September 29, 2019

Thermos

Have I mentioned that we have a turkey?

It's really just one, and he's not really ours, but he spends a lot of time in the island in the street, right across from our front door. And sleeps in our yard. And when we leave the house, he comes and poops on our front walk, as if to claim it for his own. Like three times a day sometimes.

We call him Thermos, which is one of my longtime favorite names from the Utah Baby Names site.

It gives me such pleasure to know that we are favored by a turkey, just one turkey. In the morning I get to say hello and he peeps at me from his spot in the island. It's probably fear, but I prefer to think of it as a howdy-do. I look forward to driving around him in the street and plucking his stray feathers out of the hedges and sweeping his poops into the garden beds. They're very light and fluffy. Mrguy likens them to grey Cheetos.

Yesterday I went to the grocery store and came to find Thermos bedded down in the garden. I parked the car and snuck up on him, but he ran away. I did manage to capture a bit of a photo. Here he is between the lemon tree and a cordelyne:




September 22, 2019

Lefse

I have owned a lefse griddle for many years and have never used it. Recently it had its maiden voyage.

It all started with a person posting to our factory message board asking where to buy lefse.

Not sure why, but I reached out and asked whether she wanted to join me in making some. A month later we did it. The idea was that we'd each prepare a recipe at home so we both had the experience of that, and then we'd get together at our place to cook the lefse. She found two recipes and chose one. I took the other. And on the day I was to make it I figured out that they'd omitted an ingredient. Argh. Then I misunderstood the next recipe I chose and thought it called for ten potatoes. Oops! Ten cups of potato. I weighed my mashed potatoes, discovered it was just over 5lbs, and selected the first recipe I could find on the Internet that called for five pounds of mashed potato.

I made huge messes while making my recipe, but it was fun.

Then you clean up, put your prepared mashed potato in the fridge over night and do more stuff to it the next day. Here is Phase 2, adding flour to the potato to make the dough.

Then you make little dough balls and put it back into the fridge and take them out when you're ready to roll the dough into rounds. When my colleague arrived with her recipe, she mixed hers up and we tried the two different recipes. Mine was more tender and easier to griddle. Hers was more fragile but more delicious.
Here is our first lefse:
And here is our final hoard of lefse.

It was so great. Both of us were covered in flour, and the kitchen cleanup was long and not fun. And when I relayed this news to my cousin in Norway she agreed! She also said an interesting thing, which is that our lefse was much thinner than Norwegian lefse. An observation I'd like to make about this is that "thinness" in lefse is a point of pride often mentioned in English language recipes. Perhaps it's a regional twist. Anyhoo, we had a great time, had much lefse, and mrguy enjoyed the results.

The next day I even made what I'm calling a lefsedilla:

It was, of course, delicious.

+++++++
LEFSE RECIPE
Based on this recipe
https://www.ndsu.edu/pubweb/~rcollins/scholarship/makinglefse.html

(Makes about 25 10-inch diameter lefse rounds.)

Ingredients:
Potatoes: 1/3 red potatoes, 2/3 Russet
Butter: half unsalted, half salted
Cream: heavy

5.2 lbs. potatoes, weighed after ricing.
1 tsp. salt.
1 tsp sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup cream
About 3 cups flour; more for dusting.

 

Dough, Phase 1:
1. Peel potatoes. Remove all blemishes.
2. Boil the potatoes GENTLY until just done.
3. Put potatoes through ricer and mash until perfectly smooth.
3. Stir in 1/2 cup softened butter. Add salt and sugar.
4. Add 1/2 cup cream. Mix.
5. Refrigerate overnight.

Dough, Phase 2:
Note that the dough was very cold when I mixed in the flour, and I did not handle it, mixing in the flour with a bamboo spatula. I mixed in exactly 1 cup of flour for every 4 cups of potato.

Just before rolling, stir in about 1 cup of flour to each 4 cups of potatoes, packed. Do about half the batch at a time, returning the rest of the fridge. Five pounds of potatoes need about 2 1/4 cups flour.

6. Turn on lefse grill; It should be on nearly the hottest setting. Make sure it's completely pre-heated.

7. Shape batter into balls about the size of fat golf balls, to start. You can make them a little larger later, when you get the knack of rolling out. Refrigerate balls.

8. Follow any other recipe re: rolling, cooking, etc.

The Rock Music

"During the Iron Maiden set, which are words you've never heard me say..."

-- Me, to mrguy, describing last night's rock show, in which there was a lady Judas Priest cover band, a lady Ramones cover band and a man Iron Maiden cover band.

September 1, 2019

Ashes

There isn't a logical thing to do with cat ashes. When our second cat died I used to keep her ashes in my sock drawer. Then another cat joined her. When many years later our third cat died, I really had to rethink the sock drawer scenario. Now, with Nose being gone, there is a neat stack of four boxes. And I can't decide what an appropriate resting place would be for them.

I have considered burying the ashes, but what if you move? And taking them to the ocean to join our fathers, but cats don't really like water.

A new option has appeared -- making the cats into diamonds.

Discuss amongst yourselves.


August 26, 2019

Pet Peeves

An ongoing list, in the order that it comes to me:

1) People naming their black cats after black people.

August 17, 2019

The Haps, August 2019

Nothing is the haps. That's the beauty of it. I'm winding down from our family trip. All the folks at the forklift factory are on vacation, so there is less urgency, and I'm working on a presentation for a forklift festival next weekend. Any time I get to hang out with my boyfriend, Keynote, I'm in a good space. Last weekend I even got to cook.

When I was growing up, the Time Life Foods of the World cookbooks were one way in which you learned about other cultures. We only owned the Scandinavian book, which came out in 1968. I can't recall when my dad learned that he had a half-sister in Norway that his mother had never told him about, but I think this book arrived just in time for that. I loooved this book. I pored over it. I wanted it badly. It is now mine. In the grand tradition of my family, I almost never use it. I have one recipe I make, which is red cabbage. A red cabbage was staring at me from the crisper, so I made the cabbage recipe. I freestyled a bit, because I didn't have enough jelly in the fridge, so I made further international adjustments to the recipe by using jamaica concentrate and some raspberry jam from Afghanistan. Now I have cabbage that tastes like raspberry. It's an acquired taste.



We even had the chance to have a beer out with friends. Crazy, right? This never happens.

This week there was a trip to the doctor, which gave me the chance to take this photo of the gate next door. Why are medical buildings from the 1950s so cool?



Thursday brought total excitement. It was my night with the mama. I got there to find that the toilet had just broken for the third time and the maintenance guys had gone for the night. I called a plumber, and he said that it would require parts that couldn't be gotten at 7pm on a Thursday. I was certain we'd need to use the restroom before then. So I ran up the hill to get my car, while the caregiver packed a bag, and the medical office gathered the mama's morning meds. By 8 or so we were at our house, where mrguy had made up the mama's bed with the Miss Piggy sheets. She was asleep within an hour. 

This is what the inside of a toilet tank looks like these days, People!



Crazy

August 5, 2019

Triumph Over Everything Else

A photograph like this just wills itself into being.

Several months ago I heard from a co-worker that a forklift designer at Hammerslag was on medical leave. She'd reached out to him for a work thing and he kinda email-blurted his situation. She knew how fond I am of this guy, so she told me. And I reached out to him and said hi, and can I be helpful. And his situation is rather dire, but I now have the pleasure of his company on occasion. It's amazing what happens when you raise your hand. You get to spend time with people you'd always wanted to know better.

So this is how I came to know this restaurant, which is situated in the town where he lives. It's his favorite. Sometimes I join him there. And now I know that he will always order the same thing (chicken tikka masala) and doesn't want to share naan, which is fine because I always order the same thing (bengan bartha) and don't care about sharing. Plus our favorite naan is amazing (it contains chopped chicken, cashews, chopped maraschino cherries, anise, coconut flakes and raisins) and why would you want to share when you can get two orders? And then he blurts out a bunch of stuff at me and doesn't let me talk and apologizes and I'm just happy to hear all his stuff. He doesn't seem to pass judgment that I work in a forklift factory and am not really a forklift-ist.

Yesterday mrguy, who was going to join us, was felled by a hideous migraine. I really wanted to stay home and take care of him, but he said he'd be sad if I didn't go have dinner with our friend. So I did. I took our friend some banana bread (turns out he loves banana bread), and for the first time we ate in the main dining room of the restaurant.

Let me back up and say that when I go there and say I'm meeting my friend, they know exactly who he is. I see his interactions with the owner, where they offer to send him food and they really want to take care of him. These people are the *dearest* with him. And he's straight up with them, this time telling them that it's back but he's fine. Which is the truth. His fucking cancer is back and he feels no effects but he's gotta deal with it.

So we're sitting there and gossiping and as the sun's angle changes I see that this place has a retractable roof and the weather is perfect and the paint on the buildings next door is amazingly peeled and beautiful.

I caught this picture which, as I said, made itself. And a great one of my friend pointing at the ceiling. I've never seen a photo of him so happy, and it's my job to look at photos of people I work with.

He and I talked about people at work and work methodology and disposition of assets for people like us who don't have children. He wants to donate his awards back to the company, because without him he wouldn't have developed those projects. We couldn't believe we were discussing this, but if it gave him some relief I'm happy.
 
I hope we have many more dinners and that the awards stay with him a very long time.

August 4, 2019

Triumph Over Old Bananas

As readers of mrsguy are aware, no overripe or half-eaten banana may go unused in our home. They all go into the freezer where they turn black and wrinkly and freaky looking.

And they taunt me.
 Like this one in the Belfor mug, next to that can of frozen fruit punch that I don't remember buying.

So today I made two batches of the ancestral banana bread recipe. One for mrguy and one for a friend I'm having dinner with.
Thank you, Banana.

July 20, 2019

Talking About Vacation

Can we never do this again in this same fashion? I love my people so much. I love to be with them and eat with them and laugh with them. But it's too much. We are two days post vacation and I'm starting to feel normal, like when you've had a very bad cold and have most of the symptoms still but they're starting to simmer. In a week or so I will suck it up, reach out to my sister and say that I can't do this any more (the family vacation thing).

Let's set the stage. The mama loves being with her family. It's the only thing she cares about. Where are her people? Are they together having fun without me? Why aren't we together? Why can't we be at the vacation place right now? As with her friend's funeral earlier in the year, there was much anticipation and then when she got in the car she didn't know where she was going. She thought she didn't pack. She thought that we were having a party and then coming home. Sometimes she knew where we were and sometimes she didn't.

In the last few weeks she's suffered a setback. She's weak and barely able to walk. It took 32 minutes for her to walk from my front door to her car the other day. On vacation she was floppy like a noodle, and getting her to the bath was challenging. Also the bed in her room was about three inches too high, so we had to almost lift her into bed each time.

My vacation week consisted of:
  • 1 day cooking
  • 1 day kitchen cleanup
  • 1 day as Mom's daytime concierge
  • Several mornings helping siblings get Mom dressed, showered, etc. (it's now a multi-person job) 
  • 4 nights sleeping with Mom, waking up 2 or 3 times a night for a half hour to take her to the restroom
  • 1 night sleeping in the den so special guests (who were really lovely) could stay in a bedroom
  • 1 3-hour discussion about Mom's health
  • 1 4-hour discussion about Mom's health with all of the siblings
  • 1 20-minute talk about Mom's future with one sibling.
  • 1 apology conversation after my own personal misery made me act out and hurt my sister's feelings
  • 1 5 1/2 hour drive
  • 1 4 hour drive
  • 1 morning of cleanup and packing out
  • Endless maudlin toasts to the Dead at dinner
  • No bears
I want to say that I did not work harder than my siblings. I feel awful complaining, for that reason. In addition to most of the same tasks above, one sister also did all of the shopping and hosted our 92-year-old cousin for several days before and after the vacation proper. The other took care of the mama before and after the trip and took her to the doctor.

All of this begs the question of who this is for. The mama? It does give her something to look forward to and agitate about, but it was too much for her and the air at that elevation is super thin. The next generation? Maybe. My generation? Definitely not. Again, as of this year I am done. I love my family but not enough to take a week off of work so I can work non-stop and be unhappy with myself about being grumpy and ungrateful.

Thanks to mrguy, I have ideas about turning our week-long misery-fest into something resembling a true family reunion.


July 7, 2019

An Excellent Day

Yesterday we had a visitation from that nice boy. What a treat. We had breakfast with mrguy at our excellent little spot nearby (where the food comes out so quickly it seems like witchcraft is involved). Then that nice boy and I went to an estate sale. Much more fun for me than for that nice boy, I'm afraid.

There was this creepy doll laying in state on the dining room table who needed to be documented. And I came home with NOS (new old stock) pillow cases and some wild napkins in red and green by Vera.

One thing I have not mentioned in the past is that that my favorite geranium, Mr. Wren, came from a cutting in that nice boy's garden, 26 years ago. I have taken him from house to house since then. Turns out that our friend no longer has Mr Wren in his own garden. So I cut off a big hunk and sent it home to be repatriated.

Several hours of catching up, political dialogue, etc. transpired and then it was time for that nice boy to head home. The turkeys left him a "going home" present right in front of the porch. Like cats, I think turkeys are mostly colon. We put down a nickel for size comparison.
Good times!

Politics and Phytobezoars

This post is woefully outdated, but I couldn't let it, half-written, go to waste.

Today is my last day of staycation. I should do this more often. I attended a four-day German genealogy conference, binge-watched the current season of Real Housewives of New York, made soup and lasagne, planted some new things in the garden, continued my work on cleaning out the Etsy closet, worked on the excel doc of the family vacation duties (mom day concierge, mom night concierge, cooking, cleaning) and had a great heart-to-heart with the oldest neph. I did not talk to the mama, except once.

Last week's German genealogy conference led to some awesome discoveries. I found my 5th great grandmother's death record, and did some research on her surname. It's so uncommon that only one fellow can really be her father. I still need to prove it by finding her birth record, with the help of a researcher. The putative dad is a guy who wrote many books  under at least 13 pseudonyms. Even though he is primarily known by one name, that name is so rare that I wonder if he invented it. Could one of the other names be his real name? Since I first wrote this post I have found traces of his great grandson who, in 1905, asked in German genealogy periodicals for help tracing the mystery man's origins. I'm not the only one who couldn't figure this out.

The day I was writing this post I paused to have coffee and discuss the state of world affairs with mrguy. He said that perhaps the body politic would surround the current occupant of the White House and eject him like a hair ball. Which led to a discussion of hair balls in general, and my love of the fact that there was a hair ball oracle in Huck Finn. Which is now un-love, after looking it up and reading some of the passages.

On to happier things. Turns out that hairballs are a type of phytobezoar. I love this name. Did you know that there are experiments with treating human phytobezoars with Diet Coke

Well now you do.


July 5, 2019

Clams

It's July, and the Nagoya basho begins this weekend.

Since last year's Kyushu basho, I have acquired a new sumo friend who is passionate about the sport and, like the person who introduced me to sumo, is a woman and Swedish and into genealogy and Japan. Super odd that way.

Our sumo friendship started one day when I posted a photo of my tattoo in honor of Akebono. It was a wink at my artist friends who were all posting photos for Inktober. I'd just gotten new ink, so I joined them. A few minutes later I took a power walk and went past a friend's house. He asked me if I could step into his kitchen and let his wife know that I know about sumo. So I did, and she really wanted to know everything and we started watching together.

In classic sharing-info-with-a-friend-about-something style, I feel like she knows much more about sumo than I now. She's an avid reader of Tachiai, and listens to their podcast. She walked into Baskin Robbins one day (here in Little Hill City) wearing her Tachiai tshirt and caught the attention of a guy who is one of the NHK English language broadcasters. Now they email back and forth. Again, go figure.

Part of any sumo viewing situation (usually a couple times a basho) is the mountain of food and beverages. She goes shopping, I go shopping, and for some reason I've gotten really into making clam dip. I don't know why. And apparently everybody else is making clam dip right now, also, because I went to many places and found empty spots where the dip should be. I even looked at the gas station, liquor stores, the pharmacy where the clientele look like zombies (which has never failed me before). I hate going to the big grocery store, but I did check at our little marked down the hill, and I could buy some clams in jars from Italy for $8 and that is something I am not going to do.



This is what our spread looked like for the March basho

This is what our spread looked like the other day. We got together to view some vintage 1997 sumo, recorded off TIVO by mrguy. It only took us 12 years to finally watch it! Such festivity. So much food that we didn't even break into the black currant Pocky or the mountain of other snacks we'd stockpiled. And what you're not seeing in this photo is the Japanese beer served in the ruby cut glass tumblers I was given in Chiba. But I think my favorite thing is the sake. Many years ago some Japanese friends gave me cedar cups that smell amazing. Drinking cold sake from those cups is a heavenly sensory experience. OK, and that our friend doesn't mind my surrounding us with sumo reference. She has her own sumo reference, now, as well. Notice, under the potato chips, the magazine that I refer to as "our hymnal", the english language program from the 1998 LA jungyo that started it all for me.

I don't get together with friends much at all these days. I miss entertaining. And this sumo watching is something that happens in a low-stress fashion that works for both of us. I really appreciate this new friendship. And mrguy is our AV tech, and he can come enjoy or not as he pleases. It's good.

June 20, 2019

Shark Tank Impulse Buy

When I'm at the mama's, and it's bedtime, we watch tv. For her, this means listening at a deafening volume and changing the channel every few seconds. It makes us kids bonkers, and we all employ different methodologies to cope. Sometimes I just let her do her thing, and when she gets to the end of the channels or messes up the settings, I borrow the remote, start the channels at 2 and let her rip until it's time to start over again.

Occasionally she stops for favorite things: basketball, tennis, Fox News and Shark Tank. ST is produced by Mark Burnett. I wish it were not, because I think this show is fun.

I can get the mama to watch at least two Shark Tanks in a row, and I often find myself  Googling the products. That's how I came to own an Illumibowl, which the FedEx guy just brought me. It is a light for your toilet bowl, and just might be the right night light for the sweet mama, since most night lights do not work in her bathroom.

Here it is in action in my darkest bathroom, which is dark like the mama's and needs some light for visitors. It works on battery and is activated by a motion sensor. Here it is in white. "Classy!"


But white is not the only option, and once it gets going it cycles through several colors. You can pick one, or let it rotate through them all. I like pink, of course, but found that it's hard to photograph properly.
 
 
Now I have to see whether Mom likes it (on the "classy" white setting, of course). She won't care for green.

June 19, 2019

I'm In Love

It's customary in our family to begin discussing the next meal while eating the current meal. In the spirit of this, I'm on staycation and thinking about realcation.

I am HOT to go back to Halberstadt to see the changing of the klang of the John Cage piece As Slowly As Possible. And really want to go back to Leipzig, and really drill down. There are many things we didn't get to do.

But then there is also the town of Pery, Switzerland, where my people apparently lived for hundreds of years. I've wanted to visit. So I looked it up on Google to see what I might be able to do in the vicinity. Which brought me to TripAdvisor, which led me to Hotel Florida, Studen. Down the rabbit-hole (or in this case flamingo hole) I went.

I was drawn in by the photos of live flamingos, but the other visitor photos were above and beyond.

The flamingo prison

Are those hearts on the floor made out of discarded panties?

Swings at the bar and chairs made out of oil barrels  

Florida Steak

Who writes "Sorry" in balsamic reduction on a plate? This must have been a request.

If this is Florida, sign me up. But free the flammies.

June 18, 2019

You Know What's Dumb? A Work In Progress

A growing list, in no particular order:

1) Going to Mount Everest
2) Taking selfies on cliffs
3) ATV driving
4) Leaving things in cars. Things you will miss if they are stolen. Even you, A-Rod
5) Dodgeball
6) Running the bulls in Pamplona.
7) Base jumping. Even for science.
8) Getting off the boardwalk / pathway near sources of geothermal energy (volcanoes, geysers)

I can't feel sorry for you if you're going to do stupid stuff.

Bonus points for death or serious harm while selfie-ing.

Is it a sign of age that this stuff is getting on my nerves? When you know that things are ill-advised and you make the choice to do them anyway, I'm not going to feel sorry for you after the bad thing happens.

Updates:

I just added dodgeball. It's mean. 




Tooth Jail

Last week I started Invisalign, which seems silly and frivolous, given that I had braces when I was younger. But I got to a place (perhaps after my 70-year-old sister got braces for the 4th time) where I figured it needed to happen. My bottom incisors are moving around and getting sharper and thinner and I want them to last a few more years. Conversely, I was enjoying the movement I had been seeing in my upper teeth. The gap in my front teeth was widening again, and as an older adult with little to prove, I felt like I could indulge in my gap. But the doctor told me I couldn't keep it and do what needed to be done with the bottom teeth. Oh well.

So I went in for an appointment and threw down for Invisalign without a ton of worry. And now for many weeks I am in tooth jail.

Tooth jail means that my cuticles finally get a reprieve. Tooth jail means my teeth hurt always. Tooth jail means that snacking (one of my favorite pastimes) is more difficult. Tooth jail means that I always have another rig with me (toothbrush, container for my trays, chewie). Tooth jail means I have to figure out how to take out my trays and eat all my meals in under 2 hours a day, or my treatment will take longer.

I have brought this on myself.


June 12, 2019

Bird Season

I'm going to buy a Super Soaker, just like the big guy had, and I'm going to point it at the mockingbird that sits on our unused satellite dish and calls, day and night. Then I will shoot him.

The big guy had a major grudge against the peacocks that roamed free on the island where he lived. They wandered around and called all day and could lay a poop the size of an adult human thumb (male). So for fun, and out of exasperation, he'd load up the Super Soaker and shoot. Or he'd hurl a bath sheet at them, while emitting a roar that still frightens me to this day when I think about it.

His lawn was littered with peacock crap and bath sheets.

When I told mrguy last night that I was considering getting a Super Soaker he looked horrified. This, coming from a man who boasted that he threw a rock on the roof and scared the mockingbird away. But he wasn't trying to *hit* the bird, he said. I countered that I wasn't trying to hurt the mockingbird, but merely to *moisten* him.

About the time that we on the lanai mincing words about intent and rocks and water, we saw a HUGE bird fly into the pine tree next door. It was a turkey. Once ensconced, he proceeded to climb the tree one branch at a time, using his big old fan-shaped tail to counterbalance. I have never seen anything like it.

So dramatic! We watched for about 15 minutes, as he climbed higher, occasionally gobbling. In the picture below he's in the bottom-most clump of branches to the right. Those branches are easily as tall as our house.


May 28, 2019

Spargelzeit 2019

Recently I had a hankering to go to a nearby port town, another site of genealogical interest. While looking for reasons to go there, I saw that they were having an asparagus festival. So mrguy and I went on a road trip.

It was so much better than the corn festival we went to a few years back. There was SO MUCH ASPARAGUS. This place had beverages and macaroni and cheese (with or without asparagus). Did I mention that the beverages in this booth were in gigantic baby bottles? And something called a "yard bottle". What's a "yard bottle"?

We got some delicious food. I got some steamed asparagus with garlic, and a tiny slider with shrimp.
The margarita stand had asparagus margaritas. They were perfect. Couldn't taste the asparagus, but that's ok.
Are these ears of corn or emojis?

 
If you wanted to brave these lines you could have asparagus ice cream or deep fried asparagus. IF! I just wanted to see what the fuss was all about.


A photo opportunity is never a bad thing. This spear was pretty cute.


And then we drove home. A perfect amount of asparagus, and we stopped to pay our respects at the genealogical interest site. The drive was beautiful and mrguy's new electric car got us there and back perfectly.

Antiques Roadshow 2019

It happened. We brought the things. We had the appraisals. We even ran into an appraiser who I've consulted for advice on behalf of the forklift factory. A few photos.

The queue for item triage:
The results of my triage:
Lunch of cold pizza next to the river after our Roadshow fun:
And then a swing past a location of genealogical interest: a building where two of mrguy's great great aunts lived at the time of the 1910 Census.

May 27, 2019

My Epiphyllum Bloomed!

Well that was sad, but you know what is not? At long last one of my epiphyllums bloomed. Mrguy mentioned it to me yesterday. He told me that grandpa was blooming, which would have been weird because he's a regular old Christmas cactus and it is almost June. On clarification it turned out that it's my second epi, which I bought from a guy off Craigslist a few years ago.

It's absolutely gorgeous, and it's trying to escape out the window of the breezeway under the house (where all of my Christmas cactuses live).
 

Chai Ping

My best friend in college had a cat, Chai Ping, that was so old that when her mom took it to the vet to be put to sleep the receptionist looked in the box containing the Chai Ping and said "Mrs. Robinson, I don't think that will be necessary".

Such was the case with our dear cat, Nose.

He was such a good cat. He arrived during my last week as a waitress, right before my doctor said I was too injured to continue. He was about three days old, and his eyes weren't even open, so we bottle-fed him. During that sad first year on Disability when I could pretty much only do my physical therapy and then rest, he (and our original cat, as well) was my constant companion. Unlike her, he was needy and a little annoying. When I was in grad school he'd pull the post-it flags out of my research material, making me half-crazy. He and mrguy were my link to that past where we lived on sacks of rice, carrots and packaged Indian food that was expired and 50 cents at the local grocery.

Here he is at about three days old:

 

That teensy little cat grew into the hefty boy that the mama called "Mister Tubbo". And at our last house, which had a central hallway, he did what we called "Laps". If mrguy was preparing cat dinner with the kitchen door closed, Nose would trot around the house in a circle, pausing to rise on two legs, put his paws on the kitchen door and listen. If he didn't think the bowl was coming soon, he'd continue circling, each time pausing at the door, as if his laps were causing the bowl to arrive. Occasionally he'd entice another cat to follow him, and they'd start to school like fish. His highest number of laps recorded was, I believe, around 9. We loved showing this spectacle off to friends and family.

Here he is at 15:
 

When we moved to our current house, he settled into elder statesmanhood. His closest sibling had paired off with the "kittens" (now ten years old) and he had arthritis and a bladder thing and eventually a tumor in there, but he continued to show his charm and enthusiasm for life and food and ear rubs until just before the end, which came 4 years after we got the number for the at-home euthanasia vet and 15 years after my mom first called him "Old Timer".

He turned 18 in this house. We thought that was pretty old. Here he is on his birthday:

 

This March, he turned 23. Here he is on his birthday. His eyes are big and scary because he's flying high on painkillers:

 
Our plan was to have the final deed done at home. But things did not go to plan. We met vet #1 who helped us evaluate his quality of life. When we went to make the appointment to put our boy to sleep we learned she was going out of town. Appointment was made with vet #2 for the next day. Mrguy had a gig and when we came home Nose was gone. We called vet #2 and learned that she doesn't do pickup. So she told us that we should call our regular vet.

This was a blessing in disguise. Mrguy said that he felt like we won the lottery. He called, and our vet was in, and all of Nose's favorite people were working. He told them what was happening, and it was amazing. They brought us into a room we'd never seen, with low lighting and prettiness, and almost everybody joined us. Our vet talked to mrguy in private before I brought Nose in. And then we were met by the two ladies who work in the front who loved him and were best friends, and the vet tech who was Nose's very special friend and knew his personality and his preferences. We all stood around him and petted him and told stories about him and cried and hugged. It was like a wake, but for a cat. The vet tech was especially moved. She said that she'd made a promise to herself that she wouldn't get close to another animal after a little dog that she'd bonded with had died, but then Nose just got right in there and she fell in love with him. She knew that he did *not* like sharing a cage with his sister when they need to board, and she knew his likes and dislikes. She says that he passed away while we were out because he wanted to "do it on his own terms".

So all in all, our sweet boy got a good send-off. I'm sad I wasn't there, but his people gathered in his memory, and people who loved him did not have to put him to sleep. And we got to share his passing with them after they and we have worked so hard to give him a good life. 

The next day they sent us flowers.

So ends a cat life well led.



May 6, 2019

Impossible Burger - The Votes Are In

I ordered my first Impossible Burger today. It will likely be my last. 

If you like beef, this is definitely going to be your thing. I do not like beef, for the most part. So now I feel grossed out and burpy.

As I explained to the guy in line behind me at the restaurant, I like fake meat that tastes like its ingredients. I want a tasty burger alternative that fits in a bun and goes well with ketchup and mustard. One that doesn't taste like beef.

Like the classic Redi Burger, by Loma Linda. SUPER old school. As it was shown to me by the hippies of old, you open both ends of the can and push up from the bottom. Then you slice off your circle of whatever Redi Burger is and heat it up in a cast iron pan. When it's nice and crispy you put it on some toast with condiments. Super yummy.

I'm not a vegetarian, and the one burger I will eat is a McDonalds regular hamburger, the flat uninteresting grey thing that mostly tastes like the reconstituted dried onions that I flick off of it and the pickle.

I might have to go to the OG health food store after work and get myself some Redi-Burger.

May 5, 2019

Mourning Lobsters

After Christmas it was clear -- I needed more lobsters to gussy up our Mugo Pines, on all occasions. Like Porkopola and Fritz, geese of yore, but lobsters.

So I bought 8 more lobsters, as you do, and I made bunny ears for them for Easter, as you do, and desported them about the property.



I showed my Easter lobster photo to a colleague who asked what the next occasion was, and I imagined it would be the 4th of July. She said she thought that they should wear little white shoes for the summer season. Fate, however, had a different idea.

Today I had just finished taking the bunny ears off the lobsters and making a new box labeled "Lobster Accoutrements" when we got some sad news: Blick's father, Papa, has passed away. Papa was quite grown up, so it wasn't horribly surprising, but he was so dear and interesting and himself, and I will miss him. I have enjoyed every single time I have spent with them, and Papa and Mama, who survives him, never seemed to mind that I was myself around them. And that was so nice.

I don't always have the most normal way of expressing my emotions, so the first thing that occurred to me was to make little mourning armbands for the lobsters.


We are all very sad.

April 21, 2019

Anyone Want A Laptop?

Juuuust kidding.

Last week mrguy found his inbox filled with hundreds of spam emails. He consulted "doctor internet" to see what might have happened, and found a helpful site that directed him to look into each email. Sure enough, he found that one of the emails was from a lending site, confirming his new account.

He figured out that the lender is super loose (all it takes is an email), and called to cancel this spurious account. Then he figured out that the scammer already used the account to buy a laptop that was en route to our address. After more research mrguy learned that the mailing address usually gets changed in these scams. So he kept on top of the shipper, learned that a local UPS store was the destination, hopped in the car, got to the store and beat the scammer to the laptop, which is now headed back to where it came from.

Wow.

mrguy is a stud.

April 13, 2019

A Wild Memorial To A Liberated Woman

As readers of mrsguy are aware, the windup to our friend's memorial luncheon was epic.

It was roughly a week and a half of mom calling up every child to ask what the plans were for the memorial, and her immediately forgetting. We put together calendars, notes, and reminders, but they didn't work. Her capacity for worry was tremendous. My own response was to keep it light and jokey because I realized that she wasn't ever going to remember the details.

The day of the luncheon I got there at 9. It's all fine. I get a parking space right out front. We have about three hours to get ready. Eventually we get in the car, mom buckles herself in, turns to me and says:

"So where are we going?"

That, my friends, was the punchline to a week or so of torture.

But who cares. It was the day, I was in control, it was happening. I teased her by asking where she thought we were going, and she really didn't know. She thought we could go clothes shopping or to my house to see the cats. I told her that I had taken the day off work and we were going to the memorial. "We don't have to do that," she said. "Let's go to your house and see the cats." For real, People!

The luncheon was a trip. We were in a small banquet room with lots of walkers for the 91-year-olds, their children my age, and our friend's admirers. Many of the old people were known in this room by their nicknames: Dit, Punk, Biney, Wink, Boy. There was an asparagus heiress and people who were relatives of General Custer who all disagreed about whether or not he was an ass. And all of our friend's caregivers, who were soooo sweet, and even one rock star who, after he left for a doctor appointment, was replaced to my left by his sister who grew up with "My brother the rock star". She was awesome. Everybody told risque stories. Our host couldn't cope and had to leave. The waiter seemed to be having some sort of nervous breakdown and was pretty passive aggressive. The whole thing was a trip.

It was definitely worth doing, and later in the week mom thanked my sister (not me) for taking her.

Wish I'd been there ;)


April 6, 2019

Sumo News, 2019 Edition


One day during what my Facebook friends who draw call "inktober", I posted a photo of my own inktober, a tattoo in honor of Akebono, the 64th yokozuna. About twenty minutes later my patented slow walk (tm) took me past the house of a friend and neighbor. He must have seen my post and he came out of his house to greet me. "Is it true that you know about sumo? Could you please step into our kitchen for a minute and make my wife really happy?" Turns out that his wife, who I already really like, really wanted to know about sumo.

And now she does. We've watched three bashos together, eaten piles of Japanese snacks and consumed the blissful aroma of cold sake in cedar cups. So much fun.

I'm not sure how I haven't taken photos of our crazy bonanza of snacks, but it's been really awesome. Our friend is really hooked. She has the books and the t-shirts and the questions and knows so many of the things. It is super fun. I never imagined, after having been introduced to sumo by a woman that I would find another person besides mrguy who would have an interest in watching sumo. And that it would be another woman. What?

Yesterday she texted me photos of a random person she met at Baskin Robbins who wanted to know about her Tachiai shirt (Tachiai is one of the main English language sumo blogs). They had a great conversation during which he revealed that he's a journalist and then he texted her selfies of himself with well-known sumotori. He thought it was pretty funny that we eat clam dip and sembei and watch the basho together.

I am a lucky person. Thank you, world.

April 5, 2019

And In DNA News

I am an avid genealogist and user of the various DNA services available. With every DNA match I see, I can pretty much tell how these people are connected to me. I recognize their last name, or the name of the people they're researching. Recently, however, I found a new match that's puzzling. 

This person is male, and the amount of DNA we share identifies him as a first cousin-ish. He shares more DNA with me than my 1st cousin once removed, who is also a DNA match. So it's pretty likely that "new guy" actually is a first cousin. I sent him a message asking if he would like to share information. He has not responded and has not logged in for two months.

Similarly, a new DNA match showed up on a different DNA service. It's a woman, with the same last name as the man on the first service. She shares less DNA with me than the man, in a proportion which would make her likely his child. I have sent her a message and have not gotten a response. Interesting side note is that if you Google her name, it returns no hits. How often does that happen? Never.

I now wonder whether there is a deeper mystery.

I know of no genetic first cousins on my mom's side. The mama had a sibling who raised an adopted child from the spouse's first marriage. The only possibilities that I can think of for a first cousin are that there was a hidden child who was then put up for adoption. My grandmother did have a year in high school in which she went off to two different schools in different parts of the state for the two halves of the year. An out of wedlock child could have been concealed during the summers before or after that year. The man who appears to be a first cousin could be the son of that child. But that sounds unlikely in this family, where my grandmother had a half sister from her dad's first marriage who was raised in the same town by an aunt but considered a sibling.

Alternately, my mom's sibling could have had a child that we never knew about. I think that this is more likely the case, but the fact that I haven't had any responses to my messages makes me wonder whether this isn't someone researching their own roots, but that the DNA came from a crime scene and not living people.

I hope that this person (or these people) are living and get in contact so we can clear up the mystery.




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