Duck Tales, Part 1.

This is the story of how another little kitten came to live with me and Patti Smith.

Here is the ruff lil scruff that was my ugly duckling.




It was a Friday afternoon this past September when I got the hysterical call from my BFF and co-worker Violet. She was driving home from work on Highway 150 (a pretty busy connector highway for those of you not familiar with the area) when she saw something tiny and alive ON THE ROAD. Whatever the something was, it was right on the white line at the very edge of the asphalt. As her car whizzed past, she realized the something was a TINY KITTEN.

Vi whooped her lil red Fiat around in the middle of the busy road and rescued the scrawny little kitten. She looked around for other tiny kittens but she was all alone. At some point after the rescue operation Violet called me up at work. She was completely hysterical and she kept saying something about finding a kitten in the road and could she bring it to me. I thought she was talking about a dead kitten because she was crying so hard. I couldn’t figure out why she was trying to bring a dead kitten to my house!

Once I figured out that is was a LIVE kitten I agreed that she should bring it over. The little kitty was so completely scruffy and homely but it purred and purred and snuggled me super hard and of course I fell quickly in love. The next day, I took the sweet (but seriously mangy looking) creature to the vet for a thorough once over. Turns out the kitten was a girl, probably only three weeks old, and was healthy besides a very gnarly case of ringworm. While I was at the vet, the kitten decided her name would be Duck.

Late in the summer I had sort of been looking to get a kitten as a playmate for Patti Smith (see this post). It was around this time Violet’s grandmother, who was a total animal lover, passed away. Her grannie was her closest friend so it came as no surprise to Vi that in the weeks following her passing, some magical things happened. Vi had been wanting a rabbit as a pet, and low and behold, a rabbit ended up needing to get adopted. And not long after, we are sure that she put that kitten in the road for Violet to find for me.

I was holding the teeny purring kitten and said, “I sure am glad that Vi’s grannie made sure you didn’t get squished! Good job, Duck!” (Duck was her grandmother’s nickname) The kitten mewed right after I said ‘Duck’. I looked at her and said the word again. She mewed again. I said, “Is your name Duck?” She meowed loudly that time and began purring LOUDLY! And so it was. The kitten who had been saved by the spirit of Violet’s grandmother would be her namesake.


Nicknames include:

Duckie, Duck-Duck-Goose, Diddle Diddle Duckling,



This is my favorite picture of Duck as a kitten. I had just started reading Ronda Rousey’s memoir a few days before Duck arrived and it became abundantly and immediately clear that Ronda would be her spirit animal.


I have never had such a mischievous kitten! Below is a picture of her next to one of my most prized possessions, my awesomely tacky touch lamp. Duckie figured out that she could touch it with her nose and make the light go on and off. She loved to practice this trick around 3am daily until I started unplugging it before bed. I think she thought it quit working because now I leave it plugged in and she doesn’t turn it off and on anymore.



A rare sighting of the girls snuggling. Pretty much the only thing that gets them this close together is my warm lap in a very cold house.


This is a far more typical lounging distance.

Patti and Duck have a pretty good time playing together and I think for the most part Patti likes having her around. They run and romp and hide and seek and attack and whine and growl and chase and eat and snuggle me together. Sometimes Patti gives me a look of desperation and I give her some extra attention and then all is well again. Life certainly wouldn’t be as entertaining with out Duckie. I guess she’s a keeper. 😉



Picayune Pictures #5

Here is one of the reasons you haven’t heard from me in days! I was really hoping to do some on-the-road blogging but my dear darling Duck Rabbit “wild cat” Rousey did THIS to my phone’s charging cord. As you can see, I tried to repair it before. After two nights of not getting a good charge on my phone I realized it was because the cord was nearly chewed in half. I pretty much just had enough juice to get some pictures taken. Now I have a fancy new pink cord. BAD KITTY.




I have had MAJOR knitting drama over the past week or so. I’ve been working on my third sweater (in a pattern I’ve knitted twice before) and I really messed up some calculations. I’d come up with a way to “fix” one of the mistakes (laddering was a success) but when the next wrong calculation (the steek was also a success but created a NEW problem) became obvious I just decided to take. the. whole. damn. thing. apart. I’ve since restarted it with major modifications. Stay tuned to see if I’m happier with the second attempt. Totally bummertown.

Aaaaand my little bird friend from last spring is back and has taken up residence in my mail box again. I’ve got to write a “Do Not Disturb” sign on it so that mama bird doesn’t abandon her eggs. Does anyone recognize what type they might be? If so, please comment!


I was really sad to hear about the passing of Earl Hamner, Jr. For those who might not recognize his name, he was the author of the book The Homecoming that later inspired the television show The Waltons. This book particular copy of the book was given to me years back and it has since been one of my most prized possessions. If you haven’t read the book, you totally should–I can’t say enough good things about it, particularly if you are interested in frugal country living and wholesome family fun. Here is a wonderful obituary that the New York Times posted over the weekend.

I had Easter lunch at my house with my mom and Mr. Smith! We had Alton Brown’s citrus salmon (a family favorite), deviled eggs, roasted sweet potato salad, the best coleslaw ever, and grilled pineapple on coconut gelato for dessert. And wine, of course. Would you  like a tutorial on how to make this award winning slaw? To be honest it hasn’t actually won any awards but I am pretty sure it would/could/will someday. Tell me if you are interested in the recipe and I *might* let y’all in on the secret ingredients.


After cutting the grass for the first time this season it was time to whip out the Twang. Stay tuned for a special drink themed post later in the week… 😉

I’ve also got two vacation posts coming up–about the area in eastern North Carolina where I used to live, and the trip mom and I made to Replacements. Stay tuned for the posts that were inhibited because of the phone cord drama! BAD KITTY!


How Patti Smith came to be my kitten.


The rain was torrential the Sunday that the kitten showed up.  A tiny wisp of wet fur peered in through the corner of the glass door in our sun room. Tiny teeth and a tiny pink tongue opened wide to let out a very tiny wail.  I did a triple take as I walked past the door on my way to get another cup of coffee.  I rushed to open the door and the little creature hopped in over the door jam. It was a rather steep jump for the teeny little body. Much water was then shaken  all over the floor.  After a thorough toweling off, the little striped kitten snuggled into my neck and purred a tiny soft purr while it kneaded and tried to find a place to nurse. Oh the tiny kitten!

I flipped the little cat over and “looked at its feet” as my father used to say–it was a girl!


During this time period, I was staying with my grandparents at their house, helping to keep their household running a little more smoothly.  When they came home from church I showed them my new prize.

“Oh!  It’s so little!  Who are you going to give it to? my grandmother asked.

“I am giving her to ME!” I exclaimed!


Later that afternoon I went out to Kmart to get some kitten supplies.  I was already contemplating a name for the little girl kitten when Because the Night came on the radio. I knew right then that her name was to be Patti.  The pun-y part is that my last name is Smith, so now I had Patti Smith, girl kitten.

regal patti

Nicknames include: Peppermint Patti & Chicken Patti.


Patti is seriously the sweetest cat I have ever had.  She is so quiet that even her meows have stayed soft.  She is a rather little cat; even at almost 3 years old she probably only weighs about 7 pounds. And she so fastidious when it comes to her fur!  String on a stick and wrapped peppermint candies are her favorite things to play with.

When it was just me and Patti Smith I took her with me anytime I spent the night away from home.  Now that I have a second cat (her story is coming soon!) I don’t mind leaving the two of them alone for a night or two.  Patti loves riding in my truck.  I’m not sure if it’s because I started her off so young or if it is more of her super calm nature.  She spends most trips curled up in my lap, waking up only if we go up a big hill like Old Fort Mountain-I think it makes her ears pop, too.  Either that or she also enjoys the view!

Patti loves to lay on clothes.




Patti likes to watch me in the tub AND (not pictured) sitting on me while I’m on the toilet!


I think this one is my most favorite.


I was worried Patti was getting really bored while I was at work.  See, when she was a kitten I was home with her most of the time.  She started pouting really bad when I was getting ready for work in the mornings, doing this thing I call “Puff Patti.” This is when she puffs the hair out not all the way down her back like a normal cat, but just right at her butt!  Her pupils dilate and sometimes she would even growl!  So I started sort of looking for an additional cat to be her companion.  Boy howdy did we get more than we bargained for.  Stay tuned when I tell you the short history of DUCK!


Picayune Pictures #3

Some pictures, lately.

Let us admire the fluff of Sir Chester.  And he allows his minions to rub that belly!

(I got to spend some time with him at an Oscars party on Sunday.  Such a treat!)



Mom and I went to the Biltmore House this weekend with Mr. Smith and his mom.  The folks who run the house have relaxed their formerly VERY strict no-photography rules.  Now you can take pictures so long as there is no flash.  This made for very dark and mostly not terrific shots, but I will share what I was able to capture!

The Kitchens.

I have always been most smitten with the library and kitchen parts of the house.  I am lucky to live close enough that I get a season’s pass most years.  I love getting to see all the little details–the collection of copper pots, the funny box of fairy marshmallows, the wine bottle basket!  And check out the cabinets whose doors open UP!

The Halloween Room.

This room is seriously SO neat–please click through the link above to read more about it!  I would LOVE to have a room painted just for a party for me 🙂



We’re in the library!”

–unknown Saint


DUCK & DOLL HOUSE, a brief still life.

This is going to be a major work in progress.  I got this totally awesome doll house from friends of mine and am still in the planning stage of “what to do next”. Remember my “to-do” list?  Seems the cats really like the house, too.  I’m going to probably have to figure out how to share with them–it’s too cute watching them go in and out the windows and swat each other through the stairs!


I got to attend my first surprise party ever!  Boy was it sweet.  Just look at these beautiful cakes!  Happy birthday to my good quilting buddy.  I hope to grow up to be an awful lot like her ❤


Hope your week is off to a great start.  Stay tuned for more soon!


Recovery from vacation


Hello from regular, post-vacation life!

I’m just about unpacked and ready to start back to life’s routine.  Just about.


I am such a sucker for pastel colored food!  I saw these little ready made sundaes in the ice cream case as I hustled my way to the bathroom on a pit stop heading home.  We picked up the coconut patties as a little treat for my grandparents.  The Neapolitan bar was mom’s snack–that kind was always a favorite of my father.  He also loved Zagnut candy bars. Have you ever had one of them? Have you tried these sundaes?

Another fun fact: the gas station sold six packs of my favorite Catawba Brewing Company beer: White Zombie.  I love seeing micro-brews creeping their way across the state!

There are a few things from the trip that I forgot to tell you about.

The clown doll from Day 2 got SOLD!!!  I was back at the same store two days later and the clown doll (and a few other dolls) were gone.  I am so happy about it!  Truthfully, the clown would probably made it’s way into my life otherwise.

There were two funny things that I saw but couldn’t get a picture of in time.  One was a weird little convertible police car that was parked next to the Ruby Tuesday in Ormond beach.  THERE WAS A STORM TROOPER IN IT.  As I was writing this post I googled “storm trooper in Daytona” and this popped up!  Of course a picture of this made it to instagram!

The other thing was a sign for a pawn shop on Ridgeway, down toward the Port Orange area–their marquee read: WE BUY SMART PHONE TAXIDERMY TABLETS. Doesn’t get much better than that in signage!  ❤

These animals are certainly NOT taxidermied.

(Patti Smith and Duck get frisky with their friend; Fraidy hides.)

While mom and I were gone, Mr. Smith took care of the cats.  As and extra thanks (besides the silly touristy trinkets) I took him out to eat at Saigon Garden.  I got this fortune!  Haha!  We certainly did have a pleasant trip.  As a side note, if you live in the area and like Asian food, you MUST go to Saigon Garden.  I always get the V#6: fried tofu with rice noodles, cucumber, bean sprout, and peanuts.  Go ahead and drool over the menu.


Sunday was race day down in Daytona.  Back in the old days when my mom and granddaddy would go to the race, my grandmother and I would stay at the condo.  I told y’all about the writing in the sand trick (boy it sure didn’t work this year!) but there is another tradition I forgot until about lunch time yesterday: Macaroni and Cheese.  We always had fancy boxed shells and cheese for lunch on race day.  I had no boxed stuff at home, but I did have the goods to make it from scratch. (I promise to do a post about making it from scratch some day soon because it is SO GOOD.)  I had a random bag of lemon pasta from Aldi that I used since that was all I had.  Dang if I wish I hadn’t bought more bags of it!  Typical.  Anyway, here are some pics of the end product.

That’s about it for my vacation wrap up.  Happy Monday to everyone!



On pinning & pining


I love Pinterest.  I mean, I really do love it.  The compulsive delight of finding beautiful/delicious/weird/inspiring things and getting to neatly categorize them in easy to admire groups is beyond satisfying.  Over the years I’ve been surprised by naysayers–or rather people who feel like Pinterest causes depression and unrealistic expectations in life.  Like anything, the website is a medium that is only as good as what you put in to it, and I find it incredibly inspiring.  It also helps to understand that your whole life doesn’t get to be like a pin board.  An element here and there is plenty.

Let me show you some pin-spiration success:

The dress (below on the left) was put in a post by Vintage Africa and someone pinned it on Pinterest.  I found it via my MO pal Elaine and I fell in love.  This is the dress that inspired me to make “The Nacho Dress”.  Even though I am a quilter you have to know that I had never made a dress in my life.  I’d never made anything wearable.  Ever. Okay, there was that one hideous hippie crop top thing I made in high school, but seriously.  I poked around online and came up with the pattern on the right.  Subtract a solid 8 inches off the bottom and the dress is pretty dang similar.  Then I saw the nacho fabric at MaryJo’s and the magic began.  All thanks to a pin.

Below, on the left is Patti Smith laying on the practice dress.  On the right is my lap of the nacho dress with a crazy naughty pull-apart donut hole thing from Quik-Trip.  The picture is from me tailgating the annual MaryJo’s birthday celebration from 2015.

Another note on dream boards: I probably couldn’t have afforded that beautiful original dress.  And, any dress or shirt with buttons up the front causes problems with my bust busting out.  By finding a pattern, I was able to customize my size (even as a beginner!) AND I can keep making the dress with different fabrics.  I paid about $7 for the pattern and it needs about 3 yards of fabric.  The green fabric was only $5.99 a yard, so it was affordable.  Similar dresses retail for over 200 dollars.  I pin the things I pine for, but I think hard to come up with ways to get what I want!  And I try things that seems daunting–if you don’t try you’ll never know if you *could* succeed!


Here are some fashion pins I am thinking about trying:

Manga Tights          Pom Pom Necklace          Witchy Shoes

Stay tuned and I’ll let you know the degree to which I am successful!  Woohoo! ❤

What crazy pins are you itching to try?  Do you love or hate Pinterest?