Disapproving Rabbits

Antique Mommy mentioned Disapproving Rabbits the other day, and since I am a simpleton with no notion of what's hip now (as evidenced by my continued use of the word "hip"), I had no clue what she was talking about. So I clicked on the link, and sure enough, there were disapproving rabbits everywhere. (Who knew that they were so dour?) If you haven't seen them, I highly recommend it. I also recommend the original Disapproving Rabbits page (which apparently before they got famous enough to warrant their own website). Definitely good for a chuckle.

Breaking News

Ladies and Gentlemen, WE HAVE POO!
If you've been following along at home, (and really, who wouldn't be?) you know that we've been battling Dixon's anti-poo policy for about three weeks now. Well, let me just tell you that last night, all of our efforts (plus a horse-sized dose of laxative) resulted in a successful poo! I've never been so excited to see poo in my life.

I know all this poo talk seems a little gross trivial, but chronic constipation can cause major problems in cats (or anybody for that matter), eventually requiring major surgery. The fact that he went on his own again is a huge deal. Now, let's just hope that he's back to doing it on a regular basis...


Welcome back everyone. Or, if you stayed home over the holidays, then welcome me back, because this year was Thanksgiving with Tony's family, which meant that I got to participate in all the travel insanity to a little place called O'Hare airport. Along with everyone else in the known universe. And maybe some of the unknown universe, cause that grown woman shuffling through the airport in Elmo slippers? Yeah.

Actually, it wasn't that bad (the travel, not the slippers. The slippers really were that bad). It was probably only 95% of the known universe, so the lines did occasionally move (but only when I would set my bag down to dig for something, at which point the line would suddenly surge forward, leaving me scrambling to retrieve my personal belongings from all around me. You know how it goes).

The plan was to fly into O'Hare, take the subway to Union Station, and then take the Amtrak to Tony's grandmother's house for Thanksgiving. Very "planes, trains and automobiles" of us. The plane part worked out. It actually landed a little early. We caught the subway okay (and for free due to a ticket machine glitch!), and were high-fiving ourselves on our transportation suave. Unfortunately, we ran out of luck there because we unwittingly climbed onto the subway train of a granny driver. (It may have been grandpa-driver also...I didn't actually get to see him/her). Either way, the subway that is supposed to go 55 miles per hour really only went about 15. Not so good when you're on a tight schedule to catch another train. We missed our Amtrak, so we got back on the subway going in the other direction and headed back to O'Hare where we caught...a bus! (We ran the full gamut of possible transportation, but nothing could stop us from our turkey/stuffing/mashed potato destiny!)

Speaking of, we need to take a moment to pay homage to Tony's Grandma and the fabulous food she makes, because it really is just that good. I love her. I've started heavily campaigning to get her to move down to Knoxville with us. She makes the BEST! SUGAR! COOKIES! EVER! If I can get her sugar cookies in the same meal as Aunt Missy's broccoli casserole and Aunt Suzie's "My Favorite Cake" and Granny's mashed potatoes, I think that it might just be the answer to world peace.

After stuffing ourselves at Grandma's, we headed back to Tony's parent's house, where we all sat around in a turkey-induced coma. Well, I did anyway. Tony's mom and sister were up at the crack of dawn the next day, battling for door-buster deals, and we went out for Old Chicago pizza and a Peoria Rivermen vs Chicago Wolves minor league hockey game. For Saturday, we were back in Chicago, where we ate at Potbelly's, (most likely the best sandwich place in all of Chicagoland), a trip through the Field museum, a trolley ride around the city, and a brief trek to Nordstrom's.

All and all a fun trip, although it's good to be home again. This morning, I sprung the inmate (Dixon) from the clink (the Vet's boarding house) where he'd been doing a nickel (5 days) for his crime (refusing to poop). I'm not sure if he's seen the error of his ways or not, but he's sure happy to be home.

Thanks to Ashley for watching Mason and the fish, and doing general house-sitting while we were gone, and thanks to Aunt Missy for the fabulous broccoli casserole (the BEST part of the Thanksgiving meal) that was waiting for me in the fridge when we got home.

All things to be thankful for.

Your Loy-al-ty Means A Vic-tor-y So Fight! Vols! Fight!

OH. MY. GOODNESS. Have you ever seen a game like this? I'm really surprised that the suspense didn't cause more people to have coronaries right there in front of their TV screen.

The question now is, will LSU be all down and depressed because they lost their shot at the National Champs, or will they be fighting twice as hard because they have something to prove?

We'll find out next weekend in Atlanta.

The Poo Saga Continues

Oh ya'll, I'm not having the best of days today. Dixon went back to the vet yesterday and cost me another $200, which brings our grand non-pooing total to right around $600. That is some crazy expensive poop. Merry Christmas annoyingly-cheerful vet people. By contrast, all of my friends and family members will now be receiving half empty tubes of Laxatone and opened (but not eaten) cans of pumpkin for Christmas.

I can take the cost. It hurts my little frugal soul, but I can take it, because it's Dixon and he needs this. What I'm having a little more trouble with is getting up 2 and a half hours before I normally get up each morning in order to shove five (FIVE!) pills down a very uncooperative kitty's throat. I value my sleep. I need it. And I'm not a morning person on the best of occasions. But to hold the tornado of teeth and claws and fur and foamy Cujo drool while Tony tries unsuccessfully to pry open Dixon's little jaws and stuff a little pill down his little throat, only to have Dixon hack it back up again, slimy and disintegrating, onto the carpet? It's not my favorite way to start the morning.

Pilling the cat was bad enough, but today's straw that broke the camel's back was when I was leaving the house for work this morning and stepped in dog doo. With my good work shoes. And then got in my car. And spread it all over my floor mat before I realized what happened.

For the record, I do not own a dog. The offending party responsible for this poop belongs to a neighbor, who allows him to roam freely around the neighborhood, digging up people's flowers and peppering my lawn in little doggie land mines. I HATE this dog. I especially hate him now that I have to clean his poop off of my good work shoes and out of my car.

And no, the irony that I've just spent $600 and two weeks trying to get my animal to poop while Annoying Neighborhood Yappy Dog just left me a shoeful was not lost on me.

Dixon's Poo Problem

My kitty cat is sick. Poor little Dixon will be so embarrassed when he finds out that I'm sharing this with the internet world, but I'm his mother, so embarrassment is what I do. Plus, I'm hoping someone out there has gone through a similar situation, and can give me some advice. (Caution: if you're like Tony's family, and the mere mention of bodily functions -even in felines- sends you recoiling back in horror, then let this also serve as fair warning: we're talking about poo today).

Here's the thing: He's constipated. We noticed two weeks ago that Dixon was trying to go to the potty and...well, couldn't. Completely stopped up. So Tony made an appointment with a vet, and they gave him an enema. And as usually happens with enemas, Dixon's eyes got really big, and he rocketed around the room until he exploded. Several times. And we patted ourselves on the backs for being the good kitty parents that we are, and relieving Dixon's suffering, even if it did involve a hose up the rear. Unfortunately, Dixon immediately got stopped up again. So, two days later, we took him to another vet. (This had nothing to do with the enema...we've been shopping around for a good one, and that last guy, while effective, was also kind of a jerk). New vet was much more thorough. X-rays were taken, and sure enough, the kitty is chock-full of poo. Exams of his colon, pelvis, and erm...hind end were done in great agonizing detail. All normal. Blood work was done. Normal. Urine tests were done. Normal. Hormone, thyroid, and a billion other tests were all done. Normal, normal, normal. Basically, there is NO PHYSICAL REASON why Dixon doesn't poo. He just won't. (To be fair, I also tried this route when I was a child and decided that poo was over-rated and I just wouldn't do it anymore. My result was the same as Dixon's. So just in case this was a battle of kitty wills, I sat him down and explained that all things HAVE to poo, even if they don't want to). No dice.

Yes, we've tried laxative. It's a fabulous tube of stuff called Laxatone, and we have it in chicken AND tuna flavor. I'm told cats loooooove this stuff. Will devour it right out of the tube (much the same way I do with cookie dough). Not Dixon. He doesn't really care for the taste. We've been hiding it in his food to get him to eat it. That cat has enough laxatone in him to clean out an entire city, but still no poo.
The vet also gave us a high fiber, low calorie wet canned food. The thinking is that the high fiber plus the extra moisture in the food would help move things along. And, unlike laxatone, I'm told cats loooooove this stuff. Yeah, except for Dixon. He wants his crunchy dry food, not the wet mushy stuff. We've been suffering through his disapproving glares every time he sees the stuff in the food bowl. Plan B involves smearing it on his crunchy food like pate on crackers and feeding it to him one. crunchy. at. a. time. It gets very old.
We've also tried mineral spirits. It's colorless, tasteless and odorless, so cats loooooove this stuff. (Oh, if I had a quarter for every time I've heard that one...) As you probably guessed, Dixon does not care for it. It also gets mixed into the crunchy food, although this tends to make them mushy and unappealing. Even so, he's managed to eat enough that his insides should be slicker than a presidential candidate on election day (and equally full of poo), so this should be doing the trick. Sadly, nothing. (Have you ever seen the Scrubs musical episode where they sing "Everything comes down to poo"? It's my new theme song).
The vet also gave us some medicine, which is supposed to take care of any bowel inflammation that may be going on. It's in pill form, but the pill dissolves in water, so we figured we could just syringe the medicine water into Dixon's mouth (he doesn't do pills very well). Are you seeing a pattern here yet? Can you guess what happens next? Let's just say that Dixon is not a fan of the squirting of the medicine water into the mouth. We managed to get one squirt in. Dixon showed his displeasure by drooling and foaming at the mouth like Cujo. I'm serious! Drool blobs all over the floor and enough foam to put any rabid dog to shame. Then he ran upstairs to drool and foam under the bed where we couldn't reach him. Unfortunately, there was no pooing to go along with the drooling and foaming. Subsequently, the pill was mashed up and sprinkled in Dixon's food.
We've gotten a little desperate at this point. Dixon is on to the fact that we've slipped all matter of things into his food, so he's not eating very much anymore. He completely distrusts anything that Tony gives him, which means it's fallen to me to spoon feed Dixon. Even this has had dwindling success. We went out and purchased one of those kitty drinking fountains that vets swear will make cats want to drink more. We tried to exercise him vigorously, because according to Pet MD, that stimulates the 'ol bowels. I even gave him a bowl of warm milk, because hey, that works for me. No poo. Not even a teeny weenie bit.

Soooo. Tony's out purchasing a can of pumpkin now, since websites have suggested that it is a good source of fiber and (get this) cats loooooove it. I don't put any stock in anything that cats looooove, so any other ideas on how to unclog the kitty are more than welcome. Hey, we'll even take ideas that have unclogged dogs, humans, birds, turtles, and I-75. We have to find something soon, or else Dixon gets another friendly visit from Mr. Enema...And everybody knows that cats looooooove that.

Learning To Go With The Flow

Somebody asked me last night what I would do with my evenings once I graduated from school. Without being in class for 6 hours a week, the hours between 5pm and bedtime would suddenly be brimming with opportunity. Since I've still got another semester and mini-term to go, I can honestly say that I hadn't really thought about it. My head ran through several options, like "Get into a regular exercise program" or "Write the next great American novel" or "Volunteer for a good cause" or "Learn a second language".

My head thought all of that, but my mouth said:

Belly dancing.

Okay, so it might surprise you that the first thing I plan to do after getting my MBA is to become a belly dancer. Not professionally, mind you. Just for fun.

A couple of years ago, the gym I belonged to held a belly dancing class, and I thought it might be a good way to learn how to move with grace and control. (Ya'll aren't going to believe this, but sometimes I can be a little clumsy. I have a tendency to smash into walls and stuff. You're shocked, I know).

I signed on for a couple of months with the beginning belly dancing class. My instructor was a willowy woman with a 70's flower-child voice and belly dance garb. I'm pretty sure her name was Moonbeam. It was like I Dream of Genie meets magic mushrooms.

I watched the instructor talk about learning to isolate each muscle group, and control movement so that only the set of muscles that you were working on moved. (Belly dancing is a crazy good workout for your core muscles). She took us through a few simple steps and then turned on the music so that we could "flow" with it.

("Flowing" by the way, is not as easy as it looks. The idea is to move in a smooth, liquid-like manner. My instructor can move like she has no bones. I move like a bad version of Mr. Roboto).

I would have thought that after a lifetime of being together, my limbs and I would have come to a basic understanding. I would instruct them to move in a graceful, fluid manner, and they would do it.

Or not.

The dance teacher oozed across the floor with serpentine movements. I followed suit by staggering across the floor like a inebriated rhino.

To her credit, the teacher didn't laugh, but she didn't look thrilled either. She did manage to keep extolling misty encouragement though.

"Flow with the music. FEEL the music. Your arm is floating along with the sound. Flooooow-ing aloooooong., it doesn't jerk, it flows. Flo-you know, maybe we should try something else".

Apparently, I don't flow. I get bogged down in concrete and drown. That would have been discouraging, except that I was having a blast! I've never been so horribly bad at something, yet enjoy it so much. (Obviously, American Idol contestants labor under the same feeling).

For a few months there, I did my belly dancing class every week. In between classes, I practiced at home, and in supermarkets, and in the car on my way to work. (Trying to belly dance while strapped to a car seat hindered some of my movement, but I think it actually improved it aesthetically...something to try during the next class).

Sadly, just as I was moving from looking like someone having a seizure to someone just stumbling in after an all night bender, school started again, and it was on the same night as the dance class. So I had to choose between an MBA or being a Shikira backup dancer, and I hear Shikira's costumes have a tendency to chafe.

BUT! As soon as I finish my curriculum and they stamp Ed-u-ma-cated on my forehead, I'm shimmy-ing my way back into belly dancing classes...because no one "flows" like an inebriated Mr. Roboto with an MBA.

Don't Hate Me Because I'm American

There's an interesting article on Slate today about how other countries view Americans, and further, asks the question "What can we as Americans do to get other countries to like us?" (Sadly, it's no secret that the rest of the world thinks we're shallow and pushy and close-minded). The article goes on to say that through the Internet and Satellite TV, many countries can watch our movies and TV shows, but at the same time, they don't really understand real American culture. For example, South American students watch MTV's My Super Sweet 16 and think that every American teenager gets an expensive new car when they turn 16. (Ohhh, they only wish!)

The article suggests that other countries would like us more if they actually got to meet real live Americans in person. It cites stories of visitors being shocked to learn that we aren't all wildly wealthy and shameless partiers (well, outside of Hollywood anyway), we actually have a pretty strong family and work ethic, and most of the country has religious values. They're surprised that there are more than just blond Caucasians in America, and that we don't always agree with the official government stance on world policy. To fix our image, the article suggests that we should do more Peace Corps, foreign exchange students and Fulbright scholarships to get Americans out in the world, not only to see but to be seen.

I'm all for that. If I've learned anything from my business classes, it's that the World really is Flat, and it is a global marketplace. It's high time that Americans get back out and interact in it.

I'm also hoping that the proliferations of your genuine American run-of-the-mill blog, such as...oh, I don't know...this one, which focuses on the mundane day to day stuff, will help show international visitors (I know you're out there! I see your little dots on the map on the side bar!) that American life isn't quite so...bizarre. I eat, I sleep, I work, I hang out with my family. I'm not really as bad as my TV makes me look.

I guess the moral of the story is, if you're American, please please behave yourselves, because you're representing all of us. And if you're not American, don't judge us by our Paris Hiltons or Donald Trumps. We're not really all shallow know-it-alls obsessed with war...we just play one on tv.

More Insomnia-Induced Silliness

Tony doesn’t usually snore. Only every now and then, when he’s rolled into the exact position where his nose is in direct line with Jupiter’s second moon, or if he has a cold (which luckily is not that often). It’s one of those little blessings that God bestowed upon us when he put us together. “For it is written, Behold! There will be happiness and contentment in the house of Quirk, for this man will not make noises with his nose/throat while he sleeps, and this woman will not have to smother him with his own pillow”. Usually. Like I said, sometimes the planets align (does Jupiter have a second moon? I’m not sure now) and then Tony does a pretty good impression of a jet airplane taking off. I get to play the part of captive audience, because unlike Mr. Asleep-before-his-head-hit-the-pillow, it takes me about an hour or so to drift off each night. That gives me plenty of time to catalogue the snores. Lately though, I’ve noticed a change in the general snoring repertoire. Instead of jet airplane, Tony has recently switched to what I can only describe as “really excited elephant trumpeting noise”. You know that noise that elephants make? Yeah. Tony does a really good impression of that. Only, his trunk-trumpeting sounds really excited. And kinda breathless. Like, elephants having…relations. (Stay with me here. I’ve had a lot of time to lay here and think about this). If you were to turn on an episode of Wild Kingdom and then walk out of the room so that you could only hear the sound, then I would imagine that that thing that the elephants are busily doing right now sounds pretty close to what Tony’s new snore sounds like. Which really begs the question…just what exactly is going on in that boy’s sinus cavities? And how much would Wild Kingdom pay for permission to find out?

Rock On With My Bad Self!

Ya’ll, I just need to take a moment here to brag:

I had my really big marketing presentation tonight, and I must admit that I really rocked the Kasbah. I mean, nailed that sucker big time. Dr. Professor-man was totally impressed. It’s like, I was in the marketing presentation ZONE! I could say no wrong! My slides were organized and informative, my facts were detailed but not boring, and my voice didn’t even crack like a pre-teen boy’s! Dr. Professor-man had been blasting annihilating critiquing the presentations all night, so I was a little worried about what he’d say about mine. (Okay, I admit it…my financial analysis was a little weak, and anything beyond superficial questioning would have made it abundantly clear that rocks have a better grasp on my cash flow analysis, but in this case the ol’ “Fake it til you make it” worked out for me, because he didn’t question any of my random excel sheets. God bless you, Yahoo Finance!). True, I worked for two weeks on this presentation, and can tell you more random facts about Caterpillar and the Philippines Infrastructure than just about anybody, but to nail the presentation, flat out? Sw-eeeeeeeet! I took a victory lap or two around the classroom while Dr. Professor-man sang the praises of my MOST AWESOME use of blatantly-stolen-from-the-website photos to illustrate my points. Whooooo-hoooo!

Okay, I’m done. I just needed a moment to share my victory. I’m better now.

(This moment of modesty has been brought to you by the letter A, as in, my presentation is soooo getting an A!)

A Love Story

I'm reading the archives of Days to Come, and I just finished a 4 part series about how she met her husband. It's one of those stories that lets you see a little further into someone else's life, which makes even the most mundane events interesting. There wasn't anything shocking or amazing or funny about it. It's just one of those stories of finding The One.

When I was in college, I lived in one of the dorms residence halls on campus. (As they drilled into our heads over and over, dorms are made of bricks...residence halls are made of people). I was a Resident Assistant, (which is kind of like a floor monitor/rule enforcer/counselor for those of you who didn't have one). I've got enough stories about the adventures of college student joys and angst and drama to fill the next 25 seasons of "As the Residence Hall Turns", but I'll leave them for another post. This one is a love story.

I met Tony in the hall post office at the beginning of my Junior year. It was August the first time I saw him, with his mischievous grin and his pretty green eyes, and I thought "Wow he's cute! It'd be really fun to date him". I don't know why I thought that. It just popped into my head. (I think it was his glasses. For some reason, I've always been attracted to people with glasses. Something about poor vision really speaks to me). Anyway, I thought he was cute, and then I mentally smacked myself, because I already had a that I'd been dating for about 2 years. So I shrugged the thought of those pretty green eyes and the glasses and the smile away.

My hall had over 1000 co-ed students living there, and the amount of mail that they received required a couple of student "mail sorters" and all of the RAs to take shifts manning the package desk. Tony was a mail sorter (although he referred to himself as the Post Master General), and I had two hours a week of package desk duty, so I knew who he was. I'd sit at the desk and get packages for the residents who came by to collect them, and he'd work in the back, sorting mail into individual mail slots for the students to pick up. We'd exchange pleasantries, but we didn't really talk. I'd work on homework, or talk to the people who came by for packages, and he'd sort envelopes. We probably would have continued on this way forever, except that two things happened. First, I broke up with my boyfriend in November. (I say I did, but it really was one of those mutual breakups. It was great from day to day, but when I was honest with myself, I knew there wasn't really a future for us. We were just too different, and going in different directions, and expecting different things out of life. It happens). The second important thing was that one of the male RAs graduated that December, and they asked Tony if he'd like to take his place. The halls had closed down for the Christmas holiday, but that hadn't stopped the mail from coming in, so there was about a month backlog of letters and packages that needed to be sorted into mail slots before the students came back from break. Since the RAs always come back a few days before the rest of the students, we were available for package sorting. The hall director had asked for a couple of volunteers to work in the post office. Tony volunteered because he knew the system from his days as "Post Master General". I volunteered because for some perverse reason, I just enjoy sorting mail.

To say that there was a backlog was an understatement. There was mail EVERYWHERE! Mountains of mail. We sorted mail and logged in packages and wrote out package pickup slips for 14 hours. Seriously. 14 hours! As introverts, we didn't really talk much in large groups, but we chattered away when it was just the two of us. (Okay, I chattered...he mostly listened and tossed out a comment every now and then). We had serious debates, and played 20 questions, and made up ridiculous what if scenarios, and I began to discover that he had more going for him than just his pretty green eyes. He had a sense of humor and a quick wit and intelligence, and that was more attractive than even the glasses. We discovered that we both like Chicago hockey. We found out that we had both refereed youth soccer. We were both cat people. We had the EXACT SAME BIRTHDAY. (I made him show me his driver's license to prove it, which also allowed me to see his middle name that he had refused to divulge earlier). You really get to know a person when you're stuck sorting mail with them for 14 hours, and I liked everything I found. It's like we just clicked. Right from the beginning. We decided that we were hungry, so we wandered down to the Strip to get some fast food. He'd never had Krystals before, so we stopped in there. (Because nothing says blossoming romance like the greasy aroma of tiny hamburgers). He had a lot of RA stuff to do to get ready for his residents, so I offered to show him the ropes. (In hindsight, I so think he played me. He just pretended to be lost so that I would offer to help. I told you that he was sharp). For the next few weeks, I showed him the laundry rooms, and how to fill out forms, and where to get the die cuts to make hall decorations for his floor, and he followed along, nodding his head at all my explanations and smirking to himself. (When we got engaged years later, someone asked what had first attracted us to each other. I lovingly described how he seemed to be so steady under pressure, and how nothing ruffled him, and how solid he was. He said he liked the way I walked).

I believe in soul mates. There's a certain someone out there that just completes you, even when you aren't looking for them. I wasn't looking for a boyfriend when we met. I wasn't looking for Mr. Right, or The One, or any of that stuff. (If I had, I probably would have gotten all nervous and just screwed it up somehow). I was just looking for someone to talk to while sorting mail. I couldn't have told you that this was the guy I was going to marry as soon as I laid eyes on him, but I did appreciate that whenever we were together, I just felt comfortable being myself. We compliment each other's personality.

Tony considers our first date to be the minor-league hockey game that he took me to a few weeks later. I guess it was, since he technically asked me out and I accepted. But the truth is that by that time, he had already wormed his way through my defenses. You heard, "You had me at hello"? He had me at "pass the package log book". I couldn't have told you why, but I was hooked.

And I've been hooked ever since.

First Fire

We had our first fire of the season last night! I love a roaring fire. There's just something extra special about sitting next to the fireplace, listening to the fire crackle and pop, that really brings out my inner pyromaniac romantic. It also caused Tony to sing "Chestnuts roasting over an open fire" over and over again (and I don't mean the song...I just mean that one line...over and over). Of course, we didn't technically have a fireplace when we moved into our house, but since when would I let a little thing like that stop me?

It used to be that you could only have a fire if you had a chimney. Then you had to chop wood and haul logs and clean out ashes and check dampers and worry about birds and squirrels and fat men in red suits getting stuck inside and wreaking all kinds of havoc. Frankly, I'm waaaay too lazy to put up with all that. Then the gas and electric versions came along, but the smell of the gas always bothered me, and I just don't think the electric ones are very realistic. (If you have electric fireplace and you love it, I don't mean to insult it. I'm sure it's lovely. I just like actual fire in my fireplace. Different stokes).

Anyway, once you toss out wood burning and gas and electric, that tends to leave your fireplace options pretty slim. So I did a little research, and I found...gel fuel! I'd never heard of it before, but it seems that these fireplaces are designed to fit little pint-sized (not as in small, but as in the actual size of a pint) cans of alcohol jelly stuff that you can light on fire. (Think Sterno cans underneath buffet trays). They don't smell, they only release a little bit of water vapor, they're easy to start and stop, and there's no cleanup. Personally, we have Sunjel "with realistic wood crackle!". I vary between 1-3 cans at a time, depending on if I want a small fire or a roaring one. Just remove the paper wrapper from the can, pop the top off, and light the gel inside on fire. Each can burns for about 2.5 hours, but if you decide you'd rather cut it short, just pop the lid back on, and save the rest of your fuel for another day. When the can is empty, the fire goes out, and you toss the can in the recycler. The cans are hidden behind the genuine fake logs, so you never see them in the fireplace. The best part is that they require no venting, and they're portable, so you can have a fireplace in your bedroom, bathroom, living room, etc. (Just drag it from room to room if you want).

I bought mine online from this site, we love your home. I did the 2 Burn "build your own" kit, which is basically just the firebox, log rack, fake logs, and screen. They have mantles that you can buy along with them, but what fun is that? You can just as easily build your own. I did a corner fireplace with entertainment center on top. Because the fire doesn't put out much heat (roughly 9,000 BTU/h) it doesn't hurt my TV to be above it.

We bought a case of 48 cans of Sunjel, which has lasted us two years now. I think it comes out to roughly $2 a can, which is nothing compared to the natural gas it takes to run your gas fireplace, or buy and haul firewood.

Amazingly enough, Sunjel hasn't paid me for this glowing endorsement. They have no idea who I am. (But if you come across this, Sunjel people, give me a call...I'm open to becoming the official Sunjel spokeswoman for the right price). This is just one of those products that I found and liked, and thought other people might like too. You're very welcome.

Enjoy your crackling real fire. Now all you need to do is learn the rest of the "Chestnuts" song.

In Case You Need More Bloggy Goodness

I've stumbled across a fabulous new blog called Days to Come. She's friends with Antique Mommy and Big Mama, so it was only logical to make the leap to Days to Come. Like every other blogger in the whole entire world with the exception or yours truly and the Seester, she's a stay at home mom. (Why are Moms the best writers? Is it because they have fodder from all the funny things that kids do?) Anyway, Days to Come has 4 children, which she home schools. She also has fabulous tricks for stretching your dollars. I've been lurking on her site for about two weeks now, greedily reading all her archives. Trust me. She's a good read.

Music Meme

Whenever I'm reading other blogs and come across a meme that they've done, I make a note of it for those days that I can't think of anything else remotely interesting to write about...

And guess what today is.

So for your reading enjoyment, I bring you.....(drumroll)

The Music Meme!

The idea is to talk about 10 songs on your ipod/other brand mp3 playing device/burned CD/mix tape on cassette (just in case you're one of those people trapped in 1987 and haven't joined the age of digital music yet). If you have a blog, like a certain Seester I know, or a certain College Roommate I had, then upon seeing this meme, you are hereby officially "tagged" to do it on the next day that you find yourself with a nasty case of bloggers block. If you don't have a blog (because you're trapped in 1987 and haven't officially joined the digital age yet, or just because you don't like to write) then feel free to leave your 10 favorite songs in the comments section.

So here we go, in no particular order:

Hold On- KT Tunstall. I like this one because it's all upbeat and I'm on a real KT Tunstall kick right now. (I also have Black Horse and a Cherry Tree and Other Side of the World). I thought the intro had a kind of Indian sound to it, but the video shows her at a swing dance thing. Either way, good stuff, and a good dancing around the house while dusting song. (Not that I actually dust, but if I did, it'd be to this song).

99 Red Balloons- Nena. One of the best 80's songs OF ALL TIME, especially for a song about the annihilation of a city. I also like the German version (99 luft ballons) but I can't sing along as well in German.

Put Your Records On - Corinne Bailey Rae. I caught this one on the radio about 6 months back, and got hooked on it. Tony gets annoyed because I tend to sing it at the top of my lungs. (Why that annoys him, I don't know).

2 Princes- Spin Doctors. I like this one because it reminds me of when I was 12, which is how old I was when it came out. I've known all the words for like, 15 years now, and if you ever catch me totally jamming in my car, it's probably because this song came on. I especially like the part where it goes "be-do-be-deep, be-de-da-ba-doobe-doode-doobe-doobe-doobe". If you know the song, you know what I'm talking about. Feel free to sing along.

All these things that I've Done- The Killers. HUGE HUGE Killers fan. I have several of their songs. Tony actually even likes them, which is saying something, because he's usually more in the classic rock genre. Of course, I secretly reprogrammed all of the radio stations in his car to MY favorite stations instead, so maybe that paid off a little and he picked up some Killers. LOVE the part where is goes "I got soul but I'm not a solider". (I usually end of yelling that part at the top of my lungs, which by the way, is awkward when you're in the supermarket).

The Sweet Escape- Gwen Staffani. I'm not usually a Gwen Steffani fan, but like every other person in America who has been to a sporting event lately, I heard the song played over the loud speaker during a pitching change and the "wooooooooo-ooooo, WEEEEEEE-hooo" part got permanently imbedded in my skull. I figured why fight it?

Bette Davis Eyes- Kim Carnes. This is one of those songs that I'll love forever, even though Bette Davis had freaky scary eyes in real life. (I'm thinking hypothyroidism, but that's just my guess). And I like the hand clapping part because I'm easily entertained.

The Boxer- Carbon Leaf. Love me some Carbon Leaf, and this one is a particularly happy sounding song, even if it is about two people having a fight. I've just noticed that all these songs I've listed are really upbeat and dance-y. Wonder what that says about my personality? Hmmmm.

Missed the Boat-Modest Mouse. Here we go. Not a dancing song. And not really a happy song either, but certainly one you can sing along with.

Lightening Blue Eyes- The Secret Machines. I picked this one up about a year ago, maybe a year and a half. This is one of those that will stay with you all day, but you don't really mind because you enjoy singing it anyway.

Okay, so there's my 10 songs. Now when you see that crazy nut in the car next to you flailing and wailing and generally trying to dance while strapped to a seat, you'll still point and laugh, but at least now you'll know what songs I'm listening to.