Menstrual Cups

Hey guys. I know it’s been awhile.

I’ve actually been doing quite a lot over at Idionity and I’ve even joined Instagram and have been posting things over there. I’m trying to be more socially engaged and put myself out there more, but this blog in particular has definitely seen some tumbleweeds. Luckily, I’ve got a Topic That Doesn’t Fit Anywhere Else to bring some life back to Cat Caddy!

I wasn’t going to write about this because number one, it’s a pretty personal (and TMI/gross out) topic, and number two, it’s pretty uncomfortable for a lot of people to think about.

But I’m so excited about this experience (and was so desperate for information about it when I was starting out) that I feel compelled to write about it.

So, here we go:

Why the menstrual cup is a game changer for period-havers, behind the cut:

(Warning: Shark Week descriptions ahead!)

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Christmas 2016

Hey everyone. Been kind of quiet around here. But, I’ve been hard at work on my new personality/psychology of self blog, Idionity. If you haven’t checked it out yet, you should!

As you know, we usually do our interstate traveling this time of year and I always post about it. We did Arizona and Oregon this time. Even though we didn’t visit Seattle, it was still a hell of a lot of driving. But let’s start at the beginning.

We went with a white tree this year:

christmas tree

Usually we have a live one but with so much traveling and the inconvenience of apartment living it just seemed less practical. And I’ve always wanted a white tree! I took a shot of one of my favorite ornaments, though a few of those are from my childhood (baby’s first Christmas 1986!). People have figured out that my tree has a musical theme and every year I get a new instrument.

It’s also the season for trying new recipes, so I made a few of these for a Christmas gathering:

oreo peanut butter pie

This is a Peanut butter Pie with Oreo crust, a recipe from Kevin and Amanda. I used double-stuffed Oreos to make the crust and added butterscotch chips to the chocolate coating at the top, and let me tell you. You may only be able to eat one slice of this in your lifetime, but it is the best damn thing you’ll ever eat. Would make again, but make sure you bring this to a party because you’ll need the help.

Speaking of recipes, look what Santa brought me:

beer making kit

!!!

I know, right?

I haven’t started my first batch yet. When I do, I’ll post pictures of the progress!

Every year when I go to Oregon (and usually, Washington) I do my local coffeeshop tour, because the coffee there is great. But then the Big S rolled out these damn things, and…well. They got me.

state ornaments

One for each state, and they only sell them in the states you buy them in. Making a crazy dash across the country to collect as many as possible (not to mention the Pokemon in Pokemon Go) is inevitable. But I stopped myself at only the states I physically visited.

(Yes, you can order the other states online, but that’s cheating.)

I still got my coffee at Siuslaw River Coffee Roasters near the bridge, though.

siuslaw river bridge

Happy New Year, everyone! Hope this year is better than the last! May the beer be good and plentiful!

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Hello again

I’m still alive! As usual I’ve been doing a ton of things. I didn’t even do my Christmas post this year. So let’s do some catching up.

Here’s where I went for Christmas:

stumptown

Finally made it to Stumptown in Portland! We had to make an extra stop to get to do it, but I don’t regret it. I wish I lived in Portland so I could take some of the training classes. I’m really anxious to learn more about specialty coffee preparation but I live in a place where you are lucky to find a starbucks. Still, though, specialty coffee is becoming more of a thing so I am hoping in the next few years it might be possible.

When I go up the coast to Seattle I try to hit as many local places as possible, and each year I make a list of where I go. This year I ended up going mostly to the same favorites: Case Coffee Roasters in Ashland, OR; Siuslaw River Coffee Roasters in Florence, OR; and Seattle Coffee Works in Seattle, WA. But when I arrived in Ashland on the first night of our trip, I stopped into a beer/coffee place called The Growler Guys and got a beer instead.

I almost had to turn right the fuck around and get my stuff from California. I have to move to Oregon.

Not one but several sour varieties were on offer when I asked. That right there is reason enough to move. That, and I’m obsessed with Oregon and can’t stop thinking about how much I want to live there. Anyway, moving on.

Here’s what I got for Christmas:

mantis

Well, I had to make it first. But it was much easier to make than other metal models I’ve tried, haha.

Anyway, things have actually been decent. We moved in August last year and ever since then I’ve been working on all kinds of projects. I just got a new laptop with a new version of Photoshop so I’m pretty excited about where that’ll take things artistically. I’ve been writing and drawing and making things. It’s a good place to be.

Recently I took an online comics class (through Kadenze.com) and it has just wrapped up, so I wanted to post the comics I made for the class here over the next few weeks. Regular updates, yay! You’ll see those soon!

Thanksgiving 2015

We’re doing Thanksgiving on our own this year. Just Poli, the cat, and I.

And we’re more or less vegetarians (“more or less” because we totally eat meat sometimes) so we’re having vegetarian Thanksgiving! Check out this spread:

TG2015

That is mushroom loaf with gravy and butternut squash and kale stuffed shells with homemade bread! (And boxed stuffing because….we didn’t make that.)

So I decided to go through a few things this year that I’m thankful for. It’s been a pretty good year. Not without its stresses, but altogether we got to some good places.

I’m thankful for our new apartment:

apt

We have a lot (or had when it was warmer) of these guys around. We even started naming them. Very cool.

I’m thankful for living in California and having this be our late November display:

tree

It’s still rather moderate in temperature and for weeks the trees were so confused. No October in October. We have to wait until nearly December before fall starts happening.

I’m thankful for some of the cool places we’ve been. Here’s a photo from a recent coastal trip we took for a wedding:

ftbragg

It was in Fort Bragg, CA, from the hotel. Pretty nice place. Of course, it was November on the coast, so the weather was sunny, warm, and perfect. Go figure!

I’m thankful for good coffee:

coffee

Locally roasted beans in my San Francisco mug.

And most importantly, I am thankful for this new chair I bought for myself Nikita.

nikitachair

Nikita is thankful for everything.

Portable Washer #2

Welp, I took my portable washer for a test drive yesterday!

I guess this is going to be part well, my life… and part review.

Once again, this is the Magic Chef 2.1 cubic feet portable washer, which I chose because all things considered it had good reviews and appeared to meet the needs I was looking for. There is a 1.6 cubic feet version, but I went with the bigger version because, you know, go big or go home. Boy, did I get what I asked for.

This machine, honestly, intends for you to have a designated space for it, preferably one that has washer/dryer hookups. But, since you live in an apartment, you most likely will have neither of those things. That means you will be storing it in one place and running it in another. This machine makes some further assumptions: first that the sink you’ll be draining into will be conveniently higher up than the washer and deep enough to sufficiently drain high volumes of water, and second that the machine will be close to an outlet. The power cord is very short. Extension cords are not recommended; it needs to be plugged directly into a grounded three prong outlet (I’m using this in the US so I can’t say about international use). So find one close to where you’ll be using the machine. Bathrooms may not have the luxury of an outlet close by, so most people probably end up using their kitchens. I got lucky, since I have an outlet right outside my bathroom and that is where I used mine.

But, well. This machine, being two thirds of my weight and height, is very difficult for a small person to move around. I’ve parked mine right outside my bathroom so I only have to move it a few feet, but those few feet are ten minutes of straining to get it into place. And then there’s figuring out where all the hoses go. I had to put a stool behind the machine and sit out the cycle so I could jump up and hold the drainage hose into the bathtub when it needed to drain. Here’s a picture of this thing so you can see how big it is in a standard sized bathroom:

magic chef portable washer

As you can see…it’s big. It’s hard to maneuver. There are limitations on where you can use it because the hoses and power cord are rather short. You have to plan ahead and know exactly where you will be using it, and even then surprises will come up and you’ll have to improvise. BUT. The ability to do your own laundry in your own house? The ability to have clean clothes in 45 minutes? The ability to have complete control and autonomy over the laundry aspect of your life? TOTALLY WORTH IT.

It cleans your clothes. It uses what you have on hand to do your laundry in terms of voltage power and tap water. It’s super quiet. Poli was in the other room and he couldn’t hear anything. I watched it like a hawk during its first run and I would recommend not leaving it unattended, because you will find yourself with some small floods if things aren’t hooked up or secured properly. But, all in all, I have a good system in place and it was very easy to use.

A couple of words of advice if you plan on getting one of these:

The first thing you’re going to want to do is take the time to figure out what all the parts are for, how they hook up, and what you’re supposed to do. I watched a lot of online videos because I’m no plumber or anything and there are some things you have to do to get it hooked up to your sink. Like learning what an aerator is and how to remove it. You’ll want to make sure you’re doing everything right because your first flood will come from leaking connections if you’re not careful.

Do a pre-wash with no clothes to rinse out the packing material. Unfortunately you will be getting packing granules in your clothes for probably a few washes because they are hard to wash out of the machine, but shaking your clothes or spin drying them should take care of what sticks to your clothes.

Have some kind of filter or mesh strainer to have your drainage hose pour through. The reason for this is that it will drain solids like packing granules and lint, and you don’t want these going down your drain. I used a hand strainer and held the hose pipe over it, but I’m going to buy a mesh strainer just for this purpose to catch fabric and lint (or things like tissues if you forget and leave one in your pocket!) so it won’t go down the drain.

Like I said, have a good drainage area. Bathtubs and kitchen sinks are designed to drain high volumes of soapy water. Bathroom sinks are not. I almost flooded my bathroom sink the first time I ran my machine. Good thing I used the lowest water setting.

And forget about using these kinds of machines if you live in an older building. I lived in an apartment complex once that did not have grounded outlets, which I may not have even thought would cause problems. You need to know your pipes, water system, and electrical system can handle this. These are designed to run using the kind of limited supplies you will have in an apartment setting, but if you live in an ancient building with commodities that have not been updated, using these machines may be problematic.

It spin-dries well. I bought a dryer to heat dry my intimates and other things that need proper drying, but you can spin-dry clothes or hang them to dry afterwards. The next day the clothes I hung were all dry and everything smelled like fresh laundry.

There are wheels at the back to move it around, but these wheels don’t work on carpet. It’s best if you are tall, large, strong, and able-bodied to move it around on carpet, because you will be pushing an 80 pound machine around. If you aren’t these things, you can consider getting a furniture dolly or something.

Would I recommend the smaller (1.6 cubic feet) over the larger one? Depends. From what I have seen, the smaller one doesn’t appear to be much smaller in terms of sheer machine size, and the ability to do more clothes in one load ultimately cuts down on the amount of loads you’ll have to do. I got the bigger one because I tend to stuff my loads to get it all done at once (bad) but now that I look at it, I’m not sure I needed the bigger one. For a regular apartment life, the smaller unit would probably have worked just fine. You do, ultimately, want to consider the size of the space you’ll be using it in.

Portable Washer

So, I got a new portable washer.

Oh, wait, did I tell you I moved? Holy shit. Let’s back up a little.

It all started with this in February:

Ceiling

But it took a few months to get the ball rolling on moving out, getting the ceiling repaired, and all that. In the meantime I had been occupying myself with work, friends, and furthering my obsession with personality theory.

So this August we finally found a place in town. It’s a great little place, with a balcony/porch we can sit outside on and plenty of space. Pretty much perfect, except, well, the laundry hassle.

The laundry hassle. I can’t comfortably or easily use laundromats (OCD) so currently I drive 12 miles to wash them in a home machine. But it takes so long, especially when you have to do multiple loads, and the whole experience of lugging your laundry in the car and up and down stairs is such a pain. So I sprung for this:

Magic Chef Portable Washer

And, whoa. Let me say a few things about this machine.

This is a Magic Chef Portable Washer, 2.1 cubic feet. (I got a matching portable dryer from Panda but I haven’t received that yet.) This guy has gotten pretty good reviews online and from all accounts does what a regular washer does. Imagine my surprise when I open the box and realize I have ordered a small private jet. And I have to find a place to put this.

I have not used it yet. I’d love to tell you about that, but first, let me tell you what to expect if you are looking to supplement your laundry needs with a private, portable machine. I did not see the 1.6 cubic feet model, but what I had in mind was a machine about the size of a mini-fridge. What I got was a giant behemoth that is 2/3 of my weight and height. It is, technically speaking, portable, in the sense that you can hook it up to your faucet and move (drag, strain) it away when you’re done. Other than that, it is by all accounts a respectable washer. I think it might even have more load capacity than the ones at our laundromat. The picture above doesn’t do it justice. If you were looking at just this photograph (and others like it on the internet) you might assume this machine was reasonably smaller than a permanent washer. Pretty much, no. You can’t do huge loads like large comforters but I don’t anticipate having any problem with my typical laundry needs. The problem is more how to integrate a giant-ass machine (x2 when the dryer gets here) into my life. Think I may have bitten off more than I can chew!

I’ll have to let you know how it goes.

Christmas 2014

Time for a holiday update!

This Christmas was pretty crazy; I traveled to four states in two weeks (which entailed driving up and down the entire state of California). I don’t have any pictures from the Arizona part of my journey, but I have a few from the rest of the trip.

Naturally, I spent the month crocheting this year’s snowflakes:

snowflake

After getting those done, I got one of my presents early. It is a signed photo of Spock which will be buried with me when I die. The rest of my present was a signed copy of I Am Spock, which is the best goddamned book I’ve ever read. An entire book about why Spock set everyone’s souls on fire and how Leonard Nimoy felt about it, which couldn’t be more relevant to me. I have to read every sentence two or three times because it is just that great.

I spent the holiday indulging one of my other passions which is rock collecting, but I won’t bore you with the long list of stones I came home with.

Now, on to the pictures:

oregon covered bridge

Covered bridge on our drive up through Oregon to get to Washington. It was a nice little stop.

Siuslaw River Bridge

This is a picture of the Siuslaw River Bridge in Florence, Oregon. Technically, we didn’t get here until after we had gone to Washington (we drove from central CA to Washington which meant driving through Oregon, and then we stayed with family in Oregon on the way back). I’ve been coming here for a few years now and I just love it. There’s a coffeeshop right out of frame from this picture called Siuslaw River Coffee Roasters that we go to all the time. It was one of my Coffee Stops, but I’ll get to that in a minute.

seattle

Here we are, parking in Seattle. One thing all cities have in common is impressive, beautiful architecture with a lot of history and character, and the overwhelming stench of urine. Seattle is no exception. Urine smell not pictured.

seattle

Look at this bad boy right here. The lighting was just perfect. Someone in our party jokingly suggested that we ride this thing, and ride it we did. The sun was setting and the windows inside the little carriages were tinted so few of my pictures up there turned out especially well.

seattle

Sun setting on the city.

seattle

seattle

And of course, a gratuitous tourist shot. Incidentally, if you are ever in Pike’s Place, Piroshky Piroshky is a wonderful bakery. I get the Smoked Salmon Pate and holy shit.

In keeping with my tradition, as we were driving up the Pacific Northwest and to the Coffee Capital (or whatever) I tried to stop at as many indie, local coffee places as I could. So here’s a list of all the places I stopped this year:

Case Coffee Roasters, Ashland, OR
French Press, Salem, OR
Seattle Coffee Works, Seattle, WA
The Governor’s Cup Coffee Roasters, Salem, OR
Siuslaw River Coffee Roasters, Florence, OR