Saturday, January 31, 2009

Of cats and flowers

This may be the best photo I've gotten of her yet.

Though I still haven't captured the black whiskers. One day she will sit still long enough!

In the "karma is a bitch" department, Harold learned today:

...just how Pan felt, all those times when he was comfortable and Harold came along and inserted himself.

Harold's nose is a little out of joint these days. That, too, will improve in time.

The Tale of the Bulbs

I bought the bulbs because I had to have some Spring around. Last Saturday:

Monday the hyacinths were peeking out.

By Wednesday, we had ruffled-y tulips (?) and the start of a mini daffodil.

There was also a little mystery shoot that looked like this Wednesday night:

And like this on Thursday morning:

That photo looks better un-rotated. Damn you, Blogger. Anyway, can anyone identify the flower? I don't think I've ever seen its like before.

Friday, we were here, and a nice place to be:

There's still one to come, by the looks of this:

I so enjoy hope. And anticipation. And Spring.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Toffee Bars, step by step by step

Just as an aside (can you start with an aside? oh, why not), can you believe I've published more than 600 posts? For some reason that sounds like a lot to me. Even though it's over almost two and a half years ... still, 600? (Also, I'm using 48% of my photo memory. So I guess in 2011, I'll be moving the blog elsewhere, as I cannot fathom blogging without photos.)

Anyway. I am going to pretend to be Ree tonight and show you how I made the toffee bars, although the first link in yesterday's post will take you to Maggie's version. Not only is this a simple recipe, my photos did not turn out as well as hers always do ... but I took them and I will share them, by gum.

Start by turning the oven to 400. While it heats up, throw a stick of butter (this is a half recipe) into a pot (or pan). Melt it:

Add half a cup of brown sugar. (I used light, because that's what I had, but I expect dark would be fine if that's what you have. In fact, I wonder if it would be better? Hmm. I used up the last of mine, so I'll buy dark and next time, we'll see.) Stir occasionally.

While the butter and sugar are making friends, line an 8x8 pan with tin foil (13x9 for the full recipe) and put in a layer of graham crackers. If you get bored, being obsessive about filling every single corner can be fun!

Once the butter-sugar mixture is boiling, and seems as mixed as it's going to get (this is how I did it, anyway), pour it over the grahams.

Doesn't look like much, does it?

Put it in the oven for 5 minutes.

It looks about the same, doesn't it?

We just have to assume it's a key step.

Next, sprinkle chocolate chips over the top. (I used semi-sweet because that's what I had; apparently the person who told Maggie about it recommended milk. All chocolate is good, right?)

The first time* I made it, I covered the top with the chips. This made the balance a bit disproportionate, in my opinion, so I used a bit less this time.

*Yes I am making it again. Only for you!

It doesn't look like enough, but I think it will be. (I will report back, if it's ever ready, tick tick tick.)

Next, having turned the oven off, I popped the pan back in to hasten the chocolate-melting process.

I kept it in for five minutes, removed it and smoothed the chocolate around, then popped it back in for another two minutes, as it wasn't quite smooth. A little more smoothing, and into the fridge to harden.

Now, while I wait, I throw you a cat-photo to reward you for getting this far.

Why, yes, I am just that cute.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

This recipe is much too easy

Last night, I was looking through blog posts in my Reader that I had flagged for the recipes, and when I saw this one, I realized, I actually have all the ingredients in the house! And it's an easy recipe (relevant since I don't like to start cooking at 9PM on a work night). So, why not?

Oh. So. Good.

It's not fancy, but it's simple, and it's delicious. My biggest problem with these bars is that I like them not too cold (not right out of the fridge) and not at room temp, so I keep moving the pan in and out. And actually, although the words "too much chocolate" are not ones I like to use together, I will say that I could have used less, since proportionally, it's a little too much that way. But still so good! I made a half recipe (in an 8 by 8 pan), and it's going fast. I'll definitely make this again. Thanks, Maggie!

In cat news, this new girl* is a player. I find toys everywhere, step on them in the night, and am considering hiding all the jingly ones since an event this morning half an hour before the alarm went off.

*We're trying a new name: Miri, for the miracle of how well she's settling in here. I kind of like it ... we'll see.

Harold is a casual toy-player, who will attack something for a while and then forget all about it. He will sometimes casually lie on a toy so that no one can see it, but he really loves his latest piece of plastic far more than any other item.

She threw us a toy ... have you seen it?

Toy? What toy? Nope, I haven't seen anything.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Hockey Wisdom

Just heard on the Versus intermission report, referring to a player who left the ice during the second period after a bad fall:
"Looks like a shoulder injury. We're not going to speculate what the injury was."
Oh, but you're not going to speculate? Really?

Do you know what the word "speculate" means? In the immortal words of Inigo Montoya, "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."

Monday, January 26, 2009

I may be on to something here

Harold just came along to see about having some lap time. I said, "Sure, come here, buddy. Who's my bubba-boy? Hello, luv-a-duck. How's my baby boy?"

And then I realized why I might be having trouble naming Herself. Hmmm.

I don't really need a name to use when I'm speaking to her, but when I'm speaking of her. I call her honey and sweetie and little girl and all that nonsense. But somehow "Harold and Little Girl" doesn't work. Xenia may be on to something: Harold and Herself. Maybe.

They were play-fighting, tussling, tonight. I wasn't expecting that so soon! But honestly, they were not fighting ... they were playing. Nice to see. They aren't friends 100% of the time, but it seems to be more each day. And I do feel that Harold is less attention-deprived than he was before she came. Good thing, too.

I am kitty, hear me roar! (Or yawn)

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Cats, and Hope

Finally, some sunlight to photograph Herself in.

She tends to wake up whenever I come near, resulting in a shot of her stretching while Harold keeps sleeping.

And one of her watching me while Harold... um, keeps sleeping.

And maybe you can't tell in this shot, but her eyes are open.

Meanwhile, on Friday night I bought hope at the store. Thanks to some gift cards, there was bookish hope:

(I had read all except Beedle, thanks to the library, and I wanted to own them! And now I do. contented sigh.)

And in the midst of January, nothing says hope like some bulbs.

The hyacinth is already opening. It smells like Spring.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Hey now, you're an all-star

My favorite part of the NHL All-Star weekend is always the skills competition. The game is entertaining in its way, but not only are the skills themselves impressive (shoot the puck over 100 mph? circle the rink in under 15 seconds?), the players in general are having a ball, which is fun to watch. Here are things I liked and things I didn't.

I liked:
  • That the Bruins put on a good show. After all the ballot-stuffing, the competitors disproportionally favored Montreal, and of course in Montreal Bruins are booed anyway. It was nice to see the guys do well in enemy territory.
  • Marc Savard made it to the end of the elimination shoot-out, finishing second; plus he was wired for the TV guys and provided amusing commentary throughout.
  • Tim Thomas rose above the fact that historically, All-Star events are a goalie's nightmare and had a good time while making some great saves. And of course, high-fiving Savard after Savard scored on him was funny (to me, if not to the crowd).
  • Blake Wheeler got three goals in the Young Stars game.
  • And Zdeno Chara not only won the hardest shot, and set a new record (105.4 mph), but thanks to his idea of making it a charity contest, his charity, Right To Play, just earned $24,000.
  • Alex Ovechkin really has fun with it. His prop-laden finish in the Breakaway Challenge was hilarious. See?
  • The commercial that Chara, Savvy, and Ovechkin did for Tuesday's game, which is on Versus. Having fun with it: sense a theme here?
  • I liked the elimination shoot-out: it moved fast and seemed like a better bet for the goalies to be more than ducks in a shooting gallery.
  • I didn't miss the weaving through cones contest of previous years. The longer it takes for the announcers to explain how an event works, the less fun it's going to be.
I didn't like:
  • That each event was sponsored by a separate company, making it the Corporate Suck-Up Hardest Shot Competition and the Business Pandering Accuracy Shooting.
  • And then, they replace the plain targets for the accuracy contest with red ones that had a logo on each. Barf. I'm hating it.
  • An awful lot of interviews with players who didn't have anything to say beyond "go out there and have fun". Maybe it's time we accepted that the majority of hockey players are not the most entertaining, articulate people, and stop pinning them down with words. There are certainly players who give one hell of an interview (Brett Hull and Jeremy Roenick spring to mind, and Sean Avery if your tastes go that way), but most of them seem to have watched that scene from Bull Durham much too much.
Overall, thumbs up.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Not Bad for a Phone Photo

The other night, I was on the couch and the little girl was napping on the floor nearby, and she was being quite cute but I knew she'd get up if I went for the camera. However, my phone was within reach.

I've had this phone for over 2 years, and this is the first time I've sent myself a photo from it. Once I got my first digital camera, I more or less stopped using the phone's camera. I had to dig out the quick reference guide to be sure how to extract the shot (the website was useless).

Once I find out how much that cost, I may retrieve the others. But this shot was the best.

You put your right paw in...

Thursday, January 22, 2009


I wrote at least once before about singing to Pan, but I don't know that I've ever mentioned that I couldn't figure out what Harold's song was. I wanted him to have one, since Pan had one, but nothing worked right for Harold.

However, a couple of weeks back, I came home after visiting a friend with kids, which explains why I had the song "Rubber Duckie" going through my head. And when I was greeted by Harold, in his usual cuddly, snuggly mood, I found myself singing,
Cuddle-buggie, you're the one,
You make snuggles lots of fun,
Cuddle buggie, I am awfully fond of you...
He seems to like it.

Things continue to go well on the cat integration front. They are eating from the same bowl, using the same litter boxes, and only some of the time does Harold seem slightly put off by his new shadow. Considering that it's only two weeks tomorrow, I'd say it's all going very well. Phew!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Getting Closer All the Time

This morning, the cats were close to each other in that "I'm ignoring you" way that cats do so well.

And shortly thereafter:

So I'd say it's going well. It's not 100% hiss-free, but every day is a little better.

Tonight they were simply adorable, but I couldn't take the picture because I was in it. (Where is a court photographer when you need one?) They were both on the back of the sofa, looking like a split yin-yang symbol. Their noses were about 6 inches apart, if that, and paws were touching. It was very promising.

It's an off night for the Bruins (after they Blew It yesterday, very disappointing), so I will take this opportunity to criticize the team's new slogan (nothing against Lucic, he was just in the picture where I found it):

Sorry to tell you, guys, but I don't want it "bad"; I want it "badly".

If you keep playing well (or rather, get back to playing well), I will forgive you for not pandering to the English majors.

Monday, January 19, 2009

A Late Look at Loot

You know, I got some fun stuff for Christmas! What? You didn't know? You mean because I didn't tell you? Well, say no more! Here are just a few things:

Franklin's calendar, Guys with Yarn.

My ineffably clever brother got it for me (and now it's sold out, so whew).

He also got me this adorable timer:

Although I'm not using it right now, since its loudness and Harold's current state of unsettledness are not a good match. I will have to build him up to it, someday when he is not so Who Is This Cat In My House-ish.

A good friend sent these fantastic coasters. I heart them.

It's funny how you can love a gift you knew existed and one you had no idea of.

That seems to be all I have photos of, gifty-wise. But I do have this photo, from last night:

And this one from this morning:

It's harder than I thought it would be, to see another cat where Pan was. But I'm really glad that Herself* and Harold are getting along better. Baby steps.

*I don't think "Lindsay" is going to stick; it just don't fit her, doesn't roll trippingly off the tongue. At Suzanne's suggestion, I'm trying "Lady Jane". Maybe...

Sunday, January 18, 2009

And so it goes, again

This should be beautiful:

And this is the reason I can't see it that way.

More fucking snow. More bundling up, more shoveling and cleaning off the car, more nose running and sweating under layers and freezing exposed skin. More slippery underfoot and messy tracked inside and so endlessly on.

Time to plan that next trip to Florida.

Edited to add: until Al Gore comes to shovel out my car, he can shut up about global warming, okay? Yesterday they forecast 1-3 inches for today, and what we got was more like eight. Bite me, weatherman.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Crafters gone wild

I read about several "unusual" crafted things this week.

First, it was a knit version of the human brain.

Then a crocheted coral reef. (credit to Boing-Boing)

And then, a cross-stitch map of Zelda. (credit to Boing-Boing)

So, what's next? I mean, you think it's all been done, but clearly not. Probably the giant glove for hand chair is my favorite wacky knitting project, but who knows what tomorrow will bring?

If there are treats involved...

...then perhaps we can be friends.

Cat? A strange cat mere inches away from me? Well, I don't know, but there are treats!

That was last night. This morning I let Herself out of durance vile and here we still are, no blood shed and no fur flying. I even went out for a few hours and came back to a calm home, so things look good.

There have been several strategic retreats, as Harold is still not convinced of the wisdom of this endeavor, but he isn't fighting it, so I will give him time to embrace it. She is certainly willing to befriend him, so perhaps in time he will come to accept that.

In other news, this may be the best sign ever. I simply love it. Recombobulate me!

And then there's this:

funny pictures of cats with captions


Friday, January 16, 2009

It was the week that was

Guess why I stopped at LL Bean after work to buy new gloves?

I am not a fan of such temperatures. And my old leather gloves, though lined, have never been as warm as this climate demands.

This week, though, the demands have ramped up to the level of OMG I can't feel my fingers, which is not good while driving. It may take me a while to get used to driving in these, as they are a quite a bit bulkier than the others, but they are DOWN, people, and before I got all the way home, my hands were hot. HOT.

And while it was slightly warmer this evening than this morning, I don't really think it was the 14 degree heat-wave that heated my hands.

The Cat Committee would like to report continued progress on the "Jeez Harold, she's not trying to kill you and even if she was she weighs half what you do so chill out" front. Last night, we achieved this.

In the same room, in the same vicinity, and no vicious bickering. Whew. We progress.

I'm still going to segregate them tonight, because oh, I am so tired this week, and I can't handle any potential politicking in the middle of the night on my bed. We'll see how tomorrow goes.

Meanwhile, there's no doubt: she's cute.

Look! The elusive yawn shot! I love those.

Earlier this week, Harold demonstrated that it isn't her scent that bothers him.

Exactly what does bother him? Well, if he's anything like his mother, just the idea of change makes him break out. We're slow adapters sometimes. Once he gets used to the idea, it will become his own.

Or something. Yawn. How am I so tired?

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Baby steps

funny pictures of cats with captions
more animals

I'm still laughing over this one. It has nothing to do with what I'm writing about, but ha!

Actually, I'm not going into anything at much length tonight, since I am Way Too Tired. But I will tell you that:
  • The cats are making baby steps toward getting along. It's going slowly, but it is going in the right direction.
  • Work was good today: they moved me out of the manufacturing area and into a cube! I can drink water at my desk! I'll be literally part of the group that I've been metaphorically part of! It was really pleasant.
  • The Bruins beat Montreal on Tuesday, and it was great fun to watch. However, if they don't beat the bottom-dwelling Islanders tonight, I will be embarrassed for them.
  • Tomorrow is Friday. Did you know? Which means the weekend, a whole two days of not getting up early. I Can't Wait.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Harold's nose is out of joint.

I partly feel sorry for him, and I'm slightly annoyed with him, but mostly I'm just tired. Going to watch the third period and go to bed. Go Bruins!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Eventually, the point gets back to cats

There's something that I do, a certain habit of thought, that sometimes strikes even me as strange, which made me wonder if it's one of those things that others do, or if I'm just that odd. Want to weigh in? It's a single-person habit, but even if you're not single now, you were once, right?

Although I've dated here and there, now and then, I've never been in a serious, long-term, or cohabitating relationship (we'll leave "why" for another day, or perhaps therapy). Certainly, I find the idea of a good relationship with the right guy appealing, but it hasn't happened yet, and I don't spend much time thinking about it. Que sera, sera.

When I do think about it, though, more often than not, it isn't a soft-focused, romantic musing on how I want to be loved. Instead, it's generally very practical.
"I wish someone else was around to shovel the snow."
"I wish it was someone else's turn to make dinner."
"I wish I could leave the car at the repair shop, instead of having to wait."
"I wish someone would make me soup and bring me juice when I'm sick."
It isn't that I want a servant--well, who am I kidding, of course that would be great! But when these thoughts cross my mind, I'm not picturing myself ordering or even asking someone to do things. I'm imagining someone who does some of the things that need doing, some of the many tasks involved in living.

Now, granted, it's idealized, but doesn't it sound lovely? I know everyone's relationship isn't like that, I know there are people who don't do things like that for their partners, but you know, there are people who do all that and much more. (And if I'm going to dream, it may as well be good, right? The right guy would want to take care of me. Perhaps he would express that with a kiss, or perhaps by getting my oil changed. Whatever.)

What made me think of this today was the idea of times when it's really helpful to have four hands available. (Like the time when I bought a DIY computer desk, which came in a box about 4 feet long and a foot wide and an inch high, weighing many pounds, and a pizza guy had to help me get the box out of my car. No, really.) As, for instance, cat-shuffling.

In the course of preparing for introducing a new cat to the household, I read this idea:
Once your new cat is using her litter box and eating regularly while confined, let her have free time in the house while confining your other animals to the new cat's room. This switch provides another way for the animals to experience each other's scents without a face-to-face meeting. It also allows the newcomer to become familiar with her new surroundings without being frightened by the other animals.
Well. It sounds like a good idea, doesn't it? It may even be a good idea. But in order to get it done, here's what I had to do: close Harold in the bathroom (to his great and suspicious displeasure); take Her Highness to the bedroom and close her in there; take Himself from the bathroom into the office; open the bedroom door so Her Highness can roam around.

It's like a shell game, with cats.

I did try to cut corners this morning. I was giving Harold a lap, and could hear Herself at the office door, expressing an interest in coming out. So, I carried Harold over and opened the office door, thinking that she would come out and I could pop him in, easy. Except that she was moving cautiously (not that I blame her), and did not get far enough from the door to let me get him by, and he started getting all "what's going on there", and I had to let him down. He said, "Hiss!" and retreated to the living room, and she was happy to get back in the office. And I gave up on the shortcut.

I did it the other way tonight, and it pretty much worked. Except that Harold gave me the cold shoulder for a solid five minutes after because what, don't I love him anymore and why did I bring some other cat into his house and why do I spend time with her and why why why?

And I admit, I wanted to smack him and yell that I'm doing this for him, doesn't he understand how much this is taking out of me and holy maria, what do I have to do!

Which does not translate into Cat.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Close encounters of the cat kind

I was leaving the office this afternoon and Lindsay indicated that she would like to come out. I decided to see what happened, so I let her. She walked right up to Harold, who was rather surprised (tail at half-fluff), and they sniffed noses. Harold said plaintively, "hiss", and retreated. Lindsay allowed herself to be returned to the office, and shortly thereafter, Harold slept on my arm for comfort.

And another step closer...

Saturday, January 10, 2009

What a cute kitty!

Who is that ghost cat?

Did you see that?

I foresee that you will get a bit sick of Lindsay photos before too much time passes. She's absolutely sweet, and it's hard to resist.

You may pet me.

Yes, right behind the ears, that's right.

Her fur is amazingly soft. Pan's was plush and Harold's is sleek, but petting Lindsay is like sinking your hand into a cloud.

She has the loudest purr I've ever heard. Harold is (as Pan was) a "check his throat, is it vibrating?" purrer. He purrs plenty, but it's rather unassuming. Not this little girl. PURR!

She flops around, raising her head up to butt it against my hand or encourage me to pet her. Only once have I patted in a way she didn't seem to like, and she pulled back, but she didn't even nip, let alone bite, and I haven't felt a claw. Such good signs.

She's so cute. It's been a good day. Not perfect (we are ignoring the weather, thank you), but good. I'll happily settle for good.