Faux Stained Glass Window

I like old windows. I have a few hanging in my house that I’ve repurposed into mirrors using Krylon Looking Glass spray.

Recently, I found some old windows for sale at an antique mall nearby and scooped up two of them. They’re HUGE! And they were just screaming for something amazing to be done with them. Jay and I did some brainstorming and decided it would be interesting to try making it look like stained glass. I found some examples of faux stained glass paint projects online, but a lot of them were either very simple or very small. This project was going to be neither.

First, I had to clean up the windows and make them look decent, which they did NOT when I bought them.

Peeling paint city, man.

Peeling paint city, man.

I sprayed them down with Citri-Strip paint stripper, which took layers of old paint off. Seriously, it was like scraping custard off the wood. Custard you can’t touch with your bare hands.

Use gloves, kids.

Use gloves, kids.

After I wiped all the residue off, I let the wood dry and then painted it. I used a sample size pot of latex paint I found at Lowe’s for $2.

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Then I distressed it with a sanding block, since there were a few damaged places in the wood already.

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Now for the fun part!

I bought Redi-Lead Strips and a bottle of Black Liquid Leading to seal the joints where the strips came together. I found a stylized version of Van Gogh’s The Starry Night on Google Image Search and kept it up on my laptop for reference while I laid out the “leading” lines for the design.

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Completed design

Completed design

Then it was time to start adding color. I used Martha Stewart Liquid Fill Glass Paint because I liked their colors better than the other brands that were available. Since the tree in the foreground is so darkly colored, I decided to do that first and get the hang of how the paint worked.

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Because of the consistency of the paint, I figured out I could drop multiple colors into one area and swirl them together to create really amazing looking patterns. (I used bamboo skewers to swirl the paint and they worked really well.)

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I tried to stick to the general color scheme of the original painting as much as possible, but also allowed myself to put my own spin on it. It also helped to work with a lamp underneath the glass so I could see bubbles.

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Bubbles in the paint were my biggest problem. The black paint in particular was very thin and had TONS of bubbles in it, no matter what I did. I finally settled on filling an area and then going over it with a bamboo skewer to pop all the bubbles I could find before moving on.

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Here’s the finished piece.

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Backlit by afternoon sunlight.

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The area around the stars are one of my favorite parts of the entire piece. The contrast between the rich blue and the yellow just came out looking amazing.

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I’m extremely pleased with how it looks. Once it’s dry, the paint really has a “glass” texture to it and has beautiful translucent areas mixed with more opaque areas. I’m already planning the design for the second window.

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Growing Up Is Weird

When I was a kid, my favorite drink was Chek Grape Soda. It was cheap, bright purple, completely loaded with High Fructose Corn Syrup and looked like this around the time I was drinking it.

Grape "Flavor"! Mmmmm!

Grape “Flavor”!

One of my favorite things to do after school or during the summer as a kid was to roller-skate. My Papa had a long concrete driveway shaped like a capital “P”. The stick of the “P” was flat and the curve sloped down and then back up, so it was a great place to pick up speed and practice screaming around the curve. I also once convinced my little sister to stand still and let me kick my roller-skated foot over her head, and accidentally hit her square in the mouth with it instead. But I digress.

These could have been my skates. You know you're jealous.

These could have been my skates. You know you’re jealous.

One particular afternoon, I’d walked over to my Papa’s house to go skating and had taken an icy cold can of grape soda with me. Skating is hard work! I set the can down on the concrete, near the house, beside some ornamental grass and proceeded to work up a thirst.

Maybe a half hour later, I screeched to a stop next to my drink, grabbed the can and tipped it up to take a huge gulp.

Did grape soda come out?

Yes.

Did something else come out?

Oh yes.

CARPENTER ANTS.

Worst surprise EVAR.

Worst surprise EVAR.

They POURED out of the can, riding the flood of purple sugar solution like tiny little Samoans in the Pacific. Except instead of landing on rocks or beach, they landed on my FACE. I don’t think I got ants in my mouth. Carpenter ants are BIG and you would have to really WANT to get one in your mouth in order for it to actually happen. But all I remember was a horde of ants pouring out of the can ONTO MY FACE. I recognized them immediately and knew, on some basic level, that they don’t really bite but I completely lost my biscuits. I spit, I yelled, I wiped my face in a panic and I cried. I remember staring at the can as if it had betrayed me. As if it could have somehow warned me and DIDN’T.

And I didn’t drink grape soda again. I couldn’t do it. Every time I looked at a can of the stuff, I thought “ANTS!” and it made my stomach turn, even though I knew there weren’t ants in every can of grape soda. I mean, Freddy, Chucky or Jason Vorhees hiding under my bed at night? Absolutely a possibility. Potential phantom ants in every can of grape soda? Ehh. That was a stretch even for my heightened neuroses. But I still couldn’t bring myself to drink it. TOTALLY RUINED.

That is, until today. Today I had what might be my first can of grape soda in 25 years. And you know, it’s okay. I feel like I finally conquered a childhood fear. Granted, I’m not going to be buying cases of the stuff. But it wasn’t too bad.

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Some “growing up” milestones are just weird.

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Getting Out of My Own Way

Apparently, I’m unable to do it.

Some of you who have read my posts in the past remember that I’m uniquely able to turn any situation into a catastrophe of sorts. Any hope of my “growing out of” this ability is dwindling rapidly.

Tuesday I went to lunch with two co-workers to a chicken wing buffet. This is a regular lunch spot for us because we don’t have to order our food and wait, and also because the wings are REALLY GOOD. Also, chicken wings are one of the comfort foods that don’t make me sick with the gluten-ing for some reason.

OMG so tasty.

OMG so tasty.

This particular day, I had loaded up my plate with wings and french fries, and was just sitting down on our booth’s bench seat when a chicken wing JUMPED off my plate and landed on the seat next to me where I promptly sat on it. Oh, and I was wearing light-colored pants. So I spent the rest of the afternoon at work walking around with dried wing sauce on one side of my butt. I made it through most of the afternoon before someone helpfully pointed out to me, “You know you sat in something, right?”

“Yup. It was a chicken wing.”

That’s really all that needs to be said at that point.

Later that afternoon, I had to run an errand that involved going into the mall. I decided I could handle being “that woman with the huge stain on her butt” because the store I needed to go to wasn’t too far in and I figured I could get in and out without incident.

Bless my heart.

I ran my errand and was trying to text my fiance’ as I was leaving the store. I was walking fairly quickly and didn’t realize that the store occupying the corner I was about to pass had built out a bit using floor-to-ceiling glass walls. So I walked right smack into the glass. And when I say I walked into it, I hit it hard enough that I literally bounced off and the entire wall went WAAAAAAAAAAOOOOOOOHWAOHWAOHWAOHWAOHWAOHWAOHWAOH.

BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONG!

BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONG!

Naturally, there were people everywhere, who all somehow managed to look completely occupied in other things while I blushed furiously and refused to make eye contact. I’m sure I startled every customer inside the store because I imagine the reverberation noise was infinitely worse INSIDE the store than outside. So not only was I “that woman with the huge stain on her butt” but I was “that woman with the huge stain on her butt that walked smack into a wall because she was texting on her phone”.

Fast forward to this morning. I was driving to work, in stop-and-go traffic. I had my Starbucks coffee (the brand is important to the story) and Pandora playing in the car. I reached down, picked up my coffee, somehow fumbled it and DROPPED IT INTO MY FLOORBOARD where it began to roll around like a toddler throwing an epic tantrum. The reason it’s important to note that it was Starbucks coffee is because the little drinky hole on the Starbucks cups is small, so only small splooshes of coffee were splattering around as I desperately tried to keep my eyes on the road and grab a cylindrical object full of sloshing liquid.

So much splosh.

So much splosh.

Have you ever tried to catch a bottle of water or soda after dropping it? Have you ever tried to catch one rolling around under your feet while riding a roller coaster? That’s what this was like. I did manage to grab it without spilling coffee ON me so thank heaven for small favors.

Then, today at lunch, I spilled salsa on myself. I’m sitting here typing this with 3 long, dry salsa stains running down the front of my white t-shirt.

Oh! Did I mention that last Friday I splashed gasoline all over my jeans and Chucks while filling up my car because whatever safety mechanism is supposed to keep the gas nozzle from dribbling gas while it’s “off” was broken? That happened too.

I am a walking nightmare. Can someone please just send me a case of Tide pens?

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Best of Spam – Volume 2

Welcome back to the highly anticipated SECOND installment of

Best of Spam!

::APPLAUSE::

Best of Spam is where I scour through some of my spam comments and find the real “gems”, if you will, to post for your viewing pleasure!

And now, here are the top three!

Number 3:

Today, I went to the beachfront with my kids. I found a sea shell and gave it to my 4 year old daughter and said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.” She put the shell to her ear and screamed. There was a hermit crab inside and it pinched her ear. She never wants to go back! LoL I know this is totally off topic but I had to tell someone!

You might be wondering what makes this spam, since it seems to be a fairly entertaining story. There’s a lot of drama going on here! Was the little girl forever haunted by visions of hermit crabs and unable to eat at Red Lobster from that day forward? What happened to the hermit crab? What were its motivations? Ron Howard could do SO MUCH with this story!

Honestly, it was great except for the 3 spam links that accompanied it. ::sad trombone::

Number 2:

For moms and dads, an unexplained item within a kid’s possession may perhaps be a cue that items just are not proper: belts, bungee cords, dog leashes, or scarves within their sleeping rooms or guide bags. Bedroom doors which might be locked for no apparent purpose. And, all grownups have to be paying out consideration to a sudden fascination youngsters talking about or inquiring inquiries about getting unconscious..

Wait, WHAT? Just…I…WHAT?

Number 1:

For your file, Aliens truly aren’t my “thing” in any respect, therefore I had totally no preconceptions in anyway in regards to the so-called Starchild Skull. whether or not it may well definitely be extraterrestrial or human, real, or maybe a con.…

I’m imagining that this spammer is at a party. In the midst of conversation, he launches into a well-versed lecture on the Ancient Alien theory or some offshoot of archaeology. The trail off at the end is what another person hears as he quietly sidles away.

Join us next time for another thrilling installment of Best of Spam!

::APPLAUSE AND THEME MUSIC::

CURTAIN.

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What September 11 Means To Me

This isn’t going to be your average 9/11 article. So if you’re one of the people who doesn’t want to relive that day over again every year, don’t give up on me just yet.

September 11 in the United States is the anniversary of a terrible event in our country’s history. Almost 3,000 people died and countless others were emotionally scarred by what happened that day in New York. However, the anonymous quote “You never know what people are going through” applies every day and sometimes when we get caught up remembering a group event, it’s easy to forget that personal lives go on despite horrible catastrophes.

September 11 is the day my mother died.

She didn’t die in New York. She died at her home in Florida, in 2006.

My mother died on a day that I will NEVER be able to forget or pass over. Every year, the internet, tv, newspapers and just about every other form of media bring out the footage from that tragedy, even more than 10 years later, so that we can all remember the people who were killed that day. In my mind, the words “lives lost” are a huge trigger in relation to that date and the annual recounting of that tragedy plunges me into mentally reliving the most tragic week of my life over again, every year.

My mother had breast cancer. She had watched and cared for her own mother who died of brain cancer when I was 3, and mom was determined that she wouldn’t go through the same misery her own mother did, fighting and eventually succumbing to it. Mom tried several alternative homeopathic remedies in order to “shrink” or get rid of the tumor on her own. She ignored the advice of her oncologist, who suggested surgery, chemo and radiation therapy. She tried black salve, which you can find numerous videos about on Youtube. (Spoiler alert: it didn’t work.) She went on a strict vegan diet. She tried juicing. Nothing worked. The tumor just continued to grow.

By the time my sister Diana, mom’s oncologist and I finally convinced her to at least have the tumor removed, it was the size of a large tomato. I took her in to the Women’s Center in Gainesville for surgery, and afterward the surgeon took me aside to tell me they’d removed all of it they could find. He then gave me a stern look and said “I really wish she had let us take it out sooner”, to which I replied, “You’re preaching to the choir here.”

A few weeks later, a family friend called Diana to say she’d gone by mom’s house to drop some things off and said “You guys need to get down here FAST.” Diana and I took off work for a week to go stay at the house. Hospice was called in, but for the first few days they weren’t there around the clock. Mostly it was just Diana and me taking care of mom.

She was emaciated. She was gaunt and weighed probably less than 100 pounds. We had to help her to the bathroom. She rarely ate but crunched ice chips if the were offered to her. She didn’t sleep well which meant we didn’t sleep well. Diana and I took shifts at night, sitting up to make sure if mom woke and needed anything, one of us would be awake. But any time she groaned or shifted in her sleep, I would immediately jerk awake, concerned something was horribly wrong. She was in a great deal of pain most of the time. She hallucinated from the morphine, which was sometimes funny and other times very scary. There was a chair in her room that she wouldn’t look directly at because she said someone was sitting in it but she wouldn’t tell us who.

Mom hadn’t accepted the fact that she was dying. If she wasn’t in denial, she was willfully ignoring it. More than once, she used the phrase “When I get through this…” and then would mention something she would do when she wasn’t sick anymore. Diana and I would only look at each other.

I called my friend Heather, who lived 3 hours away, on the second day to wish her happy birthday and tell her what was going on. Heather immediately packed a bag and drove up to stay with us at the house, answer the phone, take food at the door, etc. I bought her a small birthday cake and we sang to her when she arrived. (Heather met my uncle Mark, my mom’s youngest brother, while she was there and they later got married.)

At one point, the Hospice nurse and two of mom’s friends took Diana and I aside and told us that it was possible mom was determinedly holding on because she felt like she had to for our sake. The Hospice nurse advised us to sit with her and tell her that if she needed to go, that it was okay and that we would be okay. So Diana and I sat with her and told her just that, as gently and lovingly as we could. It was difficult to say because it’s a hard thing to say to anyone. Mom’s reaction was to narrow her brows angrily and look at us as though we’d completely betrayed her. She didn’t respond at all.

Eventually, mom was unable to get out of bed anymore and Hospice had nurses in the house around the clock. By that time, more friends of mom’s had come to help and to relieve me and Diana because we were exhausted, both physically and emotionally. Early on the morning of September 11, 2006, when she had a moment to herself with no one to worry over her, when she was completely alone, mom let go and passed away.

I remember walking into her bedroom by myself after she died and looking at her. I was completely drained. It had been the hardest, most emotionally taxing week of my life. She had wasted away so much she didn’t look like a person any more. It was the first time I’d ever seen a dead body in real life. I was afraid but I also needed closure. It helped that it didn’t really look like my mom, even though I knew it was her. Or had been. So I walked over to her body, leaned down and kissed her on the forehead.

Her skin was very cold. I’d always heard the term “deathly cold” but until that moment, I didn’t realize what it meant. It’s very hard to describe and one of the most unpleasant sensations I’ve ever felt. It startled me and my level of fear went through the roof. That act did however give me the closure I needed so badly after taking care of her almost constantly when she was at her worst. Because in that moment, I knew it was over. I didn’t run out of the room, but I walked very quickly.

For me, September 11 isn’t just a day of remembrance for an event that changed our country. It’s a brutal reminder every year of the hardest week of my life. I watched the woman who had taken care of me, tucked me in at night and tried for so many years to make sure my sister and I turned out to be good people, waste away and die in front of my eyes, fighting and denying it the entire way. If it were most other days, I would likely be able to get through it with a bit of sadness. But it’s not and that makes it infinitely harder for me.

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Being an adult is the dumbest thing I’ve ever done.

I have a hard time mentally with allowing myself to have a “lazy” day or evening. Something in my brain is wired to believe that if I’m not being productive, then I’m being a failure. I’m not taking care of what needs to be done. I’m avoiding things I could and should be doing and instead am (GASP) just enjoying myself doing “nothing”.

Even being able to recognize where this mode of thinking originated from, it’s still difficult to change it. For instance, my ex-husband used to call me at work and say “Hey, whatcha doin’?” I would reply with something funny I’d found on the internet or some joke someone had sent me and inevitably his reply would be “Glad to know you’re working hard.” It was a running joke, but there always seemed to be an element of truth behind it. He had a job that required him to drive, be outside and was generally very physical, whereas I work in an office and can do most of my tasks remotely from my desk. And because I instinctively want to please people I care about, I would feel guilty for not “working hard”, even when I had downtime, because he was constantly working hard. And I am very very good at feeling guilty for things that I probably shouldn’t.

That’s not the only thing that contributed to this way of thinking, but it did have an impact. And even now, living on my own, I still feel guilty when I have evenings on the couch by myself where I do “nothing”.

“Nothing” usually means catching up on back episodes of a show on Netflix or Amazon, surfing the internet or reading a book. “Nothing” means NOT doing laundry or dishes, NOT working on the umpteen projects I have sitting around in various stages of “not finished”. “Nothing” means not being productive.

Rationally, I know it’s okay to take an evening or afternoon off and just unwind. That it’s okay to let everything just sit. Does it mean I’m not a good person? No. Would I tell someone else that it’s okay to have downtime? Absolutely. So why is it so hard for me to allow myself to have it without feeling bad about it?

It’s a hard change to make. It got hard-wired in during my early 20′s, when we’re all a little chaotic inside but ultimately start forming the foundations for who we are later in life. Even if I tell myself “Tonight it’s okay to sit on the couch, eat whatever I want and watch Netflix until I fall asleep!” I still feel horribly irresponsible and GUILTY over it. I do it anyway, but there’s a lingering feeling of negativity associated with it. I’m even hesitant to post on G+ or Facebook that I’m “taking a night off” because I’m irrationally afraid someone will call me out on something I should be doing instead. Which is A LITTLE INSANE!

I’m slowly working through it. And I really believe I need those evenings/afternoons off to recharge. I just need to work on being okay with taking them.

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Passion

More than once, especially when meeting new people, I’ve been asked “What do you like to do? What are your hobbies?”

And every time, I’m instantly and completely flummoxed. Because I honestly don’t know.

This has been a problem for me for years. I like so many things and I get excited about individual things like movies or books or a fantastic shirt I found. But I wouldn’t characterize any of those things as something I’m “passionate” about.

I like art. I like to draw, doodle, paint, modge podge and create things out of other things. I get excited about new projects I find on Pinterest (oh, the never-ending event horizon that is Pinterest). But I don’t feel like I’m really passionate about creating art. I like doing it, but I don’t have to do it.

I like to cook. I LOVE to eat and I love my own cooking. I like being able to throw together ingredients and make my own versions of regular dishes. I like finding new ingredients, like quinoa, and then experimenting with them. But I’m not passionate about cooking.

I like to read. I used to be a quintessential bookworm and devoured new books within hours. I was the girl on the couch with a book whose name had to be called two or three times before I heard it because I was so engrossed. After my son was born, I didn’t have time to read anymore and I’m just now getting back into it. I’ve recently been buying audio books to listen to in the car and am enjoying that. But it doesn’t feel like a passion.

I like to write, though you wouldn’t be able to tell by my blog recently. I haven’t updated it in a long time. I think I write well and I like being able to put down my thoughts in a way that entertains someone else and makes them possibly think about the world or themselves in a slightly different way, or makes them identify with what I’ve written. But I’m not passionate about writing. I don’t have a need to do it, though I enjoy it when I do.

My boyfriend Jay’s sister asked me when she met me for the first time, “So, what do you like to do?” I looked at Jay, at a loss, and said “What DO I like to do?”

She laughed and said, “You don’t know??” and I said, “No! I can’t think of a single thing!”

Maybe my brain just doesn’t work that way. There are plenty of things I like to do that don’t fall into the category of “hobbies” or “passions”. I like to pick through antique malls and consignment shops. I like collecting antique depression glass. I like farmer’s markets and craft shows. I like live music. I like swimming, forests, cities, the beach, the night sky, watching the rain, tv shows and movies that aren’t overly serious, and astronomy. I like things that are interesting, unique or different in some way. I like cheese! These aren’t passions though!

Sometimes it seems like I’ve been searching my entire life to find the one thing that rings true with me, the one thing I’m totally passionate about doing. And I just haven’t found it. My mind seems to work in 14 different directions all at once. I tend to be fairly good at whatever I try to do and that creates a certain level of satisfaction. I just haven’t found that one thing that I’m driven to do. And sometimes it’s difficult to watch other people indulging in things they’re so obviously passionate about. It’s not jealousy, but there is a little bit of envy.

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New Software Reviews: Windows Folder Tab

My buddy Acadia Einstein of SuperficialGallery.com is guest-posting! Here is his tech-blog-style post.

Have you ever saved a bunch of pics or other files in a folder and then been totally convinced that you named it so cleverly that there is NO WAY you can forget what it is? And then later on you completely forget and stare at the folder and wonder what “Falcon” meant?

Well you could go into the folder and start looking at the files, but who has time for that? So you just go past it and then someday when your backup tells you it is going to take 17 hours you know that Falcon is to blame but you still don’t dare to delete it because it might be important.

Well, enter Windows Folder Tab with the simplest thing you could possibly imagine. When you make a folder, the program pops up a small text box allows you to add a quick description of the folder. There are a couple other fun tweaks, too (different icons, etc) but the main thing is that you get to SAY WHAT THE POINT OF THE FOLDER IS!

Later, when you mouse over it, it pops up the description. It also shows in the properties if that’s your bag. But the best part is the mouseover. Now, it is a drawback that once you are IN the folder it doesn’t tell you anything, but at least it’s a start. And the description doesn’t get indexed by Windows search (yet) but it is still better than nothing.

By the way – how crappy is it that Google Desktop Search is going away. That thing is gold!

So remember. You can add descriptions to your folders with Windows Folder Tab

And it is optional. So I don’t need to make a Description for C:\Users\Acadia\Documents\Gallery Stuff\Backups\Old\eeesoft\Log Files\Unix\Dllv because that folder it totally packed with awesome porn.

*wakes up*

Oh crap. Did I dream about that awesome piece of software that doesn’t exist again? Ugh. I will never figure out why I have a folder called “Pepperidge farm animals”

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Thoughts on Mario Kart

The other night I was playing Mario Kart Wii (and drinking) and I realized something fairly disturbing.

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Anyone who’s played any of the Mario games from Nintendo knows the point of the game is to rescue the Princess from Bowser, who has kidnapped her. In each subsequent version of the Mario games, Bowser’s motives differ but the problem is the same; Princess Peach has been kidnapped.

The thing I found interesting is that both Princess Peach and Bowser are racers in Mario Kart.

Looks like all the kidnappings have made her into a badass.

Looks like all the kidnappings have made her into a badass.

Serial Kidnapper but still allowed to have public interaction with his victims.

Serial Kidnapper but still allowed to have public interaction with his victims.

I’ve never been kidnapped (crosses fingers) but I imagine if I had been, the last thing on Earth I’d want to do is have to interact with whoever kidnapped me MULTIPLE TIMES. Can you imagine how awkward that must be? Bowser’s probably the kind of person who would make snide, inappropriate comments just to make Princess Peach uncomfortable and probably try to trigger her PTSD. Who knows what kind of things she endured during her repeated periods of captivity!

Plus, at the end of the races, the top 3 winners stand on podiums together in front of cheering crowds. How incredibly uncomfortable and stressful must it be for Princess Peach to potentially stand on the podium next to Bowser if they both place? What Nintendo developer thought that could possibly end well?!

Then later on, I was racing Donkey Kong’s Jungle Parkway track and wondered if bananas had a higher drop rate on Donkey Kong’s course than other courses.

Then I immediately panicked that that thought was totally racist.

I don't think he cares.

I don’t think he cares.

Kids, this is why you don’t drink and play video games.

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Why I’m Leash-Training My Cat

Crazy Cat Lady: Level Eleventy

"Hahaha, look at that cat on a leash!"

“Hahaha, look at that cat on a leash!”

Let me start out by saying I did not set out with the intention of being “The Crazy Cat Lady”, but desperate times call for desperate measures.

Vash (short for Vashta Nerada) is currently 10 months old. He’s almost his full adult size, but still thinks he’s a teeny kitten and can careen all over my teeny 2/1 apartment. He’s got boundless amounts of energy that often manifest in destructive ways. I’ve bought, constructed, created and invented new and interesting toys for him to amuse himself with. I’m limited by both my budget and the fact that I rent an apartment, so there’s only so much building I can do.

He would make a great indoor/outdoor cat, but my apartment complex isn’t the safest environment for me to let him outside and feel comfortable that he won’t be run over or abused by a neighbor. Plus he has very few boundaries, so he’s likely to just wander into someone else’s apartment unannounced. “HELLO!”

I’d finally gotten fed up with his shenanigans one afternoon and bought him a cat harness and a simple lightweight leash. In my online research on how to best “wear him out”, I’d briefly run across cat leash training but dismissed it as pretty ridiculous. However, things had gotten to the point where I didn’t care how silly I/we looked. I just wanted him to SETTLE DOWN.

I snapped the harness and leash on him, scooped him up and took him outside and downstairs behind my apartment building where there’s almost no foot traffic. I set him down in the grass and waited to see what he would do.

At first, he crouched and stared. I regularly let both cats out on my balcony/porch, so he’s used to the smells outside. But being down in the dirt, grass and pine needles was a totally new experience for him. Within a few minutes, he was poking around into bushes, scratching pine trees and rolling in the dirt like a dog. I needed to run to the store to pick up cat food anyway, so I scooped him up, got my purse and keys and plopped him in the car with me.

Kitteh Joyride

Kitteh Joyride

I took him to Petco because they allow you to bring your pets in and they’re the closest place I can get Blue Buffalo cat food. (Product placement! Can I get a sponsor??!) Maybe if I fed him the cheap food, he’d get fat and lazy but look at that lustrous SHINE!

Needless to say, he was a rockstar in the store. He rode on my shoulder for a few minutes and then wanted to get down and explore. He even walked with me a little bit, let a little girl pet him and generally was a huge hit. Afterward, I rode him around in the car with me to play Ingress for a bit and when we got home, he SACKED OUT. Tired kitteh FTW!

So now I’ve taken him out a couple times. My son and I took him to the park with us this past weekend. There were a few laughs, but I let him roam around in the bushes and brambles a bit and he did just fine.

"SQUIRREL!"

“SQUIRREL!”

So while it may look odd and eccentric to have a cat outside on a leash, I feel like I’m being responsible for his well-being and also allowing him to get his little senses overstimulated and fry his indoor-kitteh brain a bit so he won’t IRRITATE THE HELL OUT OF ME ALL THE TIME. Win-win!

There’s a great article here about teaching your cat to accept a harness and leash. This is probably the best write-up I’ve found, though just about every Google result gives the same basic steps. You can’t expect a cat to trot alongside you the way a dog will, but you can teach them to slink and meander along with you without freaking out. The big bonus is that Vash loves it. He gets to “roam” outside and take the world in a bit, and I get some peace of mind.

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