The Lost Weekend

No not the drunky kind. More like, I was getting sick all week and managed to make it through the work week and then sleep through the weekend.
I think I need to implement a policy about getting off the bed on Saturday’s so that I don’t just zonk out all day when I am not feeling great. I don’t know that it would have made a huge difference this weekend as I was already not feeling all that great from the previous week, but still… most of Saturday was a blur. The only reason I forced myself to get out of bed was to go to the store to make sure I had food for the next day as things are typically closed for a particular christian holiday based on a pagan one in this secular country. So I managed to get enough rations to survive the day (1 extra chocolate bunny) and cream for coffee. Actually, that is part 2 of my rule for Saturday: 1. don’t lay in bed – at least sit in my chair and 2. DRINK the coffee… don’t just make the mug and fall asleep again. I’m not normally this tired, which is why this weekend I don’t know that these rules would have made one whit of difference.

Kittens seemed to be good with it though.
Speaking of kittens… I think Ottov2 is allergic to Kitten Chow (or whatever grains etc they put in there) since she was a little crabby and out of sorts until I stopped feeding it to them. Moon Pie is unfazed by the whole thing. I had planned for this bag of KC to be the last one they had since they don’t seem to be growing as much as they had been. I started transitioning them to Innova for a while (Cat and Kitten formula) though they weren’t terribly excited by it. It still has some stuff in it that isn’t all to my liking, so when I found Blue Buffalo (I call it Lynx Chow – not because it is for lynxes but because it has a lynx on the front. Its other nickname round here is "duck food", again not because it is for ducks but because is of ducks. Don’t think too hard on it, you’ll hurt yourself.) with no grains and a bird formula (no fish formulas… I’m programmed from Bunny’s kidney issues.) and the fact that both of them LOVE it is good.

I call Ottov2 my little great white shark. She glides along, and if you are obsessive about watching shark week, you’ll know what a very large female looks like cruising through the waters. That’s exactly what Ottov2 looked like…right down to the bulge in her belly after eating a few large sea lions. But after about 4 days of being off of KC and only eating the lynx chow, not only was she playing again and acting like her old self, she was sleeking up a bit. So I have a theory that she has an allergy to the fillers in kitten chow. She was ok with it while doubling in size every few months, but after that… not so much.

I also think that this was part of her peeing issue. However, I don’t think this has magically fixed things in that department. Some people claim you can’t train a cat (well, you can’t train a cat to do what they don’t want to do) but I’ve found that after you do something a couple of times, they expect that behavior or that thing to happen after that. So her acquired habit of peeing on fabric things on the floor (a fallen towel, a carpet, a shirt escaping the bounds of the laundry basket) is fair game in her mind. Luckily, we have hardwood floors in this place and I have no problem with wrangling my own bad habit of not putting my clothes away properly immediately so that nothing falls on the floor.

Another precaution taken was a big plastic cover for the bed… I think they expected us to zip it around the mattress, but given the layers of water repellant materials already on the bed, I just spread it over the bed like a very ugly, white, waterproof bedspread.

Ottov2 loves it.
Moon Pie is a burrower so there are slices through it where Ottov2 attacks the moving thing underneath and also where she launches herself onto the bed, digs her claws in then hauls the rest of her onto the bed. Graceful, non?

But still, so far so good and she seems like she feels better and is acting playful and sweet (which is the kitten baby I know anyway). We did take her to the vet to rule out crystals or an infection (though she wasn’t showing the classic signs of that anyway. My fabulous and patient vet also had run her blood levels for kidney function and sugar levels to rule out CRF and diabetes when she was spayed. I did allow lots of time for her to work out the "in heat" hormones since we let it go a little far due to bad timing. I figure since she is such a big baby it would take a while for her to do that… but looks like the kitten chow wasn’t helping.) and the other good news is that I don’t think that we’ll have some of the problems that other people have posted on the forums (the worst of which was someone who said that their cat was unhappy and peed in their toaster. Now, there’s a visual, huh?)

Gnome antics and soup disasters

I’m tired today, but it is my own fault and the result of a pretty good weekend following a shite week.

Many of my close friends were in town this weekend and, as we are inclined to do, we went out for karaoke. I don’t tend to make it into the city very often; I suck at finding a parking spot, most bars are too crowded, blah blah blah excuses. Can’t take public transport (I live in Oakland and the closest BART station is about 2 miles away… where I would have to find a parking spot in a bad neighborhood…double whammy.) So I tend ot avoid the city. I’m not much of a bar person anyway. I don’t really drink, even if I did, I’d have to drive home, so I wouldn’t drink, I am offended to pay $5.00 for a diet coke and most people who I don’t know at bars are creepy.
Long story short, I texted a buddy of mine who tends to post on Facebook from a bar in that area, if not the bar that we would be meeting at and wangled a ride.
It is Halloween weekend and I was told to “bring it” so I spent the whole day knitting and in fear of the kittens wising up to the fact that there was yarn, not 2 feet from their little yarnicidal, sleeping heads and made a hat for my outfit: a garden gnome based on this guy:

Fairly easy costume to make. I have a big blue barn jacket, hat was knitted from monster red yarn (based on the Last Minute Knitted Gifts elf hat), I bought a giant black belt earlier this year for this and I bought a baby bib and sewed a polar fleece cutout of a gnome beard on it (I skimped on the beard. Didn’t have time for the quilted/stuffed version I envisioned…another time maybe). I was going to wear my Keen black boots, but I couldn’t find them in the mess that is my kitten-proofed house, so I just wore a black shirt, black yoga pants and  black Keen tennies. (I was not displeased with this set up. I can guarantee I was more comfy and warmer than the 50% of the chicks dressed up in “slutty (insert name of costume here)” outfits out there though I suspect we have different priorities. Ahem. )

Met my pals, introductions all around (now I have a nice cross pollination of local and remote folks friends) and had a good time. Mike, a troublemaker, (or possibly Barrett, also a troublemaker) put a bug in my ear that I should do some Britney Spears song in full gnome gear (the hat and beard were mostly sitting on the table because it was hot.)…he wanted Toxic, but I don’t know that one, but I do know “Baby One More Time” it was ganky enough to go with a decidely unsexy looking gnome costume. I liked the dichotomy so I did it.

Haven’t done karaoke in a while. Mostly because every time I have been in a position to sing, my voice was wrecked by a cold from the previous several months.  So I got that weird kinda weak in the knees thing, which usually evaporates once I am actually on stage. People were pretty lively at this point and I think I was on key (we shall hope because I couldn’t hear myself). I vamped and spanked my gnome ass, pretended I was in a school girl outfit which probably translated pretty well to the gnome outfit. I actually got several high 5’s from random people in the crowd and of course my lovely friends. Fun.
Loved the absurdity.

I got home at 3 in the morning and then couldn’t sleep til 4, woke up at 9 and have been a bit of a zombie ever since. I was pondering some sort of vegetable soup with clear broth with dumplings in it (trying to avoid flour ones) but it went badly at first (burned some veggies and wasted a bit of chicken stock-gah, I hate waste), then the corn meal dumplings I attempted in the salvaged soup just melted so I scooped what I could out and pretended that the blue cornmeal left in there was a roux. I added chicken later and then let it sit  for a while with the significant carryover heat from my monster enamelware cast iron pot (well, I passed out for about an hour). When I got back to the soup, the chicken was silky and completely fabulous. The stock, thankfully wasn’t purple (I only had blue corn meal on hand ;) ), just slightly thickened, the veggies didn’t retain any burnt flavor (I test drove some before I added them back in to the new pot of stock/bacon/onion/wine deglaze). So I resigned myself to a somewhat boring, but still good soup.

So I handed a bowl to Tex with the allowance that he could put whatever he wanted in there to jazz it up. He added some cheese (but he puts cheese on everything anyway) and then demolished the bowl. Second bowl, he used Tostitos Scoops to eat the soup and pronounced it perfect.
Sigh, but ok.

Recently I had a hankering for a cookbook, which I never buy because there is usually only one recipe I like and the rest are icky so  a book hangs around gathering dust and being deadweight. Instead, I looked online to see if there was a magazine that might fill the need. Found Saveur on Zinio and the first issue had a bunch of soups (Hungarian, German) in it. Just drove home the point that I am a peasant food fiend. (I’ve said for a while that I cook “trailer park with Trader Joe ingredients”.) A couple of the Hungarian soups  looked really nice…aside from the recent spate of soups I have made, I’m not really a soup fan. But I’ll be cooking more soups in the coming weeks… and test driving some yummy stuff I found in this month’s issue.

I still might buy 1 or 2 of the cookbooks I saw out there while I was snooping around. They have a kindle versions which will satisfy my less crap rule. One of them is the new Paula Deen cookbook. She and I seem to work well in terms of taste. I think it is because the influence of where I grew up in West Texas is from Georgia settlers. I used to be able to place a Texas accent within 50 miles (though I am out of practice and its more like 150 miles now) but when I heard someone talking and I asked them “Where are you from? You sound like home.” they said Atlanta. This makes sense after I read an article on Texas accents in Texas Monthly a while back. Anyhoo, her recipe collection was standards and handed down recipes. I like this kind of thing. I’ll do my own variations on those.

The other one was one I sort of wanted to do my own version of from my family A recipe from a daughter/granddaughter/niece etc from a relative and a story behind it/sketch of that person. (I’ll have to find the link again.  Stay tuned.) Maybe I’ll get a gift certificate for xmoose and get those. For now, I think I’m ok with my normal web based search for recipes/techniques and the new magazine subscriptions. (Though I do see that the Julia Child Mastering the Art of French Cooking is on e-version… mmmmm. That could be good, too. French cooking is a profound yes for me despite all my trailer park. Don’t forget that a lot of French are basically farm/rural folks with simple, but rich food.)