Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Lou and Roscoe

We gained one, Roscoe, and lost one, Lou.

Lou came to us from someone who worked at the deli, which was downstairs from my former employer. She was moving and couldn't take him, so we did. I think that was somewhere around 2008. I'm not sure how old he was at the time, though I think he was maybe three years old. He was likely around 15 years old when he disappeared last month.

Lou was an indoor/outdoor cat.  He could be quite the grouchy asshole if we didn't let him out, so we continued to allow him to go outside even though all my other cats are indoor-only. He generally stayed in the yard. He would walk around the perimeter, sometimes sit in the driveway or the yard and watch cars go by, or just hang out on the patio chairs.


He was a tough bastard. When we first moved to our new house five years ago, he tangled with something that de-gloved his tail. What that means is that whatever animal attacked him stripped the fur from his tail. It was quite disgusting and he had to have half his tail amputated. It didn't stop him, though. He continued to go outside and do his thing, often bringing us "prizes." Mostly dead, but some alive:  mice (mostly dead, sometimes alive), chipmunks (alive), and a bird once or twice. He would sit outside and do his "I brought your something, mom!" meow and I knew to check and make sure it was dead before I opened the door. (I neglected to do that recently, and this is what happened.)

I left for work one morning last month and for some reason I decided to go over and pet him. I though to myself, "Let me pet him just in case I don't see him again."  And I didn't. He didn't come home that night after being let out for his usual afternoon stroll. My hope is that he simply went somewhere to die since he was getting old. He never went much beyond the grass behind the garage, which is well away from the property line, so this is more likely; however, it's possible an animal got him.

Even though he could be a jerk, I'll miss him. He became a marshmallow the last few months. He was getting old and I think that's why he softened up a bit. He wanted to be pet more often. He purred more. Made more biscuits. And even though he could be quite embarrassing when he sat outside and howled to come in--he sounded like he was yelling "Hello" and it ECHOED through the neighborhood--I'll miss it. I was actually quite funny, though embarrassing.  I like to think he's crossed the Rainbow Bridge and that my other long-gone kitties have accepted him, even though they were the frequent recipients of a growl or swat from him for no good reason!

On to the new kitty, Roscoe.  Strangely, Lou disappeared about three days after we got Roscoe. I doubt it's connected, but it's strange nonetheless.

Roscoe came from the Stratford Cat Project.  Another "special" kitty. (For some reason, Karin loves to give me the "special" ones!) He's a little over a year old; has a harelip; an eye issue, which just means I need to keep it clean everyday; and what appears to be a neurological issue. His neurological issue consists of his head moving from side to side when he's focusing on something, going down the stairs in a zig zag pattern, and, once in a great while, kind of tipping to one side as though he's lost his balance for a moment. None of these things stop him, though. He's playful, talkative, and seems to get along with the others. He hisses at Leia for some reason, but that's about it. I'm finding that the other cats don't attack, growl, or hiss at him the way they do at some of the others (par for the course in a multi-cat household). I think they sense that he isn't aggressive and that he's got some issues.

Roscoe seems to love the ripple rug I bought last year. None of the other cats care about it, but he loves it. He likes to dive through the holes while he's playing with a toy. He also likes when I toss the fleece blanket on him. He wrestles with it and tries to drag it away, chirping the whole time--I often end up in a tug-of-war game with him.


I also need to comment on his tail. His tail is fluffy and fabulous; I can't resist touching it every time he walks by. He knows it, too, because he tries to side-step me. Sometimes I can get him in time and sometimes I can't.

Overall, he's a little weird (see the picture of him eating), but we love him. He's a good cat and hopefully he's enjoying his new home.




Sunday, September 15, 2019

life lately



It's been a few months since I've done one of these posts, so I guess it's time. (I've also been sitting on this post for two months, editing here and there, so time to finally post it.)

Family

Unfortunately my in-laws' house burned down last month.   Thankfully everyone, including the dog, got out in time, so no one was hurt.  I can't even imagine how it feels to lose the house you've been living in for most of your life, as well as nearly all your belongings. Family pictures, memorabilia, clothing, appliances, everything.

So, they're having to live in a hotel until they can move into my old house. (Luckily the insurance company found a hotel that will take the dog.) That will happen the first week of October. It's going to take about six to nine months to rehab the house, so they'll likely be in our old house until Spring. Once they leave, that house is being sold come Hell or high water! Although, they've talked about selling their house once it's completed and buying ours. That would be absolutely fabulous and I pray it happens. That house needs to go!

My niece, Ashley, is getting married next month. I can't believe another one is getting married. I feel old!! It seems like only yesterday my sister was pregnant with her. In fact, she was pregnant with her when I got married! I was married February 10, 1996, and Ashley was born on February 27. I wish her all the love and luck in the world!

Back Pain

I still have back pain, and it's gotten worse.

Although the nerve ablation I had in January for the facet joints helped a lot, it doesn't help the sciatica I get from the bulging discs, and that's what's still bothering me. Also, the ablation has worn off. I was told the pain relief could last anywhere from six months to two years. I'd say it lasted about six months, then started creeping back again.

My back started hurting more somewhere around June, though it was mostly while working. I have a desk job and a majority of my job requires me to actually be at my desk. Even though I have a sit/stand desk and a decent chair, and I try to switch positions at least once per hour, it's not enough. If I stand for more than 10-15 minutes, the bulging disc starts pressing on my sciatic nerve and it's time to sit down. Then my lower back starts hurting after about 20 minutes and I need to either stand up to work or go walk around a bit.  Then the leg pain kicks in. So, I finally figured out that I need to take Percocet at work, as my back pain is at it's worst when I'm working. I asked for a refillable prescription about three months ago, and I'm SO thankful I've had that, as it's helped me stay focused on my work and not on the back pain.  I also finally connected the dots about the ablation having worn off when I started having sleeping problems again, which was about a month ago. The Percocet has also helped me to sleep longer. By "longer" I mean that instead of waking up a midnight or 1:00 am with back pain, I can sleep until about 4:00/4:30 am. Then I start the tossing and turning and am generally in pain. Prior to the ablation wearing off, it wasn't this bad.

So, I'm going next Monday to have another ablation. I'll get the right side done that day, and then the following week the other side. Hopefully that will get me through my upcoming business trip--a five hour train ride--and carry me into Spring, which is when I'll make a decision about fusion. I could continue to take Percocet and have ablations, but why cover up the problem? I'd rather just fix it.

Elbow Pain

I'm also dealing with really bad tendinitis in my left elbow, which is also now in my right elbow, too. I've been dealing with this since February. I went to physical therapy, but that didn't help. It also aggravated the pulled bicep muscle from a few months ago. I had a cortisone shot, and that didn't help either. Apparently the solution was water-soluble, which may be why it didn't work. I'm going to make an appointment to get more shots next week, this time with a non-water-soluble solution, and hopefully that solves the problem.

Work

I've been in my new job for about six months now and I like it. It was tough at first, since I hadn't wanted to go back to a bank at all and definitely not in the same capacity; I didn't want to job search (previous bank was sold); and I was walking into a tough situation. Thankfully that situation resolved itself, so things are looking up. I really like my team--they're awesome!--; I love my boss; and I like the people and culture. Onward and upward!



Sunday, August 18, 2019

my first batch of pickles

This year I decided to grow cucumbers for the first time:  one pickling cucumber plant and one regular cucumber plant.  I planted them in pots and put in a small trellis so I wouldn't have to worry about having enough room for the vines to grow, nor would I have to worry about them being forgotten under the leaves. Plus I just didn't want to dig a garden.



But what to do with them since only my husband likes cucumbers? Pickle them, of course!  Although I've learned how to do canning, I didn't have nearly enough cucumbers to do more than one jar of pickles so I opted for a refrigerator pickle recipe.  (At this point I had only two pickling cucumbers so far.) All I had to do was cut up the cucumbers, mix the ingredients, put them all in a jar and stash them in the fridge overnight. Pickling the cucumbers was also an excuse to use the fresh dill from my garden.

Here's the recipe I used:  Easy Dill Lovers Refrigerator Pickles


Here are the pickles before they went into the fridge. A couple days later the level of liquid rose almost to the top, because the salt in the brine released water from the cucumbers.


Overall I liked this recipe. They're so fresh-tasting and crispy. Much different from jarred pickles from the grocery store. (And notice they're not Army Green-colored!) I tried another one a couple weeks ago and it just didn't taste like a sour dill pickle should taste. I think I'll be sticking with this recipe. A word of caution, though:  if you're not used to fresh pickles, brace yourself for the first bite--it will put hair on your chest!


Saturday, July 20, 2019

grilled vegetables

I've been extremely lazy and completely unmotivated the last few months, which is part of why my blog posts are getting further apart. Hopefully my issues will be resolved in the next couple months, though.  In the meantime, a short post about my first-ever experience making grilled vegetables.

Recently I had some store-bought grilled veggies and they were delicious. The best part was I didn't have to make them myself--a definite plus these days. I had them as a side dish with some fish for lunch at work. Unfortunately, the store where I got the veggies is 20 minutes away and not cheap--Whole Paycheck...I mean Foods. There's no way it makes sense to spend that much on grilled veggies when I can easily make them myself. Did I actually feel like it? No. But did I do it anyway? Yes.

I made a marinade using some garlic balsamic vinegar I had in the cabinet. My husband got it for me a while back and I just haven't made an effort to use it. He got it from Beekman 1802 Mercantile and it's called Roasted Garlic Drizzle.  (If anyone watches the Amazing Race, the owners won the 2012 season. We visited their farm in 2014 and I got to hold the baby goats. 😊)  I also used olive oil, lemon juice and some salt and pepper.  For vegetables I used vidalia onions, cremini mushrooms, red peppers, zucchini, yellow squash and roma tomatoes. I chopped all the vegetables into either strips or chunks. The onions were cut into quarters from top to bottom, leaving the root end intact so they didn't fall apart when grilled. I then put them all in a two-gallon plastic bag to marinate for the day.  Once that was done, I grilled them until charred and soft. I left the red peppers a bit crunchy for texture. I then cut the bigger vegetables into smaller pieces. And that's it!


I have to say, they tasted delicious. I really enjoyed the flavor of the vinegar.  The veggies were a little crunchy, a bit sweet, and had a nice charred flavor from the grill. And I'm happy to report that not one vegetable fell through the grates!

Marinade for Grilled Vegetables
(You could use this for chicken, too.)

1/4 cup olive oil
3 TB garlic balsamic vinegar (use whatever balsamic you like)
Juice of one lemon
1/2 tsp salt (add more if you like)
1/2 tsp pepper

Mix well and pour into a dish or plastic bag along with the vegetables.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

to catch a chipmunk


I'm trying to get better about posting here; however, I don't have much motivation lately.  I figured I would tell a funny story--something that happened this week--and make it easy on myself.

Anyone who knows me knows that I have a lot of cats. Like, A LOT--11 at the moment. Yes, 11. Double digits. Having 11 cats means my house is sometimes a circus. The cats chase each other, play together (usually), sometimes fight, crowd us out in bed and hog the covers, step on my boob, cry for their dinner two hours early, and do various other cat things. (One of my favorites is when they sit and stare at the ceiling for no apparent reason. I know they probably hear a critter in the attic; however, my house was built in 1735 so I tend to wonder if they're seeing a ghost. Freaks me out.)  Sometimes they leave me all-natural, homemade "gifts" that I sometimes don't see until I've stepped in them, which is always fun. And occasionally the one indoor/outdoor cat I have, Lou (above), brings me outside "gifts." These "gifts" are typically dead mice, dead birds, and once a dead chipmunk. Key word here is "dead." He leaves them on the door step to show me what a good hunter he is and how proud he is of his kill.

Earlier this week I was getting ready for work–getting ready to step into the shower, actually–and Lou was crying to come in the house. He was using his weird cry, which means, “Ma! I caught this cute, fuzzy animal and killed it for you! Come look!!” When I hear that cry, I know to check and make sure it’s dead and laying on the patio, and not in his mouth and alive. That was followed by normal cries, so I didn’t check like I usually do. Well, I let him in and he’s got a live chipmunk in his mouth. He trotted in like he’s all that and a bag of chips. The other cats were VERY interested. 

(Now, before I go on, keep in mind that I was just getting into the shower, which means I was naked. Seeing what was about to happen, I panicked for a second and then threw on a sweatshirt and underwear. For some reason, I couldn't find my pajama pants.)


Lou proceeds to drop the chipmunk on the floor in front of me. It promptly plays dead for a few seconds while the others look on--chipmunks are smart like that. Then it gets up and runs around the house, starting with the living room.  So there’s a chipmunk running around with no less than six cats chasing it. Bailey (above) catches it and runs off in another direction and the others follow. Bailey drops the chipmunk in the den and they all race to get it, but Bailey is too fast--there's no way he's giving up his prize. So Bailey gets it again and runs into the family room. Luckily the family room has a door and  I thought to close it so at least the situation is contained in one room. I then had to figure out how to get the chipmunk out of the house without getting bit (those things have jaws like a vise and very sharp teeth!). It then occurred to me to throw a towel over him and the chipmunk.  So I grabbed a bath towel and flung it over Bailey, who still has the chipmunk by the tail, then picked them both up and brought them outside on the back stair. (Yes, in nothing but a sweatshirt and underwear. Luckily it was the back stairs and the neighbors aren't too close.) Since Bailey is an indoor-only cat I couldn’t just put him outside. He wouldn’t let go of the chipmunk, so I did the only thing I could think of--I shook him until he dropped the chipmunk…and then the chipmunk grabbed on to the towel! Rather than put the towel on the ground like a normal person would have, I started shaking the towel until it let go and ran away. I tossed Bailey back in the house and I got on with taking a shower.

Took me just a few minutes to contain the situation. I got on with my shower and got to work on time. :)

Wondering what other live "gifts" I've received from various cats over the years, and which made it into the house?  Mice, birds, and a live snake. Yes, a snake! And now a live chipmunk. I'm not sure what was more fun, though:  the live bird that flew around the house while multiple cats chased it, jumped in the windows, trashing the blinds and knocking stuff over, eventually catching it and giving it a bath (nope, they didn't kill it!), or this chipmunk.

Best ever dead "gift"? A dead catfish from the pond behind my old house. It was delivered to my front door and was sitting on the Welcome mat.




Friday, June 14, 2019

Krave the Krunch Grainless Granola

I just realized that I had this post languishing in Drafts. For some reason I wrote it a couple months ago and then forgot to post it! Anyway...


I found this grainless granola when I went to the natural foods store on my way home from volunteering in my old hometown. I'm always looking to try something new and grainless granola seemed like a good idea. I won't lie--this was not cheap by any means.  I cost $8.29; however, there was no tag on the shelf or the bag, so I had no idea until the cashier rang it up. I wasn't thrilled, but I wanted to try it because chocolate!!

So, what's in it? According to the Just Real Foods website:  Walnut, Shredded Coconut, Dark Chocolate (Cacao Powder, Cocoa Butter, Wildflower Honey), Wildflower Honey, Almond, Pecan, Maple Syrup, Sunflower Seeds, Pumpkin Seeds, Coconut Oil, Golden Flaxseed, Cinnamon – Grain-Free/Grainless – Certified Paleo – Non-GMO Project Verified – Kosher Pareve – Certified Gluten Free – NO Processed/Refined Sugars.  So, basically it's granola made out of walnuts instead of rolled oats.


And how does it taste?  I thought it was good. It had a nice chocolate and coconut flavor; however, it had too much walnut flavor for my taste. It wasn't overwhelming, but I definitely knew it was made of walnuts. I'm not a fan of walnuts in general, so a product whose main ingredient is walnuts doesn't make for a great treat for me. If you like walnuts, though, you may like this product.


As I said, I like trying new foods, especially when it's low in carbs, sugar and calories. I usually don't eat granola, because it has a lot of sugar and I just don't want to spend that many calories on such a small, non-filling snack. This granola has only 116 calories, 6 grams of carbs (!!) and 4 grams of sugar. That's pretty good for something called "granola."

Would I buy this again? No. It was good, but it has too much walnut flavor for me. Plus, it was $8.29 and that's a bit expensive.


Sunday, May 19, 2019

beer, bacon and cheddar cornbread

Recently I made cornbread in my cast iron skillet. If you've never done that, try it. Assuming you have a cast iron skillet, of course. It makes a nice crust, and it's even better if you're making a recipe that uses bacon. You fry the bacon in the skillet, take out the bacon and pour off most of the bacon grease leaving only enough to coat the skillet. Then you put the corn bread batter in that same skillet and pop it in the oven to bake. Yum!


So, what did I change in the recipe? (You know I always change something.) I added scallions since I had some in the fridge to use up, and I doubled the cheese. That's it. Oh, and I greased the cast iron pan with bacon grease left over from frying the bacon. This particular recipe doesn't call for that; however, I like the crust it produces.

It was delicious, just like I knew it would be. It was salty and a little smokey because of the bacon, and tangy because of the sour cream and beer. I used Yuengling Premium since that's what was in my husband's camping cooler outside. He says he couldn't taste the beer, but what does he know?? I tasted it right away, because I don't actually like beer. It gave the cornbread a good flavor, though.


My only gripe is with the shredded cheese I used. Lately I've been shredding my own cheese from a bigger block; however, I had some packaged shredded cheese I needed to use up. What a difference! As you can see, it looks kind of dry on top and almost seems like it didn't melt. It didn't taste cheesy either. Considering I doubled the cheese on top and the amount I mixed in the batter, that's really disappointing. There's nothing wrong with packaged shredded cheese, it just doesn't really melt the same in some recipes.

Here's the recipe I used:  Beer, Bacon and Cheddar Cornbread

Saturday, April 27, 2019

peanut butter bites


I made some peanut butter bites this week. Recipe was courtesy of my trainer. I believe he got it from vshred.com.

I changed the recipe a little bit, but only because I thought coconut would be a good addition. Also, I didn't have unsalted natural peanut butter. I bought some previously, but it was incredibly difficult to stir so I ditched it.

This recipe is based on the one he sent to me, which I doubled. This makes 24 peanut butter bites. If you want only 12 bites, just cut this in half.

My calorie count came out to about 150 calories each, which I feel it quite high; however, they're very satisfying and fairly filling. These are great to have when you have a junk food craving and they keep very well in the fridge. Protein is 4 grams and sugar is 6 grams per bite.

4 TB honey
1 1/3 cup unsalted peanut butter (I used regular creamy peanut butter)
2 cups rolled oats (not instant or steel-cut oats)
3/4 cup dark chocolate chips
1/4 cup coconut
1 cup ground flax seeds (flax meal)

Combine all the ingredients and then put in the fridge for 15 to 30 minutes. This makes it easier to roll them.

Roll them into 24 bites and then store in the fridge or freeze.



Sunday, April 21, 2019

Catsbury Park's Second Annual Cat Convention

Two crazy cat ladies. It runs in the family!


I recently went to the second annual Catsbury Park Cat Convention, which was held in Asbury Park, NJ and run by Catsbury Park Cat Cafe.

When I saw the advertisement last year I wasn't all that sure I wanted to go again.  I went to the first one they held last year and while I enjoyed it, it was absolutely packed and I think some things could have been done better. But it was their first convention and I don't think they expected the huge turnout they got. Ultimately I decided to go since it's was only $40.00 for both days and the proceeds go to charity.

The weather was warmer this time; however, it was very windy out by the water (the Asbury Park Convention Hall is on the boardwalk).  Unfortunately there was a fire at the Dunes Boardwalk Cafe while we were there. It started right before we arrived at the convention hall and burned all day. It was extinguished for a short time, but the high winds caused it to reignite. It was actually still smoldering the next morning. The Dunes is about a half mile or so away, but the air was pretty smokey both days. Luckily we didn't have to evacuate.

When we arrived on Friday we visited the Catsbury Park Cat Cafe on Friday afternoon. It's a vegan cafe. One side is the cafe and the other is the cat lounge where you can hang out with the cats, play with them, feed them treats, or eat your own vegan treats.  All the kitties are up for adoption. Last year I went on Saturday night after the convention and it was SO, so busy and the cats were either sleeping, hiding or cranky. This time they were mostly all awake, happy and ready to play. The added bonus was that my cousin and I were practically the only ones there so we got to hog the kitties.

Here's one of the Cafe residents. This was a playful Tuxedo kitty.
Actually, several of the cats were Tuxedos, some with white whiskers!
We then headed over to the convention hall for early wrist-banding and then off to dinner at the Americana Diner (great diner!). I’m so glad they did early wrist-banding this year. Last year was the first convention they held and I think the huge turnout was really unexpected and the lines were very long (it was actually at legal capacity a half hour after opening last year), so they wanted to streamline this year.

We decided to use Uber for the convention Saturday morning so we wouldn’t have to get there super early in order to get good parking. Knowing that it’s not a huge convention, and that there isn’t much on the boardwalk to do this time of year, I didn’t want to be hanging around for over two hours before the presentation at noon I wanted to attend. It worked out well. We got there around 11:30 am, the Uber was half price so it only cost about $5.00 (cheaper than parking!), and we didn't have to deal with parking. It was awesome being able to walk right in and not have to wait in line. We walked around the convention floor for a bit, then headed over to the Paramount Theater to see “From Stray to Space: How Klaus became an Astrocat,” which was presented by Klaus’s dad, Mick. I was hoping Klaus would be there like he was last year, but he was hanging out at the hotel; he’s now 19 and Mick didn’t want to stress him out. (If you want to check out their Facebook page, click here:  https://www.facebook.com/TheKlausCat/. There are also some super cute videos here: You tube) I really enjoyed the presentation. Mick talked a lot about Oskar (now deceased) and Klaus's lives, as well as their efforts in helping bring books and resources to blind children. I teared up when he talked about Oskar's passing, which happened last year two months before the last convention.

The next presentation I wanted to see–Hannah Shaw, the Kitten Lady–wasn’t until 5:00 pm so we had quite a bit of time to kill. We shopped the convention hall, went up to the adoption lounge to look at the kitties (no, I didn’t adopt one!!), had appetizers at the Robinson Ale House, and shopped around the little mall that houses the convention hall. I ALMOST got a tattoo (Neptune Tattoo was there), but I chickened out at the last minute. I’ve never wanted a tattoo or even cared for them, but they had some really minimalist designs and I was thinking I’d be OK with one on my ankle or maybe my shoulder. (Plus I’m a crazy cat lady so why not advertise it and be proud of it?) I was thinking of this one below, but just a black outline with no coloring. Maybe next time!
I really enjoyed Hannah Shaw’s presentation, "All Things Kitten and Community Cats."  She showed some really cute videos of her neonatal kittens, a TNR (trap-neuter-return) project she worked on, as well as some other videos. She talked a lot about neonatal kittens and community cats (ferals) and how they’re the most at-risk cat population and how people can help. Lots of useful information. (Here's a link to her website, which has links to her different social media pages: http://www.kittenlady.org/follow.)


Sunday we did two celebrity cat meet and greets: Lil Bub, and Stache and Teddy (yes, I’m a geek and a crazy cat lady!). Most of the meet and greets were held at the Asbury Hotel. We made sure to get there at least 30-45 minutes before the meet and greets started since lines form early. I also wanted to try and get towards the front of the line so the cats wouldn't be cranky or tired. We got right into see Stache and Teddy due to the way they divided up the waiting area. We just happened to be on the side where people weren’t waiting and they told the Stache and Teddy attendees to wait there. Lil Bub, on the other hand, we waited about an hour, maybe a little more, since it started at the same time as Stache and Teddy, which meant we were nearly at the end of the line. But it was worth it. She’s adorable! Tiny and so mellow. (There was a young woman in front of us and she was saying that she was so excited to meet Lil Bub that she felt like she was going to faint! Mike, Lil Bub's owner, told her to calm herself since Bub was starting to pick up on her excitement. The woman ahead of her was talking about how she balled her eyes out last year when she met Bub for the first time, and that they had to tell her to calm down and get hold of herself before approaching Bub. I mean, I love cats and wanted to meet Bub, but I don’t put it quite on the same level as meeting Def Leppard. Although it was close!)

Me and Lil Bub.

Me with Bub and her "dude", Mike, as he's called. LOL
Me with Teddy (left) and Stache (right). Unfortunately I didn't get to sit with them this year.
Teddy and Stache. They're so cute, soft and well-behaved!
Before heading home I made my obligatory trip to Wegman’s to get some goodies (there’s no Wegman’s in my state so I go when I’m near one) and then we were on the road.

It was a good convention. I was so happy it wasn’t jam-packed like last year; however, there was the fire at the Dunes Boardwalk Cafe a half mile away, so perhaps the combo of the smokey air and the fact that the huge turnout last year soured some people (and that people didn’t actually read the website last year to know that it’s not a cat SHOW, it’s a CONVENTION) is what kept attendance down a bit. There were lots of great vendors. I got some artwork, cat toys, a door stop, and Lil Bub leggings and a mug (courtesy of my cousin). Got some yummy vegan treats, too. My only complaint this time around is that they seemed to go the opposite direction in terms of the presentations they had this year. Last year they had lots of them on both days, with generally two or three running concurrently. This year it seemed there weren’t many at all on Saturday, which is when most people attend the convention. Most were on Sunday when people would typically head home, as well as all the meet and greets being on Sunday, too. Although they added I think one or two on Saturday because Sunday sold out. And since the convention hall isn’t huge, and neither is the mall outside, it was hard to fill four hours in between the two presentations.

Here are some of the goodies I grabbed. I forgot to take pics of the cat toys and they're already scattered around the house. I got two catnip kickers and four wool mice. They didn't seem to have the free tote bags this time around; however, we didn't get there at opening time so they may have had them and run out by the time we got there.


Artwork is by Leeza Hernandez, http://www.leezaworks.com/

Artwork is by Leeza Hernandez, http://www.leezaworks.com/

My handmade door stop. Purple, of course!

I haven't decided if I'll put this on my desk at work or keep it at home.

My cousin got these for me. Crazy, aren't they?? This isn't me! It's from Lil Bub's online store. I actually had to send them back and get a bigger size since they run small. The store rep was very friendly and accommodating. I didn't even have to send the leggings or receipt back before they sent out a replacement pair! They just took my word for it! I also got a Lil Bub tea mug, but it's at work already.

Sunday, April 7, 2019

road trip!

I recently went to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony, which was in Brooklyn on March 29. And why did I go? To see my favorite band, Def Leppard, inducted in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame! It was a once-in-a-lifetime event and there was no way I wasn't going to go. We got the cheap seats months ahead of time, my sister got a big discount on the hotel room (she works for the chain), and breakfast was complimentary. All we had to pay for was gas for the car and our food at the venue, so it was a pretty cheap trip overall.

My sister decided to drive to my house in the night before and then we drove to Brooklyn the next morning. I have to say, driving in Brooklyn was really tough. It's just so much more congested than any city in my area. I managed, though. When we pulled up to the hotel there was nowhere to park at all so I circled the block. When we came back around, there was a spot on the corner. I have no idea if it was really a parking spot, but I didn't care. I was just glad there was *somewhere* to pull over. My sister went into the hotel to find the valet while I sat in the car with the flashers on, hoping and praying no one would hit me as they came around the corner. We finally got the valet to come out so we grabbed our stuff and went inside. Check-in took forever! It turned out the person at the desk was new, so I couldn't get too upset, but those helping her were pretty slow, too. Very nice, but so slow. We finally got up to the room and just hung out until it was time to change clothes and leave.


We took an Uber to Barclay’s Center, which cost about $30 (it was peak time for an event); he was very friendly and a good driver thankfully! It was our first time taking Uber and even though it was more than I would have liked to spend, it was so, SO worth it to not have to drive in that traffic and then find parking. Getting to the hotel and figuring out where the valet was was enough for me! We were going to try taking the subway to Barclay’s; however, neither of us had been on one in about 20 years and we just didn’t want to deal with figuring out how it works, or risk getting lost and being late. (Yup, we chickened out.)

When we got to the venue we hung out outside for a few minutes in hopes of finding somewhere we wanted to eat. We ended up going inside and splitting an order of chicken tenders and fries. We each got a bottle of water at $7.00 a pop! Of course, they took the caps off so we had to be super careful we didn't spill it once we got to our seats. Guess who spilled 2/3 of hers?? Me. That sucked because I knew I'd be thirsty and I wasn't about to pay another $7.00 for another bottle. I sipped slowly!

The event itself was fun, but very long–over five hours! (I'll be interested to see how long it is when it airs on HBO in late April.) Our seats were on the second tier, which was very high and very steep and we both had a feeling of vertigo while trying to get to our seats. Stevie Nicks opened the show and she really was fantastic. She did a duet–Leather and Lace–with Don Henley, and Stop Dragging My Heart Around with Harry Styles. She also sang Edge of Seventeen and Stand Back. Radiohead and Janet Jackson didn’t perform. The Cure, The Zombies, and Roxy Music all performed. I didn't know any of their songs, so that made it seem much longer. It was enjoyable, but not my taste.



And then it was time for Def Leppard! They were inducted by Brian May of Queen. The acceptance speech was touching, as Rick Allen got really choked up when Joe Elliot talked about their tragedies and how Rick was able to come back from his accident, and had he not, there may not have been a Def Leppard. They performed their set, which was Hysteria, Photograph, Rock of Ages and Pour Some Sugar on Me. The all-star jam ended the night. Def Leppard brought out Brian May, Rod Argent and Colin Blunstone of The Zombies, Stevie Van Zandt of The E Street Band, Roxy Music’s Phil Manzanera and Susanna Hoffs of the Bangles. And.....the surprise of the night was Ian Hunter of Mott the Hoople. They sang Mott the Hoople's All the Young Dudes, which is Joe's favorite song I believe. It was a great performance. 

Here are some of the pictures.  Almost all of the pictures I took were of the video screen because our seats were so high up.

Part of the video montage. Look how young they were!!





Brian May giving the induction speech.


Def Leppard on stage.










The all-star jam.


Joe Elliot with Ian Hunter singing All the Young Dudes.

And then it was all over! Time to head back to the hotel. This time we braved the subway since we didn't want to have to try and find the Uber driver in all the traffic. We had to really pay attention to the signage, but we made it to the right train and got back to the hotel in one piece.

I’m so happy to see Def Leppard get into the Hall of Fame finally, and I’m thrilled I was able to go. I got to see history in the making. It’s amazing that they’ve been making music for 42 years and they’re still going. It's going to be a sad, sad day when they finally stop touring. Hopefully that will be a long way off!

So what's my only regret?  I didn't have any pizza while I was in NY--NY style is my favorite! I did, however, have an authentic NY bagel so I can't be all that upset.