Friday, November 27, 2009
Between the little girl and Mafia Wars, my life is pretty sweet. The female human is a soft touch and sneaks me ham, turkey, bacon and other meat treats. I surf the dogs food and water as I please. The couch is mine. I even race outside every few nights to do my business in the garden and test the chilly night air--and I just like making the human female sit on the couch waiting for me to be ready to come back in. Life is good. I am still enormous.
Monday, October 05, 2009
The female human noticed I was gone immediately when she came back in the front door and went to close the back door behind the deerhound. The last she had seen me I was snoozing on the back of the couch, then I was gone. I heard her standing in her bare feet on the wet deck calling for me in the dark. She sounded pretty frantic but trying to hide it and be perky and upbeat, "Ernie! Here kitty, kitty, kitty! I have some tuna for you!" When I ignored her (there were things to smell in the backyard and I knew she couldn't see me), she went back inside. She came out a few minutes later with a box of something crunchy sounding that she rattled saying "Ernie, dinner time!" Hah. Like I was going to be fooled by that box of the kid's goldfish crackers.
Finally the door to the garage under the deck opened the light from inside streamed out, and she came out calling for me. Even though it was drizzling a bit and I'm not so fond of the rain (cat and all), I made her wait. I let her walk all the way to the end of the driveway right before she would've had to walk out onto the grass of the backyard and I watched as she hesitated walking out there in her bare feet. Then I slipped in behind her and sauntered into the open garage. When she turned around and saw me, "Ernie! (sigh of relief) I'm so glad you're back. Come on in now for some tuna.", I nonchalantly sat down, washed one paw and waited for her to coax me back in.
Sure enough, she opened a can of Spam for me (though I had to share it with the dogs). She fretted about the sodium, but she couldn't find the tuna and she wanted to reward me for coming back in (sucker, I have her trained now) so she gave me (and those dogs--you should've seen that spaniel slather) the Spam (and lots of fresh water). I was dignified. Yeah, I trotted after her a bit quickly as she headed to my food dish, but can you blame me? I'll say it again: Dry Diet Senior Cat Food. Blech.
Tomorrow I heard that Dee is coming with more tribute--this time in the form of bacon treats. It's about time!
My night on the porch taught me one good thing though, I need to have more of a presence around here--no more days under the bed. It's time to sleep on top of it--make the humans move. I have finally located the refrigerator in this house, and another good place to sprawl is right in front of it. Every time the humans open the door there is always the possibility that something yummy will drop out, and even if it doesn't, if they are cooking, they will get so irritated at having to step over or around me that they'll give me a treat just to get me to move.
Last night the humans here had friends over for dinner. One of the guests brought tuna. I could smell it, but no matter how closely I clung to his leg or how nicely (loudly) I asked, he would not give me any. He said it was because it was a Thai salad and had a very spicy sauce on it that wouldn't be good for my stomach lining. Whatever. But he made it up to me at dinner by feeding me tidbits of baked chicken with chevre at the table. The humans here initially thought this was a Bad Idea, but the females succumbed readily enough. I now rule. I did let the male guest know that I was still miffed about the tuna by taking a bit of his finger with the chicken (but that could also have been just a slip because these were the first treats anyone had given me since I arrived and I was hungry and tired of diet dry food).
Today I have made my place on the back of the couch here I can watch the rain and snore. Loudly. Ah, just like home.
(Hey! The female human just sat down in her chair with a chocolate donut... I wonder if she'll share?)
Saturday, October 03, 2009
I think my former landlady needs to have a talk with these people. I mean, I climb all the way up those stairs to get under the bed, and I'm pooped! Downstairs they have a bathroom with a glass and tile cabinet in it where they keep my litter box, food and water. They also have another cabinet just like it in the bathroom right off their bedroom, but, hey, no litter box, no water, no food, zip, zilch, nada.. I walked up to the glass door while the man was in the bathroom today and I told him--loudly, he doesn't seem to hang on my every syllable yet--that I thought there should befacilities in there too so I could avoid that annoying spaniel that hangs out on the top stair (he's not allowed upstairs--thank heaven for small mercies). The man ignored me! Can you imagine? The little girls is still my slave though, she accompanied me downstairs this evening and kept the spaniel out of my way.
Still no bacon, nothing but this dry diet stuff. But one more day of the big pitiful-eyed look, and they'll come around.
Friday, October 02, 2009
After I got out of the crate last night I spent the night in a bathroom with a litter box, a cat bed (I preferred to sleep in the corner under a lean-to of plastic bin lids), a water dish and some kind of limitless food dispenser. I've got to say, I was pretty jazzed about the food until I tasted it. Blech. Dry, diet cat food. I must've died and gone to hell. Where's the bacon?!? I was told there'd be bacon here, and tuna, and fish... All I have so far are a couple of stinking dogs and diet cat food!
Oh yeah, I apparently also have a little girl. I spent the day under the big humans' bed--no, I wasn't sulking, I just wanted to be by myself and away from Those Dogs for awhile. Anyway, the little girl went off to some place called school this morning (she wanted to take me with her, I'm glad the big humans said no) and she earnestly promised me she'd be home soon to cuddle me. When she got home, I wouldn't come out from under the bed. The big female human had come upstairs earlier in the day, and when she called me, I came right out because I was sure she had brought me an offering of bacon. But no, she carried my downstairs and put me next to her on the back of the couch to pet me. All the while the dogs kept giving me the hairy eyeball because they wanted her to pet them and she kept scolding them and telling them to get down and leave me alone. Hey guys, this wasn't MY idea!
Now I've taken control of this communication device, and I'll use it to keep the word about my captivity in the south coming out. Uh, oh. She's home and calling for me... something about introducing me to the bunny. More joy.
Tuesday, September 08, 2009
After Note: Moved the video to YouTube as they have better quality than MobileMe and don't require downloading anything to watch the video (Becky got prompted to download some Mac something or other yesterday from MobileMe and so missed seeing Tuffy's antics).
Saturday, September 05, 2009
Another thing about bunnies, they are the *perfect* kudzu-eating machines. We ran out of lettuce5r8g[[[[[[[g[[[[[[[[[oooi] (Jasmine had to add a bit to my typing and paraded over my keyboard--Dave's big worry was that she would pee and ruin a $2,000 laptop...). So anyway, we ran out of lettuce earlier today (she may be a bunny, but she eats like a horse--reminds me of Keith's turtle who only wanted to eat strawberries) so when we got home tonight and had to feed her, I went down into the backyard and stripped off a bunch of kudzu vines. Then J and I stripped all the leaves off the vines and filled the cage with them (spritzed with water as she still doesn't drink out of a water bottle). See how she likes them? Then it was cuddle time with various members of the family. I think she makes a great hat for Dave.
Monday, August 24, 2009
The Top 10 jokes were judged to be:
• 1) Dan Antopolski - "Hedgehogs - why can't they just share the hedge?"
• 2) Paddy Lennox - "I was watching the London Marathon and saw one runner dressed as a chicken and another runner dressed as an egg. I thought: 'This could be interesting'."
• 3) Sarah Millican - "I had my boobs measured and bought a new bra. Now I call them Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes because they're up where they belong."
• 4) Zoe Lyons - "I went on a girls' night out recently. The invitation said 'dress to kill'. I went as Rose West."
• 5) Jack Whitehall - "I'm sure wherever my dad is; he's looking down on us. He's not dead, just very condescending."
• 6) Adam Hills - "Going to Starbucks for coffee is like going to prison for sex. You know you're going to get it, but it's going to be rough."
• 7) Marcus Brigstocke - "To the people who've got iPhones: you just bought one, you didn't invent it!"
• 8) Rhod Gilbert - "A spa hotel? It's like a normal hotel, only in reception there's a picture of a pebble."
• 9) Dan Antopolski - "I've been reading the news about there being a civil war in Madagascar. Well, I've seen it six times and there isn't."
• 10) Simon Brodkin (as Lee Nelson) - "I started so many fights at my school - I had that attention-deficit disorder. So I didn't finish a lot of them."
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
I am finally caught up on sleep after months of running full out (there were days here I slept 13 hours straight). It is so silent and dark up at the lake that the chattering of one small squirrel in the morning is enough to jar you momentarily awake. Dave did not get a vacation--he worked the whole time we were here, but I hope even he is taking a little bit of rest and peace back with him to Austin. If not peace and rest, at least a respite from the intense southern heat.
Northwestern Montana is about the best kid's vacation there is. You can spy on deer, wild turkeys, bats, and black squirrels. You can catch feral bunnies (and maybe even keep them!), pick cherries and chokecherries, and play with Gramma, Grampa, Gramma's bird Sam, and Grampa's dog Jig (that's Mister Jiggles to you). You sleep quickly and deeply every night, and your days are filled with swims in the lake, rock-collecting expeditions, kayaking, paddling in the paddle boat, and waking up every day to the fresh-air-filled wonder of the wild mountains.
This is one of the best fruit years I can remember. The huckleberries are dark and plentiful, the cherry tree limbs sagged with black fruit, and the apple and pear trees are almost ready to start shucking their fruit. In fact, one of the apple trees in the neighbor's orchard started tossing apples at us tonight as we sat watching the deer. To thank Candy and her daughter Ann (our neighbors with the orchard) we got a bouquet of local farm stand flowers that J presented them on our last day.
We bought huckleberries (five pounds) at a roadside fruit stand the other day, and the neighbor with the orchard let Dave, J and me pick all the sweet cherries we wanted. In under half an hour from one tree we had over 14 lbs of the most luscious, ripe bing cherries I have ever tasted. mid-August is the best time for cherries--they're too ripe to pick and ship, and in a week they will be rotting on the trees. but for now they are bursting with perfect black juice. J and I pitted and froze them all in single layers on cookie sheets and then bagged them to bring home. We froze the Huckleberries the same way, but there's no need to pit them.
Then I discovered ripe chokecherries out back at my grandparents' cabin and convinced Dave and the J to help me pick 3 lbs of them from one clump of bushes. Chokecherries are very small, acerbic berries with big pits--not much at all to speak of when they're fresh. They are a native American cherry (prunus virginiana) found all over the US except the deep south. The American Indians made pemmican and wojapi from them, and my grandmother Jessie used to make syrup from the ones my uncle Ed and I picked. I remember sitting up here at the lake and putting that syrup on the sourdough pancakes that my Grampa Cecil would make us all for breakfast. Sweet memory, sweet syrup. I froze mine whole--like the huckleberries--and will make syrup, wine, or some other treats with them this fall back in Atlanta.
We all saw more deer this year than we have in previous years too. There is a doe with twin fawns, and another doe with a singleton fawn that graze by the cabin and in the adjacent orchard. A few properties down the lane two yearling bucks, two older bucks and a small herd of other does and fawns frolicked every evening in a larger orchard. The llamas that have lived around the corner for several years are sadly gone, replaced by a roaming flock of wild turkeys, but there is a small herd (gaggle? parliament? symphony?) of yaks a little further down--next to the restaurant that has all the feral bunnies living under the deck. Of course the times I wanted to photograph wildlife all I had was my iPhone--I had left the good camera at the cabin. So if you squint through one eye and enlarge the photos a bit, you can see the bunnies, yaks, and turkeys in the accompanying pics.
Montana brings me back to my childhood with a vengeance, so much so that one night when we were having dinner at the restaurant with the wild bunnies living under the deck and J asked if she caught a bunny could she keep it, I gave the answer I always wished my mother would give and said yes. Of course I never thought she'd actually catch one, but my child is patient, perseverant and resourceful. Welcome to the family, little Jasmine. A sweeter bunny, I could not imagine.
As a last farewell gesture, J honored Montana with the loss of a tooth today. Well, I pulled it out for her before she swallowed it! Now we just need to hope the tooth fairy can find us here (and has enough cash to pay for the tooth!).
Sunday, August 09, 2009
The daughter was the 911 dispatcher for Troy before she had the baby, and her last day of work was a doozy. According to her mother, most of the 911 calls in Troy (population 957) are to get licenses and a host of other administrative type things interspersed with the occasional my-neighbor's-mad-at-me-and-filled-my-mailbox-with-horse-manure calls. But on her last day, she heard the burglar alarm go off at the Booze N' Bait (I can't make this stuff up). The Booze N' Bait is listed in the Troy yellow pages under the categories: clothing, hunting and fishing supplies, liquor stores, pawn brokers, and non-resident snowmobile use permits and is the only listing in each of those categories.
When the sheriff arrived, he found two guys waiting in a brand-new (as in one-day-old) pick-up truck and another guy hauling loot out of the store. Now these three were out-of-staters--they'd crossed over from Idaho to to wreak mayhem and maybe their sense of direction wasn't so good. When the guys in the truck saw the sheriff, they peeled off and headed down the road... but not back towards Idaho, instead they headed off towards Libby Montana the next town over and home of the county jail. Rumor has it that when they discovered their mistake--and that the only way back to Idaho was back through Troy where they would be spotted--they decided to create a diversion by setting their friend's new truck on fire and heading off into the woods where one got lost and the other fell off a cliff into the river. They were eventually both apprehended. The official news story reads a bit more dryly, but is entertaining nonetheless.
Today it is overcast and 69 degrees with a light breeze and abundant free wi-fi--which brings me back to our waitress for a second. When we left after breakfast I told her we were going to find some wi-fi and enjoy the passing of the day and she said "I like to call it wiffee. If you look on the internet, it says we have it here, but it doesn't work 'cause the owner can't remember the password." I am so home!
Yesterday we had a lovely stroll through the Missoula farmer's market which was full of farmers of varied ethnicities from hippies of all ages, to our Hmong community, to a larger-than-expected eastern European/former Soviet Union population (Russian, Ukrainian, Croatian, Serbian, Uzbekistani--who knows). We bought huckleberries, basil, little cucumbers, green beans and beautiful fingerling potatoes for Dave to turn into a feast when we're back at my parents' house.
Now I think it's time for a nap... Happy Sunday all!
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Four almost-fledged babies popped out of the nest and rambled around the porch over the weekend. Late last night there were only three alive and one sad, still one down on the floor in the corner. The parents were nowhere around, and the remaining three babies were huddled on the cement collar around the middle of the post.
I worried and fretted about them and went to wild bird sites on the Internet for guidance. If all is well, I learned, the mother will be back at sunrise to feed them, and she will continue feeding them every 15-20 minutes throughout the day. I went to bed resolved to wake Jessie early and send her out for worms or maybe to buy mealworms today at the pet store if Mom doesn't show up (shades of the year before last and the blind little sparrow who hatched on the same porch column).
This morning I went out to check on them and they were all in the same place with no Mom in obvious site. When I went over to look at them, two flew away and the third huddled deeper into the corner. I looked at him more closely and one of his wings is either deformed or just not all the way fledged. I hope it's the latter. While I was examining him, Mom flew by the outside of the screen and scolded me so I felt better about their situation and left them be.
Now I sit at my desk starting my day, and I wait for Mom to return to feed them. They have all moved from the column to the porch floor. It's chilly this morning so they are all huddled together for warmth. Maybe the one with the not-right wing fell and the other two flew down to share body heat and hungry cheeps with him.
Mom has been back, but Darwin is proving right. The two more developed fledglings are out-competing the little one for food. I'm afraid he is not going to make it through the day. In the spirit of non-interference interfering, I moved a shred of the nest from the column to the railing by the hole in teh screen and put the littlest bird in it. I figured the nest material would help him conserve body heat--and therefore energy--and putting him by the entry to the porch would make it easier for Mom to feed him. He was quickly joined there by his nest mates who snatched all the food form Mom when she showed up.
Nature is cute, warm and cuddly from afar. Up close, not so much.
Tuesday, May 05, 2009
I scrape my tongue, use a neti pot, and gargle with turmeric and salt water every morning. I meditate for 10 minutes after I drink my warm clarified butter (started with 1 t. per day and am moving up to 7 per day by the end) followed by a hot water chaser. I haven't been too good about doing yoga every day yet, but I'm working up to it. It's been 14 years since I did yoga and the simplest poses are now the hardest for me (child's pose, e.g.). Anytime I have to sit with my legs tucked under me it's almost impossible. I think my thighs have expanded too much... But I'll get better, and I hope to start doing it more often--even if only in our basement while Dave works out on the treadmill. Now to work!
Friday, March 13, 2009
The things that I was so afraid were going to be impossible have been almost trivially easy--thanks in large part to Jessie, my very helpful little angel. I am on top of all the tasks I normally manage--my business, the tax papers, the finances, etc.,--and I have neatly folded in the groceries, the cooking, the cleaning, the laundry, and the care and feeding of the J (including nightly reading, baths and transporting to and from school). I even have playdates and sleepovers planned.
But the things I thought I could handle--the temporary separation, the sleeping and waking alone--those have been really tough. The days are not so bad. J and I follow a schedule (how else would we get everything done?), we do our chores, we share life and cuddle. But at night, when I sleep, my non-rational mind takes over. It rears up and cries, "Why can't I have my spouse snuggled next to me?" And I dream dreams of loss. I need to stop listening to my melancholy playlist (these are the songs that were playing as I wrote this post), put on my big girl panties, and just deal with it. But he should know how much I miss him.
Wednesday, March 04, 2009
But enough about technology. This is all about our little Daisy (pre-pre-Girl Scout) and her cookies! Without further ado, I present This Year's Cookies! My personal favorite is the Samoa. You can't go wrong with Samoas, I always say. The Girl Scouts say:
Samoas®: These are round doughnut-shaped cookies about two inches in diameter with a hole in the center, covered in caramel and toasted coconut, and then striped with chocolate. Samoas® are made by Little Brownie Bakers.
Thin Mints: The most enduring and universally familiar Girl Scout cookie. These round, mint-flavored cookies covered with dark chocolate perennially sell the most boxes of any cookie. Thin Mints have never changed their name. Little Brownie Bakers and ABC Bakers both make Thin Mints.
Do-Si-Dos®: A sandwich cookie. The round, bumpy perforated oatmeal cookie top and bottom surrounds a peanut butter-flavored layer inside. Do-Si-Dos® (formerly Gauchos) are baked by Little Brownie Bakers.
Trefoils: These shortbread cookies are shaped like the Girl Scout Trefoil design. Scot Teas were a similar, lighter sugar cookie made by the now defunct Burry. These cookies come in a blue box. Little Brownie Bakers calls them Trefoils.
Tagalongs®: These are round cookies with a layer of peanut butter on top, and covered in chocolate. These cookies come in a red box. Little Brownie Bakers calls them Tagalongs®.
Lemon Chalet Cremes™: Featuring a design of Our Chalet in Switzerland, a beloved Girl Scout World Center, this sandwich cookie has a touch of cinnamon-ginger spice that evokes the warmth of a fireside chat on a snowy evening; they are made by Little Brownie Bakers.
Dulce de Leche: New for 2009, and inspired by the classic confections of Latin America, these sweet, indulgent cookies are rich with milk caramel chips and stripes. They come in a turquoise box, and are made by Little Brownie Bakers.
Get Yer Lemon Chalet Cremes! Get Yer Dulce de Leche! Get Yer Tagalongs! Quick, before we eat them all...
Monday, March 02, 2009
You see, when we were married--in Montana--he promised me that we would move there within eight years (we lived in Chicago at the time). Well, it's been 13-1/2 years now and I occasionally smugly throw out in the conversation that he still hasn't lived up to that promise. I did so in conversation in front of our friends over the weekend and he replied, "Why not now?"
Why not now indeed. So I search my soul. What would I be giving up if we moved to Montana, or to Austin (where the jobs actually *are*). What would I be gaining (best case)? We never intended this house to be our forever home. Our forever home was the sprawling old mansion built in 1917 where we lived outside of Chicago. Then it was the large, airy Austintacious new house we built in the hill country next to a nature preserve and a green belt in Austin. But this house was the best choice in one day of house hunting after signing a contract at CNN and then finding out that the houses that we had looked at on the Internet from Austin were not at all the same in person and we couldn't afford *anything* like what we had there or imagined having here. But after six years here--considerably longer than we have spent in any one house--we have made this our home. It fits us, it is us, and we have no interest in moving to another house as this one is just right for our lifestyle now and into the future.
Then there's my studio. It's a perfect space for a studio, couldn't be better located, and we were able to afford it. What's the likelihood we would be able to find anything like what we have with the two properties combined in either Austin or Missoula? I have a better chance of being eaten by a shark the next time I go scuba diving.
Beyond property considerations there is all the quality of life I thought I was missing. Turns out, I was mistaken. We not only have friends and a community here, we also have a great school for Jessie. Though we are not geographically centrally located, Atlanta is one of the major airport hubs and we can get anywhere (except Hawaii or Australia--and how likely are we to need those routes now?) quickly and cheaply. And finally, the Indigo Girls had it right and there's no more beautiful place than the southland in the springtime.
So we stay. I'd change the name of the blog to something like "Settled In the South" or "Snoozy In the South" or even "Seraphic In the South", but I like the reminder that life is all about change. That's not to say that I wouldn't like to have a house in Missoula someday, I still would. But I no longer need to, pine to, must.