Monthly Archives: June 2010

How much is a pet worth?

As I wait in the vet’s examining room, I look at my uncomfortable kitty and wonder what this latest feline adventure will cost. Don’t get me wrong, I love my two cats, but there is something about how much we are willing to spend on our own animals that bugs me. Even as I don’t question the fact I’m going to approve whatever treatment the doctor comes up with for our barely two year old Gilgamesh, I find it more than a little disturbing how easily I drive by hungry humans asking for pocket change on a daily basis.
This little visit will, no doubt, cost us about $100 just to assure us his spate of puking all over the house is just an anomaly and not something like a hairband or stray yarn causing a blockage. Our last cat, Figaro, cost us thousands over the twenty years we had him. Sofas that perished under claws and urinary tract infections, medicines, office visits, and vaccines added up to a hefty chunkachange over time.
If this were my child, I’d be willing to mortgage the house to pay for whatever would be needed to make him well. There would be no questioning my desire to go to the ends of financial ruins for the life of my child.
What’s the breaking price for a cat? That I can even think in terms of “How much is this other living being worth?” sort of boggles my mind. That I can put a cat’s needs–no, my cat’s needs–and life over that of a human stranger is probably understandable to most people even if it’s ideologically outrageous.
I suppose there will come a time when I see someone I know standing by the road with their hand out. I’d like to think I’d be so bold as to do more than hand over the change in my pocket.
The vet has now examined Gilgamesh, and we’ve decided on our plan of action. I won’t give the gory details, but it’s not looking all that serious for the moment.


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Twenty One Years of Wedded Something

Okay.  Fine.  I’ll say it.  BLISS.  It just sounds more like a hallmark card and less original than I’d like.  We started dating in 1984, so we’ve been a couple for twenty six years.   We passed the point of being together for more than half our lives a few years ago.

June 24, 1989

I have no complaints about the life Bill and I have built over the last twenty one years.  There are a few things I would do differently, maybe, but even then the whole time travel paradox thing would set in so I’m not entirely sure that would be a wise decision.   Okay–maybe  if I knew then what I know now, I might not have chosen mauve for my bridesmaids.  And, the hair?  I might have tried to go for the Grace Kelly timelessness I so admire now.    As it is, the photos are a snapshot into Americana circa 1989.  The big shoulders were “in”, poofy hair was “in” and so were long tail tuxes.

I’m not sure where beards fall into the category, but Bill did shave his off in 1994 just weeks before our daughter was born.  All in all it’s been a good life and marriage.  We have been very lucky.

There’s a couple at our church who celebrated their fiftieth wedding anniversary shortly after we joined in 1992.  Their party was crowded and they were often separated by dozens of people.  At one point, I saw them exchange a look across the top of the crowd, and it seemed to me that they could read each other’s thoughts. You probably know the look.  It’s the one that people who know each other so well that they don’t even need to say what they are thinking.   I remember hoping to have that kind of look with Bill someday.  It didn’t take us fifty years, but there are times when I can look over at him and just know what he’d be saying right then.

Dressed up for Teatro Zinzanni 2009

We probably haven’t changed that much in twenty-one years.  I still have a penchant for off the shoulder dresses and up-dos.  Bill’s hair is shorter–on his face and head.  And maybe we look a little more grown-up than we did the day we got married.

I’m looking forward to the next twenty years.  Ah…Now I know why the word “bliss” doesn’t cut it for me.  It’s too simplistic and understated for what I have experienced in the last twenty one years.  I don’t know what to call it.  Something will have to do.

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I’m on my home elliptical with my iPhone writing this post. It’s as much an exercise in trying to get as much done in one day as possible as it is cardio. I think the screen is small, the typos are annoying, but the possibility of being able to write while exercising is promising.

My other blog, weightlossforknitters, is all about knitting and moving at the same time. I’m realizing that the problem I have with writing while on this machine is I am slowly but most definitely getting nauseous. I get motion sickness when I read or use a treadmill, but not when I knit and do the same thing. I think the difference is that when I knit, I don’t have to look down at what I’m working on so much. When I’m reading or typing as I am now, my eyes are focused on the page.

The other thing I’m not sure I like about the Iphone version if wordpress is that it looks like I can’t tell it where to place individual photos in the post itself. That’s annoying. Also, editing a long post here is going to be tricky.

The photos that follow are the greens from the garden as they are sautéed in a sinful amount of butter before being mixed with egg and chiles to make a potluck casserole we attended last Saturday. We went to Fremont for the solstice parade that was preceded by brunch at our friend’s home near the parade route.

The second photo is of some dinosaurs we saw on the way back to our car that was parked near the zoo. There’s really no reason for having this photo except I’m trying out the features on this application.

Thanks for reading.

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Strawberries–a sure sign of summer, right?

12 pints of freshly cleaned berries.

It’s nearly the solstice and we have only had a handful of sunny days since April.  I’m seriously tired of the gray skies and rain.   Strawberry season has always come with sunshine and heat.  When I went to the grocery story today I couldn’t resist the two lonely half-flats of strawberries left in the produce section.  They looked like they’d been left out of a party or something.  I adopted them and took them home right away.

These weren’t the same-old Driscoll Brand California strawberries, either.  They were the petite local jewels that come and go in the blink of an eye.  If you don’t buy them when you see them, they seem to just disappear.  I have another week, maybe, of finding them fresh at the store before they are   replaced by the familiar plastic clam-shell packaging.

These were all turned into jam.  Berries and sugar and heat.   It took several hours to coax the combination into jellying, but it finally did just after dinner.  Between the berries and the roast I was cooking for father’s day, our kitchen smelled positively medieval.    In spite of the cool weather, it felt a bit more like summer today.  Well, at least it smelled like it.

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A Ford F-150 is a compact? In what universe?

I have a little car.  I like my little car.  Not only is it one that uses less gas than a lot, it fits neatly into almost every parking space available.  I don’t feel sorry for people who drive large cars and have to park in the nether reaches of the parking lot with their gigantic, space-hog, gas guzzling “cars.”  I seriously don’t get the adolescent testosterone laced fantasies of those driving Hummers.  Very few people really need a utility vehicle let alone a semi-militaristic looking idiotic piece of crap.  Just as few  people really need a truck.

Yeah, I know this truck is not an F-150. But, I forgot to take a picture of the actual truck. This is what I could find quickly on a web search.

What I find annoying is when someone parks across two spots that would other wise fit two compact cars.  It’s compounded when I look across the way and see three open spaces.  All are designed to fit larger cars.  So, not only did this lazy ass park into two compact spots, he took them when the larger spaces were available.  WTF?

Since there were plenty of spaces, you are probably wondering why I just didn’t take a large space.  That’s not the point.  The point is that I use a compact space for a small car because there are way more of them than the larger spots.  The larger spots are meant for the big cars.  There are fewer of them, and I figured it’s better to leave them so that people don’t try to force their huge vehicles into the little compact spaces.

If you have a big car, park it in a big spot.  Don’t try to make one.  I want to make up a little card to leave on windshields.  I’m not quite sure what it should say.  How snarky can you get when leaving anonymous notes on people’s cars?  And, what do you do if they see you?

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All Hail the Orach!

I’d never heard of it until a few years ago either.  If it weren’t for my avid gardener husband, I’d probably still be munching away on store-bought red-leaf lettuce indifferent to my plight.  Orach, simply put, is a different sort of salad green.  It’s a cross between spinach and arugula to my taste buds.

We discovered it at Monticello in a cute little white package of seeds in the store. Bill bought it because it was marketed as Thomas Jefferson’s favorite salad green.   He planted some the next season and it’s been in our garden ever since.  We happen to have been growing Green Orach, though other varieties exist.  We had meandered around the outside of Monticello because the tour inside had a very long line and we had a young Eli in hand.  We feared for the precious things inside the famed building and how they would fare at the hands of a grumpy child.

We spent our time there outside and in the shop contemplating the obvious dichotomies Jefferson’s life must have held.  I don’t really want to get too philosophical here.  The fact that the store did not even sell “The Jefferson Bible” rather irked me.  But, hey, we were there to have fun and look at the gardens.

And boy…are they tidy and organized!  Ours is not nearly so extensive.  Of course we don’t have to feed so many people either.  One of the things that strikes me now as I do some research into the gardens at Monticello is the variety.   We are kidding ourselves if we think our modern supermarkets have “variety.”  With the help of heirloom seed companies, our lettuce patch has a real variety of lettuces that you won’t find at Whole Foods, let alone a Safeway.

In 1819 Thomas Jefferson wrote, “I have lived temperately, eating little animal food, and that … as a condiment for the vegetables, which constitute my principal diet.” His 1,000-foot-long kitchen garden terrace was an experimental laboratory where he cultivated seventy different species and 250 varieties of vegetables. Although he loved fine fancy fruit, the ornamental “pet trees” that graced his mountaintop home, and a variety of flowers, the vegetable garden, because of its sublime posture overlooking the rolling Piedmont Virginia countryside and its dramatic scale and scope, was Jefferson’s chief horticultural achievement at Monticello.

Did you read that?  250 varieties of vegetables.  I’m betting Americans are generally hard-pressed to even name 250 varieties of veggies let alone say they’ve tasted them.   The FDA suggests Americans eat two and a half cups of veggies every day.  It’s easy to do when you have a variety of tasty greens.  If you don’t grow them yourself, though, you are stuck with what’s carried by your local store and farmer’s markets.

Last night we had a salad made with orach and arugula from the garden.  I tossed it in a simple dressing made with walnut oil, champagne vinegar, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper.  We added our own spoonfuls of avocado and mango for a strikingly colorful salad.  Two varieties of lettuce and two fruits.  It was pretty to look at and tasty to eat.  The picture shows our orach and arugula moments before being tossed for dinner.  Mmmmm…

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It’s a smelly, smelly world.

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