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Monthly Archives: May 2013

What A Difference A Year Makes.

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I retweeted this a little over one year ago.  Funny how things change. 🙂


A Love Letter to Bonnie

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On November 16, 2011, just two days after Justin and I had been married for one year, a black and tan coonhound jumped into the back seat of our car and changed our lives.

We met Bonnie on November 5, 2011.  Her foster parent brought her to our home to meet her.

From the first time we met her, we knew Bonnie was meant to be our dog.

And also that she was a little kooky.

The first time we met Bonnie, she went by a different name – Sallie Mae.  We already knew that name wasn’t going to work, so with her foster parent present, I just opted to call her “girl.”  As soon as we were out of earshot, her name was Bonnie.

Bonnie came home to a small pile of about three toys we had picked out for her, one being a little stuffed lion that I chose.  At first, I was more than elated that Bonnie had chosen my toy to be the first one she played with.  Then I heard the ripping.  Turns out, Bonnie’s hunting nature was no match for stuffed toys.  So now she only gets to play with rubber toys or ropes, the latter of which she also tears apart.

Bonnie is many things to me.  She’s a welcome wagon, a spectacular vacuum cleaner, and sometimes even a running partner.

Bonnie is absolutely chill when it comes to playing dress up, too.  She lets me put jackets, shirts, hats, and even sunglasses on her.  She plays along until I’ve had my fun and doesn’t ever fight it too hard.

Bonnie is always good for a laugh, for sure.

Whether she’s hiding under the bench at the vet…

…posing for silly pictures after getting groomed…

…or even just wrapping herself up like a burrito in our covers for a nap…

…Bonnie always gives us a reason to smile.

She’s also a diva.  Just a little bit.

Sometimes, she drags her food bowl into the middle of the floor to alert us that she wasn’t given what should have been a Texas-sized portion of food to eat.

She also has a special pillow that is just for her to lay on.  I bought that pillow at TJ Maxx and when I brought it home and told her it was for her, she immediately understood and still lies on it.

She also prefers to take her naps in what is of course the comfiest place in the apartment, our bed.

But that’s okay.  We love our Bon Bon.

You know, Bon Bon is French for candy.  And such a sweet name couldn’t be attributed to a sweeter dog.

Bonnie is loving, caring, attention-getting, a little simple, and a lot of heart.

She’s also just a gorgeous animal.

Bonnie is my buddy.  She’s always there when I need her.  She knows some secrets that no one else does, and I know she’ll keep them.  She’s happy to see me every single time I come in my front door, even if I’ve only been gone for 5 minutes to take the trash out.  For the most part, she listens to me, too. 😛

Bonnie’s one of the most perfect dogs out there, and I’m absolutely thrilled that I got the opportunity to call dibs on her.

Bonnie, thank you for all the cuddles (even the ones at night where you refuse to move!), the kisses, the laughs, the pictures, the steps, and compassion, and the four happy paws that I hear charging at me from the door.  You make my life so happy.  I can’t believe that there was a time before, where you weren’t here all the time.  I remember that time, and it was lonely.  Thank you for taking that loneliness out of my life.  I love you a little more each day.  I’m always finding out more about you and your personality, and you are one cool cat (well, dog)!

I’m excited about all the love and memories that are to come.

Mommy loves you, Bon Bon.


for the readers – if you want a tale that will give you chills, make you cry, and make you love your pet even more, read here.

First WP Wordle

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Screen shot 2013-05-22 at 4.59.13 PMThe first Wordle I made for my WP blog.  Fitting whose name takes up the cloud, huh? 😉

Book Review: White Night

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White Night, by Jim Butcher

White Night is the ninth book in the Dresden Files series by Jim Butcher.  The series follows Harry Dresden, a modern-day wizard living in Chicago.  In this book, Harry investigates a string of murders and missing persons where the victims are all magic practitioners.  After meeting up with Elaine, who has come from California to help the organization most of the victims belonged to, Harry finds footage of some of the missing girls leaving with someone who looks an awful lot like Thomas…

Warning: Spoilers follow here.

Harry immediately goes to Thomas’s apartment to talk to him, but Thomas is gone and Harry has to improvise with what is possibly the best scene ever in a Dresden novel and pretend to be Thomas’s lover.  While in the apartment, Harry notices a wall in one of the rooms completely covered in photos and notes of the missing girls.  Evidence is not looking good for Thomas.  After meeting the surviving women of the Ordo, the group that the missing women belonged to, Lasciel informs Harry that a veiled presence was at the meeting.  This veiled presence turns out to be Elaine, who has been hired to help the Ordo.  After discovering Elaine’s veil, the building is set on fire.  Mouse starts barking to wake people up and everyone seems to escape the fire.  Harry sees a gray-cloaked figure running away from the scene, and follows him until he gets into a car and drives away.  Harry follows Gray Cloak using a spell and through eavesdropping finds out that not only is the real killer a Skavis vampire, Gray Cloak also works for Cowl – the mean villain who was supposed to die at the end of Dead Beat.  Cowl finds out that Harry is listening and disrupts his spell.  Harry deduces that the Skavis must have had an informant to give him info about the victims, and he automatically suspects Helen Beckitt, whom you may remember from the first novel.  Helen is a member of the Ordo, and would still presumably be a bad guy, so Harry’s first thought is her.  Helen convinces everyone that she isn’t a spy, and that’s when Harry is shown footage of one of the girls walking away with Thomas.  Everyone heads to Thomas’s boat for answers.  They find Thomas there, along with all of the missing people, who Thomas was protecting and smuggling to a safe place.  Everyone is suddenly attacked by Madrigal, Thomas’s cousin, and a huge group of ghouls.  Everyone cleanly escapes, except for Harry, who falls into the water and is knocked unconscious.  After Harry comes to and everyone appears to be unharmed, he finds Anna, a girl from the Ordo, dead in a hotel bathroom – an apparent suicide.  Helen is missing at this point.  More research tells Murphy that one of the victims was a prostitute for the new Velvet Room, which is now owned by Marcone.  Harry asks Marcone to let him speak to the Madam, and is given Helen Beckitt.  It is revealed after their meeting with Helen that a girl from the Ordo named Priscilla is actually the Skavis, parading around as a girl, and that she is actually the killer.  After a showdown at the hotel where the remaining members and the Skavis are staying, Elaine winds up in the hospital.  Harry devises a plan to fight Madrigal and Gray Cloak, otherwise known as Vitto, and asks Ramirez to help him.  Molly drives them to the Raith mansion where the fight will take place, and stays with Mouse in the car, waiting on further instructions.  Harry and Ramirez are greeted by Lara Raith and led to the Deeps, the same place Thomas almost met his doom in Blood Rites.  Madrigal and Vitto agree to a duel to the death and the battle begins, complete with several vampire onlookers.  Harry takes Madrigal out, and is then accompanied by backup from Thomas, Murphy, Marcone, and lots of Marcone’s thugs.  When it looks like Vitto is almost done for, he calls on Cowl, who opens a passage to the Nevernever, and unleashes an unending flock of ghouls.  Vitto controls the ghouls and orders them to kill everyone present.  While the ghouls are taking their time moving through the crowd of surprised vampires, Harry opens his own gate to the Nevernever and starts helping his posse through.  Suddenly, Harry, Thomas, Lara, and Marcone are all hit with a psychic hold by Vitto, forbidding them to move.  Lasciel appears, and after a long talk with Harry about finally accepting the coin, she helps Harry to not feel the effects of the hold anymore.  He gets up and shoots Vitto’s right hand, severing it and effectively the spell.  Once the spell is broken, Thomas grabs Marcone and they make it into the gate, just before Cowl forces the gate to start closing.  Lara and Harry are left, against Vitto and Cowl, with Marcone’s explosives planted in the Deeps to go off in less than 20 seconds.  Harry has Lara show him to the mouth of the tunnel, and asks her to kiss him.  She does and the kiss gives him enough power to effectively hold up a shield as the explosives go off, shooting them out of the cave.  They land safely in the mansion, where it is revealed that Lara was behind the killings as a way to get everyone’s mind off the White Court so her new leadership didn’t run the risk of being discovered.  Harry demands reparations for the victims’ families and leaves.  He meets up with Ramirez and Elaine at the hospital.  Ramirez is recovering well and Elaine is checking out.  Elaine agrees to give Harry details about each victim to distribute the reparations.  Elaine tells Harry that some of the victims, like Anna, didn’t have dependents, and Harry offers to use that money toward a network that would aid newcomer practitioners and offer self-defense classes, mutual support, and a hotline for supernatural problems.  Elaine happily agrees.  Later that night, Harry notices that the sigil of Lasciel is gone from his hand.  He shows this to Bob, who offers the explanation that she is gone.  When Harry was under Vitto’s spell, Lasciel was able to choose the parts of the brain it affected, namely the parts where she lived in Harry’s brain.  When the spell was disrupted for Harry, she technically killed herself.  Harry finds peace with this, and calls Father Forthill to come retrieve the coin in his basement.  The next day, Harry follows Thomas to a salon where Thomas is washing a woman’s hair and talking in a French accent.  After being ambushed by Harry, Thomas confesses that he’s been attending cosmetology school and working as a night guard to pay for it.  Afterward, he opened this salon and he feeds by doing women’s hair, which is an intimate act.  He gets a little at a time, through each customer, and works all day – which amounts the usual session normally used for feeding.  After finally knowing what Thomas has been up to, Harry just throws his head back and laughs.

This book took me the longest to read, and for no good reason.  I just couldn’t get into it for a while.  But now that I’m done and have the opportunity to read back over what happened, it’s so well-rounded.  I really liked the inclusion of past events here – and Helen Beckitt?  Didn’t see that coming!  I thought it was so sweet how Lasciel put herself out there one more time for Harry before being set free.  I am thrilled that Ramirez is getting closer in Harry’s inner circle, but I’m super curious as to who the traitor is.  I hope it’s not Ramirez!  I want Molly to get even better at magic now that she’s willing to listen to Harry and not defy him.  I’m really-but-not-really surprised at what Thomas’s new job is.  As I was reading that part, I thought for sure he was going to be a masseuse.  That made more sense to me in terms of intimacy.  But when he told Harry that doing the hair would help him to not lose control, I understood it better.  Still don’t know who rammed Harry’s car in the last book.  And there’s more questions left at the end of this one.  I really want the war to be over.  This was a good one, for sure.

For Next Time

Dark Passage (KK6), by Ridley Pearson

The five Kingdom Keepers and their core friends have uncovered a startling truth: Maleficent and the Overtakers (Disney villains) are plotting a catastrophic event that could have repercussions far beyond the world of Disney.

Aboard the Disney Cruise Line’s inaugural passage through the new Panama Canal, the Keepers and their holograms uncover a puzzle hidden within the pages of a stolen journal. The point of that puzzle will reveal itself in the caves of Aruba, the zip lines of Costa Rica, and the jungles of Mexico. A destructive force, dormant for decades, is about to be unleashed. The five Kingdom Keepers are to be its first victims.

My Life, According to Shoebox

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I always feel like this is my life.  Anyone agree?

*read more Chuck and Beans every Friday here.

An Apple for What Ales You

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PicMonkey CollageHave you ever had Redd’s Apple Ale?

You need this stuff.

It’s wonderful, perfect for a near-non-drinker like myself.

It’s beery apple cider.

And it’s delicious.

Take it from someone who hates beer.


We Were Merely Freshmen

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When I was 6, my parents decided to get a divorce.  As one of their children, I saw many things wrong with this.  I didn’t understand why Daddy had to move out of our house, or why he was even leaving.  I didn’t know there was another woman, nor did I know about the mostly disingenuous relationship my parents had had for most of their marriage.  I was 6.  Even though children are seeds from which trees of knowledge take root, they are still children.  I was still a 6-year-old little girl.  There was no way I could understand adult relationships and the baggage that comes with them.

Daddy & Us, Green

Daddy, Luke, and me

When I was 12, my mother married for the second time to her high school sweetheart, Robbie.  Robbie and my mom dated for a long time (I think 5 years), after high school and into college.  They broke up shortly before college was over, and my mom met my dad right after she graduated.  As a 12-year-old, life was very different from what it had been when I was 6.  I was beginning to get angry at my dad for leaving, and in that resentment, I was getting excited for my mom’s second wedding.

Caty and me at my wedding

Mother zipping up my dress before her wedding.

A lot of good things were supposed to come out of this wedding.  My mom was going to get her second chance at love.  And I was going to get a sister.  I had never had a sister, and the person who was going to become my sister was not someone I liked very much at the time.  But the excitement from the wedding took that feeling of dislike away.

Elise and Caty - wedding

Elise, my stepsister, and me

After the wedding, things got weird because I suddenly realized that Robbie was going to take over the Father position that had been open for the last half of my life.  I didn’t want that.  Over time, I developed a near-hatred for Robbie because, as teenage girl angst will do, I started to hate a lot of things.  Everything made me moody and everything sucked.  It was just part of my teenage girl life.

As I got older, Robbie wasn’t such a thorn in my side.  My mom had been given big shoes by my dad to fill, and Robbie wasn’t filling them.  The older I got, the more I realized this.  What I more painfully realized was that Robbie wasn’t doing anything to fix it.  He kept crummy jobs because they were easier, instead of trying to find better, more lucrative ones.  He started to waiver in his efforts to show my mom attention and affection that she craved and deserved.  I felt for a long time like my mom was holding Robbie to my dad’s standards, and that wasn’t fair.  I was on Robbie’s side for a while because I felt like my mom wasn’t giving him much of a chance.  But now I realize that my mom, even though she was holding him to standards set by someone else, was in the right to expect her husband to take care of her.  You don’t marry someone and take vows before everyone you know if you don’t think the person you’re seeing through the veil will take care of you in some way.

Now, my second set of parents are getting a divorce.  I understand why and I agree with the reasoning.  Robbie has had so many chances to just do better.  Not even be better necessarily, but do better.  And he never took the opportunity.  As a woman who is married to someone who takes utmost care of me, I can fully understand how this can be frustrating, to say the least.

What is even more frustrating is how some people in Robbie’s family are starting to react to the news that a divorce is on the horizon.

I came across this Facebook status from one of Robbie’s family members this morning:

Screen shot 2013-05-16 at 10.09.01 AM

I will say that as of right this second, I do not have confirmation that the status is about my mom.  But I believe that it is.  I have confronted this family member via private message but haven’t heard back.  Since seeing it this morning, this status almost makes me laugh.

You see, the family member in question just finished his first year of college.  And, in typical college fashion, he has no idea what he’s talking about but really believes he does.  This particular person can be found on any given day using Facebook updates to preach to all his Facebook friends regarding love, acceptance of gay marriage, forgiveness, and all sorts of other “Christian” values.

I remember being a college freshmen.  Your whole world is rocked.  Everything you thought you knew is thrown out the window and new, exciting stuff is presented instead.  If you’ve experienced college in any way, I think everyone can agree that the whole Collegiate Knowledge thing starts taking over after your first semester.  You know how it goes – you take that first humanitarian class that forces you think in a way that’s different from how you’ve been thinking your entire life, and suddenly you know everything.  Everyone else is messed up, but not you.  You know the truth.  About everything.  You get it.  I was like that.  Back in the days of MySpace, my friends and I took great pleasure in writing blog posts all the time about how people didn’t understand stuff, and how if the government would just listen to our one friend who was a poli-sci major, things would get better.

You grow up and learn that the world isn’t black and white.  In fact, the world is just different shades of gray where all the inhabitants are pots calling the kettles black.  There is no “right” and “wrong” anymore, because every situation that could warrant a right or wrong outcome is different.  You can say, “Abortion is bad.”  Well, what about incest?  What about rape?  Is it “right” in your world to force a woman to carry a child that’s the outcome of either of those situations?  You can’t make blanket statements that affect that many people and that many outcomes.  It isn’t fair.  Oh!  What’s that?  You say, you would carry the child?  How do you know that when you’ve never gone through that experience?  You can’t know someone’s journey until you walk in their shoes.  Trite as that may be, it’s true.  In regards to the status up there, that person has no idea what it takes to make a marriage work.  No one does until you have one of your own.  And even though I’m not a parent, I’ve heard that people with no children always seem to know what’s “best” for people with children.  So, you can look in from the outside and make your own conclusions that are based on hearing one side of the story.  That’s your prerogative, but I think it’s only fair to acknowledge that there is another side.  I think it’s unfair that Robbie’s family is unwilling to hear the other side of the story.

I fear that I’m starting to ramble, so I will draw this to a close.  My point is, two cars can be the same year, make, and model, and one still have tons more mileage than the other.  I know that I am young and still have tons to learn, and that the family member in question will continue thinking they are in the right and write me off because I am also young in his eyes and not an “adult” yet.  But I’m old enough to know that my mom is free to do what she wants, and in this case, I support her decision.  If it hadn’t been for me attending college, I wouldn’t be a liberal person.  I would still be absolutely republican, bashing everyone for not believing in what I believe in, because I am “right.”  I am SO glad I overcame that mindset.  But I had to finish college and become much more educated to form any worthwhile opinions of my own.  I am still forming them, but I am no longer merely just a freshman.

Sudden Clarity Caty

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Are you familiar with the meme, Sudden Clarity Clarence?  I’ll admit, it has answered many questions that even Urban Dictionary couldn’t.  It’s one of my favorite Internet memes, and the other day, I had an epiphany, of sorts, and dubbed myself Sudden Clarity Caty.

I was reading (and tweading) Dresden, when I came across this sentence:

At first, I just thought it was a cool thing to think about, but I began to relate it to my life more the longer it resonated with me.

I’ve never had a truly clear vision, despite my super-planner mindset, of what I wanted to do when I got older.  As a child, my play adventures were so drastically different; one week, I wanted to be an archaeologist (that lasted the longest), the next a librarian, then a mommy, then a teacher, and so on.  I was not one of those children who knew what I wanted to do as soon as I could walk.

As I grew older, that didn’t really change.

My junior year of high school, I took a Creative Writing class and through constant practice, I got to be a pretty good writer – at least in my own mind.  Senior year was looming, and everyone else, including then-only-boyfriend Justin, was planning for college.  I didn’t even want to go to college at that point, but under the pretense of just thinking about it, I figured I would major in something having to do with writing.  I asked my mom and consulted a book to find journalism.  I don’t think I even knew that creative writing was a major at that point, but I suddenly had my heart set on journalism.  The following year, I got accepted to SMC, where I got all my crap classes out of the way, and then transferred to Winthrop, where Justin was, to actually pursue the journalism degree.

While at Winthrop, where we actually had to write articles and learn stuff about journalism, the idea of writing for a newspaper or some other publication was engrained in me.  I didn’t think about anything else I could do with this degree, nor did I consider the idea to change my major.  I wanted to finish school, just finish.  I didn’t want to finish with good grades or with honors, I just wanted to finish.  Changing my major or adding on a worthy minor didn’t seem worth the extra time to me.  Writing for a newspaper was what I was going to do.

After school, and up until now, I haven’t had a job that really reflected my degree.  I’ve had only part-time jobs, one of which was near-hard labor in a warehouse.  Even though I knew I didn’t really want any of those jobs for the long haul, I didn’t know what I wanted, either.  And I guess I still don’t.

My point is, Dresden is right.  Just because I have some experience in newspaper writing doesn’t mean I am stuck with that option.  I’m not limited.  I have felt limited for a long time.  I’ve felt like this is the only path I am able to take, and that I have to deal with it.  I’ve invested so much time and work into being a journalism major.  But I’m not stuck.

I don’t know that I can do anything I want, but I’m not stuck.

Perhaps the next step is to figure out what I want to do.  I feel like a child again – I have so many ideas for things I’d be good at.  Is that a good thing?

I’d love for this new-found energy to flourish into something, but time will tell.  I like being employed because I like having my own money, but being in a dead-end job, particularly a part-time one, takes its toll after a while.

Sorry if this seems kind of whiney, I just wanted to remind myself that I have options.  I just don’t know what they are yet.

eBook Review: Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)

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Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns), by Mindy Kaling


Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? is a book of essays by Mindy Kaling.  The book plays host to observations, rants, and recollections of Mindy, a script writer and actor/comedian.

Mindy Kaling, a writer for “The Office,” wrote a book of essays detailing her opinions on life, love, fashion, and Larry David.  Mindy recalls several parties she has attended, actors and famous people she has worked with, gigs she took when she was fresh out of college, finally getting hired to write for a television series, and different observations on topics like shopping, eating Indian food, and being a girl.  Her observations are often true-to-life and are also often compared to rom-coms.  Mindy paints not only a classic view of the twentysomething’s life, but also an idyllic picture of what some girls would like their life to be like.  Mindy discusses things that don’t generally come up in everyday conversation, but rather things that are thought of when one is alone in their apartment with time to ponder their life.  Her seldom ranting and general pointing-out of everyday occurrences make her book a joy for anyone to read.

I found Mindy’s book in a list of books that are recommended for someone experiencing a Quarter-Life Crisis.  It was portrayed as a book in the same vein as Tina Fey’s Bossypants, which I have yet to read.  After my local library got the memo that it was 2013 and updated their eBooks, I found Mindy’s book among the most-downloaded titles.  I downloaded the book to my Nook Tablet, and have spent the last three days enjoying it.  The book did not have me rolling in the floor laughing, but rather nodding my head in agreement to many things she pointed out.  Many things she talks about, the topics of her book ranging from being a chubby child at camp to how many pairs of shoes one man should own, are things that we all think about and just never really discuss with anyone.  The book reads very much like Sex and the City to me – just a book of different stories or observations that one can either live vicariously through or relate to.  When I was describing the book to my mother, I told her it was as if Mindy had kept a blog her entire life and just picked the best posts to compile a book out of.  I think this is an accurate description as well.  It’s a lot like reading a book of Tumblr posts, since the topics are so diverse and since Mindy’s sense of humor is like every “Seinfeld” episode: observations about everyday things that no one else deems worthy of conversation.  I enjoyed Mindy’s book and would recommend it to someone else.  I give it 4/5.

For Next Time

White Night, by Jim Butcher

In Chicago, someone has been killing practitioners of magic, those incapable of becoming full-fledged wizards. Shockingly, all the evidence points to Harry Dresden’s half-brother, Thomas, as the murderer. Determined to clear his sibling’s name, Harry uncovers a conspiracy within the White Council of Wizards that threatens not only him, but his nearest and dearest, too…

This Is Water.

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A little bit of inspiration on this otherwise normal Wednesday afternoon.