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.

What my cats got…

After the post about the Hyde and Eek Target Halloween houses, some people wanted to know what my cats got.

They got this monstrosity.

Much like the days of Boxtonia, it has been taking up premium real estate in the living room since August. I bought a slightly pricey and large outdoor Adirondack chair. Retail quarantine therapy. Their prize was the box.

In its latest iteration, it was the last Artober prompt that I successfully completed. It was “Two” because it is over two feet wide and serves two purposes.

I’m a fun-guy: When the coolness outweighs the grossness

Needing to fulfill two Artober prompts, I decided to use a new medium: pumpkins.

Introducing Melody. The pumpkin is singing, I swear.

And Lucky–it’s a rabbit— with the world’s luckiest and handsomest black cat Miles.

Miles was as usual the star model for our annual pumpkin photo shoot.

Melody and Lucky immediately went to live outside where our squirrel friends could start nibbling on them.

That was probably a week or so ago.

Saturday morning, I woke up to a cluster of mushrooms that I could see from my window. They clearly needed me to take their picture. Plus I hadn’t wandered through my backyard in days. Thanks, work week. #adulting

I did a sweep of the yard and checked on Melody and Lucky. Lucky was full of rainwater like a weird rain gauge from the Friday night storm. Melody was leaking. But not water.

Melody had developed a pumpkin ass juice situation which, of course, gushed all over when I attempted to relocate Melody from the patio to the yard.

Both pumpkins are full of moldy growths. Fortunately, I had my macro lens in hand.

This is when the coolness outweighs the grossness. These are pictures of the inside of Melody’s lid. All colors and formations created by nature. So fucking cool!

Cat House Crazies

I like Halloween and I like cats. At least 50% of this statement is true for most of my family members. Therefore when I saw an Instagram post featuring Target’s annual Halloween cat houses, I was ready to make some purchases. My stepmother’s birthday is on Halloween so this seemed like a budget friendly gift.

Three Targets later, ***side note: Target’s website that allegedly tells you something is in stock at a specific store is a LIE. Even the Target employees acknowledged that it is bullshit.*** I had found only one Halloween cat house. It wasn’t the one I wanted, but it would do because after multiple stops only to find empty shelves, I was going to buy the only one in existence!

Her cat approved so it’s all good.

Yes, the crazy cat ladies flock to buy these however there is a more sinister (at least to my mind) element at work. People also swoop in and buy these up to sell on eBay at insane prices. They are made of cardboard! The one I bought for my stepmother was $14.99! I have seen eBay pricing at over $100 for a flimsy cardboard box that the cat is supposed to destroy. I can’t decide who is more psychotic, the people trying to sell these or the ones trying to buy them.

I decided to let my intense mission go. Instead I did a casual sweep of the pet section at my Target whenever I was there for normal errands. Eventually I was able to buy two other house to bestow upon MomBert and my sister.

GGK approved. Retail $16.99. This was the one I was trying to find at first. Lots of visual appeal.
Piper approved. Retail $29.99 but I had a $5 coupon and my Red card. Currently it’s on eBay for $49.95.

Happy Halloween. We tried. Not too hard, but ya know…

I struggled a little bit with pumpkin design this year. I feel like the owl was okay, but rather uninspired. The pumpkin on the left totally got away from me. The vision was unclear and the execution was worse. Our Yelp review will be terrible!IMG_E8269a

Perhaps due to the poor designs, there was only a 50% participation rate among the cat super models. I’m not sure where everybody was. I definitely sat on the cold kitchen floor with the camera and a bag of treats for an extensive amount of time.

October20193

The Bird

I guess we’re lucky to have made it this far. Two days later the cat/dragon/geometric shapes whatever was leaking and both pumpkins went out to the garden. Hopefully they will be as popular as the spaghetti squash remnants.

IMG_E8208b

As always, Miles brought his soulful A-game….mostly because Mommy had treats.

This one is my favorite. Look at those fangs! Happy Halloween!

IMG_8235a

Righteous Side eye

Two Targets and a website search later, I could not provide my children with the Cardboard Haunted Mansion for cats. The Target employee who helped me said they suddenly started selling out. I blame it on the number of articles I’ve seen about the house.

Sorry, kids.

However Target #2 did have a small in the lion mane I’ve been eyeing.

Sorry, kids.

IMG_7846

It has a certain rock star quality. I feel like Miles is channeling 80’s Bon Jovi. Side eye and snarrrrrrl.

IMG_E7852

Look at that hair toss!

IMG_7856

He hates it, but I think he hates Olivia’s photo bomb more. Indignant!

IMG_7857

Not to be left out, The Wigglebothum brings her dance moves to the stage.

IMG_7866

Sookie also wore the wig, but her photo was just too sad to share. It’s like I broke a part of her heart.

My Dead Cat is in a Calendar!!

So my dead cat is in calendar. That’s not weird, right?

Once upon a time I used to buy page-a-day calendars because they were adorable and the scrap paper came in handy at home and work before all my lists ended up in my phone. I gravitated towards ones like Cuteness Overload which was a variety of animals being…CUTE and featured the word “squeeee” in many of its captions. I would also grab cat based dailies like Cat Fancy, the very literal Cat-A-Day and,of course, The Bad Cat calendar. The Bad Cat calendar was strictly for home use as some of its captioning was a bit too bad for school, hilarious but bad.

All of those calendars came with a submission form so that your pet could potentially appear in the next calendar. In fact, one year early in our relationship Bella Luna appeared in both the Cat Fancy and Cat-A-Day daily calendars. She was such a super model.

Certainly I must have submitted other pictures to other calendars over the years which would explain my mail. Workman Publishing has no idea how weird they could make me feel. I had literally just come in from running errands, one of which was to buy 50% off calendars. I stood in Barnes & Noble debating over the last copy of Bad Cat an hour earlier. Now this!

That letter took a bit of contemplation before it made sense. Cosmo has been dead since 2009. So for at least 10 years whatever photo I submitted has been sifting around their offices, maybe physically, maybe digitally. I don’t know! I had no idea what my cat’s posthumous calendar appearance would look like!

Of course, I had to buy the damned calendar now!

Face palm. Eye roll. My poor Cosmo Cat! Immortalized as Yoda. Could be worse.

That was October 2008, a year before kitty cancer. I was hemming up parts of the costume for a friend’s pug and Cosmo wanted to be in the middle of it all. Modeling was the best way he could help. May the Force be with you.

Halloween Hangover

The best holiday is over and it’s time to clean up. Three perfectly good pumpkins to nibble on, and my squirrels extracted all the vanilla scented candles.IMG_9877

Although their positioning for this one was pretty hilarious.

IMG_9878

We tried revisiting the pumpkin photo shoot, but per usual the felines are awful models.

IMG_9790

Birdie was as obsessed with sniffing the pumpkin cat’s butthole as she is with sniffing everybody else’s.

I tried keeping my models a little hungry, but added in some catnip and strategically placed treats. That backfired.

october20186

Sookie refused to even remotely get involved. “Nope. Just nope.”

IMG_9832

Olivia sort of participated, but her eyes ask, “What the cat shit are we doing? And when’s dinner?”

IMG_E9815

This was probably the best shot-Thanks, Miles-, and we are officially done with Halloween for the year. Now I just need to figure out the Christmas cards.IMG_9838

Happy Halloween: Pumpkin Carving Knife in hand

I knew I had waited too long to buy pumpkins when I found that someone appeared to practically be living in them. The cashier told me that they had live-trapped a raccoon in the garden center that week. My concern, of course, was the two cats that roam the store. Everybody’s okay though including the raccoon.
IMG_9698

Halloween snuck up on me. I realized the weekend before that I hadn’t even thought about carving pumpkins which is something I really enjoy doing. Life skills: gourd art. Typically, I steer clear of anything that seems to originate in the evil realm of Pinterest, but I did see this idea online and …well…it’s my life.

IMG_9708

Cat butt.

Successful pumpkin carving requires good Halloween based shows or movies although there was a point when I really wondered if I should be holding a knife and watching something with so many “jump scares.” I made it through the extended “Murder House” episode of American Horror Story’s latest season. Not bad in terms of jumpiness, but I am definitely being bullied by  “mean girls” in my class that are annoyed that I am always an episode or two behind them. They want to talk about it now! They are not going to be happy to hear that my DVR shit itself last Wednesday and didn’t even record the next episode.

Since Halloween seems to be the only horror movie that any channel will air, I headed to Netflix. I’ve seen all the variations of House on Haunted Hill and read the related Shirley Jackson book, so I was drawn to a new series The Haunting of Hill House. Holy. Fucking. Shit.

Don’t watch this with a pumpkin carving knife in your hand. Do watch it alone on your couch in the dark. I only lasted two episodes that night because it was late, and because episode 2 had me sobbing to a point my stomach hurt. Warning: box of haunted dead kittens.

***Side note: This isn’t just a cat thing. I HATE it when the horror genre brings in animals, whether it’s the family’s pet or just a random stray who wanders on screen or that fucking horse in season 5 of The Walking Dead. It is always gruesome, upsetting, and completely unnecessary to the plot line. Stephen King, I’m lookin’ at you too.

IMG_E9725

Most of my usual work supervisors went to bed although I was able to pique Birdie and Olivia’s interest with some strategically placed treats. I may have to try again for our usual cats vs. pumpkins photo shoot.

IMG_E9720a

My favorite photo is the tongue action in this shot. Happy Halloween!

IMG_9732