Wednesday, February 27, 2008 --- I don't know how to balance blogging and a job outside of the house...I'm a failure!

I am having a bitch of a time trying to balance blogging and working outside of the house. It sucks because I was so regular with I just feel like a failure who can't manage her time. But the thing is, I'm doing laundry, cleaning, grocery shopping, etc. with whatever free time that is not taken up by sleeping and watching the few highly necessary television programs we like to watch each week. Ugh! In addition, I have a freelance website job going on -- for a certain Pilates studio in New York -- which I am very excited about -- but again, less free time for me and me-blog when I get home each day. Ah, well.

The other thing that has made me actually avoid blogging is my ongoing frustration with Blogger mistreating me and my post publishing process. I know that the best solution is to migrate to dynamic blogging (i.e. Wordpress) -- and I WILL do this! But, F*CK! I just don't have the time right I avoid...because Blogger can't piss me off if I don't blog!

One thing that we have been having fun with is KITTY CAM. I got a web cam for Christmas (which works independently from a computer -- just hooks up to our home network) that allows us to watch our cats when we are not home...or when we have our backs turned and we want to see what those little f*ckers are doing when we are not looking. Plus, their Grandma really likes to check in on them from Connecticut -- just to see how fat they are or to watch them playing. I don't know why I enjoy this so much, but I do. It's like I'm producing my own Feline reality tv show! Here are some still shots from the KITTY CAM as an animated GIF -- of Noodle the Cat.

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Friday, November 30, 2007 --- Kneel before the Temple of Coldness...and get your wax worms here!

Behold! Our glorious new Temple of Coldness...If you follow me on Twitter, you'll know that we recently had a refrigerator breakdown at the Butterfly Cocoon. Our kind neighbor, Teresa, took in our wayward food for temporary storage across the hall so that we wouldn't lose everything. Initially, the apartment maintenance guy, who showed up at our door to check the old monster, said he would need to replace the fan motor (I think?) in the morning to get things running again. Of course, behind closed doors, we said out loud, "Why can't they just get rid of this energy-sucking-fucker and give us a new refrigerator like Teresa has?!?"

Well, I am pleased as punch to announce that they did just that! Three nice men came in, cleared out the old, rolled in the new, and even helped put away what little non-perishable food we had left in the old dying beast. Magnets and pictures have now been replaced on the new magical fantastical Whirlpool.

I especially love the clear drawers that let me see exactly what is in there at all times. Nothing is worse than forgetting about some random vegetable purchase, only to discover some weeks later that you have a drawer full of rotten celery or cucumbers...Ick! [OK, yes, there are worse things -- like heinous rape or murder -- but, in terms of refrigerator things, you get the idea... ]

Now, I am sure there are you nosy little bitches out in Cyberland who are going to zoom in and examine the contents of our refrigerator. And, you are probably going to say, "Hey Butterfly, what's with the container of LIVE WAX WORMS?" Ewwwww.

My longtime readers will know that the worms are a special treat for our amphibian friends -- specifically, our two Australian White's tree frogs. Usually we feed all of our frogs crickets, but occasionally, I will hand feed these guys a few wax worms. I don't feed wax worms to the three Cuban tree frogs (not pictured) because those frogs are too fast and nervous to be held and fed. If you drop the worms into the tank, they will just dig themselves into the soil, never to be seen again. So, it requires holding the worm in front of a lucky frog's face to be snatched in the moment. These two frogs at left, known collectively as "the Bung Monkeys", are very happy to be held and fed. Because they are fat and slow. *heeheehee*

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Friday, November 23, 2007 --- Moments in the Butterfly household...

This cute little bitch...

...decided that mommie needed to play the world's largest game of Pick Up Sticks. Thanks, Nutmeg!

Here is the magic happening in the oven yesterday -- it was delicious and we are going to eat it again tonight...Yum!

Since it has gotten colder again tonight, we are going to have a fire later. We went to the National Gallery of Art in DC today with the man's visiting momma and we are exhausted.

Hope you all are having a great holiday weekend -- and for my non-American reader friends -- Happy Full Moon (Saturday)!

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Saturday, October 6, 2007 --- Apparently, this is a good place to take a nap...

The bigger Nutmeg gets, the more things she gets into. Not only did she jump into the tub while I was taking a shower today, but she also likes to take a break in the sink periodically. In some ways, this lack of fear with regard to water is a good thing. It means I have very little trouble bathing her when necessary -- because I like to bathe me some cats. Contrary to popular cat-belief, spit does not clean everything well, especially when that spit smells like cat food...

"This carpet has a funny flavor!"

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Wednesday, September 26, 2007 --- My Favorite Little Munchkin Came For A Visit This Past Weekend...Isabella!

The man's niece came with her parents this past weekend and we had a lot of fun with them. She terrorized the cats, of course. She also loved the playground in our complex right outside the front door. She's a jungle-gym-climbing-machine! I can not get over how big she has gotten -- she's almost 3 years old (November) -- and looks like an actual kid now!! It seems like she was just in diapers...

Trying to settle down from a hyper period of cat chasing...

In search of those cats...I have a rainbow string, kitties!

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Tuesday, September 25, 2007 --- Baby Steps Toward A Greener Life...Part 2

Today, the cats went green! Yes, it is official, we have switched over to 100% biodegradable, Eco-friendly cat litter. As I mentioned in Part 1 of "Baby Steps Toward A Greener Life", we will be trying out two kinds of litter side by side -- one made with wheat and one made with corn -- both pictured at left.

In terms of color, texture and smell -- they are virtually indistinguishable -- as you can see here -- sorry, we are not a Scratch-N-Sniff blog at this point, so you can't smell. World's Best Cat Litter is in the green box, Swheat Scoop is in the red box. They both smell very natural, like feeds for livestock on a farm. There was certainly a lot less dust when I poured them into the boxes, which was nice! As my Twitter friend, margalit mentioned in the comments of the previous Part 1 post, we have already made note of the fact that World's Best (corn) costs twice as much as Swheat Scoop (wheat). The Swheat Scoop came in a 40lb. bag and the World's Best came in a 17lb. bag which cost almost the same price. Obviously, we will most likely stick with the Swheat Scoop in the future, but for the purpose of evaluation, etc. we are trying both right now. Thus far, the cats have liked (and used!) both boxes without any adjustment problems. Of course, we do have unusually cooperative, well-behaved cats so this does not surprise me too much. And, NO, that is not our bathtub -- we have a second bathroom that is designated as the Cat Bathroom -- where we keep the cat litters in the tub with a shower curtain drawn. This gives them a pleasing amount of privacy, keeps the boxes out of human sight, and more importantly, keeps cat litter from being all over our apartment (because it drops off of their paws as they jump out of the tub). We still use the toilet and sink in there -- which works out fine for everyone -- we just need to vacuum out the tub once or twice a week during our normal apartment cleaning activities...that sounds pretty funny now that I put it in writing...vacuuming out the tub!

Anyway, we are happy about this new transition. The urine appears to clump very well in both types of litter. And, as per Margalit's additional advice, we are not flushing our clumps (even though we do not have a low flush toilet) -- we have old newspapers saved under the bathroom sink -- I use 2-3 sheets of newspaper to scoop litter onto, and then, wrap up the waste into a 100% biodegradable packet that can go out with the trash. So, no more need for the plastic supermarket bags. Great!

Speaking of which, we used our new canvas bags at the supermarket last weekend. People did look at us funny at the registers which amused me, but also made me feel proud (?) in a weird way. In addition, we saved .03 cents per bag used on our grocery bill which is not much, but it still feels like a reward. Maybe this next thing is just a serendipitous coincidence, but I stopped into the supermarket again today -- and they are now selling reusable bags at the registers which were never there before! Were the supermarket managers (or workers) influenced to make this change by seeing us with our bags? Or was it already in the works?? I do not know and I do not need to know -- I am purely excited by the fact that it has happened -- whatever the cause! ;-D

Some other small changes we have an effort to reduce the amount of plastic wrap and the number of Ziploc bags we use, we are washing out Ziploc bags and reusing them many times before disposal. Basically, we will be using them until they develop a hole or tear. It is amazing how long these suckers last -- which is why they are a problem in the first place, huh?

We have always had a Brita water filter container in our refrigerator, but we are making an effort to eliminate buying any bottled water when we are out and about. We have saved a few plastic bottles that we fill up at home and take with us rather than buying new ones. The idea of buying water has always been ridiculous -- so this is an easy thing to feel good about from a "saving money" standpoint as well as the plastic and waste issues.

Another recent change...for my intermittent struggle with Starbuck's Mocha Frappuccino addiction...I bought this reusable travel cup which will hold any grande-sized beverage purchased from my local pusher. It is easy enough to take it with me, eliminates the need for all of those wasted disposable plastic cups...AND, I save .10 cents off of my purchase when I bring my own cup! Cool beans, indeed.

We are also making a real effort to recycle properly by making it a more efficient, do-able task. We use the same canvas bags for the supermarket to keep purely recyclable-only items separate from the ones with refund deposits. When it is time to go to the supermarket again, we just grab the canvas bags as usual already filled with our presorts. This makes it very easy to dump the recyclables in the bins outside on the way to the car, and then, we take the deposit refund recyclables with us to the supermarket to get our money back. If we sort as we use and bind the new habit with a well-established habit (going to the store) -- it is much more likely that we will follow through consistently. Plus, it keeps the recycling under control -- nothing is worse than lugging 2-3 months worth of cans and bottles to the supermarket -- at least, until one has children to do that for exercise and spending money! ;-) LOL

Semi-related side note: Twitter friend, cwdaniels made mention of our "Baby Steps" project post on his blog here. Thanks, Wess! You can also read his great post about his own efforts at more sustainable living. Or, check out the rest of his blog at for more good reads! :-D

Unrelated side note: Twitter friend, margalit recently went to the hospital for another congestive heart failure incident -- if you would like to send her some kind-thought-vibes via Twitter or her blog at, I am sure she would love to hear from you. She's very kind to strangers... ;-) Feel better, margalit!

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Wednesday, September 12, 2007 --- Baby Steps Toward A Greener Life...Our realistic plan for making small, eco-friendly changes in our home for a cumulative impact.

9/25/07 UPDATE: Be sure to read the comments section of this post as well -- more interesting links, podcast info, etc. ;-D V

One of the things I have been really enjoying, since the upgrade/changes to our cable service sometime back in the Spring(?), has been the addition of the Sundance Channel. Aside from wonderful indie films, they also have a fair amount of Eco-related programming, known as "The Green" which I find fascinating. One of my favorite programs -- "It's Not Easy Being Green" -- documents the Strawbridge family and their self-sufficiency project. They picked themselves up and moved to Cornwall, England to create a completely "green" existence -- producing no waste and eliminating their dependence on fossil fuels. To me, it is a very exciting and inspiring show. But, it is also quite daunting and discouraging.

As apartment dwellers, I have often felt that while the man and I may want to live a more environmentally-conscious life, apartment dwelling by its very nature means that almost everything about your living space is not under your control. The appliances do not belong to us, we did not choose the water-heating system, going solar is not an option, I can't remove the cancer-causing vinyl siding, etc. You get the picture. While these shows can be inspiring, realistically, the average person cannot afford to just pick up and move somewhere to create a "Green Utopia". Oftentimes, it feels like making "real" changes are not in the cards for us until we own our own home -- and even then, I have a feeling that some of the changes I dream about will not be affordable for us. But I can dream...and I will. And, hopefully, it will be possible.

Another thing I have been very into over the past year has been Eco-related podcasts. Before we had the Sundance Channel, I was already watching their Eco Biz video podcasts, as well as some other great podcasts I have found on iTunes. One of my best discoveries has been a podcast from Personal Life Media called Living Green: Effortless Ecology for Everyday People. Host Meredith Medland interviews people from all areas of the Green Movement -- scientists, activists, concerned famous folks, "green" business owners and regular people who have made remarkable changes to their planetary impact through their daily choices. She talks a great deal about the "psychology of green" -- about changing people's mindset regarding what it means to be "green" in the first place. It's not "just for tree huggers" anymore, baby! It needs to become such a habitual, natural part of life, that you wouldn't think to do anything else. That is the only way that substantial, significant change can making it an integral part of our culture, NOW...through podcasts and other media, activism, research and development of new technologies, architecture, etc. When consumers have better choices and affordable choices for greening -- why wouldn't they choose to do the right thing? A big part of what Meredith tells people is that they need to "remove their guilt" about not being "green enough." Make small, daily changes -- stick with them, build upon them -- before you know it, you will have made many! And, you will feel good about it...which will inspire you to continue doing it. When you look at it that way, it seems do-able. Pick something and try it!

During the course of Meredith Medland's many informative interviews with all types of fascinating folks, she introduced a lady named Jen Boulden. Jen Boulden is a co-founder with Heather Stephenson of Essentially, Ideal Bite is just that -- a manageable "bite of daily green" -- a website that delivers easy and realistic, Eco-friendly tips via email Monday-Friday to get you on the gradual road to Greentown. The tips are so easy to do, you will be making changes in no time! Plus, they offer great information on products to replace the more harmful ones you may be buying really helps to support the businesses that are concerned about supporting the planet and the consumer, not just their bank accounts. The more we support them, the more commonplace environmentally conscious companies will be.

One of the disturbing things I have learned from these podcasts -- how bad scoopable clumping cat litter is for the environment -- as well as for human and animal health. Not only is it destructive because of the strip-mining for clay, but it is not biodegradable, it is clogging and filling landfills at an alarming rate with its expanding-cement-like-presence, the clay is filled with carcinogenic silica dust, if that wasn't enough...the major clumping agent is sodium bentonite which is poisonous. Between breathing the cancer-dust (us and the cats), licking the poison-dust through grooming (just the cats), and what it is doing to the earth and landfills...there is nothing good about it. I had long suspected it was probably bad, but in the absence of actually "knowing", I continued using the litter.

This got me thinking. Because it was more than just the cat litter. For a long time, I have been really disturbed by the quantity of plastic bags that we have after a trip to the grocery store. I can not remember the last time I was in a grocery store that still offers a choice of paper or plastic? At least the paper would be biodegradable...even if it still kills trees to produce it. My theory had always been, since I needed to scoop the cat litter, I would save the bags and "recycle" them by using them for the disposal of cat waste. It wasn't recycling exactly -- more like "reusing" before its eventual trip to the landfill...stuffed with my carcinogenic, poison-chemical-laden, cat feces and urine. All I was doing was delaying the trip, not really recycling anything. But, these are the little mental games we play with ourselves while we are busy scooping poop. This was no longer acceptable to me. Period.

So, the question became, how do I eliminate my dependence on these plastic bags while still having the cleanliness of a scoopable clumping cat litter? Could I find an Earth-friendly, biodegradable cat litter that still made scoopable clumps? That maybe I could flush instead of putting in the bags?

I did some research and found this cat litter made from corn. 100% natural, biodegradable, scoopable, flushable, so-safe-you-can-eat-it cat litter made from corn!

I also found this cat litter made from wheat. 100% natural, biodegradable, scoopable, flushable, so-safe-you-can-eat-it cat litter made from wheat!

All right, so maybe no one is going to eat it, but the point is -- our cats can lick themselves without ingesting silica dust and sodium bentonite!!

We plan on trying both formulas, side-by-side, to make a decision about which one will work best for us. As the current litter, Ever Clean, starts to dwindle inside the big 28lb. box in our spare bathroom (3 Extra Pounds Free!) -- we are growing very excited about our next trip to the pet supply store...Our cats are about to make the leap into Eco-friendly bowel movements! Now the frogs won't be the only "green" pets in our household...

In preparation for our No-More-Plastic-Bags-Transition, I am very proud to show all of you the 100%-Cotton canvas bags (12 to start!) that I bought (pretty cheap at Michael's) for us to use at our local supermarket. I am very excited about this. I invite the stares. I welcome the smiles and questions. I anticipate the possibility that someone will see us shopping this way...and decide to go out and get their own bags. And maybe, just maybe, some of you darling readers will be inspired to start making some "baby-steps-changes" of your own -- and tell me about it! Send me pictures, send me stories, I would love to hear about what you are doing -- or have decided to do. I'll post them here so that we can share our ideas and progress.

We have some other ideas that we will be implementing in our home. As they occur, I will talk about them here on the Butterfly Blog. I imagine by this time next year, that my list of "changes made" will have grown in number -- at least, I hope so. I look forward to seeing it happen! Go Team Green!

[Photo Credits]
"It's Not Easy Being Green" photo from:
"Living Green" graphic from:
"Ideal Bite Logo" graphic from:
"Ever Clean Cat Litter" photo from:
"World's Best Cat Litter" photo from:

"Swheat Scoop" photo from:

"Nutmeg and Plastic" and "12 Canvas Bags" photos by the butterfly. That's Me!

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Monday, September 10, 2007 --- Little sister, Nutmeg...and big bro' Jackson...taking naps.

Nutmeg sleeps in weird positions.

Jackson makes weird faces when he yawns.

I get mad when I get postcards in the mail from someone whom I have explicitly told to leave me alone...doesn't matter who, dear readers...suffice it to say that I am irritated when my wishes are not respected, over and over again. Maybe this will get read and incorporated...maybe it won't. My blog, my feelings, my outlet. So, if you are reading -- Fuck Off, Person.

That's all I have to say today, good and bad.

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Monday, September 3, 2007 --- Latest pictures of the new baby...

Playing around with my Picasa Web Albums -- thought I would share a slideshow of today's pictures of Nutmeg (a.k.a. Schmegs, Meggie, Schmeggie and Nutschmegs.)

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Thursday, August 30, 2007 --- What has been going on in Butterfly's cocoon?

As you all know, we put Trudy to sleep on August 13, 2007. She was cremated on August 14, 2007...and, we got her ashes back the following weekend in this pretty little box -- which is now on a shelf in our living room. It came with an engraved name plate which we affixed on the inside of the lid. We have been missing her terribly, but we are glad every day that she is no longer suffering.

As a household, we will always have a hole in our hearts for Miss Trudy. The boys were missing their sister...Peanut, especially, was walking around meowing and howling, looking for Trudy for days. We still miss her non-stop purring, her instant appearance whenever you called for her, her love of tuna water, her insatiable need to rub her cat lips on us when she wanted to be pet... We have ALL needed some cheering up...and, we had an available spot in our place to offer someone special a new home! So...

...Meet Nutmeg! It was a difficult choice, but this little bundle stood out from the crowd at PetSmart's Adoption Day as the best candidate to join our little, not-so-little family. She's very outgoing and she has a cool orange spot on her head. The boys accepted her relatively easily -- we only had them segregated for one day!

Jackson offered to give her a wash off the shelter a rather untraditional manner!

You can see that Peanut is pretty oblivious to her presence when he is sleeping with his dad...

...And, after a rough start of throwing up whenever he looked at her...from fear(!)...Noodle is now able to take a nap with her on the sacred chair...

Her first major act of mischief??? Eating through the wire on these headphones for her Daddy's XBOX 360! Surprisingly, Daddy was not that upset...probably because it gave him the perfect excuse to buy the better X2 wireless headphones from Turtle Beach...

Vive l' XBOX 360!
Merci beaucoup, ma petite Nutmeg!


We also just got back from Connecticut and visiting Mommie Dearest for a Belated 4th-of-July-Birthday Celebration -- she's a Firecracker Baby! Here we are in the dark making motion trails with our super-long sparklers. You can see some of our other fun with explosives on her blog.

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Monday, August 13, 2007 --- Trudy's Last's a sad day indeed.

These are the last two pictures I took of Trudy...We are very sad, but doing okay -- because we know that she is no longer in any pain. Honestly, I think she was ready. She actually seemed relieved as the vet started the injection into her IV catheter. She went quietly (except for the purring) with the vet and I petting her and talking softly. The man stood outside and cried privately...he doesn't handle these things well ;-)

This beautiful girl will be missed every day. Luckily, I shot a bunch of videos of her to help us remember and smile.

[ You can click this picture of Trudy taking a nap on her Mommie to see her last video clip. ]
Current Mood:

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Wednesday, August 8, 2007 --- Meat is murder...Tasty, delicious, mouth-watering murder!

Part of me was concerned that I was posting too much about the Cancer-Cat...but then, I one reads my blog! "Butterfly," I said, "you post that Cancer-Cat. Don't you worry about those nonexistent readers for even a minute!"

And so, with that, I give you another video of the lioness, Trudy-the-Cancer-Cat!

The fabulous "meat graphics" come from the I Love Meat Sticker Collection that can be purchased at one of my favorite hilarious shopping spots on the net, Archie McPhee Toys.

[Click on the picture to go to the video page.]

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Sunday, August 5, 2007 --- I have CANCER...Hear me ROAR...With lesions too big to IGNORE...And I know too much to go back an' pretend!

Okay, so this photo is from a better time in Trudy's life...when she still had all of her fur intact...But, the sentiment is the same!

The video [click on the image when you are done reading] is from yesterday -- Jackson got in trouble for chasing his sister out of her little cardboard-box-tray-thing (from the recent canned cat food purchase) -- which she has been enjoying sitting in lately. And yes, I know, the apartment is very messy at the moment...what, with all the kitty nursing we have been doing...and not wanting to upset her with the vacuum! We will be cleaning TODAY because I can not stand it anymore! The man would be fine with living in squalor -- so long as he can play XBOX 360 -- which he is welcomed to return to just as soon as we straighten this place up a bit!

Ugh. Double Ugh.

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Wednesday, August 1, 2007 --- Remember this video from Mothers' Day? Funny girl sure can dance!

Some of you may remember this funny video from The Daily Lizzard? -- it was a Mothers' Day surprise for Mommie Dearest posted on her blog. That Trudy sure can dance...

[Don't worry -- we didn't make her dance for the whole song -- we shot a little chunk that she tolerated pretty well and then we looped it to make it longer for the whole song ;-D ]

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Monday, July 30, 2007 --- The ultrasound verdict is in...

Well, things are not good with ChooChoo, but this is not terribly surprising to me. I was prepared for that...and really, an answer does make us feel better, even if it is not a nice answer...because we can feel secure in our decision...that we are going to do everything possible to keep her comfortable and happy until she is ready to go. But we are not going to intrude, biopsy, chemotherapy, etc. We want her remaining time (weeks?) to be happy and calm -- minimizing her stress for whatever time she has left before we put her to sleep.

The official situation:

1)"Bullseye" lesion in right lateral liver lobe, extending through to the right middle liver lobe. Multiple other 1-2 cm lesions throughout 3 other liver lobes, all of similar appearance, most likely, with her history, age, and clinical signs, this is carcinoma or other type of cancer. 2)Abnormal left wing of pancreas with dilated pancreatic duct. 3)Left kidney has a focal lesion of hypoechoic tissue, similar in texture to the liver lesions, concerned that this represents spread from primary process in liver. 4)Asymmetric thickening of the duodenum, mass-like appearance with enlarged mesenteric lymph nodes.

I made a little video of her when we got home to show how she is doing at this point -- still feeling pretty bright and happy (you can hear her purring in the video!) You can click on the picture below to go to the video page and watch it...We want to document a little bit each day of her so that we have some stuff to remember and be able to watch our cute little girl's videos in the future, when she is gone. ;-)

UPDATE: When the man got home around 10PM from his class, he fed everybody wet food for dinner...and Trudy ate normal cat food with all the boys on her own!! She actually kept eating after everybody else had walked away. And then, just before he went to bed, we took her temperature to see if she still had a fever...BUT, she had a normal 100.8F temp -- which means that she does not have an infection -- she was just VERY stressed at the vet's office (there, it was about 104.5F which is about 2 degrees over the high-end of normal). We did not give her the antibiotic shot (I will ask the vet tomorrow if they want us to give them to her, but I think probably not if she has no fever...) We prepared her B12 shot, but we had to wait a little while to give it to her -- because she was busy eating her normal wet cat food, again! With the B12, hopefully this eating trend will continue. The more she eats, the better she will do for a while longer, while her liver still functions. Of Course, at the first hint of any pain or change in attitude, we will know it is time. For the time being though, she is feeling pretty good and hungry ;-D

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Sunday, July 29, 2007 --- Silence of the Lambs...the Mosaic!

I'm tellin' ya...those folks over at Twitter Mosaic sure do like my butterfly icon! I was a little bummed that I was not in the Transformers mosaic, but that is A-OK because I think the Silence of the Lambs one turned out much better. You can see my "occurrences" in the picture on the left -- or the original versions with the members list at -- and of course, you can follow twitter_mosaic to become a "part of the art."

In cat news, Trudy-the-Cat has her ultrasound appointment tomorrow (Monday) at 3PM. She's not allowed to eat for 12 hours before the appointment -- before I go to bed, I have to take away everybody's food (Eat up, Cats!! You only have a few more hours...) We will finally find out what is going on with this cat's liver so they can get her on some medicine to help it -- or we find out something worse (hopefully not) and make her as comfortable as she can be, until it is time to say goodbye. It will be a rip-roaring drive to the specialist's office, drooling all the way...Good Luck, ChooChoo!

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Monday, July 23, 2007 --- Trudy is home again...and boy, is she happy about it!

"Mommie, look at what THEY did to my fucking leg! I look like I am wearing one of those ridiculous Chewbacca fur boots that Hollywood bimbos like Pam Anderson wears!! Ugh...Thank God I am home where it is QUIET so I can get some sleep tonight. You are not taking me back there, are you??"

Here are her sweet little bones. We got a cd with her Xrays on it that we will need to show to the specialist who will be doing the ultrasound exam on her liver. We are still not sure if we are going for that exam -- making the appointment, but depending on how she appears to be doing with her medications, eating, etc. if we feel that she is going downhill fast...we would rather humanely intervene than take her for more tests and upsetting poking and prodding. So, we are letting her feelings and behavior be our guide. And, so far, she is much improved from her hospital stay. She was pumped full of good medicines, nutrients and fluids, which plumped her up a bit. She's still skinny, but she is no longer scary-skinny. She was eating well for the vet techs (at night mostly -- she's a midnight muncher, I guess!) When we got her home, she calmed down very quickly from her traumatic car ride and she ate about 1/3 (!!) of the man's grilled chicken breast that he shared with her -- Papa is so nice! He won't share his fries with her Mommie, but for ChooChoo, he will give her the chicken out of his own sandwich...We were amazed at how much he got her to eat. Then, she went and munched some dry food, too! If her energy level and appetitite are any indication of the future, she may have some potential to get better from whatever this liver problem is. We hope so. Tomorrow morning we continue with her pills -- fun! fun! But, we are very happy to have her back and she's very happy to be back...and not have an IV in her leg anymore.

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Sunday, July 22, 2007 --- Trudy-the-Cat is in the hospital for the weekend...

We visited our girl today -- and she was very happy to see us! But, obviously, not happy about being at the hospital. She was drooling like crazy when they brought her in for her visiting time. After a few minutes, she calmed down and was a non-stop purring machine.

[As I am writing this, the vet tech called to give us a status report and said that she pretty much drools the moment they approach her cage because she knows something is up when they do. They are giving her Pepcid to help with her drooling...guess that should dry her mouth up a little? Who knew.]

I will go back to see her tomorrow, poor thing. We left her a care package of her favorite new foods du jour -- #1 Fancy Feast with Gravy -- #2 Whiskas with Gravy (in a pouch.) We also left her a package of Whisker Lickin's treats, Chicken Flavor. Hopefully, if they are trying to have her eat solid foods, they will have more success with ones we know that she likes. We shall see.

Here is her intravenous pump thingy -- that's about $150 right there in her leg...Woohoo! She is still jaundiced -- the insides of her ears are yellowish. But her energy level is still pretty high, which is somewhat good, I guess? It is hard to sleep at night without her frequent visits to the bed to say "hi" -- we really would like her to be home again, but hopefully the fluids, meds, etc. will make the hospital stay a good thing for her. Wish her luck!

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Sunday, July 15, 2007 --- Today, I had 2 cats in my ass!

As filthy as that sounds, it was all pretty innocent. I was taking a little nap and these two (Peanut and Noodle) decided that the crook of my leg under my butt was a good place to sleep. Since I sleep half on my side and half on my stomach, I always have one leg bent up and one leg straight -- so they were actually sleeping on top of my straight leg. Rest assured, this was not good for my circulation in that limb! I was woken up by the man snapping pictures... Eventually, we dismantled this cozy little arrangement because my leg was getting numb and I needed to use the bathroom. But, it was very toasty and sweet while it lasted. ;-)

In other news, Trudy has finished her course of liquid antibiotics. Now, she just needs to continue one daily pill, which is not so bad. We have been monitoring and recording her weight, hairball puking incidents, etc. She has been slowly putting on weight, but it is really difficult to keep her interested in any one particular food. She likes certain foods one day, then she gets bored and will not eat them the next day.

Today we bought a couple of new foods to try. She devoured an entire plate of Whiskas Mixed Grill in Gravy -- a really creepy, juicy concoction that comes in a pouch, of all things. SHE LOVED IT! I guess she liked the idea of eating like an astronaut? ChooChoo in Space, woo hoo! Just you wait though. We will buy a few more pouches of this stuff and she will probably never eat it again...which means the garbage disposal cats, Peanut and Jackson, will come along and eat it for her. It is good to know that her finickiness will result in her brothers' gaining weight, and not her. Just what I wanted.

However, Noodle is a good boy. He is universally finicky and barely eats his wet food. He is a dry-brown-pellet man, mostly -- I do not expect him to gain any extra weight as a result of the Kitty-Buffet table.

And now, I think I will have some Corn Flakes...all this food talk made me hungry for a snack...Damn Cats!

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Monday, July 9, 2007 --- Blogger and FTP Publishing difficulties...oh boy.

Been having some problems with publishing to my blog...I write posts and try to publish them...and get the dreaded "Publishing taking longer than expected...blah blah blah." Eventually, hours later, the posts will arrive on the blog. There is no such thing as a "spontaneous post" to my blog when this garbage is going on. And if I decide to edit or add something, that will take hours to appear on the blog. Very, very annoying. Been going on for a few weeks. I called my host service -- nothing useful. But, I think I found some actual help on resolving the issue from one of the kind folks in the Google/Blogger Help Group. Doesn't happen very often, but once in a while, someone answers...and actually knows what s/he is talking about when it comes to the question being asked. Which is refreshing -- as compared to the responses where the person just generically refers you to Blogger Help -- as if you haven't read all of those articles already. So thanks, nitecruzr. It seems as though your writings on FTP/Blogger problems may have fixed my issue. This post is a test of that...

In the meantime, I felt I needed some virtual flowers to pick up my spirits. Because the Trudy-ChooChoo-Cat has been trying our patience something awful. We had a horrible time with trying to medicate her today -- getting clawed, bleeding, foaming at the mouth, wasting pills, getting pissed with her, getting pissed with each other while getting pissed at get the idea. She is impossible! But, by 11PM?+/- I found a method of wrapping her in the towel that works much better for keeping her "blades of death" out of our skin. Doesn't help us with the drooling and foaming, the biting and the Exorcist-head-turning theatrics that she puts on to keep us from easily putting anything in her mouth -- BUT, it does give us a better chance with those challenges when we are not screaming in pain from being slashed by her. So that's good. It is a good thing she is a wonderful cat in every other way because this shit is for the birds. Seriously.

Ok then, enjoy my virtual flowers! Aren't they pretty? They make me feel better (even if they are just imaginary!)

UPDATE: Yes, the test seems to show that the fixes worked! YAY! Thanks, nitecruzr, again!

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Saturday, July 7, 2007 --- More than meets the eye...and other stories.


Acting was great -- totally believed that the actors were terrified and/or interacting "with" the robots (which is hard to do when nothing is there) -- and Shia LaBeouf was really funny. Effects were un-fucking-believable. Story kept me on the edge of my much so, that I refused to take a bathroom break...even though I needed to pee really, really badly. And, amazingly, I was in-major-love with the robots by the end -- as if they were actual people. I thought I would cry when it seemed BumbleBee was going to die. Optimus Prime, I love you. [swoon] Anthropomorphizing rules.

One question though...Why no female-voiced Transformers? Maybe the sequel will have some? Just a thought.

On the Fourth of July, we saw this little number (because Transformers was sold out for the whole afternoon) -- which was just fine. Why? Because this movie was Hi-lar-i-ous...HILARIOUS! Possibly...funnier than The 40-Year-Old Virgin...?? Maybe. I am not entirely sure. But, I think so. It is hard to quantify the hysteria-factor when the movies do not occur back-to-back for comparison, but I am willing to go out on a limb and say it was.

This has been a great week for movies, indeed. I think I want the DVDs of both of these babies when they come out. Yeah, they're that good.

What else? Oh yeah, we had a day of hell in the feline arena. This mother f*cking cat can NOT be made to take a pill or swallow a liquid medication OR HOLD STILL FOR ANYTHING OR ANYONE!!!! Maine Coons are known for not liking to be held and being rather wriggly...And Trudy is the worst. The worst! And the quantity of drool that accompanies ANY amount of stress is incomprehensible. We wasted 3 pills today just trying to get them down. They all became mush. We tried to hide them in Tuna...NO GO. We tried to dissolve them and syringe blast them down her throat...NO GO. We suffered several personal injuries and have lots of holes in our T-shirts that were not there before. We lost more than a milliliter of the precious liquid medication that needed to be swallowed, but instead was splashed all over the bathroom in a shower of drool and antibiotics. So glad we have several more weeks of this to look forward to...Finally, after the many failed attempts, lost patience, and the addition of sweatshirts and leather gloves, we finally got the crap liquid antibiotics and the pill down. I can hardly wait for the morning when we start again.... ;-(

Here is something exciting. the_butterfly aka my Twitter identity, is part of the Big Blue Marble Twitter Mosaic. Don't know what I am talking about? Well, this Twitter person(s) collects the little avatar pictures that everyone uses on Twitter to ID themselves -- and uses them to create intricate mosaic pictures of works of art, photographs, etc. [Add twitter_mosaic to your friends' list and you could be in the future mosaics!] You can see these mosaics at the Twitter Mosaic Blog which is at Anyway, I was included in the "Big Blue Marble: Negative Mosaic". It is easiest to look at it first on the mosaic blog, but then, you can also see my saved copy of the image where I have circled the occurrences of my butterfly picture -- where I could spot it so far in the mosaic (not easy!) ;-D WooHoo! See it here.

Okay, this has been one of my longest posts in a very long time. As juvenile as it gushing over my Transformer-Love...and the Knocked Up versus 40-Year-Old Virgin debate...and other stories of fame...and misery...

I am now tired and must fold some fresh laundry that is about to finish in the dryer before I go to bed. So g'nite

[Photos source: Yahoo! Movies]

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Tuesday, July 3, 2007 --- Poor Trudy aka "ChooChoo" --- she's not feeling so well today.

I think it is clear how she feels about the two visits she had to the vet today... Drooling the day away, bloodwork taken, shots, shitting in her carrier on the way home, throwing up after she got home from her first visit (probably from eating too soon after being stressed in the car), going back to the vet, temperature taken again (ouch!), slight fever, and then, sleeping the night away. Fuck you, veterinary medicine professionals! I am ChooChoo and I hate you.

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Friday, June 22, 2007 --- We went to visit my little friend tonight...

This is my little friend Cally who lives at Petco. [Sorry for the bad picture quality...we took the pictures with the man's camera phone.] We needed to get a new light fixture for one of our frog tanks so, I got to visit with my "bird friends" again. Isn't she cute?? And colorful?? ;-D

She gets very excited when we come to play -- as you can see from the picture -- as do all the other birds. She "beak climbs" up and down the bars to show off and get the feathers on her belly stroked. Funny Girl...

Here's where she begs, "TAKE ME HOME! PLEASE, TAKE ME HOME!" Awwwwwwwww. Well, maybe someday...poor baby. ;-D

We had a very nice visit with all the other varieties of Conures (including Tank -- who is another Sun Conure) and the Cockatiels, too. Everybody is desperate for attention when we come into the bird room...lots of screeching until you visit each one and say "hi". So, of course, we must coo at all the birds and give them some individual "hello" touching!

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Monday, June 18, 2007 --- Somebody...please tell me...

What the f*** is the deal with John from Cincinnati?? What the heck is this show about? I mean aside from the obvious surface storyline of being about a dysfunctional surfing family...I watched the second episode and I am still wondering if this John-guy is an angel? or Jesus? or what? And why does the dad float? And what is the gay lottery winner's deal??

It's a good thing that watching good surfing is its own reward, dude. Hopefully it will keep the audience willing to wait for some answers ;-)

Totally-Unrelated-Random-Thought-Moment: Someday, when I have a lot more discretionary income at my disposal, I really want a Sun Conure. Yes, I know we have cats. But I would keep it very safe from them. I promise, Santa. They are such sweet smart birds! I love to hang with them at the pet store and play -- especially with one named Cally. **sigh** [That is not my age-spotted hand in the picture -- photo courtesy of Parrot Pictures' page -- perhaps I'll take an actual picture of Cally next time we go to the pet store ;-D ]

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Monday, June 11, 2007 --- Recently acquired items of cuteness...and a heart-melting sweetie!

I am loving these new items that we got at the outlet a few days ago...very cute cotton, empire-waisted shirts from Old Navy. I got this white one as well as black and navy.

...and my ethnic-looking leather sandals from Naturalizer (very comfy on the tootsies!).

And, as a bonus treat for all of you cat lovers...a picture from Noodle's latest kitty photo session! He just melts his momma's heart --- in spite of how evil he can be...

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Monday, June 4, 2007 --- When all else sucks...there is always Jackson :)

When stuff is sucking, you only have to look at this guy (Jackson the Cat) to realize what life is all about --- sunshine, relaxing and a fuzzy belly!

Thanks, Jackson! For always being a cool dude, no matter what. :)

Now if K, J, E, H and L could just get their acts together...(identity-protected friends that are irking me to varying degrees.) ;p

Sidenote: Isn't it incredible that one forward slash (/)...or lack thereof, can completely change one's blog formatting?? For a couple of days, the whole TBB (and tDL) blog had become bolded text and I thought I was going nuts...but it was all because of adding the "Musical Goodness" header on the sidebar. When I wrote the coding in the template, I had the title enclosed in bold tags that were not closed [ < b>Musical Goodness< b> instead of < b>Musical Goodness< / b > ]. DUH!! Thankfully, things are back to normal now. :)

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Tuesday, May 8, 2007 --- Video from the CrazyCatPeople in Vermont :)

Check these crazy critters cute!

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Wednesday, March 28, 2007 --- Charles has a licking problem...and boy, is it funny!

This cute pug dog is named Charles...the rest is pretty self-explanatory! Enjoy.

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Sunday, February 25, 2007 --- More crazy-wet-heavy snow in Virginia...and other topics of possible interest.

Today it was snowing again in Virginia. The flakes were incredibly big and heavy with wetness --- when they built up on the tree branches outside our windows, the trees were falling over from the weight. Crazy...take a look!

I am guessing that my mom and aunt Jackie were having fun snow-shoeing today in Vermont --- maybe they got some of this fresh snow falling on them to add to the hiking in the wilderness-oblivion experience?? I wanted to check in with the ladies with regard to the Vermont weather, but my mom won't answer her cell-phone...Maybe they will read this post and comment back to me!

In case you did not already know this fact, cats like to sleep. Here is a rare moment --- Noodle and ChooChoo sleeping together on the same chair! This chair is a household favorite for the monsters because it is fuzzy and cozy --- and, it has a coordinating washable cat pillow on it which allows us to keep it fur-free for actual we ever get a chance. :)

Not much else going on here. I am a little blue because it is so gloomy outside. But, luckily today is Sunday...which means the man and I watch The L Word at 10pm --- so that is something to cheer me up.

Here's something new! We just obtained a pack of each of the 2 new flavors of Orbit Gum [my exclusive chewing product of choice]!!!

Let me just say that Raspberry Mint KICKS ASS...starts out tasting a little bit like rasperry cough syrup, but then it mellows and becomes an intense raspberry flavor that makes your mouth chilly and fresh. I give it a Borat "very niiiice!"

The other new flavor is Mint Mojito which is a little weird...?

I would describe it as a combination of chilly sensation, fresh mint leaves and Lime Pledge furniture polish (if they actually made a Lime version, but as far as I know, Pledge is only Lemon flavored...) It kind of grows on you after a while, especially if you are a citrus fan. One strange thing about it I noticed --- when you blow a bubble with it and then it breaks, the resulting blast of air in your mouth smells like fresh plants, similar to the smell of leaves in Summer?? Does that make any sensory-sense to anyone?? But it doesn't thrill me as much as Orbit's Lemon-Lime which has a wonderful sour-tangy flavor almost like the original Gatorade Gum...

Orbit Citrusmint is also quite good --- for an Orange and Grapefruit inspired chewing experience!

All gum pictures are courtesy of

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Sunday, February 4, 2007 --- Oh Joy! Oh Happy Day...for Mozilla Users!

Well, I have been working diligently through the night(s) on my Dell laptop to rewrite the html coding for mine and lizzard's blog...And after mucho, mucho experimentation and mucho, mucho, mucho testing...Eureka! I have created a template that displays well in both IE and Mozilla! This is great news, especially for jackie :)

My next step, since the Macs in the house are all older and we can't afford new ones at this time, is to go to CompUSA and test the blogs on the new Macs see if the template works well in Safari...and, of course, while there, I will lust over the latest and greatest Macs, and cool accessories for my iPod and brand-spanking-new PCs of all kinds --- BECAUSE ALL COMPUTERS ARE CANDY TO ME!! I have a greedy greedy heart when it comes to tech-toys :)

Today is the Super Bowl aka Stupid Bowl --- and I will be rooting for the Bears while teaching the Lizzard to blog over the phone...a long overdue lesson! Soon, I won't have to post things as her anymore, but I'm sure I will probably always be playing a supporting role in the cleaning up of her posts...after she accidentally posts 3 copies of the same photo to her blog or whatever...I guess that is my job as the daughter.

In other news, we got a new frog! Not a new Green, but a new Cuban. His name is Paco. We will post some pictures soon...

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Friday, January 26, 2007 --- Do not go gentle into that good night...

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

A good friend has taken Dylan Thomas to heart...

Hulk, like his namesake, fought the good fight --- upon waking up today, I found him struggling for life...It was clear that he was going to die within moments. Another forced cold hibernation was in order, to put him out of his misery. My amphibian friend, you and your loud barking voice will be dearly missed.

Below are some photos of Hulk in his healthier days. As you can see in this nocturnal shot I took of him 2 years ago, he was a gorgeous specimen.

He did not mind being held at all...I think he rather liked it! [Probably because our hands were warm and fun to climb!] And he could change from bright lime green to a dark brownish color. My multiple personality frog.

He played very well with others. You might say he was a multicultural frog --- with a taste for bi-racial sex. Here he is with his lover, Miss Grey. [Yes, we actually witnessed his making sweet sweet love to her...when we interrupted them, he barked for an hour in was quite funny :)]

Goodbye, our friend --- enjoy that big tree in the sky.

Photo of the Hulk character is courtesy of and © Eigentum des jeweiligen Studios / Vertriebes

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Thursday, January 25, 2007 --- Maximizing our efficiency...Noodle says, "what the heck is this?"

We have temporarily changed the appearance of our fireplace...and it looks kind of strange...but we sure are toasty!!

It has finally gotten cold in Virginia and we were using the fireplace daily, but we were getting tired of lugging wood home every other day from the clubhouse. And then, after constantly having to run the heat in the apartment for very long periods of time to heat up the living room and the bedroom (at opposite ends of a long 4-room external-walled apartment) we got sick of how much electricity this was wasting. I realized that we were spending the majority of our time in the living room because it was the warmest I partially closed off the rest of the apartment, turned off the heat, took out the very efficient space heater and decided, we are only going to use electricity to heat this one room (rather than 4 semi-used rooms) and stay there. Then, I got the great idea to hang a mylar blanket in front of the fireplace to reflect our heat back into the room (instead of losing it through the drafty fireplace) --- and let me tell you, WE ARE TOASTY!!! And using less electricity. Al Gore would be so proud of us. Of course, Noodle wants to know what the heck did we do to his fireplace?? [No more sooty paws for you, mister --- at least until the mylar comes down!]

Noodle and Jackie love their pass-thru --- it really is the best way to watch everything that is going on in the kitchen. Especially in the sink!

And so, our large family is warm on the couch futon by night and doing our work on the laptop in various corners by day. When we are not using the bed, the cats have decided to implement a quadrant strategy to divide the space fairly --- no touching, please.

Goodnight everybody!

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Tuesday, January 23, 2007 --- The Hulk is not feeling so good these days.

As you can see from this picture (click to enlarge it), the Hulk is not feeling so good these days. He doesn't seem to be eating and has had an ongoing case of froggy hemmorhoids...that puffiness around his butt-area is not normal. He is very deflated elsewhere and we are worried that he may die soon. Every once in a while, I am able to get him to eat a couple of worms, but not today (see the worm in the foreground?) If he wastes away any more, he will not last much longer. I believe he may be starting to suffer the early effects of kidney failure because he is dark and spotty in color. The only thing that probably keeps his body from filling with poisons is his soaking in his pool and excreting through his skin. Anyway, we are keeping an eye on him in his quarantine tank. We shall see...

Luckily, Miss Grey, Little Green, Fidel, Elian, and the Bung Monkies are all doing great. Little Brown died a couple of weeks ago (he got very weak and looked as though he may have had an infection - we put him to sleep - by forced hibernation with cold temperature - the most humane method for a frog.) So, with some luck, the losses to our frog menagerie will stay small.

In sunnier news...who says window sills are not made for sleeping?

Not this guy apparently! Peanut is just slim enough to fully enjoy any sunny window sill in your home. Give him a call.

We recently hung out with my favorite little chickadee...

We brought her Oma [German translation: granny) along with us to visit her and her parents for a belated Christmas...and let's just say that she was spoiled rotten! Especially by her Grams. However, our Black and Decker toy jigsaw toolset with goggles [called "gobbles" all day by her lol], tape measure and level, was by far the biggest hit! The set of wooden blocks from Oma was a close second though. Her feather boas were her favorite clothing items received by us. All in all, we had a great time watching her methodically rip the wrapping paper --- she's very into the process as well as the gifts :)

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Monday, January 22, 2007 --- Butterfly's First Official Post!

Well folks, the testing posts have been deleted and we now have the real deal!!!

However, I am so tired now after all this coding madness with modifying my blog template, that I have no energy left with which to write a good post. So, instead I will post pictures of our cats...

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________ - THE BUTTERFLY BLOG - Copyright ©2007 Vanessa Lee Hamlen. All rights reserved.

Would it kill ya?

What I Am Doing...

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About Me

I am a graphic designer. I love animals and have quite a few pets. There is a frustrated DJ inside of me --- hence, my ongoing obsession with making music mixes.

Recent Posts


Musical Goodness

-- Music from Butterfly's personal library --

LORI'S LABOR: A collection of 6 unique playlists with varying intensity and mood for your listening pleasure! I created these original mixes for my friends to use during the labor and delivery of their first baby, Nicholas.

You can visit their blog here: ---> The Bridenstines!

Listen to my comical, purposefully nasal, total HAM-job submission to the 2007 Blogger Christmahanukwanzaakah Online Holiday Concert in the mini-player above!
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vanessa lee hamlen
towhead productions
lizzie sue
the Daily Lizzard
joe hinsburg
fleck family
katie haverly music
joe sorren art
the sneeze
archie mcphee toys
eric joyner robot art
nishant choksi illustration
neth creatures
grammar girl
go fug yourself
jeffrey fulvimari art
don't click it
favourite website awards
paul neave
jared tarbell flash art
liquid journey flash art
my pet skeleton
tobie giddio fashion illustration
van beater art
pure breed revolution
pixel girl
jay bibby game reviews
the mighty jimbo
be the boy
sweet blog o' mine
bent objects - sculpture blog
terry border art
anne taintor - vintage gift items
anne...straight from the hip
the naked rabbit world power foundation
i can has cheezburger
passive aggressive notes
citizen of the month
the daly blog
craxy's blog
john's adventures
guerrilla gardening
kung foodie
this is blythe
deron cohen art
life student
hug nation
march of the hugmobile
tales from the dad side
ikea hacker
easy being green
marc johns's blog - mildly amusing drawings
ideal bite - easy green living ideas
gathering in light - c. wess daniels
schmutzie's milkmoney or not, here i come
we are rantasaurus rex, hear us roar
the "blog" of "unnecessary" quotation marks
lyrical venus
the world's most local burger
readymade: instructions for everyday life
giant microbes
busted tees
inarticulate fumblings
i am the diva
wesley riot
queen of spain
in palinode's palace
mustaches of the nineteenth century
sera faery NEW! - the daily overdosage NEW!

DO NOT CLICK on the following links if you are under the age of 18! These blogs are not for you...

really bent
where i vent my spleen
cocky bastard
tassy pink

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