I'm fascinated with hoarders, and can't help but notice similarities between us: older, white women with a lot of cats. I'm oldish, white, and have taken in nineteen cats since my divorce in 2004. Technically only an average of 2.3 per year, but perhaps gaining status as crazy cat lady is a preliminary step?

Anxious to change gears, I threw away all my favorite things (including that awesome Eddie Bauer goose down comforter - why?) and took in a homeless, abandoned border collie. She  was lonely and needed her own puppy (you can't teach old cats new tricks, afterall), but I'm drawing the line there.

Two cats, two dogs, and maybe I could just replace some of my stuff.


As the flames rose to her Roman nose

I was actually proud of myself for remembering the bag of African Violet potting soil in the kitchen when the gas grill caught fire.

I was probably 35 the first time I ever used a grill, which was a relic left by the people who rented my house. The ignition switch didn't work, so I'd turn on the propane, grab a long-handled lighter and hope for the best. A successful event involved very little of my arm hair getting singed. During the 15 years prior, Ed would marinate, rub and grill, which actually proves you can have too much of a good thing. Steak again? Please let me make Hamburger Helper!

I believe I've been given a second (or third) chance after this recent blaze. Not that I have the ability or interest to change much, but I'll definitely return to my burning-dinner-in-the-oven roots, with the occasional smoke alarm on the side, rather than using fireballs.