Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Readers' Comments

Dear Readers:

Since my blog has become so popular over the years and since I'm so well known internationally on Facebook and Twitter, I get A LOT of reader feedback. A LOT, folks. I am humbled by the overwhelming response and interest in my life. Truly, I am. Believe me, I realize that I owe it all to my fans. Seriously. That's why I wanted to take just a moment to dig deep into the virtual mailbag and respond to just a few of my readers' inquiries:

Do you have a boyfriend?
Eric V. in Pennsylvania

In a word: no. While I do not discriminate against dating humans (if, in fact, that is what you are), I am currently already in a complicated inter-species relationship with a dog. (Please see my Facebook profile.)

Come out from behind your cloak of deciet and say who you are! I literally "hate" cats, and have no intention of friending one. Your stupid!
Anonymous from an unnamed town

While I believe that your lack of grammar is a far greater problem than our FB friendship, it appears that you didn't actually ask a question.

Who inspires you?
Cher in California

Oh, that's easy. Chaka Khan.

During your recent escape to Egypt, what did you learn?
Jane the Pain in Canada

Hmmm, good question. I learned very little as I have tried to escape again several times since then. A cat's brain is wired differently than a human's, so I don't really expect you to understand my insatiable wanderlust.

Which beach do you prefer: Cannes or The Outer Banks?
Natalie in D.C.

Ah, a trick question. We both know that those beaches are exactly the same. Good try, silly girl.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

For the Love of Pam

I think it's a shame that Pam from "Urban Cowboy" wasn't in more movies. She really brings that whole flick together. She's got the Crystal Gayle hair, the Cadillac, the cowgirl couture. And you know when she's got her hair up in a bun, it's a special occasion--like a funeral or a fancy night on the town in "Houston proper." I also like how she knows the difference between bourbon and whiskey. And when Bud's wife crashes Uncle Bob's funeral, Pam says to Bud, "Come on, the family car's waiting." But you know what Pam really means is, "Be gone!" And when the whole movie comes to a head during rodeo competition and Charlie Daniels is playing "Devil Went Down to Georgia" on his fiddle, Pam shows up wearing this fringe-y halter top thing and you just KNOW she had it made especially for that occasion. That's class.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Christmas in July and Every Day

I think about Christmas all the time.

And, when I say all the time I mean ALL THE TIME. (Obviously, since here I am writing about it in July.) It's a constantly swirling thought in my head. Like a yuletide Tourette Syndrome. (No offense meant to folks with garden variety Tourette's.)

I'm always asking people, "What did you want for Christmas last year that you didn't get??" Sometimes, when I'm in my office interviewing someone who has applied to be a member of my staff, I'll throw that question in there just to see how a person handles it. Their answer speaks VOLUMES.

All year long, I keep a notebook of gift ideas for friends, family, and co-workers. If we've ever spoken, there's a page devoted to you in my Christmas notebook. Oh, yes. I guarantee it. If we're enemies, the list might have stuff on it like "Gas-X" or "air fresheners," but it's a personalized Christmas list, just the same.

If someone in the office happens to mention, "I like Dunkin' Donuts," that night I'll make a note of it--"Dunkin Donuts gift card for Aunt Shirley?" It's one of the last things I do before I go to bed. Every night. Maybe the person is someone I don't even plan to buy a Christmas gift for, but I record the information, just in case. If a someone ever asks me, "Do you have any gift ideas for so'n'so?" then all I have to do is open up the book. (Of course, very few people ask me for gift ideas and simply opt to give the gift of Omaha Steak, a perennial favorite.)

And, yes, I know that gift-giving is not what Christmas is all about...unless, of course, you're wrappin up some gold, frankincense, and myrhh. I get it.

Even though I've got six months of birthdays, anniversaries, and baby showers before Dec. 25 rolls around, I don't consult my gift diary for those events. The notebook is strictly for Christmas. You'd think I'd shop all year long, but I don't. I start sometime in November, whip myself into a frenzy, and then scale my list way back. Sometimes, I buy everyone the same thing--like Tupac CDs.

By the time Dec. 26 arrives, I've started a new notebook. Chronicling gift ideas--and thinking every night of the people I'd like to buy for--has somehow turned into more fun that actually shopping. I guess it really is the thought that counts.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

I Fell Off the Wagon

I know this is supposed to be a blog about going off the grid and living frugally, but I have to admit something to my loyal followers: I went shopping yesterday. For stuff I didn't even need. And it felt good. I bought underwear--even though cats don't wear clothes--and a book of children's Bible stories for the human kid. She had tired of hearing me repeat the loaves and fishes story over and over, so I needed some new material for bedtime. (Yes, I know I could've easily looked up these stories in my personal Bible, but I prefer the illustrated, kids' version.)

I also bought some rocks glasses. And a bottle of banana liqueur and a 2-liter of Mountain Dew for a housewarming gift. I do not regret that purchase, as the Monkey Dews we drank were the highlight of the party. (The liqueur was only $9.99, a half price savings of the $19.99 bottle of ouzo that I'd originally considered buying.) Since I refrained from buying the Betty Boop shot glasses, I think I've seen the error of my ways. All I can do now is get back to my original goal. On a positive notes, I paid off my Lowe's card, so I guess it all evens out. Tomorrow's another day, after all.

Friday, July 9, 2010

The Free Lunch

Send everyone an invitation to "Salad Day" in the conference room. Make sure everyone signs up to bring a couple things. Contribute with stuff that's already in your fridge--like half-full bottles of Thousand Island and that stale bag o' croutons. Toss in the bag of dried-out mini carrots that's been in the bottom drawer since you moved into your house. Or the quart jar of pickles your mother-in-law canned back in '08. When your boss asks what he can bring, suggest something expensive, like mini-shrimp or smoked gouda. Cost: $0.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

That's $4.99 in the BANK!

I was walking through the mall today and found a pair of shorts for $4.99. (People were like, "Hey, there's a cat in the mall!") So, I'm standing in line ready to buy my shorts, and these women in front of me couldn't decide between two pairs of flip-flops and whether or not they should sign up for a rewards card. As I stood there, I realized these were not my dream shorts. First of all, cats don't even wear shorts. Second, I already have plenty of cat couture in the closet at home. So, I walked away. Cost: $0.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

A Jar of Pickles is the Perfect Wedding Gift

Hoo, it weddin' season and that sure does get expensive. Sure, you could buy something off the couple's registry, but that's not very frugal. Besides, while all that oil is spilling into the gulf, don't you feel guilty frettin about which blender to buy and what color gift bag to put it in just for Chris 'n' Rachel's nuptials? All you really need is a jar of homemade bread'n'butter pickles and a tag with a scripty font that reads:

1. Sweet and Sour of Life
As part of your wedding vows, you will stand by each other in good times (sweet) and bad (sour). May these bread'n'butter pickles embody both the sour and the sweetness of life. Enjoy.

2. Mustard Seed Faith
Matthew 17:20 says, "I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you." A happy marriage centers on faith, and, if you have faith as small as the mustard seeds contained within this jar, everything else in life is a bonus.

3. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts
May the many ingredients of this jar symbolize all of the qualities that the two of you bring to the marriage. As Aristotle wrote, "The whole is greater than the sum of its parts." Hope y'all have fun mixin it up!

Is it cheap? Sure, it is. But, really, what's more important? Buying a blender for your cousins or paying off your credit card(s), student loan, car loan, etc.? You're never gonna be able to pay for that trip to Tuscany if you keep wastin your money on silly stuff like wedding gifts. Besides, these two crazy kids will be starving after the reception and will need a snack on the way to the airport.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Gluten-free recipe

For those with Celiac disease:

Beer contains gluten. Whiskey--because it's distilled instead of brewed--does not. YAY for whiskey!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Java Blues

I went to the corner coffeehouse yesterday to meet with my book group. I ordered my usual chai tea latte with soy and whipped out my debit card. The hipster dude wearing the circa 1992 sherpa hat said, "Don't you have cash? We require cash for orders less than $10."

I said, "Dude, I'm a cat. It was hard enough walking two blocks carrying a debit card. You think I have the ability to tie a wallet around my neck like some sorta St. Bernard?"

He said, "OK, I'll let you use your card THIS time."


Friday, July 2, 2010

The Best Gift Ever

Dude, I think I'm gonna order steak branding irons anytime I need a gift. It's economical. And fun. It's a good father's day gift. Or wedding gift (get "X" and "O" branding irons for the happy couple). It's the perfect size for a great stocking stuffer. I mean, who doesn't like to personalize a steak? Hell, I'm allergic to steak, but I'd still like to mark one with a giant letter "B." Probably not a good gift for people in nursing homes, cuz they usually don't have access to grills. But, some of the fancier nursing homes probably allow grilling, so it still might work for them. Cost: $10.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Sweet 'n' Sour Chicken, y'all

My whole goal in life is to use up the stuff that's already sitting around my house, buying as little as possible. That way, I can save up my money and go to Tuscany in 2012. For dinner, I tried to think up a meal that wouldn't involve a trip to the grocery store. (It's difficult for me to drive places because I'm a cat and human vehicles are big and cumbersome.)I found a bottle of sweet'n'sour sauce sitting next to the flour. There was chicken in the freezer. I snipped a lilac bell pepper from the garden while chasing a bird and two rabbits from the yard. Pineapple? Had some chunks in a can. Broccoli? Bought some locally grown a few days ago, and it was still sittin in the fridge. Dinner: sweet'n'sour chicken. Cost: $0.