Tuesday, August 26, 2014

the results have been tallied

Congratulations to Cassi Renee on her BIG WIN!  Send me your mailing address and I Was Raised to Be A Lert and The Second Book of Pearl: The Cats by Pearl Vork-Zambory will be on their way for your reading pleasure!

I think Jax caught wind of my informal polling regarding dogs and cats.  The cats won the popularity poll in a landslide.  Was this landslide due to cats' superiority or due to the demographic polled?  I mean, there IS some bias among women of a certain age and frankly, anyone who has had to clean up after their own children for years isn't keen on cleaning up after an animal.  Cats self-clean, which totally gave them an edge in this particular contest.

Whatever the reason, Jax demonstrated his displeasure to me.  Beneath my clotheslines he left a token which I stepped into with bare feet while attempting to hang out laundry.  To his credit, the gift was fresh, even still warm.  Meanwhile, Rose purred and placed her dainty white paws on the edge of the window sill, heightening her usual aura of cuteness. 

And now, for my final giveaway of the summer, I present to you the source of much giggling during my stay in Concord this June.  Among the genius hailing from Massachusetts is the incomparable Edward Gorey.  I've admired his sly humor and skillful artwork for years, but I didn't know he poked fun at more than the macabre.  Marni presented each of us with this book:

This slim yet practical hardcover offers advice on the right thing to say when losing one's virginity in a variety of circumstances.

Here's a video blurb:

Say it with me:  deflowerment.

Now giggle.

Spill it, reader.  One archaic word we need to pull back into circulation.   (You totally thought I was going to ask about your deflowering, didn't you?  For shame!)

© 2014 Melissa Westemeier All Rights Reserved 

Friday, August 22, 2014

cats and numbers and stuff

Rose is about three in people years, which means she has become a Major Pain in the Ass.  Last night she went to bed soaking wet because she could not COULD NOT stop climbing the screen door and tormenting poor old Jax.  Then she kept jumping up on the kitchen table.  She would not be calmed by chin scratching or other positive attention.  No clever diversion tactic would work.  She was hell bent on being naughty and I could only aim the spray bottle at her and squeeze the trigger. 

You can calculate your cat's age here, which is how I know how old Rosie is today. 

Speaking of math, Jen was doing some counting in her head this week, which led me to figure out some numbers of my own.

Mr. T has about 650 feet of boardwalk to finish building for his Eagle Scout project.  His project involves 7,000 screws.  We've worked on it for about 10 hours so far, if you include planning and paperwork.  Mr. T also has to run about 3 miles a day to train for cross country.  He has zero more days of drivers ed. class remaining.

We have 6 birthdays to celebrate this month.

I helped 1 really angry and powerful ten-pound snapping turtle across a county highway yesterday and gave 5 toads an assist out of our pool.  I made 9 trips in the Momvan yesterday, chauffeuring Team Testosterone to their various activities and social engagements.

Mr. B and his BFF plan to make 2 sets of scuba gear, a plan involving rubber tubes, aluminum foil and duct tape, so they can explore a depth of 14 feet in a pond.  I gave 4 lectures about safety after hearing about their plan.

I'm giving away 2 books on Monday to 1 lucky winner out of my comment box.  You can win I Was Raised to Be A Lert and The Second Book of Pearl: The Cats by Pearl Vork-Zambory

Spill it, reader.  Crunch some numbers.

© 2014 Melissa Westemeier All Rights Reserved 

Monday, August 18, 2014

a poetry winner, one naughty kitten, two terrible cats

The winner of Time's Mirrored Illusion by Nina Romano is a poetry lover and a potter who influenced my attitude about Cooperstown, NY today:


Congratulations, Gary!  I'll get Nina's book in the mail to you you tomorrow!  Pretty cool how I just won a pot made by Gary and HE just won poetry.  More fun facts about Gary, he's a clever sculptor and sketcher, too.  He's wild about animals and is the rare person who likes both dogs AND cats.

Let's be honest, most folks sway one way or the other.  I'm a cat person myself.  Cats are more self-reliant and discerning creatures.  You don't choose to pet a cat, a cat allows you to pet it.  Dribble enough kibble in the dish and you can leave a cat alone for a long weekend, enjoying the beach or slot machines or room service without care.  Dogs, on the other hand, are needy, whorish creatures.  They love on anyone who shows them the slightest bit of attention, desperately seeking praise and food at every opportunity.  I never heard of anyone able to leave their dog home alone for more than a day without worrying about its welfare or their carpet.  To his credit, Jax doesn't exhibit many of the behaviors I loathe in the canine species.  He doesn't sniff crotches, poop all over the yard or slobber.  But he does drop the frequent deuce in my path and he refuses to hunt mice, bark at strangers in our driveway or keep rabbits out of the garden.  Helpless and unhelpful, bless his heart. 

Unlike the dog, Rose will earn her keep.  We have three house rules for Rose (no jumping on kitchen table or counters, no digging in houseplants, no clawing furniture) and she breaks them daily.  They're not HARD rules (it's not like Team Testosterone gets to do these things), but she's struggling.  I prowl behind her with the water bottle ready to spritz, but she is sneaky.  Always with the infractions, that cat.  Perhaps it's a kitten thing, her energy and curiosity, eventually we'll direct that energy into killing mice. We've brought her outside every day to introduce her to the Great Mouse Buffet (AKA our yard), but she's intent on chasing butterflies and her tail.  She nibbles grass and studies ants.  One of these days she'll clue in and get down to business.  I hope.  Regardless, a cat trumps a squirrel as a pet, right?

Speaking of cats, I have a friend with two cats, the likes of whom I hope never meet Rose because they'd be horrible influences on her, what with their cigarettes and gin and driving without licenses.  Have you heard of my friend Pearl?  She's a riot and a writer from the Twin Cities.  We're down to two weeks of summer and two more book giveaways, I don't know whether to laugh or cry.  Laughing's better, so this week's lucky winner will get TWO books, both bound to make you laugh:

How can you get your grubby hands on these fine books by my friend Pearl?  Every comment between now and next Monday is a chance to win.

Spill it.  Are you a cat or dog person?

© 2014 Melissa Westemeier All Rights Reserved 

Friday, August 15, 2014


When looking to purchase "greenhouse seeds," you'll soon discover the influence of legalized pot--the first ten hits are sources for cannabis seeds.  I'm not growing any kind of weed in my greenhouse.  Have to dig a little deeper to find good seed sources.

I thought my right knee (the one that hurts) looked lumpy and wonky lately, but Mr. D informed me that it's always looked weird.  Huh.

Mr. B is selling cookie dough and cheesecakes for his football fundraiser.  Before I could step in with my buy out, he hit the streets and sold enough product that I'm forced to buy the balance to meet his minimum requirement.  While explaining how I'd rather just give all my money to his team and not split it with the fundraising company, I realized Mr. B was gung ho about selling because he thought he would get half the profit, his team the other half.  Needless to say, he was disappointed.

A scrap of ribbon tied around a rubber bracelet makes a great cat toy.  Rose is now big enough to jump up on a chair...and then onto the kitchen table.  A spray bottle of water makes a great deterrent to ambitious felines.

I knew there were a few patches of stinging nettle in my garden, so I've been religious about wearing gloves while weeding and picking.  The nasty rash on my ankles and shins reveals there's more hiding in my pumpkin/tomato garden.  Ouch!

There's a great giveaway and message over here!  I showed the video to my husband and sons who are fond of using the phrase "like a girl."  After years of me preaching about it, this finally sunk in (a little) (I hope).

Remember, I have an autographed copy of Time's Mirrored Illusion by Nina Romano to give away to one lucky winner.  Each comment is a chance to win!

© 2014 Melissa Westemeier All Rights Reserved 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

ANOTHER winner--but wait, there's more!

First, I apologize for this late giveaway--it should have happened Monday.  I've been putting out fires of both the literal and metaphorical variety (the literal:  what do you get when you mix five boys, firecrackers from the gas station and a really dry white pine?).  We're fine, nothing to fret about, I'm back.  The chaos can sit on the back burner while I catch up here.

Now, for the WINNER of Suzanne Casamento's YA novel Fingerprints



Congratulations, CHM!  Maybe your daughter will enjoy this book, too?  You know the drill, email me your mailing address and I'll mail your book to your lap.  Happy reading!  For those of you unfamiliar with Common Household Mom's blog, you need to leave and check her out.  She's got humor of, um, Biblical proportions. Seriously funny woman.

I was in Iowa over the weekend.  My children jumped off a bridge into a creek with their cousins.  I sat on my MIL's porch and felt the wind in my hair, appreciating the quietness to her homestead unique to rural cornfields.  The Momvan got super dusty on the dirt road.  We ate hashbrowns fried in bacon grease with onions.  I forgot to take a photo of the view--acres and acres of corn in every direction.  It's beautiful in its own way, this undulating sea of green.  And we enjoyed catching up with family and friends during our whirlwind visit (there on Saturday, back on Sunday).

Iowa has some poetry about it, nestled between the ditches filled with prairie flowers and the shabby old towns where half the buildings are shuttered and closed.  Speaking of poetry, my next giveaway is a collection ...

This little collection is delicious--and don't fear, poetry-phobes!  It's also accessible poetry.  Nina Romano writes about regular things, like fireflies and going out to eat, but she does so in the most gorgeous language.  How do I know?  I helped edit this collection, so I read it intimately and well.  I'm sending an autographed copy of Time's Mirrored Illusion by Nina Romano to one lucky winner.  Each comment in the comment box between now and Monday is a chance to win. Whose life wouldn't benefit from a splash of poetry?  Want a sampling?  Nina's blog offers poetry and recipes.

I admit to being intimidated by poetry sometimes, the long stuff by guys like Walt Whitman can cause a struggle.  The obscure stuff makes me feel stupid.  The over-rhymed stuff can be stupid.  But I've read a lot of poetry that sings to my soul and makes me feel enlightened, newly aware, even a bit awed.  Guys like Pablo Neruda and Billy Collins, gals like Gwendolyn Brooks and Anne Waldman.  Like blue jeans and swimsuits, you have to try on a lot of poets before you find the perfect fit. 

Spill it, reader.  Confess your true attitude about poetry. 

© 2014 Melissa Westemeier All Rights Reserved 

Friday, August 8, 2014

five on friday

It's so green around here, despite the dry weather.  We found some Monarch caterpillars at last and the creek is full of frogs and crayfish.  And the birds singing!  Everything thrives in summer.

Crickets hum in the background all day and all night and I adore it.

Evening swims, floating on my back watching the clouds wisp past overhead.

A constant flow of boy traffic, steadily tracking mud and damp, leaving empty glasses and crumbs.  The yard is loud and happy.

A kitten who amuses herself and all of us with her antics--chasing her tail, attacking the newspaper, befuddled by the ceiling fan. 

Bonus:  Last night while watching a couple of episodes of Dr. Who, season 4, we realized we'd named the kitten after our favorite companion: Rose!  (I know, Amy and Rory also kick butt, but Rose has a soft spot in our hearts.)

Spill it, reader.  Blessings you've experienced this week.
And don't forget, every comment is a chance to win Suzanne Casamento's YA novel Fingerprints!

© 2014 Melissa Westemeier All Rights Reserved 

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Winner! Endorsments! Another Summer Read Giveaway!

Congratulations to Daisy over at Compost Happens!  I know you'll enjoy Mary Petrie's book, At the End of the Magic!  You know the drill, email me your mailing address and your book will be in the mail, STAT!  And if you didn't win, I hope you still check out Mary's book.

Speaking of winners, I need to brag up my own big win:

That, friends, is the loot from Blog This Mom and Gary Rith--chocolate and pot!  If you're not the proud owner of any Gary Rith pottery, get thee to his website forthwith!  I already have bought mugs and bowls on a few occasions, gorgeous, durable, whimsical stuff.  LOVE it.  I can't wait for a cool evening so I can whip up a fancy pot o' gourmet chocolate ...

What am I saying?  I live in Wisconsin.  I can wait for a cool night.  It's summer--the best season in the year!  I've neglected this blog because I've been playing outside.  Team Testosterone and I went on a canoe trip last Friday, we've been biking, swimming, hiking, picking stuff out of the garden, reading in the hammock, enjoying the hot sunshine and bare feet.  Mr. T's working on his Eagle Scout project, Mr. B started football ("real" football this year, with pads and a big helmet), the boys make regular trips to the gas station to buy firecrackers and soda pop, they're building a new bridge and fort in the Back Forty.  We spotted the first Monarch caterpillar on a milkweed yesterday and the crickets sing us to sleep every night.  Life is full of sweetness right now.  The hot chocolate can wait.

But books can't wait and here's another summer read I'm giving away:

Suzanne Casamento  has a new YA novel ready for her audience, Fingerprints.  Here's the back cover summary:

When her mother remarries and their house is invaded by her new stepbrother and stepsister, Savanna is extra grateful for her amazing boyfriend, David. But as his thoughtful ways become increasingly controlling, Savanna seeks help from her mom, only to find that she's too wrapped up in her new family to care.

Left to deal with an abuser on her own, Savanna turns to her best friends, Jane and Tally, for help. What was supposed to be a fun summer for the three best friends turns into a series of twists to break free from a stalker.


Sound good?  I'm a fan of the YA novel, they're usually heavy on plot and story, light on long stretches of description. 

Every comment is a chance to win Suzanne's new book.  I'll pick a lucky winner next Monday and I've got three more book giveaways up my sleeve to keep summer rolling--stay tuned!

Spill it, reader.  Your favorite part of summer, before things get cold out there.

© 2014 Melissa Westemeier All Rights Reserved