News & Updates

showertile

For those of you who have been waiting to see James’ tile work in Megan and Rob’s bathroom, here you go! I think it’s really pretty. And like I said, if there’s anything suggestive there, it’s pretty subliminal. It looks like a flower to me.

You will all be happy to hear that Rob and Jonathan worked their usual magic and got Megan’s car working yesterday morning, long before she needed it for her final night shift of the week. It’s hardly surprising that the poor old thing needs repairs lately – there’s over 200,000 miles on it. And those aren’t nice, easy city miles, either.

Yesterday was a pretty exciting day. It kicked off with Roscoe showing up with a dead mouse. Audrey decided to one-up him and show him who’s really boss by showing up with a giant bird in her mouth. Even though it was in the 80s yesterday, I kept the doors shut until the cats stopped playing with their prey. My stepmother always used to say, “Nature is red in tooth and claw”, but that doesn’t mean I want it in my house.

Erica dropped by, after looking at a disappointing house near the school. The landlord wanted a lot of rent, and there was no outside space for Jessica to play in. This seemed incredible to me, considering we are in the depths of the country. So it was a no go. I realize that I was really lucky to get this place, despite all its quirks, since there are hardly any places to rent and what is available is expensive. I hope she finds something soon.

The thermal underwear Megan and I ordered for Rob’s birthday arrived belatedly. Of course, it arrived when we’ve been having a string of 85 degree days. But I’m sure he’ll be glad to have it when the storms of winter arrive in a month or two.

Also in advance of winter chill, a propane heater I bought on eBay arrived (it’s difficult-to-impossible to find propane heaters for sale in California). It’s slated to go in the unheated, uninsulated studio, in the hopes of making it slightly more usable and habitable in the six months (or more) we have of winter. The boys will of course have to install it, though hopefully we’ll have some time before it gets really cold. These days, it’s hard to believe that it will ever be dark and rainy.

Finally, the new carpet for the sleeping loft arrived! Yay! I can’t wait for Mark to replace the old, stained one, even though it means moving all the furniture out onto the balcony. The carpet was delivered by the fabulous Monica’s sweet husband, Joe, and now it’s in the still unheated studio, waiting for me to trip over it in Calamity Suzy style. Stay tuned!

Commuting

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Living on the edge

You may have noticed that I rarely complain about work, when I can and do complain about almost everything else. If there were an Olympic complaining event, I’d be clanking with gold medals, a living legend. Though I’d probably still complain about the Olympics and how they’re constantly on TV*.

Part of this has to do with the fact that my boss is a comfortable 200 miles away, and has no idea that I’m wearing pajamas during conference calls (or doing them at the beach while walking dogs). Also, he’s been my friend for fifteen years, and we sometimes go to ball games** and plays together.

My commute is pretty easy, other than the kittens getting underfoot as I lurch down the stairs in the morning. Sure, I often end up working at night or on the weekends, but I don’t have to go to an office from 9 to 5, or brave the perils of BART.

My sister, however, doesn’t have it so easy…

She worked for 14 hours on Monday, arriving home late Tuesday morning. She didn’t sleep well in the sunny, warm day (it was probably 85 here, and it was a scorching 103 in Santa Rosa and 113 in LA), and woke up, sleep-deprived, to face another 12 hour shift on Tuesday night.

To make matters worse, she discovered that her car’s steering mechanism had gone on a sudden French-style strike and refused to work. You really don’t want to be driving the switchbacks around here with no steering. I don’t think Megan was that anxious to meet her old buddies on the ambulance.

So she borrowed my car to go to work. She was already late, and had to stop and pick up a car part so our brother could work on the car today. Halfway there, she realized that she had left her cigarettes in her car. She arrived at the store about five minutes before the store closed, and said she was picking up a part.

“What part?”

“I don’t know. It’s a steering thing.”

“For a ’96 Saturn?”

“Yes!”

“Your brother called and said you wouldn’t know what the part was.”

$114 later, she was out the door and on her way to Starbucks. She took one sip – one sip before a 12 hour night shift – of her expensive coffee before it spilled all over due to the stupidity of the cup holder design in my car. Minutes ticking away, she cleaned it up as best she could and went to get gas for the car, since the gas station was right there.

She pulled up to the pump and discovered she was on the wrong side. Turned the car around, put in her credit card, and discovered that the pump was broken. Went to another pump, and discovered that she was on the wrong side again. She gave up and went to buy cigarettes – a necessity at this point – and rushed to work.

As she went through the ambulance bay, she asked one of her former colleagues to pick up a coffee for her, which he cheerfully did.

This morning, she dropped the part off at our brother’s place, and he and Rob will hopefully be able to fix the car in time for tonight’s night shift.

*My cure for Olympic boredom? Make it all pay-per view. Then all of you who really want to watch it can pay for the privilege, and the rest of us can go on with our lives, uninterrupted by the seemingly endless ennui that is the Olympics. That, or restore to its original semi-nude form with only original games allowed.

**Go, Giants!

House Tour

People have been asking to see the inside of my odd little house. Here goes:

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Come on up the front stairs. Which are at the side of the house. The window is where my desk is (you’ll see it later).

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The staircase to the sleeping loft is right in front of you when you walk in. Rob made the picture frames from found materials. He’s the best upcycler I’ve ever met.

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The staircase landing. The railings are made of driftwood.

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Here’s my desk, where the magic happens. It’s right next to the bathroom:

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Where you see Audrey enjoying the window in the shower. Who doesn’t love a shower with a view?

The door leads to the back deck and the outdoor shower.

Walk back to the door, and you’ll see the main living area.

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The painting is “Russian Hill”, by Keith Wicks. It shows the neighborhood I first lived in when I moved to San Francisco. It’s my little piece of the city.

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Here’s another view of the living room, showing the sliding glass doors to the garden.

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View from the sliding glass doors to the sleeping loft and balcony.

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View from the sleeping loft to the living area. To the right you can just about see my heirloom Wedgwood, which dates to the 1820s, and the edge of the wooden chests containing my grandmother’s ivory-handled silver and fish set.

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To the right of the sliding glass doors is the kitchen(ette). You can see that I have not been exaggerating about the lack of counter and cupboard space. Yet I can and have made Thanksgiving for ten people here.

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And we’re back to the front door. Come back and visit again soon!

Cats and Dogs

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Star (left) and Schatzi take a break at Big River

Yesterday, Roscoe decided it would be fun to kill a bird and play with its mangled corpse all over the house, tossing it gleefully into the air, catching it again, and running around with it in his mouth. He was utterly unconcerned by my screams of horror. Eventually, I managed to sweep it into a dustpan and toss the poor thing into the woods with an apology. To the bird, I mean, not Roscoe.

I was unable to determine what kind of bird it was from the shredded remains – it would take far more skilled forensic eyes than mine – but I was surprised by how big it was. I’d say it was more robin sized than sparrow sized – pretty impressive for a three month old kitten.

I took a break from the drama to walk the dogs with Megan at Big River. It was a beautiful day, and the dogs trotted along happily together. Star has come a long way since we first rescued her back in April, thanks to Megan’s hard work and dedication. We’re hoping to find a permanent home for her, but it’s no easy task. It’s a small community here, so there’s a limited pool to draw from. Then there’s the economy – people are more likely to be surrendering dogs to shelters than adopting them.

Finally, the fact that she’s a black pit bull. Apparently black animals are less likely to be adopted, which makes me feel all the better about adopting Roscoe and Clyde. But it doesn’t help our chances of finding a family for Star. Megan and I talked about it as we walked in the late summer sunshine, and she and Rob would be happy to keep Star if it comes to that. The down side, though, is that they will be unable to foster any more dogs unless they move to a bigger place. Fortunately, Star and Schatzi get along well, even sleeping together.

Reversed

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A post-adventure nap

What’s worse than letting Audrey out at 4:30 in the morning? Bringing her in at 4:30 in the morning.

Last night, our Princess came by at about 7:30 for the second sitting of dinner. She dislikes eating as unfashionably early as those ill-mannered kittens, and tends to nibble part of her dinner then, and come back later for a little more. This delicacy of appetite combined with near-constant exercise outside must be the secret to her sylph-like figure, which certainly rivals her namesake’s.

Usually, when I head up to the sleeping loft to read at night, I call her. She turns up, though not always right away, just to make sure I know who’s really in charge around here. Last night, there was no sign of her, though I called her repeatedly and tried to lure her in with treats.

I thought about leaving the Cat Flap of Death open for her, but now the boys not only know how to run through it, but can skitter down the roof, it seemed unwise to resist a snack pack of kittens being alone in the wilderness as opposed to the full-grown winner of “Survivor: Hooterville”. Also I knew she’d claw on the glass from the outside if she wanted in, just as she claws from in the inside if she wants to go out.

I finally went to sleep, but it was the kind of sleep I used to have when Megan lived with me for the last few years of high school and was out on a date. I never really slept until I heard her come in, at which point I pretended to have been asleep all along, unless she had some really good gossip to tell me.

As you know, my brother, sister, and I are not good sleepers at the best of times. We can generally get to sleep, but fail to stay there, waking up several times a night, not to mention being plagued by bizarre dreams which occasionally make us question our collective sanity.

Every time I woke up last night, I went out into the bright moonlight and called Audrey. I had all the outside lights on, so it was pretty bright out there, and Mark had a party last night, so I reasoned that bobcats, mountain lions, and their buddies were unlikely to crash it looking for some hors d’oeuvres.

At 4:30, I got up and called her for the fifth time. I was just passing by the front door when I saw her standing there, peering in at me as if to ask what all the fuss was about. She tolerated, but did not enjoy, my picking her up and kissing her, and then it was treats all around.

I feel that I’ve made some improvements in my family worrier status. For one thing, I went to sleep (sort of). For another, I didn’t have the insta-doom feeling I had when June went missing (though that ended up being fully justified – for once, I did not enjoy being right). I am trying to believe that lightning has struck once already and is unlikely to do an encore. Surely losing two cats in two months is enough for any girl. Are you listening, family curse? It’s me, Suzy.

Sightseeing

So Audrey woke me up around 4:30 this morning. As I let her out onto the balcony, I noticed that it was flooded with moonlight.

I put on all the outdoor lights as usual, my talisman against predators, and went back to bed. The kittens took this opportunity to start climbing all over me like I was their personal jungle gym. I kept moving them away, and they kept bouncing back, like furry boomerangs. I finally gave up, and after a while I got up.

Amazingly, they stayed upstairs and are presumably enjoying the sleep I didn’t get. Sometimes I wish I had a bedroom door. Or walls.

On the bright side, I’ve been able to make coffee, and more importantly, drink coffee unmolested this morning, a truly enjoyable novelty.

Yes, world: I’m grinchy enough to be annoyed by kittens.

But you knew that.

Yesterday, I (temporarily) dumped the kittens in favor of dogs. Megan was meeting a friend in the village to help socialize Star. While they worked, Schatzi and I played, walking around and taking pictures:

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You are here.

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Shadowy gate.

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The secret garden.

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Wild rose trellis.

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Naked Ladies beside a white picket fence.

Looking at these photos again, it occurs to me how timeless the village looks. It could be any late summer day in the past hundred years or more.

Copeless

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Morning light on my staircase

You know how they say mothers forget the pain of labor, and that allows them to have more children? I think the same rule applies to kittens.

I find myself saying (or thinking) “I don’t remember June and Audrey doing that” multiple times during the day. It probably took me five minutes to type these sentences, because of the kittens blocking my view, clawing at my hands, or climbing up my legs with their razor-sharp claws. If they’d just settle down when they sit on me in the morning, it would be fine.

But they don’t.

They mill around, sticking their butts and tails in my face, jockeying each other for position, kneading my bare skin with their needle claws, biting my nose, chewing my glasses and earrings, clawing at my hands as I type, walking back and forth to obscure my laptop, having fights all over me, jumping on and off me with the most possible emphasis on tender body parts and inflicting damage.

All while purring.

I have even found myself using my parents’ tried and true method of coping with too many rambunctious kids too early in the day: putting them outside while I drink coffee and achieve the necessary acceptance of being up at that hour. However, this strategy is complicated by the fact that whenever I stand up, they race into the studio, thinking it’s feeding time*, making it hard to capture and eject both of them. If I’m successful, they often sit by the sliding glass doors, mewing pitifully, so I feel guilty and mean. As usual in life, there are no good answers.

But sometimes, they just curl up on my shoulders, purring, and are incredibly adorable.

*I filmed their feeding frenzy and posted it on Facebook, but can’t figure out how to post it here.

Growing Up

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Hanging out

As usual, the kittens woke me up earlier than I would have really enjoyed this morning. They leaped joyfully on me, kneading, purring, and occasionally biting. It reminded me of being woken up by Olivier and Thierry those long-ago summer mornings in Nice. It’s weird to think that those little kids are fully grown-up by now. I wonder what their lives are like*.

Clyde wasted no time in spilling coffee all over my sweater before I could drink it. This resulted in him and the innocent (at least of this) Roscoe being summarily ejected into the sunny morning while I replenished my coffee thimble and dealt with my many emails. Doesn’t it seem like the more emails you answer, the more you get?

The boys have been growing fast. A couple of days ago, Megan and I were talking outside by the stairs and saw Roscoe climb from the balcony, skitter down the curved roof, and jump onto the top of the window. He went back and forth, clearly unsure of whether he could jump from such a height. I was about to help him down when he made the leap, landing safely and running off to climb a tree. Later, I measured it, and he jumped nearly eight feet!

Clyde took an alternate route, climbing from the balcony right down the roof. Or racing out of control and falling the last couple of feet, depending on how you look at it. He was fine, and happily pranced off to join his brother in looking for mischief. They are very successful hunters in that regard.

Audrey, in the meantime, still takes a dim view of these low-rent losers. Here you see her atop Mt. Crumpet, hating the Whos:

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*A quick Googling reveals that Thierry followed in his parents’ footsteps and became a scientist, still living in the south of France, whereas Olivier became a photographer and is based in New York.

File Under “Miscellaneous”

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Early rain, early morning

Wow. Has it really been almost a week? What have I been up to, you ask?

Well, there was unseasonable rain the night of Rob’s birthday and into the next day. I attempted to capture the rain drops on the trees (see above) with the new camera, which I am learning how to use. I even shot a movie of the kittens’ feeding frenzy (complete with plaintive, loud meows), but am trying to figure out how to save it. QuickTime 7 doesn’t support this and in order to do so, I’d have to buy the “pro” version, which I really don’t want to do. If/when I do, I’ll see if I can post it here.

So far, the hardest thing to get used to with the new camera is the lack of viewfinder. Instead, there’s a giant screen thingie, which you have to use to frame the picture and then take it, something of a challenge when you have bi-focals and bad vision. So I’ve been practicing, and you’ll be able to enjoy my homework as this post rambles on.

For example: the driveway was unable to withstand the rain:

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Post-rain driveway

We nearly got stuck in the mud, and I have to admit to some concerns about the upcoming rainy season. Mark had a guy here today smoothing it out and applying more gravel, but I’m not convinced that the problem is really solved. I guess time will tell.

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Gratuitous photo of the “Rust Room” in my garden

I’ve been busy with work, which is good. I like feeling efficient. It’s such a novelty! But it doesn’t lead to blogging. Neither does helping my brother clean out the house he lived in for fifteen years. You can acquire a lot of things and stuff in fifteen years, especially if you’re a part-time mad scientist. For example, I am now storing a giant and valuable Tesla coil in the studio, wrapped carefully in blankets.

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The tiny picture above is the only one I could find of my brother’s house. It’s at the end of the driveway, and Mark is now fixing it up, adding a bathroom and the like, since there is currently only an outhouse and a bathtub, which is in the livingroom. It has windows on three sides, looking at the woods, and the fourth side is open to the livingroom, which may not be to everyone’s taste. Same goes for the stairs, which have risers well over a foot high, with a stump as the final stair at the bottom and a post at the top carved into a phallic shape. James was an eccentric builder, to say the least*.

So after I was finished work for the day, I’d head down there and help clean up. As you know, I find manual labor distressing. And it’s even more boring than regular work and even less blog-worthy. By the time I got home, had a shower, and put on my PJs, it was all I could do to mix a cocktail and read Style Rookie before falling asleep with wet hair. Which makes me glad that most of my work is done on the phone.

*When Rob was finished adding the bathroom onto his and Megan’s house, James offered to do the tilework in the shower. Megan said okay, providing that the tilework was devoid of any human anatomy or even the suggestion of it. It’s a lovely abstract design. If there’s any subliminal messages there, they’re very subliminal.

Technical Difficulties

Since you asked, yes. I’m still trying to figure out my “simple” new camera. I may need to borrow a teenager.

So no visual aids today.

You should all be glad that I also don’t have access to Smell-O-Vision. On the way to the vet, the boys expressed their dismay in their traditional manner. The always-cheerful technician helped clean it up and even supplied a new towel.

Apparently I made a mistake when I made the appointment, since the technician said it was too early for the boys to get their second set of shots. I found this confusing, since my schedule had changed and I had to change the appointment from Monday to Friday. So this appointment was later than the original one. I was pretty sure they’d said come back in two weeks, but they said it should have been three weeks. Since it would have been three weeks on Monday, I still don’t see what the problem is, but what do I know?

So no shots for the rowdies and no bill for me. At least this week.

This morning, when I was ready to trap the unsuspecting kittens in the cat carrier of doom, I couldn’t find Clyde. Even shaking the treats around didn’t produce any results. I put Roscoe in the carrier and started looking around for Clyde. I found him in the building Mark put up a few months ago to store things in, but which has become a sort of playhouse for his kids. Clyde was walking around in there like he owned the place.

The playhouse is between my place and Mark’s, so I’m kind of surprised that Clyde ventured that far. It would be a lot easier if he actually responded to his name.

Packaging

Today I got an email from Amazon, saying they couldn’t deliver the package that was delivered yesterday.

Maybe I can ask them for a refund.

Today I also received my new, undesirably-colored camera. So far, I have figured out how to put in the batteries and the memory card, and set the date and time. The rest is too confusing after a long day’s work, so I think I’ll pour a drink and worry about that tomorrow, in Scarlett O’Hara approved style.

While I was on one of today’s many conference calls, I heard a crinkling noise. Putting my phone on mute, I went to investigate. I discovered Clyde on the pantry floor, eating pasta out of a bag, and Roscoe on the shelf eating egg noodles out of a bag he’d torn open. They had jumped on the washer, then edged their way onto the shelf, and then managed to tear the bags open. It was two hours after they’d eaten breakfast.

Unbelievable.

I shooed them away and salvaged what I could while trying to talk intelligently about the world economy. All in a day’s work.

Food Fight

As I write, Roscoe is perched on my shoulder, purring and chewing on my diamond earring. The kittens have very exclusive taste in chew toys, preferring diamond earrings and the edge of my iMac to more mundane toys.

I’ve been letting them out at will during the day, though I keep them in after dinner. They are rarely out of sight, and like to run in and out of the house, stopping in for cuddling or napping on Henry’s old bed. I’m really glad that I didn’t give it away after Henry Etta died. I washed it and put it where I wouldn’t have to see it, intending one day to bring it to the shelter. I hope she would be glad to have the kittens enjoy it.

I have never seen kittens so crazed for food. Megan was laughing when she saw them the other day, eating so quickly and intently. “They’re like wind-up toys!” she said. Just a week after I told you my concerns about the boys jumping on the washer to eat Audrey’s food, it happened.

I put the boys outside and closed the door while Audrey nibbled. When she was finished, I let her out a different door, and put the remaining food on a high shelf in the pantry. I let the boys back in, and went to start dinner. I heard a strange sound, and went to investigate.

It was Roscoe the Rascal, eating Audrey’s food.

I took it away and shut it in a cupboard. I almost expected him to go to Mark’s and borrow some power tools to get the cupboard open.

Maybe next week.

Covet: September Vogue

Of course, the September Issue is the most-anticipated of the year – and the heaviest. This year’s tome couldn’t fit into my size zero mailbox, a phenomenon unfortunately familiar to most women, “Vogue” readers or not.

I loved a lot of this year’s clothes. Jessica, Erica and I oohed and aahed over them on Saturday. I’ve been reading “Vogue” since I was in high school, yet the prices for the clothes never cease to shock me.

Here are a few of my favorites:

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Love the color of this sweater, a completely affordable $70 from J. Crew (one of our stylish First Lady’s faves), and the contrast with the lace skirt, a less affordable $1,490 by the eternally elegant Carolina Herrera.

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I would kill for this Louis Vuitton skirt. Well, fold, spindle or mutilate. A mere $2,865 for acres of silk taffeta gorgeosity. And just the thing to wear to the library! Or the Safeway.

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I like the coat, but I love the Chanel bracelets with the camellia motif La Coco loved so much. Enamelled metal and resin, and $2,350 and $1,490.

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Carolina Herrera strikes again with this fabulous confection of highlands meets flamenco. It would look great with a black leather motorcycle jacket. $7,590 to find out.

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I am in love with this Chanel coat – the Empire waist, the witty shape and texture. And the sleeves are the perfect length to display the camellia bangles. Since you’d wear it all the time, it’s really a steal at $8,380.

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What’s not to love about strapless tweed? Louis Vuitton corset top and skirt, $2,440.

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So what if you never go to the opera? You still need Barbara Tfank’s poison green bow-back satin opera coat. Your exit will be as memorable as your entrance.

The Nanny Diaries

Despite having no maternal instincts whatsover, I seem to have been baby-sitting a lot lately.

On Friday, I looked after Star for about half the day, giving me time to get work out of the way before settling in to watch “Love Story”. Star and I agreed on how romantic the snow looked, not to mention how cute Ali MacGraw’s hat was, and wondered why they never put the top up on their convertible, even when it snowed. When I had one, I have to admit that I had the top down unless it was actually raining, but I would have drawn the line at snow.

When Rob came home, we all sat in the garden for a while and chatted in the sun before I headed home. If you’re wondering where Megan was, she was called in to work during the day on Friday. When I expressed dismay at her working so soon after finishing her 36 hours of night shifts on Thursday morning, she said it was “only for eight hours”.

Only?

On Saturday, Erica was working at a wedding, so Jessica came for a visit.

She was charmed by the balcony, and kept asking to go up there, despite the fact that there’s nothing on it. Jessica recommends that I get some lounge chairs and an umbrella for next summer, and if I can get Mark to move the wire that’s about a foot off the floor of the balcony, I just might follow her advice. We’ll have a stunning view of James’ junk collection from that vantage point.

We went to see if Mark’s daughters were home, but it turned out the entire family had decamped to the beach, so we played for a while on their playground, swinging on the swing, jumping on the trampoline, and giving Jessica rides on the tire swing zipline.

Back at my house, Jessica looked through my nail polish collection and selected my new favorite, Calypso (“it looks so good with my skin tone!”) and confided her ambition of being a spa scientist when she grows up.

Megan dropped by to say hello, and we all picked huckleberries, which reminded us of how much we all loved “Blueberries for Sal” and how at one point, it was the only book Jessica would have us read to her. I told Jessica that I learned how to read so I could read stories when Dad wasn’t around, but I always hid the books so he couldn’t catch me reading. In case he wouldn’t read to me anymore if he knew I could read by myself. As it happened, he read to me for the rest of his life.

We made muffins from the huckleberries, and in my responsible fashion, I let Jessica eat so many that she was pretty uninterested in dinner. I was concerned about this, and Jessica observed that “You’re the worrier in the family.” Even seven year olds can tell. Later, she asked me for a glass of milk, and I asked her about six times if she really meant it, the idea of voluntarily drinking milk being such a foreign (and disgusting) one.

We watched both Stuart Little movies, and found them charming. I’m sorry to report that Jessica was wide awake when her mother came to collect her sometime after 11:00. Jessica told her mother that it seemed like she was only at my house for seconds, words to gladden any baby-sitter’s heart.

Before & After

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Before

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After

They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Maybe the crazy gene has finally caught up with me, since I kept trying to make my old camera work, and voilà!

I was actually surprised by how much better the house looks – I guess I’d forgotten last year’s “construction site” look. In the second picture, you can (just barely) see Audrey to the right, and Roscoe running down the stairs.

Next month, it will be a year since I moved here. On the day I moved in, Rose’s daughters and their families scattered her ashes in the ocean. Somehow it seemed like a good omen, an ending and a beginning.

All In a Day’s Work

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We’re not kidding

Well, Megan completed her first full week back at work on this cold, sunny morning.

While she was off, everyone she worked with called to check in on her, including the janitors. Working the night shift brings you close to your colleagues. They know all about each other’s families, ups and downs, and take care of each other on the job. You can imagine her heroine’s welcome back to work last week.

The board showing who was working each night had her name decorated with stars, hearts, and firecrackers all this week.

While my sister was getting back in the swing of things at work, my brother was ignoring his tooth pain to climb down a cliff and rescue an unwitting tourist who got a little too close to the edge of a bluff. Jonathan said that the guy was “broken”, and when I asked what he meant, he listed both shoulders, ankles, legs, etc. The poor guy must have looked like a marionette. Jonathan got a lift by helicopter to the top of the cliff before they took the rescued man to Santa Rosa. I hope he’ll recover from all those injuries.

I’m so proud of my sibs for making a difference in our little community. There’s something truly inspiring about neighbors helping neighbors.

Cleaning Up

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There’s gotta be more trouble I can get into!

Yesterday, I heard someone outside and went to investigate. It turned out to be Mark, who was here to operate on the new-ish window. He applied flashing to weatherproof it, and topped it off with some weathered boards using a magic compressor nail gun, and it looks great. While he was here, we decided to clean up the lingering construction debris which has been hanging around the house.

He drove over with a little wooden cart attached to his car, and we loaded it up twice with boards, wood, etc.I guess it’s one of life’s little ironies that I finally get the house camera-ready when I have no camera.

That situation will be rectified soon. I ordered a Canon Powershot on line for half price, and hope it arrives soon. I’m already missing valuable days of documenting the kittens, who seem to be growing more every day. Roscoe the Rascal lived up to his nickname last night by climbing up the handles of the drawers in the kitchen.

I finally organized the shelf space in the kitchen. It was a repulsive process, since I mislaid my rubber gloves and had to, you know, actually touch the dirt with my bare hands. In typical James fashion, the shelves are difficult to reach into (I am too short for a house built for and by a man more than a foot taller than I am), so I had to sweep out the grossness before crawling into the space to wash it. Not even Mrs. Meyer’s Lemon Verbena could make that more fun. It does look a lot better, though, and hopefully I’ll be able to supply proof before too long. Now that I can’t take pictures*, everything seems like a photo opportunity!

*I have to admit – I keep trying my camera, just in case. Even though it never works.

Growing Up

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Rooftop Roscoe

The boys don’t turn three months old until tomorrow, but they’re celebrating a little early.

I came downstairs this morning to find that they had overturned an entire glass of water onto my terminally ill camera, performing a liquid coup de grace.

Later in the morning, after I let the cats out, I noticed that Roscoe had caught a mouse. After the obligatory scream, I closed all the doors so that kitten and rodent couldn’t come back in. He must have played with it for almost an hour. Finally, he left it on the back deck, and I got a rake to remove it. It turned out to be a mole, which for some reason I found much less horrifying.

I was slicing a bagel when Clyde jumped up on the counter to help me. It can’t be much longer until they jump onto the washer to help themselves to Audrey’s food. They really are growing up fast.

Bad Birthdays

Well, we’re 0 for 3 in the birthday department.

Megan’s birthday barbecue got rained out for the first time in living memory, and was almost immediately followed by a serious knee injury and simultaneous root canal. My birthday continued the rained out barbecue theme, and was capped off by the tragic disappearance of the Beautiful June Bug. When I called my brother on Sunday to ask him about his birthday barbecue, which had definitely not been rained out, he told me that his tooth had blown up in an agonizing manner and all plans were off.

He called the dentist, who agreed to meet my brother at his office after church. Jonathan was in too much pain to drive, so Megan took him in, and acted as the dentist’s assistant, much as she acted as the vet’s assistant when I took the kittens in for their shots. The tooth was drained, and there’s a root canal in my brother’s future. Megan settled him in at home with pudding cups and movies, and later in the evening he called to say he was feeling better, which in turn made us feel better.

Maybe we can have a celebratory barbecue when the root canal is finally over.

First Foray

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The Queen surveys her domain

Audrey may not particularly enjoy her new roommates’ company – the growling and cuffing whenever they cross her path seems to suggest that she does not – but they gave her a boost in dragging me out of bed this morning.

Audrey was, as usual, asking to be let out in the pre-dawn darkness. The boys decided to help her by climbing under the covers and play/fighting against my back, allowing them to squirm around, claw, and bite me in the process. Who says boys can’t multi-task? When one of them shot out of the blankets and clawed my lip as he vaulted over my face, I bowed to the inevitable and headed downstairs.

After I let Audrey out, the boys milled around under my feet as I made coffee. This is their new morning ritual. Roscoe tried to climb up my pajamas as I poured the much-needed caffeine. As soon as I sat down, they raced over to me and climbed onto my chest and shoulders, purring and jockeying for position. They stay like that as long as I let them, making it nearly impossible to actually drink the coffee or type or even read my emails.

Yesterday, Mark came over to work on the endlessly problematic hot water situation. Since he was in and out of the house, I decided to bite the bullet and just let the boys out for a while. I saw them running past the sliding glass doors, chasing butterflies, and wondering what an ant is. If they could talk, I’m pretty sure they would have yelled “Yippee!”

I left the doors open so they could wander in and out at will. Audrey for one was delighted to be able to come and go as she pleased again, and eventually the boys came in and cuddled up in their bed and went to sleep. I’ll try it again today and see how it goes.