I am a Taurus and like all Taurus’s we like material things much more than say the average Gemini or Scorpio. Taureans like to buy stuff, functional stuff, not so functional stuff, just a whole lot of stuff. When we find something that we want we generally have to have it sooner rather than later which is why none of us is named Warren Buffet, because while we are excellent at finding things to buy, for ourselves and even for other people, some of us are not so excellent at saving money to do so. I honestly can’t remember a time when there wasn’t something I wanted to have which currently is a rather pricey hair dryer, and given my poor track record with hair dryers is probably not a very good investment. I am intrigued though and that is not a good sign for my checking account.
The fact that there are so very many things out there to want kind of makes life worth living, in fact, if there ever comes a day that I don’t want something in the future than I am either brain-dead or dead-dead because that is precisely what keeps me going. There are many barriers to wanting many things, money being the biggest. Adding to that problem is that given the choice between say a passable, okay version of whatever I might want or the super-duper deluxe version I am pretty much going to want the latter. This started for me at a very young age. One of my earliest memories involves a red velvet coat with mink trim (no judging, I was only three years old), that was at a local department store, the one my father worked for so we got a discount (I learned to calculate 25% off before I could read) and I remember being pretty upset when it seemed like they were trying to fob off an inferior coat on me. Long story short I got the one I wanted and wore it until I outgrew it and my mother gave it away. Since then there have been many metaphorical red velvet coats with mink trims in my life, some of which I though I would share because they are totally worth checking out. Not all of them are even expensive, but even if they do cost a bit more than their cheaper counterparts, they are better built, better looking and also a much better investment in the long run. Just not the type of investment Mr. Buffet probably recommends.
Sonic Care Toothbrush: My Sonicare toothbrush and I go way back, in fact I can’t even remember how long I have had it, which only goes to prove that while it costs more than a regular electric toothbrush it is worth it. Mine hasn’t been able to hold a charge properly for about a year and now it can’t even make it through a two minute toothbrushing cycle without pooping out on me so it’s only a matter of days before it goes to that great big toothbrush heaven in the sky and I will be super sad because I can’t possibly live without my Sonicare. That is not even me being all overly dramatic and all because if you ask any hygienist or dentist they will rave about Sonicare toothbrushes too. Did you know that human teeth were only designed to last about forty years, since that was about how long humans used to last before modern medicine, education and science practically doubled our life expectancy? Since forty is in my rear-view mirror I am not taking any chances and a new Sonicare is in my very near future.
In the years since I bought my last one, the Sonicare offerings have become much more plentiful and even more impressive with prices running the gamut from the not-so-bad to the OMFG that much money for a toothbrush price range. But I swear they are worth it and since I am not really prone to cavities I have to be all worried about my gums and these toothbrushes can be your ally in the fight against the horrors of periodontal disease or your teeth expiring way before you do which would be majorly uncool. Now I just have to decide if I want the one with the UV sanitizer (one less thing for me to clean) or the Diamond one (more attractive but more expensive), hmm, it’s like the Sophie’s choice of toothbrushes. All I know is whichever one I end up with, one thing is for sure, I am going to accessorize the heck out of it.
Fitbit: Yes it’s true, my Fitbit and I just recently celebrated our first anniversary and what a glorious year it has been. I am not sure what we are getting each other to celebrate (no cake or ice cream, please), but I am sure that this relationship is forever, no more unreliable bad boyfriend-like pedometers for me. The Fitbit was practically invented for people like me who are known to be a bit competitive and slightly obsessive. If I don’t get at least ten thousand steps in a day I will run around my house like a crazy person freaking out all the animals who can only assume that a tornado is imminent (we have practiced this when the sirens have gone off but the cats don’t cooperate and are not even nice about being saved so in the unlikely event there ever is an actual tornado they are on their own, like this kitty). I am not quite to the David Sedaris level of Fitbit crazy, I think the most I have ever had logged in one day was 23,000 and half of those were done while I was terrified walking across hanging bridges in the Costa Rican rain forest, something I will NEVER do again. The hanging bridges that is, not Costa Rica, I would go back there in a heartbeat but next time I will keep my feet firmly planted on the ground, not swaying in the breeze thousand of feet above certain death.
Dualit Toaster: Never underestimate the power of good toast, and while you are at it never underestimate the beauty of a good-looking toaster. Sure, there are about as many toasters to choose from in the marketplace as a certain Minnesota football player with the initials AP appears to have children (roughly a thousand), but there is only one truly gorgeous toaster in the world and it will set you back a bit, $250 to be exact, However, just like Stonehenge, the MINI Cooper and Tom Hardy, there are just some things design-wise that the British do better than anyone else and the Dualit toaster is one of them.
One of my friend’s father was very particular about his toast and would routinely send it back at restaurants if it was not up to his standards. He wasn’t rude about it, he just had toast expectations which I think we all do. Some people like their toast barely toasted, some people like theirs charred (I like mine somewhere in between) but no matter, this baby can handle anything, even bagels and other super chubby bread products, no problem. I have had mine for ten years and it still looks brand spanking new. If its good enough for the Barefoot Contessa it is good enough for you too.
Madewell High Riser Jeans: shopping for jeans is not the most fun thing in the world to do and while perhaps not as self-deflating as swimsuit shopping can be it nonetheless requires a certain mindset. For the last decade or so the only jeans you could find were low rise, sometimes so ridiculously low that the zippers were about two inches long. Now there are only a few people in the world of billions who look good in those kind of jeans and none of them is named me. I don’t care what you weigh low-rise jean gives most people, even skinny ones, muffin tops. I am kinda short but I have a long waist and absolutely none of those jeans ever felt very comfortable to me. Really it’s no wonder people dress like slobs on airplanes these days, tiny space + uncomfortable pants = very low fashionability.
Low rise jeans were the bane of my existence and while they have gotten a bit less low over the years, they still were not my idea of perfection. That is until I got one of the seventeen emails a day I get from Madewel that said they had new high riser jeans. I was intrigued, could these new jeans actually come within the same area code of my belly button? I went to Madewell the very next day and tried on the Alley Straight High Riser jeans even though it was still hot out and I was not even remotely ready for fall let alone jean wearing weather.
For the first time in forever I put on a pair of jeans that not only fit but were also super comfortable, it was like jean nirvana had finally been achieved. I hate to admit I have spent more on jeans than these cost me ($128) but I would rather not pay that much again so here is a tip for you, Madewell will give you $20 off a new pair of their jeans if you bring in an old pair of yours for them to recycle into insulation. They can be as low-rise and as ratty as you currently have shoved in a closet somewhere so while the low-risers might not have been very good at keeping your bottom warm they will soon turn into something that will keep multiple bottoms warm. And that my friend is a very good thing.
Roku: As you can tell by the amount of blog posts dedicated to non-American episodic television shows I am a major streaming queen. In a pinch I have watched shows on my phone (desperate), on my computer (less desperate, still not ideal) but I much prefer to use a Roku. Call me old-fashioned but I prefer to watch TV on a TV. I liked my original Roku so very much that I bought a second one when I replaced my big old tube TV this summer.
One of the nicest things about Rokus is that you can pick and choose from a bunch of different channels, some for pay and some for free. Lots of basic cable channels have their own Roku channels as well as PBS (Downton Abbey fans will love that feature), and there are also some obscure quirky little channels where you can find things you can’t on Amazon or Netflix. The new streaming stick is super cheap, less than fifty bucks ($49.99) which is pretty reasonable and half the cost of Apple TV, which I still want in the near future though so I can get rid of the great Satan in my house otherwise known as Comcast.
Replacements: twenty plus years and 150% worth the wait. Yes, it was a not-so-balmy 52 degrees out and there were now two replacement Replacements since I last saw them but that did not matter to me, the band or the other 13,999 people at Midway. The ‘Mats were so good that even if I would have had to pay a scalper to be there (which I did not), it would have been worth every penny and a privilege to do so, which is why if they ever play another show I highly recommend you attend.
* not really Oh-Amy’s legs in Madewell jeans, but she can dream, can’t she?
This year I decided to experience the third annual Walker Art Center’s International Cat Video Festival from the comfort of my own couch with my own refrigerator and snacks within easy reach. No need to worry about parking or finding a spot to sit on a lumpy lawn. Nope, this year I was going to stream it and my cats could even attend since they don’t get out of the house much if at all (vet visits when absolutely necessary). Of course being cats they were not around when I wanted them to share the past year in cat videos with me. (Funny how the minute I try to write one of the few checks a month I write, girl kitty Z always manages to show up to make sure anyone who gets a check from me thinks I have recently suffered a stroke thanks to the constant bombardment of her head to my pen.) The dog and I figured screw them, and were super excited to be able to stream via Animal Planet’s live channel on the Roku so we could see all the action on a big TV and not on a tiny iPad. (A quick shout out to anyone not familiar with a Roku. They are the bomb. The new starter model is slightly larger than a USB drive and I can’t say enough how much I LOVE this device.)
Of course no streaming event would be complete without some technical difficulties, the first being the giant inflatable screen going down, and then when that came back up again the live stream went down. As Roseanne Rosannadanna (RIP Gilda) would say, it’s always something. My wireless has also been going down a lot and just when I was beginning to think this cunning little plan of watching from home was not so cunning after all, Animal Planet Live was actually ALIVE again. Yeah!! All was right with the world, until two things happened. First of all, Gotcha Kitty was robbed and only got third place, third place for a face this cute and so very sorry? For shame WAC Golden Kitty Award voters, for shame.
And then boy kitty A came flying up the stairs, with something dangling from his mouth. At first I thought it was a tuft of fur. Anyone with cats knows about these random balls of fur that suddenly appear and float across floors and you think jeez, why did I spend $400 on that Dyson and vacuum everyday when I should have just gotten a hairless cat? It seems so obvious now. But the smart-assy swagger in his step pretty much confirmed my worst fear in that it was no mere tuft of cat fur in his mouth, but the fur of a tiny rodent. A dead one I hoped, incorrectly. I grabbed the dog and we jumped on the countertop as boy kitty paraded around the kitchen and dining room enough to interest the tiredest girl kitty in the universe, Z, from one of her epic naps. I was so distracted and grossed out by his behavior that I barely saw who won the Golden Kitty Award this year which was The 8 Signs of Addiction.
Like most cat owners I don’t expect A LOT from my cats but I think a bare minimum should include that in the unlikely event that there is a rodent in our home, not only should they catch said rodent (minimal props to A for that), but they should take care of it like Michael did to Fredo in The Godfather. And if you can’t do it yourself call a hit cat, just get rid of it. This did not happen. Both cats chased it and batted it about so much that I actually started to feel sorry for the mouse as obviously these two cats had not such a good time in FOREVER. Finally I got sick of sitting on the hard granite watching somebody else have that much fun so the dog and I went to bed. I closed the door and stuck a bath towel under the space between it and the floor and hoped to find, as much as it would pain me, a dead mouse body in the morning. Preferably somewhere obvious. No such luck. At first they acted super interested under a computer armoire and then the living room couch and by the time I was ready to leave for work they weren’t interested in anything except going to sleep because they had been up all night partying with a mouse and were very tired because of it. Seven hours later, this is what boy kitty possibly looked like:
For the rest of the day and since then, neither one of them has acted like anything was askew in their world and I was beginning to think that a miracle had occurred and that the mouse found its way out of my house just exactly the same way it had found itself inside my house. ( I know this probably isn’t true but I can dream, can’t I?) And then on Saturday when I went to put something in my pantry after I’d been to the store I smelled that smell. That singularly gross smell that can only mean one thing: death. Because I don’t always like to face these facts right away, if at all, I waited one day before investigating any further. I got a plastic bag ready for the removal and put on my Playtex Living Gloves (well, one of us was alive poor Mr. Mouse Man) reserved for only the gravest of household chores like body disposal. I started to remove things from under the pull out shelves while trying not to think too badly of my cats, boy kitty A in particular who got me into this whole mess, when I noticed the smell was emanating from another area. I saw a russet potato in the wire racks (potatoes are known stink bombs when they go bad) but this one passed the smell test. Then I saw a plastic bag with some new potatoes from the farmer’s market in it and I knew I had discovered where my dead mouse smell was coming from, only it wasn’t a mouse at all but a potato. The mouse lives!
For those of us whose cats aren’t internet superstars but are just regular old cats who when called upon to do ONE thing in their entire lives and can’t even do that, take solace in this song and know that you are not alone.