Saturday, March 29, 2008

Don't know whatcha got til it's gone

Picture me, if you will, wandering around my neighborhood, my hair unbrushed, tears streaming down my face, an empty can of cat food in my hand, as I poked around the fringes of my neighbors' properties, sqinting my eyes as I strained to look under their bushes. That defined most of Wednesday afternoon for me. It was a bad day.

Here's the short story: Millie got out, but she came back. It was an emotionally exhausting affair. I cried myself into a migraine that made me so nauseated I nearly threw up (Which is amazing for me. It's been a decade since I last puked. TMI?). Tim even left work 3 hours early to help look for her. In the end, we found her curled up on our bed (do not ask me how long she had been there). The important thing is that she's back at home and safe and healthy. She was especially cuddly and lovable afterwards - as if she had finally realized that this is her home now & she was happy with that fact. All was good in the world of Millie.

Well, not quite. I noticed this week that Millie was having trouble eating. Sometimes while eating crunchy or chewy food, she would yelp and refuse to eat more. So yesterday I took her to the vet's office for the very first time. She knew something was up when I tried to put her in the cat carrier - a carrier that is far too small for her I realized. So instead I put Millie in a pillow case. Yup, I put the cat in the bag. Heh heh.

The good news is that Millie won the Best Cat of the Day award at the vet's office. She didn't bite or scratch or yowl or anything. She didn't run away or hide. Her tail didn't fluff up & her ears didn't flatten back against her head. She didn't even flinch when they took a blood sample. What an amazing cat, right?

The bad news is that she has lots of bad things going on in her mouth: missing teeth, possibly some broken ones, too, and ulcers. I got to see her gums, which were blood red and swollen. No wonder she was hurting! It's clear that she needs to have some work done. So on Monday morning, I will have to put her back in that pillow case and return her to the vet's office. I will also have to pay a hefty bill. But it's worth it.

Ah yes. Millie. The best $50 $500 we ever spent.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Grumpy Easter

When I woke up this morning, I felt rather under the weather. This persisted for a few hours ... and made me grumpy. The whole time I was sick, the cat kept meowing at me because she wanted to be fed/loved on/what have you, which didn't help my mood, either. And then I read some stuff on-line that made me grumpier. And I managed to think of a few other things in my life that hack me off, so I decided to mull on them for a while, too. Ya know, so that I could efficently get all of my bitching done in one go. Grrr.

But then I watched the Forumla One race and ate some cheese and now I'm watching the figure skating world championships. So everything is okay.
Well, almost everything.
The only little problem annoying me now is that we don't have any of my favorite cookies left. I made them for the first time last week and they were SO GOOD! So delicious were they, in fact, that we ate them all. And I'm low on ingredients and sickly so I won't be making more of these today. Poo.

However you, dear reader, should whip some of these babies up as soon as you can because, man, they are soooooooo freakin' good! They will certainly put you in a good mood. Really. Give it a try. Note that these cookies are big. You know the cookies you can buy at coffee shops that cost $2 and just one cookie hits the spot quite nicely? These are like that only better because (1) they cost a lot less and (2) you made them yourself! Hooray!

Super-sized Ginger Cookies
makes 12 to 14 cookies

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon cloves
12 Tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1/4 cup molasses
about 1/4 cup granulated sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350F with rack in middle position. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper (or I guess you can grease the pans, but I prefer parchment paper).

2. Sift first 6 ingredients together in a medium sized bowl. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat butter & brown sugar together until smoothly blended. Then add egg & molasses and mix until blended. On low speed, add flour mixture, blending just to incorporate it.

3. Put granulated sugar in a cereal bowl or on a plate. Roll 1/4 cup of the dough into a 2 inch ball, roll in the sugar, and place on the prepared cookie sheet. Space the cookies about 3 or 4 inches apart.

4. Bake for 14 minutes until top feels firm but still soft in the middle. Cool on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Feline paralysis

It's been a quiet week 'round the house. We watched the first F1 race of the season with Mark (Hooray for Lewis Hamilton!). And I baked some delicious ginger cookies (I'll share the recipe if you want). Tim got some nice compliments for a program he completed at work. And the Bradford pear trees in the neighborhood bloomed and it rained a couple times. So that's all quite nice.

But the biggest news this week is all about the Millie cat.

Miss Millicent is an interesting cat. She loves to be around her people. It is very rare to find her in a room alone. She'd just rather be with us. She even slept on our bed her very first night here. She will even walk right up to strangers & expect them to give her a nice scratch behind the ears. She's quite friendly in her own way. However, she has never been a lap cat. She might curl up near us on the couch or even sleep by my side at night, but she has showed very little interest in snuggling up on our laps ... until this week.

On Tuesday morning, Millie approached me while I was on the couch and she gingerly stepped on my leg. Before I really realized what was happening, she sat down in my lap. She sat there for a full 10 minutes before she got up and wandered off. This was a major achievement! I was so excited I almost sent Tim an e-mail about it. But it got better! Later that afternoon, Miss Mills curled up in my lap and stayed there for 2 hours and 40 minutes! Hooray! What a break-through! The only problem, of course, is that I didn't want to get up & disturb her - a condition Tim calls "feline paralysis" - so I wasn't able to run the errands I had intended to. But no matter. Millie was snoozing on my lap and I was pleased as Punch.

In the few days since Millie started sitting in my lap, I've been doing everything I can to encourage her. Yesterday she sat on my lap on 4 seperate occasions & slept by my side all night, too. Today I've been a bit busier, but she managed to sit on my lap for a while after I returned from the grocery store. This is really encouraging. More and more, she feels less like some distant relative who is staying with us for a while and is feeling more like our own, sweet baby cat.

Saturday, March 15, 2008


Did you know that yesterday - March 14th - was Pi Day? You probably did because if you're reading this you're probably about as dorky as I am and you get a kick out of silly holidays like this. In honor of Pi Day, I made pie. Indeed, I made TWO pies on Pi Day. Glorious, yes? But it was more than that. It was ... miraculous. Allow me to explain.

Confession time: I don't like making pie. Or more to the point, I don't like making pie crust. It takes so much time and effort to make pie crust. Rolling it out is a pain in the butt because the dough is always trying to stick to the table or the rolling pin. And it's hard to get it just the right size, because it never wants to form into a perfect circle with an even thickness. No, it's always got to be oblong with thin bits that tear while the thicker bits on the side laugh at me, mockingly. And then there's all of that flour everywhere - all over the table, all over your clothes. It frustrates me to no end. So much effort for what is basically an edible shelf that usually contributes very little to the overall flavor of the pie. You would think I would get the hang of it with practice, but no. For YEARS I was in charge of making the pies for every Thanksgiving and Christmas. And for years I struggled with annoying pie dough because in my family we have always made it from scratch.

Well, ya know what? Enough. Deep down I'm a purist and I love making everything from scratch. Hell, I've been thinking about making my own butter! But there is a point when one must embrace this modern age in which we live. And ... well, frankly, I don't want cooking to be stressful & annoying. I want it to be pleasurable. I figure that if buying pre-made pie crust keeps my hair brown for just a little while longer, than so be it. Pre-made pie crust it shall be.

So I bought a box of crust. I opened the packaging, unrolled the circle of dough, plopped it in the pie pan. And that was it! A miracle! Amazing! Splendid! Marvelous! And it tastes about the same as the dough I've slaved over for years. It appears that I truly can have pie and my sanity all at the same time. I didn't think it was possible! Hooray!

All of this to say that I made turkey pot pie for dinner and egg custard pie for dessert. And now that I've discovered this shortcut, I think I'll be making pies far more often.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Good Things Tuesday

Here's some stuff that is making me happy right now.

1. The Song Chart photo pool on Flickr. A bunch of people have taken song lyrics & turned them into graphs and diagrams. Brilliant. Click here to see my favorite one.

2. The Soop Shop on Etsy. They make these adorable rings that cost only $12 each. I need the squirrel one. I really really really do.

3. The "Stuff White People Like" Blog. Yes, it's wrong. I like it anyway.

4. Eddie Izzard is going on tour! EEEEE!!!! Just a shame he isn't coming here.

5. Design*Sponge, a really cool blog about home decor & such, has posted a Design Guide for my neck of the woods. Now I wanna go shopping.

6. Fluffy kitty belly.

Saturday, March 08, 2008


Yup, that's right. Blah. It's how I feel.

Last night I had one of those big emotional breakdowns that we all have occasionally. I know that some of my dear readers are prone to these breakdown, too - some of you even call me in the midst of them - so that's why I don't feel bad admitting this. But it feels self-indulgent, you know? It's not fair for me to keep Tim awake late into the night while I thrash around, trying to figure out Why I'm Here and What Does My Life Mean Anyway and blahblahblah. Poor Tim. Poor, dear, patient Tim. He's even more tolerant than my cat ... and that is seriously saying something, people.

Speaking of Millie, here's some further proof that she is super laid back. Today a couple men came to the house to install our new over-the-range microwave/vent hood (yay!). These were two total strangers. They rang the doorbell. They walked into the house, smelling of strange smells & talking with strange voices. And did the cat get spooked? Not in the least. She continued to lounge lazily on the living room rug. I picked her up & put her in our bedroom so she wouldn't get upset. I don't know why I bothered, though, seeing as this is the same animal who will rub against my legs while I'm playing high Fs & Gs on my flute. Amazing. Millie is an animal that does not sweat the small stuff. I could learn a lot from her.

But here I am, sweating anyway. I think my problem is that I don't feel passionate about anything anymore. I used to feel an inner drive to do certain things - theatre, for instance - but that drive is gone now. I don't want to knit or sew or do anything crafty. I don't even feel the urge to see what plays are showing each week, let alone audition for any. I spend a lot of time on-line looking at art & interior design blogs, but I don't have the money to do what I want to the house. Generally I feel perfectly content just poking about on the internet & listening to my cat snore. But what kind of life is that? That's pathetic. I may seem content on the surface, but deep down I know that something is missing. I just wish I knew what it was.

You know what I'm doing? I'm making buttprints in the sands of time again. Bah. But how can I change that when I don't feel compelled to do anything else?

Anyway. Blah.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Happy Homer Day

Most of the people who read this blog know that I used to date a guy named Corey. He and I broke up about 5 years ago, but nowadays we are good friends who chat on the phone & visit one another whenever I'm in Tulsa. He still knows me better than just about anybody else & understands my sense of humor better than most. Basically, he's a good friend to have in your corner.

Anywho, Corey loves to buy surprise presents for people, so when I was his girlfriend I was the recipient of many gifts. However, Corey had a habit of occasionally buying gifts for me that he appreciated far more than I did. We called them Homer Gifts in honor of the episode of The Simpsons in which Homer bought Marge a bowling ball for her birthday - a bowling ball that had already been engraved with Homer's name & with holes already drilled to fit Homer's fingers.

One day we decided that occasional Homer Gifts weren't enough. We needed an official holiday. And so, Homer Day was born. On Homer Day - March 3rd - you're supposed to buy a "gift" for someone else, but honestly it's an excuse to buy a gift for yourself. It's a great holiday because we all deserve to treat ourselves on occasion, right? Right.

So this year Corey got me the DVD of Kenneth Branaugh's "Hamlet". I bought him "Something Rotten" - a book in the Thursday Next series. Well, whaddaya know, Corey already has that book! And I know that Corey is a much bigger Hamlet fan than I am. So, in proper Homer Day fashion, we've chosen to just keep our gifts for ourselves. I guess we won't be mailing eachother care packages any time soon afterall. ;)

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Kitty Quirks

It's now been a week since Millie came home to us. In that time, we have come to learn a lot more about her.

For instance, Millie can't jump very high. She has trouble simply getting up on our bed (she uses her claws to get a grip on the edge of the mattress & hoists herself up). This is good because it means that she cannot jump up on the kitchen countertops. How great is that?! Also, she has a squeaky snore that is very endearing. And she often likes to lay on her back with belly exposed and her feet in the proper "paws up" position. Very very cute.

There were a few early quirks that worried us that, luckily, we've already overcome. Millie was nervous about venturing downstairs during her first few days here, but she seems to have conquered that fear with just a teensy bit of encouragement from us. I also noticed that she likes to sharpen her claws on the carpet, but I got her a scratching pad & she seems to prefer it over the alternative. All of these are moves in the right direction & we couldn't be happier.

But she has one quirk that we don't quite understand and are not sure how to handle. It seems that Millie prefers to eat while she is being pet. At the very least, she wants us standing or sitting near her while she eats. It's very strange. I can put down fresh food for her - even yummy canned food - and she will eat a few bites by herself, but she'll stop when she notices we're not near by & will go seek us out. We used to have her food in the guest room, so she spent a lot of time lingering by the door to that room, trying to lure us in there so that we could pet her while she ate. Now that her food is in the kitchen, things are a little different. If she wants to eat she will walk up to me and literally poke my leg with her paw - no, seriously - and look at me in a needy, pathetic way. If I ignore her, she pokes me again. When I give in to her wishes, she will happily chow down & eat quite a bit, purring the whole time while I stroke her back. Even if I just stand next to her and just watch her eat she seems much happier and will eat more. It's bizarre.

Can anyone explain this? Why does she want us to be there? Do you think she's a social eater - that maybe her old owner used to feed her cats at the same time that she fed herself? I honestly have no clue. Luckily, she does not try to wake us in the middle of the night when she goes down for an early morning snack. At least, I don't think she does ...