Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Seriously, Does That $%&*ing Dog Have To Bark Everyday?

There's a dog in my neighborhood.  It likes to bark.  A lot.  Especially in the afternoon.  It's barking right now as a I write this.  

I really, really, really hate that dog.   

I mean, SERIOUSLY - HOW LONG CAN ONE DOG BARK?  It barks for two hours every afternoon!  TWO FREAKING HOURS!  If I tried to bark for two hours, my throat would start to bleed.  Does this dog have super powers?  Is it a genetic experiment?  Or is it the devil's demon spawn? 

There are dozens of dogs in this neighborhood, but you never hear the other dogs barking.  They have dignity and self-control.  There's just one stupid insecure egomaniac dog that feels the need to defend it's territory every &^(*!&)#@ing day.

AND DON'T GET ME STARTED ON THE OWNERS.  Those stupid, thoughtless, I-hope-they-burn-in-hell owners.  Are they completely oblivious to the fact that their dog barks for hours every afternoon?  Do they think the neighbors actually enjoy the musical stylings of Spot or Rex or Whatever That Effing Dog's Stupid Name Is?  I hope a meteor destroys their house (when they are on vacation - no need for bloodshed) and they are forced to move far, far away. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Procrastination: The Basement Edition

I should probably deal with the storage situation in our basement.  It might be time to purge all the crap that we have abadoned down there.

But not today.

You Know What I Need?

More catalogs. 

To all the catalog distributors of the world: please note my sarcasm.  I realize that sometimes tone gets lost in the written word, so I just wanted to be clear on that point.  I do not want any more catalogs. In fact, if I receive any more catalogs, my postman will have a nervous breakdown and dump my mail in the gutter.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Telecommuting + Pasadena = November Picnic

It's late November. By all rights, I should be wearing sweaters and huddling indoors 24/7.

Instead, I ate lunch outside today.  Under this tree.  While wearing a short, sleeveless dress. 

Why am I telling you this?  Because as a Southern California resident, I have a moral duty to gloat about the weather.  Muhahahaha!

Freezer Cam

My Achilles' heel is ice cream... and peanut butter... and cheese... okay, in the kitchen, I apparently have many weaknesses.  But for purposes of this post, let's just talk about ice cream.

In my house, there is usually some ice cream in the freezer.  And for several months in a row, I interact appropriately with the ice cream.  When it's time for dessert, I scoop a modest portion into a bowl.  I maintain a civilized and respectful relationship with the ice cream.

And then I snap.  And when I snap, I snap bad.  It starts with an innocent spoonful of ice cream during the afternoon, but the spoonful quickly escalates into a feeding frenzy.  Then, I black-out.  When I regain consciousness, I'm standing in front of the freezer, clutching an empty carton of ice cream.  My hands are sticky and there's melted ice cream on the wall (how this last part happens, I don't know).

But I think I have found a solution for my small ice cream problem: Freezer Cam.  I just need to install a small video camera in my freezer and set it to record when the freezer is open.  The footage will be automatically uploaded to a website called 

Freezer Cam will shame me into good habits.  Or, at least, I'll put on a mask before I go on an ice cream bender.  But the mask will at least restrict my ability to shovel the ice cream into my mouth...

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope you have a safe, festive and happy Thanksgiving.  I am baking an exciting pumpkin cheesecake today for my extended family's gathering.  I need 24 ounces of cream cheese for the cheesecake, and there are exactly 24 ounces of cream cheese in the fridge.  If anything goes wrong, I am going to have to return to the Heart of Darkness (aka the grocery store).  In retrospect, I should have bought 48 or maybe even 1000 ounces of cream cheese.   

Also, here's a random Benjamin Franklin fact: did you know that Benjamin Franklin thought our national bird should be the turkey, and not the bald eagle?  If Benjamin Franklin had had his way, would we still be eating turkey on Thanksgiving?  You can't eat the national symbol, right?  So it would have to be something else, like the Thanksgiving meatloaf or the Thanksgiving chicken enchilada.  Or, if we wanted to stick with the large bird genre, I suppose we could eat the Thanksgiving peacock or the Thanksgiving ostrich. 

When I started writing this post, I had no idea I would use the phrase "Thanksgiving ostrich."  It's my brain, but I can't always control it.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Good to Know: These Carrots Are Made From Carrots

1) In case you were worried, these carrots are only made from carrots.  Unlike the competitor's carrots, which are made from soy, peanuts and artificial coloring.

2) I figured out how to add an arrow graphic to a photo!  Woo hoo!  Victory dance!  (I will try not to abuse this power in future blog posts, but I make no promises).

Fall Foliage, Pasadena Style

For the past few weeks, I have been obsessed with the fall foliage in my neighborhood.  I love the red leaves:

But the yellow leaves are my favorite (shh, please don't tell the red and orange leaves).

Hey Santa, do you see the yellow tree in the photo above?  That's all I want for Christmas.  (Please).  

Monday, November 21, 2011

This Is The Sort Of B.S. That Really Pisses Me Off.

It's Thanksgiving week!  I should be blogging exclusively about pilgrims and stuffing and pumpkin pie.  But I had such an annoying experience last week, I simply must rant.

I use a Big Evil Bank for my checking and savings needs.  I understand the Occupy Wall Street protesters would like me to move my money into a small, independent bank, such as Unicorn Credit Union, a small local bank in California.  (I've changed the name of the bank so I don't get harassed by the Unicorns for blogging about them.  I can be cynical that way.)

A collection agency called me last week, claiming I owe Unicorn Credit Union MasterCard thirty-five dollars. That seemed strange because I do not have a Unicorn MasterCard.  My alarm bells started ringing - holy eff!  identity theft! 

I hung up on the collection agency (somewhat politely) and called Unicorn MasterCard.  A customer services rep advised me that I had opened an account with Unicorn MasterCard in 1999 but the account had been dormant since 2001.  I do not remember any of this, but it sounds feasible enough: in 1999, I was in college and my dad probably told me I needed a credit card to build my credit rating. (I would not have thought to "build my credit rating" on my own).

I'm glad that 1999 Courtney, and not 2011 Identity Theft Villain, opened the Unicorn MasterCard.  But if the card had been dormant FOR THE PAST DECADE, why did I owe the Unicorns thirty-five dollars?

The customer services rep explained that a few months ago, the Unicorns started a new rewards program for their credit card holders.  They mailed a notice that the program costs $25 and members had to opt OUT or their account would be charged.

I never opened that letter from the Unicorns.  Do you know why?  BECAUSE WHEN I RECEIVE MAIL FROM THE UNICORNS, I ASSUME IT'S JUNK.  It's been a freaking decade.  I can't even tell you what credit cards I was using in 2001.  I'm a little surprised I had any credit cards at the time BECAUSE I DIDN'T HAVE ANY MONEY.  I receive junk mail from various MasterCards and Visas all the time.  If I opened every piece of junk mail that I received from credit card suitors, my hands would never stop bleeding from the paper cuts. 

Needless to say, I did not opt out and I was charged $25 for a rewards program for a credit card I have not used SINCE THE FIRST YEAR OF GEORGE W.'S PRESIDENCY.  And then do you know what happened?  The Unicorns sent me a bill which I did not pay because again, I assumed it was junk mail.  SO THEN THE UNICORNS CHARGED ME A $10 LATE FEE AND SENT MY ACCOUNT TO COLLECTIONS.

Are you effin freaking kidding me?  There are not enough potty mouth words in the English language to express how I feel about this, but let me try:


And this is the sort of small "friendly" bank that the Occupy protesters would like me to use.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Worst. Fortune. Ever.

It seems like as I get older, I just keep getting angrier and angrier at my fortune cookies.  You would think I'd have learned by now that the fortune cookies is not actually going to tell me my fortune.  But I always feel a twinge of hope and excitement as I crack open the cookie.  And sometimes, I get an exciting fortune, like this:

My lost treasure will be found within the month?  Holy crap!  I didn't know I had any lost treasure.  Maybe I was a pirate in a former life and there's buried treasure beneath the lemon tree in the backyard.  Where's my shovel??  We're all going to be rich!!!

But most of the time, my "fortune" is actually just a piece of advice.  Case in point:

I can handle this sort of advice.  Take a vacation?  No problem! But last week, I got a fortune that made me bat sh** crazy.  I was ready to throw my table over and start a riot.  Take a look at this crap:

You will have some choices to make???  Oh my god, seriously?  I'm going to have some choices to make?  Because it has been years since I had a choice to make.  Oh, wait a second.  I just remembered - I MAKE CHOICES EVERY DAY.  I chose to get out of the bed.  I chose to have Chinese food for lunch.  And I chose to open this stupid lousy "fortune" cookie. 

And, ethical behavior this week will benefit me in the long run?  Who the hell does this fortune cookie think it is?  And why is it so concerned by my ethics??  Does the fortune cookie actually think I might be a serial killer, and this piece of timely advice will help me see the error of my murderous ways?  If anything, this "fortune" just makes me want to do something unethical in order to spite the cookie.

Excuse me.  There's a fortune cookie factory that I need to go picket.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Confession: I Am Such A Mark.

I went to WholeFoods yesterday to buy my lunch and only my lunch.  But in order to reach the salad bar, I had to actually enter the store.  And in order to enter the store, I had to walk past a display of miniature pumpkins on sticks, arranged like a bouquet.

I was powerless.  Seriously, folks, how could I resist?  It's a freaking bouquet of pumpkins!

As I stood in line with my salad and pumpkin bouquet, I realized I did not know how much the pumpkins cost.  There was no price tag on the clear plastic wrapper.  Mark that I am, I had grabbed the bouquet without confirming its price.  As I waited for my turn, I tried to decide the most I was willing to pay for the miniature pumpkins.  $10?  $20?  My eternal soul?

Fortunately, these little darlings only cost $7.99.  I don't know what I would have done if the cashier had told me the price was "Your Eternal Soul, plus tax." 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

My New Danish Neighbor

Last weekend, our new neighbors finally moved into the vacant house next door.  In an earlier post, I worried and speculated that the new neighbors might have evil children.  I'm not talking about children who are a little noisy and climb trees.  I'm talking about children who are destined to be on America's Most Wanted list.  

The new neighbors do not have any children.  Instead, they have a dog.  And by dog, I'm not talking about Lassie.  I'm talking about a Great Dane that looks like a mythical beast from the Age of Heroes and is about as large as a small horse.

Rather than panic, I have decided to be cautiously optimistic.  The Great Dane has a reputation of being a gentle giant that is very good-natured and friendly.  My Danish neighbor and I will probably become good friends.  I'll slip her doggie treats, and she'll scare away any intruders.

But I'm a little concerned that my new Danish neighbor is going to tear out my throat before we can become friends.  Our houses are only divided by a white picket fence.  The fence is high, yes, but it is also old.  It will probably turn to dust under the weight of a galloping Great Dane.  And, whenever I go outside, the Great Dane barks and gallops towards the fence.  

Let me tell you what happens when a Great Dane starts to gallop towards you.  You don't think "what a magnificent, noble beast" or "Great Danes are by nature very friendly creatures."  No.  When a Great Dane starts to gallop towards you, you only have one thought: "I'm going to die." 

Like I said, I am cautiously optimistic.  The Dane will obviously get used to my presence and stop charging every time I go outside, right?  However, if I disappear from this blog, please alert the authorities.  Tell them that I have been mauled by a Great Dane and require immediate medical attention. 

I Hope It's Legal To Make Cranberry Sauce Before Thanksgiving.

Call me impatient, but I couldn't wait for Thanksgiving.  I made cranberry sauce yesterday because I could no longer resist their siren call.

There's another bag of cranberries in the fridge and three more in the freezer.  It's not enough.  I need to go back to the grocery store AND BUY ALL OF THE CRANBERRIES.

I might have some hoarding issues in the cranberry department.

p.s. I will eat the cranberry sauce with every meal until it's all gone.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Thanksgiving Shopping: DONE!

I am not a brave woman.  Recently, I was home alone at night and heard several suspicious creaks.  Ominous creaks.  The sort of creaks that a serial killer might make as he sneaks inside a closet.  My imagination was in rare form.  When Nathan got home, I was in the car, shoeless and in my pajamas, ready to flee at the first sign of the serial killer.  

But you know what is even scarier than things that go bump in the night?  The Pre-Thanksgiving supermarket.  

Over the next few days, it's not just that the supermarket gets crowded.  It gets dangerous.  Every year, 1 in 5 Americans die while shopping for their Thanksgiving groceries.  (I have no proof for this statistic, but it sounds right).  Emergency rooms across the country are overwhelmed by Thanksgiving victims.  Last year, an entire family was buried alive by an avalanche of canned sweet potatoes.  My neighbor suffered a concussion when he was hit in the head by a frozen butterball turkey.  And once, I saw a shopper turn into a werewolf and actually tear off another customer's arm as they battled for the last bag of cranberries.  

I can barely handle the creaks my house makes when I'm home alone at night.  I simply cannot handle the grocery store in the days before Thanksgiving.  That is why I finished buying the ingredients I need for my Thanksgiving cheesecake today.  And that is why, if I forgot something, I'll be sending my husband back to the store.  Like I said, I'm not a brave woman.

Monday, November 14, 2011

And We've Reached A New Low...

Still life with ceramic bowl, salsa and spoon, circa October 2011.

I was having a bad day.  It was either this or a pound of chocolate.  I've discovered that eating a small bowl of salsa kills my sugar cravings.  This might have something to do with the fact that the salsa binge makes me feel sick to the stomach, but a solution is still a solution.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Some Thoughts On Telecommuting

The Good: Taking a hot bubble bath at 3:15 p.m. just because you can.  

The Bad: Working within steps of your freezer (and the gallon of ice cream that used to be in said freezer).

The Ugly:  Having a nervous breakdown when the umpteenth solicitor knocks on your front door and asks if you are interested in a new roof. 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

It Burns!

Ordinarily, I am not a candle person.  A lit candle is supposed to soothe and relax the soul.  But when there's a lit candle in my home, I just agonize over the ways that the candle might set the house on fire.  My imagination can sometimes be a serious liability.

But how could I resist these candles?    

I did not want to light my woodland creature candles ever because (a) they might start an inferno and (b) they are the most freaking adorable candles ever.  But I knew I was being crazy.  A candle's vocation is to provide light.  If I never lit my candles, they would languish and lead unfulfilling lives.  The candles wanted me to light them.  So I did.

For a brief moment, my candles glowed and looked so sweet and charming.  Why was I so worried about lighting them?  Do I really want to hoard a pair of candles for the next fifty years?

Then I heard their screams.



I quickly extinguished the flames but was too late.  Look at their precious wicks!  They are scarred!  I maimed by babies!!

I'm never lighting a candle again. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

My Sippy Cup Kicks Your Cup's Ass

This is my sippy cup:

Let the record show that the penguin belongs to me, a married woman in her thirties.  I don't have kids, and I'm not giving it to a small child.  THE SIPPY CUP IS MINE - BACK OFF.

Let me explain.

I always wake up in the middle of the night, desperate for a sip of water.  Ergo, I keep a glass or bottle of water on my bedside table.  But this is a risky move on my part, because I am an incurable spiller. 

On average, I spill a full glass of liquid at least once a week.  If I'm lucky, I spill a glass of water on the kitchen floor at 11 a.m.  If I'm really lucky, I spill a mug of coffee.  On my laptop.  Two days in a row.  (This has actually happened).   

Every month or two, I spill an entire glass of water in the middle of the night.  And it's never just a sip or two of water.  It's always the entire freaking glass, filled to the brim.  If I'm lucky, the water just sloshes all over the floor.  If I'm really lucky, I manage to drench myself and the bed.  I'm like my own personal splash zone at Sea World.

The first time I spilled a glass of water all over the bed when I was 90% asleep, it was kind of amusing.  The second time, it felt nostalgic. But every time thereafter, it has been so unbelievably annoying - why am I so clumsy/stupid/incapable of drinking a cup of water like a normal person?  Hence, the sippy cup.  It's my new bedside companion.  Hopefully it will help my little water spilling problem. But if not, I'm still keeping the cup.  I really like penguins.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Christmas Carols!

Q: When is it socially acceptable to start listening to Christmas carols?
A: Anytime after Thanksgiving.

Q: When will the Cranky Pumpkin start listening to Christmas carols?
A: Two days ago.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Ant Attack, Part 2: The Ants Must Die

Q: Hey, Courtney, why do your hands smell like vinegar?

A: I'm using vinegar to kill ants.  My house is under siege.

Q:  Again?  Didn't this happen just last month

A: Yes, thanks for reminding me. 

Q: Does eating ice cream directly out of the carton help you deal with the Ant Situation?

A: Ha ha.  

Q: You're aware there's an ant crawling on your arm, right?

A: I hate you.

Guess Where I Went

Where do you think I took this photo on Saturday, November 5, 2011?

(a)  Hanover, New Hampshire
(b)  Omaha, Nebraska
(c)  New York, New York
(d)  Palm Springs, California

If you guessed sunny Palm Springs, land of perpetual sunshine, give yourself a gold star!

Nathan and I rode the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway to the top of the San Jacinto Mountains.  We were planning to hike around and enjoy Mother Nature but oops, it was snowing.  And by "snowing," I don't mean a few pleasant snow flakes were floating down from the sky.  I mean flurries were piling up everywhere while a cold wind gusted around the mountains.

Needless to say, our afternoon "hike" turned into a "quick, let's run outside for photos; holy crap, why didn't I bring mittens; I need hot chocolate, stat" adventure. 

Friday, November 4, 2011

Best. Tape. Ever.

Oh no!  This very important piece of paper got ripped in half!  Whatever shall we do???

Hang on, let me see if I have any tape...

Ta da! 

I bought this ridiculously amazing dinosaur tape from The Paper Thieves, an etsy shop, right here.  I really shouldn't be sharing the link because I am a greedy [insert inappropriate word here] and I want all of the dinosaur tape for myself.  ALL OF IT.

Now, if you will please excuse me, I believe there's a pile of paper that needs to be shredded repaired.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Do We Fall Forward? Fall Back? How Am I Supposed to Keep Track?

This Sunday, November 6, is Daylight Savings.  I can never remember whether we lose an hour in the fall and gain an hour in the spring, or vice versa.  I know there's a little verbal cue about Daylight Savings - you "spring back" and you "fall forward" - or crap, is it the other way around?  I, for one, am equally capable of falling forward on my face or falling backwards right on to my ass. (And have, in fact, fallen in both directions.  Recently.) 

And the same goes for springing.  Can't a person just as easily spring forward as they can spring backwards?  Any why are we supposed to "spring" in either direction?  This whole business is giving me a bad flashback to the gymnastics classes I took as a child.  I could never cartwheel or stand on my head.  I briefly mastered the somersault, but it always left me feeling sick and awkward. 

In one class at the YMCA, I was several years older than my classmates.  My classmates were a bunch of lithe and graceful six-year-olds who could flip through the air and walk on their hands.  I was the chunky nine-year-old who couldn't even touch her toes.

I have no idea how I got from the subject of Daylight Savings to my childhood gymnastics classes.  But, I do know that if I attempted a hand stand today, my spine would collapse on itself.  Also, remember to set you clocks back an hour!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The 2011 Pumpkin Round-Up

Cherished Readers: I have been remiss.  I named this blog The Cranky Pumpkin, but have I blogged about pumpkins this fall?  No, I have not.  I am a terrible person.  You probably think I don't even like pumpkins.  If so, you are right: I don't like pumpkins; I love/adore/and/worship pumpkins!  Pumpkins are by far my favoritest gourd-like squash!  (Everyone needs a favorite gourd-like squash.  What's yours?) 

I try to restrain my love for pumpkins during the spring and summer.  But during the autumn?  I fully embrace my obsession with those beautiful, orange, round-with-a-glorious-hard-outer-shell vegetables! And so, without further ado, I give you The Cranky Pumpkin's 2011 Pumpkin Round-Up:

My pumpkin-boingy novetly headband.  There must be an official name for these headbands - but I have no idea what it is.  But I do know that if you wear this headband to the grocery store, you will make at least 10 adults smile.

Glorious pumpkins and a pumpkin doormat by the front door.  Although Halloween is over (boo), I have issued an Executive Order allowing the doormat to stay until November 7th.

A Jack-O-Lantern pen that lights up.  Sadly, I just packed the pen away with the Halloween decorations.  I would happily use it all year; but a grown woman using a Jack-O-Lantern pen in February just makes everyone uncomfortable.

Pumpkin-scented candle, miniature pumpkins, pumpkin ale and an old-school Jack-O-Lantern bowl/container/thing.  The pumpkin ale is  very tasty.  But, if I'm going to be honest, I bought the ale for the label.  I have a thing for labels, and a thing for pumpkins; so I was powerless when I saw the beer bottles with pumpkin labels.

Pumpkin pancakes.  From a restaurant.  Because although I am actually a pretty good cook, I fail in the Pancake Department.  

Canned pumpkin for some fall baking...

... and a bourbon pumpkin cheesecake!  (Using this wonderful recipe).  This cheesecake is a labor of love, but well worth the time and effort.  It will be making an appearance at my family's Thanksgiving gathering.  (And it made an appearance in my stomach, three nights in a row.)

And that concludes The Cranky Pumpkin's 2011 Pumpkin Round-Up.  Whew, I'm exhausted, and I didn't even show you my pumpkin necklace... or my pumpkin t-shirt... or my rubber pumpkin stamp for crafting... (is there a 12 step program for pumpkin addiction?  Because apparently I have a serious problem).

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


Holy crap, it's November!  And you know what that means?  Before you know it, we'll be stuffing ourselves silly with turkey and pumpkin pie.  And you know what that means?  It's almost Christmas AND HOLY CRAP SOMEONE JUST HIT THE CHRISTMAS SHOPPING PANIC BUTTON.  

I wish I was an indifferent gift giver.  I wish I could just give some socks and a candle to everyone on my gift list.  But alas, I can't.  I have Giftaphobia.  In case you are unfamiliar with the disorder, here's its definition:

          1.  The compulsion to give an extraordinary present that makes the recipient say, "Holy crap, I didn't realize I wanted XYZ, but now that I have XYZ, I can die happy."  See also, "die happy gift."
          2.  The fear of giving someone a really crappy gift. 

Most of the year, my giftaphobia is a manageable condition.  Okay, I have been known, on occasion, to spend an unhealthy amount of time searching Amazon for the perfect book to send to a one-year-old.  (Because it's not just a book. It's the gift of reading.  And if I can pick just the right tome, I can transform that one-year-old into the next Hemingway).  But most of the time, I can give presents without having a full-blown panic attack.


If you suffer from giftaphobia, rest assured: you are not alone.  Scientists are working around the clock for a cure for this horrible condition.  In the meantime, a large glass of wine does provide some relief.