Monday, November 30, 2009

So how is Petra?

Monkey asked a few days ago how Petra was (in response to my "things I am thankful for" post, I believe, where I wrote "healthy pets").

The thanks I was giving was for Loki being healthy. Petra is still sick, and while we have been treating her for a serious e.coli infection, which it's possible it's all she has (and if that is the case, she'll have cheated death 3 times!), it's not likely. She's rallied a bit and put some weight back on now that we've been giving her lots of wet food and kitty treats. The past few days it's been cold, and Petra never acts like she feels very good when it's cold outside. She's always been kind of standoffish in the winter; we think the cold makes her stump hurt. So it is difficult to tell how much of it is that and how much is that she doesn't feel good because she's sick.

We have been continuing to give her subcutaneous fluids and antibiotics and a potassium goop shot into her mouth via large syringe (which she Does Not Like), and recently added a 1/4 tablet of Pepcid AC to help keep her stomach feeling OK so she doesn't puke up as much water. There has still been some troubling behavior, and she finishes the current round of antibiotics on Wednesday, so that's when she'll be going back in to the vet for a recheck.

There is a test that will tell us definitively whether or not Petra has cancer. It is very, very expensive and invasive and is something we just aren't willing to put her through. Because if she does have it, all we'd do is continue what we are doing. And if she doesn't, she'll get better.

The in-between is really frustrating, though. Our holiday travel plans (which we hoped would include going out to California for Wombat's birthday and staying through Christmas) are still on hold until we know more for sure. Neither of us wants to leave a very sick kitty, even with offers of assistance that have come from more than one place. If she doesn't have much longer, we want her to be in her own space and stressed as little as possible, not upset that her humans are gone or being in someone else's space.

I'm desperately homesick right now; we haven't been to California since May (the longest I've ever gone since moving here) and I miss my family and our friends in California fiercely. I am going to be so, so incredibly sad if we can't go for Christmas. And I feel guilty that I'm thinking about that rather than thinking about what is best for Petra. But damn, it's really hard for me right now. Good thoughts appreciated. And for any of you reading this who might reasonably expect a knitted gift from me this year, know that Petra seems to be infusing them with extra love and attention. The past two days she's been curled up in my knitting and it may never look the same.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

It's always best to go when it's snowing outside

Dan and I seem to make it to the zoo at least once every winter. We usually try to go when it's snowing outside, which seriously cuts down on the crowds and screaming children, but yesterday we just needed some exercise and so we decided to walk to the zoo, crowds be damned. It was actually pretty cold, so there weren't as many people as there could have been, and there were lots of cute babies and little kids.

There were also lots of animals. Here are some of the good photos I got.

Peacock looks for forbidden snacks in strollers parked outside the Tropical Discovery building.

Cheetah in repose. Usually he's pacing because there are kangaroos in the next enclosure over but they weren't out that day.

Rhino hanging out right near his paparazzi.

Same with Komodo dragon.

Polar bear feet are REALLY BIG.

Just hangin' out with his giraffe homeys.

Two-headed lion

Funny-looking bird is funny-looking

We spent a good amount of time, as we always do, in the Great Ape area. On display were the two bachelor brother gorillas (rather than the big silverback and his family) and they were amusing themselves. We spoke with a docent who volunteers in the Great Ape area, who told us a lot about the apes that we never would have known.

The Denver Zoo may not be world-class, but it's still a pretty good zoo, and, all things considered, an excellent deal. Plus, walking to and from the zoo is good exercise for us during a weekend of sloth and gluttony!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Loki loves Petra

Petra decided to hang out with my knitting on the couch, where she almost never goes. Loki decided to hang out with Petra.

Friday, November 27, 2009

How to process a pumpkin: a pictorial essay

Materials you will need:

1 sugar pumpkin (not the kind you carve)
1 knife
1 cutting board
1 9x13 pan
aluminum foil
large spoon
food processor

Preheat oven to 400F.

1. Using big knife, cut pumpkin in half across the middle.

2. Scoop out seeds using your hands or a spoon. If you want to keep them, do it over a colander under running water. Separate the seeds from the strands, rinse, and place on a cookie sheet to dry for a day.

3. Use a spoon to scrape out as many of the strings as you can. It's not a big deal if you can't get them all.

4. Place pumpkin halves flesh-side down in the baking pan and add about 1/4 inch of water to the bottom of the pan. Cover with aluminum foil and roast for 45-60 minutes or until flesh is soft when poked with a fork. Let cool.



5. When pumpkin halves are cool enough to handle, use large spoon to scrape soft flesh from rind. Put 1/4 of the flesh in the food processor at a time. Process until very smooth (the consistency of baby food). Add processed pumpkin to a bowl and repeat until all the pumpkin is pureed.

6. Cut a length of cheesecloth big enough to create a pouch, making sure you have several thicknesses layered on top of one another. Place square of cheesecloth over a colander and spoon some of the pumpkin into the middle.

7. Gather cheesecloth up over pumpkin puree and make a little sack with your hands. Use your hands to massage and squeeze as much water as you can out of the pumpkin without squeezing flesh out the holes in the cheesecloth. This may take a while.

8. Put now-dry pumpkin puree into a different bowl.

9. Repeat steps 8 and 9 until all pumpkin has been dehydrated. (If you aren't in a hurry, you can spread all the pumpkin over cheesecloth in a colander in the sink and let it sit for several hours so the water runs out. I am not that patient.)

10. Voila! You now have at least one pumpkin pie's worth of fresh pumpkin mush. You can rinse out and reuse the cheesecloth for another project. It will dry in a short amount of time and be only slightly orange.

Coming soon: making pumpkin pie from scratch.

(All photos by Dan except the one of the pumpkin seeds, which I took.)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Twenty years later

Not long after we moved into the new house in the 'dale, Laurel turned three right around Thanksgiving. We didn't know many people her age in town, so most of the party guests were Lissa's friends, the neighbor kids, and their cousins.

L-R Kid, Laurel, Kid, Me, Kid, Lissa, Kid
Also, I just want to point out that whoever took the photo managed to get every one of our faces in shadow! hee.

Mostly I remember that the kids spent a good portion of the party jumping in leaf piles in the backyard. What's a better activity than that?

Happy birthday, little sister. May every birthday be as carefree as that one 20 years ago was.

Things for which I am thankful

Good food

Healthy family and friends

Healthy pets

Getting to see my family via webcam and say happy birthday to my little sister.


That I found jeans that fit

That I am capable of lifting 40 pound bags of cat litter

A wonderful, awesome, and loving husband

A job that pays the bills

That I get to see snow fall, and sunny skies, and rain, and everything else that makes each day different from the last

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Wrangler butts drive me nuts

It suddenly occurred to me last week that I had exactly two pairs of functional, fitting jeans, and one pair of pants that weren't jeans and weren't Nice Work Pants. So last weekend, we went in search of new jeans for me (and some for Dan).

Saturday's excursion was singularly unproductive. Every singe pair I tried on, everyplace we went, felt like a pair of tights made out of jean material. Now, I understand that jeans go through fashion seasons and styles just like anything else. In my opinion, jeans are comfortable pants that are acceptable to wear in public. Personally, I don't find tights made out of denim to be comfortable. I'm not "slim through hip and thigh" like every pair of jeans I tried on seemed to be. Even going up two sizes to fit the hip/thigh area created a bizarre waist gap.

Look, I'm not asking for a lot. I want a pair of jeans that look good on my ass, and aren't creating sausage casings for my legs. I want to be able to sit in them and still have circulation. I like a bootcut or flared style to help counteract my enormous calves, and a dark rinse. Once upon a time, it wasn't that hard to find what I was looking for, but Saturday was an exercise in futility. When we came home empty-handed, Dan brought up the idea of a brand of jeans I'd tried on before and never purchased, Cruel Girl.

Cruel Girl jeans are sold at the local cowboy superstore, Shepler's. So on Sunday, we went down to the cowboy store and I tried on about 89983049835 pairs of jeans in every imaginable size, shape, rise, and iteration, and at least 6 different brands. I gotta say, if you're looking for quality jeans at a decent price and a wide variety of brands, Shepler's in Denver is a good place to go. Dan managed to find a new brand of jeans he liked, too, and I found one pair that I decided I had to get. They were 30 bucks and comfy as hell. They weren't Cruel Girl, though, which I decided were just took expensive for one pair. Then, when we got home, Dan found that the brand he liked (Cinch) and Cruel Girl are made by the same company, a local company, that has an outlet in North Denver.

On Monday I took the opportunity to head down the 16th street mall and look for jeans at TJ Maxx and Cross Dress for Less. After several false starts, I found a pair that made my ass look fantastic for $20 on clearance (Seven brand!) so I bought 'em. I wore them on Tuesday, and probably should have washed them first, because they had sizing that made me itch all day and I got welts on my skin around the waistband. (They're in the wash now). And then today I had off (unpaid furlough day, and don't get me started), so we went to the outlet store that sells Cinch and Cruel Girl, and I tried on at least 20 pairs, with several I really liked, while Dan found a pair that look great on him on the clearance rack. But after buying 2 pairs of jeans already this week, and with the expense of having a Very Sick Kitty, I decided against buying any of the Cruel Girl jeans. Maybe next time.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Sometimes I get a kick out of little things that other people might not notice.

The other day, I was at the gym, listening to my ipod, doing a cooldown crunches/leg lifts sort of deal after the cardio workout. On my ipod was a medley of Sublime songs. As I started my 100 crunches, I thought to myself how funny it would be if the song that were on, Jailhouse, happened to play the line "Had the '89 vision" when I did crunch #89 (I count them in my head). Then I forgot about it until I got to number 80, when I realized it might happen, and then it did. I did the 89th crunch just as that line played.

It's the little things in life that make me happy.

Monday, November 23, 2009

The things I do for you, Internet.

Ever since my office moved from a dank basement to the 11th floor of a building that overlooks the Capitol, I've enjoyed some of the creature comforts available. There's a little kitchenette thing that allows me to wash dishes I use, and a fridge in which to store stuff. But my favorite is the area that has somehow sprung up, like magic, at the end of the row of cubes where I sit. It's right by the window, and there's a comfy chair and an end table with a pile of free books.

I've found all kinds of entertaining trash in the free book pile, usually things I wouldn't bother to buy or check out of the library, but things about which I am curious. Like Eat, Pray, Love, for example: I got around to reading it because it was in the free pile. I've read a whole host of whodunit procedurals and other sorts of brain candy/trash in the last year, thanks to the free book pile. But on Friday, I went over to check out what was available, and lo and behold, I hit the motherlode. There, on the top of the pile, were the movie-tie-in cover versions of everyone's favorite sparkly emo vampire trash, Twilight and New Moon.


Internet, I never intended to read these books. I have not and would not have sought them out. I would not have borrowed them from the library or paid any amount of cash money to own them, nor would I have borrowed them from someone I know who owns them. But the siren song of the free book pile at work called to me for a reason on Friday, and I knew that I would have to take one for the team and read some sparkly emo vampire trash so that you wouldn't have to, Internet.

I find it difficult to believe that anyone out there who pays any attention to popular culture whatsoever would not know of these books. They're the biggest new thing since Harry Potter, beloved by tweens/teenage girls and middle-aged moms alike. Fans are called Twihards (or something?) and man, are there ever fans, because despite terrible reviews the movie version of New Moon, which came out this weekend, was the 3rd biggest movie opener ever. I knew there HAD to be some reason why so many people love these books, and I decided I needed to figure it out for myself.

Despite clocking in at around 500 pages, Twilight took me about 2.5 hours to read. Maybe 3. It was not the most difficult or deep material, and the plot primarily consisted of Girl Meets Boy, Girl Discovers Boy Isn't Human, Girl and Boy Pine Chastely For One Another, Fin. Which I already sort of knew, just via cultural osmosis. There wasn't anything about the writing style that drew me in. I didn't really like any of the characters very much. Bella, aforementioned Girl, is kind of a whiny melodramatic martyr-ish brat. Edward, aforementioned Sparkly Emo Vampire, is creepy and obsessive. Bella makes up her mind that she will be miserable in her new home (Forks, Washington) before she even gets there, and does everything she can to make her prediction come true. She fends off attention from friends and boys alike, then falls head-over-heels with a guy who spends the first part of their acquaintance either acting like he hates her or ignoring her completely. Later, he admits he's been stalking her to the point where he hangs out in her bedroom while she's sleeping, without her knowledge or consent. Yikes. He falls for her because she's the only person (human or otherwise) whose thoughts he can't hear; she falls for him because he's perfect and completely unattainable, sexually.

Because, yeah. They can't do it. They can barely even touch, let alone kiss. Twilight is written by someone who obviously has a large amount of experience in the "I'm so attracted to someone but we can't touch each other, we're so in love and must stay pure" area. It makes sense that Stephanie Meyer, the author, is Mormon - pious teenagers in that religion (among others; I'm sure pious Musim teens and pious Jewish Orthodox teens are the same way) don't give in to their carnal lusts. Or something. And because I assume she has a lot of experience with it, she's good at writing about it. I told Dan after I finished reading it that I could totally understand why a 12-14 year-old girl would enjoy reading a book like this. It has the perfect imaginary boyfriend: a guy who is dangerous, beautiful, and disciplined enough to look but not touch, an excellent choice for a 12-year-old who isn't ready to handle the idea of sex yet but is all about the idea of romance and love.

I'm less certain about why older women seem to like the books. Maybe because they're easy escapist fantasy, involving something marginally more interesting than Fabio's chest? Or maybe women who are too prudish to be into bodice rippers can get into what's essentially the same thing without any actual ripping bodices? I'm pretty flummoxed on this one.

New Moon was closer to 600 pages, and it took me about the same amount of time to read it. I liked it marginally better than I liked Twilight, if only because Sparkly Emo Vampire isn't in most of it (he leaves because...something something about...I dunno, it's not really explained), which makes Bella, the main character who rarely takes any action on her own, fall into a pit of despair. A few months later she pulls herself out of it, sort of, to realize that her friends don't care about her anymore and she's kind of secretly thrilled about it. Then she makes friends with another boy, with whom she seems to actually have a good relationship, until he turns into a werewolf and treats her like crap for a while. Then the vampires come back. Then SparklePire himself is going to commit suicide by Other Vampire because he thinks she's dead, even though he spent the previous six months traipsing around the world, studiously avoiding her, so she drops everything despite being begged by Wolf Dude (aka Jacob) not to go, and she flies to Italy, and saves SparklePire, and he vows he'll never leave her again.

Apparently, vampires and werewolves are Mortal Enemies so she can't be friends with Jacob and maintain a relationship with Edward. Or something. I liked New Moon better up until Stephanie Meyer decided Edward needed to be brought back into the picture. I liked Jacob until he decided that Bella couldn't be friends with her vampire friends. At least he treated her better than sparkling chiseled marble Edward ever did, and didn't hang out in her room while she was sleeping or anything. I dunno. I guess if I have to pick, I'm Team Jacob, but I don't have much intention of reading the other books (unless for some reason they show up in the free book pile at work) and honestly I can't bring myself to care that much.

So there you have it: my review of Twilight and New Moon. Now, if you've read the books and want to read the funniest review of them ever, click here.

ETA: I found another good review, and this one has visual aids!

Sunday, November 22, 2009


Three songs with the name "Creep" all came out around the same time when I was in high school. The most well-known is probably the Radiohead song, off their album Pablo Honey. Another is TLC's "Creep", which came out in 1994. And the one that I thought of when I told Dan that I still hadn't written a blog post today was Stone Temple Pilots' "Creep", because I had to learn the lyrics to the song one time.

It was Feb Camp, the mid-winter long weekend version of the camp I went to throughout high school, and some very talented musical friends wanted a girl voice to go with their deep masculine voices when they performed this song at the talent show. I had heard the song, but didn't know the words, so my friend Jesse wrote them down for me and I memorized them. You may know it as the "Half the man I used to be" song, since that's about all they say in the chorus.

Forward yesterday
Makes me want to stay
What they said was real
Makes me want to steal
Living under house,
Guess I'm living, I'm a mouse
All's I gots is time,
Got no meaning, just a rhyme


Feelin' uninspired,
Think I'll start a fire
Everybody run,
Bobby's got a gun
Think you're kind of neat
Then she tells me I'm a creep
Friends don't mean a thing,
Guess I'll leave it up to me


Man, I was totally nervous to sing in front of everybody, especially since the other people I was performing with were vastly more talented (Jesse, for example, could (and did) play NINE instruments). But we still had fun. I wish I could remember Jesse's last name, because it wouldn't surprise me if he were a professional musician these days. Alas, Google needs a bit more information than what I can pull out of my brain.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

mmm cookies

I started baking when I was around six years old, helping my dad (who was the cookie baker in my family) stir batter and plop it onto tiny cookie sheets that fit in our large toaster oven (we didn't have a real oven until I was 10). I started baking on my own when I was maybe 8, picking blackberries and then bringing them home to make things like blackberry cobbler. I make a mean pie crust and have been baking special birthday cakes for people since I was 17 or so. When the baking urge comes upon me, I tend to just follow it.

Today, I got the baking urge. It took me a while to decide what to bake, and was thinking for a while I might do something with nuts and chocolate (inexplicably, I have the desire to start baking some of my family Christmas cookies...and it's not even Thanksgiving yet. What gives?) Then Dan said Oatmeal Chocolate Chip and that sounded pretty good to me.

Here's an oatmeal chocolate chip cookie I made up.

1 stick unsalted butter
1 1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1.5 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1.5 cups rolled oats
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375F. In a medium-sized bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar until thoroughly combined. Add vanilla and eggs, mix. Add flour, baking soda, salt, oats, and spices, mix. Add chocolate chips. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto greased cookie sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes or until cookies are set.

Friday, November 20, 2009

My favorite one for summer is cut grass

They say that smells and scents are tied up with memories in a way that the other senses can't quite match, probably because the olfactory sense is a part of the limbic system. Apparently, when we're young we tie a smell to a memory of a place, a person, an event, and then when we smell it again we're transported back to the original memory.

I can say without a doubt that this is very true for me. The smell of a burning brush fire or house fire has, in the past, given me panic attacks. There's an essential oil I found one time that is linked in my mind, inexplicably, to my summer camp. Holidays have their own appropriate scents: dead leaves at Halloween, cranberries at Thanksgiving, and evergreen trees at Christmas. A few days ago I was walking home from work and smelled clove cigarettes: either the smoke from someone smoking one in the building I was passing by, or someone on the street who had smoked one earlier. I wasn't quite sure where it came from, but it brought me right back to my freshman year of high school, when my best friend at the time and the other people she hung out with smoked cloves and I hoped fervently that some adult wouldn't happen by to string me up by my toenails for even being nearby when that obviously Bad Behavior was going on. And don't even get me started on the smell of pot smoke, because I will do everything I can to get away from that.

This morning, though.

This morning, I was walking to work, and someone was walking behind me. Eventually he overtook me, passed me, and as he made his way to my left I happened to inhale. He smelled just like The Chef, the guy I dated (briefly) after College Boyfriend and I broke up and before I met Dan. I don't know what it was. The Chef usually smelled like a kitchen (after all, he WAS a chef), but after a shift he'd shower and when we'd go out he smelled like something. A shampoo? a lotion? Knowing him, it was probably some sort of Masculine Cologne or aftershave or some crap like that. I never knew what it was and I never asked him. I haven't smelled anyone else with that same smell in the many years since I last saw The Chef (at an awkward baseball game, about which Dan always teases me because I LEFT EARLY, oh, the horror, but I have tried to make it clear to him that I HAD TO GET AWAY.) I hadn't even thought about the chef in, oh, years maybe, other than to remark on the 3 good things and one Life Lesson I learned while involved with him (1. How to make my own salad dressing from scratch, 2. How to toss a skillet without needing to use a spatula or other implement, 3. How to play scrabble competitively, and Don't Date People Who Used To Have A Drug Problem And Are Also Kind of Intellectually Stunted, respectively) at various times.

One of the things I like about Dan is that he has his own smell. He doesn't cover it up with cologne or aftershave. I like the smell of his shampoo, body wash, and deoderant, plus the smell that is just Dan. When I have to travel for work, I often bring a t-shirt of his with me, one that he's worn for a day and that I can use to sleep in. It helps me sleep, having that smell with me, even though I'm alone in the room by myself. I guess I'm just weird that way.

Are there any smells for which you have strong memories, internet?

Thursday, November 19, 2009


A friend of mine recently took a trip to China. The group she was with went to Beijing, Suzhou, and Shanghai, and she posted a whole crapton of photos on Facebook.

In looking through her photos, I suddenly remembered so much about that trip, things I hadn't thought of in a long time. She took photos of things we'd seen, stood places we'd stood, and she was even there at around the same time we were, only four years later. I guess we lucked out, because the weather we had was mostly decent, though it got a little chilly toward the end of the trip. My friend was snowed on for a good part of her trip!

I've never written much about that trip anywhere, and Dan's big trip report post (originally posted on our old message board) is here. You can see his flickr photo set here.

Seeing my friend's photos made me want to go back. I hope someday we will. I'd love to see Shanghai and other parts of southern China.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

I wonder if he still has it

The other day, I was reminded of the most bizarre thing I ever bought at a thrift store.

I was in the store with some of my friends who lived at the big house, including my college boyfriend and my friend Brett. We were shopping around for something, I'm not sure what, and then I saw it.

It...was...frightening. And also, spectacular.

It was a bra. But not just any bra. It was the largest bra I'd ever seen. I didn't think they even MADE bras that big. It was a size 48 HHH.


I was so fascinated with this gigantic bra that I simply had to have it. When we brought it back to the big house, we learned that the cups were large enough to fit a human head inside each one.

Here is some photographic evidence.

I have fervently hoped since that the reason the bra was at the thrift store was because the donor had lost a lot of weight, had a serious breast reduction, or both.

Sadly, I'm no longer in possession of the bra. My friend Brett loved it so much that I gave it to him.

It hung from his lamp for a few years.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The fig tree

When I was a kid, our "next-door" neighbor (meaning the one who lived closest to us, about 1/4 of a mile away) had a huge orchard. I may or may not have written before about how he used to mow said orchard nekkid, wearing only boots. Anyhow, this guy was a gardener/landscaper by trade and he had an amazing array of plants and trees.

It was really quite awesome that I was allowed to sort of go wherever I wanted within a reasonable distance of our house: around the big field, into the forest beyond, up to the little hill with the creek nearby, or to play in the orchard. It was full of trees: apple, plum, orange, walnut. And there were two enormous fig trees, one that produced a purple variety and one that made green.

The green fig tree was my home away from home when I was a kid. I played in it. I built a fort there. My friends who were part of our babysitting co-op and I played GIJoe there; my sister and I climbed the tree; my cousin and I ate fig after fig after fig. We shared them with the birds, and had to look out before eating a particularly ripe fig to make sure there was no bird poop on it. The tree was gigantic; maybe the oldest and/or biggest in the area. The branches stretched out and then down to the ground, especially heavy during fruit season. This meant that there was the perfect hiding space for a few kids to play and plot and imagine.

One time, when I was maybe 7 or 8, I threw a gigantic tantrum about something and "ran away" from home. This would perhaps have worked better had we lived less than five miles from the nearest town, and even town was pretty wee. So where did I go for those two hours until I ran out of steam and deigned to come home? The fig tree, of course!

We moved away in the summer of 1989, but our neighbor still lived in his old place. The land both of our houses stood on (a cattle ranch, as I think I've mentioned) was sold to a different owner a couple of years later. For some reason, we ended up going up to the old place when I was in eighth grade, so it would have been 1991 or early 1992. I was looking forward to visiting the fig tree, as it was such a huge part of my childhood.

The house where we had lived had been gutted; all the walls removed. We peeked in the windows and saw the different floorings for the kitchen, the kids' bedroom, my parents' room. Everything looked so small. This upset me, to think that this place that had been my home was reduced to four outer walls. Then, things got more upsetting: the enormous green fig tree was dead.

Our old neighbor told us what had happened: the fig tree was so big and heavy that, despite being over 100 miles to the south, the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake had caused it to split in half. The tree couldn't recover from a complete split, and died soon afterward. It was then that I really knew that you can't go home again, and things from your childhood are never the same once you grow up. Even though I was probably only 12 or 13 at the time, I felt ancient.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Petra: likes and dislikes

Things Petra likes:

Sunny spots
Warm spots
The water from a can of tuna
one particular brand/flavor of kitty treats
very small pieces of turkey bacon (sometimes)
being held
being held like a baby by Dan
throw rugs (for flopping upon)
being petted backwards
having her left ear scritched (she doesn't have the left back leg, so she can't scratch her left ear!)
licking plastic (mmmm, plastic)

sitting in unusually shaped containers
warm soft things, especially if they smell like Dan

playing in bags
playing in boxes
sitting on paper
string toys

snuggling with Loki
warm days
watching squirrels and birds on The Kitty Show (aka when the back door is open or when she climbs up in a window)

the blue chair
moths, mostly to meesh at, sometimes to hunt
reflections or flashlight or penlight on the wall

bathing Loki's head for him
seeing what Dan is doing at the kitchen counter or sink (I hold her up for this)
sniffing flowers and greens
sniffing things in general
fresh water

drinking out of the glasses that the humans are using

the bird that lives at Dan's parents' house

Things Petra tolerates:
being held like a baby by me
dancing around the kitchen with me
being bossed around by Loki

Things Petra Does Not Like:
Taking pills
being jabbed with a needle every day
Flying Kitty
cold weather
being sat upon by Loki
when Loki bites her stump
when her stump has phantom limb pain
the cat carrier
riding in the car, especially on the highway
when there are no rugs to flop on
loud barking doggies
sitting on laps (she seriously Will Not Do This unless she is scared shitless)
sitting on most furniture
being on our bed

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Hiking in a winter wonderland (uphill)(in the dark)(in the snow)

We were invited to a friend's birthday party on Saturday night. He and his wife live in a house sort of up in the foothills outside of Boulder, and we'd never had a chance to go. Also, we knew quite a few other friends would be there, so we were excited about having some social time to take our minds off more sobering subjects.

The difficult part came when, all day Saturday, the weather went from bad to worse. It looked gross early in the day, and started snowing in the afternoon. We were still feeling OK about the idea of going to our friend's party, though, as the snow wasn't accumulating much. We had dinner early (a mock tuna casserole, made with boxed mac & cheese, lots of sauteed veggies, yogurt instead of milk/butter with the cheese packet, and some seasonings) and got ready, then were on our way.

Conditions weren't great. In fact, in some spots, it was downright difficult, even with the windshield wipers going full-speed. The snow came down harder the farther west we got, and Dan had to do some white-knuckle driving at half the normal speed limit in a few areas. Finally we made it to Boulder and headed up the appropriate highway to get to the party. We drove further and further up, and the road got worse and worse, and the snow came down and down. Finally, we arrived at the turnoff, and realized that there was no way in hell that our car was going to make it up that hill, especially with inches of snow on the road.

I knew from the directions that we were less than two miles from our friends' house, and we had our snowboots in the trunk (had not taken them out since last spring's snowshoe adventures). We wanted to go to the party. So we decided to strap on the boots and hike to the house up the road, despite it being quite dark. And despite not having a functional flashlight. And despite not knowing exactly where we were going or how far we had to go because we'd never been there before. And (and this was the clincher) despite not knowing what the road was like.

Let me tell you. We certainly got our exercise hiking up that hill. It wasn't easy, especially when cars would pass up on the way up and not even slow down, let alone stop to see if we wanted a ride. We made it past hairpin turns and steep climbs, and started to get discouraged, especially since neither of us had cellular reception (being in a big canyon). It was dark and cold and we'd been hiking for 45 minutes with no end in sight.

Luckily, just when we were thinking of turning around, someone stopped. And that someone happened to be two people who knew us from having attended many of the same parties and events, and they gave us a ride the rest of the way to the party! So we partied the night away, ate carrot cake and had tasty beverages and socialized and played Rock Band on the wii. I belted out a few tunes and rocked it on the drums, while I think Dan managed to do guitar as well over the course of the evening. He even kindly waited to sing the Rush song until I was upstairs and wouldn't be directly subjected to it.

Our friends had plenty of space and setup available for guests to stay overnight, which we chose to do rather than ask someone to drive us back to our car in the cold dark. We had a room and an air mattress (with plenty of bedding), and this morning we woke up to over a foot of snow covering everything in the canyon. I wish I'd had my bey camera with me; it was spectacularly beautiful. Eventually the birthday boy drove us down the hill to our car, and we cleared it off and drove home on plowed roads, another Colorado adventure under our belts.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

3 outfits I loved when I was a kid

I loved playing dress-up when I was little. (I still do.) Most of our dress-up clothes were things that had been my mom's, or things my mom had made, but some were pieces she picked up someplace or another. We had these two things that were sort of tulle or illusion-type fabric with white lace on the top, and a tie, so they could be veils or capes or shawls, things like that. I liked this one best because the lace was prettier, and in this photo I think I probably styled myself, with the three ribbons tied in my hair (because three is certainly better than one), pink, purple, and turquoise. Not sure how old I am here - six or seven, probably.

I told the story of this dog here (her name was Gracie), but please take special notice of my bright salmon-colored shirt with the cockatoo on it. I'm also wearing some kickass railroad striped black and white jeans, and white high-top sneakers (the only time I've ever worn high-tops; I sprained my ankle while I wore these regularly and never wanted to wear shoes that made my ankles weak again). This was my favorite shirt at the time, and it was most definitely the coolest one I owned in 1986.

Sometimes we got boxes of hand-me-downs from my (slightly) older cousin in San Diego, which I assume is where this Hawaiian shirt and skirt came from. If the previous outfit was cool, this was The Shit, man. And the red netting in the hair really makes it. (If you'll notice, I'm not wearing any shoes and riding my bike. This is pretty much how I rolled. This is why I have scars all over my right ankle.)