Archive for November, 2010

Nov 30 2010

Card Catalogue

Published by under Cats,Special Occasions


Late afternoon shadows on my house

Those of you who were perturbed by my Grinchy attitude toward Thanksgiving this year (and there were more of you than I would have thought) will be glad to see that I have already started my holiday decorations, at least around here.

I also started the Christmas card process today. I put on the Beach Boys’ Christmas sessions – what, I ask you, could be more festive than the Beach Boys on a chilly winter day – got out my green pen and the cards I bought on sale after Christmas last year, and my decaying address book. OK, decayed. I admit it. Dad bought it for me at the National Gallery many years ago, and it is now held together with a rubber band and hope. I can’t bring myself to buy a new one, though, mostly because of the names I’d have to leave out of it.

I started by addressing the non-American cards, since it takes at least a week for cards to reach our Northern neighbors, and presumably even longer for Europe. I then began to match the cards with the envelopes, only to discover that the cards required some assembly, as if they came from Ikea instead of Minnesota.

The assembly included tying on teeny pieces of red satin ribbon, which, when tied by Me, look nothing like the demonstration card which was on the top of the packs of cards and led me to believe that all the cards looked the same.

The assembly was hindered by the kittens, who had to jump up on the table to see what I was doing, and then “help” me by batting the ribbon onto the floor and playing with it into oblivion, when they weren’t assisting me with the tying itself. I ejected them into the woods, thinking of how our parents used to send us outside with instructions not to come back until lunch time, or bother them unless emergency services were required.

I now understand the wisdom of their ways.

After assembly was completed, I realized that I had to pull them apart in order to write my holiday greetings on them, and then put them back together again before putting them in the envelopes. The hard-won ribbons tended to peek out at odd angles, so I mostly ended up kind of slamming the envelope shut and hoping for the best. Note to Self: just plain letterpress next year, please.

2 responses so far

Nov 29 2010

The Usual

Published by under Cats,Country Life,Schatzi

It’s a sunny morning, and you know what that means. It’s still barely 32F/0C outside. I’m drinking hot, black coffee from my tiny, as yet unbroken cup. The kittens are sharpening their claws on the records (a few days ago, I discovered the damage they had done to the Martin Denny section and walked away, counting to a thousand and reminding myself to be zen). The kittens have an amazing ability to tell which things are really important to me. A few days ago, they broke one of my grandmother’s antique wine glasses, and I finally packed up my birthday lamp and put it away when they knocked it over eight too many times.

Audrey has left the house in kitten disgust, as she does after every meal, and Schatzi just strolled by in her bright blue sweater.

I used to try and bring her back home, but mostly, by the time I’d put on shoes and another sweater, she had wandered off again. Now I look forward to her brief, tail-wagging visits in the morning.

Perusing the local newspaper, which is published once a week, I came across the following classified ad: “GOATS WANTED for brush control not for eating. 9xx-xxxx”

Country living.

5 responses so far

Nov 28 2010

Better Late Than Never

Published by under Cooking,Family


Friday sunrise

Those of you who were perturbed to hear about our non-Thanksgiving will be happy to hear that we had dinner with a friend on Friday night. No turkeys were harmed in the production of this dinner.

Our friend/nephew Jarrett lives about a four hour drive from Hooterville. We have known him since he was four years old or so, back when he and his mother and my brother and sister lived on boats at Pier 39 in San Francisco. When Jarrett was in high school, he was having a difficult time in the city, so he came up here and lived with my brother and sister in turns while he finished school, much as Megan lived with me for her last couple of years of high school.

That kind of thing creates a special, parent-esque bond, even for the most unmaternal of us, so Jarrett is part of the family.

He drove down on Friday, while Megan and I did a quick shop for groceries, along with some early Christmas stocking items. We put a pork roast in my tiny oven, and later added potatoes, parsnips, and carrots. One dish dinner! It also gave us time to catch up on each other’s news and drink wine, which is always good.

Jarrett brought a recipe for Dutch apple pie with a parmesan crust*, which he and Megan made at her house, my oven being fully occupied. As you can see, it looks delicious:

Megan used brown sugar instead of white, and much, much less of it, and skipped the raisins, which she hates. Recipes, after all, are just a suggestion.

*You can find the recipe here.

2 responses so far

Nov 27 2010

Thursday Dinner: Thai Chicken Soup

Published by under Cooking,Country Life,Weather

The soup turned out okay, not great. I added bamboo shoots and water chestnuts. In retrospect, I should have chopped up the bamboo shoots for easier eating, and added snow peas for some green. Glass noodles would have been a good addition, too.

If I make it again, I’ll mince up the garlic and ginger, or use some of that lemongrass paste you can get in a tube. It was annoying to dig it out while eating. I’d also add more chili paste, or possibly red curry paste. Though we added more lime juice when it was in the bowls, it kind of needed something, we’re not sure what. Oh, well – it was good to try something new.

Thai Chicken Soup

1 can (14 oz) coconut milk
1 can (14 oz) chicken broth
6 quarter-sized slices of fresh ginger
1 stalk lemongrass, cut in 1 inch pieces
1 pound boneless, skinless breast, cut into 1 inch chunks
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon Thai chili paste
1/4 cup each fresh basil and cilantro, julienned

In medium saucepan, combine coconut milk, broth, ginger, and lemongrass, and bring to a boil. Add chicken, lime juice, fish sauce, sugar, and chili paste. Reduce heat and simmer until chicken is firm and opaque, about 10 minutes. Serve garnished with basil and cilantro.

After I made the soup, I decided to go for a walk beside the ocean. The coast here is rough and rocky:

so more often than not you’re likely to be walking along those dangerous cliffs than on a sandy beach. These particular cliffs are not far from the Hooterville post office.

It was a clear, sunny day, though the temperature was only about 45 degrees (up from the morning’s 27). Here it seems that in the winter, clear = cold and rainy/cloudy = warmer. I guess the clouds act as insulation. But on Thursday, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky:

Well, maybe one.

2 responses so far

Nov 25 2010

Maverick

Published by under Family,Weather


Through the woods, if not over the river

How’s this for going rogue? We are skipping Thanksgiving!

Yes, on the busiest travel day of the year, when others were braving the fearsome pat-downs and the arrivals of in-laws, I just worked, walked on the haul road (above), and tried to stay warm on the coldest November 24 since 1892 (at least in San Francisco). No worries about cooking or blown diets or difficult guests.

It just kind of happened. Our brother is out of town, Lichen is camping in the Everglades, Erica is sick of driving Jessica to Hooterville every day to go to school, Megan is coming off her third night shift, and basically, none of us were feeling it.

So tonight – well, later on today – I’m making Thai chicken coconut soup for Thursday night dinner. Something new!

4 responses so far

Nov 24 2010

Chilly Scenes of Winter

Published by under Cats,Henry,Schatzi,Weather


Saturday morning hail

Ah, twenty-nine degrees. Bilingually unpleasant, both in Fahrenheit and Celsius. It happens to be the F version here in Hooterville this morning. We knew there was a freeze warning through tomorrow, so I brought in the orchid, fuchsia, geraniums, and marigolds, which were still valiantly blooming.

I also left the heater on at 52 degrees when I went to bed last night – about the temperature it usually is in the house in the morning if I leave the heater off, which I usually do. I heard it come on four times during in the night, meaning it was warming up the house to 52. And that’s just the times I heard.

Roscoe stayed Henry-style in the cozy bed by the heater all night, while Clyde (now being held in my left arm) slept on my pillow and Audrey slept beside me. As an aside, I think Clyde likes her and really wants to be her friend. He’s getting closer. Here they are a couple of days ago:

I’m up so early because I let Audrey out and didn’t want to leave her out there in the freezing cold for hours while I slept and didn’t hear her asking to come in. As I write, the frosty, almost-full moon is shining through the skylight, and I have a blanket around me. And she’s still playing around out there, so I may have once more been The Worrier.

It’s been a wintry kind of week. On Saturday, we had first hail of the season, and of the kittens’ lives. They were fascinated by the sight and sound of the hail, which was accompanied by thunder. I couldn’t see any lightning, but my sister, working an extra twelve hour shift, called me from work to ask me to check on Schatzi (Star was with Rob), and she said they had lightning in town.

I ran over there with a nearly-pointless umbrella, wearing my waterproof sneakers, and Schatzi was asleep, one of the benefits of losing one’s hearing, or nearly so. She was still happy to see me, though, so I petted her for while until she went back to sleep and I slid back home.

3 responses so far

Nov 22 2010

Filmy

Published by under Country Life,Movies

I know, I know – you’ve already read in “People” and the “National Enquirer” that I was at the the new “Harry Potter” movie on Friday, along with much of the country’s population. Granted, it is a little unusual for this country mouse to go out twice in one week – and in two different towns at that – so maybe I can understand all the media attention.

I was glad I had my nails done when I saw the guys from TMZ, though.

There were at least TEN PEOPLE, maybe twelve, in line in front of us, so I was at the paparazzi’s mercy as the line edged slowly forward. “Suzy, is this your life partner?” (No, it’s my sister. Yes, there isn’t much resemblance. No, I’m not lying.) “Suzy, is it true that Robert Pattinson and Daniel Radcliffe are really feuding over you?” (No comment.) “Suzy, are you going to replace Emma Watson as the face of Burberry?” (No comment.) “Are you going to get popcorn?”

It was relentless, I tell you. I was quite exhausted by the time I bought my ticket – you’d think they would have comped me – and ran to grab seats while Megan bought popcorn, giving the paps the answer to at least one of their questions.

My nerves were so frazzled that I could hardly bear the constant talking of the people behind us. One of them spent the entire movie explaining what was happening to their companion. Seemed to me that it would have been easier to read the books or see the other movies first so they’d know what was going on, but what do I know? After all, I’m probably a space alien in disguise.

Other than the ad hoc soundtrack, we both enjoyed the movie and are looking forward to the sequel in July. I couldn’t help but notice that a certain Draco Malfoy bore a surprising resemblance to a certain young man I know. Coincidence?

2 responses so far

Nov 20 2010

Goodbye and Hello

Published by under Cats,Family,San Francisco

audreycase
Welcome Home!

Note: Looks like the Doc fixed the comments. So comment away! Don’t be shy!

My last morning in San Francisco was nothing but a foodapalooza. I started out with breakfast at Polker’s, where I had eggs scrambled with fresh herbs, zucchini, and tomatoes, and enjoyed the parade of passers-by. I walked back to the motel in the sunshine, packed up the car, and headed back to Polk Street. First stop was Bob’s Doughnuts, with its perennially cheerful cashier, and next was Victor’s, where I picked up Thursday Night Dinner. Not exactly new, but the first time we’ve had it this year.

The last stop was the gas station, where it cost $41 to fill the car. Gas in the big city is $3.31 a gallon, instead of the relatively modest $3.03 in Fort Bragg. Good thing I can expense it.

I set off across the familiar Golden Gate Bridge, feeling a pang as always as the dreaming spires of San Francisco dwindled in the rearview mirror. I don’t think I’ll ever really feel that it’s not home.

I stopped off at Gowan’s fruit and vegetable stand. Here you can see some of their many apple trees:

gowans1

This is the view across the road. I love the rolling hills and the live oaks.

gowans2

When I got home, the cats were definitely happy to see me, even though Rob and Megan had spent time with them and petted them while I was gone. They have all slept with me every night since. This morning, I woke up to Roscoe sleeping against my chest (I sleep on my side, and he stretches out full length along my body), Clyde curled around my head with his head on my ear, and Audrey at my feet. I love hearing them purr until they fall asleep. The purr gets slower, then patchy, then there’s a big sigh and it’s dreamtime.

9 responses so far

Nov 18 2010

Past Imperfect

Published by under Calamity Suzy,San Francisco

IMG_0499
Yes, these sneakers cost the same as my used Manolos

[Note: For some reason, I know not why, the comments have turned themselves off. The Doc is on it. In the meantime, email me at sjpeakall@gmail.com. You’ll be glad you did.]

Guess what I did yesterday?

I bought a pair of sneakers!

That’s the sum total of my achievement.

And somehow, it took all day.

I took the bus downtown to buy new sneakers, or , as my father would say, plimsols. When I introduced my eternally fashionable stepmother to the concept of the sneaker, she tried them on and exclaimed with pleasure in her rich, plummy English accent, “They’re so gorgeously squashy!” She was a convert.

I, on the other hand, made the fatal error of buying cheap sneakers and wearing them for ~mumble~ years. They were no longer squashy, let alone gorgeously squashy. I leave that to my thighs. My feet finally rebelled after a long walk at Big River. My feet were still so sore the next day that I borrowed my sister’s Keens to wear to the city. Notice how Megan always has the right footwear and I never do.

The other mistake I made was my incorrect memory of where things are in the nebulous area south of Market Street. I got off the bus too early for my first stop, and had to walk for about 20 minutes to Ross in my unsuitable work shoes. At Ross, they didn’t have a thing I wanted. That’s the thing about Ross: they either have tons of things you want, or nothing.

Then I decided to walk to REI, which was also much further than I remembered. I spent over an hour trying on 5 pairs of shoes with the help of a very knowledgeable gentleman. He was horrified that I’d kept the same shoes for so long – apparently, 400-600 miles is the limit – and explained how my non-archy arches made my feet hurt. He was Russian and was an engineer at Apple down in Cupertino until they outsourced all the jobs to China and he was laid off.

So I spent $100 on sneakers for the first time in my life.

I wore them out of the store, thinking I could just grab a cab. Those of you who are wondering why I didn’t drive have never experienced the lack of parking in this compact city, or the exorbitant pricing of what parking there is. I thought public transit was a good idea. Shows what I know.

I couldn’t get a cab, and even wearing my new, gorgeously squashy sneakers, my feet hurt like hell. It took me 40 minutes and 0 cabs to get to Market Street, San Francisco’s Main Street. Surely, here I could get a cab.

Nope.

Eventually, I called one. I waited 20 minutes, and it hadn’t appeared. I called back, and they said, “Oh, he must have picked up someone else. We’ll send another one.” He showed up in 10 minutes, and I had to stop myself from kissing him and offering to marry him. Arriving at my hotel, I discovered that the maid was still cleaning, even though the cleaning cart had been next door when I left four hours earlier and the manager had asked if I wanted the room cleaned before I left and I said yes.

I went to call Megan and tell her I’d be home tomorrow and get a status update on the cats, who don’t seem to miss me, while the maid finished up. When I went back to my room, the card key didn’t work. I went to the office to get a new one.

It was the imperfect end to an imperfect day.

No responses yet

Nov 17 2010

Lovely

Published by under Jessica,San Francisco

Well, I committed a serious Tourist Error yesterday. Even worse than calling the city “Frisco” or “San Fran”, but not quite as bad as asking who the heck the Giants* are. I forgot to bring my camera with me when I met up with Erica and Jessica last night.

Needless to say, they looked lovely, Erica in a skirt she had made herself, and Jessica in a pink flowered dress and pearls. We relaxed in the lobby, with its deep, soft sofas by the fire, Erica and I having wine and Jessica a rare soda (she didn’t even know what Sprite was, and looked a little surprised after her first sip). Apparently, you get a free pizza with the drinks, so a good time was had by all.

The theater was right across the street, and it turned out to be same one I had gone to the last time I went to a play. This play was a musical, based on Neil Gaiman’s “Coraline”.

Since my addition to the party was last-minute, our seats weren’t together. We were expecting that, but we did not expect to be told that Erica’s and Jessica’s front-row center seats, bought before the tickets went on sale to the public, had been ripped out to make way for a prop well.

Their new and unimproved seats were several rows behind mine, in the second row. As the play progressed, I noticed that there were three open seats in front of me, so they could have corrected their error. As it was, Erica spoke with the Executive Director after the play, mentioning that Neal Gaiman himself had told Erica about the tickets in advance and said that Jessica would enjoy it.

Guess who’s getting front row tickets for a later performance?

This performance was a special one. It was a preview, so we were the first audience to ever see it (it opens on Saturday, officially). And as I said before, it’s a small space, so it feels very intimate and you really feel drawn into the story.

It was two hours past Miss Jessica’s bedtime, so I hopped in a cab and sped back to the hotel through the busy streets. It’s good to be home.

*So many windows, cars, and trucks have Giants signs displayed. Fire trucks are flying Giants pennants. So the excitement lives on!

Comments Off on Lovely

Nov 16 2010

Sunny

Published by under Jessica,San Francisco

apark2
A beautiful day in the neighborhood

When I finished my last meeting of the day, I found myself at Fisherman’s Wharf. I decided to walk back to the hotel via Aquatic Park. I love that place. I used to go there often when I lived here, especially if I was worried or troubled. I’d sit on the shallow stone wall at the beach with my feet in the sand and watch the waves. There was something soothing about it.

So today I did the same thing.

apark1

As you can see, it was a beautiful day. In this picture, you can see the Balclutha, one of the grand old ships at Hyde Street Pier. My brother used to work there. They had a great program where inner city kids would come and stay overnight on one of these old ships. They’d each take on a role (cook, able seaman, etc.) and have to do it using only materials available when the ship was active, in the mid 1800s. My brother loved doing it, and the kids did, too.

The cement seawall you see in the first picture is the Town Pier. You can walk all the way out on it. Some people fish off it, but given the fact that the number of Bay-caught fish you can eat in a year is restricted due to the pollution, it doesn’t seem like the best idea, but to each his own.

I called Rob to check in with him about the kitties. They were all fine, he said. He kept them all in after he gave them dinner last night, and hung out a while, petting them and watching TV. I knew it was a little silly to call – after all, as Rob pointed out, if there was something wrong, would I just pack up the car and come home – but I couldn’t help it. I’m sorry to say that I probably would pack up the car and come home. Jessica is right: I’m a worrier.

Speaking of Jessica: I am going to meet Jessica and Erica this evening for dinner and a play! Just when you thought this trip couldn’t get any better!

4 responses so far

Nov 15 2010

City Girl

Published by under San Francisco

nails
It’s been a productive day so far

On this bright, sunny morning, I packed up the car and headed toward San Francisco. One good thing about travelling by car instead of the parade of humiliations and inconveniences – all of which you pay for – that is now known as air travel is that you can pretty much bring whatever you want. I for one never go anywhere without at least two feather pillows. This time I brought along a DVD player, so I wouldn’t be subjected to the boredom of network TV and all those commercials. You know how I feel about boredom.

Traffic was good to me as I drove past the ocean and through the stands of ancient redwoods; past the rolling hills of Sonoma, golden and red with vine leaves, dotted with sheep and lambs. The extra lane now completed near Santa Rosa has made the traditional Santa Rosa slowdown a thing of the past. I don’t think I’ll miss it, though.

My heart lifted as it always does when I cross the Golden Gate Bridge and see my beautiful city, brilliant in the sunlight. It was a postcard day, the Bay dotted with lazy sailboats and hard-working ferries. I arrived at my modest motel, just a few blocks from my gracious former apartment, at about 2:00. I called Megan to tell her I arrived safely (thanks to my Mouse) and to thank her again for taking care of the kitties while I’m gone.

After I decanted everything into the room, I set my computer to download some Christmas movies for Jessica and wasted no time in going to Polk Street. First stop was the French bakery, where I wasted no time in indulging in a canelé de Bordeaux, my favorite:

cannele

It was heavenly.

Next up was more mundane shopping, such as picking up things I forgot to bring with me at Walgreens, and buying food for the kitties at Bow Wow Meow, where they have everything. They have bags and bags of the cat food I have to special order in Hooterville. Maybe I’ll stock up while I’m here.

Finally, I stopped in at my favorite cheap nail salon to get the lovely manicure you see above. Due to the hotel room light, it looks golden, but it’s actually silver and sparkly. Usually I get understated nail polish, like Essie’s Ballet Slipper or OPI’s Bubble Bath, but today I felt sparkly and went with OPI’s Happy Anniversary. It was so nice to feel pampered and watch the passers-by.

Plans for tonight include having Thai food delivered from my friends at Lemongrass and a drink or two while watching a movie. It’s well into the 70s today – hard to believe it’s the middle of November. Tomorrow I have to be up bright and early for a day full of meetings. I’ll try and fit some fun in, though.

4 responses so far

Nov 14 2010

The Kindness of Strangers

Published by under Country Life,Dogs

It was a beautiful day to take the dogs to Big River. It was also one of those days you get in Northern California where it’s in the thirties when you wake up and you’re wearing sweaters with the heater on in the morning, and by noon it’s in the sixties or even seventies, and you’re walking around in a t-shirt and wishing you’d worn your shorts.

The early rains we got this season meant that the little streams and brooks beside the path were laughing merrily over the water-smoothed stones. The dogs were happy to have a drink, though of course they also enjoyed the muddy puddles. Maybe puddles have extra flavor.

brook

Even though I know they’re pests and all that, I thought the plumy pampas were a great contrast with this witchy tree and the spiky hill in the background:

pampastree

I loved the look of the red fallen needles on the path:

path

The girls had a great time sniffing and bouncing along the path. Since it was such a nice day so late in the year, we ran into a lot of people. We were proud of how well the dogs behaved, even though one woman picked up her child when she saw that we had pit bulls. I’m sorry to say that this is not an uncommon experience, this dog racism. It did make me extra glad that the girls were so well-behaved.

One couple who immediately recognized the dogs as pit bulls had the opposite reaction. The husband had worked for many years training guide dogs, and he had Star literally eating out of his hand within minutes of meeting her. He asked if he could take her for a short run and bring her right back. We agreed, though later Megan and I both confessed to each other that we had about a half second hesitation in handing her over to a total stranger. The wife stayed with us and we chatted amicably.

Soon Star and her new friend came running around the corner of the path. I don’t know who was happier.

(You’ll have to click on the “StarMovie” link twice to see the movie. And wait for it after the QuickTime logo appears. It was so hard to get this in here at all that you’ll just have to go with it. Sorry about my technical shortcomings.)

StarMovie

Notice how she sat and was petted at the turnaround point. And the joyful leaps on the way back. It’s amazing how far she’s come since the first arrived in our lives.

3 responses so far

Nov 12 2010

Thursday Dinner Casserole

Published by under Cooking

casserole
Dinner’s ready!

As promised, I made something new for Thursday night dinner. Finally!

As usual, it was more delicious than it looks in the photo. I would not add “food stylist” to the skimpy credentials on my resume. As it is, the things I can do are odd and mostly not all that useful. My ability to select the most expensive piece in estate jewelry ads in “The New Yorker” springs to mind. Never made a penny from that one.

I should work harder (or at all) at my original 6th grade goal of becoming idle rich.

While I’m doing that, enjoy the new recipe. I hope to have another one for you next week, even if I’m not a millionaire by then. A girl can dream.

Sausage and Bean Casserole

1 medium onion, chopped
16 ounces smoked turkey sausage (I used Aidells garlic and artichoke), cut into 1/4 inch thick slices
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 & 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth (I used homemade)
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons tomato paste*
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cans (16 ounce) cannellini beans (or other white beans), drained
1 bay leaf
1/8 teaspoon cayenne (I used a few drops of Tapatio hot sauce)
3 slices bread (I used some fabulous artisan bread from the local bakery)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Preheat oven to 375.

Saute onion, garlic and sausage until browned, 5-10 minutes. Stir in chicken broth, scraping pan to loosen any browned bits. Stir in brown sugar, tomato paste, thyme, pepper(s), beans, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 5 minutes.

While the mixture is simmering, pulse bread in food processor until it forms coarse crumbs. The crumbs should measure about a cup and a half.

Pour mixture into casserole and sprinkle breadcrumbs over surface. Bake for 15 minutes, or until crumbs are browned. Sprinkle with parsley before serving.

*One of the many things I learned while living in Italy was to buy tomato paste in a tube. Keep it in the refrigerator after opening. You’ll always have tomato paste on hand, and you won’t have to worry about what to do with the rest of a can.

2 responses so far

Nov 11 2010

Updates

Published by under Cats

It turns out that I was over my quota, and that’s why the pictures wouldn’t load. So I did overdo it with the new camera. Fortunately, my fabulous friend (and hostess with the mostes’) Candi* doubled my capacity and fixed the problem. Let’s see how long it takes me to use it up!

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The cats are completely undeceived by the madness of the time change. This means that Audrey thinks any time after 4:00 am is the perfect time to wake me up so she can venture out in the cold darkness to do whatever it is that’s so important for her to do. I will never understand why she wants to go out in the cold and/or rain instead of staying warm and cozy in the house. Aren’t cats supposed to hate water?

They all tell me how hungry they are starting at 7:00 am (the new 8:00) and again around 4:00 (the new 5:00). Maybe we should listen to animals and our own instincts and make the madness stop. Are you with me?

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The boys have figured out that I’m actually available all night, and not just after Audrey goes out on her early morning prowl. Clyde in particular likes sleeping on my face or on my pillow. Roscoe tends to just curl up next to me, while Audrey is either on the foot of the bed or in her chair. So far, there hasn’t been much intra-feline growling and spitting, though there is the occasional bite to my nose and hands, thanks to the kittens. If I hide my hands under the covers, they just go under the covers to pursue the biting, which results in their ejection. They just boomerang back, though.

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They have also become inventive in their choice of toys.

The other day, Clyde appeared with something in his mouth, making that “Hey, I killed something! Aren’t you proud of me?” noise. On closer inspection, it turned out to be half of a battered mussel shell. I have no idea where he found it.

He enjoyed the clattering sound it made when he dropped it on the wood floor and batted it around much more than I did.

This morning, Roscoe showed up with something unidentifiable in his mouth, which was one of my woolen gloves:

roscoemitten

Apparently, he found the basket where I store my gloves, hats, and mittens and helped himself. No matter how many times I put the glove away, he still finds it.

Finally, here’s a picture of Clyde relaxing on Sunday afternoon:

clydelaundry

Doesn’t every basket of clean laundry need a nice, healthy dose of cat hair? Black is the new black.

*You can blame Candi for my blogging in the first place. She set it all up and got me started almost ten years ago, saying, “You have things to say and should have a place to say them.”

3 responses so far

Nov 10 2010

Frustrating

Published by under Bullshit

Well, WordPress no longer allows me to upload photos. I must have overdone it with my new camera. It’s frustrating, though, because I have lots of cool things to show you and no way to do it. Just telling without showing…not so fun.

If you’re a WordPress genius or a computer genius, let me know!

3 responses so far

Nov 09 2010

Afternoon Escape

Published by under Cooking,Country Life,Family,Movies

On Sunday, Megan and I got our chores out of the way in the morning, and then she came over to my house for a fun, girlie afternoon.

First, we put a load of her laundry in, and made ribollita soup for that night’s dinner. As usual, we had the ingredients between us, and as it simmered away, we watched “Sex and the City 2” and did our nails. We enjoyed it as much as we did when we saw it at the theater in the summer. It’s been a not great year with not great weather, and neither of us can remember the last time we actually went on vacation or even left the state*, so we need all the escapism we can get.

People have been asking me where the Thursday night dinner recipes are. The sad truth is that I haven’t made anything new recently. So this week, I have vowed to make something new. I have a couple of ideas in mind, but suggestions and recipes are always welcome!

*With only one month left to go this year, I have gone to San Francisco exactly once, for one night. And that’s the only non-Hooterville place I have been this year. You can see why I’m planning to let my passport expire for the first time in my entire life, including childhood. You don’t need one when you never go anywhere or do anything. $100 is a lot to pay for wishful thinking.

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Nov 08 2010

Wintery Walk

Published by under Country Life,Dogs,Family

friends
Friends

Friday was cloudy and threatening to rain, but Megan and I took the dogs with us to run some errands in the village. Afterwards, we took them for a walk on the headlands. That’s the thing about being a dog: you never know whether you’ll get stuck in the Safeway parking lot or get to run around in the woods. Dogs are always hopeful. There’s probably a lesson there somewhere.

We parked near this sign. I have no idea what it means. What do you think? Love is a one-way street?

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This one is much easier to understand, but it makes a girl a little nervous. Maybe Star should have read it last winter.

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Apparently, she can read now.

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Here’s the village in the cloudy distance:

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And the bridge over Big River in the distance, too.

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The ocean was feeling frisky, as it often does before a storm:

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But you’d never know it to see the sky reflected in these still pools.

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Even when the weather isn’t great, or we’re grocery shopping, or even driving all the way to Colusa and back in one day, I always have fun with my sister. I’m so lucky to have her in my life. And that goes for Star and Schatzi, too!

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Nov 07 2010

Sun Power

Published by under Country Life,Dogs,Family,Henry

The other day, I dropped by my brother’s place to inspect the solar array. That’s what they call it when solar panels are mounted. Who knew?

Of course, since it was my brother and his trusty assistant Rob, the panels were mounted with found and bartered materials. A neighbor lent them the welder they needed to create the hinges and other mounting gear. They learned how to weld from books I ordered from the library. We were all kind of surprised that they had never had to weld before. They both enjoyed learning how.

Here you see the solar panels mounted on the shipping container:

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My brother bought the shipping container when we emptied out Mom’s expensive and distant storage unit last year. Remember how fun that was? Especially for him.

The shipping container now holds that stuff, plus the batteries and other things that convert the sun’s power into electricity to give my brother light and power. I’m really proud of him for getting his power from the sun and water from the well he and Rob dug with their own hands. Plans are in the works for a windmill. More power to them!

Here you can see the hinges and fastenings that had to be welded.

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The solar panels can be tilted at different angles for summer and winter, to take the most advantage of the sunlight. It’s always warmer at my brother’s place, since he lives in a meadow with trees at the perimeter, instead of right in the woods like his sisters do.

Here are other panels waiting for their own array:

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When I had admired everything, I went to say hello to Henry Etta and tell her what had been happening lately. I also weeded around her resting place – still with its driftwood in place – and pulled out the starter manzanita and bull pine that seed themselves everywhere. Then I rearranged the leaves so it looked peaceful again. I find it comforting to know she’s safe and peaceful there.

After that, I took Star for a walk. Among her other qualities, it turns out that Star is what my brother calls “a good ranch dog”. This means that she stays in sight while they’re working and doesn’t get in the way or get startled by things like welding and power saws. Here you see her hanging out while they work:

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After the walk, I got in the car to go home. I soon realized that Star was following me. I stopped, and when I tried to get out, she tried to get in. I started back to where the boys were working, and she came, too. I put her in Rob’s truck, but the windows were open, so she jumped out. I brought her over to the boys and tried to walk away, but she followed me. In the end, Rob held onto her until I was safely out of sight.

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Nov 05 2010

Remembering

Published by under Special Occasions

And now back to our regularly scheduled program. Hope you didn’t mind the brief detours into the sporty and political.

As I mentioned in the Halloween post, the Town Hall had a beautiful exhibit of Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos) altars. For those of you who aren’t familiar with this ritual, it goes back thousands of years to indigenous people in Mexico. Altars are made for dead family and friends, including marigolds, decorated sugar skulls, and mementoes, and families go to cemeteries to visit their dead, celebrating them with food and drink. I love the idea of welcoming our lost loved ones into our lives.

The celebration occurs around Halloween, but isn’t related. In most parts of Mexico, November 1 is dedicated to children (Day of the Innocents or Day of the Little Angels) and November 2 to adults (Day of the Dead).

The Town Hall exhibit included both kinds. They were beautiful.

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For a life-long traveling salesman.

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This one could be for me.

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Monica coordinated this lovely remembrance of pets. I might contribute next year. I was too sad this year. I think it was too soon.

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For a little angel.

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I love the chintz suitcase.

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Frida Kahlo inspired.

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