15 December 2008

What's a girl to do?

Despite my well-documented distaste for household chores, I seem to spend a good portion of my day puttering around my apartment doing those dastardly tasks. Most of it is routine upkeep-- stuff that is as much a part of my day as brushing my teeth. But the time I spend this stuff adds up. Soon enough it seems that these daily cleaning rituals seem to edge out those non-standard housekeeping duties-- stuff like polishing my 8 dozen pairs of shoes. Inevitably, those tasks end up on my to do list.

Ah, the to do list. The list which always seems to get longer before it gets shorter. It's a list I refer to on special occasions, usually when I'm procrastinating big time. And I know I'm not alone on this, everyone's list is infinite and unending. Right?

So, don't hate me for this ladies and gentlemen: I have finished my entire to do list.

I'll spare you a detailed account of the joys and wonders involved in painting the numbers back on my stove and oven dials, or repairing a broken lamp. But every errand has been run, every odd job is complete and every action item requiring follow up has been followed.

It took weeks to get through these things. True, none of the items on the list were particularly momentous. While I am glad I finally bothered to weed out the bad seeds in my sock drawer, I hardly believe it's contributed to any of my life goals.

As much as I'd to attribute my recent success of sloughing through ye ol' "To Do" to a cocktail of delicious caffeine and anti-depressants, I think the discerning mixologist would recognize this as boredom. And maybe a little bit of proactive procrastinating. Which is to say, without these things hanging over my head, I have no excuse when it comes to doing those things that will contribute to my goals (and will maybe bless me with health insurance).

Guess there's nothing left for me to do but go out and live life.

02 December 2008

Running Out of Gas

Despite the fact that I am able to pack in an impressive 12 hours of sleep each day (who needs mornings?), this blog is not about running out of gas in the colloquial sense. Mama Crow is quite fond of the colloquial use-- a descriptor of the level of sleepiness that comes between tuckered out and zonked-- so if you want a story about a nap, maybe I can get the two of you in touch. This is my story about running out of gas in my car.

Not one week prior to this event, I was driving along and thinking about how I had yet to get a flat tire or run out of gas in all my years of driving. I knew it was about time for one of these things to happen, so perhaps I was subconsciously tempting fate or concocting some sort of preemptive strike. I wasn't about to go jab a nail in my tire, but flirting with the life cycle of the fuel light seemed like a decent idea. I thought about what I might do if I were to find myself in this sort of automobile emergency situation and ruefully remembered the many, many years that had passed since I earned the Auto Maintenance Badge in Girl Scouts.

Testing the limits of the fuel light is not a new story for me. I am one of those that has faith in few things other than the fact that the E on my dashboard stands for Enough. Or at least, "Eh, we'll make it this time." So my fuel injector is probably shedding a few tears about this. No worries. It's not capable of real emotion.

Once, on a late night road trip through New England my lax fueling instincts caused a bit of tension. One of my more Type A friends was at the wheel and started freaking out because we were in the middle of rural Massachusetts with just half a tank of gas. In her eyes, we obviously needed to find a service station PRONTO. I remember leaning in looking over at the fuel gauge from my spot in shotgun and telling her, "What are you talking about? We won't need gas for another 2 states." Not my most sensitive of moments, but I've lived with a Type A person long enough to realize that whatever I said wasn't going to allay her fears.

So, on Thanksgiving morning, I hopped into my car (it's called Pony as in "Ride the White Pony" or "Daddy Bought Me a Pony" which is only partially true) intent on going to the zoo. The Oregon Zoo was offering free admission on Thanksgiving, so even though my orange fuel light had been on for two or three days and the MAX is a short walk from my house, I wasn't about to pay for a light rail ticket. I was going to drive. I justified this maneuver by stopping at my friend's house to look after their cats on my way home.

So, I go up to the zoo (my favorite exhibits were the bats, the hippos and the baby elephant) and wander around for a couple of hours before feeding, watering and giving pets and playtime to my friend's two cats. I cruise home and round the corner for the primo parallel parking spot in front of my building. Then, with a slight shudder, I'm out of gas. No fanfare, or electric bells of congratulation. Just a few more lights flashing on my dashboard. I turn on my hazards, roll down the window and laugh on of those guttural, throw your head back and end with an ironic sigh sort of laughs that accompanies incidents akin to running out of gas in front of your own house.

I got out of my car, and pushed it up parallel to the truck ahead of the empty spot. I turned the wheel (now with a new admiration for power steering) through the window and backed into the spot. Some dude on his cell phone watched me the entire time, laughing and loudly narrating my plight to his friend. On my way into the building, I waved at him and said, "Thanks for your help!" This cued him to come over and ask if I needed help or something. Uh, maybe five minutes ago, buddy.

In true crowcrastinating form, I left the car parked there overnight. I didn't have any place I needed to go and I had a Feast for One sitting in my fridge waiting to be cooked. The next morning I walked the 2.5 miles to my friend's house to look in after the cats, stopping to ask if I might borrow a gas can at another friend's house at the midway point on my walk. While I was with the kitties, my friends returned from their trip a day early and I took out my keys in order to return the set to their apartment.

I walked back home, stopping for a cookie and to pick up a gallon of gas in a red plastic tub for half of the journey. I walk up to my house when I realize I don't have my keys. I call my friends, but they're tired from a 20 hour train ride and can't find them. I think about back tracking, but I'm tired and hungry. I need another solution.

For security purposes, I probably shouldn't detail the ease and faculty involved in climbing in through my bathroom window. Let's just say, it would have been substantially more difficult had I not accidentally left the window unlocked.

To end, Pony's back in the saddle again. My keys were located. I have a lovely collection of bruises on my stomach from the window frame. And this Thanksgiving, I was thankful that I ran out of gas so close to home.

19 November 2008

For the love of beans!

For many years, I have put the same two items on my parent-requested Christmas gift list: leather gloves and a coffee grinder. If Miguel and Mama Crow request a list this year, I know it will be two items long and look a lot like last year's list.

I have you know that my cat is going to provide them with a seemingly greedier three item list. Were I to cast bets on this sort of thing, I would say that Buster will most assuredly receive the kitty fishing pole, laser pointer, and the obnoxious plastic ring of fun that he is requesting from either my parents or from that jolly old elf, Santa Claus. This is because I know that Miguel likes to spoil my nephew rotten and provides his own "damn cat" Charley with an allowance for treats. No joke. I owe that cat $12 or a package of Liv-a-Littles.

In any case, I'm never terribly disappointed about receiving something other than the items on my list. Except last year when I went to the trouble of providing the exact name, list price, color and retailer of the precise glove pairing and coffee grinder I wanted, while also providing feasible and acceptable alternatives in the price points below and above my preferred choice.

Honestly, were I not a self-proclaimed Broke Ass Ho, I would have bought these items for myself. Okay. I would have bought the grinder because I'm superstitious about losing the gloves I buy for myself within a week of purchase. But I am a Broke Ass Ho, hence my recent propensity for borrowing other people's shit. Thanks for all the books and movies, friends!

So, yesterday I decided to buy myself a pound of coffee. I was finally out of beans and I'd had a day filled with back spasms, two accidentally de-potted houseplants, and a tiff with my psychiatrist. This-- coupled with the fact that I'd been drinking awful to barely palatable coffee since last February-- meant that I decided that this Broke Ass Ho was going to spring for the splurge-tastic Stumptown coffee beans. It's locally roast, directly traded, and tastes like liquid magic every time.

What does one do when the very recently re-potted plant is again splayed across on the rug of your living space? One makes coffee with their new beans! Right?

Not so fast.

Here's where the problem begins. I forgot to have my beans ground. I was too busy trying to use my extensive theatre training to observe the appropriate level of flirtation in the exchange between myself and the espresso slinger that rang me up. I've applied to some seasonal jobs in retail, and I am convinced that a certain level of sugar is necessary in all retail transactions. Being that outward display of such flirty sweetness does not come naturally to me, I need to prepare for the role in the improbable case that I am actually cast.

So, how does one get coffee without ground beans and without a coffee grinder? There are two ways. One not so effective, but perfectly kosher. The other less legal route requires a little more strategy. I will share both methods here.

The first way to grind your beans is to take out your blender, rolling pin and tenderizing hammer to bash up your beans. This is both messy and ineffective. Plus, getting shards of beans in the eye is no picnic. I have not attempted this means of grinding beans since I first took note to avoid it about 2 years ago.

The second method is simple, but borderline legal. Essentially, it requires using a service without the purchase of any goods. It's not as shady as shoplifting, because your beans are bought and paid for, but the grinder you use has not been provided for your specific beans.

The first step to this process is dressing the part. The idea is to blend in with the crowd of shoppers. I suggest going for a business casual look as it provides enough comfort while also maintaining the practical edge of looking like you are there for legitimate business practices. Bonus points if this outfit can reveal just enough of one of your best assets to distract fellow shoppers and supermarket employees from what you are doing. I like to wear a skirt because I have nice ankles and shapely calves. When costuming oneself, it is important to bring a purse or some sort of bag in which to stash your beans.

Devise an exit strategy in case one is caught by any store employees. My current plan involves turning on the tears and intermittently blurting out the words "forgot", "prescription" and "psychiatrist" in some order between sobs.

Enter the store and pick up a basket. Head over to the produce department and select an orange or any other easily attainable piece of produce. Put this fruit and your handbag into the shopping basket. While you are walking over to the coffee aisle, remove the beans from your bag.

When you locate the coffee grinder, set down the basket. Locate the paintbrush that the Courtesy Clerk must use to clean out the coffee grinders in the store's closing rituals. It will most likely be located alongside the machine or up high on the coffee display. It may or may not have a chain depending on how many paintbrushes have wandered off in this store's location. Flip the cover on the grinder's chute a couple times and brush off any grinds debris. This step may seem unnecessary, but it is a pivotal part in establishing that you look like you belong there at the coffee grinder to any passersby.

Bend down, pick up your coffee, and grind as instructed. When coffee is ground and the bag or bin is resealed, drop coffee into open purse (still located inside basket).

Walk away from the grinder and over to the artisan cheese display. Pick up some Gruyere, cock head as if to say, "Am I forgetting something? Did I leave the oven on?" Remove purse from the basket and walk back to the produce department. Ditch your decoy fruit. Put the shopping basket back in the pile of baskets. Exit the store at a medium pace, enjoying the aroma of freshly ground beans.

Ah yes, and to cap it all off thank your liberal arts education for providing you with the appropriate tools to work the system while still producing the appearance of ethical standards. Woo! A cup of that quasi-illegally ground coffee tastes extra delicious while pondering the profundity of your deviance. Make a second cup and write about it on your blog.

17 November 2008

Weekend trip to Cookieville

I went a little nuts with the cookie baking this weekend, ending up with a grand total of 9 different baked treats. Really. It is crazy to bake this many cookies in one weekend. I would say that this was the result of some sort of manic phase were it not for the massive amounts of lithium already coursing through my veins. I should still probably mention it to my psychiatrist. Would it be inappropriate to bring him a goodie bag?

The baking crusade began when my sister complained that all she wanted to do was sit at home and eat homemade cookies. But, being that her life is consumed by being a workaholic, mother of an 18 month old "demonic child beastie" (her exact words-- which, I happen to know is a term of extreme affection from J), and a chronic migraine sufferer, she had resigned herself to pouting about cookies instead of baking and eating them. I, being a bored, childless, and a chronic cookie baker decided that I could afford the postage required to brighten her day.

So, since my favorite recipes were feeling a little worn around the edges, I walked up to the library where I checked out a book of cookie recipes and a very tattered copy of Neil LaBute's The Shape of Things on DVD. If anyone is going to do a marathon cookie make, may I suggest having a movie lined up. It is quite a nice way to recharge one's batteries. May I also suggest parchment paper, particularly if you do not own a dishwasher.

I will be delivering cookies to willing recipients once I recover slightly from this sugar hangover. So, if I know where you live and I didn't see you this weekend, expect a knock at your door and a bag full of cookies.

I'll go through the cookies and describe them one by one.

Scandinavian Sand Cookies

These unfortunately named cookies (who wants to eat sand?) are basically a dry version of a snickerdoodle with cardamom. They taste great with milky black tea. My chances of writing down the recipe are somewhat high, but only because I have yet to find a snickerdoodle recipe that is up to snuff.

White Chocolate Oatmeal Cranberry Cookies

These are probably my second favorite of the bunch. Not only is the cookie a tasty breakfast substitute, it also taught me a trick to making your thick-grained cookies taste extra delicious. These also have the distinction of being the only cookie here that I mixed entirely by hand. Not because I am a bad ass, but because my little had mixer was starting show evidence of transmission problems. Oops. Remember how I've said that if anyone is ever dumb enough to get married to me I will only be registering for sharp knives? Well, I'm going have to add a Kitchen Aid mixer to that list, too.

Chocolate Crinkles

So I used to have a pretty gnarly allergy to chocolate. Or, really, since it affects my digestive tract rather than making my throat swell shut, I had a nasty intolerance to chocolate. Being that my eating habits were developed prior to the realization that I could eat chocolate again, the recipes I selected were not particularly chocolaty. As it turns out, this was a good thing. The dough for these cookies requires refrigeration. So, I went to town making the dough before I went over to a friend's house for dinner. I don't typically do a lot of tasting while I bake, but I do some. And I know I'm guilty of tasting this more than usual because I was worried that the ratio of sugar to unsweetened chocolate was not right. Fast-forward through dinner (and a slice of tiramisu torte that could not be refused) and it turns out that I still can't eat chocolate like the best of 'em.

Sugar Pretzels
I'm a sucker for the pretzel shaped cookies in those blue tins of Dutch Butter Cookies people start give at this time of year. I thought it would be nice to make them myself. Nope it's not nice at all. The dough for this cookie (even when refrigerated overnight) is pretty flaky. Thus, I made a round of pretzels before rolling out the rest of the dough to make cut out hearts. By the 100th heart, I was glad I switched.

Toffee Almond Bars
I'm typically not a fan of cookie bars, but I made these because I like almonds and I like toffee. This was the one recipe where my amateur baker felt that I could improve the recipe by using vanilla instead of almond extract, adding some cocoa to the dough so it was chocolaty throughout, and baking it a few minutes less. My friend's kid seemed to like them, but not enough to reprise this performance:

Benne Wafers

Crispy Sesame Chips that do not like humidity. They were delicious until they all stuck to one another. I am thinking of melting them down to try again.

I made these cookies at the request of my friend Chrissy. She flipped through the cookbook and chose these because they had her two favorite ingredients: honey and walnuts. Even though the recipe looked difficult, I agreed to make them because Chrissy is the type of friend to remember that you want a new hair dryer even when you yourself do not remember such things. I was also intrigued because it said the recipe might date back to the Phoenicians.

I'm going cut out the niceties and just say that these cookies are a bitch to make. They required toasting and chopping about a million walnuts. They required zests of lemon and oranges and fresh squeezed orange juice and I don't have the right tools to do these quickly. It also called for me to cry a half cup of brandy tears. When all was said and done, I think these cookies took about 7 hours to make.

I didn't even want to eat one when it was fully "ripened" the next morning. When I did, I decided it was like the love child of Baklava and a dry cookie. I decided that I like the parents better than the child. I also decided never again to make me a cookie with a name reminiscent of skin cancer.

Pumpkin Ginger Pillows
These cookies were the last ones I baked. They are good, but I was in a bit of a cookie coma when I finished them. Their secret ingredient? Crystallized ginger. This turned out to come in handy when I was having tummy trouble from the near-lethal Chocolate Crinkle dough-tiramisu torte combo.

Chocolate Walnut Meringues
I love a good meringue cookie. This dates back to my days as a wee little Crowling. There was a family owned grocery store around the corner from my parent's house. We didn't go there often, partly because it was pricey, but mostly because the family's son had gotten into some trouble for shooting the neighborhood cats with a crossbow.

When my parents did shop there, they would often bring home a giant meringue cookie from the bakery department. It was piped into a perfect swirl and topped with rainbow nonpareils. I looked at this recipe and figured-- barring some huge meringue error on my part (meringue takes patience and an eye for what type of foamy peak one is dealing with)-- that I would be in love. I was right. I loved these cookies. Notice the past tense.

10 November 2008

Smells Fishy

I know I am far to late to be jumping on the anti-Prop 8 bandwagon, but hear me out. It stinks big time.

Follow me now to Tangentville... Buster, a healthy eater, typically does not show any sort of enthusiasm for canned cat food with one exception. He goes nuts for this whole mackerel in gravy which is exactly what it sounds like: small, whole curled up stinky fish in an oily brown sauce. This is the only canned food that makes him lick his plate clean. It stinks up my entire apartment. My hands smell like fish even after a good soapy scrub. Forget aromatic cheeses. This cat food trumps all in its rank of smells offensive to my olfactory sense.

In fact, the only thing that I can think of that might smell worse is taking a dip in a jacuzzi filled with vomit. But even that would be a relatively bearable smell when compared with the injustice of Prop 8.

As a recovering Californian with two Californian parents, I usually hear a smattering about the state's political issues, even when they do not merit national attention. Everything I have heard about this proposition reeks of absurd levels of ugly.

My parents (who sent Buster a Frisbee in the mail today ?!??) have put to light some of the brand of crazy that propagated this stench-ridden issue. My mom, an elementary school counselor, spoke of a little girl who's parents participated in an official "re-commitment ceremony" of marriage in their church as a way to promote the measure. Religion mixed with ritual and spectacle. Seems quite literally medieval to this performance scholar.

My dad's reaction to Prop 8 almost caught me off guard. As the most conservative of the birds in our immediate nest, I thought he might be a hard sell. Instead, he had a lot of really fantastic and rational arguments against the passage of the measure. It was the sole reason he voted (he proudly wrote in "None of the above" for president, but that's another story). In fact, Miguel was sort of fired up about the whole thing. "Why is this even on the ballot? Does the Supreme Court even matter anymore?" he asked. He pointed out a lot of instances of organizations illustrating their lack of backbone by remaining neutral in respect to the measure. "Fucking hypocrites!" Mike shouted into the phone receiver. Fucking hypocrites indeed.

I tried to collect my thoughts on the matter, but between looking for a job and imagining a Japanese-style game show called Ichiban Alcoholic with my friends, I watched this video from MSNBC. It is far more eloquent than I can muster, and it pretty much says it all.

Anyway, I think it's time to do something about that awful smell.

31 October 2008

Playing Dress Up

Happy Halloween! I am not planning to take Buster Trick-or-Treating tonight, but I did dress him up for a costume contest at the local pet store last weekend.

I didn't dress him up as a handsome devil, because that's his every day costume. Plus, my nephew was dressed up as a "speed demon" and I didn't want to get the two of them confused.

I almost dressed Buster as Snoopy in his Bloody Red Barron garb, but that was going to require a trip to the store. In true Crow family tradition, I'm a firm believer that Halloween costumes can be made from what you've got at hand.

So, I dressed Buster as a magpie! He's black and white and he's thieving bird who has stolen my heart.

I made him a beak, but he didn't like it and I thought it was a little cruel to force him to wear it. He didn't mind the feathers, but he didn't particularly care for them, either. He did like playing with the collection of shiny objects. So much so that it was hard to keep him still long enough to take a photo.

Still, I wonder if dressing up your kitty is somewhat abusive. I asked if I needed to get him some therapy for the abuse I have may have inflicted upon him. He didn't answer, but I noticed that he purrs in his sleep, so he must be feeling pretty jolly. Perhaps this means he will do a turn as Santa Claws?

Buster didn't win the costume contest. I'm not surprised, either. There were some dogs at the shop with outfits on that must've set the owners back at least $100. I would've awarded top prize to a Boston Bull Terrier dressed as Elvis complete with blue suede shoes. Buster was the only feline entry, so I think he should have gotten some recognition. Maybe I'm just lusting after a gift certificate.

Here's another shot for good measure. He can be so laid back. My former kitties would have been too feisty to have a necklace draped over their ears.

29 October 2008

Back to the classics...

Marnee adjusted her modern coiffure, barely looking askance at the clock before heaving a defeated sigh. Her stomach growled in approval as she removed her shoes and her dress. No sense in mussing up her best clothes for a plate full of leftover spaghetti.

She descended the stairs, carefully stepping over her sleeping cat on the landing. Rounding the corner for the last few steps, Marnee noticed the approaching shadow of a man with a large bouquet in the frosted glass of the entry way. He was over two hours late. Marnee froze, and decided whether to or not she should open the door for Mr. Wright.

27 October 2008

Quitting is for Quitters

Thanks to an act of bad parenting by Mama Crow, I have never been a smoker. So I don't really know what it is like to quit smoking. I have tried and failed at Weight Watchers several times now, so I can imagine what it is like to break a habit that is so intricately woven into my lifestyle. I also can sympathize with having the jitters but in my case it was from hypoglycemia, not nicotine withdrawl.

Quitting is what I should have done to my temp job long before I "left to pursue another opportunity." I might have been more satisfied with life if I had just jumped the ship without even turning my head to shout, "Good riddance!" over my shoulder on my way overboard. Hindsight. What a bitch.

The idea of not quitting has kept me motivated recently. For example I worked hard, I kept focused, and eventually I was able to adopt Buster without breaking the landlord's rules or having to get a permission slip from my doctor. Somehow, the pride I might feel about not quitting is totally overshadowed by the enjoyment I get from cuddling with kitty.

Awhile back, approximately week and some change, I quit. I hadn't intended to do so, but with my current state of brain health I wasn't surprised when I did.

My friend runs a small editing and publishing outfit, and she had asked if I would participate in her company's First Annual writing contest. I waffled about it for weeks because I didn't know if I was up to the challenge. However, I ended up filling out the entry form and submitting my $20 fee.

The contest was fairly straightforward. A writer or team of writers had 36 hours to create a work of fiction in English. Within that frame of time, each writer or team of writers went on a scavenger hunt to pick up four prompts at locations around the city of Portland.

I've never been particularly competitive, so contests usually aren't my thing. Scavenger hunts most certainly aren't my thing. I have traumatic memories of failed Easter Egg hunts. Now I prefer to search for things on a list I created for myself.

For some reason, I decided to do the list backwards to forwards. I looked at the potential scavenger hunt locations and decided that would be the best way to navigate the route. I arrived at the last location before the other participants. The gent manning the location was a little uninformed about how the hunt would work. He kept expecting that I would have a clue to lead me directly to the prompt in his care. I asked for the prompt, and he wouldn't relent. I was there for at least half an hour. I kept reading the clue, but there was nothing indicative of where to find the prompt once I got there. Was this a cruel joke? Was this guy holding out on my writing prompt in a sick way attempt at flirting with me (I'm oblivious to these things)? Was I even in the right place? Am I supposed to buy something here to get what I'm after?

I was getting anxious. I had a flashback to an Easter Egg Hunt in which a 3 year old me is throwing a tantrum about not finding any Easter eggs while literally walking on egg shells.

I finally told the guy this story and that he should pony up already with my damn prompt. The prompt happened to be the sentence beginning on the third line of page 86 of one of the many books on offer. Yeah. Like I'm supposed to magically discover this gem with my special divining pen. Lame.

Needless to say, I wasn't much in the mood for writing after that episode. I went off to the other locations with a chip on my shoulder. The final location provided some much needed focus and zen. I should have followed my gut and stayed there all day writing on the margins of my official rules sheet. Instead, I went home and considered the skeleton created by the four prompts. I did not like what I saw.

I wrote about 6 sentences before deciding to take a break. After some hemming and hawing, some general sitting down to think through a plot, some hardcore procrastinating and some ignoring the task at hand for benefit of adoring my feline friend, I finally quit.

Here's the thing. I hate quitting. Even though I was still able to show some support to my friend and her business, I still felt uneasy with my ineptitude for follow-through. True, quitting not the end of the world, but it was the end of something important. Silently, I was using this contest as an opportunity to gauge my readiness for going back to work. The fact that I failed to complete the task at hand makes me feel defeated. And a little confused. What am I supposed to do now?

I hope someday I will be able to have a chance to quit something and feel a great sense of pride and satisfaction. But, like Mick, I can't get no...

23 October 2008

I went a little Internuts

If you've noticed a dearth of entries around here, I can explain. I've been making an effort to use the Internet less often.

Like many people, I spend hours at the computer and then I wonder where all my time has gone. The Internet is at best a time suck, at worst an addiction for me. I decided to cut back for two reasons. One, it would be nice if I didn't have to pay the bill anymore. And two, I'd rather spend time with people instead of a machine. I may also have been motivated by the headaches caused by my crippled computer.

After my initial scale-back, I find I don't miss very much. I still keep up with blogs, though I skim through massive blogs with 100+ updates per day. I am sort of relieved by the fact that I can allow myself to pass up the opportunity to reciprocate each little doohickey sent to me on a social networking site. Ironically, I think I am slightly better at responding to emails these days.

In general, I think the cut back has been a relief. I'm still not sure if I can cut the cord as it were. I'm not sure if I'm willing to give up the convenience of a home Internet connection. I mean, where else am I going to learn that sticky tape generates X-rays?

16 October 2008

Trips around the sun

Today I am the age I have wanted to be since the seventh grade. For some reason, I've believed that 26 is the age where good things will happen to me. In light of my current circumstances, I can't help but wonder whether it will just be phenomenally better than 25.

I think I decided that 26 was the age I always wanted to be because it was the age of my seventh grade teacher, Ms. Bodenheimer. I think, in the thick of those murky and awkward middle school years, I could look at her and see a woman who had her shit together. She'd been to Harvard, Stanford and now enforced literacy to a bunch of apathetic public school twelve year-olds. At the time, I thought there was no more valiant volition.

In any case, I can hardly imagine attempting to be responsible for 30 tweenage twirps. I'm just barely squeaking by looking after Buster for the past week. Speaking of the handsome devil, I think he's enjoyed this birthday thing more than I have this year. I think he believed that each of my presents was a gift for him because they had paper to pounce, ribbons to tug and bags to hide inside for a game of "tough kitty." My sister was even so kind as to include 2 little mouse toys for him and he seems to think they are better for flipping around and batting under the couch than the ones I've provided.

I am not great at planning any fetes for my big day, but I'll be at Rimskys-Korsakoffee House late tomorrow evening to celebrate. I had hoped to plan an ice cream social for myself, but birthdays are hard for me for past 4 years. I used to share the day with my cousin, Matt who was one year my elder. Happy Birthay Matt. I hope I'm doing you proud.

13 October 2008

On the sixth day of cat ownership...

On the sixth day of cat ownership, I made an emergency trip to the vet where I had a large-scale emotional breakdown.

I had planned to visit the vet sometime in the next month for a, "Nice to meet you. Here is my wonderful kitty," type appointment. Even though he had peed on my bed (twice!) on Saturday, I figured he was telling me he was stressed out not sick. And I didn't blame him. I've been a little stressed out since he's been here, too. It's not easy to learn to share your space.

What got me worried was the fact that Buster had been trying to pee, but nothing was happening. This morning he seemed really out of sorts-- not wanting pets and hiding under the coffee table. I called the vet's office. While I was on the phone Buster started crying and barfed up a whole lot of food. The vet's office said, "Bring him in NOW!" so I did.

Buster was snatched into the back to be looked at, and after filling out about half of a form, I was escorted into an exam room to speak with the doctor. It turns out Buster's urethra is partially blocked. They want to anesthetize him, put in a catheter and do a bladder lavage, which will cost me $1100.

This pronouncement was my cue for a significant emotional breakdown. The tears started flowing. My heart started palpitating, and with my sinus infection, I was a blathering snotty mess before you could repeat the phrase, "eleven hundred dollars."

For those who may not be aware, I would have adopted a cat years ago were it not for my feelings that responsible pet owners should be able to afford veterinary care for their animals. Needless to say, I could not afford this. Every fear that I had about becoming a pet owner seemed to be realized when I admitted this to the vet. To make matters worse, Buster is the one good thing that has happened to me this year. Hearing that I can't take care of him adequately was quite a blow.

I told the vet to put him on meds to help him relax his urethra. I drove home at about 2 miles per hour and I tried calling my Mom, my sister, the adoption agency and my psychiatrist. Of course I got the phone phobic's worst nightmare: six different answering messages for six different phone calls. I even thought about calling my Dad, but I hadn't admitted to him that I have a kitty yet and I knew his reaction would be along the lines of, "Kimberly! Did you even think about vet bills? Idiot." Not needing to hear that sort of criticism, and not knowing how the stock market was faring, I decided not to call him. I looked around for my Uncle Steve's phone number (he's a vet) to no avail before driving over to the adoption agency. There, I cried about Buster's plight and they asked why I didn't take him to their vet.

Much to the original vet's chagrin, I took Buster to the other vet. He squeezed Buster's bladder and made him pee in the sink. I'm no feline urine stream expert, but I would say that that squeeze indicated that things weren't plugged up in Urethraville. The vet said he was stressed out and needed a diet to make his urine more acid. Buster was given a cortisol shot and some special food.

We came home and took a long nap together. But I'm looking at the urinalysis from the first vet and I'm wondering if I've done the right thing.

12 October 2008

Oh, Buster! Aren't You Grand...

A word to the wise-- if I am going to write your official introduction to the world, it is not a good idea to piss in my bed.

Turn the clock back to Saturday morning. I wake up with a killer sinus infection and a stomach ache (probably due the ratio of decongestant to food in stomach at 4 in the morning). In the days before Buster, my state of illness would be reason enough for me to leave by bed unkempt. After all, I will probably be crawling back under the covers shortly after finishing a mug of tea, half a bowl of Rice Crispies and the poorly edited piece of detritus I was going to post on my blog. But my world has changed. Look at me... I'm no longer kitty free!

So, I've got the mug of tea in my hands, and I'm headed to the desk where my computer now lives (also gone are the days of balancing my decrepit laptop on the edge of the couch) ready to write a Meet my Kitty entry when I spot my newly beloved, Buster. He's sitting-- no squatting-- on the bed just behind the mangle of sheets and blankets. I recognize that vacant stare, and it's best reserved for the litter box, mid-business.

My first instinct is to move him. But in my deer in the headlights moment of fear (cat pee is probably one of the most vile substances known to man) I realize that it is probably best to wait this one out so as not to have urine spritzed throughout my entire apartment. My teeth chatter with anticipation, and I'm saying silent prayers of "Please don't let it soak through to the mattress." Needless to say, I spent much of the afternoon at the laundromat.

Though I did not plan to do $12 worth of laundry, I didn't really mind having to clean up this mess. I figure that it's part of getting used to living with one another. I bought a new box with more real estate and a new, more diggable litter. It turns out Mr. Buster prefers to eliminate his waste in more plush environment. I think this potty drama is resolved.

I brought Buster home last Tuesday from The Pixie Project, a local rescue organization. I'd literally spent weeks upon weeks, hours upon hours poring over the shelters in the area before getting the go ahead from my landlord. Primarily, I was looking for a kitty at the Oregon Humane Society. I am really pleased with the work these organizations are doing, so if you know any Portlanders in need of a kitty friend, I could provide a list of good kitties looking for homes.

When I met Buster, I could tell he was a nice kitty. But what really won me over was watching him with the kittens in the Cattery. He let them cuddle with him. He let them nuzzle and nurse on him. When the littlest kitten of the bunch was getting picked on, he scooped her up by the scruff of her neck and carried her to safety. He was Papa Kitty, and I was smitten. Couple that with the fact that Buster is soft like angora and the employees at the Pixie Project insisted that he was their favorite, and I was scribbling his name at the top of my application.

Within minutes of bringing him home, I was pretty sure he thought he owned the place. I had been demoted to Buster's personal butler or valet; kept around only for the petting of the fur and handy tricks I can do with my opposable thumbs.

Buster is about 2 1/2 years old. He is at least part Turkish Van and he weighs a hefty 14 pounds. He is a professional Snugglepuss with a PhD in Affection. He will play with anything from a piece of tissue paper to a fancy catnip mouse. Likes: crunchy food, chasing me, getting his ears, cheeks, chin and belly rubbed. Dislikes: vacuums, Feline Pine original cat litter, wet food, the fact that I won't open the front door for him.

Buster is quite talented. Not only does he offer up a lovely soft shoe routine, he is also experimenting with other kinds of modern dance. He is a philosopher, often seeking answers to life's mysteries at the bottom of an empty Kleenex box. His first medium, however, is post-modern topiary sculpture. His art has affected my houseplants in a way that makes me reconsider both their form and function. He's really quite dedicated and talented.

So this is my kitty Buster. I already think he is pretty special.

03 October 2008

Waiting game

I am currently sitting around waiting to take a blood test. It's not a particularly exciting one, but it's one I must take during certain window of time several hours from now.

It's made me realize that I've been doing a lot of waiting around as of late. I waited to come down from my Serotonin high. I am waiting for my guts to feel like they aren't being roto-rootered. I am waiting for both Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny to come visit. I am waiting for an answer from my landlord about my kitty situation.

To get everyone up to speed, I have basically offered my left kidney in order to keep a cat in my home. If the building owners aren't willing to accept my body parts, I am exercising my right to an emotional support animal. It's not the noblest of my battles, but dagnammit do I want a kitty companion. I also need a victory. I haven't had too many this year.

I don't feel bad when my favorite kitties at the Humane Society are adopted by other people. I can't take them all home, and it's nice to imagine that they are going to a good place. But it's been tough to look at the empty litter box every day. I would like to put what little energy I have into something else.

Even if I do get an answer from the landlord sometime soon, I realize that it might be best to postpone my kitty-getting for another couple of months. My sister is going on a 2 week business trip to Ghana in November. She's asked me to come look after my nephew while she's away. I can see that it might be a little difficult to bring kitty with me to Virginia.

I am tired of waiting. I think I'm going to need an ice cream after my lab work.

26 September 2008

My quarter century love affair

From The New York Times Op-Ed. Oh, Statler and Waldorf. Be still my heart.

24 September 2008

Sob stories.

In the continuing saga of my miserable existence, this day has been particularly harried. Sometimes I think of bad days as if they were chapter titles to the novel of my life. Today's chapter is called, "The Day I asked for a kitty and ended up with Lexapro."

I also had my other meds doubled. So, even though I technically was given 2 things when I asked for just one, I am pissed. Pills do not purr when you scratch them behind their ears. Pills do not even have ears.

To be fair, the discussion about kitty is merely tabled, not abandoned. But I am not sure how much more of this bullshit I can take. The week I spent in anticipation of today's appointment was not particularly fun. Now I have to steel myself against one more week of feeling drained and exhausted.

The day started out shitty, too. Prior to my 9:45 appointment, I stepped in dog shit on my way to the car. I didn't have a chance to eat breakfast and I got stuck on the Broadway bridge just as it was being drawn. Then I get the the appointment only to find out that my doctor has not read the email I SPENT 3 DAYS WRITING which outlined a very clear thesis on why he should help me get a cat.

To recuperate, I thought I'd check out the Humane Society over in the black hole people often refer to as Vancouver, Washington. I generally find the burbs to be depressing, but their animal shelter was particularly sad. It wasn't just gloomy in comparison to the ray of sunshine that is the Oregon Humane Society. It was basically dreadful in every way.

The saddest part was the phone conversation I overheard on my way out the door. A staff member was on the phone with a woman whose kitty went missing while she was away on a business trip. From my end of the conversation I learned that her cat had in fact been at the shelter but it had been euthanized because it had gone unclaimed for 3 days. The shelter pays for mass cremations of their deceased animals and this woman could pay the shelter $90 for some remains which may or may not contain carbon matter from her kitty.

I think a lot of tears are shed in the parking lot of Humane Societies. Hearing that story after the events of the morning made me shed a few more. The most redeeming part of the visit was the fact that there were 10 cats being shipped over to the Oregon Humane Society where they'd have a better chance at being adopted.

Anyway, I think I'm going to bed for the night.

19 September 2008

(Getting a) Kitty's a Bitch.

If it has been a little silent around here, it's for a good reason. I've been working my tail feathers off in an effort to get a kitty into my life. It has been difficult and eye opening work.

To get everyone up to speed, I live in an apartment with a no pets clause in my lease. I tried to go about the easy way and ask for an amendment to this policy, offering up what little monies I have as a fee or deposit. Unfortunately, the building's owners are kitty haters. They are really opposed to pet ownership because they think it will lower the value of their property and damage the hardwood floors that they have neglected for decades.

I did learn, however, that the building manager (different than the owner/landlord) thinks I am a "great tenant" and "one of the best, most easy-going and reliable residents" in my building. Furthermore, he respects my commitment to going at this kitty ownership all legal-shmegal. It's nice to know that someone is (sort of) on my side.

Even with this resounding "No!" from the management, I wasn't deterred from the idea of bringing a cat into my home. I started to research my rights as a tenant and I discovered that I could probably get a reasonable accommodation to my lease in order to keep a cat as an Emotional Support Animal. In other words, I could own a cat if it was part of my treatment for my mental health woes and this benefit would be federally protected under the Fair Housing Act of 1988 (among other important statutes that protect the rights of the disabled). To begin the process of making an accommodation, I need a letter stating my case accompanied by a supporting document from my mental health care professional.

I spent a lot of time wrestling with the idea of whether or not I should make claim to the benefits of the disabled. As witness to my cousin Matt's experience with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, I am particularly sensitive to the misuse of disabled privileges. My attempts to recover from severe (and recurrant) depression seemed to occupy a sort of gray area in the scheme of disability. Admitting to myself that I was disabled by mental illness was a difficult process, even though I certainly had proof that I have been unable to work and that my social functioning is impaired as a result of my mental health situation.

I decided that advocating for this specific benefit in the treatment of my mental wellness would be a just cause. It was a conclusion I came to after wondering what Matt's reaction would be were I able to ask him for his opinion on the subject. I'm not one to talk to God or to dead loved ones, so I sort of just ruminated on the topic for awhile. Eventually, I was reminded of Matt's relationship with his cat, Sox. This cat was probably one of the best things in my cousin's life. Not only did Sox bring Matt companionship, she provided him with an outlet to relate to other people. I know that I loved to talk to Matt about cats and about adventures Sox was up to rather than his other passion (and Sox's namesake)-- major league baseball.

Working on this project has made me realize that I am still very sick. It took me three days of arduous labor to write a 2 page email to my psychiatrist requesting his support, a letter to my landlord requesting reasonable accommodation to my lease, and a list of 17 terms I was willing to bring to the table as a part of my negotiation with my landlord. Had I been healthy (and had this subject been about something not tied to my emotions), I think this sort of work would have taken me an hour or two tops. I've spent a majority of my time since working on this project feeling drained and exhausted. I've shed more tears than I care to count. The only thing that seems to lift my spirits is a trip to the Cattery at the Humane Society.

Today marked the 48 hour point from when I first sent the request to my doctor. Expecting at least a response of, "let's talk this over at your appointment," by now, I have decided that I need to take more drastic measures. Ordinarily I would follow up with another email at this point, but I've seen red flags aloft. I don't want to get too into the nitty gritty of things, but my doctor is always a little sensitive that he is doing something wrong and he probably thinks that I might try to replace social interactions with people for the attention of my cat. I call bullshit on both counts.

I have decided to create an informational packet for my psychiatrist in time for my next appointment. It will be half dramaturgesque research, half sales pitch. I am including case studies of emotional support animals, a sample letter from a physician in support of my cause, and one of my world famous kitty collages. I plan to create a research study in support of my cause, surveying people outside the coffee shops around the corner. If anyone is interested in writing a statement in support of my cause (approx. 500 words), I will provide you with a color copy of my collage.

This request has put me in a difficult position. I'm going to think that my doctor is a total shithead if he says no. I'm also deep enough into the muck of this therapy thing that I can't willingly give up on my course of treatment.

In the past, I've been willing to concede to opposition in order to keep peace. This is different. This is not a negotiation. This is a fight I am going to win. My talons are sharpened. My teeth are bared. I am getting a god damn kitty.

Edit: After reading this entry in my Google Reader Feed, I can sort of see that this entry is dripping with exhaustion (example: 3rd paragraph from the end=my cause my cause my cause). But I'd like to let everyone know that I am totally serious about the statement writing.

09 September 2008

Adoptions Pending

If I haven't talked about Mad Men yet, it's because I am working too hard to get adopted by someone that has access to AMC on Sunday nights at 10pm/9 central.

I only know a handful of people that actually own TVs and even fewer with cable or satellite, so this is proving to be difficult. One basic cable patron is convinced that she wants nothing to do with a show with a script that I accidentally described as astute. Most people I ask crack open their front door a tad and shout, "Get off my front lawn, Crow!" This is too bad. I probably brought homemade cookies.

I love this show, and not just because Peggy Olson is a dead ringer for my cousin Janelle. Each episode seems to trump the last in its scintillating critique of juicy topics like office politics, sexism, and family dynamics. I watch this show and I wonder which character I relate to the most.

Imagine my delight when this Flickr set Mad Men Illustrated by Dyna Moe made its way to my Inbox while I was (finally!) downloading last Sunday's episode. Holy frijoles is it good. Here's an example of Joan and her new Xerox.

So, I am still available for adoption on Sundays. I promise that I'm all caught up (after this evening) and that I can scoot out the door post episode, leaving only fresh baked cookies in my wake.

Speaking of adoptions, I am trying to muster the courage to ask for permission to keep a kitty. I've looked into getting my lease amended to include pets and I am pretty sure I qualify for a waiver to keep an emotional support animal. This depression thing has kept me from working for a long while, and I can probably wrangle documentation that this is both an acute and a chronic issue for me. I have mixed feelings about using the system this way, and I really don't want to ask my doctor for a note. But I think a feline friend might just be the right medicine for sad, sad, sad Madame Kim.

05 September 2008

Pick apart the PICA pamphlet

Portland's TBA Festival (Time Based Art) is always sort of an enigma to me. Not one of those juicy, colorful, let's bite into it and see how tasty it might be enigmas, either. It feels sort of gray and convoluted. It's the sort of enigma that you kick gently like a tire to see if it's alive then go about your business.

The thing is, Time Based Art should theoretically be something that's right up my alley. Yet in all the years that I've lived here "working" in the arts, I've never bothered to go to any of the events. This year, I decided to give it a go. But I've got three problems:

One. Lil ol' me, Miss Calendar's Clear Til The Nuclear Winter, has got some plans. Like weddings and visitors and stuff.

Two. I'm feeling too broke for even the (many) free events. I can only cough up $10 to see one of the performances. If I wanted to go to a stage performance that both fits my schedule and my budget, my choices are narrowed down to NIL.

Three. Most of what I've read about the events has me asking, "WHO CARES?" What is worthy of my 100 thin dimes? Because I will be paying in change, FYI box office representatives.

I can put aside the difficulties posed by the first two problems. But the third creates a some fundamental difficulties. Here I am ready to be shaken, stirred and moved by an exploration of what human creativity has to offer, and I look over the materials that will help me explore the festival and I'm asking why I should even bother to attend.

In order to examine the reasons why I am feeling so curmudgeonly about the whole thing, I have decided to pick apart the letter from the outgoing artistic director (as found on page 9 of the festival guidebook). I would ordinarily feel bad about nit picking this sort of letter, but the Artistic Director dude makes some self-disparaging comments towards the end. Also I used to write these letters in my days as an Intern. I know what you're supposed to put in them and that it is possible to bang one out in 15 minutes or less before it is picked apart in a similar way by a committee. The content of the letter is in bold, my reaction follows.

This is a festival that takes its shirt off.
Yawn. Seen it before.

This is a festival that features dance, theater, visual art, film, video and things that we cannot easly categorize.
Okay. This intrigues me.

This is a festival about joy.
You had me fooled. That photo of Antony (of Antony and the Johnsons) on the front of your almost 200 page guide booklet had me ready to Anna Karenina myself.

This is an international festival.
Go on... I'm listening.

This is an international festival with local flavor.
Yes, there did seem to be an enormous amount of hipster pics in the guidebook.

This is a festival that could only happen in the city it happens in.
Unlike what, the 2008 DNC/RNC? SxSW?

This festival wakes up early.
I don't think there are any events for folks to go to on their way to the office at 8am.

This festival goes to bed late.
Are you saying that there's after hours parties that aren't advertised outright? Because 11pm is not late. Even if the band is playing a 90 minute set (which nobody does anymore).

This festival is about hope. This festival is about beauty.
In theory, so is America's Next Top Model.

This festival is awkward.
So are many of the contestants on America's Next Top Model.

This festival is a bawdy nasty festival that your mom told you to stay away from.
Mama Crow, while puritanical in her own right, also possesses sort of a naughty sense of humor. This means that she probably would trust me to exercise my own judgment on this one. And reading the brochure, I'd probably take her to even the most explicit content were she in town.

This is a festival that owns its mistakes.
But is it a festival that dwells on these mistakes? If so, I'm outta here.

This is a festival that likes a good laugh.
With you or at you? Is this an attempt to say that funny things happen in your line up?

This is a festival that could really be something if you gave it a chance.
This makes me think that the people in charge think that they've got a lot of little somethings to apologize for in their line up. Not cool.

This is a festival that wants your vote. Well, I might be tempted with an empty promise of a coke machine in the cafeteria...

This is a festival that has a gorgeous voice.
I have a gorgeous voice. Why is this incentive for me to leave the comforts of the shower at Chateau Crow?

This is a festival that likes football: figure out which kind.
I'm going out on a limb to say the shirtless kind. This is a festival that likes to take its shirt off, after all.

This is a festival that is happening at a very critical time in our life as a nation and though it does not have a specific political agenda its existence is part of the answer.
Whoa, there. I don't see how any sort of arts organization-- particularly one supported by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts-- can legitimately claim to have no specific political agenda. Wow. I'm incredulous.

This is a festival that likes to rock out.
With your cock out? Or just your shirt off?

This is a festival that investigates the nature of the performance.
How? Under what scope? Tell me more, I'm interested.

This is a festival that starts with a parade and ends with one as well.
Insert rain on parade joke here. This is Portland, after all.

This festival has a lot of work from France. This is a festival with work from France but you don't have to know French to get it-- you don't even have to wear a beret.
This is redundant. You've already mentioned that this is an international festival. I'll take the note about the beret. I typically don't wear hats to performances.

This is a festival that can lip synch.
Then where's Lypsinka? I'd totally be excited if she was coming.

This is a festival with a really cool night club for everyone called THE WORKS.
Any place that's ever been described to me as "really cool" and a "night club" at the same time has been terribly disappointing. Plus, a $10 cover charge? That's too much for what you have to offer. I'm not saying this because I'm a cheap bastard. I'm saying this because I have good taste.

This is a festival that won't sit still. This is a festival that won't shut up.
I've heard Adderall helps and is readily available in secondary markets.

This is a festival that really knows how to dance.
Quit your bragging.

This is a festival based on meetings between people, between cultures, one to one.
Call my secretary. Have him pencil you in.

This is a festival that embraces the cheap and tawdry.
I can see that from some of your promotional pictures.

This festival sleeps with the beautiful.
Quit your bragging.

This festival is sublime.
Prove it.

This is the third and final festival by a guest artistic director who really lies in New York City but feels he has gained a new home town.
If you're going to keep talking about yourself in the third person, then good riddance. New York can have you.

This festival is bittersweet.
But not as tasty as bittersweet chocolate.

This is a festival you can take your kids to (well some of it, depends on the kid).
Great. I didn't want to cough up for a sitter.

This is a festival with maps on top of maps.
Okay. This was the one event that actually looked interesting to me.

This festival will lead you astray.
As if I need to go any further afield...

This festival is funny.
Once again redundant.

This festival could change your life.
I feel the earth move under my feet. I feel the sky tumbling down...

This festival could teach you a lesson.
Yeah, but am I grounded?

This festival has stories to tell.
Telling stories is what got me in trouble in the first place.

This festival will have moments of quiet contemplation. This festival is knocking at heaven's door.
Mama, take this badge off of me, I can't use it anymore.

This is a festival put together with love and thought.
I see a lot of thought. Lots and lots of thought. None of it stirs me in the special place, or plays upon my heart strings.

This festival is a gift.
So you're expecting a thank you note?

This festival has always relied on the kindness of strangers.
Call me back when you're big enough to ask for a hand up and not a hand out.

This festival asks a lot of questions.
Yeah but what else would I expect at a 11 day arts festival?

This festival asks a lot of its audiences, but gives it back.
Well, too bad its marketing materials are putting me to sleep.

This festival takes artistic risks. But why should I care about those risks?

This festival knows what it is doing.
I'm not so sure it does.

This festival is programmed by a guy who hates writing introductory letters to festivals.

This festival was put together by a lot of dedicated people and supported by foundations, and individual contributions and a lot of sweat equity.
Just like every other arts event I've been to this year.

This festival thanks everyone who got through to the end of this "letter."
You're welcome. It was a chore.

This festival makes a statement.
I'm just not convinced I want to hear it.

02 September 2008

This Kitty Needs a Catty

In honor of Labor Day, I went up to the Humane Society to get some kitty lovin'. No offense to the dogs, I just like cats better since they have yet to bite my eyelid off. I went up there because I thought it might help me beat the blues, and because the activity is something I might remember. I needed something to remember Labor Day by so it didn't blur into the mass of inactivity that is my life (as Memorial Day and Independence Day sadly had).

Something I did not think about before I got up there was that the Oregon Humane Society was closed for the holiday. I was a little sad about this, so I had to come back to visit today. Which is when I fell a little bit in love.

Enter Catty, stage left. He is the silent, observant type. Alert, independent but not aloof. Curious, but not one to pry. Enjoys a good scratch between the ears, but maybe prefers sitting beside you to on your lap. A big round face to match his big, saucer-like eyes.

Unfortunately, Catty's been at the shelter far too long due to a handful of seizures he's had. This only makes me think that it is a sign from above. I am so meant to welcome this kitty into my home because of my experience popping phenobarbitol pills into a kitty in my mansion-sitting days. Or my experience splicing pills into marshmallows for an epileptic daschund. These things count on more than just the karmic scale, right?

I might have to have a chat with my building manager about this... maybe I can get a doctor's note to amend my lease?

In any case, I really hope he can find a good home.

31 August 2008

Lazy Lasagna

I have an odd relationship with the kitchen. My innate domestic torpor sort of expands from a general laze and malaise about keeping house (particularly as it relates to washing dishes and doing laundry) to a general ho hum here we go again at the stove. When I ask, "What am I going to make myself for dinner?" my ideas are usually nixed by the prospect of too many dishes to wash.

Baking is somewhat exempt. I like making cookies, but I will be the first to tell you that man does not live on cookies alone. Thus, the inconvenience of having to cook for oneself. I think this fallacy has something to do with the fact that I can reward myself with a freshly baked cookie after doing the dishes. I'm sure this incentive-based system will lead to type 2 diabetes, but it works for now.

Cooking also intersects with my decision making problems. I have no qualms with making a choice if it involves losing a limb or a life. But when it comes to decisions about everyday things, I couldn't care less. This means decision making about what I want to eat is very tedious.

I also resist things like structure and planning in the name of being ever spontaneous. This is fine, except when spontaneity gets expensive. Many people have a set of about 5 or 10 recipes they do over and over again. I'm not having any of that pie. I don't even like pie.

As a result of these bad habits, I do a lot of inventing in the kitchen. For example, tonight's dinner (marinating in the fridge) is the product of looking around at what I had and saying "molasses + bourbon + meat tenderizing mallet = delicious?" People who have eaten my cooking and lived to tell the tale say that the food tastes good. I am wary of this. I'm sure they're just being nice. I am of the opinion that food does not taste very good when you've prepared it for yourself. In case these people are not being nice because it is the thing to do in polite company, I am very glad that they've never asked for a recipe-- I typically don't have one.

Even though I don't like my own cooking, I will admit: products of my own invention are usually safer when I pull a "pffft. I know how to make that." I end up with crab cakes or sole amandine with lemon-caper sauce that might not taste like the original based-off recipe, but gets me fed nonetheless.

A couple of nights ago, I decided to cook some lasagna this way. Every time I complain about having to cook, some old gray-haired lady tells me to suck it up and put a lasagna in the freezer. I have never been a huge lasagna fan, even when I was a tiny Crowlet and ate nothing but noodles, cheese and the occasional spoonful of spaghetti sauce. My disdain for lasagna baffled Mama Crow. Back in the days of my picky eating, it seemed self-explanatory. I liked all of these things, but not when they were touching!

Lasagna sans recipe turned out to taste okay. It could stand to be saucier, but this can be solved with a jar of marinara. I took a gamble with how long it takes to bake this stuff, and it seems to have paid off. Everything tastes about how it should taste. Still, I think I'm not overly fond of lasagna. I had but a small piece yesterday evening. Ever since then, I can tell you where this brick has wedged itself in my digestive tract. This is even more foreboding because of the bigger brick of pasta in the freezer.

29 August 2008

pancakes and waffles

After waking up at an hour that would be deemed breakfast-worthy, I poured myself a bowl of cereal. This is when I realized that what I really wanted was a pancake or a waffle. Luckily, I found some videos to to satiate my craving.

Question: a fully weaponized waffle bike with a call to prayer public address system. There's some irony there, right?

I've always said that if I ever was in a position to have to create a gift registry for housewares, I'd only register for a nice set of knives. This is not true. I also want a waffle iron. I just don't need it attached to a bicycle.

On the pancake side of things, I think this guy is the cutest. Plus, he's a Hungry Jack connoisseur just like me.

Pull a chair up with a hyrup! I'm having pancakes for dinner tonight.