Hello, friends. I know it has been a while. Lots has happened. I know I’m overdue for a posting, so here goes:

I had a nice visit to Philly and New York last week where I got to see my family. Mom and Dad are doing well, except for the fact that Dad has a broken ankle. I hope he gets better soon! A good time was had by all, especially with my niece and nephew, who are growing like weeds! They are great kids, with great parents. My lovely sister and I had a nice bottle of wine at Il Posto Accanto on 2nd St. Tasty wines and tasty food. And the best company!

I also bought a case of Italian Wines at Italian Wine Merchants on Union Square. They are beautiful! It was a good birthday present that should last a while (if I can control myself)!

And it was my birthday on Friday. I’m getting awfully close to a certain big birthday that ends in a “0,” so I am happily clinging to my thirties for one more year. It was a great birthday. Cupcakes at happy hour, visiting my family, a party last night… I like the whole “birthday week” celebration concept.

The sad news is that I lost another kitty. Princess Callie died last Wednesday. I found her when I got home from New York. She was old and tired, but I wasn’t ready to lose her yet, and it was a shock. I miss her.

The ones I have left are still relatively young and healthy, so I hope to not lose any more of them for a while. I hope not.

I haven’t been feeling particularly sabbatical-ish lately. I’ve been working on our annual Honors Ceremony, which is a worthy venture, but it has been sucking up all of my time. I’ve had no time to read or work on language stuff, or really even veg that much. My sabbatical report is going to be interesting. I’ll try not to sound too bitter. Hee! But today, I have most of the things done that I needed to do, so maybe I’ll work on some knitting and catch up on the Tivo.

I’ll write again later this week. Hugs to everyone. I hope you are happy and healthy. Smooches.

Oh wait!  The fox!  I think she and the babies have moved on.  I haven’t seen any evidence of them hanging around lately.  It was fun to have them here and I hope they enjoyed their stay.  Hopefully they are back in the country now, running around, with plenty of food to hunt.

So, I was able to get a few pictures of the fox! And what’s even better–she has at least two babies! Man, they are cute. They are grayish-brown and could fit in the palm of my hand. You can just make one of the babies out in the bottom center of the last photo. The photos aren’t that great, since I had to take them through the front window.

What’s bad, though, is that the “gifts” she is leaving on the front porch are getting more gruesome. I found a raccoon head this morning.  That’s right–the head, and nothing but the head.  At first, my heart sank, because I thought it was one of the babies. But on closer inspection, it was a raccoon. It was pretty disgusting. I was tempted to take a photo, but believe me–you don’t want to see it. So the raccoon head is in the trash right now, and I’m still waiting to spot the fox and the babies again.

I guess she is not really leaving “gifts” for me. She is probably bringing the food back to the den, and then throwing out the inedible stuff. But ew. I really don’t like cleaning up raccoon heads.

This is really cool! I’ll try to get more pictures, but I can’t really get close to her in person. I don’t think I’d want to, anyway. Rabies shots are not on my list of favorite future plans.

So there you go!

Cheers, peeps!

So I have a new pet. There is a fox living under my front porch. I saw him yesterday morning running through the back yard. I haven’t been able to get a picture of him, but I am trying! I was out last night, and my neighbor called me to tell me that the fox was hanging out on my front porch, just “watching the world go by.” I don’t know what to name him.

I knew I had a critter living under there, because something had dug a big hole under the porch. I have seen dead little critters and other foodstuffs around. The other morning, I was greeted with this, as I opened the front door:

Nice. There were also two pieces of pumpernickel–the little slices that one has at parties. I think he wanted a sandwich, but had no mustard. He must be a very classy fox to eat those little slices of cocktail sandwich bread. So, needless to say, I removed said smelly turkey leg (I think it is a turkey leg. At any rate, I don’t want to think about what else it could be.) and pumpernickel from the porch. If anyone came to the door, I would not want them to think that I just throw my garbage out on the front porch. “But, it’s the FOX,” I would say. “And I’m a vegetarian!” Yeah, sure…

So I am not going to feed the fox. He or she is doing quite well on his or her own. And I haven’t seen any Purina Fox Chow at the supermarket lately, so that takes care of that.

I guess this makes me a foxy lady. Yeah, sorry about that one.

So I will try to get a picture. The big problem with foxes is that they scream. Yes, they scream. I haven’t heard this one scream yet, but last year, there were some fox sightings and horrible nocturnal screechings in the neighborhood and the aforementioned neighbor told me that the two were linked. So, I hope my fox is a happy one and that he won’t be screaming in the night.

Now I can add the fox to my list of “pets”:  cats, racoons, possums, a feral chicken, and now a fox.   The fun never stops in Kansas.

My daffodils are up. Spring is here!

And you can just make out the hyacinths coming up too. I planted a ton of bulbs two falls ago. Last year, they started to come and we got a two-week deep freeze in April that killed everything. I hope that doesn’t happen this year. So, the hyacinths will be in full bloom soon and then–tulip time! Spring flowers are the best! But, note the leaves still waiting to be raked from the fall. Sigh…

I’m still keeping busy and have a pile of books still to read:

I think I need to consider downgrading from “read” to “scan.”

So, that’s all the news that’s fit to print for now. I will do my best to get a photo of my new pet fox.

Cheers, everyone! Be happy and healthy.


So, the nice thing about my sabbatical being more than half over now, is that at least winter is on the way out. It’s still chilly and windy outside, but sunny and much nicer than it was even a week ago. I cleaned out my gutters this weekend. For some reason, I feel so virtuous after I do a big outdoor project like that. So it turns out I probably need new gutters anyway, and maybe I cleaned them out for nothing, but it still felt good to do it. Next, I have to get rid of the leaves in the yard, which I should have done in November. Whatevs.

The Provost had me hopping last week, doing some research and gathering some ideas. I have been busier than I had ever anticipated being on sabbatical since before spring break, and I’m thinking I need to scale back my goals a bit. But I’m trying to see the bright side–having a break from teaching and grading for a semester, even though I don’t feel like I’m getting away from it all is still a nice thing. And I’ll get done what I can get done. Just having the time to clean the house and read a lot at the beginning of the semester has been a boon. So, this thing is what it is and I’m not going to stress about it too much.

I think making some kind of schedule for the rest of the semester will help. I might just do that. I’ll put plenty of knitting and watching Tivo.

OK, sorry I’ve rambled. More tomorrow.

So, I’m getting there!  I have finished the back and part of a sleeve.  But, I will have to do redo part of the sleeve because it is too narrow at the cuff.  No biggie.  Here are some pics:

I love Aran knitting.  I can see how it would certainly keep those women’s minds sharp!  It takes a lot of planning.  I have had to write down every single row I have done, because I am working several patterns at once, and I have to keep track of my place on all of the patterns at once.  The yarn is lovely.  I can feel the lanolin on it when I am working with it.  I got the pattern and the yarn from Clan Aran.   It would be fun to make the Joyce one next.  We’ll see.

I’m still full from the gorgonzola and peas.  I think I need to buy bigger clothes.

Peace out, peeps!

Oh god! There is no better combination, but I think I need to be milked now. I made a gorgonzola sauce for my pasta. Oh, so tasty, but lordy, is it rich. Recipe:

Tortellini with peas and gorgonzola sauce:

2 Tbsp butter (or more–who’s counting?)

1 pint heavy whipping cream

1 8-oz wedge of gorgonzola cheese, mashed up into crumbles (you can buy it already crumbled–saves a step!)

1 tsp ground sage


1 small bag frozen green peas (or use fresh for better results!)

1 bag frozen spinach tortellini (they are about 20 ozs.) But, you know what is even better? 1 bag frozen portobello mushroom ravioli! OMG! I couldn’t get them this time, though.

1 cardiac defibrillator standing by…

Cook the peas (I just microwave them in a bit of water for about 5 minutes. Cook the tortellini or ravioli according to package directions.


Melt the butter in a saucepan. When the butter starts to get brown, dump in the cream over medium heat. Heat until it gets hot, but don’t let it boil. It’s good to stir it a lot so it doesn’t stick to the bottom. Add the sage and lots of pepper. When the cream gets almost to boiling, turn off the heat and throw in the gorgonzola. Stir and let it all melt in there and the sauce will thicken. Get a big bowl, throw the drained, cooked tortellinis in there, the drained, cooked peas, and pour the sauce on top.

Oh lord. I just ate me a huge portion. It was so good, but I must go lay down now. I hope you understand. Enjoy!

Spring break feels pretty much like every week when one is on sabbatical.  But, I am actually not doing any work this week, in solidarity with my colleagues.  It is rough, but I’m wiling to do it.  The bad thing is that this means my sabbatical is half-over.  Crunch time!

My latest sabbatical project–playing with my new DVR.  You were right, Bina.  It is da bomb!  And for some reason, my satellite TV bill is actually cheaper with this.  Go figure.  I was hesitant to get it, because I don’t watch a whole lot of TV, but I am loving this.  Now, I can actually see the few things I want to see, but don’t have time to watch when they are broadcasted.  It’s great fun.  So, I am enjoying that this week and will be ready to get busy again next week.  Time is ticking.

I am cleaning the house.  I don’t have dust bunnies, I have dust mammoths.  Eesh.  But it’s nice to do the spring cleaning.  We’re having a warmer week and I am so glad.  I love this time of year–just as spring is getting started.  It will be so nice through Memorial Day and then it will get ghastly hot.  Spring is a good thing.  I’d love to get out in the yard this week too and do some cleaning up in preparation for spring flowers.

I’m not doing so well with the Total Health Plan.  But I will get there.  But cleaning the house is good and good for me–I read some study about living in a dirty house lead to depression and unhealthy habits.  So, this is a good place to start.  I just have to keep it clean now.  It is especially good right now because Sarty peed on things a lot and having him gone means I don’t have to deal with that anymore.  So, it’s nice to get everything cleaned up and hopefully, it will be easier to keep clean from now on.

OK, I’ve rambled enough.  Happy spring, y’all

Thanks to everyone for the lovely sympathy thoughts over Sarty. I got his ashes back yesterday.  The Humane Society people are wonderful.   And yes!  There is another “Rainbow Bridge” reference!   I have to learn more about this Rainbow Bridge thing…  I will write more about that later.

So, I didn’t much done this week, except for meetings and some administrative things.  This coming week is spring break!  Funny how that doesn’t mean as much this year.  But I’m not going to do any work!  I hope I can work on the house and even do some things in the yard.  I’ll blog more too!

So, I have to run, but I wanted to say thanks to everyone for the kind words.  I am lucky to have such good friends.

So, sabbatical is so much fun!  My kitty, Sarty, died today, after living with diabetes for several years.  He joins his brother, Tolstoy, who met a similar fate back in November.  I miss them both.  But I’m glad the brothers are together in kitty heaven.

Here is my sweet boy:


It’s amazing how healthy he looks in this picture and how bad he looked in the end.  I knew that after his brother died, it wouldn’t be long for him, but he went downhill much faster than I thought he would.  So, I’m glad not to have to see him suffer any more.

Here is his brother, Tolstoy, who died in November:


His posing with the alarm clock is a whole other story…

But my boys are gone.  I am looking on the bright side: no more insulin shots.  When I go away, kitty care will be MUCH easier.  Both boys were not using the litter box so much at the end and my life has now gotten definitely easier.   But I miss them.  I won’t be replacing them, because I have plenty of others who are still alive and kicking:



 Callie, aka “The Princess”

“Big” Mittens

Connor and Chloe, who really aren’t mine.  They are my “wards” for now.

So, I still have plenty of kitties around to keep me happy and sane, which is a good thing.

Bye bye to my boys.  I hope you are frolicking together in a field of catnip right now.  I love you.

So, I already told you about the most recent favorite wine and the Arnott’s chocolate biscuits. Here are some other things I am enjoying right now:

In the music category: Kila. This is a wonderful band from Ireland who play traditional Irish music with Eastern European and sort of generally funky overtones. They are great fun and absolutely brilliant. If you are interested, I would start with the one on the left, Tog e go bog e (my computer won’t let me do diacritic marks!). The one on the right, Gambler’s Ballet, is a more recent one and also lots of fun.

In the TV category: Coupling and the West Wing. Coupling is a great BBC show that has been out for a few years now. I think the tried to make an American version, but it didn’t fly. It’s sort of like Friends, but a less G-rated version. Very funny. I could never watch the West Wing when it was on, because I have always had dance class on Wednesday nights. But thanks to Netflix, I am watching the DVDs. It is such a great show. The humor is fast and witty and the acting is superb.

In the book category, the Pendergast novels by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. They are detective novels–well done, well researched and just fun. What is sabbatical without some pleasure reading? I just finished Brimstone and am reading Dance of Death right now. There are eight Pendergast (the protagonist) novels and they are worth reading in order.

In the goods and services category, Netflix. It’s just awesome. This is what is allowing me to watch my new favorite TV shows. Our video store went out of business, so this is the only practical way for me to rent videos now. And it’s so convenient! However, I did just order DVR service, so we will see. That might become my new favorite in the goods and service category.

In the entertainment/past time category, Scrabble. Scrabble is seriously fun, and builds brain power. Yeah, Scrabble!

OK, so maybe I should do some work now. But I don’t feel like it. But I will…


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