Give a person an old-school version of an iPad (read: chalkboard) and some chalk during a church service – this is what they come up with. Every week I collected these little treasures before wiping down the tablets.
Author Archives: Melissa Bianco
I Love My Body
“I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.” (Psalm 139:14)
I love my eyes. They see the beauty of the natural world around me and guide my path every day.
I love my nose. It smells delightful aromas such as flowers, freshly baked bread, and wet grass after a rain shower.
I love my mouth. It has been perfectly designed to enjoy food that sustains, comforts, excites and delights me.
I love my skin. It protects me from the elements and holds me together.
I love my voice. It is the perfect instrument to speak love, truth, encouragement, wisdom, and humor.
I love my breasts. Though mine have never nursed a baby, I know there are countless women who have been granted this miraculous gift.
I love my heart. It beats daily to worship my Creator, share His gospel, love my friends and family, and it compels me to feel compassion.
I love my hands. They were skillfully crafted to allow me to write, create, greet, fix, play, doodle, and speak without words.
I love my stomach. It proves to me that I am well nourished.
I love my arms. They have the ability to support the weak, hold the devastated, motivate the lazy, and push open doors of opportunity.
I love my legs. They carry me faithfully to any destination I choose.
I love my feet. They direct me away from unhealthy situations or guide me to help others in need.
My body is perfect.
The Paper Girl
The paper girl came into being on the day that Judy Lancaster, age five, drew her on a paper napkin at McDonald’s on a cold November evening. She had no name. She had no distinct features, other than two arms, two legs, a very large head, two long strands of hair, and a smile.
The paper girl appeared everywhere Judy went. To restaurants, theme parks, play dates, or simply in the quiet of Judy’s bedroom. Everywhere Judy went, the paper girl would be created and carted around with her creator.
There were times that the paper girl couldn’t see very well because Judy forgot an eye or she became too frisky with the crayon and her hair would cover her eyes. But paper girl didn’t mind. She liked seeing the world of Judy as simple or grand as Judy’s imagination would permit. Judy would do a quick sketch, hold up paper girl, and tell her all about the magical land she was visiting. Some days it would be a fantastic forest with giant trees, colorful flowers, and green green grass. Other days, the villainess Weather would hunt her down as raindrops pelted into paper girl and washed her away. She never liked Weather very much.
Mostly, paper girl loved how, as Judy would draw, she would speak to paper girl, as if they were the best of friends. Judy always drew paper girl’s head first so she had opportunities to see Judy as she worked. Some days, she would laugh and draw. Other days, she would be focused. Paper girl knew when Judy was focused because she would furrow her brows and stick her tongue out the side of her mouth. It was in those moments that paper girl had all the time in the world to study her maker.
She loved her. She loved that Judy took the time out of her day, several times a week, to create her. She loved that Judy told her stories and occasionally drew special magical lands for her to spend time in. But mostly she loved the way Judy talked to her, as if she were the most important thing in the world.
One day, Judy did the most amazing thing. She gave paper girl a name. Peggy. Paper girl could not believe her great fortune! Judy had drawn a picture of herself and paper girl in the same picture and as she finished coloring in the picture, she carefully printed her name above her own image and “Peggy” above paper girl’s. She held the drawing up, smiling big, and said, “Peggy. You are my best friend.”
Peggy (no longer paper girl) had such great love for Judy in that moment. She had given her a name! Her own name! Normally, Judy would give her pictures to Mrs. Lancaster, who would smile and say, “That’s lovely, Judy. Do you think she (for Peggy had no name yet) would like a spot on the fridge?”
Judy would giggle and say, “Yes, mama!”
So the old picture of Peggy would come down and the new one would go up. As Judy matured, Peggy’s features became more defined. She felt more coordinated, prettier, and more proportioned. No longer did her legs feel thin and weak, or her hair quite so heavy atop her head.
Peggy enjoyed the fridge because she could watch the family at dinner time. Mrs. Lancaster would prepare dinner. Mr. Lancaster would come in, grab a taste of whatever was in the pot, and scoot away before Mrs. Lancaster could push him away. Peggy knew she wasn’t mad, though. Mrs. Lancaster always smiled and she shooed him off. Peggy thought Mr. Lancaster did it on purpose because it made his wife smile.
Judy’s little brother, Joey, would sometimes come into the kitchen and do mean things to her like draw over her eyes in black pencil so she couldn’t see, or tear the paper and cut off her legs. Peggy didn’t like Joey very much. He always wanted to make Judy angry or sad. Some days, he would even snatch Peggy from the fridge and crumple her up. That made Peggy afraid until, the next time, Judy would draw her once again.
The times between drawings seemed like an eternity to Peggy. She had no body. No mouth. No ears. All she had was time. Time to think. Time to dream. Time to wonder. Time to worry. Some days Peggy worried that Judy would draw another friend and Peggy would only exist as a memory.
Right around the time that Peggy would start to grow fearful, she’d feel the familiar caress of crayon and feel so much better. Judy still loved her. As the years went by, crayon was replaced by pencil crayon, pastels, or simply a Bic pen. Peggy blossomed from a simple stick figure to a young girl and, eventually, a teen. She and Judy grew up together.
Judy, now thirteen, would sketch Peggy and tell her all her secrets. Most of them were not a surprise to Peggy. She’d grown up with Judy. But Peggy loved that Judy shared with her. It meant a lot to her that she was Judy’s secret friend. Sometimes, Judy would draw a heart and her initials along with the initials of a boy she liked. Other times, when she was upset, her tears would fall onto Peggy and begin to wash her away. In those times, Peggy did not fear extinction, she simply wanted to make Judy’s tears go away.
Peggy wished and dreamed that one day she would be able to speak. Or blink. Or move. If only to show Judy how much she cared about her. But try as she might, she was a spectator in her own existence. If Judy placed her in her pocket, she could imagine what she was looking at, but mostly she only saw the inside of fabric.
As Judy grew up, Peggy’s world changed. No longer were there elaborate details and grand landscapes in which Peggy would hold center stage. Her existence became doodles once again. Judy didn’t speak to Peggy as she did when she was a child. She was seventeen now and much too grown up for such things. Peggy missed her confidences with Judy, but she was grateful for the times she’d peek out from a textbook, or as an aside in a diary entry.
Once, Joey, now a teenager, got hold of a sketch of Peggy and humiliated Peggy more than she could bear. He erased her clothes and exposed her private places. He drew male genitalia near her image and wrote coarse words. Peggy saw the look on his face. There was no love. No affection. Just cruel and selfish pleasure in defiling an image Judy had so carefully created.
Peggy felt ashamed. She wished she could move her arms to cover herself, but all she could do was bear the humiliation. It worsened when Joey crammed the picture into his pocket and showed all of his friends at school the next day. The boys laughed and pointed at Peggy’s private places, passing her around from hand to hand to hand. She was helpless and distraught.
Luckily, one of the teacher’s discovered the picture and Peggy’s existence was extinguished with a lighter. The flames burned hot and it was scary to disappear in such a distressing way, but Peggy welcome the momentary agony. Once the sketch was burnt, she fell back into nothingness once again.
The next time Judy drew her, she was angry. Not at Peggy. But at Joey. She’d long ago stopped putting Peggy on the refrigerator, but now she would lock her door, too. She mumbled, maybe a little to Peggy but mostly to herself about privacy and respect. Peggy wholeheartedly agreed. Judy folded her up, placed Peggy in her scrapbook, and there Peggy waited.
This time, she waited a very very long time. Judy didn’t sketch her on a napkin, or a receipt, or even the corner of her school notebook. Time began to move slowly and Peggy felt herself become faint. She could feel herself ebbing away. Was this dying? Was Judy forgetting her? Peggy didn’t know, but it made her sad.
Soon, Peggy didn’t remember days. Or weeks. Or months. She didn’t remember what Judy looked like, or her teen voice. She only remembered, vaguely at best, moments. Snapshots. Judy’s voice as a child. A knowing smile from Mr. Lancaster. Joey, thankfully, became hazy, too.
Then one day, much to Peggy’s amazement, her eyes came to be once again and she looked up at Judy. But this time, Judy wasn’t a teenager. She was a woman of thirty. She held up Peggy and then turned it around. There, before her, was a child version of Judy. The little girl laughed and tried to reach for the picture of Peggy to stuff it in her mouth, but Judy held it back.
“She is my favorite childhood friend, pumpkin, you can’t put her in your mouth.”
Peggy wanted to cry with joy. Judy turned the paper back around and looked at Peggy for a long while. Something in her gaze grew wistful, then she smiled. Her voice was quiet, she was only speaking to Peggy now. “Hello, Peggy. It has been a while.”
Peggy wished she could nod. Or speak. She would tell Judy how much she missed her and loved her. How proud of her she was that she created another wonderful being. Peggy even had a moment to meet Judy’s husband, Andrew. He was handsome. He seemed kind. He hugged Judy and told her she was an exceptional artist. Then he asked her why she never sketched more often.
For a time, Judy did sketch more often. Once again, Peggy had center stage in the kitchen and she would be able to watch Judy and her family. First it was just pumpkin, who later turned out to be Mary. Then along came Ruth. Finally, a few years later, they were joined by Christopher. Each day, from her place on the refrigerator, Peggy would lovingly watch the (now) Simpson family live their lives. Some days, the girls would come by and greet her. Other days, they would draw their own friends and Peggy would smile at them. They would smile back. It was wonderful to be loved.
Years passed, eventually Peggy was replaced by the children’s artwork and Peggy was placed in a drawer. For a time, she’d catch a glimpse of a family member, but as the drawer became more full, papers or pens or grocery receipts would end up obstructing Peggy’s vision. Soon, all she could do was wait and wonder. Eventually, Peggy was packed away in a box with other artwork and keepsakes.
And time slowed once again. The near-end. Peggy heard the whispers of the other sketches in the drawer with her. They were afraid. They worried the girls had forgotten about them. They were fearful of forgetting themselves. Peggy understood. She tried to reassure them, but the ending was a part of the beginning. It happened and there was nothing they could do about it.
After a time, even the other pictures did not speak. There were no words. Only memories that grew gray each passing day. Hope faded. Time slowed. And eternity set in again, dark and lonely. Peggy grew weaker. Her memories dimmed. She waited for the end.
One day, she was pulled from the box by a lady of about 40 years. The lady gasped in surprise when she looked at Peggy.
“Oh my gosh!” she cried. “David, come here! Look at this.”
Exhausted and tired, her eyes dim from crinkles, Peggy looked up at the man’s handsome face as he gazed down at her questioningly.
“What’s this?” he asked.
“My mom drew this years ago. I had totally forgotten about it.” The lady’s eyes crinkled at the edges as she smiled. “I think this would make her happy. I’m going to take it to her.”
“Great idea, Ru. She’ll like that.” The man squeezed Ruth’s shoulder and kissed her on top of the head.
Peggy was cleaned up and placed inside a very expensive frame. It felt strange to have glass press her in, but she was so crinkly, it was hard to keep upright anyway. Soon after, she heard the wrapping paper and tape. She was a present.
Peggy hoped Judy would be glad to see her. She wondered how she was. Had she changed much? Would she remember Peggy? Peggy was so excited, she tripped over her thoughts as they came rushing back.
Finally, the wrapping came off and Peggy at long last had a chance to see Judy again. Judy was in a hospital bed and her hair was white and her face crinkled like Peggy’s. She had a long plastic tube that came out of her arm that attached to a bag on a silver pole. She looked tired and weak, like Peggy. But when she saw Peggy her eyes widened and she smiled.
“Oh, Peggy,” Judy whispered, her voice barely above a caress. “Please, Ruth, bring her here. Let me see.”
Ruth placed Peggy on the table in front of Judy. Judy stared at Peggy for a long time. Then she smiled tiredly and said, “I’ve missed you.” Ruth and Judy spent some time together, but Ruth had to leave to take care of her own children.
Peggy and Judy spent all of their time together. Judy caught Peggy up on her life and, once again, told Peggy all of her secrets, fears, and dreams. Some days, Judy was too tired or too sick to spend time with Peggy. Peggy didn’t mind. She would watch over Judy and that was enough.
One day, Judy did not wake up. They placed a sheet over her head and took her away. Peggy was afraid that one of the people at the hospital would throw her away, but Ruth rescued her.
Ruth cried, but she took Peggy with her to the pretty park with cement crosses. She brought Peggy into a special room with a wooden bed and a lid and people wore dark colors. They cried sad tears over Judy. Peggy recognized some faces, though they had aged quite a bit.
When the ceremony was over and people had finished saying nice things about Judy, Ruth placed Peggy with Judy inside the wooden bed with the lid and gently placed Judy’s hand over Peggy’s frame. The lid closed, but Peggy wasn’t afraid. She was with Judy now. Forever. Peggy was tired. This time, she was ready. She knew it was okay to go away. Judy hadn’t forgotten her at all. She had just gone to sleep.
Peggy took a final moment to remember that special day in McDonald’s so many years ago, and then she ceased to be.
The Octopus Homocide
The title makes no sense. I get it. It’ll come clear later.
So, deciding to save some money on salon bills, I went to the pharmacy and picked up some Nice ‘n Easy to dye my hair. I haven’t dyed my own hair since I was 30 years old and gainfully employed. Looking back, I realize why.
So this is what happened:
I picked up the color that I thought matched my current hair color. Went home and dyed my hair. Okay, that’s the gist of it. Here’s what I learned (or forgotten):
- Don’t dye your hair in a sport bra to “save a t-shirt”
- Use gloves when washing your hair
- Check the back of your head before you’re “sure” you’re done
- Methodical application not willy-nilly squeeze-n-pray
Okay, so a few lessons learned. First off, I forgot how incredibly tedious dyeing my own hair is. It took a long time and I couldn’t just sit there and read a book. I had to do it all myself and my arms got sore and I was getting dye all over my face and my neck and my back. I freaked out thinking I’d completely dyed my shoulders and down my spine (later I realized it was just my tattoo – which one day I’ll get rid of, a story for another time).
Then I’m all, “Is it done yet? Did I squish it all over enough?” (The answer to that question, in hindsight, is a resounding NO.)
Then I look at the sink and it’s covered in purple. And the walls. And the floor. And the mirror. And now the cat is making his way towards the bathroom to see what’s what so I gotta slam the door on him lest I poison or dye him.
Finally, it’s time to wash this stuff out. The directions say to lather your hair before rinsing the dye out. I’m like, okay. I can do that. So I’m lathering up a storm, not realizing that my entire shower now looks like I got in a knife fight with an octopus. There’s purple ink all over the shower. I mean, if it was red dye, it would have looked like the pig blood scene from Carrie.
I’m shocked and appalled and thinking, “Oh crap! Ron is going to see this and fuh-reak out!!! So I sacrifice one of our towels and I’m frantically trying to wipe up the shower, oh hey, and there’s more dye spilling down my face and arms because I didn’t think to – oh, I don’t know – completely rinse it out before cleaning the shower? So that happened.
Finally, I get the shower clean-ish. There are still a few drip lines on the wall but I’m hoping he won’t notice (Or read this post.)
After that, it’s hurry up and wait to see how badly I messed it up. Not too bad. If I relegate myself to dark rooms. There’s patches of grey, the top doesn’t match the bottom, and I got a crash course in dying your fingernails, but at least I saved money. (Except that I’ll probably have to go to the salon next week to get it fixed.)
All in all…hair is free and regardless of what I keep doing to it, it keeps growing back, so all this will be but an amusing cautionary tale my husband warns me about when next I decide to dye it myself.
I do still have that second box…
(And, no, I’m not posting a picture.)
Recipe: Red Lobster Biscuits
These biscuits are only the most bestest thing about Red Lobster ever. Back when I lived in Canada, it was a big deal to jump the border (legally, of course, and…ah…in a car) and head to those restaurants you could only find in the U.S. This was one of them. (The other was Jack in the Box and any grocery store that sold Ben and Jerry’s.) Below is a recipe I discovered on the Internets:
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 5 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
- 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, divided
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh parsley (or ¼ teaspoon dried)
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C).
- In a large bowl sift together flour, salt and baking powder.
- Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
- Make a well in the center of flour mixture.
- Add the milk and cheddar cheese; stir to combine.
- Drop batter by spoonfuls onto an ungreased baking sheet.
- Bake in preheated oven for 12 to 15 minutes, until lightly browned.
- While the biscuits are in the oven, stir together the 2 Tablespoons of melted butter, garlic powder and parsley.
- Remove the biscuits from the oven and immediately brush with the topping mixture.
- Allow to cool for at least 5 minutes before serving.
Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container or Ziploc bag at room temperature for up to 3 days.
This recipe makes 1 dozen biscuits of melt in your mouth awesome.
Top 12 Reasons I Should Be Banned from Wrapping Presents
If you could “fail” a skill, this is my skill to fail. And here’s why:
- I use tape like it’s law enforcement
- Giving it “the college try” is an insult because preschoolers can do better
- Angry tape
- There WILL be blood shed
- I don’t overestimate paper sizing, I GROSSLY overestimate paper sizing (as in, you could fit a small village in the leftover paper)
- Presents aren’t “wrapped” so much as they are “inflicted”
- Even my cat knows it’s probably best to stay away during “the dark time”
- Square objects present more problems than round ones because at least you can carpetbag a round one
- Who tapes their own fingers together?
- My presents look like I wrapped them for someone who cut me off in traffic
- Leaving wrapping to the last minute – despite years of trying – does not make me better at it
- I look for reasons to distract myself elsewhere when I should be wrapping – like writing blog posts
CitiKitty Diaries: The Toilet Training Saga
This is the daily record of how I toilet trained my cat, Miko. It just goes to show you that I need a life and my cat is dang awesome. (I really do wish I had done this years ago.)
I used CitiKitty Cat Toilet Training Kit from Amazon (about $30.00) to toilet train my cat. The inserts, while perforated, are a pain in the arse to remove. I suppose that is a good thing since you don’t want them breaking while your cat is standing on them. I ended up using an x-acto knife. It’s basically like opening any toy sealed in hard plastic from Toys R Us so prepare to be annoyed.
I must have read the CitiKitty instructions fifteen times. I also felt the need to order a book on how to toilet train your cat. Talk about over-prepared. I taped the toilet seat up and left this sign right above the toilet:
I placed Miko in the cat litter on the toilet seat and he went pee right away. He spent a good 5 minutes covering, but not overly exuberant with his pawing. He really liked the catnip in his litter. Tried to eat it (before he went pee).
Just fed him so we shall see how he takes to pooping with less litter. I’m trying not to hound him and trying to clean up quick after him so it’s a clean area without smell.
Still waiting on Miko to go poop. He’s not taking the bait. Maybe I should shake him a little. Just kidding. Guess we will see when he really needs to go. It’s after midnight and I need sleep so not while I’m awake, apparently.
Two pees and no poops. Getting a bit stressed over that. He’s been eating and I have plopped him on the seat a few times and given him plenty of praise and affection, but either he’s holding it or he just doesn’t have to go yet.
He’s a real smart cat and it’s hard not to expect a lot from him. I just need to remind myself to take it super slow.
Already 9:27 pm so I may miss the poop if it happens. I’ll most likely be asleep. I keep the doors closed so no pooping in our laundry.
Nate used the bathroom and put the CitiKitty tray down, but not the toilet seat. If Miko had jumped up and that tray went flying training would have been over before it even started.
Luckily, Miko didn’t use the bathroom and I caught it first.
Wheww!! Guess what I woke up to? Poops! I’ve never been so glad to see my cat take a dump! Right spot, no accidents, and me not around.
I had barely cleaned the seat and put new litter in his tray when he hopped up, interrupting me, and went pee. Ohthankgoodness.
Ron and I went out to dinner and when we got back, there was a pee present waiting so that was cool. Yes, I’m obsessed with my cat’s bowel movements.
The cat didn’t have a surprise for me this morning, but after an hour or so of me being awake, he went pee with no problems. Still waiting on a poop, though. Seriously, I think he’s doing this to me on purpose.
Before noon, after he meowed at me, I wandered past the bathroom and he’d left a big present exactly where he should have.
And he discovered where I left the Ziploc bag of catnip and proceeded to attack it, trying to get it open. But not after jumping in the garbage can, which was where I mistakenly put the wrapper that held aforementioned catnip before putting it in the Ziploc.
I’ve since put the catnip in a sealable container and far away in my office. It looked like someone had stashed a bag of weed in my bathroom drawer so that is probably a good thing.
Almost midnight and looks like no more bathroom trips for Miko before I hit the hay. I’m pretty sure there will be a surprise waiting for me in the morning, though.
Woke up to a big pee this morning. Not too much litter on the floor either.
Another big pee just before 1.
No other activity for the rest of the day.
Well, there was a nice big poop waiting for me this morning (where it should be) and a surprise on the couch. The cat threw up all over Ron’s side. So I think he was saying he still loves me best (not puking on my side), but that he’s not above barfing any place he likes. Mental note: teach cat to puke in toilet. Anyway, it looked pretty gritty so I think it was due to me putting catnip in Miko’s litter. He goes so crazy for it, I guess he was chewing down on litter, too. So that’s bad. Pretty glad we got leather couches and not suede.
So, no more cat pot, I guess. He’ll just have to make do with plenty of praise from me. Which he got.
As I was cleaning up, he hopped up on the sink and watches me and, again, the new litter isn’t down more than a minute before he’s on there going pee. So I think he holds it while waiting for a fresh bit. There’s probably not enough litter in his mind to do a second run. It is an adjustment, I’ll admit.
And I’m real glad I’m home to pay attention to what he’s doing and clean up quickly afterward to keep it as pleasant as possible for him.
I remove one of the inserts on Sunday so it will be interesting to see how he handles it.
Woke up to a big pee.
Cleaned his tray and had a back-to-back pee/poo presents.
He did a jump from the sink counter to the toilet tray, which was interesting. Won’t be doing that in a few weeks unless he’s looking for a bath.
But so far this week no accidents so looks good for the next phase tomorrow.
Tomorrow we open up the first hole and see how that goes. (Nail biter!)
I can’t imagine he will go again today, but he may later on tonight.
Present waiting as usual. Go, Miko! So I cleaned up and as we were getting ready for church, I cut out the first insert and hope and prayed Miko would use the toilet before we had to leave so I could monitor and praise as needed.
He checked it out and spent a good five minutes peering into the hole. I’m like, “Great job, sweetie, it’s a hole now pee in it!” Before I stressed him and myself out I patted him several times, cooed at him, then left. And sat in the living room with one ear trained on the bathroom. Since all other doors were closed, when he wandered that way again I was on high alert.
Down to the WIRE!
I hear the familiar moving of litter for, like, ever. Finally, he comes out and gives a quick meow. I don’t know if that means, “Look at what I did!!” Or “Look at what you are making me do!”
I went in and saw most of the litter was gone. I’m all, “Uh-oh…” I had read about a cat that just kicked all the litter into the toilet and just didn’t go. Not exactly conducive to successful potty training. So I started to refill it and, as an afterthought, put my hand in the litter and sure enough a small clump. He’d peed! Most of it must have gone into the hole (my boy has some aim on him!), but there was a bit. I was so proud! (Okay, I get that it’s kind of gross to put my hand on top of the used litter, but how else was I to know? I washed ’em.)
No poops yet so we will see how that goes.
Near midnight and only the one trip to the bathroom that I mentioned earlier.
Woke up to poops and a pee in Miko’s litter. He’d pawed his litter enough that just the poop was sitting there right on top, but nothing was on the floor. Go, Miko! I was so proud. If I could high-paw him, I would. Maybe I’ll teach him that next.
Again, he went pee shortly after I changed his litter.
Oops. I slept in. Nate had flushed the toilet so I don’t know if Miko had wicked good aim or just didn’t poop.
I did clean up when I got up and heard him meowing in the bathroom, but I couldn’t tell if he’d gone potty or just kicked his litter through the hole, freaked out, and gave up.
I guess time will tell on that. Got my eyes peeled.
Okay he went.
Big pee and most through the hole. A little later he went poop with me right there and all but one poop made it through the hole. He was a bit put off by the sound of poops going to the water, but it didn’t deter him and he didn’t freak out by the sound. Nothing like a hysterical cat running through the house, terrified, pooping along the way!
Bit more stress today as there was a lot of meowing around the toilet again. Not stricken, but more help or unsure.
He managed to poop again, but I made the mistake of being there with him again and I don’t want this to be about me holding his paw every time he needs to go.
It really is hard to see if he went or not between the good aim and the pawing litter into the hole. I suppose that is preferable to actually seeing excrement or urine on the white floor.
When I got back from my meeting, Miko had pooped and peed all by himself without me. So, yay! No stress there.
In just a few days we go to the next size.
Cleaned up this morning knowing he went pee, but again either his aim is stellar or he’s holding it in.
Cleaned up again later.
Caught him on the toilet as I walked by and stood there peering into the bathroom darkness. I wasn’t sure if it was a cat shape sitting on the toilet. When he hopped down I realized my mistake. Probably thought I was a stalker. He ended up not going. Argh. My bad.
His litter is clean so we will see what I wake up to. Hopefully not a paw at my throat warning me never to watch him during his private moments ever again.
Another successful day. Miko is a champ. He’s like the Rocky of CitiKitty. Apparently Nate discovered poops and pee in the toilet this morning.
Actually, there was very little running outside to wash his tray today. I just had to replenish litter.
He did a pee, I cleaned, then he hopped up and pooped right in front of me. I’m like, “I thought I’d traumatized you. I see now you enjoy an audience.” Then Miko watched in fascination as the toilet flushed it all away. Like pretty water magic that he wanted to drink. Ew.
Not antsy or jumpy about the flushing at all. He’s doing great, too.
Worked like a charm today. Only one trip outside to wash the tray with the hose. I think the neighbors are beginning to wonder about me.
Woke to shuffled litter so I assume Miko went. I cleaned his tray and refreshed the litter, and he went pee almost immediately.
He’s got this.
A few repetitive quiet meows then he did his thing on the toilet. I heard the plop, plop, plop. I think he prefers me watching. Great. I broke my cat.
Days 19 – 27
Obviously more of the same or I would have written a small novel about it. My cat is freaking brilliant! And his bowel movements are super regular, too!
Today is the first day on the last rung without cat litter. I swept, cleaned the toilet, washed the insert. So we will see how it goes.
The other day Miko was kind of needy and whiny. I may have created an attention-seeking monster with all the high praise I give him after he goes. He also seems to prefer that the toilet is flushed immediately after his first trip to the toilet for a pee so that it’s nice and clean for his poop.
No accidents!! Success!!
No insert, nothing. Nothing but a toilet seat and my cat. He’s meowy, but no problems. PHEWWWW!!
That’s all she wrote, folks. It’s been barely a week and I’ve already acclimated to never ever ever scooping a poop again.
Number of times I said “poop”: 23
My First Novel – “Stranded” (12 Years Old)
So, this particular story was a project for my grade 7 class. I have left the story in its original form, leaving in all grammar, spelling, and my own 12-year old word-smithing. I will have you know that I drew and coloured every single one of these pictures. Enjoy!
Lynn Valley Elementary School
Copyright January 1981 by Melissa C. Brouwers
We were flying around Mt. St. Frederick when suddenly we lost a propellor from the left wing of our plane. We were going in circles and circles. Suddenly we crashed… Right then and there the teacher was killed and Beverly broke her leg. When we finally came to, we decided that we had to have a leader. We decided that it would be Jimmy since he was our student council rep. I jumped out of the plane and found we had landed on a volcano. With the help of Danielle and Suzie we took Beverly out of the plane.
The first thing we did was get all the important things out of the plane. We walked down the Volcano and stood at the bottom waiting for the other kids to bring down Beverly and the equipment. Then we waited, we knew that if we didn’t co-operate that we would surely die! We split up into groups. Some people went to find food, some shelter, and some people water. After we split up and found the things that we needed we went back to the bottom of the volcano. Later on we went back to finding things for our stay.
I looked behind me as I went to collect some food and I saw Jimmy and Ian lying down under a tree. I asked them what they were doing there and they said that they did not want to work! So I said, “If you don’t want to work then you can’t eat our food, sleep in our caves, and drink our water! In fact if you don’t help we will just leave you here to starve!!!” Just then they said “We’re helping, we’re helping.” That was the last time we had trouble with them. “Thank god!”
When everybody started complaining about the groups they were in. We decided that we would pick a partner. Well everybody liked that idea so we went along with it. The system worked like this, nine people would go for water, eight for food and nine for accessories. After we got organized we started to plan our rescue. A couple of people suggested that we light a fire and we thought that it was a good idea so we used it. We started the fire with the package of matches we found in the plane. We put four logs in a square angle, put a little gasoline (from our plane) on the logs. Then we lit fire to them…. Was it ever bright! Later on we decided that Suzie would stay by the fire so that it didn’t go out. The majority won and poor Suzie was either collecting wood or watching the fire. She did that all night. The next day she started complaining. She wanted to take turns with someone. We voted again, this time Marisa was picked. She was the day shift because she wasn’t so brave, and Suzie was brave. They liked that idea so that was their job.
That night we were all thinking about the day of the plane crash, our parents, things like that. Soon, after ten minutes of thinking, Kevin, Jimmy, Kathy, Jayson, Craig, Yvonne and Beverly fell asleep. Everybody else was either stories or falling asleep very quickly. I couldn’t so I just lay there on the ground staring up into the sky. The reason why I could do this was that I was right by the cave door. So I just kept staring. Soon everybody fell asleep. About ten to twenty minutes went by, I was just about to fall asleep when I heard a noise it was a helicopter!! I woke up everybody and we ran down just to find Suzie snoring!! By the time we woke her up the helicopter had already left. Everybody was so depressed! except Suzie, she was still snoring. We went back up to the cave and went to bed…
The next morning I woke up early (which is very unusual for me because I normally wake up at 12:00 in the afternoon). Then I walked down to where Suzie was to go get something to eat. (what I wouldn’t do for some shreddies right now) Just then I heard three boys argueing. It was it was Nicko, Tim and Jim, what a racquet! Jimmy was very edgy. He didn’t like giving out orders. He thought that we thought that he was too snobby and pushy. So we ran into our normal pattern again. We took a vote. We started by making ballots just as soon as everybody was awake. (which wasn’t hard everybody was already awake) Then we told them our plan and started to get ready. When we had finally finished, the candidates, Marisa and Mehboob made up their speeches. That day, Khadija, Danielle, Amber and I made supper.
When supper was finished we began the campaign. Marisa won by three ballots, mainly because we trusted her more than Mehboob. She promised that the more work you did the more privileges, and also that the boys and girls are equal they had to do the same amount of work. Mehboob made promises such as the boys don’t have to work past 3:00 p.m. The girls had to get food, water, clean the caves things like that.
Everything went okay with our new leader. One hot afternoon Robert said to Marisa, “How do you expect us to kill the wild animals? With our bare hands?!” “You are very right. Sooner or later I knew that you were going to ask me this so I have devised a plan. We’ll make blades out of volcanic glass and then we will use very strong sticks.” She divided us up into groups and off we went. About an hour later we came back with all of the equipment. Marisa then said “What we are going to do is make weapons with the things I asked all of you to collect.” She split us up into our groups and we went to work. For three hours we worked. We were all finally finished. I thought I did a pretty good job myself. When we settled down she looked at every spear, knife, and axe. Then she stood up and said that they were great!!
As time passed I decided that I needed a quiet place to think. I missed my mom, my sister (believe it or not) and all my friends. I went walking in the woods and soon found a tall, curved tree which looked very comfortable. I climbed up the tree and lay down on the curved branch on the tree. I just laid there thinking and resting.
After a couple of hours of thinking and resting I got up and went back to the campground. I found Suzie, Amber, and Dana and we went for a walk. In a way you could call it exploring. They all agreed so we left. Dana saw a baby cub, Amber saw an eagle. We kept walking. I opened a big bush and I saw a ceremonial ground. I ran back to the others and then we went back. It had at least six stumps, three coconut trees around it and a sacrificing stone. At first I got the shivers but I soon calmed down.
Suddenly something came out of the bush, We ran so fast that a puma couldn’t even catch us. We were out of there in three seconds flat. Later on we found out that it was only the little bear cub that Dana saw earlier. When we got back to camp we saw Marisa making decorations. “What are you doing?” I asked. “We’re having a party.” “What kind of party?” “An arrival party.” Once we heard that we got right to work. At six o’clock we had the party.
An hour went by and then Marisa silenced everyone. She heard something. It was a plane! Not an ordinary plane, a rescue plane!! Everyone did what they had to. Even Suzie! Then it landed. We are going back to civilization. “Civilization, here I come!”
Boring Information That’s Actually Important
- Airplane safety procedures. Do you know how to inflate that life preserver if the plane plummets into the freezing Pacific Ocean?
- The “do not top off” gas pump warning. Other than the fact that someone can probably turn your car into a bonfire from the trail of gas trickling down the concrete, you not only just wasted several cents, but you’re gonna have to wipe the gas off the side of your car unless you relish damaging that expensive paint job.
- Wearing safety goggles. It’s probably best to say adios to looking cool and hola to keeping your eyes in your sockets where they belong.
- Metal objects in electrical sockets. Because you will, in fact, get a shock. Sure, the sound is kind of fun, but the scare is not worth it.
- Letting steam out of the popcorn bag slowly. It’s amazing how much hot compressed air really does burn like a freaking furnace to the face.
- Touching hot pans. Remember when Mom used to nag nag nag about not touching the pan on the heated element? And then, years later, as an adult – you did? Call your mom. Right now. And say you’re sorry.
- Utilizing the toilet waste receptacles. My gosh, please. I get that you’re done, but I haven’t started yet and there’s a big piece of hospital bed paper sitting halfway inside the toilet and your bum has been on it and I really don’t want to touch it. Oh, and for the love of Pete, it’s not like they need a sign to say this, but please flush. Is it really so technical? I hope you washed your hands! Don’t even get me started on flow days…
- Reading IKEA instructions. This is mandatory. Unless you like sitting in your living-room with a small army of L-screws, bolts, wing nuts, square nuts, carriage bolts, hex bolts (now I don’t even know what I’m saying) and thread cutting machine screws with plenty of time to rip your own hair out.
- Mixing colors and whites in the wash. However, if – like me – you do it enough times, someone else will eventually take over the laundry because he doesn’t appreciate pink boxer shorts.
- Microwave heating instructions. Because if it can cook a cat, it can burn your meal.
- Washing labels. Cashmere sweater + hot water + dryer = Barbie sweater.
- Signs about not feeding the animals. You’re just giving them an entitlement complex. It’s bad enough in America, must we inflict this kind of self-indulgent laziness on the animal kingdom, too? Plus, as an added bonus, you might get your hand chomped off.
- Test instructions. They really do throw in a curve-ball when they tell you any answer letter but “C”. Alternatively, using pencil or a specific color of pen and getting 0/100 because the scanner couldn’t read your ink.
- Hazardous Materials warnings. Well, if you’re wondering why your fingers are melting off, you might want to go back and check the label a little more thoroughly this time.
- Danger warnings. Really? If my parachute’s not totally secure and double checked, it’s possible I might actually die if I hit the ground at 90 miles per hour? Well, that’s good to know. How else can this little adventure go wrong?
- Reading ingredient labels. It only takes one peanut allergy and a frantic drive to the ER for anaphylactic shock to encourage you to check those food labels.
- Movie theater etiquette clips. I get it. They’re not funny. They try, but they’re not. Now, you may not care that you’re not supposed to be texting, talking, laughing, encouraging your infant to scream during an R-Rated horror movie, or toss your popcorn around, but it’s a safe bet that someone nearby will inform you…with extreme physical prejudice…if you cheese them off badly enough. If there was a public movie-theater shaming system, I’d contribute to it gladly. And anonymously.
- “By appointment only” signs. You only need to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous time sinks to make a mental note and do your homework next time.
- Higher education deadlines. They really do not care if you miss them. At all. Really. They’ll happily take your money and give you the F, not enroll you in the class, and/or not let you graduate. Plus, you’re in college now. Srsly?
- Instructions on ANY government form. Because they also don’t care if you didn’t fill it out correctly. They don’t even have to answer the phone so you’ll probably end up screaming at a recorded message.
- One size does NOT fit all. Sorry, the label just lied to you. They can say it in a million different ways and for a million different items, but it is NOT TRUE.
- Warning signs about walking on ice-covered lakes. We’ve all seen the movies where people fall through the ice, get trapped underneath, and can only stare helplessly at the sky through the thick layer of frozen water as they panic and drown. If that isn’t the freakiest way to die dumbly, I don’t know what is. (Actually, if you give me a few minutes, I can probably come up with a few things.)
- Q-Tips in your ears. Actually, I don’t know why not. My friend’s mom in elementary school used bobby pins in her daughter’s ears to get out the wax. This seems far kinder. And I wouldn’t want to put my elbow in my ear, even if I could.
- Mixing bleach and toilet bowl cleaner warnings. While the fecal stains may be make their way off your toilet bowl, your dead body on the side of the toilet probably isn’t worth it. Combining the two produces a deadly chlorine gas. Maybe it would be better to clean the toilet bowl a little more regularly. Or poop at a friend’s house.
- This Side Up. From fax to photocopies, nothing screams newb like receiving a blank document. Especially if it’s a hundred pages and you went off to get a coffee.
- Expiration dates. Unless you’re a fan of plenty of diseases, it’s probably a good idea to pay attention to these. They’re not “best before” dates, but expiration dates. As in “expire”. As in “don’t eat it unless you’re desperate” and even then, have that clean toilet bowl ready.
- Flight Times and Gate Numbers. There’s nothing more fun than running, last-minute, for a flight and discovering it left an hour ago, the gate changed to the other side of the airport, or the flight was yesterday.
- Pop-Up Messages. Your computer is probably trying to tell you something. Like, for instance, “do you want to delete all files and erase the hard drive?” is probably something worth reading before you mindlessly click that “OK” button.
- Staring at the sun. Because you could, like, go blind or something. Then you can’t stare at it anymore what with those damaged retinas.
- Backing over traffic spikes. Sure, there’s that teeny tiny part of you that is exhilarated while you drive forward over these things, but imagine the ridiculous amount of tire damage you’d cause if you backed over them. Maybe the pop! sound would be worth it. For half a nanosecond. Then you’d just feel dumb.
Video: The Front Fell Off
I just love this video. Cracks me up every time I see it.
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