Cat Litter Pineapples

That title doesn’t seem to make sense. Cat litter pineapples. Pineapples in the cat litter? Cat litter made of pineapples? I know. My pineapple obsession has finally led me to cat litter. Fresh Step cat litter, to be exact.

I was flipping through the latest issue of Real Simple magazine, when I happened upon this:

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Fresh Step, now with the Power of Febreeze Hawaiian Aloha scent!

Oh, just your average cat litter ad, right? WRONG! Do you see it? And, I’m not talking about the 3 kitty cats the art director “hid” in the ad. I’m talking about that BEAUTIFUL modern pineapple with the golden crown on the left!

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I bet one of those cats is going to knock over that pineapple out of spite. Because, cats are like that.

Gasp! What a beauty! And, I have to say, the plants are pretty impressive, too. (I’m a self-proclaimed indoor leaf-peeper, remember).

On a non-pineapple-related note, I bet creating cat litter–any cat product, really–ads are akin to beer and condom ads. When I was in ad school, beer and condoms were strictly off limits. Not because we were prudes, but because supposedly coming up with cool, clever ads for these categories was too easy. Ditto for cats, right? I mean, throw in a cat pun and you’re done. I’m not kitten!

Pineapple Obsession in the Kitchen: Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

My pineapple obsession isn’t just about motifs. It has moved into the kitchen. Specifically baking, which I love anyway. On Labor Day Weekend, I had the opportunity to bake for a family gathering. I tried my hand at pineapple upside-down cake.

I went to my trusty Betty Crocker’s Cookbook, printed in 1973 (copyright 1969!). Sure, I Googled around for a recipe first, but c’mon,  pineapple upside-down cake is a classic, right? It just seemed right to consult the Ms. Crocker.

 

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Betty Crocker’s Cookbook

It was an easy cake to make. There weren’t any complicated steps. The best part was arranging the pineapple slices and maraschino cherries. I’m glad I cut them in half. It created more opportunities for a pattern and extra cherries.

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Golden brown downside-up.

Turning the cake upside down wasn’t as easy as I thought it was going to be. I let it sit upside down for the required “few minutes.” Still, my center pineapple and a couple of the surrounding pineapples stuck to the pan. But, using a fork and a butter knife, I easily placed the pineapple pieces where they belonged and and used the butter knife to scoop some of the lingering brown sugar-butter goodness to patch up the top.

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Gooey-sweet fruity fun.

I have to admit I wasn’t sure how I’d like this cake. Chocolate is king in my book. I was pleasantly surprised. The pineapple-maraschino cherry combo was bright and fruity. The cake was moist* probably because of all the butter and juice on top. The cake was rather small. It was just a single 9″ layer. Really, the perfect size. I don’t think leftovers would have held up for a day or two.

I liked this cake so much that I’m dreaming of what else I could upside-down. Peach upside-down cake? Apple upside-down cake? Hmmmm…and mmmmmmm…

 

*The only acceptable use of the word “moist” is to describe a cake.

2005

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2005 is an anchor year. The year has a hold on me. In my head, I am 22-years old. I have just graduated college. I have just enough money to drive from Alaska (my home state) to Atlanta, Georgia, where I will study advertising copywriting. I know I will love a career in this industry. I don’t have enough sense to truly think through this decision. But, I have just enough sense to know that if I do consider all of my options and even begin to weigh pros and cons, I won’t make this choice, a choice that feels like adventure and fun.

In reality, right now, I am 34. I’ve grown timid in my decisions, mostly because I have more to lose than the boxes of books and the Ford Taurus they are loaded into. Every once and a while, I am reminded that it is no longer 2005 and I am no longer 22-years old. Here is a list.

Things That Remind Me It Is No Longer 2005 and I Am Not 22-Years Old:

  1. Every one of my children’s birthdays.
  2. Each and every one of my birthdays.
  3. I lost my wanderlust somewhere in Cincinnati.
  4. I no longer yearn to move to a different city or state.
  5. I no longer yearn to move all of my belonging every few years.
  6. The easy-going Midwestern attitude may have something to do with this.
  7. I have a lot more belongings, including the furniture that I so very much resisted.
  8. The top of my right foot hurts.
  9. My right shoulder feels rusty. Some days there are small pangs when I move it just so and I am trying to figure out if it is just the way I am sleeping.
  10. An alternative rock station is no longer preset on my car radio.
  11. I don’t buy CDs. Rarely do I purchase any form of music, for that matter.
  12. My college degree has my maiden name, which is now my middle name—a link to this degree and my past, perhaps.
  13. I haven’t had my Ford Taurus, my beloved first car, proudly purchased with my own money, since 2012.
  14. I drive a mini van.
  15. I really, really like my mini van. And it’s dual sliding doors. Trust me, they’re very convenient.
  16. I am beginning to yearn for the creative writing that I did in 2003-2005 in college. I want to do that again.
  17. If it was 2005, I wouldn’t have this desire for creative writing, because I would be doing it.
  18. I’ve held 2 full-time, permanent copywriting jobs. I now freelance.
  19. I’ve been making money at jobs that fall within what I consider a “career” for about 10 years.
  20. Having a career feels distinctly different than wanting a career.
  21. I know that there are seasons to life. Phases that are traversed. Like the open road, the dense forest slowly transforms into prairies fading into buildings and knots of interstates.
  22. Sometimes I wonder if this will be my new anchor year. A defining age that will demand comparison with the present.

My Pineapple Obsession Continues

The pineapple trend of 2017 continues for me. It seems I just can’t get enough. And, I keep spotting them everywhere.

Here’s a roundup of pineapple motifs I’ve seen since I first confessed my obsession.

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Girls’ Pineapple Tank

When your kid “shares” your obsession, you’ve got permission to buy her a pineapple shirt.

I discovered fabric with pineapples! The pattern on the left is my favorite here. Oh, the possibilities!

A bit of pineapple decor. I love the gold finish on the left. They were candles. I just want the container. Christmas decor is starting to come out and thank goodness someone is making pineapple ornaments!

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Pineapple Lamp

This piece of pineapple decor deserves its own pic. I love, love, love the shade that has outlines of the pineapple crown in gold. The texture of the base is fabulous, too.

Even more: an (upside down) beach chair, beach towel, and backpack.

And, finally, stamps and a lustrous pattern on a photo box.

I don’t know when my obsession with the crowned fruit will be over or if it will prove to be a lifelong affliction. All I know is I still can’t get enough!

 

Motivation & Focus

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My brain? Nope, it’s my motivation and ability to focus!

I’m sitting here at my desk without any paid writing to do (yet), wondering why I can’t convince myself to just start writing—all the fun, funny, cool things I think about writing when I’m on a walk, in the shower, or driving (with 2 hands on the wheel). You know, doing that thing I really, really want to do: write for myself. Trying to get published—a personal essay, maybe a short story.

Motivation is my weakness. I need the force of a deadline. A mission. The dangle of a paycheck carrot. Can it really be that difficult to sit down and get focused and churn out a something-anything project? Even my block of the month quilt sits a couple months behind schedule.

Let’s look at today. What have I done? I took my kids to their grandparents’ house for the day because today is one of my workdays. I came home and thumbed around on my phone for the 15 minutes that I always do. Then, I did, to my credit, finish my daughter’s pre-school registration paperwork and figured out when I can turn it in, which happens to not be today.

I cleaned out my email inbox. I took it from 873 unread emails to a respectable 366 unread emails. I couldn’t count how many read emails I deleted, but I’m almost positive it was a lot.

I replied to my brother’s email. That takes some time, because not only do I like to respond to what he has written, but I like to tell him some things that are happening in my life. Important things like how I can construe the light left on overnight in my basement as maybe, possibly, most likely a spirit or energy or life force or sign from the universe. Maybe.

Oh, I almost forgot that before I cleaned out my email inbox, I shredded documents. I’m kind of particular about just recycling a piece of junk mail that has my name and address. But, also, I like to shred confidential stuff. This ranges from copy I’ve printed out for clients (because sometimes I have to just touch it and write on it with a pencil) (and, yes, I do shred client work) to old bills. For some reason, I don’t want anyone who’s walking past my house on trash/recycle day to see how much we paid for water last month. And, sometimes the wind blows and the recycle bin has an open top.

A new task that spawned from my shredding was calling up AAA and requesting that they take my address off their mailing list. I sat there with 4 envelopes of the same offer—about half were for me, the other half for my husband. Have you seen their direct mail? It kind of makes me want to gag with all the fakey handwritten “notes.” But, you know what? The representative I talked to when I selected the number for membership questions was so polite! He completely understood my request. He didn’t try pushing anything—even in a passive-aggressive way (“But then we can’t send you our very best offers! You’re missing out!”). He just asked for my address, told me he removed it, and then explained that if any offers were already in the mail, I’d obviously still receive them. Funny, because since he was so polite and helpful, I’m wondering if I maybe SHOULD buy some type of service from AAA. Just joking. Maybe.

I read a piece in the last issue of Real Simple that I’ve been wanting to read. And, to get to that issue, I had to tidy up a stack of this and that, which was at least 2” thick. I’d be more specific about the stack like, “a pile on my desk” or “clutter on my counter,” but the reality is, it was in my office sitting on a plastic crate positioned on its side. Oh, like on the floor, you’re probably thinking. That’s cool, like a crate shelf. Well, no. Not really, because actually the crate is sitting on top of a small plastic bin of fabric.

I’m pretty sure in that bin is a plain white t-shirt that I have plans to sew a patterned chest pocket onto. It’s going to be really low-key chic—perhaps Nina Garcia or Kate Spade would take note. The pocket fabric is this groovy yellow paisley. White t-shirt—pop—yellow pocket! My husband still hasn’t noticed his almost-new white tee missing! Although, he might after he reads this!

See? I have plenty on my to-do list and my want-to-do list, but instead I’m tidying up mysterious piles of paper and whatnot, talking to customer service reps, and thinking about how I should buy more white t-shirts for my husband…and maybe myself because this whole contrasting frocket (front pocket, people) thing could really take off and I’ll need more. Once I get the first one sewn on, that is.

Don’t worry, keeping you up to date is on my list.