Bug Gets a Chalkboard in her Room.

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From time to time I like to rearrange things in my house and purge out all the unnecessary flotsam and jetsam that gets piled up without anyone really noticing it. This past weekend Bug got her turn. I’ve been nagging her to clean up her room but it always seemed to be impossible for her because she never has enough room to put everything.

You know what that means! Add on another room? Nope! It’s time to purge because there must be a place for everything and everything must be in it’s place. I am so much fun that way.

So we decided to rearrange! She’s really into gaming and she does her homework in her room now with her computer so she needed more desk space. We needed to make a little office in her room so we did what we always do: we flipped the expedit bookcase! It was vertical (see below).

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Now it’s horizontal! And since space is tight we put her desk on top of the expedit bookcase, creating a tiny little nook with some slide-around work space to the side of her. It’s tight but super functional. Especially since we moved the rug over that was seriously hindering her chair-sliding mobility.

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Then, since we were fixing things, we decided to take the old frame that used to be Bug’s faux headboard (That thing has nine lives.) and make it into a chalkboard, which is something she’s wanted since day one. It was really cool as a headboard but unfortunately it was never bolted in correctly and every time the bed got pushed up against it too hard, it would wedge out dangerously. It was just kind of a pain in the head.

We had bought the chalkboard paint way back when we first painted Bug’s room but we ended up not using it because we were worried about chalk dust and it just looked weird painting a square randomly on the wall. Now, however, we had this big picture frame just sitting around waiting for a new use so we decided to use it to frame in the chalkboard. We’re still worried about chalk dust but using this frame kind of keeps the dust contained a little. Bug can just wipe the bottom of the frame with a damp cloth instead of her floor and bed which is much easier.

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Payam bolted the frame into studs in the wall so it really won’t budge and then Bug and Payam got busy with the black chalkboard paint. We waited a day for the paint to cure properly and then Bug primed it with a layer of chalk. It wasn’t as much work as I was worried it would be.

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Now her room is much tidier (we got rid of a ton of out-grown clothes and books that she doesn’t read) and it looks a tiny bit better. She still has a ton of stuff but what can you do with a ten-year-old pack rat? Actually, she has gotten so much better at throwing stuff out. She used to be super attached to anything that had a face, no matter what it was. Now she at least can pass things on to people she knows will appreciate them as much as she did.bugs-chalkboard-1

That’s that!  Bug is happy as a clam with her new chalkboard! Now it’s time to make one for Joon.

Another Slow News Day! Let’s tour the garden. Zzzzz….

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It’s raining today which is BIG fat news here in Southern California, Land of the Everlasting Drought. We are all very confused by this weather. It’s wet and inconvenient.  We don’t have any kind of overhangs in our backyard to keep our puppies from sleeping in puddles. Why would they want to sleep in puddles?! We don’t have mud rooms either for them to dry off their wet muddy feet after a mucky walk in the rain.  Amazingly, I do have a raincoat (thanks to a purchase for my Japan trip) but I do not have rain boots! I want to get the kids rain boots (because walking in wet grass in vans is the pits) but I know they’ll probably only wear them once (if that) before they outgrow them because it NEVER RAINS here! It’s all very puzzling and worrisome. But we don’t need to adapt or anything because it will be gone by tomorrow.

In the meantime, I’m enjoying my nice fuzzy sweater, my heater under my desk, my third cup of coffee and Lucy sleeping on my laptop bag beside me. Cold weather is cozy.

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Hey Lucy. Nice window seat you have there. It’s so funny, this window used to be blocked by the expedit bookcase that is now our new and improved office divider. So now that the window is open, Whiskey parks himself outside this window and stalks the cat. He is a terrier through and through and lives and breaths to hunt the cat.  Did I tell you about the moth and rat incident? I thought surely I had but I just looked through my archives and I can’t find hide nor tail of it. Weird.

Anyway, a few months ago when it was still summer, Lucy became quite the outdoor hunter. She wasn’t supposed to be an outside hunter of course because we have coyotes where we live and anyone who knows anything does not let their cats outdoors at night. But there was a hole in the screen door in our bedroom, thanks to the puppies, and Lucy soon discovered that it was the best thing ever. Freedom!

Lucy is a very, very skittish cat (to the point of almost being feral)and super fast so we told ourselves that she could probably escape a coyote if one ever tried to eat her. We can never catch her, Whiskey can never catch her. Even our neighbors who like to write mean notes about us on Nextdoor about being bad cat owners cannot catch her (thank God.)  Lucy has pretty good odds. So we let this outdoor hunting go on for a few days while we scrambled to figure out a screen door fix. Closing the slider was out of the question because it was SUMMER and we have no other windows or doors in our bedroom.

Then much to our dismay, Lucy caught a black witch moth and brought it into the house at who knows what hour of night and woke poor Bug up with the frightening sounds of a kitten-sized moth fluttering around the corners of her room. It was terrifying! I hate moths anyway but a six-inch death omen moth!!! Yes, I googled it and apparently in Mexico they are believed to be omens of death, especially if they fly to all four corners of your room. Thankfully, we’ve lived a month or two since this happened so I think we’re good.

That happened twice. Then Lucy caught a mouse or a small rat and let it go in Bug’s room. Bug freaked. It’s not that she’s so much afraid of mice or rats but the rat POOPED IN HER ROOM (probably from fear) and then hid behind her desk and bookcase. I know bringing in your kill is a sign of love from a cat but Bug was not feeling the love AT ALL.

We couldn’t get the rat out of Bug’s room. It lodged itself deep behind Bug’s bookcase and into all of her various crap that lived next to her bookcase. So we decided to bring in the big guns and let Whisky have a go at it. He didn’t do a very good job but boy was he excited and focused! It was like he was finally able to realize his true purpose in life. His Irish ancestors were bred to catch vermin on farms and now realize his true potential!!  He ended up chasing the rat down the hallway and into the living room where it hid behind another expedit bookcase (How many expedit bookcases do we have?!) and from there we were able to use a broom and sweep it out the dining room sliding glass door.

All ended well and no animals were hurt but one kid was traumatized and one screen door got barricaded with a piece of dog crate. The puppies have reduced us to Shanty Town in so many ways.

Whisky has never been the same since. Every time he gets lose he either goes straight to the closet (where Lucy likes to hide) or straight to Bug’s room to sit by her desk where there was once upon a time a rat. Because it might happen again!! Silly dog.

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Back to the garden. That’s where I was going originally with this post. As you know, because I have documented it a few hundred times, the puppies have eaten all my plants. I have moved most of them up to table tops and the rest have become fiber in Cody’s poop. But! I have learned through process of elimination that the dogs don’t really eat my cacti. The spikes might have something to do with it. They also don’t eat my serrano peppers.

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I decided to un-plant my many pots of aloe vera (those things multiply like bunnies) and replant them into the planters that used to house beautiful, lush palm trees which have been eaten down to nubs. Yeah, it looks like a hurricane hit it now but I predict these hearty aloe vera plants will perk up and propagate throughout the whole planter box and it will become a lovely, spiky bed of greenery. Not Payam’s or my idea of what we wanted to do there but puppy-times call for desperate measures. Consider this the before picture.

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And speaking of Shanty Town, we also put this really classy fence up around our baby pomelo, mandarin and nectarine trees. All the trees have been heavily pruned by Cody and will forever hold a bonsai-like beauty in their crooked, not-usually-found-in-nature shaped branches. It is what it is. I’m just really happy the pomelo tree survived at all because pomelos are what Brendaritas are made from!

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In other news! Did you know I have a test kitchen? Not really but from time to time I post recipes on alphamom and they usually involve experimenting in the kitchen, not something I’m really good at but I try. I wanted to invent some cookies like these. Please do go look at that link if you at all a foodie because I want you to behold the beautiful magenta of those spiced fenugreek beet baked mathri. Yes, I realize they are crackers and not cookies but why couldn’t I make them into cookies? It wouldn’t be that hard to switch them from savory to sweet would it?

Apparently it is because I failed like a mad, mad woman. It was horrible. I made brown turd cookies. The first batch was NOT purple at all and they were thin and sticky like those really cool lace cookies except they didn’t harden they just stayed sticky and when you raised one to your mouth it folded over in your hand like limp banana peel. The second batch I cut the butter and sugar in half and they turned into dry, tasteless brown turds. There was no magenta or purple at all!  Now this could be because I used grated beets ala this recipe and not beet juice but I don’t understand why beet juice would color something and grated beets would not. Do I suspect the beet juice is chock-full of food coloring? Yes, I do!

Unfortunately my deadline came and went and I never got a chance to experiment with any beet juice but I did push my dry-tasteless cookie dough into a cake pan and topped it with a gooey mixture of butter, walnuts and molasses that was actually downright delicious. I also put a ton of ginger in the dough. I failed to mention that earlier but it is an interesting detail later because the grated ginger has the texture of cat hair when it’s mixed into dough which means I made walnut-encrusted molasses beet ginger brown-turd cake with cat hair inside it!  I win.