Archive for December, 2007

Dec 31 2007

Boys & Girls

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So far, my new year is shaping up to be as festive as my Christmas, and that’s just fine with me. Both the champagne and I will be chillin’ with the kittens.

Audrey enjoyed the spaying experience as much as I had predicted. When I called to check on her post-surgery status, the vet described her as “grumpy”, and said that she was growling every time anyone came near her. Having personally witnessed the Rocky level fight she put up when they attempted to take her temperature, I’m not surprised. I think my reaction to that procedure would have been the same, to tell you the truth.

When I picked her up the following day, the vet had given her an extra shot of analgesic because of the continuous complaining – she wasn’t sure if it was Audrey being her charming self, or Audrey saying she was in pain, so the vet decided to be on the safe side. I wonder if extra complaining results in extra drugs for people, too. If so, I’m all set.

Once Audrey got home and out of her carrier, she raced up and down the length of the house like a crazy cat. I think she thought she could get away from the dreaded cone on her head if she could just move fast enough. I was terrified that she’d pull her stitches or cause some unspeakable interior harm, so I put her back in the carrier until I could locate a kitten sized straitjacket. I set her beside me for the next couple of hours, petting her and keeping my arm around the carrier. When I let her out, she seemed to have calmed down, though she managed to get the cone off in 0.02 seconds, the little Houdini.

I left June in charge last night and ventured into the City to see Jersey Boys with my partner and his two stunning daughters. I have to say, going into the city to do things, instead of actually living there and doing them, makes me feel like such a LOSER. Here I am, leaving the suburbs to go into the big city! Oh boy! Look at them city types, Harold! Ain’t they somethin’?

The theater was built in 1922, and is described on its website as “intimate”. Anyone who’s looked at real estate of any description soon learns what the code words mean: rustic = falling down, cozy = too small for a midget to live in in any real comfort, and so on. “Intimate” in this case meant “as crowded as airplane cattle class”, so I spent the whole show with my knees pressed against the seat of the giant sitting in front of me, with my arms pinned against me in middle seat fashion so as not to crowd the woman next to me who was singing along tunelessly with every song. I was about ready to expire from the heat, claustrophobia, and perfume when the intermission arrived.

The show itself was your basic Broadway musical, though for some reason whenever Jersey or something Jersey-specific was mentioned, the crowd went wild. I might have enjoyed it more if we weren’t stuffed in the back under airline conditions with an abbreviated view. At least I didn’t shell out $85 apiece for the tickets, since it was my partner’s treat.

So much for the hot time in the big city.

Wishing everyone a glittery new year, wherever you may live!

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Dec 27 2007


Published by under Cats,Henry,Life in Oaktown

June searching for Santa, Christmas Eve.

You will be relieved to learn that I can now relieve Self without fear of turning my lawn (still unmowed) into a toxic waste dump. I finally reached the landlord and she in turn reached the Roto Rooter guy. He loomed into view on a stormy day (my house has a big front window and the front door is mostly glass, so visitors just appear, practically in the living room), wearing big rubber gloves and a rain slicker, as popularized in horror movies. But there was nothing horrifying about him, except his job. He fixed the vintage plumbing and aftermath in the pouring rain. I felt really sorry for him, even though he kept saying things like “sanitary products”. ~shudder~


Although The Beautiful June Bug looks like her mother, I didn’t want her to act like her and end up a pregnant teenage runaway, so a trip to the vet was in order. Fortunately, there is a vet nearby with excellent accreditations and a kindly staff. I still nearly cried when I left her there. They kept her overnight, and kept me posted on her progress. I couldn’t wait to pick her up the next day, and beamed with pride when they complimented her beauty and good manners. June is so stoic and brave and never complains, even when stuffed into a carrier for twelve hours at a time.

The Adorable Audrey Grey, on the other hand, complains enough for two cats, and then some. She takes after me. She is also precocious, and has decided she’s ready to date, though she’s not even 6 months old yet. Like most parents, I disagree on this point. She may have her eye on the stray grey cat who lounges on the garage roof, the cat equivalent of a leather-clad, tattooed and pierced older guy on a motorcycle. Of course she wants to go out with him.

Her escape attempts have increased along with her demands to go out and have fun like all the other kittens. Today she actually climbed up the chimney, which is fortunately blocked. Thankfully, it’s her turn at the vet’s tomorrow, and not a moment too soon.

These kittens today.


I didn’t do a thing for Christmas. The tree stayed in its box, the door remained unwreathed, presents unbought. I spent the whole day in my pajamas, reading the new Sue Grafton. In the evening, I lit the candles in the fireplace and sipped champagne. It was the most peaceful Christmas I’ve had in a long time.

Hope yours was, too.

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Dec 25 2007

Merry Christmas!

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Wishing everyone a fabulous Christmas and a glamorous new year!

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Dec 23 2007

Wild Kingdom

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You’d have to figure a day that starts with a ticket before breakfast is not going to be a good one.

You’d be right.

Arriving home, ticket in hand, I found half the regulation number of kittens. June was hovering in the laundry room, overly interested in the broom closet for someone who does even less housework than I do. Audrey was nowhere to be seen, but she was heard – somewhere under the house.

Inspecting the broom closet, which, unsurprisingly, was free of brooms, I noticed a hole in the floor. Looking through the hole, I saw Audrey. In the crawlspace under the house. To which I did not have a key*.

Called landlords, got voicemail. Made executive decision to go to hardware store and get bolt cutters and new lock. Was pleasantly surprised to learn that bolt cutters could be (and were) rented, and returned home feeling moderately triumphant, only to be acccosted by next door neighbor, B, who informed me that there was raw sewage merrily percolating out of my house.

With B by my side, I went and peered under the bush to the right of the house and was horrified. B further informed me that the sewage situation had existed for approximately one week at that point. That’s not information that should be kept to yourself, my friend. Gah. Thanked B, called the landlords, got voicemail. Freed Audrey from under the house. She was remarkably ungrateful. I had pictured her clinging to me as if to say, “Thank you for saving me!” but instead, she kept trying to get back down the hole and when that failed, threw herself against the door, howling. For hours.

I longed for Marlin Perkins and a tranquilizer dart. For each of us.

*My landlords seem like nice people, though definitely on the flaky side. They keep meaning to get the keys to me for the crawlspace and the shed with the lawnmower, but haven’t managed it yet. I suspect they are a former couple, since they own the house together but now have separate addresses, so are possibly working out that whole post-breakup communication thing. And we all know how fun that is.

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Dec 17 2007

Car Trouble

Published by under Life in Oaktown

Sunny Sunday afternoon. I’m lying on the couch reading a frivolous novel, though I should be unpacking. But I’ve adopted a Scarlett O’Hara attitude to the maze of boxes today; I’ll think about them tomorrow.

I’m startled from the peaceful perusal of the pages by a loud knocking on the door. Opening it, I see a huge gentleman in his Sunday best, hat in hand. “Ma’am, that your car?” he asks, gesturing to the driveway. “Yes,” I whisper. He puts something in my hand. “Left your keys in the door. I seen ’em on my way to church.” “Thank you,” I say. “Welcome. Bless you,” he says, and goes on his way, putting his hat back on.

And in the continuing adventures of the car…

I went to the store this morning to get a baguette for breakfast. On my way home, my head full of thoughts of creamy Brie on fresh bread with crisp green apples and hot, black coffee, I got a ticket.

I was thirty feet from my house – I could see it – and I apparently didn’t come to a complete stop at the stop sign in front of the church.

The cop car is still there, mocking me.

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Dec 14 2007


Published by under Uncategorized


Well, that was fast. Faced with returning the rental and most necessities of life being somewhere down the freeway, I bought a car. It?s only the second car I ever had, and they?re both Fords. The second, a 1997 candy apple red Taurus with 62,000 miles on it, is much more practical than the first, a 1966 silver blue Mustang convertible. Both are pretty and have only been driven in California. I feel conflicted about owning a car, though. Now I?m officially part of the problem. Does it count that I?ll be taking public transit to work instead of driving?

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Dec 09 2007

Home Sweet Home

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Around 8:00 yesterday morning, I was drinking industrial-strength coffee and noticed a sound. Could it be? I ran through the empty rooms to the front door, my heart filled with hope. There it was: a huge white moving truck, taking up most of the street! I hugged the driver when he emerged. I think he was surprised but hugged me back – we’ve been through a lot on the phone, breakdowns in St Louis and the salt flats of Utah as well as the Donner Pass. He’s been doing this for 43 yrs and said this might be the worst trip he ever did. He described it as “cursed”. Hmmm.

Slept well last night after a bottle of celebratory champagne. My bed was a heavenly nest of bliss after two weeks of groveling around on air mattresses in varied degrees of deflation and defilement. Woke up to sunshine and the ability to drink coffee from my favorite mug at my own desk while reading PostSecret, my Sunday morning ritual*. Even though it looks like a box bomb went off, the house is prettier and more welcoming with furniture in it, and I?m happy with my familiar things around me. I think the kittens are, too. They?re happily exploring and napping. Home at last.

*Warning: this week’s batch is particularly heart-rending.

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Dec 08 2007


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You know what I’ll be doing this weekend (and next week, and…)

With a glass or two of champagne to celebrate, of course!

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Dec 07 2007

Do Not Pass Go

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Guess what?

The truck with all my earthly possessions is trapped by snow in the Donner Pass. It makes a change from being stuck in the salt flats of Utah, or the shop in St. Louis, or the scenic route to see this great land of ours from sea to shining sea, but the end result is the same.

No furniture for Suzy.

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Dec 06 2007

Meet the Neighbors

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Don’t get all excited, my furniture’s not here yet. Tell you the truth, I’m afraid to call the driver and hear what might be going on. It’s raining here, which means snow in the mountains. Good for ski bunnies, bad for truckers (unless they have a thing for ski bunnies). You realize that once the stuff gets here – if it does – I will be complaining about unpacking it and having nowhere to put everything. Just sayin’.

In the meantime, I actually met one of my previously invisible neighbors!

B., who lives to the left or the right of my house, depending on how you look at it, came out and introduced herself when I was getting my groceries out of the car* and gave me a quick overview. She and her husband, who is wheelchair bound due to Parkinson’s, have lived here for 20 years, as have most of the unseen inhabitants, give or take a decade, including my neighbors on the other side. I haven’t seen them, but I have seen and heard their yappy dogs, who have taken it upon themselves to overcompensate.

Here B. lowered her voice and informed me in whispered italics that they didn’t speak English and were, in fact, Mexican. Gasp! I’m pretty sure they already know, and if they overheard her and can’t speak English, they wouldn’t know what she was saying, but I just nodded. It was the same way some people whisper “cancer”. Someone who’s lived in California her whole life, the state where the most popular boy’s name is Jose, shouldn’t find Mexicans whisperworthy. She also truly believes her husband will walk again because she prays every day. Just sayin’.

On to the people across the street from me, who really need to maintain their palm trees. The residents are unseen by everyone, and B. referred to them as “the Boo Radleys” while assuring me their house was lovely inside, despite not having been painted outside for 40 years.

Next to the Radleys is a French couple. He owns a restaurant in San Francisco and rides his motorcycle there every day. Apparently his wife spends most of her time in France, so I doubt that I’ll have a chance to practice my rusty fran?ais or canvass their views on Marie Antoinette any time soon.

The house beside the Frenches has been for sale for over a year. According to B., it’s due to its “terrible layout”. Maybe I’ll call Roger and Tanya at Sell This House and tell them I have a project for them.

As for my house, the same man lived in it for over 50 years, whereas the current owners only lived here for a year, and “didn’t garden much”, hence the lawn and shrubs being overgrown. The rain is watering the lawn as I type, and maybe I’ll do some gardening when it’s over. Have no idea how to prune bushes, though.

*I’m beginning to wonder how I will manage without the rental car once I give it back, while being simultaneously horrified by the constant freeway driving everywhere. I may well be the only person in the entire US of A who prefers city driving to highway driving. But then, I’m also the only one who doesn’t find “This is Spinal Tap” funny, so I shouldn’t be surprised.

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Dec 04 2007

Third Time’s the Charm?

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Well, the purple mattress wasn’t so extraordinaire after all, except in its ability to let me down, both literally and figuratively. I’d pump it up, and after about an hour, I’d find myself in uncomfortable proximity to the floor, the very thing I was trying so hard to avoid.

Yet another trip to Target (I had never been there before the indoor camping episode, and in the past two weeks, it’s become my home away from home) and $200 later, I was on air mattress number three. The pump thing is built in, so it’s less likely (I hope) to leak. On the other hand, it was as attractive to June as the other two.

Yet another load of laundry and a minor crise de nerfs later, I decided on a two-pronged approach to the June Problem. I went to a fancy pet supply store and got Feliway spray and HomeoPet Anxiety Relief. Unlike the air mattresses, these worked like a charm. I used them for three days and the problem seems to have passed. And the air mattress has been holding up its end of the bargain, too.

So far, so good.

In other news, I have a horrible cold and am writing from the (dis)comfort of my air mattress with a Gilmore Girls repeat on my mother’s 25 year old TV and a dose of DayQuil doing absolutely nothing to alleviate the cold symptoms. I haven’t had a cold for so long that I’m taking this one personally and whinily.

Of course, as soon as I’m stricken with illness, the driver of the truck with my legendary things and stuff in it calls and says he might be here tomorrow afternoon. He was in Salt Lake City this morning and thinks he can get here tomorrow afternoon if he doesn’t encounter a possible storm in the Donner Pass. Let’s hope he has a better time of it than the eponymous Party. After three weeks without furniture, I’m beginning to believe I will never have any again.

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Dec 03 2007

The Museum, the Mocha, and Marie Antoinette

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Cloudy Sunday afternoon

Yesterday, I finally went to the City for the first time since my non-triumphal return. I have been spending far too much time on the wrong side of the Bay, first in suburban San Ramon (aka Generica) and now in “vibrantly diverse” (aka Keep your doors locked at all times) Oakland. While my neighborhood itself is quite nice, consisting of tiny houses, big palm trees, and no visible or audible neighbors*, if you venture a few blocks away you encounter folks with shopping carts hillbillied up with garbage bags, things and stuff, yelling at you or themselves.

The other day, I saw a chicken walking down the sidewalk. I have a feeling I’m not in Pacific Heights anymore.

The rental car took me away from all that, and I went to the California Palace of the Legion of Honor (that long enough for you?) to admire Marie Antoinette’s few remaining possessions from the Petit Trianon. The Petit Trianon was her refuge from the formal insanities of Court life, where she could wear loose muslin gowns and people didn’t have to stop what they were doing when she walked in the room. It was a place she could let down her powdered hair and relax.

She even had a rustic village, so it was a little like camping. I wish my camping were like Marie Antoinette’s, with the “plain” furniture and porcelain and swishy gowns, instead of peed-on deflating air mattresses and no furniture. Granted, I only lose my head figuratively and she lost hers literally, but I think we would have liked each other. The exhibit certainly impressed me with her flawless taste and remarkably forward-thinking ideas.

My head full of beauty and sadness, I repaired to the museum caf? for a bottle of luxury-priced water. The guy ahead of me in line refused to pay for his $10 PB&J sandwich until his mocha was on his tray with it. An elderly lady behind me in the lengthening line pointed out that her soup was getting cold – would he just pay and let the line move? He said he was ahead in line and wasn’t going to pay until he got his coffee. I said that they were making his coffee and they wouldn’t hold it hostage, but he replied again that he was ahead of me in line. The lady behind me got pretty upset and started waving her money at the cashier, who smiled and nodded and was probably glad he didn’t a) speak English very well; b) come from such a crazy-ass country. By the time Mocha Man got his coffee, the line was out the door and past the BC jewelry. What the…

*It’s a little Twilight Zone, to tell you the truth. The only people I have talked to since I moved here so far are the mailman and a guy who offered to mow my lawn, despite having no gardening equipment.

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Dec 01 2007

Not a Happy Camper

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Now the problem is no longer the mattress, but the state of the mattress. I don?t think even Dubya could come up with a fakely positive State of the Mattress address. June keeps peeing on it, and/or the two blankets I have, one to sleep on and one to sleep with. So far, this has happened the past two nights and again this morning. I spend more time washing blankets, cleaning up cat pee, and swearing than any other activity. Possibly June was more attached to the old, dead mattress than I realized. Maybe I should have buried it in a shoebox in the back yard and let her put flowers on the grave. Cat closure. Or maybe it?s a protest about moving. A pee-in.

Let’s review: I have one kitten who poos whenever she leaves the house, and another who pees in the house, but in unauthorized areas.

Are there boarding schools for cats?

PS The British Invasion continues apace. What the….

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