Archive for September, 2007

Sep 27 2007

Motor City Moments

Published by under Detroit


I took a little time off from policing* the “kids” (1 old dog + 2 kittens = 1 naughty teenager + 2 babies) to go and visit my dear Kathleen. It was a beautiful weekend, with the summer warmth lingering and the trees by the side of the road just beginning to flaunt their annual Fall finery. My heart lifted as I swept past the giant Uniroyal tire: almost there!

The Henry Ford – if you didn’t already know, it’s America’s greatest history attraction – decided to have a special exhibit on Rock Stars Cars and Guitars just for me. Apparently the Museum doesn’t mind if my trip is delayed or if I arrive late, unlike the Tigers. And it was well worth the wait: sleek dream machines owned by those for whom money is no object, including the King, who shot his steering wheel when he discovered the keys to his Pantera were missing. And I thought I was impatient.

In addition to this collection, there is a vast and breathtaking one which is always on display and includes the last horse-drawn Presidential vehicle (Theodore Roosevelt’s, if you’re curious); the car in which JFK took his fateful drive (oddly, it was re-furbished and re-used by subsequent Presidents, which was news to me); a curvaceous, creamy 1931 Bugatti worth $25 million (and driven by Kathleen’s friend, who is a curator at the museum, at Goodwood); a trailer given by Mr. Ford to Charles Lindbergh in the 1940’s so he and his wife could travel the country in peace (their itinerary is neatly noted in Lindbergh’s hand on the underside of a drawer); a Tucker; Old 16, the first American car to win an international race, made in 1906 and still in working order. Try and keep your envy in check – I couldn’t – when I tell you that Kat’s Bugatti-driving buddy got to drive this gem with none other than Mr. Paul Newman.

All this and a 1952 Oscar Mayer Wienermobile, too.

Where there’s cars, there’s traffic. But never is traffic as fun as it is at TJ’s, Kathleen’s favorite restaurant in Detroit (and mine, too). The lily has been gilded by the addition of a patio, where it was warm enough to enjoy both the food and the passing street scene, which, being in downtown Detroit, is something to be seen. My favorite was a guy shuffling past, who kept up a running commentary on what he saw, including our appetizers:

“Eatin’ they little salads…takin’ care o’ they health…”

I’m still laughing.

*I have no idea how real parents do it. Just keeping Rita out of the kitten food and putting up with her increased naughtiness level (her kitten invasion protest) and keeping her from chasing the kittens while keeping them from Rita’s dishes and bed is almost more than I can handle.

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Sep 24 2007

Danger, Mouse

Published by under Uncategorized

They don’t look dangerous.

The debate rages on in Las Vegas as to who won the “June vs. Dennis” bet. Dennis technically caught the first mouse, but June not only caught one the next day, she (very slowly) killed it. So who wins? I guess it depends on whether you consider catching a mouse includes shaking off its mortal coil.

Hopefully the debate is settled faster than the Phil Spector verdict.

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Sep 21 2007

News Flash!

Published by under Uncategorized

Dennis has caught the first mouse…experts had predicted June would be the first, but Dennis beat her to it…unfortunately he couldn’t hang on to it, so it’s around here somewhere…beware of mouse….UPDATE: June fell into a full bathtub and is now wet and horrified….

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Sep 20 2007

Evening Walk

Published by under Uncategorized

Walking Rita behind the building last night, I couldn’t help but notice all the signs.

Signs, signs,


everywhere signs…


Do this…


Don’t do that…


Can’t you read the signs?


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Sep 18 2007

The Eventful Evening

Published by under Cats,Dogs,Rita

I was making dinner last night (green curry chicken, grapefruit salad with toasted coconut and fresh mint, and jasmine rice from my well-worn copy of Quick and Easy Thai*) when Mister showed up. He was not alone, having the fire alarm inspector as his small but efficient entourage.

As I opened the door to let them in, Rita shot out of the kitchen as if fired from a slingshot. I looked around for the kittens, who for once were minding their own business and staying out of trouble (almost as good as quick and easy), grabbed them, summarily dumped them in the bathroom and shut the door. Then I chased Rita down the street. She was already past the slaughterhouse. At the time, I was far from amused (and far from Rita), but in retrospect, it’s reassuring to know that she can still outrun me.

I finally caught up to (and caught) the errant dog, and dragged her home. Passing my neighbor Mike’s place, I noticed that he was lounging in his hammock, getting enjoyably hammered while listening to Sam Cooke. The fact that Mike is hovering around three score years and on his way to the “and ten” part only made it more endearing. He toasted us with domestic beer as we passed.

When I got home, I learned that I’m not the only dumb bell in the place. My fire alarm bell was as dysfunctional as the House of Windsor, but, unlike them, had been replaced.

When I took Rita out for the final walk of the day (her Michael Scofield imitation didn’t count in my book), one of the guys who lives in the building came out and handed me a mirrored disco ball. Thus, even more oddly accessorized than usual while strolling Miss Rita, we went to the park.

*If there are two things I love, it’s quick AND easy. They belong together! If you can’t have sparkly and fabulous, quick and easy is the next best thing.

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Sep 12 2007

And Then There Were None

Published by under Uncategorized

Dennis and Phil say good-bye.

My neighbor, she of the glorious morning glories, brought Phil* over to say good-bye to his brother and sister. Phil was the runt of the seven kitten litter, but you’d never know it now. He’s strong and handsome and very nearly the same size as his siblings, so he’s ready to go his new home.

His new home is an old home, well over a century old, with a sunroom and a garden – the perfect place for a young cat. The owner is a classical musician, so there is a harpsichord and a grand piano. But more important than all these things, there is someone who loves Phil.

It’s been an incredible joy and privilege to watch these kittens grow up. I have to admit that I got teary-eyed watching my neighbor and Phil vanish from the sun of the courtyard into the darkness of the passageway. Good thing I have Phil’s brother and sister to cheer me up.

*Apparently, this is short for Philbert. The other kittens were named Otis, Phoebe, Adelaide (Adele for short – the guy who adopted her hastened to assure me that the name was his girlfriend’s choice, not his), my Dennis and June, and Mr. Mittenz. You will probably not be surprised to learn that the guy who named Mr. Mittenz is in his early 20’s, or that Mr. Mittenz has white paws.

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Sep 08 2007


Published by under Uncategorized


While walking Miss Rita this morning, I noticed my neighbor’s appropriately named morning glories, exhibiting their vivid beauty in all its, well, glory. I told her how beautiful they are, and she agreed. “They give such joy to the neighborhood,” she said.

I couldn’t have put it better myself. And now they’re giving joy to you, too!

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Sep 07 2007

Vet Vets

Published by under Uncategorized

Dennis makes his mark.

I took the kittens to the vet for the first time this week. Knowing them to be trouble cleverly disguised as cuteness (their unsurprising and uncreative nicknames are Dennis the Menace and June Bug), I anticipated a Ramona-style Great Big Noisy Fuss.

Instead, they acted like Hallmark card kittens. They didn’t make a peep all the way to the vet’s, though they did wiggle around in surprise when a truck roared past. On arrival, when I was filling out the paperwork, they cuddled in their carrier with complete unconcern, apparently feeling that no comment was called for.

When the vet took them out of the carrier, she actually oohed and aahed over their beauty. She was even more impressed by how calm and relaxed they were. June in particular did a spectacular imitation of Frieda’s “boneless cat” Faron, melting in the vet’s arms. Neither shot nor temperature taking nor de-worming pill ruffled their unflappable cool. While the vet tended to one, the other wandered around the exam table, sniffing curiously and prospecting for treats (which they found). Dennis curled up happily in the scales, possibly because he weighs less than June. Isn’t that always the way?

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Sep 04 2007

Ali Asks

Published by under Uncategorized

Recently, the witty Alison asked people to tell her if they’d like to be interviewed. Little did she realize that she’d end up asking more questions than Larry King. I was lucky enough to be one of the lucky interviewees.

Now, if you’d like to be lucky enough to have me interview you, you have to follow the rules listed below:

Interview rules:

1. Leave me a comment saying ?Interview me.? (In my case, it’s send an email to See question 2.)

2. I will respond by emailing you five questions. I get to pick the questions.

3. You will update your blog with a post containing your the answers to the questions.

4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.

5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

Now, without further ado, Les Cinq Questions d’Alison (as answered by Suzy):

  1. When I found your blog some three years ago, its name was “C’est La Bombe.” It’s still in your URL. Why did you call it that?

    Actually, I didn’t. My soon-to-be-ex* husband bought me the domain name and surprised me with it in 2001. It turned out later that it was incorrect French, but by then I’d already had it for a couple of years. Also it seemed an unfortunate monicker after 9/11. I’ve been wanting to change it and redesign it for some time, but lack the necessary skills. I’d like to rename it “Bad Hostess”. Because I am. In so many ways.

  2. You once told me that a proliferation of spam made you turn off your comments. Do you envisage turning on comments at some point?

    Not unless I get a brain transplant or meet someone who can explain how those word verification thingies work. I never learned to program a VCR (remember those?) and can barely work the coffee maker. Probably your average five year old could do it in approximately five minutes. I am the tech tardiest of them all.

  3. Michael Stipe or Bono?

    Hmmm…a sexually ambiguous bald guy or a self-righteous one who calls himself “Good Voice” in Latin. Let’s call it a draw.

  4. Are you totally in love with your new kitties or what?

    “Obsessed” might be more accurate.

  5. I think you’ve gone through a few changes since I’ve been reading you. How is life these days?

    Always changing.

Great questions, Ali! Thanks! Everyone else: it’s your turn. Email me, baby!

*Why isn’t there a word for when your divorce is in process, but not yet official? More than separated, less than divorced? Like “being engaged” and “fianc?(e)” for when your marriage is in process, but not yet official? Given the proliferation of divorce these days, it seems like a glaring linguistic oversight.

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Sep 02 2007

Circle of Friends

Published by under Uncategorized

Dear Miss Manners,

Help! The politeness is out of control!

When my neighbor went to New York on business*, I took care of her cat and kittens. It’s hard to find a nicer task than playing with kittens, and I was glad to help out, especially since two of the kittens were going to be mine when they were ready to leave their mother.

Eventually, the day came to pick up my kittens. I brought my neighbor a gift to thank her for all the care and love she had given my kittens – all the kittens, really. She gave them a great start in life, and I was grateful. She also refused to let any of the adopting families help with the food bills, so I thought a nice gift was in order.

I gave her this lovely tea set and a pretty thank you card. She seemed to be delighted. Two days later, she turned up with a bottle of wine and a thank you card, thanking me for my “too generous” thank you gift and card. Yikes. Do I need to thank her for thanking me for thanking her? How can I break the cycle of politeness?

Politely yours,


*She was staying at the Soho Grand when Kirsten Dunst was robbed, but she had nothing to do with it. I swear! Otherwise, I’d have the Balenciaga bag and she’d have the Marc Jacobs, instead of our usual Chico bags.

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