Archive for April, 2015

Apr 29 2015

Marco

Published by under Dogs,Family,Friends

marcoMarco

Megan woke up after her fourth long night shift last week to find a series of texts from our dear friend Lu. Lu had taken her huge, sweet Rottweiler Marco to see Dr. Karen and discovered that he had the same cancer that claimed Lichen’s Rottweiler Padawan at this time of year a few years ago.

Marco’s cancer was so advanced that the bone in one of his legs was almost gone, unbeknownst to Lu and probably Marco, and had spread through his great chest, so it was clear that the time had come. As you may remember, Marco suddenly and inexplicably went blind three years ago, and I’m sure many people would have put him to sleep then. But Lu and Rik dabbed doorways and the location of his food and water bowls with different essential oils, so he could negotiate his way around the home he had lived in most of his life, and it worked well.

When Megan arrived at Lu and Rik’s house, Rik was giving Marco a warm bath in the outdoor clawfoot tub, a treat which Marco always loved. Tears were pouring down Rik’s face as Marco basked in the warm, soapy water. He enjoyed a towel dry before settling down in front of the heater, surrounded by family and friends. Dr. Karen’s dedicated staff made one last house call, making Marco’s farewell as peaceful and comfortable as possible.

Poor Harlow, his little sister (she and Marco can be seen together here), was very sad. Her forehead was wrinkled all evening, and she sniffed him carefully. At least she knew what happened – I would think it would be much harder for Harlow if Marco just disappeared one day. Hopefully she will adjust, along with Lu and Rik, but Marco leaves a big hole in our lives. He may have been 137 pounds, but the biggest thing about him was his heart.

Marco was too big to bury, so he was cremated. There is a local glassmaker who will make the ashes into a special piece of glasswork, so Marco will always be with the people who loved him. Sleep well, gentle giant. You are loved and missed.

A YEAR AGO: The other side of the circle of life, celebrating Jessica’s 11th birthday.

2 responses so far

Apr 25 2015

What’s for Lunch?

Published by under Cooking,Weather

sleepyclydeSleepy Clyde

On Friday night, I was enjoying a cocktail or three (sometimes my moderation tends to be on the immoderate side) while reading in bed with all three cats when I heard an unfamiliar sound. It was the pitter patter of little raindrops! This morning, I was delighted to find half an inch of the rain in the rain gauge. Especially because now I don’t have to choose between feeling guilty about watering (the drought!) or not watering (the plants!).

I was less delighted by the sight of Roscoe throwing up his breakfast, though at least I was able to get him off my beautiful new rug and onto the much easier to clean distressed wood floor. He is still recovering from the scratch on his head and another one on his throat. He really has to stop being so careless of his beauty. As I write, he is curled up asleep on the bed, which I made around him. There is nothing cozier than a sleeping Roscoe, and somehow he manages to look dignified when he’s asleep. And scratched up.

While Roscoe enjoyed his beauty sleep, I made some lunches for during the week. Thinking up something to make for lunch for every day is almost as challenging as coming up with professional looking outfits for every day. I made some curried chicken salad with apple, celery, and raisins, and tried a new recipe for:

Roasted Sweet Potato and Quinoa Salad With Mango Balsamic Vinaigrette

For the salad:

1 small sweet potato, unpeeled, diced into bite-sized pieces
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup quinoa
1/2 cup black beans
1/4 red pepper, diced
2 cups salad greens
1 tablespoon dried cranberries
1 tablespoon salted sunflower seeds

For the dressing:

1/4 cup mango, fresh or frozen
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 400ºF.

Place the sweet potatoes in a bowl, add oil, and stir to coat. Sprinkle with a touch of salt and pepper. Spread evenly on a pan, and roast for 20 or so minutes, stirring a couple times, until the potatoes are soft.

Place the quinoa and half a cup of water in a covered pot on high. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, and cook for 15 to 20 minutes or until the liquid is all soaked up and the quinoa is tender.

Puree the mango with the balsamic vinegar and water, and set aside.

Allow the roasted potatoes and quinoa to cool to room temperature. Mix with the black beans, red bell pepper, dried cranberries, and sunflower seeds. Toss with dressing and greens when ready to eat.

A YEAR AGO: A visit to the de Young Museum.

2 responses so far

Apr 23 2015

Perfect Day

Birthday girl.Birthday Girl

As you know, Jessica’s twelfth birthday was April 15, but we celebrated it a couple of days later, on a Saturday – about the only day of the week we can all get together now. And celebrate it we did! We started off by meeting at Franny’s Cup & Saucer in beautiful downtown Point Arena. Jonathan joined us, adding an uncle to the auntourage, and there wasn’t enough room in Franny’s teacup sized establishment to fit us all at once as we perused the pastries and chocolates in the glass case.

Eventually, we repaired with our choices to the bench outside and shared them while chatting. I observed to Jessica that she wouldn’t want to do this kind of thing much longer since she was growing up, and she replied “Hormones don’t make you stupid!” Thinking of some beaux in my distant past, I said, “Oh yes, they do, “ and she said, “Not that stupid! You will always be fabulous!” accompanied by a hug.

We had enough time to stop by the pier at Point Arena and watch the surfers skimming over the waves:

surfer

I was amazed by their skill in maneuvering through the rough waters and avoiding the many jagged rocks in the bay.

We made our way to the B. Bryan Preserve, where we were joined by two fair sized groups. It soon became clear that this was a much fancier deal than it was nearly two years ago, when Megan and I had our magical safari together: just us and Frank, the curmudgeonly guide. I’m glad for their success, but I’m also glad that Megan and I have that special enchanted memory together.

After the mini talk about the Preserve’s mission to save and breed these beautiful, endangered animals, we loaded into a 1967 Range Rover, equipped with a canvas roof and apparently not equipped with shocks, which were plenty as we jounced over the rough terrain.

Jessica feeding a giraffe from the Land Rover.

Unlike our earlier trip, we stayed in the Range Rover for most of the tour, though we also drove right into the vast, fenced fields where the zebra and antelope played. Also unlike last time, when Frank admonished us that this wasn’t a petting zoo (it still isn’t), we could actually pet a few month old Grevy’s zebra, little Karen Sue:

karensue

Her mother died giving birth to her, and Karen Sue was saved by none other than our dear vet, Dr. Karen – hence her name. Since Karen Sue was hand raised, you can pet her, but those days will end when she joins the regular herd in the next few months. So this was a special treat. And those teddy bear ears are as soft as they look. I imagine I am one of the very few people who has stroked a live Grevy’s zebra.

We ended at the Rothschild giraffes, where Sonny, Buster and Jagger (my favorite from last time) have been joined by two more brothers. In fact, Frank was on his way to pick up the “new” boys after our last tour. Like Megan and me, Jessica was charmed by feeding the giraffes. There really is nothing like seeing one swooping down toward you, their huge, soulful eyes, fake looking lashes, and black tongues. You really haven’t lived until you’ve kissed a giraffe.

jagger

At the end of the tour, Jessica pronounced it “Totally awesome” while jumping up and down. We then headed to Anchor Bay, where some of the best Thai food ever is to be found and enjoyed. Just like the Preserve, Megan and I were the only ones in our party to have been there before, and we couldn’t wait to share its joys.

Just like the Preserve, everyone was delighted and impressed. We shared our dishes and still had enough to take home and enjoy another night. We kissed Erica and Jessica goodbye and headed home as the sun set over the glorious Pacific. The immortal Lou Reed put it best when he sang, “Oh, it’s such a perfect day/I’m glad I spent it with you.”

A YEAR AGO: Meetings and manicures.

4 responses so far

Apr 20 2015

Fourteen

Published by under Memories

My blog turns 14 today! Can you believe it? And can you believe that I actually remembered?

So many things have changed since I first started this blog, though my lack of techspertise isn’t one of them. I wanted to make a list comparing the changes, tried a couple of plug ins to no avail, and ended up with old fashioned HTML (with limited success). You have been warned.

Then

  • Married
  • Living in San Francisco
  • Owning now million dollar art deco apartment with walk in closets and view of the Golden Gate Bridge from the roof. No parking for 1966 Mustang convertible (paid off).
  • Both parents alive.
  • Making enough money to go to Europe every year, not worry about paying the mortgage, and able to buy art and books.

Now

  • Not
  • Living in the boonies
  • Renting hippie hovel with no closets, no insulation, and no counter space. Lots of parking for 2008 Fusion (still paying it off), though.
  • Both parents dead.
  • Constant fears of how to pay rent and bills. Can’t remember the last time I went on vacation. Let passport expire for the first time in my entire life since I hadn’t used it in 12 years and couldn’t afford the requisite $150.
  • Of course, constants in my life are cats (though not the same ones; John still has Jack, the last of the cats we had together) and my family, to whom I am closer and more grateful for than ever. It will be interesting to see what the next fourteen years bring.

    A YEAR AGO: Happy blogday to me!

    6 responses so far

    Apr 18 2015

    Updates

    Published by under Cats,Family

    brothersBrothers

    The cats seem to enjoy my new schedule as much (or as little) as I do. Clyde the mama’s boy has reverted to his endearing, though awkward, habit of sleeping on my head, and even Her Audreyness sits on my lap as much as possible – when she’s not demanding to be let in or out or chasing dogs, that is.

    As for the Mysterious Mr. Roscoe, he is his elusive and glamorous self, basking on the balcony in the spring sunshine or napping on top of the armoire, which has the advantages of being warm, topped with a quilt, and impossible to sneak up on.

    The other evening, I petted his head and knocked off a scab, which in turn revealed an alarming amount of ickiness. He must have had a scratch that got infected. And he already has a huge scratch on his throat which has been healing up for a while. I cleaned out the scratch as best I could, applied Vetericyn, and hoped for the best while Roscoe hid in horror. I feel like a bad parent for not noticing earlier, but at least he’s on the mend.

    Speaking of on the mend….Megan took Rob to the County seat for an appointment with a specialist who may have come up with a non narcotic way of dealing with the pain caused by Rob’s crumbling spine. As you may recall, Rob has had two surgeries on his neck over the past few years, and he isn’t eager to do an encore. Based on the experience he had at the new doctor’s, though, he may be able to put it off indefinitely.

    The doctor numbed the nerve, and it basically eliminated the pain. Since it worked well, the doctor will kill the nerve with radio waves, and that should last about a year. The nerve may grow back, and it may grow back in a different place, but it can just be re-zapped with no side effects to Rob. He happened to be walking past my house when I got home from work, and you should have seen how happy he looked. Seeing Rob happy makes me happy, too.

    A YEAR AGO: A less than fun day.

    2 responses so far

    Apr 14 2015

    A Peek at the Past

    Published by under Country Life

    On a sunny Saturday afternoon, Megan and I made our way to the Hooterville school for a lecture on local history. As we pulled into the parking lot, we met our friend who helped to create the giant garden over at the family property, and whose family also sold The Byrds’ Gene Clark his home in Hooverville many years ago. His dog stayed in his yellow truck as we walked into the school together.

    Everyone who was anyone was there, including our brother. We found seats* – no one likes sitting at the front of the class – and settled in for the lecture. It was given by an archaeologist and local historian, who had clearly spent a lot of time researching the area.

    Hooterville, like San Francisco itself, was a federal land grant to legendarily opportunistic English sea captain William Richardson. It appears that Richardson never lived here, or possibly ever set foot on its distant shores (I can’t imagine how long it would have taken to get here in 1850). Since he died bankrupt, ownership of Hooterville was the subject of legal wranglings for many years until the matter was finally settled by the Supreme Court, who granted ownership to Richardson’s creditors. Let the logging begin!

    It’s hard to believe that there was ever a busy mill complex:

    albionmill

    located beneath the now iconic bridge (built in 1944, relatively recently):

    albionbridge

    and that no trace now remains of the bustling industry there.

    There were several fires over the years, and the mills were rebuilt each time, adding a company store and even a hotel. Workers could buy items from the company store on credit and have the cost deducted from their future pay. My guess is this system meant that workers got little, if any, cash and probably ended up owing their employers.

    The company store did not sell alcohol, so in true Hooterville fashion, a store opened which did and which also had a pay phone. I’m happy to report that the store and pay phone are still there, and are still the heart of Hooterville. I was particularly thankful for both when Miss Scarlett met her untimely end a couple of years ago.

    Logging at Hooterville came to an end in 1930 or so. The mill shut down and was abandoned for several years before being razed into oblivion to make way for building the bridge. Now the same area is home to RV parking, a little café and shop. The steep road/path leading to it, the ocean and cliffs and wild beauty of the area are little changed.

    A YEAR AGO: Playing on the beach with Megan and Stella.

    *They were incredibly uncomfortable and butt numbing. It was both a relief and a difficulty to stand up, reminding me of Martin Landau in “Ed Wood” saying, “This is the most uncomfortable coffin I’ve ever been in.”

    2 responses so far

    Apr 10 2015

    Playing

    Published by under Family,Friends,Special Occasions

    I’ve been quite the cultural maven lately.

    Just a couple of weeks ago, Megan and I enjoyed a breathtaking performance of A Streetcar Named Desire, beamed all the way from London to our little corner of the world. And just a couple of days ago, Megan and I met up with Lu and Jennifer for dinner and a play. So sophisticated!

    We picked Jennifer up at the property, where she and Dave are hopefully going to start building their home this year, and headed to the Village, where we met up with Lu. We ordered a pizza, salad, and a bottle of local wine and headed upstairs to grab a table under the cozy eaves while dinner was being made.

    It was nice to laugh and talk as we shared dinner. I had thought we’d given ourselves way too much time, but before we knew it, it was time to head to the theater. We took our seats in the second row and prepared to enjoy the classic Gaslight. As soon as the lights went down and the play started, we were caught up in the magic and the drama, and we all thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

    There were some differences between the movie, starring Ingrid Bergman and the evilly suave Charles Boyer, and the play, but I was the only one in our group who had seen the movie, so I was alone in my dramatic mental comparing and contrasting. I think the theater did very well with a minimal set:

    IMG_1581

    and a minimal cast, including the actor who played the father in Other Desert Cities and now played the Inspector who rescues the damsel in distress. This year’s season also includes performances of Mauritius and The Normal Heart, which we would all like to see, so there are other lovely evenings in my future.

    A YEAR AGO: Playing with Stella on the beach.

    One response so far

    Apr 06 2015

    In Vein

    Published by under Calamity Suzy,Jessica,Schatzi,Work

    Poor Change! No-one loves you, including Me.

    Especially when it includes working eight five days a week. It’s been fifteen years or so since I did that, meaning that I was younger and, as Jessica put it when she herself was much younger, “fresher*”. I also did not have to drive more than an hour a day to do it (in fact, my car problem then consisted mostly of finding parking for my 1966 Mustang convertible, Josephine). And I had a wonderful cleaning lady who came every other week and cost a mere $50 a pop.

    Alas, none of these things are still the case, so I’m leaving the house around 7 am and getting back around 5, if I’m lucky. Unfortunately, the person I now work for is a night owl and tends to get to work around 10, whereas my preference is to get in early and get it over with, so I’m hoping we can find something that works for both of us.

    Having said that, though, she is very nice, and I actually have an office again, though it is a mess:

    IMG_1577

    I am hoping that I can bring some order to the chaos and prettify it soon.

    One of the things about working at a medical facility, even in administration, is that you have to be up to date on your immunizations. They scheduled me for a series that is required for all women under 40, and when I revealed the Awful Truth, they revised it to a blood test to make sure that I was immune to whatever these things are.

    So I went over to get my blood taken, but the Calamity Suzy Factor made sure that it did not go as planned. It turns out that my veins are the only things about me that are not shallow, so the poor nurse spent a lot of time prospecting for a useful one with no result, much like a botched execution. Also? Those tourniquet things hurt. I don’t know how junkies do it.

    As the search continued, I began to feel a little light headed and then nauseous, so the search was called off. The nurse gave me juice and peanut butter crackers and sat me by an open window until I felt better. To be fair, I hadn’t eaten in about 16 hours, but it was still a little on the embarrassing side. She was really nice about it, and apparently we will try again another day. Wish me luck!

    *When Jessica was small, she noticed the difference in the energy level between Schatzi and my mother’s much older dog. Megan explained that Schatzi was younger, and Jessica nodded, saying, “Schatzi is much fresher!”

    A YEAR AGO: An evening at the theater.

    One response so far

    Apr 02 2015

    Throwback Thursday: Suzy Edition

    Published by under Family,Friends,Memories

    As I mentioned, there were photos of Me in the care package John sent after Ramona’s death, and I thought I’d share some with you.

    Here I am with my mother’s father, Hoho, at what seems to be one of my very first Christmases. That’s a photo of Mom with her cat Smokey on the shelf beside us:

    suzy1

    Nana and Hoho had their Christmas tree in the front parlor, which had 7 foot high windows and a beautiful fireplace. I recently made the mistake of stalking the house on line, and discovered that egregious renovations had been done to its Victorian magnificence, but the beautiful fireplace remains*.

    This time, Daddy’s Daddy is holding a fancily dressed me:

    suzy2

    For some reason, I seem to think that this is my third birthday party. Daddy’s Daddy is looking at me like I’m from another planet. Maybe it’s my freakishly square, yet blobby head. I once told my Dad that I thought I was an ugly baby, and he responded matter of factly, “Yes, I felt quite sorry for you.” Side note: I bet that plant on the sideboard didn’t make it.

    This is Jonathan and me at a house we rented in Kent before Megan was born:

    suzy3

    Even then, we loved cats!

    I’m in my early 20s here. I still love that hair! Even though it’s my natural color:

    suzy5

    You might think I’m wearing jeans, but they are actually linen pants which I dyed. I’m looking up a profiterole recipe for Megan’s birthday.

    My dear friend A, she of the near-fatal illness a few years ago, took this picture of me not far from her 17th century home in the red light district of Amsterdam:

    suzy6

    We always had such a great time together. One of these days, I hope to get to London to visit her. A girl can dream. And remember the past with love.

    *The attic also remains untouched. When I was a girl, Smokey’s bed was still up there, though Smokey himself was long gone.

    A YEAR AGO: Clyde is a merry little outlaw.

    2 responses so far