Friday, January 24, 2020


Remember a few weeks ago when I mentioned that I was working on a puzzle? I had this strangely prophetic thought:

I'm a little worried about what will happen when I go to bed and the poltergeists are activated, but maybe they'll leave it alone. Fingers crossed.

Well. I had the audiobook of Leigh Bardugo's Six of Crows and some time when I was supposed to be doing something else, so I got quite a bit of the puzzle done. All of the edges were in place, the boat was pretty much done, and I was starting to work my way inward.

Then one morning I came out and part of the puzzle was rumpled, as if a cat had skidded to a stop on it. I smoothed it out, but I couldn't find one of the edge pieces. I looked on the floor and didn't see it, so I thought it was somewhere on the table where I just wasn't noticing it.


Then a few days later I was in the kitchen and saw this happening:
Semi-feral tortie plays on table with partially-assembled puzzle

Oh, how cute, she's playing with the loose pieces. But then:
Semi-feral tortie actively takes apart the partially assembled puzzle
She's not just checking it out, she's tearing it apart. And then I caught her in the act of walking off with a piece in her mouth:
Naughty semi-feral tortie leaves with a puzzle piece in her mouth. Dammit.
To recap, she's taking the puzzle -- this puzzle that I spent hours trying to put together -- completely apart and stealing the pieces away.

In one way it's the pushme-pullye of puzzles; I put it together and then she takes it apart so I can put it together again. I'm saving all kinds of money here. But my chances of finishing this are not great since I'm not sure what Gin has done with the pieces she's taken. Worse, I caught the big dog with a piece in his mouth yesterday, so it looks like the pet sabotage crew is complete.

The good news is that this is the first time Gin has felt comfortable enough to play while I've been around, so I guess that offsets the fact that she's just a complete jerk.

Saturday, January 4, 2020

A Message From The Big Dog

This is Just to Say

I have eaten
the persimmons
that were in the ivy

and now
I need to go
to poop RIGHT NOW

And also
to check in the ivy again
in case
another has fallen

- The Big Dog

(with profound apologies to William Carlos Williams)

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

New Year

I started the new year off right by sleeping in, running four miles (with an average pace just a hair over 11 min/mile, which is speedy for me), then working on the jigsaw puzzle for most of the day. I suppose I could have been a tad more productive, but I'm going to add 1000 words to my current novel before I quit for the day, so that should count for something.

Mostly uncompleted jigsaw puzzle
I also signed up for a couple of writing classes (space opera, and literary tips) and a reading aloud class. The prices were low and I can always use new tips and tricks.

Sadly I have to go back to work tomorrow, but at least it's a two-day week, and then a weekend to recover.

Another year of Holidailies done and dusted! I always enjoy reading everyone's entries, and I appreciate the people who keep it up all year. With any luck I'll do a better job blogging this year!

Tuesday, December 31, 2019


A couple other Holidailies participants have mentioned jigsaw puzzles in recent weeks, which got me thinking. I haven't done any puzzles at home for the last few years because the last puzzle, a gigantic Neuschwanstein Castle picture, took me so long to put together that Effing Scooter peed on some of the pieces and then Molly the Deaf (and incredibly dumb) chewed up another piece. When I finally finished, with the chewed cardboard shoved into the only spot left, I had to take a picture and then throw the whole thing away.

cat lounging on half-completed puzzle of Neuschwanstein Castle
The Good Old Days

But Molly has been eating cardboard in the afterlife for a few years now, and Effing Scooter has peed his last, plus I have a new kitchen table just waiting to have a bunch of stuff spread all over it, so I opened up a new puzzle this evening. It's a painting of Venice (I think). I prefer puzzles made from photographs, but this is what I have.

Uncompleted Puzzle
The Good New Days

So far, so good. Ripley had to "help" me for a while, but I finally convinced him to just sit on the box. I've only had to pick up one piece from the floor. I'm a little worried about what will happen when I go to bed and the poltergeists are activated, but maybe they'll leave it alone. Fingers crossed.

Anyhow, happy new year!

Monday, December 30, 2019


I have made it back to Chez Nebulopathy, where the cats are so excited to see me that they're grooming each other. My car still has a dining room table and a scroll saw in it, but that's tomorrow's problem. And it will be tomorrow's problem because I need to go fetch the dogs before noon, so all the stuff in my back seat needs to be unloaded.

The drive home wasn't bad -- the grapevine was open (with some pretty snow), I ate fries and a whole lot of cookies, and Ninth House is still keeping me interested. I stopped in Kettleman (or the Kettleman exit, which is just a travel stop) to go to the Fresh Mex restaurant and the whole area was such a cluster that I ended up at Jack in the Box, which doesn't have anything vegetarian (note to self: the "ultimate cheeseburger" is not the same as the "impossible cheeseburger"), hence the fries. I guess the important lesson here is that Kettleman should be avoided at all costs during periods of heavy holiday travel.

So here I am, happy to be sleeping in my own bed tonight, and also sad that I don't have a good excuse not to go for a run tomorrow.

Sunday, December 29, 2019


My mom is trying to clear out the garage, so while all the kids were home for the holidays, she told us to take any tools we wanted (ie, work it out amongst ourselves). Given the fact that most of us already have everything we really need, and some people were flying home, there was a lot of "Does anyone want this? If nobody else wants this and I can fit it in my car, maybe I'll take it." So... less hyenas circling prey, and more pandas trying to climb into a hammock.

I'd been sort of thinking about the scroll saw for a while, and nobody else wanted to take it, so now it's in my trunk. Lest you think I'm a power tool expert, you should know that the first thing that Jeff and I thought was the scroll saw turned out to be the band saw. Now you're thinking that maybe I should stay away from using dangerous things when I can't even identify them on sight, and you might be right. I'm sure there's a YouTube video that will explain everything I need to know. Let's all cross our fingers that I don't chop off anything important.

I'm also taking home the old kitchen table. I've lived in my house for seventeen years and it's time to have a kitchen table. The treadmill (only one person needed to assemble!) is currently in the dining room, but it really ought to be in the back room anyhow. I'm sure the cats will enjoy having a new place to sprawl in the dining room.

Someday it's going to look like an actual adult lives in my house. Don't hold your breath.

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Tripod Mod

I'm pretty sure there's a similar, but completely different, entry from last year showing how we held the phone on the tripod the last time we took a family picture. This year it incorporated chop sticks and blue painter's tape.

The best part is that we were doing this in my brother's front yard and there were enough people around that we could have just asked someone to take the picture...