Sunday, May 30, 2010

Operation 9 Lives: Mission Accomplished?


Well... almost...

I went outside to look for the cats one last time.

I opened the hood of the car, and there they sat... both of them!

I was so relieved.

I'm not a kitten killer after all!!

But now, it was serious...

I needed a plan... and a good one.

I needed a full proof trap...


Tuna and Mr. Bigg's kennel.

I made a trail of tuna from underneath the car to the cage...

and then at the back of the kennel I put the can of tuna.


Full. Proof. Plan.

I went to the kitchen and watched from the screen door...

Once I was out of sight it only took about 30 seconds for the kittens to crawl down from their hiding spot... then little by little they ate their way to the kennel.

They were falling into my trap...

Once I was sure they were completely inside, I snuck out the front door...

crept around the cage...

...and slammed the door shut!


Yes. I actually yelled that... while jumping around my front yard. (My neighbors must think I'm completely nuts.)

It was exhilarating... I'm actually thinking about becoming a professional cat catcher.

The kittens however...

The kittens were pissed.

And now that I had actually caught them... I wasn't quite sure what to do next.

I asked around... nobody wanted my cats.

I called the vet... he said, "Find somebody to adopt them." (Not helpful... thanks.)

I asked Chat...

Me: Chat!! I caught the kittens! I caught them!

Chat: Hehehe, yes ma'am very good.

Me: But now, I don't know what to do with them. I can't keep them, but I don't want them to get killed.

Chat: You want me to take ma'am?

Me: Well, do you want them?

Chat: No... Filipina not so much have cat as pets... only outside.

So if, "Filipina not so much have cat as pets," then I was running out of options.

Plan B?

Let the kittens go.

Later that night Mama Cat was outside my fence meowing... she obviously couldn't find her babies... and was more than a little mad at me.

So I took them out to the street to be with Mama... I opened the cage... and set them free.

Mission Accomplished? No.

Flash ran towards Mama...


Oh, Puss ran back to The Green Machine. He slid under the tiniest crack under the gate and headed straight for the death trap.


The next morning, I found both kittens sitting on the engine.

Operation 9 Lives was a complete waste of time...

Not to mention I have been out smarted by kittens... not my proudest moment.

Now every time we take out the car... I open the hood... check for cats... and then cover my ears when the car starts, and hope I don't see fur fly.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Operation 9 Lives: The "Cat-tastrophe."


After an hour of trying to lure the kittens out with tuna, Lee went off to poker night, and I went down the street to a friends house.

A bottle of wine later...

We decided to go get the kittens out of the car once and for all... three of us marched down the street armed with tuna, laundry baskets and glasses of wine. (We planned to trap them in a laundry basket... apparently that is my "catch all" for creatures.)

We looked under the hood... no cats.

Hmm.. well that's weird...

Maybe they're hiding...

Our newest idea was, "put the car in neutral... push it out of the drive way... and leave it in the street. Then when the cats came down from their hiding place they would be out of the yard..." Genius!

So it's decided... I'll put the car in neutral and the other two will get in front of the car and push us out.

I get in the car...

Gate open? Check.

Car in neutral? Check.

Clutch in? Check.

And then...

I started the car.


It wasn't until I heard the screams that I realized what I'd done.

They say, "Don't drink and drive..."

I say, "Don't drink and drive... don't even sit behind the wheel and put it in neutral, because inevitably you will start the engine, and the kittens you are trying to save will be chopped up into little tiny pieces."

I immediately cut the engine and jumped out to look for blood and guts.

Thankfully there were none...

I checked the yard everyday for a week, but there was never any sign of the kittens...

Pretty sure I committed murder.

Well, I guess it was accidental... so I'll lessen the charges to "kitten-slaughter."

Friday, May 28, 2010

Operation 9 Lives: Day 4


Day four of kitten catching, and so far I wasn't having any luck. To make things worse, when Lee got home from work he said he needed to use The Green Machine in the morning...

Me: But what about the kittens?!

Lee: Chop. Chop.

Me: Rude.

So the pressure was on...

I went outside and popped the hood... both kittens sat on top of the engine... but they quickly crawled down out of reach before I could get them.

But it didn't matter... I had a full proof plan.

Tuna fish! Cats love fish.

Bribing kitten with tuna fish...

Lee: So wait, you are feeding the cats tuna in the hood of the car? And you think this is a good way to keep the cats out of the car...? By feeding them there...?

Obviously, he is not a professional cat catcher... like myself...

I named them... this one is Flash... because as soon as took her picture she hissed at me and has been a total witch ever since.

And this one...

I call him Puss... 1) because he is a real "scaredy cat" and 2) because of Puss in Boots, from Shrek. Because really... look at those eyes...

See what I mean...?

After an hour of tempting kitties with delicious tuna I was having no luck...

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Operation 9 Lives: Day 3



Dogs. Cats hate dogs. Even little dogs like Mr. Bigg.

So I got Mr. Bigg pumped up about cats....

Me: Mr. Bigg! Where are the cats?

Mr. Bigg: *Ears Perk*

Me: Mr. Bigg! Where are the cats?!

Mr. Bigg: Grrr...rrrr...grrr

Me: Mr. Bigg, Go get the cats!

Mr. Bigg: Bark..Bark..

I'm fully aware I'm insane... but hey, he talks back...

(Can't decide if that makes it better or worse.)

I opened the front door... Mr. Bigg bounds into the front yard barking but instead of chasing kittens out the gate... they run back up underneath the car.


Because I forgot to open the gate...BIG FAIL.

Kittens: 1 Mr. Bigg: 0

He looks so defeated...

He's kind of a drama queen...

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Operation 9 Lives: Day 2


"TheUndomesticHW - Operation 9 Lives - Day 2: Water Hose... FAIL. Cats: 2 Me: 0"

I tried to be thoughtful but now I had a new plan.

Water. Cats hate water.

Unfortunately, using a water hose is not high up on the list of things I do well.

Turn on the hose...

Walk a couple feet...

What the...?

The water stopped...

Look down the hose...

Shake the hose...


Ah ha! Crick in the hose...

Straighten hose...

Walk a few feet...

The water stopped...

You get the idea...

So there I am... in the front yard... turning in circles trying to straighten the hose all the while soaking myself and Mr. Bigg in the process.

By the time I got everything straightened out and got to the car... the hose was only long enough to get the tires wet... Fail.

Kittens: 1 Me: 0

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Operation 9 Lives: Day 1


"TheUndomesticHW- Operation 9 Lives - Day 1: Bowl of Milk. FAIL. Cats: 1 Me: 0"

I know nothing about cats. Absolutely nothing.

My first thought? Milk. Cats like milk.

Plan of attack? Bowl of milk... open gate.

No such luck...

I think the scary-mangy-one-eared-cats drank the milk... and I still have kittens...Fail.

Kittens: 1 Me: 0

Monday, May 24, 2010

Operation 9 Lives: Is a Go...

I've been hearing meowing around my house for a couple weeks.

I open the door. Nothing.

I check outside. Nothing.

I'm crazy? The thought crossed my mind.

Some people hear voices in their head...

Me? I hear cats meow.

And I don't even like cats.

But today I was up on the balcony and I saw two tiny kittens in my front yard.

A larger cat, who I assumed to be their mother was on the other side of the fence, making a dreadful noise and the kittens looked frantic to join her. But with the wiring around the bottom of our fence, there was no way out.

I went downstairs to open the gate, but as soon as I opened the front door the kittens ran under the car.

I looked under the car only to see the last of a little tail disappear.

Now they are under the hood... great.

My dad killed a cat this way once. It had crawled up by the engine, he started the car, and yuck...

I decided these kittens would not share the same fate... I may be a chicken killer... but I'll be damned if I kill kittens.

Thus began... "Operation 9 Lives"

I'm tweeting my progress...

I can't find a place where the kittens could have gotten in the yard, so I don't know if they can actually get out.

And I have noticed that Mama Cat brings them pieces of food, (I.E. - left overs from my trash...) and leaves it underneath the car.

The only thing I can guess is that she is keeping them there, to protect them from the
scary-mangy-one-eared-cats that roam the neighborhood.

Unfortunately, our car is a potential Green Kitten Killing Machine...

So I'm devising a plan...


Sunday, May 23, 2010

A Little Light

Me: When we go to Alabang today, remind me to get a scale.

Lee: We already have a scale.

Me: Yeah, one that sucks. I want a good scale.

Lee: We have a perfectly good scale.

Me: I want a digital one.

Lee: Why? So you can see if you are two-tenths of a pound lighter than the day before?

Me: Precisely.


Me: Umm.. the new scale is broken...

Lee: Hmm...

Me: Yeah, it's saying I weigh one pound...

Lee: That figures. You spent $50 on a scale and it doesn't even work.

Me: Yeah, and it was made in New Mexico... I can't even blame it on the Philippines.


Me: Hi, yeah... I bought this scale here.. and it's broken. It says I weigh one pound... and obviously I don't... that's not even flattering. So, can I exchange it for a new one?

S&R Girl: Ok, yes Ma'am.

Me: Thanks.

S&R Girl: Ma'am, you try this one.

It's at this point when all five of the people trying to help, huddle around me lean in to read the scale.

Me: Sooo... you're all going to watch huh?

They smile and nod.

This is a woman's worst nightmare right? They might as well have projected it on the wall behind me, or announced it over the loud speaker. But I'm a trooper... Seeing as how I have apparently lost much fat.

Me: Fine. Hold my purse... I don't need the extra ten pounds.


Me: So... I exchanged the scale today... but I think this one is still a little light. I mean not that I'm complaining... but...

Lee: Yeah... I haven't weighed this since high school.

Me: Oh, well. That's great if it says I weigh a few pounds lighter than I really am.

Lee: So wait... you bought a new scale that doesn't work, but you like it because it says you weigh less than you really do.

Me: *smile*

Lee: That's ridiculous. You should have just paid me fifty bucks. You can stand on me and I'll tell you what you want to hear.

Me: Rude.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Twitter It

Lee: You know how... sometimes... you think you feel your phone vibrate... but you reach for it... and it wasn't vibrating...? (He's from Texas... sometimes he talks slow.)

Me: Yeah.

Lee: Do you think that happened before people had cell phones?

Me: No.

Lee: Yeah, like you felt a vibration on your leg but you just didn't think anything of it because you didn't have a cell phone. It was just like, "Oh, that was weird."

Me: No. Absolutely not.

Lee: I think maybe.

Me: No, thinking you feel your phone vibrate is a reaction to your subconscious. It's not like your leg is actually vibrating, and you think it's your phone. That's ridiculous.

Lee: I don't think so.

Me: Seriously...?

Lee: Yeah. We should take a poll.

Me: A poll?

Lee: Yeah, can't you twitter it or whatever it's called.

Me: You want me to Tweet about this? You want me to get on twitter... and ask people if they felt vibrations in their pockets before they had cell phones? And if they did, did they think it was weird?

Lee: Yeah.

Me: You know I'm writing about this right?...

In case you're wondering I didn't "twitter it." I felt it would take more than 140 characters to even attempt to explain this. But feel free to weigh in on the matter... I'm sure Lee would love to learn the results of this poll.

Question 1:

Before you started carrying a cellphone, did you ever feel the sensation of vibrations in your pants pocket?

Yes or No

Question 2:

If you answered "Yes," to Question 1, After the random vibration in your pants... did you think, "Oh, that was weird."?

Yes or No

If you answered "No," to Question 1, Congratulations you are not insane.

Thank you for participating.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Election News

The past few months have been campaign season for the 2010 Philippine Elections. In the Philippines all offices hold their elections on the same day, from local government all the way up to the national level.

Campaigning in the Philippines is unlike anything I've ever seen. About 5 times a day a jeepney displaying candidate posters, drives around the neighborhood blasting music so loud it sounds like it's coming from the next room. In addition to the jeepney motorcades there are signs and posters everywhere. This year there were 85,000 candidates running for 17,000 positions. The number of signs plastered to fences, telephone poles and walls was unimaginable, and many of them were pretty entertaining.

Apparently, all politicians in the Philippines have nicknames...

This guy?



This one however... is worse.

A congressman with the nickname "Dodo?"

Doesn't boast well for his decision making skills.

This one is one of my favs...


This guy actually had his big head on a jeepney, with a mechanical arm that would salute while it drove around town. Hilarious.

But this one? This one beats all...

Lee: Only in the Philippines would they elect a Senator named Bong...

Me: So true.


Election day was on Monday, a week ago today, and according to the Philippine Star Newspaper it was the least violent election day the Philippines has had in years. Which is great news!

I have to say I was totally relieved...

You know me... I was pretty paranoid about the whole election scenario and no one was saying anything that made me feel any better.

I received two frightening emails from the U.S. Embassy. Something about staying away from public gatherings, keeping a low profile, and making sure we were registered with the Embassy incase anything were to happen.

A few of the locals told us not to travel, and our property manager Lina told me not to leave the house on election day because I am, "too young and beautiful to get shot." (Have I mentioned we've been getting along better lately.)

Most businesses and restaurants were closed for election day. Even Lee had the day off. Two days of no work meant one thing... Golf.

Sunday? We golf.

Monday? We golf.

I was concerned. Not only because two days of me hacking around the golf course would most likely cause me to break all my clubs in frustration and quit the game forever, but also because I didn't want to be driving around during polling.

There would most likely be traffic... and who knows... there could be a stray bullet or two.

But Lee being his stubbornly fabulous self was bound and determined to drive to the golf course despite warnings from the U.S. Embassy, co-workers, local Filipinos and his know-it-all wife.

I even tried to stay at the hotel on the golf course, to keep from driving around so much, but they were "booked for a corporate event." (AKA, "Somebody important is staying here, and we won't rent out any of the other rooms." Later, we saw an entourage leaving the hotel, complete with assault rifles...)

Lee: The hotel is all booked. We can just drive up Monday morning. It's not going to be a big deal... stop being so paranoid.

Me: Fine. But if I get shot... my Dad is going to kill you... So you better hope they get you too.


This election was the first time for the Philippines to use an electronic ballot. And not only that, but they are the first country in Asia to even attempt an electronic ballot. (Don't you think it's time to step up to the plate Japan and China?!)

Honestly, I expected electronic voting to be a total disaster... I mean how long have we been doing punch card voting... since the 60's? And we still screw it up... (Florida...)

Not to mention the allegations of fraud, which are commonplace in the Philippines even without the added suspicions that go along with electronic vote counting.

There were talks about postponing the elections due to mechanical difficulties with the machines, but everything went off on May 1oth just like it was supposed to.

Later that day I talked to Chat about her voting experience...

Me: Hey Chat, what are you doing here?

Chat: I vote already ma'am.

Me: You did? How did it go?

Chat: I wait in line from seven a.m. to 11. Long lines, many people cut... pushing... babies cry... very hot. But voting very easy. I just fill out my form and put it in the computer.

Me: Wow, you waited four hours in line to vote? In the heat? I'm impressed. Many people in the states won't get out to vote if it's too cold or a little bit rainy.

Chat: Hehe. I wait ma'am. I want my vote to count, it's important.

Me: Yes it is.


Thursday, May 6, 2010

Saying Goodbye to Japan... Signs and all things Awesome

So, I end our journey to Japan with random pictures and Japanese signs... because a trip to Japan wouldn't be complete without a few things lost in translation.

Cool Old Dude? No idea what this is about...


The similarity is uncanny...

Straightforward and to the point...


No Smorking? Hmm... And who uses the word "tout?"


Tommy Lee Jones is the face of Boss coffee. He is everywhere... it's bizarre. You can watch the commercials on YouTube...


Because there is nothing more delicious than a mossy burger...


Me: Is it just me... or is that robot creature touching himself in an inappropriate manner?

Me: The name of the place is, "My pleasure..." Ohhh! I get it. I was right... inappropriate.


You can buy anything in the underground Subnade...

Gifts... Food... & Love...


No need for a cheesy slogan, they just tell it like it is... "We're Gonna Win." Also, did you notice the Hiroshima Carp look a lot like the Cincinnati Reds?


I won't even ruin this sign with a caption... it's too awesome for that.


Sea Bream head... deep-fried cartilage... crunchy cartilage... chicken neck? They could at least cover it up with a fancy name so you don't know what it is...

Cod guts? Yum...

The sperm is cage free? Excellent. Is it grain fed and organic? Yeah... I watched Food, Inc.


We found this lovely family on the train. There was a mother and four children all in matching Burberry... We took this picture in covert iPhone spy fashion. We probably looked like real creepers secretly taking pictures of children... but whatev.


I don't know which is better... "I love vehicle," or the Elmo key chain on his bag.
(Another secret iPhone pic. We should be secrets agents...)


And no trip would be complete with out bringing something back to embarrass my dog.
Meet Mr. Bigg, The Samurai.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


Me: So... the TV says, "Pay TV," but we don't have to pay for all channels right, you just have to pay for movies..? Or porn...?

Lee: Hmmm... well...

Me: Aahh! What are they doing to that girl? Change it... what the hell is that?! OMG!! That's worse!

Lee: Well, apparently there is only this channel...

Lee: ...or porn.

Me: What the hell?

Lee: Yeah. Maybe we should go downstairs and talk with the other clientele... Find out what kind of a place we are staying at...

Monday, May 3, 2010

"Throne" for a Loop

Lee: I can't wait for you to go to the bathroom.

Me: Excuse me...

Lee: You'll see.

Me: No, Tell me.

Lee: No, you'll just have to see... but don't worry I took a picture.

The sink on top of the toilet tank automatically turned on after you flushed to re-fill the tank. So it, a) Reminds you to wash your hands, and b) saves water. Genius.

Me: The Japanese are so much smarter than us...

Lee: Yeah, and they don't even brag about it. They have all kinds of awesome stuff... but they don't say a word.

They'll probably take over the world some day... The Japanese and their fancy toilets...

But I don't understand this...

In Japan there are two types of toilets... toilets with automatic flushing, remote controls, attached bidets with all power levels, even blow driers...

and then there are these...

Why they can't find some common ground with a regular toilet I'll never know.

Some of the stalls had pictures to let you know what kind of toilet was there, but many of them didn't. I felt like I was on a game show every time I opened the stall door... (And behind... Doooor #2 is... eeeeehhhhh... a hole in the ground! Awww...)

I mean, squat toilets aren't easy to use... believe me... I tried.

And let me just say that using them while on the train is virtually impossible.

I almost fell in... and I'm pretty sure I peed on my shoe... just-a-little-bit.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

You are what you eat

The food in Japan was phenomenal... a fat kid's paradise.

It had been a long time since I had so many good meals in such a short amount of time. In addition to the fabulous sushi and mexican food we ate, we also had amazing steaks, "red wine cheeseburgers," (Seriously... it's like someone took my two favorite things and mashed them into one. Amazing), salads, seafood, pasta, okonomiyaki, (a savory Japanese pancake, which we stumbled upon during an after hours late night snack run. Totally delicious.)

...and tempura.

We found a little hole in the wall place in Shinjuku, and I'll admit I was a bit skeptical.
Many of the places that are "tourist friendly" have some english signage, or plastic food in the window...

(Bizarre right? Majority of the restaurants have plastic food in the window, or set out on tables... which sounded really strange to me at first, until I realized that was the only way I would know what they served. Plus, it gave me something to point too.)

...or pictures on the menu. We had no idea what type of restaurant it was because this place had none of those things, and only sat about ten people. But we were only stopping in for a beer... and that we could say.

It turned out to be a tempura restaurant, and these guys were amazing.

We told them we were only there for a beer, but they insisted we try some of the food...

Then one guy pulled everything out of the refrigerator one at a time so we could see what they have since there was no menu to be found.

Tempura Man: Chicken... Beef... Mushroom... Cheese...

The list went on and on... And since I don't pass up food... especially fried food... we tried it.

It. was. awesome.


There were a few things however, that weren't particularly tasty... and also a bit strange.

The strangest being the food at the Buddhist Temple...

We tried oysters in Hiroshima, they are supposed to be famous for them and I figured if anyone was going to make an oyster I liked it would be the Japanese.

I was wrong.

We ordered a set menu with 5 oyster dishes. The first dish was an oyster on top of a square piece of something that jiggled far too much for my liking... Lee insisted we weren't supposed to eat it, and that it was only for decoration. Turns out it was tofu... we were supposed to eat it, but there was no way that was going to happen.

I'm pretty sure we ate oysters in every way they can be prepared...

I only like them fried...

Imagine that.


Green Tea Ice Cream...

A shop in the airport had three flavors of ice cream... strawberry, vanilla, and green tea.

And I thought...

I like green tea...

and I like ice cream.

I'll give it a shot.

It tastes like grass...

I couldn't eat more than a bite... and Lee refused to share his strawberry with me, because... "I should have known better." Whatever.


And this?

Well, this was just weird...

I'll let you decide for yourself what it looks like...

Not. Appetizing.