They Got An Upgrade

Last October, I gifted other cat parents with fancy Halloween themed cat houses from Target (say Tar-jaaay because it’s fancy). My children received a handcrafted, leftover packaging box that was also my Artober prompt for the day. As a former child who occasionally received a crafted version of an item when I just wanted the real fucking thing, I understand their disappointment.

However this year, Mommy got them the real thing to destroy!

I think it was selling at $14.99, but I had a coupon of some sort. Currently, you can find it on eBay starting bidding at $10 and moving into the $50 range. (There’s a mansion for over $300. It might have been $29.99 at Tar-jaay.)

Birdie likes to sit on it and stare at me from across the room while I watch t.v.

The ladies have approved my purchase. For whatever reason, Miles doesn’t like it and feels that others should not like it as well. Sookie was having a cute moment, but then Miles came along and things got intense. Just like bidding for cardboard houses on eBay!!

There is No Blast Freezer Here.

One too many episodes of Halloween Baking Championship one evening and I needed cake in my mouth ASAP!

The appearance of the cakes is where the Halloween component comes in, but the ingredients and flavors are not necessarily restricted to “fall.” Thankfully, this is not a show about pumpkin spice. The barrage of flavor combinations and layers with roasted whatevers and infused whozits covered in ganache and buttercream was just too much.

While my family does enjoy creating “shape cakes,” it’s strictly out of a box yellow or chocolate for us. However heading into a weekend visit, I demanded more!

…and then I got stuck assembling it.

It was not a stable creation. MomBert premade 5 mini yellow cakes and some buttercream icing. (Apparently icing with Crisco is a Food Network sin, but it’s pretty standard in our world.) My mission was to alternate layers with blackberry and raspberry jam as well as fresh fruit, sealing the layers with buttercream. Often the contestants run things to the blast freezer to cool them down or solidify them in time for judging. Turns out we didn’t have one of those.

We were not going to win the championship for our presentation, it looks like a blob monster, but it tasted good.

Ominous AF

Got some fortune cookies with my sushi. (Three to be precise. I also got three sets of forks and chopsticks based on the amount I ordered which was only four rolls and only one of those four was a “speciality roll.” I know this is more about self judgement, but I want to call the restaurant to tell them that the asparagus and sweet potato rolls are for my lunch! Do they not know the satisfaction of an easily and quickly packed school lunch?)

Anyway.

Got some fortune cookies with my sushi. One cookie did not have a fortune.

Ominous as fuck.

Webby Garden

Even though I slept late, 9 is late to me, the garden had saved many tiny, dewy spiderwebs that needed my attention.

I was quickly distracted by the four ridiculous caterpillars testing their fates against global warming and climate change.

There were some puffballs growing. My potting bench has sprouted shrooms! I literally treat the wood every summer. How can there be room for the shroom?

Fall is complicated. Much of the garden is on its way out, but there are other things taking over. The neglected thunbergia has sent feelers across the patio and the morning glory is strangling the butterfly bush.

Finally, my tour of spiderwebs. Each teeny tiny web housed a teeny tiny spider.

Feeling Stabby?

Tis the season…. for leaving knives in crosswalks? The extra long light gave me plenty of time for contemplation.

Practical question: Will this somehow end up in someone’s tire? (It was still there an hour later when I came back through. )

Wild speculation: The youths in my neighborhood are now carrying kitchen knives because they don’t understand switchblades.

Someone was plotting a stabbing, but reconsidered and threw the knife out the window so as not to be tempted.

Pumpkin carving contestant arrives at Finals without favorite knife. Chaos ensues.

Edward Scissorhands and/or Freddy Krueger were chewing their fingernails.

On the go whittling. Fucking hipsters.

Not this time, caterpillars!

I refuse to get sucked into swallowtail caterpillar drama AGAIN this year. Sure it’s warm today, but I know that October starts this week and the nights are definitely cooler.

Decisions have been made and nature is on it’s own. Enjoy the parsley! At least these late in the season fools can overwinter if they get big enough in time.

Multiple stages of growth all on the same plant.

There’s a Thought Process

When MomBert stays over, we usually kick back for a few episodes of baking competitions or HGTV. MomBert ends up in my usual tv watching spot and I sit across the room.

Sookie heads for her normal tv spot which should be beside me on the couch. However I have been replaced and the human who looks and smells like me is across the room making heavy eye contact with her.

She really has to think this one through. I’m clearly not making sense.

Based her on her final assessment and some brushing from MomBert, I think Sookie has determined that I should probably stay on the other side of the room.

The Perfect Butterfly Storm

Briefly I had the most glorious and perfect caterpillar to chrysalis moment. My little squishy dude who was polite enough to stay close to home went into the J position on a Sunday. I checked on it frequently.

At 7 a.m. on Monday before leaving for work, I checked again. Little dude was doing ab crunches, but had been considerate enough to wait for me to really get the party started.

I run late for many reasons, mostly cat related. Once 3 days into the official lockdown, I was so anxious and sleep deprived that I backed my car into my rising garage door just as hard as I could, effectively self-isolating. Thankfully my neighbor was able to rescue me so I could go be anxious and sleep deprived at a second location.

However I have never had the opportunity to be late because a caterpillar was going into a chrysalis and I GOT TO SEE IT LIVE!

The video is pieced together clips because I wanted to be able to text MomBert the event. It’s shaky because I was squatting in my yard at 7a.m. and that was too early for my legs to think about such things. The entire process took 6 minutes based on my photo time stamps.

When I left, the chrysalis was still wiggling about. I showed anyone who would stand still long enough my amazing experience. That afternoon, I came home to a beautiful jade green monarch chrysalis with gold accents. In 8-12 days, hopefully a butterfly would head to Mexico.

Sadly, this is where my perfect storm ended. Friday afternoon, my chrysalis was gone. Presumably it became someone’s snack pack. Only the silk pad remained.

Even as I squatted to take that photo yet another growing caterpillar was munching milkweed in my ear.

J Position!

Me outside whispering to the ONE caterpillar who has made it to the J position and stayed in a place where I can observe it:

“You can do this little, buddy.”

His/her ungrateful peers chose to flee the scene this morning for spots on the other side of the fence. If only they had met my neighbors.

The top caterpillar actually pooped on the one below.

“If anything comes along to snack on you during this vulnerable time, I will absolutely lose my shit.”

Caterpillars stay this way for almost a full day before the final shed into a chrysalis.

“It’s all riding on you. No pressure.”