrounded by readers and writers. Thank you to everyone who came to see me and also to those who couldn’t be there but wished me luck, your support means the world to me!
I did have one awkward moment at the signing though that I’m sure
will stick with me forever. With my daughter sitting beside me an older lady asked if there were any bad words in my books. I didn’t lie and I told her that there was some harsh language. She said, “Harsh as in G.D’s?” I replied, “No, harsh as in F’s.” The lady then claimed to be a Christian who didn’t read books with that kind of nonsense and she stomped away. I looked over at McKenzie who with arms folded was glaring at me. “Mom, I’m so embarrassed, you have bad words in your book?!” Looking at the floor I nodded yes and was then scolded by
The signing was held indoors, in the Roshek building where it was
nice and cool. I think a lot of people who were attending the festival came through to cool off or to use the restrooms. But that was okay there was a lot of traffic and that made it worth it. Sitting there for seven hours was a long haul but I’d do it all over again.
A Bag of Cat Piss
Yep, you guessed it. It was too good to be true. We had a showing
today and I was feeling pretty confident with Maddie tucked safely inside her pillow case. I drove the animals to Mcdonald’s and got myself one of those new Chicken and Bacon wrap sandwich’s (YUMMY!) and I got a hamburger for Charlie.
He was so happy about getting a burger that he decided to sit on
my lap – while I was driving down the highway. Charlie is a big dog (German shepherd) and he weighs 85 pounds. So I’m doing seventy-something with food in one hand trying to get him off my lap with the other. There was some crazy driving for a while and of course a cop saw this and got right on my tail. I’m sure he ran my plates and saw that I have a good driving record and he finally decided to leave me alone. And that’s a good thing because knowing my luck he would have inquired about the ‘wet’ moving, crying bag in the back.
Just my luck, she pissed all over again. Thankfully she was lying
in a plastic tote. Taking a cat out of a pillowcase soaked with piss and then giving her a bath was definitely not something I wanted to do today. I’ve completely had it with her.
When I picked the kids up from school I announced that we are
getting rid of her. I just can’t do this anymore. They both seemed fine with it until we got to the grocery store and Mac broke down in tears. I feel awful but I honestly don’t know what else I can do. There is no way this cat will make a nine hour drive to Kentucky and I certainly am not going to stop every hour to hose her off. I’ve tried everything I can think of. I am so done with this cat.
Does that make me a bad person?
Yesterday I overheard McKenzie calling William ‘Briar.’ Intrigued I finally asked her why she was calling him by a different name.
(Mac) Well Mom, he’s a brat and a liar and that equals Briar so that’s what I’m going to call him from now on.
I’m one of those people that have a pile of silverware in the kitchen drawer. Mostly it consists of mismatched sets but everything is organized with all of the forks, spoons and knives in their proper compartments.
This morning after breakfast Will claimed he was still hungry. My children are trained to scrape their plates and to place their dishes in the sink when they are finished. William’s plate was in the sink.
I had my doubts about him finishing his breakfast as he was given two waffles and three sausages which is a lot of food for him. I went to look in the trash for ‘evidence’ and found his fork at the bottom of the trash bag. When interrogated he claimed he accidently dropped it in when scraping his plate - - (Ha, ha caught! What was there to scrape if he finished it all?!)
He said he couldn’t reach the fork after it fell in and he forgot to tell me. I was thankful I saved the fork but it got me thinking.
I went to the silverware drawer and counted; I am missing 11 forks and 6 spoons! I think Briar – I mean Will, shall be sentenced to using only plastic silverware for the rest of his childhood!
Yesterday when I whistled Charlie (our dog) wouldn’t come in and I couldn’t see what he was dong out in the yard. I told Mac to go see what he was up to. She called to him and he appeared in front of her with a tiny, gray, baby bunny hanging out of his mouth. She screamed in horror and I came running.
Before I could reach him he chewed twice and then swallowed it whole. Mac was devastated. How could her sweet dog do something so cruel?! Charlie then sat between us looking up and wagging his tail as though nothing had happened. Mac was still covering her eyes.
(Me) Do you smell that?
(Mac) (concerned) I don’t smell anything Mom, what is it?
(Me) Bunny breath!
(Mac) Mom! That’s not even funny!!
I can’t image what kind of creatures he will catch, kill and eat in Kentucky. I better buy Mac a blindfold.
Last week I received a message from my cousin Kelli via facebook. I thought it was a joke, I read it three times to make sure I was seeing what I saw.
Wanted to pass along a piece of advice from a vet about your cats. He said instead of giving them drugs or putting them in kennels for when you need to leave the house for your open houses, to put them in king size pillow cases, and tie them shut. This will keep them from peeing,
vomiting, etc. It actually calms them. Just a thought!!!
After doing a bit of research on the subject I decided to give it a go. It would be kind of like a ‘Thunder Shirt’ for dogs except it would cover the cat’s entire body. People online had mixed views on the subject and there were very few people who actually admitted to trying it. Most people thought it was mean.
We had a showing this morning so I put it to the test. But instead of a king size pillow case I used a body pillow case, one that zipped shut. After Maddie was in the case I then placed her inside a plastic tote just in case it didn’t work.
All I could envision was getting home and opening the sack to find it full of shit, puke, piss and drool. I also worried while driving around that she would suffocate or that if I got pulled over I would get arrested for cruelty to animals because there was no way a cop would ever believe my story. Wasn’t that how farmers used to kill cats and kittens?
Didn’t they put them in potato sacks and throw them into rivers?! (I’m not saying that thought didn’t cross my mind….after all she was already in the bag and the dam is only a mile away….)
Maddie flopped around a bit and cried horribly in the car but IT WORKED! No body fluids leaked out of her at all for the first time EVER! It was so nice to drive around with the windows up and still be able to breath, it was nice to get home and not have a mess to clean up
and it was really nice to not have to give Maddie a bath. But best of all Maddie did not have to be medicated and she recovered quickly after we got home. When she is given Cat Valium, it takes her around 12 hours before she is back to normal.
So now I’m wondering why someone hasn’t grabbed this idea and ran with it. NO ONE is marketing ‘cat comfort bags.’ A person could make millions on a very simple, cheap product. I’m going to email some of the big Pet Stores and share this idea. If I do indeed get rich, Kelli Harris VanReeth and I will be chilling out on some tropical island far away from Iowa and Minnesota, someplace where there is no snow and no houses to show.
Thank you Kelli, your little message saved me A WHOLE LOT of work and worry.
Sakina Murdock is driving the bus today! So for all you perverts that happened to wonder over here because of the "key words" used in this blog, well you can take a hike. Go to Web MD if your having spotted issues with your private parts - this is about pudding sicko.
Spotted Dick – a dissection
Okay, so please join me on this possibly unintelligible ramble
through a few words. Tammy points out (in fact, she wastes no opportunity) that ‘Spotted Dick’ is possibly the funniest pudding (dessert) ever named. And of course, it’s British.
So, what is it and why was it called such a silly name? I figure
Tammy finds it funny because she knows that ‘dick’ in British slang (and
presumably American) is another word for ‘penis’. Obviously a spotted one wouldn’t be a good thing.
The dish itself is a fairly basic traditional steamed suet pudding, with the pleasant additions of dried raisins or currants (spots of varying sizes) and possibly some warm spices and lemon zest (although I doubt
Forget about the spotted bit for now. What does ‘dick’ mean, and
why is this pudding called it? The genius etymological dictionary www.etymonline.com
says that it firstly means ‘fellow, lad, or man’. Dick may not be a sensible thing to call a random stranger nowadays, Northern blokes sometimes call each other ‘cock’, which has the same meaning (‘man’ and ‘penis’). Its subtext is ‘we are both on the same level’.
Clearly the pudding is not a man.
Read that sentence again. Pudding. What a nice British word. It sounds
like stodge. What does it mean?
Okay … so to unravel this confusion: back in the day, a meaty or
bloody mix of fat and grains was stuffed into the entrails of an herbivore and called a pudding.
Now, what shape are entrails? They’re sausage shaped, aren’t they? (Or sausages are shaped like entrails. Whatever.) So pudding became
sausage in many cases.
And what shape is a sausage?
Ah. A penis. We’re back to the rude stuff. Pudding managed to retain its penis definition for centuries, as recently as 1939 written as ‘pud’ by James Joyce.
Interesting how that happened. We’re talking about a pudding
with a rude name, and it turns out that the word ‘pudding’ itself is a
contributor to the rude stuff.
But that’s what people don’t realise. Spotted Dick is
a joke, and it really does mean spotted penis.
Part of the English sense of humour is to play on words with
puns, jokes and hidden meanings. Large Spotted Dicks used to be rolled into a cylinder shape, wrapped in a muslin cloth and steamed for hours till cooked. Round slices were hacked off and doused in custard.
So this pudding is sausage or penis shaped* and calling it Spotted Pud would have been a cleverly accurate double entendre. But it’s a name with a borderline personality disorder, and at some point it became Spotted Dick. Instead of the background meaning of ‘penis shaped pudding’, we have a confusing name that only means ‘penis’**.
Why would the name change? There are several possibilities, but
here’s my hypothesis: that the pudding was called Spotted Pudding in the first place, but ‘pudding’ as slang for ‘penis’ fell out of widespread use as the word ‘dick’ became more popular. The two words were likely used interchangeably for a long while, depending on the region, and eventually the Spotted Dick name stuck, and ‘pud’ with the double entendre (dessert/penis) stopped being used.
So sure, Tammy, it is rude and a ridiculous name for a pudding. Though it probably tastes pretty good.
*unlike, for example, Sticky Toffee
**forget the suggestion that it refers to someone called Dick. You tend to get people’s names in pudding names when there’s some reference to them in the dish. Eve’s Pudding
is sponge on top of stewed apple, for example.
STANDING OVATAION for Sakina, that was bloody good. But now we must move on to something else. Sakina has a tiny problem that I'm going to try to help her with. She's a foodie and knows EVERYTHING about food and is happy to tell you about it. But when it comes to tooting her own horn regarding the amazing book she recently released, well she doesn't have the nerve. The assignment was easy: write a blog post and then talk about yourself and your book. She talked about spotted dick and then got off at the closest bus stop...and ran. She ran away without even mentioning the title of her book.
This is Sakina, isn't she cute?! Her blog is http://soulsubsistence.wordpress.com
. Check it out, she takes excellent pictures, her food looks so good you'll be licking your computer screen.
Her Twitter handle is: @soulsubsistence.
I highly recommend the book, it's one of a kind just like Sakina. Check out her blog or just say "hi" to her on Twitter. Even though we've never met in person, I kind of feel like she's my little sister. So make sure your nice to her or you'll have some AniMAASity to contend with.
We recently spent a few days in Kentucky house hunting. My gracious in-laws took care of the animals and the house while we were away; they even brought in the mail. I received a birthday card even though
my birthday is in December. It was from an insurance company called Tricor. The card was a postcard so my father-in-law could clearly see that I was being wished a Happy 65th Birthday. Needless to say he is never going to let me live it down. He now calls me a cougar! I’m far from 65 but it was like getting punched in the throat. What could be worse than that? Well let me tell ya.
After two hell filled days and one migraine we found a house in
Kentucky we liked and we put in an offer. You know the house had to be
incredible because it didn’t have a basement and I was still willing to buy it. The sellers countered way higher than we were willing to go, double throat punch. My gut told me that we should walk away from it and we did.
After returning from the house hunting trip I was still feeling good about things and I was looking at houses online. The phone rang, it was the realtor. It turns out that financing fell through for the people that were buying our house. Triple throat punch! So now our house is back on the market (gulp) and we are back to square one. Thankfully I listened to my gut and we walked away from the house in KY.
You guys know what kind of hell I go through to show this house, I really am not looking forward to doing it again. The kids were on the verge of tears when I told them, they hate showings too.
So the pity party is over for now and on a better note; I did my first radio interview yesterday. I was on KDTH for Voices of the
Tri-states. As soon as I figure out how to do it, I will post a link to the
podcast. I have my book signing at DubuqueFest to look forward to on the 18th and I was invited to do a signing at the Monticello public library on the 23rd. So I guess it’s not all bad.
Did I mention that it was ninety degrees here yesterday and we are expecting rain/sleet/snow tomorrow?
The moral of the story is this: The more you get punched in the
throat the less you feel like talking. (I’m whispering this to you right now.)
After fifty days and many difficult hours of getting ready for
showings, our house is finally sold. The last two showings were the most difficult of all. As you know our cat Maddie gets car sick and has to be fed cat Valium prior to being put in her carrier. Last Friday she spit out her pill at the last minute and there was no time to try giving her another. After loading her, Rose was loaded and cried and whined the entire time. Then Charlie boarded and shed and slobbered all over everything. The two kids got in and my mother was riding shot gun. We drove to McDonald’s for shakes. Midway through the trip Maddie pissed all over her carrier making the car smell undesirable at best. My mother had to think we were completely crazy.
The next showing was just as bad; a pissing, puking, pooping cat,
a crying, whining cat, a slobbering, shedding dog and a boy with a bucket! Yes, poor Will was sick with strep throat but he sucked it up and took one for the team. We drove to McDonalds again except it was only 9:00am so we didn’t do shakes but I did bend the rules and let him have some pop for breakfast! He deserved it.
So now the next part of the journey will be finding a new house
to live in. Looking online is fun but you always want to see what’s beyond the pictures. I have a few on my list to look at but there are some that I won’t even consider just because of the street names or towns.
For example: Even though there are nice houses in Bagdad, KY I
don’t want to live there. Imagine telling people you live in Bagdad…….Kentucky and then getting all the questions and comments. But unfortunately I have fallen in love with a house in Lebanon, KY so I might just have to deal with it. This house also has a creek in the backyard and 1.5 acres. The creek is called Crooked Creek, how fitting is that?!
We saw another house we liked on Waddy Road in Waddy, KY. There
is just something about the word “Waddy” that makes me not want to live there. I also will not be living on Regret Road. I always think of street names as if I were writing a book:
“And as I approached Regret Road, I wished I had never purchased
that shitty house.”
Now Rising Sun Road would be an all right name I guess.
“And as the sun rose over Rising Sun my son awoke from his
And I won’t be living at Mockingbird Valley Road, Louisville
Kentucky. That’s 39 letters vs. the 24 letters I currently have to write, it’s
way too long for an address. I don’t want to have to write that over and over. It makes my hand hurt just thinking about it.
And I will never live on Payne Street even if it’s spelled differently.
“The pain I endured on Payne Street was too much of a pain to
I’ll keep you posted on my house hunting adventures. Hopefully we
find Happiness Lane or an Easy Street.
Take care friends!
Most of the houses we are looking at are in Bullitt County. Yeah,
sounds like bullet which is a pretty cool sounding redneck county; however it is
named after a person and not misspelled. I will feel obligated to explain that
every time I have to spell it out for someone.
Age sometimes has its advantages: I’ve been there and done that.
And I’ve bought this and that and I know that it sucks. Over time I have learned that there is only one vacuum to buy and that’s a Dyson and only one coffee maker to buy and that’s a Bunn. A Bunn coffee maker usually last us three years and we brew at least two pots per day.
I’ve had every make and model imaginable in coffee makers and still can’t find anything that even compares to my Bunn. Because you see, I’m a power freak. “I want it and I want it right goddamn now!” The Bunn delivers. In less than three minutes I have the steamy, hot cup of goodness that makes me a whole person.
You especially don’t want to mess with me in the morning when the Domestic Goddess within still hasn’t emerged. Without my Bunn, I am nothing.
Our beloved Bunn recently bit the big linguini and went to coffee maker heaven. Before the burial occurs I want the opportunity to do an autopsy
of sorts. I like to take things apart, see what makes them tick. I like to
remove the screws that you are never supposed to remove. I want to see the innards and the wires and parts that create such a fantastic machine.
With that said I have the dead Bunn sitting next to the shiny new
Bunn on the kitchen counter. When you put two Bunn’s together does that make a Butt?! (Maybe not a butt but it would definitely make a butt-load of coffee if they both worked!)
Check out my Bunn in the oven! That’s what I was going to title
this post but I didn’t want my mother to fall over dead.
My Bunn in the oven.
Or how about the Easter Bunn?!
The Easter Bunn.
Speaking of the Easter Bunn, have a Happy Easter!
Yesterday we had another showing. I was all prepared for it and
made sure everything was in order. I even gave Maddie her Cat Valium and had the animals loaded in plenty of time. We drove to the Casey’s gas station and Charlie and I shared a slice of pizza while I read the newspaper. The cats were crying a bit but nothing out of the ordinary.
We parked at the end of our street for a while and spied on the
people looking at our house. They were standing in the driveway with the realtor and I wondered what the conversation was all about. I was hoping they liked the house because I’m so ready to be done with this whole house selling thing.
When we arrived home I released Charlie from his leash and then set the cats free. Maddie stumbled into the kitchen, banking off the wall a few times. She collapsed onto the kitchen floor; eyes crossed and drool pouring out of her mouth. Her stomach began to contract and I feared she was going to throw up. Looking back I wish she would have because what she did was much worse, she began shitting on the kitchen floor in a laying down position.
This is Maddie on Cat Valium. Notice how her eyes are rolled back in her head!
My immediate reaction was to ignore it; as if it would just miraculously get sucked back into her body or something. I began talking to Charlie (my dog) about how it was going to mess up my nice shiny kitchen floor.
Our other cat Rose sat next to Maddie’s behind and was watching with fascination as the turds squirmed out. I grabbed a roll of paper towel and began trying to catch the shit as it emerged from her ass. I never imagined finding myself in such a position, it was pure and utter hell. Gagging, I managed to clean it all up and even lifted her tail for a quick wipe of the ass at the end. I bagged the shit up and threw it out in the yard and grabbed a can of Febreeze and began spraying the kitchen.
I’ve been wasted a few times in my life but I can never, ever remember being so drunk and relaxed that I shit my pants. And even if I had shit
my pants, it wouldn’t have mattered how drunk my friends were there was no way they would have wiped my ass. Unless maybe if I was shitting on their kitchen floor?! Bad visual huh?! What the hell is IN Cat Valium anyway?
Have you ever wiped a cat’s ass?! If you have please let me know
as I feel very sad and alone right now. I guess I can now remove that item from my bucket list. I don’t know what to do the next time we have a showing. Do I give her the pill or not? If she’s going to shit anyway then what’s the difference? So far she’s had the Valium three times and twice she was fine so I guess the odds are still in my favor but after today I’m really at ‘shits’ end!
Navigating the school system in Kentucky has been difficult. In
Louisville your children get sent to one of four schools in the neighborhood where you live. You get to write down your choices but ultimately the city picks where your child will go to school. Overall Louisville ranks 4 out of 10 for their schools with 10 being the best. Therefore you could move to an area with a school that is ranked an 8 but your child could end up in a school that is ranked a 1. They also have magnet schools which specialize in certain curriculum such as arts or science and then there are traditional schools but you get no guarantees about which school your child will actually attend.
With this said we have two other options for where we live; move
to a city outside of Louisville or send the kids to private schools. The
majority of private schools charge between $10,000 and $14,000 per child per year and they get a $200 application fee (per child) that is non-refundable. Therefore if your child is not accepted into the school, you still lose the application fee.
One of the schools I looked into was Valor Academy. They teach
Christian and secular curriculum emphasizing traditional values and ideas. The school is grade 1 through 12. The cost to send two kids to the school is around $8,000 per year which is far less than other schools in the area. The first thing that struck me as odd is the outside of the school. It looks like a castle and throughout the student handbook they talk about the students achieving a knight status.
Another weird thing is that this school has car cruises once per
month during the school year. Classic cars line up in the parking lot and they have a car show of sorts. This is major fund raising for the school but students and parents are expected to help with the events. You can tell it’s a family friendly redneck event because the rules state: No; Fussin, Cussin, Fightin, Drinkin or Spittin.
One of the $10,000 schools has a hot lunch program that includes:
Quiznos, Subway, Pizza Hut and other fast food restaurants. For $10,000 per student you would think they could come up with something better than that. My kids obviously want to go to that school! (I secretly do too!)
With the private schools being so expensive (and weird) we
started looking into living in different counties with great schools. Oldham and Bullitt Counties seem to be the best areas so that is where we are house hunting. But there aren’t a lot of houses for sale because everyone else is in the same boat, they are moving so their kids get sent to good schools.
The other thing that limits our house choices is that I will not move into a house that doesn’t have a basement and most houses in the area do
not. Out of 66 houses in one of the counties there are only 4 houses with
basements and we looked at all 4 of those. And two of the four were walkout ranches which really aren’t true basements at all. I find it strange that in an area that gets tornadoes that there aren’t more homes with basements. Where do people go, what do they do? A basement is one thing I won’t compromise on. Thank you Iowa for teaching me that lesson!
So my question for the day is this: If you live in a house with no basement, what do you do if there is a tornado coming?
The Walking Dead
I admit to being obsessed with The Walking Dead series. I even cried for Daryl Sunday night. I’m obsessed to the point of trying to figure out
amazing scenarios for the show. I would love to sit down and chat with the writers of the series but I know that will never happen so therefore I will share my greatest ideas with you. Aren’t you flattered?!
While walking through the Louisville Zoo the other day it occurred to me that in the event of a zombie apocalypse, all of the zoo animals would still be around if they were fierce like say a lion or tiger. So what if
Rick and the group managed to catch a lion (because let’s face it, they can do anything!) and they set it free inside the prison enclosure, in between the gates. The lion would then eat any zombie or person that came near the prison. It would be like having a zombie-eating dog, a killing machine of sorts. Wouldn’t that make a great show?!
Or what if the group stumbled upon a zoo while running from the Governor? Imagine the crazy shit that could happen. And I know they don’t like to travel around much but wouldn’t it be worth their while to find a Wal-Mart, what a score that would be. I told you I was obsessed.
I love my children dearly but I have to admit I was happy to drop them off at school yesterday morning. After ten days of being with them 24/7 I
sure needed a break. I figured the bickering would diminish somewhat once we arrived at the hotel but I was wrong, they just found a whole new set of things to fight about; pushing the elevator button, putting the room card in the slot, who would get into the pool first and who got to sleep where. They also starting calling things, “I call pushing the elevator button, or I call using the shower first.” I have only three days to regain my sanity because Easter vacation starts on Friday and ends the following Tuesday.
And we all know what Sunday is right?! That’s right, the season finale for The Walking Dead! Oh wait; its Easter too isn’t it?!
Showing a House
I can’t put up any Easter decorations this year. When you are trying to sell your house any personalized or holiday items are a big no-no. A
house must remain plain so future buyers can envision their things in your house. We are in full blown ‘house showing mode’ at our house. We have hardwood floors in the kitchen and with the muddy, yucky yard; dog and kid footprints were being cleaned up on a regular basis. My solution for this was to mop the floor so it was nice and shiny and then I covered the floor with blankets. When it’s time for a showing, I simply pick up the blankets and a clean floor is underneath. This saves me a lot of time.
We also have ‘fake towels’ in the bathroom. They are brand new and the kids know not to use them. The laundry must be caught up at all times,
the dishwasher must remain empty, the floors must be vacuumed daily, and things must be dusted, as you never know when you will get a call about a showing.
The vet gave me Cat Valium for Maddie so she can now travel during showings without having an accident. The drugs affect her almost
immediately and last several hours. Her eyes cross and she can only take a few steps without falling down. It’s like having a drunken cat. I’m jealous and considering taking one of her tiny pink pills to make the next showing easier on me too.
Getting a house ready for a showing is exhausting and I can’t wait for this house to sell so we can move on. It’s to the point where I could
easily star on the Walking Dead.
I told you I was obsessed right?!