I just finished reading a good book: "Garlic and Sapphires" by Ruth Reichl. She used to be the restaurant reviewer for the New York Times. Now she's the editor of Gourmet Magazine. There are some good, laugh-out-loud stories in the book. My particular favorite is about a guy who calls himself a "food warrior." During a silent auction he buys dinner with Ruth and her husband at any restaurant in New York with the Times paying for it. Needless to say, anyone who calls himself a "food warrior" is bound to be obnoxious. In addition to some very funny tales, there are also some great recipes. I tried one of them last night. Put brussel sprouts on a cookie sheet, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil (EVOO as Rachel Ray calls it), and then salt and pepper each sprout. Put in an oven pre-heated to 400 degrees F. for about 20-25 minutes. The little sprouts are nearly carmelized when they come out of the oven. Delicious!
I'm in a food phase, but not sure why. My brother also gave me a cookbook: "12 Best Foods Cookbook" by Dana Jacobi. Lots of good recipes there too. I spent quite a while watching television in Washington when I got sick. Unlike last year when Kerry and I were both sick for four days, this time it was just the 24 hour flu and he didn't get sick. I watched mostly cooking shows. Go figure; when you have the flu you would think I wouldn't want to look at food. Rachel Ray is one of my favorites. I want to learn to dice food the way she does. The other lady I like is someone who's name I can never remember, it's contessa something. She's southern and rather zoftig. We like zoftig. She taught me how to chop garlic with the food processor. Turn the processor on, drop whole, peeled cloves in and before you know it you have properly chopped garlic. Then you just add the rest of your ingredients. I haven't tried this yet.
We are having Dungeness crab for our New Year's dinner. This time of year it's plentiful and delicious. We spread several layers of newspapers on the table, put the crab in the middle and start eating. No utensils, no plates; just crab, wine and French bread plus lots of paper towels. When you are done you roll up the newspaper and take it immediately out to the garbage. Otherwise your kitchen will smell like a fish market before the old fish are tossed out. I'll make crab cakes out of the leftovers. Not sure where all of this food stuff is coming from but I'm enjoying it.
Most of my e-mail attachments these days seem to be pictures of snow from various parts of the country. I'm just glad it's snowing somewhere else and not here. I worked in my garden today. About a dozen bulbs are already peaking through the soil. My brussel sprouts and romanesco are doing nicely.
While we were in Washington, we watched Al Gore's movie "An Inconvenient Truth". It's hard for me to believe that George Bush is still denying that global warming exists. Wait, I forgot, he was a C-student at Yale. I'm glad to see that individual states are adopting the Kyoto Treaty rather than waiting for the U.S. to do it. The breaking off of a huge chunk of ice in Canada should be testimony to what's happening in the world. Polar bears would not have to be endangered if we hadn't screwed up their habitat.
Well, hope you all have a great new year celebration. I finished the entire New York Times Sunday crossword puzzle today so my year ended on a high note. I have my bird calendar ready for the New Year. The bird for January 1 is the Andean cock-of-the-rock. A real beauty. I'll try to find a picture.
Today's the day. We fly to Seattle about 3 today, then we wait for Mark to arrive from Albuquerque and then we all drive to Burlington, WA. It's about an hour north of Seattle. There we will settle in at Aunt Susan and Uncle Gary's place. She makes homemade caramels every Christmas. Yum. Everyone gets a bag to take home. There will be lots and lots and lots of food, good cheer and wonderful family. The big event will be bowling. It's not fair to practice during the year. Everyone has to be just plain awful. One year David and Summer broke the no practice rule by bowling once. They confessed. It didn't improve their game. Each family has its traditions. Ours just happens to be bowling and, of course, eating. The weather is going to be miserable there so we will probably spend most of our time indoors.
Hope all of you have a happy holiday. I'll be back on Dec. 30th.
He's so cute. Max is my sister's grandson (I'm very jealous; I don't have one yet). His mom and dad are Minna and Michael. Max will be two the end of March. His mom posted this on her blog (www.m1nna.com). I wish I could spend more time with Max.
Just got this on my phone from my brother. His wife, Charlotte, is in the middle. Cassie, Charlotte's beautiful daughter, is on the left and Nan, Charlotte's mom is on the right. This could only have been taken if they'd made it to Ohio. Congratulations.
My brother and his wife decided to drive from the Denver area to Cincinatti for Christmas. They started their trek in Evergreen, which is at about 8,500 feet. The snow was piling up around their house so they decided to leave early so they wouldn't be snowbound at home for the holidays. They got as far as Denver in a howling blizzard and checked in to a Residence Inn for two nights instead along with lots of other stranded travelers. First night guests played Bingo. Second night there was a talent contest. Finally early Friday morning I-70 eastbound was opened to traffic. Here are some photos my brother sent me via his phone. Makes me cold just looking at them. The woman in the photo is Charlotte. Hopefully the drive back will be less eventful. Notice the icicles hanging from the I-70 sign.
Tonight was the third night in a row that we have had a Christmas party. Luckily this is the last. It's not that we don't have fun seeing good friends but we really are not party animals. So we are done partying in California for the holiday season. On to Burlington, WA for Christmas.
I finished my shopping today. Gift cards are the greatest thing. I also finished getting stocking stuffers for everyone in Washington. I have not had any more cards returned for extra postage, so not all the post offices are run by grinches.
Tonight my Red Hat Society ladies and husbands/significant others did our annual caroling at a local nursing home. You never know if you bring joy to any of them, but we go every year. Sometimes we see people mouthing the words to carols and other times we just look at a lot of blank faces. A gentleman asked us to go to his wife's room to sing one carol for her. She's dying of brain cancer. He seemed very grateful that we did it. I have no idea if she knew what was going on. Doing this every year really makes you realize how important it is to live every day. I'm sure none of these people thought they would end up where they are, but there they are. And I think this may be one of the good nursing homes, but it is heartbreaking to see these people. For some of them their bodies are fine, but their minds are gone. And many of them don't have any family. Life can be cruel at the end of your time on earth.
I intend on sleeping in tomorrow and then vegging most of the day. I may walk the quarter mile to the road for the newspaper but then again I may not. Friday is hair maintenance day. Can hardly wait. I need some color and trimming very badly. Besides, my hairdresser is really great. Always makes me feel good after our visit.
I'm going to garden tomorrow. We need to get our Christmas plants in the ground. It's supposed to rain tomorrow so it's a good day to do that. I also have one more winter vegetable to plant. It's call romanesco. It's a combination of broccoli and cauliflower. I'll try to find a picture and post it.
There's no reason to beat around the bush, the man with whom I live, is a pack rat. I love him dearly and can't imagine my life without him but he and I are exactly the opposite when it comes to tidiness. And he has more clothes and shoes than I have. His closet has been a mess for the 3-1/2 years we have lived here. A while back he started working on a project in the garage that he said would fix his closet. The photo is the result of his project. He bought a large book case and shortened its height to fit in his closet. The result, as you can see, is astonishing. He has rods at either end of the closet for things he hangs. He can now find things. I am in awe of him for doing this. Now if he could just work on his office. But I love him just the same.
I really enjoy writing our holiday letter and then putting it together with a card or, this year, a photo of us at the Great Wall in China. I try to get it done the week before Christmas and then I spend a couple of nights addressing about 60 envelopes and putting stamps on them. I usually have a glass of chardonnay while I do this. Sounds good so far. The glitch came yesterday when I got two of my cards back in the mail saying I had postage due: 2 cents. The ample supply of stamps came from Kerry. It was great to not have to stand in line at the post office to get them. But now I have to stand in line at the post office to get 2 cent stamps to put on all the cards that come back. Kerry gave me 37 cent stamps, but postage is now 39 cents. I pay all but one bill on line so I don't even know how much postage is supposed to be. This is a long way of saying that my cards might be late this year.
This is what Spanish Lavender looks like. Ours won't get to be this size any time soon, but we did buy a larger plant so it would be harder to kill. Despite tender loving care, we are prone to killing plants. We specialize in killing trees.
Kerry and I buy each other plants for Christmas and birthdays. We pick them out together and then plant them. This year we got two beauties: Flowering Maple (shown here) and Spanish Lavender (see next post).
We are still working on the right location for the pig. He doesn't show up that well in this photo. She also needs a name. The same artist who made Jerome is now making pigs in various sizes. Help with a name would be greatly appreciated.
A week ago today Comet was still alive, albeit, barely. But I could hold her warm body as we took a tour of the property. Having her gone has been such an adjustment. I got on an airplane not long after we carried her body to the vet for cremation. I went from a world of caring and mourning to a world of airport security. I wanted to say to everyone, I just lost my cat, you have to be patient with me. That, however, would have just gotten me in the wrong line and probably a full body search. So I pretended like everything was just fine. I think that's what a lot of people in mourning do. A while back I read a study in which they asked people how long you should mourn. The average of all the responses was three weeks. I was astounded, but then I realized that mourning makes people uncomfortable. Nobody wants to think about death, but it happens regardless of whether it's a cat or your wife. My relationship with Comet, which lasted 15+ years, may be the longest relationship of my life, except for my son and brother and sister. So I'm going to mourn my own way. It will be unhurried. Some days I will be out of sorts as my grandmother used to say. But a companion of 15 years deserves that.
I took her food to a local cat rescue group called Fieldhaven. It was gratefully received. I looked at the cats at Fieldhaven with total disinterest. The volunteer understood my disinterest. She told me to come back when I'm ready. She recognized the grieving process. I guess what I'm saying here is it's okay to grieve in your own time regardless of what others may think. A life of 15 years deserves more than three weeks or three years. It's all in the needs of the person who has just lost a loved one.
The man with whom I live lost his wife to cancer six years ago. We still celebrate Jane's birthday and their wedding anniversary with his tears and my comforting him. The past is important. So I will remember Comet in her bad days and good days. You probably don't know this but she loved mayonaisse and she loved to cuddle. I miss her terribly.
Comet died in my arms at 3:51 a.m. today. We were cuddled together in bed when I woke up because I heard some noises from her. I held her even closer with my hand just over her heart. The rate slowed and then finall stopped. It was very peaceful. I am so glad I had this experience with her. I took care of her for more than 15 years so it was only right that I take care of her in death. Kerry and I are getting ready to take her little body to the vet so she can be cremated. After she died I put her in a position where she looks like she's sleeping. By this morning rigor mortis had set in so I'm glad I did it when I did. Now I just have to pull myself together to get on a 12:45 flight to San Diego and three days of work for a client. I guess life has to go on, but it seems a whole lot emptier this morning.
My hope of pulling her through this is waning. All I can do now is hold her and love her. We went outside today for a walk around the property. I thought it would be nice for her to have some last smells of this world before she starts her new adventure. I do love the old girl. She has been one of the sweetest and most affectionate cats I've ever had the privilege of knowing. That's enough for now. I'm very, very, very, very sad. She is peaceful in her little pyramid.
I think she slept better than I did last night. I kept waking up to check on her and then had trouble falling asleep again. I'm tired today. Got her meds from the vet yesterday. She's taking 1/8th of a tablet of doxycycline and 1/2 a tablet of prednisone. The vet said that the eighth of a tablet of the antibiotic is at the high end of the dose for her because she is so small. Getting these pills in to her is rather farcical. She can spit them out faster than we can get them in. I finally went on the web to see if I could find some advice. Turns out when you put the pill in the cat's mouth you should tip the head down because that will make them swallow. It worked for the prednisone this morning even though she and I both ended up on the floor.We started out on the bed. She may be sick but she's still feisty. I ground up the other small pill and put it in some mayonaisse. She licked it up. The other good thing about her is that she hasn't forgotten where the litter box is. It's a game of wait and see. We only know her symptoms, no red or white cells and no platelets. The cause is a mystery so we are treating it with what might work. Cross your fingers.
Talked to the vet this morning. Comet's body is not producing red cells, white cells or platelets. So it looks like her bone marrow is not doing its job. Dr. Giles also talked to the clinical pathologist at the lab after he had looked at Comet's blood test results. He recommended we try an antibiotic and prednisone. So I will go pick them up in a few hours when the vet has them ready. Getting the pills into her maybe quite a challenge. I have never had to give her pills; that's how healthy she has been. She always tries to sneak a taste of mayonaisse when we have it out. We usually give her a lick which she gobbles down. We may try that with the pills.
I'm an Aquarius who was raised a Roman Catholic in Minnesota. I've managed to overcome the religion and the state. I've lived in California for 40 years. I retired in 2007 and became a quilter and appliquer. Never thought I would find the medium that would let me express my artistic feelings. I love vivid color. In addition, I'm a locavore, foraging for food to keep my husband and me healthy and to help local farmers. I live in Northern California on five acres.