Jana Says

Living life from cover to cover


The Story Behind the Picture

Today I’m linking up with the lovely Elle for her Story Behind the Picture linkup. And since my family doesn’t make visual appearances on my blog and I’m anti-selfie (except in certain circumstances and also when someone forces me to. cough-Steph-cough), we’re going to examine a picture of my cat. 

Specifically, these pictures (which you might have seen on Instagram)

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So, yeah. That’s my cat climbing up our screen door, desperately trying to get back into the backyard. And you can tell by the look on her face in the bottom picture that she is none too pleased with me. That’s her “fuck off, Mom” face. 

She uses it a lot. 

Here’s the story–when we rescued Boots five years ago, she was feral. Took 3 months of feeding her and providing her with a place to sleep before she would even come near us (and by “us”, I mean “me” because I’m the crazy one that needs her love). We didn’t try to force her inside because the one time we did, before she was ready, didn’t end well. I was adamant about not scaring her off as I needed to make sure she remained fed and safe. And for the next three years, she slept and ate in our little backyard, using the common area kids’ playground as a litter box (which actually really funny)

When we moved in 2013, there was no way I was leaving her behind. She’s not the type of cat that will let you pet her, never mind pick her up and put her in a carrier for transport. So we had to trap her. Fortunately, we still had the trap the TNR (trap, neuter, release) left behind when the brought her back (after they catnapped her for three weeks. That’s another story) and we left the trap on our neighbor’s back deck until she was ready to move to her new home. 

At this point, she’s very content as an outdoor cat and our (much larger) backyard is her queendom. She roams freely about the new neighborhood and the neighbors are happy because Boots is a serial killer and no one has a mouse problem anymore. 

Things are good for everyone. 

Enter winter 2014. Polar vortex. Motherfucking cold. I couldn’t bear the thought of her remaining outside in that weather (even though she has a very well insulated, well protected house, it was just too cold) so I did what any sane person would do. I tricked an outdoor cat who, incidentally, hates any sort of affection including but not limited to touching, petting, playing, and trying to feed by hand, into coming inside. Then I kept her there, letting her out only to go to the bathroom (after an unfortunate incident involving my daughter’s backpack) and roam for a few minutes (so she doesn’t murder me in my sleep) until the polar vortex broke. After awhile, she realized it’s better inside anyway and we didn’t have any problems for the rest of the winter, maintaining a delicate balance of letting her have her outside time and me not feeling like she’ll freeze to death. 

2015. Present day. My conditioning worked!! She now sleeps inside just about every night, and spends a couple of hours most days inside as well (since that’s where the food is. We had to move it inside due to a squatter issue). But she likes to play games. She acts like she wants to come inside so I let her in and then she meows to go back out. It goes on for awhile. 

It’s not a fun game. 

On the day in question (and by that, I mean, the day I took the pictures), she wanted to come inside, probably to eat (smart girl, right?). So I let her in and left her to her food and went back to whatever activity it was I was doing on the couch (probably reading or playing a game. Maybe working) and I hear the blinds clattering against each other. I ignore it, figuring she’s just playing a game. But then it gets louder and more fierce. And after a few minutes, I finally get up to see what the problem is and found what you saw above. SpiderKitty. 

It was not the first time she’d done it, either. It was just the first time I was able to get a picture. 

I’m sure it’ll happen again, too. 

How about you guys? Any fun cat stories?

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Dog Days: Meet Barkley and Dobie

bichon shirt

I’ve been meaning to write about my dogs for awhile now  because, if you follow me on Instagram (which you totally should because I am not at all boring), you know that I take my fair share of dog pictures. Usually of my dogs. Maybe a random other one now and then. But usually my guys. 


Because I’m that lady. 

Sure, I have a kid and all but my dogs were my first children and they deserve love and attention, too (plus, I’m 98.3% positive no one will steal my dogs’ pictures and use them for any sort of nefarious reason. Also, I wrote that sentence just to use the word “nefarious”). And they’re adorable!


Okay, so maybe you can’t see their faces but look at the way they’re posed together! How sweet is that? And I assure you, there was no fighting less than 10 minutes after that picture was taken. 

Because my dogs? Never fight. At all. Ever. Not even when one invades the other’s space. They’re perfectly fine with it, especially in the middle of the night when I’m sleeping, and they never wake me up to referee. 

Nope. It’s always the picture of domestic bliss when it comes to my dogs. There’s no food aggression, no jealousy for attention, no 

In all seriousness, though, my guys do get along as well as brothers can get along. Which, incidentally, they are not. Well, they’re brothers because we are their parents but they are not from the same litter. Or parents. Hell, they’re not even the same breed. Barkley is a pure Bichon Frise while Dobie is a Bichon/Poodle mix, which means that Barkley is smaller and Dobie has apricot coloring in his fur instead of all white. Barkley is also older, closing in on 11, while Dobie had his 9th birthday this past January. Which we of course celebrated with special dog treats and new toys.

I told you. I’m that lady.

Now that you know the basics, let’s get to know them a bit more. We’ll start with Dobie since he’s the second child and always goes second. IMG_0559

Dobie is our resident cuddler. He loves nothing more than shoving his body next to you and squishing you into a corner so he can stretch out while still being on you at the same time. He loves to give kisses and if you come to our house with flip flops, you’ve been warned because he has a foot fetish. And while he’s not the brightest dog around, he’s the more obedient one, is a great listener (especially when there’s food in it for him), and is our resident fetch expert. No joke, now that he’s mastered fetch, he will play until he can’t run anymore. He’s also an expert nap taker, extremely friendly towards other dogs, and loves car rides. For Dobie, the longer the car trip, the better. And besides getting joy from car rides, cuddles, and treats, he loves, loves to be outside. Especially in bad weather. We should all experience the pleasure that Dobie derives from playing in the snow. 

Unfortunately, for as sweet and awesome as he is, Dobie is not without his problems. The poor guy has a heart murmur and a mild case of arthritis, as well as an addiction to eating child’s toys. His has eaten everything from crayons to Barbie shoes to Little People figurines to Legos. That’s not all. He will eat anything that falls on the floor (except olives. Go figure), socks, garbage, poop, dead animals that the cat leaves in the backyard…you name it, he has probably tried to eat it. He also incessantly licks the car door. 

But, psychological issues aside, we can’t imagine our lives without him and he’s basically the best dog ever. 

Now let’s talk about Barkley. Who’s just as awesome as Dobie. Only different. IMG_0558

We got Barkley 3 months after we got married. He was my first pet ever (except for two guinea pigs whom he hated and hunted on numerous occasions) and, as a result, will always be special to me. He’s the smarter of our two, loves to run, is an expert jumper (which is how he wound up rupturing his ACL, after trying to chase after his nemesis–the mail truck), does not care about food except for Milkbone Minis, chicken, cheese, and peanut butter, will sit on any pile of laundry in his path (especially if it’s clean because what’s better than sitting on warm, clean laundry?), and goes almost everywhere with his toy football. He’s not much of a kisser or cuddler so when he does kiss or cuddle, it’s a huge deal. He’s also not as friendly as Dobie, preferring to keep to himself and supervise. My favorite thing he does, though, is the Bichon head tilt, which he does mostly when I speak to him and it makes me feel like the most interesting person to ever talk. 

Barkley’s problems are less edible and more mental. He’s completely high strung and has horrible separation anxiety and pees constantly as a result. Sometimes he doesn’t make it outside, which is buckets of fun. He’s a bit of a sizeist, preferring to stick to other small dogs and staying away from bigger ones. And there has never been a dog with a more apropos name because he barks. At. Everything.

Oh, and for those wondering, he’s named for the dog on Sesame Street. This guy:


Sure, I may yell and complain about my dogs at times. But I love them and will do anything possible to care for and protect them. They make my life better, they keep me company when no one else does, are the best nap buddies, and always know the exact right thing to do when I’m sad or angry. 

I can’t imagine my life without them.


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Linking up with Erin for Meet the Canines 

canine link up

This week in…: Volume 9

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This week in everything that sucks…You know those weeks where everything bad seems to happen all at once? That was this week for me. Not only did I get unexpectedly sick with a cold that came from no where and won’t go away, my husband’s teaching job decided to cut his pay for one class more than we expected due to enrollment, and if you saw this face on Instagram the other day, you know my dog, Barkley, ruptured his ACL on Tuesday chasing after the mail truck. And guess who doesn’t get to see The Breakfast Club in the theater for its 30th anniversary? That’s right. ME. All the rage.

This is the night it happened, right before he got his pain pill. Such a sad face.

This is the night it happened, right before he got his pain pill. Such a sad face.

This week in unexpected blessings…Barkley’s injury was way less serious than it could have been. He didn’t break anything, he doesn’t need surgery, and because he’s so small, once the rupture heals, he can function just fine (with maybe a little limp). Also, my in-laws are watching the dogs this weekend, for free, while we’re in Atlantic City for a cheer competition, we’ve been getting Showtime for free since the beginning of the month and continuing until the end of May, and I created a tasty recipe for iced coffee using the coffee beans I don’t like. No waste FTW!

This week in nostalgia…Better Than Ezra is touring with Uncle Kracker, Eve 6, and Sugar Ray. I got to have lunch with Steph from Life According to Steph (it had been 15 years since the last time we saw each other! Crazy that it had been that long and, for those who don’t know, Steph and I were friends in college. Like, all 4 years of it). I have been listening to my iPod with its vast library of songs I had forgotten about. And also reading this list of the best 80s showsfunniest-memes-quotes-ever-53

This week in reading…I have been reading Jo Nesbo’s The Son for a week now. Ordinarily an eBook takes me only a few days but this book is so long (just shy of 500 pages) and there are a plethora of characters and plotlines that my brain gets dizzy and I have to put it down. That said, it’s an interesting book. Full review coming on 4/7 for the next Show Us Your Books linkup (not 4/14 as previously stated). Not sure what I’ll pick up next as I have 5 books on my nightstand. Probably whichever one has the closest due date.

This week in things I don’t give a shit about…the guy leaving One Direction. I didn’t know which one he was, I had to look it up, and there is no conceivable way I could care less. The X-Files returning to TV. March Madness. 

This week in internet reading…In a similar vein to the Hot Dudes Reading Instagram account, there was this post from Book Riot on 14 Days as a Public Transit Reading Spy. I love the variety in what people choose to read! As someone who spends a good part of each day listening to music, I found this piece on the scientific effect music has on your every day life to be fascinating. And as someone who used to be great about managing her time but currently sucks a fat one at it, I enjoyed this article about the 7 core beliefs of extraordinary time managers

This week in funnyfunny-medal-award-winner-angry ramsay

Have a great weekend! Hope you get to do something fun or relaxing! 

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Pinterest Project Tuesday: Homemade dog ice cream

I love Pinterest. There are ideas and projects on there that I never thought I could do and some that I knew I could do if only I had the right directions. And all the creative people out there provide just that. So, beginning this week, I’m going to have a regular post, on Tuesdays, documenting the a different craft projects or recipe I try each week.

Up first: homemade dog ice cream.

I have 2 dogs. Here they are. Please bear in mind that while they look similar, they are actually 2 different breeds. Barkley is a Bichon Frise and Dobie is a Bichon/Poodle/we’re not sure what else. This information is completely irrelevant to anything except my clear need to overshare:

Barkely Dobie

They like to eat treats, particularly doggie ice cream. But when we’ve bought it there have been two problems: 1) that shit is expensive and 2) they fight over it like mad men. Also they eat the cups when it’s done and maybe get a little crazy when we take it away. To rectify all the issues, I had the brilliant idea to make my own. After all, how hard could it be?

So, like I always do, I took to Pinterest and found this recipe. Here’s photo evidence of me actually bringing it to life:

putting it together

The procedure: 1) All the ingredients: banana, 32 oz container of plain yogurt, 2 tbsp peanut butter, 2 tbsp honey. Not pictured: the cooking spray I used on the measuring spoon so the peanut butter and honey didn’t stick. 2) Mixing bowl, masher, measuring spoon, and ice tray. 3) A mashed banana. I think it looks gross, too. 4) Everything mixed together plus my electric mixer because a spoon just wasn’t doing a good enough job.

When everything was done, it looked like this (and note I had to add an extra ice cube tray because I grossly underestimated just how much this would make and I wound up throwing some out anyway because it was too much and I angered the husband beast by using up two ice cube trays already. The man loves his ice):

finished ice cream

Fortunately, the ice cream was a success. I kind of figured it would be because my dogs aren’t exactly that picky about what they eat (seriously, they eat garbage and socks. And one poor oven mitt). Also, though, and slightly more disturbing, is that my husband and daughter ate it, too. And enjoyed it! (I do have a picture of that but I’m not posting it because I feel that is better suited for private shame.)

dogs and ice cream

The best part about this is that there’s no fighting due to individual servings and we don’t have to wrestle a plastic cup away from them. However, should you choose to make this, I recommend you have your dog or dogs eat the ice cream on a hard, easy to clean surface because that shit is messy!

Not including freezing time, this took me maybe 10 minutes to make. Completely worth it.

Cat #2: The update

I had a pretty intense all ready to go for today but then I remembered that it’s Friday and that kind of intensity should be reserved for early or the middle of the week (because nothing says happy Monday like a serious post). So, instead I figured I’d give you an update on cat #2.

He has a new home!!!

This is what happens when cats run away from Cecily’s house. Oh, and the pic? Taken from her blog at Babble Pets (http://blogs.babble.com/pets/)

Getting him a new home was not as easy as it sounds. We pimped this cat out like there was no tomorrow. The necessity for the rush happened mainly for two reasons: 1) the weather is starting to turn cold and this cat needs to be indoors and 2) my other cat was growing very…snarky with this cat’s presence. Cat #1 is fairly territorial about our house and she did not like having an intruder around. And, added to that, the second cat infuriated my husband’s allergies and the cost of two cats was getting to be a bit more than we could afford.

So we asked everyone we knew. We posted on Facebook, called friends, sent texts, emails. Pretty much everything we could think of short of taking out a billboard or standing on the corner, trying to entice passing cars. Even my mother-in-law was in on the pimping. But nothing worked. I guess we need pimp lessons.

But then… Twitter happened.

I saw a tweet from Cecily Kellogg (Uppercase Woman) that she wanted to drive to her local shelter and adopt a kitten. I quickly intervened with something along the lines of “don’t do that! I have one! For free!” She replied back that she needed to check with her husband and, after a few days of talking back and forth, her husband agreed.  So we arranged to meet halfway between our houses for the transfer of care (I should probably clarify that we only live about an hour apart so meeting halfway wasn’t a big deal. It’s not like I had to drive 6 hours or anything. Also, I got a really good lunch after I gave her the cat so the trip was worth it).

And for the last month, Abby now Jax has been living comfortably with Cecily and her family. This makes me thrilled both for the cat and myself.

I’m happy for the cat because he’s found a home that loves him and is happy to have him (I know this from Cecily’s tweets and pictures). He gets to spend the rest of his life indoors (except when he runs away), where he belongs. He has a killer new collar, a splendid canine sibling, and his gender has finally been determined (male, not female). After what his previous owners did to him, he deserves the life he has now.

And, selfishly, I’m happy for myself because I know I did the right thing. Although it was hard to let him go, I know that giving him to Cecily was best for him. So that made me feel good. Also, it was starting to put a strain on our budget. We already have two (very high maintenance) dogs and the one cat, and affording those guys gets a bit tight at times (this was true even when I was working full-time. Grooming my dogs is expensive and because of their breed, we can’t do it ourselves).  I finagled our budget the best I could but I’m not sure that it was sustainable.

Finding his new forever home came at just the right time.

Looking back, I’m glad I took Jax into my home and family, even if temporarily. It might have cost money we probably didn’t have and put a bit of strain on my other cat and my husband’s allergies, but I’m glad I did it. I’m glad I helped bring him out of malnourishment and kept him safe and healthy. I’m glad I worked as hard as I did to find him his new home.

And, if I had to do it again, I would.