I’ve been pining for the absurdity and intellect of Monty Python of late, which probably says something terrible about the state of the world in general.

2017: It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Given that I’m quoting Dickens, whom I don’t enjoy 98% of the time, that also says something terrible about the state of the world in general.

We bought a house in Maine. Some of us moved to Maine. Winter had a great summer at a great day camp in my home town that’s been there for ages but I never knew it existed. We went to a resort in VA for a company retreat. We went to Pennsic. Winter started kindergarten!!! She also turned 6!!! (Where does the time go?) I got the house mostly unpacked in time to host a wonderful Christmas.

Unfortunately, I’ve also become less patient in the past year. I’m less accepting of willful ignorance. I’ve no time for unprofessional bs. I’m disinclined to be tolerant of people who are only thinking of themselves and their own needs or wants. I’m incredibly done being nice to people who can’t think long term or, worse, who don’t want to think long term. I have found myself incredibly irritated when someone does something predictably self-centered or short-sighted and it messes up my schedule. (If only they would schedule their predictable bs, it would be easier.) You can imagine how much patience I have for the current political climate. Actually, save your creativity: I have no patience for American politics.

But also… I’ve made new friends, including some great neighbors. I’ve seen a couple, but not enough, old friends. I love living in Maine – I was a fool to stay away so long. We had a gorgeous, living-in-a-snow-globe white Christmas. It’s been ruthlessly cold rather early in the season, but that means the trees that got encased in ice 2 weeks ago are still glinting in the light every morning and evening when sun is low in the sky.

Finally, I got a snow plow lesson from the best neighbor ever and got to plow on Christmas. After staying up late as a kid, watching the snow plows and hoping for a snow day, I finally got to plow snow myself. It’s physics, it’s fun, it seems like I could get remarkably precise at it, and I want to do it more.

Oh, hey, did you notice there’s a possible blizzard coming in on Thursday?

Someone is raising 51 reindeer for Santa in our kitchen. Her she is in her sleigh. #100happydaysPreparation is the first line of defense against chaos.

Sunday evening, while someone is in the bath, is time to prep for the week. Lunches are planned for school, little containers filled, drinks and yogurts are counted and arranged in the fridge. The nap mat is located and put on the table so it’s not forgotten in the morning. At some point, clothing for the next day is selected.

And in there somewhere, I’ll actually do something for myself: set up the coffee for the morning. Ok, that step might be as much for myself as those around me.

Then there’s laundry, which is the most perpetual thing in the universe.

And yet, when I complete all this and sit for a moment before heading up for reading time, there’s a bizarre sense of accomplishment. It’s not much, it’s not even a herculean effort. It feels more like the quick, tiny, precise non-stop motion of bees in the hive than something epic. And yet, whoa… look at everything all ready for the week: coffee, stacks of fruit for lunches, all the bits and pieces ready to go out the door.

Why is this so satisfying? Perhaps because each moment spent in preparation removes any number of delays, decisions, and moments of chaos later in the week. Or perhaps because I’ve been subsumed by motherhood and domesticity. Or perhaps I’m just happy exerting control over what little I can these days…

Control is important, too, when your 5 year old is keeping 51 reindeer in the kitchen, training them for Santa, of course.

Hearts and stars.Today’s outfit, selected and implemented by Winter herself: hearts and stars. Eventually we coaxed her into socks.

And suddenly another year has passed in the blink of an eye. I can’t say 2016 was a great year or even a good year, but it was a survivable year, so we’ll carry on. In many ways I feel like it was a year of progress but not necessarily in the direction I wanted, expected or even aimed for. It was also a year of sadness, disappointment, anger and shouting back. Again, whatever, moving on to a new year.

Cookbook culling.There are definitely aspects of 2017 I’m not looking forward to, but I’m going to try to be hopeful and optimistic. At least I’ve brushed up on my ability to tell random, rude strangers to mind their own business, shut up and/or go away. Yeah, Fall was like that.

In other news, I finally culled my cookbooks. This means that my shelves don’t look over-stuffed and chaotic anymore. I’m hoping to re-home some of the now-orphaned cookbooks. (Let me know if you’re interested.) There will be more culling in preparation for Northward Migration.

Hardcore NYE = a mandatory car nap.We had a lovely time at Tom & Cathy’s New Year’s Eve party last night. Winter and her friend C stayed up allllll the way to midnight (and a little beyond) which meant a mandatory car nap today. She was VERY reluctant to take said nap. She resisted, she fought, she struggled to stay awake. In the end, the car nap was victorious. She’s a lot of fun, positively delightful, when she’s had enough sleep. I’m hoping we’ll see that fun little girl tomorrow after a long, happy night’s sleep.

I’m going into 2017 rather determined and stubborn. This will be either very good or very frustrating. There are some fabulous things on the horizon for the next 12 months. Like the beginning of any arbitrary time period, 2017 has immense potential and I’m going to help it deliver some serious awesome.

Some years it's hard to be a daffodil. #flowers #snow #100happydaysThe snow is lovely today. It seems to be letting up now after 6+ hours of concentrated precipitation. It’s hovered right around freezing all day but it still accumulated more than expected.

Facebook has helpfully reminded me that this is my 6th iPad-versary. On this day in 2010, I purchased my first iPad, the original one. That iPad is currently sitting, fully drained of charge, on an adjacent desk here in my office. My next iPad, the pre-iPad Air model, is mostly claimed by Miss W these days but I still use it for testing for work and such. My third iPad, which I’ve had for about 18 months now, is my favorite thus far: an iPad Mini 3. I love the size, the weight, and the overall utility of this little device.

The iPad Mini is the first device I’ve felt achieves the Star Trek level of awesome. It’s portable, powerful and always connected. I can do work on it, play on it, read on it, or research on it. While I can do a lot of that on my iPhone as well, the iPad Mini nails the compromise of screen size and portability for me. It’s small enough to fit in a small bag or purse or even a coat pocket. It’s light enough to hand to someone without worrying about dropping it. And after I added an OtterBox case, it’s just the right size and weight for me.

Your mileage may vary, but I’ve found my device soulmate, at least for now.

And so end my ramblings on this snowy Saturday.

Feet and sleep. #100happydays

With a heavier heart than I ever imagined, I must share with you that our dearest Tennyson, aka Monster Cat, aka Mr. Paw, aka Monsieur Chat, aka Mr. Sir, aka The Gray one, etc., has passed away. Last Monday, his health began to decline rapidly and on Wednesday he left us. Our hearts are broken. He had a wonderful life and was spoiled rotten until the very end. I think he actually enjoyed having a toddler – Winter would give him ALLLLL the treats in the bag, not just a small handful.

We miss him desperately. I miss him desperately. I keep expecting to see him, or, worse, seeing something out of the corner of my eye and I’m assuming for a split second it’s him. Mornings are the worst because he’s not here to say good morning to. And now, I cry forever.
You are far cuter than my laptop, Sir.
Tenny was the greatest cat. I started working from home in 2006, he became my office mate. Actually, that’s putting it mildly… he became my deskmate, my conference call buddy and constant companion. He was very good at keeping me from stressing too much by providing catnip diversions. When I’d travel for work, I’d come home to him sitting at the top of the stairs giving me a look like, “Oh, you decided to come back to me, did you? We’ll see about that.” He’d give me the cold-shoulder for a couple hours and then demand all the attention he missed while I was gone.


He played fetch.

He loved his Cat Containment System (cat bed), especially when it was on my desk.

His constant companions, the Mini Cats, are doing ok. Abby and Tasha bonded with Tenny when they were kittens. They haven’t really had much use for us thumb-monkeys, perhaps until now. Just this evening, Abby meowed, flopped on the floor, and demanded (then allowed!) that I rub her tummy. Tasha has been more vocal than ever and her usual attention-getting routines have elongated.

Everyone has been incredibly supportive. I’m very glad I got to share Tenny with so many people because it has eased his passing a tiny bit to know that his awesomeness did not go unnoticed in this world. I don’t know what will become of the comic strip. It was on hiatus for Spring and Summer due to a combination of work and life chaos. On one hand, I’ve missed doing the strip. On the other, I can’t imagine doing it without him.

And now my pj shirt is so wet from bawling through writing this that I’m going to have to change before bed.

Good night dearest Tennyson, I love you.

The mini-cats are 6 today! Happy birthday, Abby and Tasha! They look excited, right? #caturday #100happydaysThe Mini-Cats are 6 years old today!

They look thrilled, right?

They’re enjoying the extended sabbatical from the intense pace of co-starring in Monster Cat’s comic strip by napping all the time. Except Abby, who is still disappearing mysteriously…

For those wondering, Monster Cat will be back in the Fall at the latest. This past Winter and Spring kicked my butt with work and various colds and such. I have many things to start up again… side projects, C25K, sleeping, and focusing. (The power/internet outage after the big storm almost 2 weeks ago was great in that it reminded me that if I focus on fewer things at a time, which is a bit of necessity when you’re working off 2 iPads on cell data, I do better work that I’m happier with.)

Mr. Paw is also enjoying his sabbatical. He’s doing well with his thyroid treatment, spending quality time being a pillow for everyone under 4 feet tall, and dedicating a lot of time to learning new things (like cartography, which was probably only an interest because he misread it as “CATography” first). He regularly putters with hovercat technology. He reports that he’s getting close to a breakthrough!

This cough has not been kind to me so I’ve not been as faithfully creating comics as I’d prefer. I’m hoping to get back in the swing next week.


Become a fan of Monster Cat on Facebook!

And… follow Monster Cat on Twitter!

More comics at: The Chronicles of Monster Cat (2008 and 2009)


Become a fan of Monster Cat on Facebook!

And… follow Monster Cat on Twitter!

More comics at: The Chronicles of Monster Cat (2008 and 2009)


Become a fan of Monster Cat on Facebook!

And… follow Monster Cat on Twitter!

More comics at: The Chronicles of Monster Cat (2008 and 2009)


Become a fan of Monster Cat on Facebook!

And… follow Monster Cat on Twitter!

More comics at: The Chronicles of Monster Cat (2008 and 2009)

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