I don’t buy most of my cat nonsense. People just give it to me because… I am one dimensional and have no other interests? Any who I think they mean well. They like me. They know I like cats.

Students that I take to a summer camp felt the need to spend their pennies on me at the college bookstore and bestowed a cattitude of gifts upon me. One was this cat paw finger puppet.



Here’s the thing, these kids know me. We have spent a ton of time together, but they still did not think the implications through. Teenagers. Sigh. Eyeroll.

I immediately put the finger puppet on and excitedly said,”OMAHGAWD, you guys are going to spend the next year with this thing creeping into your peripheral vision! Imagine working in class and the paw taps you on the shoulder to be like ‘How ya doin’, buddy.'”

Their faces said that sadly they had not considered any of this, but they were already down the rabbit hole so they pulled up Amazon and showed me that they could have bought a full cat puppet for all my fingers at the bookstore. While that was nice, the “Handi-Squirrel” listed beside it was even better!

Me: “NOOOO! I NEED THAT!!!” When are these kids gonna learn?

Best $6.95 EVER.


Imagine this as a first day school accessory! Not everyone was on board though. My campers had no comments when I sent them a picture of the squirrel’s arrival. Olivia Wigglebothum was not having it.

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Bird was trapped by her ruptured ACL. Squirrel luv Bird.


In this sequence it appears that the squirrel took down Miles like a lion on an antelope, but there was less of a struggle.IMG_8019

Miles and I can both attest that the tiny squirrel claws are good for head scritches.


Does this web make my butt look big?

Does this web make my spider’s butt look big?

Seriously! I have posed this question on Instagram (@Kstewand4cats) and on my personal Facebook page and nobody wants to comment. The most I got was a “maybeeee??” from MomBert.

I realize that this question when asked between humans is usually a trap, but this time it’s motivated out of mild curiosity…maybe concern. I don’t know. Bernadette is her own spider and she can take care of shit! (Yea, so a former student named her. It seemed to work.)

It really seems like she hasn’t eaten well for a couple of days and, trust me, I check that web MULTIPLE times a day for my own safety because she’s right out the living room window. There have been no obvious catches for a few days. I had that same thought process you have when you suspect a frenemy has lost weight: “Hmmmm, bitch looks smaller. Hate her.”

Finally, Bernadette scored today. Two big carpenter bees! She was using one for a juice box when the other one hit the web and she was frantically on it! Girl was hungry. I was sad for the loss of pollinators, but also acknowledged that these guys are real dicks when it comes to my wooden fence. I helped out by tossing in a stink bug because they are murdering sons of bitches, but she thinks they’re tasty.

So is she smaller and is that a result of less prey or is there a giant egg sac somewhere waiting to take over the world? I’m hoping a spider expert just wanders in to this because there is only so much spider research I can do before it feels like my skin is going to turn inside out from creepy crawlies.


I realize an 8 day time span is not significant when considering booty sizes, but these were the most comparable photo options.

Bernadette in late July wrapping a Japanese beetle.

Tales of the World’s Longest Yard Sale, Day 1, Year 5: We hit a nerve…or two.

This year’s longest yard sale starts tomorrow at the butt crack of dawn. I won’t be there but I wish you treasure hunters well.

MomBert and I had our big junk adventure this June in Nashville. I read a random article (this is not the original random article) about the Top 10 flea markets in the U.S., she said that it said to budget two days, and we went! Elkhorn, Wisconsin was the next closest choice.

The Nashville Flea was good, but it wasn’t “budget two days good.” One vendor told us that the REALLY big show -the “you can’t get off the highway exit for an hour” show-wasn’t until October, a detail our original article did not mention. Regardless, it was a solid flea market with multiple covered open buildings, tents, and multiple air conditioned buildings. Plus they had food trucks that went beyond “fair food.” We went for the panini truck; kind of wished I had gone with the Asian noodle truck. We  were there by 8 am and left around 2 pm, having done a couple of laps.


This person’s shop is called Dead People’s Things. Truth in advertising, love it!

Other highlights were stopping at the American Pickers’ store in Marathon Village. It was a tiny space, but good for t-shirts and a bumper sticker for the cat carrier. It was cool to see items like Gypsy Grandma and the Wolf Boy that I recognized from episodes, but most of the antiques that were for sale were way out of my budget.


We also kept up with eating local by hitting the Loveless Cafe twice. Worth it! I think dinner there may have even been better than breakfast. Catfish, greens, fried-green tomatoes…yummmmm. Of course, the biscuits were amazing and their peach jam tasted like my aunt’s homemade peach pie.


Even though we left Nashville a day earlier than planned, we used that time to casually meander back to Ohio and hit EVERY antique mall we saw a sign for on the way.


Our Nashville treasures. Ross looks stunning. I’m now up to three tiny velvet sombreros.

Despite a daily tension headache from negotiating Nashville’s highways (Siri and I will never be the same), we were in much better shape than we were during last year’s yard sale.

Last year was the longest yard sale‘s 30th Anniversary so we kinda hadda go!!! Whoooo!

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Miles is psyched!

However, I spent last summer doing physical therapy because my left arm was shooting electrical bolts and keeping up a fairly constant state of pain mixed with weird numbness and an inability to sleep in any of my favorite positions. It turned out that I was not developing superhero powers, but have bulging discs hitting nerves. Driving or sitting in a car for more than 15 minutes exacerbated the pain as did carrying any type of purse or bag. Yea! Let’s go yard saling. Seriously, I was the driving force on this mission because I’m an idiot who wanted an adventure. Meanwhile MomBert’s sciatic nerve was on fire so sitting in a car plus walking excessively had her aching. We were a hot mess.

Due to our aches, pains, and lack of planning, we decided to keep it simple and stay in state just making a day of it. An hour’s drive west on 70 got to Route 127 and the sale route north.

We originally did the Ohio portion in 2015, coming south from Addison, Michigan and ending around Cincinnati. The same spots like the Darke County Steam Threshers Woods were still hosting tent cities .

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Our day started rainy and dark but soon brightened up without getting blistering hot. We stopped at Niekamp Farm Market which we had missed on our original Ohio trip. Plenty of vendors and a  market to snack in!

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It was windy.

We visited my favorite giant chicken in Franklin, Ohio.


But were slowing down by the time we hit the Lakeshore park in Celina. I highly recommend this stop for the number and quality of vendors, plus the lake is pretty. However we were both in pain, and had yet to eat lunch even though it was edging on 2 pm.


My theory was if I could just lay on  a hard, flat surface and do some stretches, I would maybe stop being electrified.

We took 127 on into Celina and stopped at Bistro Brew Nation for a much needed rest and lunch. Another highly recommend. The walls were covered with local art, none of the chairs and tables matched, and the pizza selections were delicious.


Back on the road, we ran in to this handsome devil again around Hopewell. Hellooooo, sailor! Two years later, and he was on the same table in practically the same spot. I regret leaving him behind once again.

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Someone buy him, please!

Buy 4:30 pm, we had made it to the Van Wert Fairgrounds and we were freezing! I have been constantly rained on during the sale, and sweated balls during the sale, but I have never been so cold that I was looking for a table selling sweaters. Fucking Ohio.


Freezing and little to show for it.

Van Wert was the end of our day. It was cold, vendors were closing, and we had a two hour drive to triangulate our way home. It was a good time.

I raise my fanny pack to you, yard salers! May your bargains be many, and your porta potty trips few.

I have to burn the garden to the ground…again.

I just wish they came with a warning sign.

Every time I encounter a huge spider in my garden it’s by pure, unobservant accident. I was happily squishing Japanese beetles off my grape vines, which they seem to like even better than the roses this year, when I looked down and saw that I was only inches away from a 2-3 inch monster. (I got out a ruler, but her web anchors are all over the place and there was no way to get close-ish without destroying them and angering her.)

What I’ve learned is the my fight or flight instinct seems pretty delayed. This spider made my ass cheeks clinch up and my entire body lock into place while I silent screamed at it. Then I fled.

To get my camera, of course, because it totally makes sense to take pictures of terrifying, mutant spiders.


Totally snacking.

The silver spider lining is that there appeared to be some Japanese beetles wrapped up in her web. If she’ll eat those, that would be amazing because no one else will touch them! I even went so far as tossing a few live ones in her web and hoping to see a strike. She did not bite, and the beetles did not stick very well. She needs a denser weave to really nab their shiny shells, but here’s hoping.

Like the previous garden spider, I can monitor her from a window of the house. This time though, it’s only from about 5 feet from the living room window.

This picture makes me want to throw up on myself, but it does give a lovely illustration of her furry bits and pieces. I may not be eating from my grape vines this year.