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February 6

5-things12Yesterday was Amylynn’s assistant’s last day. It was a bit of a hectic day, not because she was leaving, but because Amylynn was only working half a day. Craziness ensued, as it will. At one point, one of their team members was on the phone shrieking – some swear words might have been spoken, loudly – and Amylynn did the “um hmm, um hmm, Do you want to talk to the manager?” When she got off the phone, the Assistant said, “Wow, you’re so calm.” Blahahahahaha. No one, ever, in the history of Amylynn’s existence, ever, EVER, called her calm. Ava was like, “Has she met you?” For gods sake, Amylynn even has a tattoo on her wrist to remind herself to Calm Down! The Sisters seriously have her fooled. She even thought Avarainbow bagel was “Cool.” Our plan is working! Heres some other ridiculous stuff.

1. Psychedelic.  There is a bakery in Brooklyn, NY that makes rainbow bagels. These things are absolutely gorgeous. You can see the video of how they were made here. We’ve never had one. We don’t have much time when we’re in NYC to track down everything we want to eat. We’re there in another three years; we’ll add it to the Must Eat list. So not only is this the most gorgeous piece of bread ever formed, they also top it with Funfetti cream cheese with real frosting and bits of cake in it. One woman said, “It’s like eating cake for breakfast!” No, it’s exactly eating cake for HGTV dream homebreakfast. Frosting = cake. We’re in.

2. We’re moving. Have you seen this gear’s HGTV Dream Home? It’s gorgeous, as one would expect. Located on Merritt Island, Florida, it’s all that is light and pretty. We’d give you the link to enter to win, but that would reduce our chances. We have plans for this house. We’re going to move there immediately and lock all the doors. No one is invited to visit. We’re getting a passel of animals (some of them usual), and we don’t needcake 1 anyone narcing us out to the authorities. We’re also anticipating the amazing books we’ll get completed when we’re holed up at our luxurious compound. It will be bliss.

3. Missing our calling? The family threw a surprise birthday party for Amylynn’s very favorite mother-in-law. We volunteered immediately for the cake. Maybe we insisted. It’s all a blur. Anyway, we knew exactly what we wanted and from where. We ordered the cake from our favorite wholesale bakery, the maker of the Best White Cake Squares in the Whole Entire World. We had them not decorate it. We had a plan. Ava made a zillion molded chocolate squiggles and formed Happy Birthday Grace out of pit bull flowersfondant. It turned out so freaking cute. Do you see the explosion? The fact of the matter is, everyone should be happy we didn’t just eat it in the car on the way over.

4. Oh this little pumpkin! We discovered this French photographer who’s made a project out of photographing pit bulls who live in shelters. She dresses each of them in a flower crown and, as you can see from her photos, they love it (more here). When she did the first one, she was a tad hesitant, thinking the dog might bite her or something. You know, those puppies do have a bit of a reputation. Of course, that didn’t happen. They just looked up at her with their soulful eyes. So far, she’s helped hundredsEl Jefe of fur babies be adopted. She’s a pit pull angel. We’ll take four.

5. You’re all just jealous. We’ve mentioned El Jefe before. Up to now, there have only been still pictures of him. Senor El Jefe is the one and only wild jaguar in the US and he lives around our town. The people at the Center for Biological Diversity and Conservation CATalyst used a specially trained scat hunting dog to figure where it would be best to place video cameras. The dog brilliantly chose several spots and the researchers got some outstanding video. The Sisters have long been fans of El Jefe (the boss) because he’s very, very handsome. We think we should import La Reina (the queen) and get us some los niños de oro (golden children).

Conservation CATalyst and Center for Biological Diversity

Technology run amuck

This past weekend, I got a new washer and dryer.

My old washer and dryer were more than twelve years old and had traveled from Pennsylvania to Arizona.  When I got them, they were state of the art, front loading, high capacity, etc.  I liked them and they liked me.  I do all of the laundry at my house because I take it very seriously.  I have clothes that are over twenty years old.

The new washer and dryer each require an owner’s manual a half inch thick. They have on-board computers and memories. According to the instructions, there are sixteen gazillion combinations of settings to select from so that each load is washed perfectly and to your own exact standards.  This makes sense to those of us who are laundry aficionados.

Hey mom, I need my gasket cleaned

Hey mom, I need my gasket cleaned

But here’s something that doesn’t make sense – none at all: they each keep a DIARY of the last ten loads. You read that right – a DIARY.  Like a fifteen year old girl.  And get this, I can sync them up to my smart phone. I can call them up on my phone and read the diary.  Why on god’s green earth would anyone need to do that?  When have you ever in your life thought, “Hmmmmm, I wonder what settings I used on that load last Saturday?”

These are appliances, not new friends.  I’m not looking for friends, just clean clothes.  Now that I’m going to have to read their diaries, I feel like I have to name them.  Amy suggests Lucy and Ethel.  I’m going with that because OMG who has time to have a relationship with their washer and dryer???? If you ever come visit, Lucy is the dryer and Ethel is the washer. And because I don’t have enough being asked of me in my life – the washer will text me when it would like its gasket cleaned. I’d like to text someone too when I need my gasket cleaned . . .

Truthfully, I don’t know what I’m getting so excited about. The boy who lives at my house looked the text books over and said you can’t contact them when they’re busy.  Seriously? That sounds a lot like the children who live at my house.  I just hope they actually do laundry unlike the children who live here.


It’s possible we overthought this.

We were looking for pictures of groundhogs since they’re the thing today. They’re kinda funny looking, but they look groundhoglike they’d have a crabby sense of humor.

Take this guy. We really like this one due to his shape. We describe it as “water droplet”. It’s possible this is our spirit animal.

We imagine his name is Amos. He’s especially fond of Oreos and lightly toasted wheat bread. He enjoys Shakespeare in the Park and, inexplicably, Nicholas Sparks movies. He hates it when his bed sheets come untucked and when the UPS man leaves packages with him for his neighbors.

He works as an insurance actuary; numbers are his thing. He’s up for a promotion but his rival, Reginald, will probably get it because he’s a total kiss-ass.

Amos has a crush on the barista at the local coffee shop. Her name is Monica, but she’s dating a hipster squirrel and doesn’t give our hero the time of day.

And that’s what happens when you’re a writer.

What kind of guinea pig indeed

Let us make it clear we are not making a political statement here. What we’re making is a statement about how funny guinea pigs are. Especially talking ones. Their little mouths are just funny.

“Well, now that’s just an insult to food.”


January 29

5-things12Amylynn’s assistant quit yesterday. The first words everyone said when they found out was, “Oh my God. What did you do to her?” The truth was, nothing. We all got along just fine. The company has already found a replacement. They’re promoting another member of the team to work with Amylynn. She’d going to be great. We already think she’s a smarticle. Here’s the problem. She’s about 20-years-old, weighs about 100 pounds when carrying a twenty-pound weight, and she’s very quiet. If there’s three things the Sisters aren’t, it’s young, skinny, and quiet. She’s going to continue to age, and Amylynn will put her mind towards fattening her up, but there’s not much we can do about quiet. We’re sorta afraid she doesn’t think we’re funny and that’s going to go badly for everyone. In our bid forkinkajou a coup, we’re still trying to manipulate a way to get Susanna-the-world’s-greatest-receptionist over to us. We’ll bide our time and work on the new assistant. Meanwhile, here’s some stuff that distracted us this week.

1. Nothing good ever happens here. A 90-year-old woman in Miami woke up to find an animal sleeping on her chest. She thought it was a cat at first. But then she looked more closely at the animal and the animal got a good look at her. They both screamed and ran away. It turns out the animal was a kinkajou. We don’t know what it sounded like when it screamed, but we’re imagining something squeaky. They’re part of the raccoon family and they’re from Central and South America. It looks very cuddly. It turns out it is a locked keyspet belonging to a neighbor. Somehow it got out of its house and wandered into the old lady’s. Then we guess it got tired and needed a nice snuggle. If this was our Kinkajou we’d name her Lola.

2. If we were to start burgling… We laughed when we read this story because it sounded like how things would go if we’d started a life of crime. This happened outside Fairbanks. Lots of good news stories come from Alaska. Those people are amusing. The plot of the story has a fellow accused of taking $6,000 from a laundry and a fitness business. We’re not sure if the laundry and fitness place are connected, but it’s a brilliant concept. Do a little weight lifting and Zumba while your clothes fluff and fold. Anyway, surveillance footage shows our guy maneuvering his car as close as possible for easier loading. That’s exactly what we panda republicwould do, too. Carry things as little as possible. If we could park on the sidewalk we would. After that, things take a bad turn. It seems he managed to lock his keys in the car. Thus the inept burglar was apprehended. Note to self, get one of those magnetic key holders to keep under the fender as part of Life of Crime starter pack.

3. Panda Republic. If you have the chance to catch this show on Animal Planet you should do yourself a favor. Panda Republic is adorable and funny and will give you a whole new respect for panda sex. And Jack Black who narrates it is, of course, a brilliant choice. If there wasn’t empirical proof pandas are real, we’d swear they were an broncoanimatronic dreamed up by Disney. Few things are funnier than rambunctious pandas stealing shoes. Indulge yourself.

4. The “horsey” team. The Sisters don’t normally involve themselves in sports – have you seen us? We are not “sporty”.  However, Ava used to live in Denver and was forced by the entire local population to be a Broncos’ Fan.  Those Denver people take that very, very seriously.  When they found out she didn’t have any “Bronco Wear”, sixteen people brought her t-shirts the next day.  Her children are Bronco fans because they were born in Denver and that’s the law.  It was also mandatory that you send John Elway a Christmas card every year and buy all of your cars from oneDr Evan of the John Elway dealerships. Also, she is considered to be something of a good luck charm for them because the first two years she lived there they won the Superbowl.  Never mind that they didn’t win the last five years she was there. Go Broncos!

5. Our hero. This guy is all over the internet right now, but there’s still a few of you who may not be aware. You know here at the Quill Sisters we’re all about public service announcements. Dr. Evan Antin is a veterinarian. He’s flown all over the world to treat exotic animals and is now based out of a clinic in Conejo Valley, California. Read about him here. Our veterinarian is very nice, but he’s not this cute. If you’re in Dr. Evan’s area, take your animal in for a quick physical. We’re sure your fuzzy buddy needs some booster shots or something. Let us know how it goes. We’re pretty sure that the Bright kitties could use a check up, but no one is going to let us pack up all the animals and go on a road trip. More’s the pity.

I’m checking on our mental health co-pays… and defense attorneys

Ava and I are nuts, but in a self-deprecating, silly sort of way that doesn’t usually cause harm. Our families know it. Our friends know it. We suspect you, dear reader, have a pretty good idea.

We embrace it. We recognize when one of us is heading right into a cuckoo spiral, but we can rarely do anything about it. Usually this manifests itself in our work environment – either working our day jobs doing mortgages or in our writing careers.

Perhaps work is the problem? We’ll have to contemplate this.

Until then, we have to go to work where people are mean and even crazier than us. Seriously.crazy

Ava was ranting today about some stupid thing while we were driving to lunch. “Wait until I tell you what this crazy person did.”

As par for the course, she was thinking that somehow this person’s inability to recognize reality was somehow her fault. We both do this. It’s ridiculous. It’s stupid. And its own brand of crazy.

“Oh my god,” I said. “Do you think we need therapy?”

“We don’t need a therapist to tell us we’re nuts.”

“No, actually, I just want a therapist to say it’s ok to stab people.”

So that was Wednesday.

If it works out, we’ll think about doing a TED talk

I watched a DIY primer on animal smuggling. The show was on the National Geographic Channel and it was presented as a cautionary tale on the dangers of smuggling endangered animals. I considered it more of a Smuggling 101.

Basically I learned a couple of valuable nuggets of info – some are sort like, duh. You know how introductory classes are. But still, you have to take it. The 200 series classes have it as a requirement.

Not in pants. No!

Not in pants. No!

  1. Do not try to smuggle tiny monkeys in your pants. Tiny monkeys don’t like being shoved in your crotch for seven hours. You wouldn’t like it either.
  2. Tiny turtles have salmonella. It’s a good thing we’re not interested in turtles. However, Operation Flying Turtle is a great name for a caper.
  3. Smugglers – or at least the actors who play them on TV – are very sweaty people. You’d think if it was true, that’s all the customs agents would have to look for. “Oh look, Bob. There’s another sweaty one.”
  4. If, at some point, you think to smuggle a different baby monkey in a fake pregnancy belly you should probably rethink that plan. When it wakes up it’s not going to be happy and it’s right next to your belly. Gads!
  5. George is a great name for a monkey. We suspect they were thinking he was curious.
  6. All the smugglers try to fly into LAX. Why would you do that? Don’t go to Los Angeles, idiot!

I’m ready for my final. I’m going to ace this.

There but for the grace of god…

We happened upon this story on the Huffington Post and it gave us pause.

The only reason this isn’t a story about us is that the main character is a bird. We’re a bit iffy about birds. The odds are that unless it was a parrot who asked us specifically to rescue it, we probably wouldn’t. Yes, we’re prejudiced against the avian. Also the reptiles. Things do not look good for snakes and lizards.Falcon

All that being said, this is a beautiful bird. It’s a kestrel falcon and is only about the size of a robin. So cute and small. Essentially a pocket raptor, only we wouldn’t recommend putting it in a pocket based on how this story goes.

A very nice Floridian gentleman found it in his front yard and thought it was hurt when it didn’t try to fly away. “The bird sat there and acted tame, and he’s like, ‘Well, it really likes me.'” So he gently brought it into the house and thought he might keep the tame bird for a pet. The officials suspect the bird had smashed into a window or something and was stunned. “Tame” behavior is not unusual in that situation, apparently.

Then he posted a proud picture on Facebook. Nothing good ever comes from Facebook. Some ratfink “friend” turned him in to the Fish and Game people. Someone from an animal rescue group called up our hero and informed him they were coming to collect the bird. He gave it up without a fight because he’s not a bad guy.

Here comes the tragedy in our little story. “The man came to the door with a huge, bloody chunk missing from his lip. He had tried to give his beloved pet a kiss goodbye.”

It’s thought it was the bird’s first kiss. The fellow from Fish and Game considered, “[The bird] didn’t know what was happening. He probably thought the guy was coming at him to eat him or something.”

Of course that man tried to kiss his pretty bird goodbye. Ava and I totally get that. People are constantly barking warnings at us not to touch wild animals because they’re going to kill us. We have two responses to this.

  1. We firmly believe when we get ahold of our wild baby – whatever it is – we will fatten it up and it will love us!
  2. If we die from a wild animal mauling then so be it. Isn’t that a better way to go than languishing from a long painful death from cancer?

We’re just sayin’ we’d have kissed that bird, too. We are definitely kissing the panda.

January 22

5-things12Everyone in our office is sick with some sort of upper respiratory infection. We know it’s viral because one of our people went to urgent care and they said so. When we say everyone, we pretty much mean EVERYONE. It’s like a ghost town with people dropping like flies. Amylynn’s been likening it to 14th century Europe and the black plague. There is one operations person left out of six, so the poor girl is being inundated.  Of course, the Sisters spent much of the day plying her with coffee, lunch, and sweets to keep her content. She asked us at one point if we were bribing her. “Obviously!” we told her. “We need our work done and if everyone is too stupid to think of it, that’s their problem.”  Anyway, we’re on a strict Kouign-amannregimen of hand washing and avoiding other people. Thank Zeus for the internet. Here’s some funny stuff, or at the least it won’t make you sick.

1. Dessert report. Oh, my. This little delicacy is not to be missed. It’s called a kouign-amann. Pronounce it like Queen-a-mon. We didn’t know where it’s from. Holland? Germany? Heaven? We did some research after eating several dozen of the things to discover they’re French. Of course they are. We don’t know what we were thinking. According to the

Mike Brown (left) and Konstantin Batygin. Borrowed from

Mike Brown (left) and Konstantin Batygin. Borrowed from

Wikipedia page there is a strict recipe of 40% dough, 30% butter, and 30% sugar. What could possibly go wrong with a recipe like that? Find a place in your town that has these and eat several. You won’t be sorry.

2. A very complex word for it. They – the astronomy smarticles – believe they may have located another planet just beyond Pluto. They haven’t seen it, of course. That’s very far. Very, very far. But something out there is causing a disturbance in the force, if you know what we mean. Something is causing elliptical orbits and that something has to have gravity, right? The scientists are calling this thing, “a massive perturber.” Blahahahahahaha. We have quite a few “massive perturbers” in our lives and that’s how we’re going to start identifying them. MPs. You may join in our inside joke if you like. We love to hear about your very own MPs. The person at the grocery store with 37 items in the 15 Items or Less line. Bei beiThe person ahead of you at the ATM who is taking FOREVER. What are they doing up there? Taking out a loan application. Or maybe your crazy boss who won’t stop texting you? Massive Perturbers all.

3. We’re getting this printed on business cards. Bei bei, the most adorable baby panda EVER, made his public debut at the Smithsonian Zoo in Washington DC this week. We’ve been watching him on the PandaCam ever since he was just a little bamboo nugget. So of course, the news people interviewed all these people who waiting in like for like 93,759 hours just to see him. Some of them were wearing panda suits – like jammies, not suits made out of pandas. That’s sick. Others were less insane. The best one of the lot had the words Panda Enthusiast written as her descriptor under her picture during the Tiffany guninterview. WOW! We didn’t know there was a technical term for it. We thought Crazy People was the best we could do. We are totally Panda Enthusiasts. We’re going to get shirts made.

4. Ooooooh! We hope that you know us well enough at this point to realize that we love Tiffany. Not the 80’s singer. We don’t know anything about her. What’s she doing now? We have no idea. We’re referring to Tiffany the jewelry store. Of course we love their jewelry. Obviously. That color blue is a favorite, too. You probably also know we live in the wild west out here. We’re sure you can imagine our wide-eyed reaction to this little gem. We could pupkidreally use this during the zombie apocalypse. Really, there’s no reason why you can’t shoot zombies in the head and still be stylish.

5. She’s living our life. The Sisters aren’t really crazy about monkeys. That’s not to say we wouldn’t scoop one up should it wander into our periphery. We know ourselves better than that, and we suspect you do too. You know what we are crazy about? Among other things – many other things – dogs. Big dogs, little dogs. Fuzzy, silly dogs. This Rhesus Macaque in New Delhi just adopted a stray puppy. She carries him around and shares her food and protects him from scary stuff. They take naps together. The citizens of New Delhi don’t know why she did it, but we do. Duh! Look at that puppy! We’d adopt him too. All tiny and spotted and adorable. Just look at that tiny tail. We’d name him Farley. Or maybe Edgar. Lucky monkey. Some people won’t let us have a puppy. Some people are just mean.


It’s not like anyone here has to work on a farm

You might be aware, or you might not, it’s robot season.  Robot season starts at the beginning of January and goes through April-ish.  The worst part of robot season is from January to mid-February. That’s when the robot actually gets built.  During that time, Ava all but lives alone.  The rest of the family is out until all hours building the robot.

Here's a helpful cat.

Here’s a helpful cat.

So, it’s her and the three cats.  Ava has never lived alone and she doesn’t like it.  Not at all. The purrballs do not like it either because she focuses all of her attention on them. It’s not unheard for them to call up Amy and ask to go live at her house until build season is over.

While Ava is left to her own devices at home, she writes.  Her latest unfinished novel needed to have a very critical fact researched. She needed to know what was the least amount of inches a window could be open for a one-year-old lioness to climb out of.

In typical Ava fashion, she rounded up one of her kitties and attempted to measure his head after having read that would be the part that would have to get through – the rest of the cat is fairly squishable.

Milo – the kitty she captured first because he’s a little on the chubby side – was not at all excited to have his head measured. He gave her the “Are you an idiot?” look.  After a brief struggle, the measurement was taken.  Next, Ava spent some time rigging up a two shelf contraption for him to try to crawl through.  She explained to him this was to simulate an open window.  He

See - he has helpful kitties

See – he has helpful kitties

gave her the “What the F is wrong with you? Someone could get hurt. You’re not in construction like dad” look.  She made him do it anyway, explaining that everyone in the family had to do their share – after all, he did want to continue to be housed and fed, didn’t he?

Well, the head measurement thing worked – he made it through a three-inch opening several times before he called the authorities.  Based on a top secret mathematical formula – we now know that a one year old lioness should be able to escape through a window open about ten inches.

Just to be on the safe side – Ava and Amy have decided to contact Kevin Richardson AKA The Lion Whisperer and see what he thinks.  We’ll let you know if we’re right.


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