Peaceable Kingdom

Behold, view all three of the four-legged members of our family, and coexisting in peace and harmony.

This was a rare enough event to merit snapping a picture.

Zoe is an Australian shepherd.  She is a herding dog.  What does Zoe herd?  At our house, mycoplasmosis Zoe herds cats.  It’s not as hard as you may have been lead to believe.

We had Oliver (the orange cat) before we got Zoe.  Oliver liked to lie in the middle of the dining room table.  We would tell him to get down, and he, in typical cat fashion, would look at us with a face that said clearly, “I know very well you’re not going to get off your ass and make me, so I’m not moving.”  Who says cats are stupid?

Then we got Zoe.  On a lark one day we told Oliver (known around these parts as “Kitty”) to get down.  He didn’t.  So we said, “Zoe, tell Kitty to get down.”  Zoe ran into the dining room and dragged Kitty down off the table by his neck.

The trick has continued to be useful since we got Lucy.  Lucy likes to get into things on the counter.  In addition to Zoe learning the command, Lucy and Oliver know what “Tell Kitty. . . ” means.  When they hear it, they know the dog is coming.  Their eyes bug out of their heads and they run for dear life to the cat door in the basement.

The three of them pretend not to get along, but when they think no one is looking they will hang out together.

Belated pictures

I didn’t forget the birthday pictures.

I still can’t believe how fast the girls are growing.  I’m sure all parents feel this way, discount but it still takes me by surprise sometimes.

They worry all year about their birthday cakes.  I’ve learned not to listen until the actual week of the birthday because the desired cake will switch seven hundred times between now and the next birthday.

Anna settled on Hello Kitty this year.  I learned how to make marshmallow fondant.

Claire wanted a monkey cake.

The chocolate marshmallow fondant was a total failure, what is ed but I improvised with cocoa-tinted buttercream at the last minute.  (It wasn’t totally the last minute, health care but it was 1:30 in the morning and I was tired of icing.)

While Hello Kitty looked fine, the chocolate layered monkey cake with bannana filling was very well received.  Now there’s only nine more months to figure out next year’s cakes.

Oh, and speaking of nine more months, do not conceive this coming week if you don’t like throwing birthday parties the week after Christmas.  I’m just sayin’.

Where’s my green beer?

On St. Patrick’s Day, syphilis everyone is a little Irish.  Even Zoe.

I’ve got more picture goodness because I finally got around to:

  • Ordering sheep for the computer so that we now have a whole gig of sheep!  The computer acts like a computer again instead of a paperweight!
  • Hooking the memory card up to said computer and shaking the pictures out of it.
  • Uploading photos – a task previously rendered daunting due to lack of sheep.

So I can finally share Anna’s new skill with all three of my readers:

Please ignore the bags under my eyes, my bouffant hairdo, and the chocolate stain on the front of my shirt.  I can’t honestly claim that any of them are out of the ordinary, but ignore them anyway.

Anna, my five year old, who has yet to master the tying of shoes, can knit.  And she does it fairly well.  Santa brought her pink yarn and kid-sized needles for Christmas.  She’s making a lap blanket for her Barbie.  She wants to make Barbie a sweater when she’s done.  Preferably one with sparkly beads.  I told her she needs a bit more practice, but she’ll get there.

Note also the somewhat disgruntled look on her sister’s face.  It’s typical Claire.  I wouldn’t cross that one if I were you.

Burn, baby, burn!

What I did today:  Burned large chunks of my house!

No, viagra seriously – I burned the gutters and the patio.  With fire and everything.  Intentionally.

Okay, arthritis I admit they were no longer attached to the house.  But I did burn them up.  You see, last fall Mr. Unreserved took down the remains of the parially rotting and completely unsafe patio that leaned in the vicinity of the back of our house (it had long since come unattached from said house).  It ended up in a pile behind the garage.  Then we had the gutters repaired, which necessitated removal of the old (box) gutters and a rebuild of portions of the roof.  The removed portions and gutters ended up in a pile behind the garage.  Then we cleaned out the basement, and lots more wooden stuff ended up in a pile behind the garage.  The pile was getting to be as tall as the garage.

Today we here in western Pennsylvania were blessed with a most rare day for March wherein it almost failed to rain, and the temperature got up to “Hey!  The furnace quit running!” degrees.  The girls and I tromped around the back yard all afternoon, and I created a blazing inferno in the fire pit.  The previous owners had built a pit large enough to roast a pig (and had done just that at one point).  Pig roasting pits are handy places to immolate large quantities of wood.  It felt simultaneously wasteful (to be burning all that wood for no good reason) and marvelously productive (all that nasty wood gone in a cloud of smoke) and I’m disappointed to note that there is quite a lot of wood left after seven hours of burning.  And raking.  And pushing small people on swings.  The Unreserved family will sleep well tonight.

At risk of being repetitive

February is a sucktastic month and I am glad to be rid of it.

I can say with complete confidence, look however, syphilis that Claire is potty trained.  Woot!  So I guess that was a good thing that happened this past month.  Past, oh how I love the sound of that. 

I’m nearly done with Autumn Rose.  I wove the ends all weekend.  Do you know how many ends?  Wanna guess?  Go ahead.  Guess.  Did you guess 300?  You were right!  Autumn Rose required the weaving of 300 ends.  That’s not an estimate.  I counted them.  I’m nerdy like that.  That’s not all the ends in the sweater, because some of them get tucked tidily in the steek, which I cut Saturday.  The neckline is in progress. 

This is what else I did this weekend:  Sanded the buffet top of the china hutch.  I bought a china cabinet last year via Craigslist and am finally getting around to finishing it to something that suits me more than mid 80′s very dark pine masquerading as walnut.  I’m nervous about the painting bit, but have been given courage in the form of a design blog that pointed out that things don’t have to be perfect to be pretty.  It’s a liberating thought when I can get myself to believe it.  The same blog has inspired me to do something about the window treatments in the greatroom that fill me with self doubt every time I look at them.  (This is one of those times I wish I were a man.  Men do not have doubts about window treatments.)

In between projects:  Helped Anna build a Barbie house out of Tinker Toys.  She’s a very demanding construction foreman, but I think my seven-room structure fit the bill.  I made her do the decorating.  (see above re: self doubt)

Also this weekend:  Held Claire through her afternoon nap.  There are only so many more times in life she is going to fall asleep curled in a ball on my chest, and I vow to treasure every last one of them.  Even if it means she drools chocolate on my white shirt in the process.  There is nothing so sweet in this life as a sleeping child.