Monday, November 24, 2008

Just Another Manic Monday

Even though I no longer work a normal (aka boring) Monday through Friday, 9 to 5 job, it still seems to me that Mondays are the most likely day of the week for things to go awry. And those telephone calls that throw carefully made plans into total confusion? I generally get those on Mondays, too.

So, Mike called this morning from onboard the Chat de Mer and reported that he and Leo were offshore just past Morro Bay, clipping steadily along at 6.5 knots and, at that pace, they were estimating a Richmond marina arrival early tomorrow evening.


When I got the call I was at the Benicia library picking up an audio book to listen to while I made the long drive to Simi Valley to spend the Thanksgiving holiday at my parent's home. I was heading down a few days early in order to help my mom with the myriad preparations necessary to host 40+ family members for turkey dinner. My bags were packed and in the car. I had said goodbye to the cats. The housesitter was due sometime this afternoon. In fact, if I hadn't been behind schedule by about an hour, I'd have probably been halfway to Tracy when I got Mike's call.

Ok, so if you've been reading this blog for awhile you have probably already figured out that this is yet another chapter in the Baja Ha-Ha-2008-with-Captain-Leo saga. That man has changed the schedule numerous times each time causing confusion and cancellations and other general chaos. I'd truly like to kick his . . . well, you get the idea.

My options were to stick to my original plan and get on the road, or wait for Mike and then he and I could leave early early Wed'day a.m. and go to Simi Valley together. I spent a brief period pacing in the library parking lot trying to convince Mike to make Leo put him ashore some place where I could pick him up on my way south. Mike didn't go for it, probably because he knew it would be incredibly difficult (but not impossible, surely!) for Leo to single-hand that huge catamaran (the third crew member that was originally on-board jumped ship in Cabo San Lucas). And Mike doesn't go back on his word or quit and desert just because the going has gotten tough (as is obvious; after all, he's still married to me, heh heh).

What to do, what to do? Go alone now, or wait a couple days and go . . . what was that word . . . together?

I called the housesitter and explained the change in plans. She was really nice about it and will now come over on Wed'day instead of today. Then I called my mom and told her the new plan. There's disappointment all around but in the end I'd rather be there with Mike than without him. If we get there in the early afternoon on Wed'day there's still time to be of some help with dinner preparations (and now there will be two of us to help). AND Mike will be there to perform his own very special duty; that of removing all the meat from the turkey carcasses. My mom says no one else can do it as well.

It was just plain weird to come back home and unpack the car. The cats seemed glad to see me although maybe they just wanted some of the string cheese I was eating. But I'm adjusting to the new schedule now and starting to get excited about Mike's arrival. He has been gone since mid-October. He's anxious to get home, too. Originally he was to have been gone about 7 weeks. I think they have actually only been gone about 5 weeks, though it seems longer. In order to accommodate Leo's latest need-to-be-home-by date he and Mike have been running the Chat de Mer's two engines continuously since San Diego and they won't be stopping until they're back home.

San Diego to San Francisco in one straight shot!

That's a tough push and not for the faint of heart. Mike even said it was a good thing I hadn't gone on the trip, and I agree. I don't think I could have stood the stress of round-the-clock motoring and night after night after night after night of nightwatches and sleeping only 2 or 3 hours at a time. I'd have probably jumped overboard! It's unfortunate that Leo, for whatever reasons, turned what could have been a great trip into such an ordeal.

Still, it's a nice surprise, to have Mike home for Thanksgiving, after all!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Let the Turkey Hoarding Begin

My first conscious thought this morning was "Turkeys go on sale at Safeway today!" With any $25 purchase I could buy up to two turkeys for $5.99 each (up to 16 lbs.) or $7.99 each (over 16 lbs.). While supplies last, of course!

So the first item on my To-Do List for today was "Buy turkeys at Safeway." I was there by 9 a.m. and already there was a crowd around the turkey bin! But it was a friendly crowd, retirees and stay-at-home-Moms, and others with schedules flexible enough to be at the grocery store on a weekday morning.

I bought two of the larger turkeys, each over 18 lbs. They're frozen, which is fine, because they have gone straight into my freezer. We won't be cooking them anytime soon. Since we always go to my Mom's house for Thanksgiving dinner the turkeys we buy are often not cooked until after the holidays. That's why I call it "turkey hoarding." We buy them at the great holiday sale prices and then save them in the freezer until January or February.

If you've never cooked a turkey dinner with all the trimmings in January or February, or even March or April, you're missing out! Just the smell of the turkey cooking makes an ordinary day feel like a holiday. It's especially fun to do this smack in the middle of the week.

Of course, this year, since Mike is off on his sailing trip and will miss Thanksgiving, we'll probably cook a turkey in mid-December, after he returns.

Hm, I think I'd better go buy a couple more turkeys!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Good Friends, their Cats, and Steinmart

I had a great time at my friend, Linda's, house this past weekend. She and her husband, Allen, are the ultimate host and hostess. Linda is a gourmet cook; Allen a wonderful conversationalist. And they have three gorgeous Maine Coon cats, Winston, Skelton, and Sophie.

Here are the kitties:


and the little girl, Sofie:

Doesn't she have the cutest little white triangle on her nose?

Linda and I went shopping and found some AMAZING sales at Steinmart. I had never been to a Steinmart before. I found a dress that I loved and felt I just had to have, and when I got to the checkout counter found it was ON SALE!!! Normally $69, I paid only $48. I was happy! I got two pairs of capri pants, too, for only $12 each.

Linda cooked amazing meals, and Allen drove me to the pharmacy (late) when I realized I had a bladder infection coming on and needed to get some medication.

Thank you, Linda and Allen, for an amazing visit. And, of course, Winston, Skelton, and Sofie!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Scout's Drinkin' . . .

. . . my milk, that is!

I've been trying, for a long time, to get a video onto Blogger of Scout drinking my milk. I guess they've all been too long because the upload process always failed. Argh! Finally, I decided to make just a short little video and try uploading it.

Success!! Here is Scout, indulging in her usual activity whenever I have a glass of milk:

Yeah, she does what she wants.

But then, that's kinda the tradition with the women in my family!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

All I Ever Needed to Know About Friendship . . .

. . . I learned from reading "Papillon."

The movie's great, but the book is even better. One of the most important things I've ever learned about making and keeping friends is from this book.

If you aren't familiar with the story, Papillon, it's about a French thief, Henri "Papillon" Charriere (nicknamed "Papillon" due to the butterfly tattooed on his chest - papillon is French for butterfly), who is imprisoned in South America, escapes several times, and finally is sent to (inescapable) Devil's Island in French Guiana. Conditions are extraordinarily harsh, as befits (at that time anyway) repeat offenders and escapists. Papillon had made his living mainly as a safe-cracker, but was wrongly accused of murdering a pimp. Once he got put into the "system," he kept breaking out, getting recaptured, and receiving even harsher sentences.

I'll never forget the scene in the movie (and book) where Papillon is standing knee-deep in cold, miserable, muddy water in his cell, along with all the other prisoners in their own individual cells. I don't remember exactly where, but somewhere he had gotten hold of six cigarettes. Well, cigarettes in prison are like gold. They are used as currency, they are hoarded, they are prized because of their scarcity and because, when smoked, the smoker enjoys a rush and feeling of good-will unmatched by anything else available to them.

What does Papillon do? He gives away five cigarettes, and keeps only one to smoke himself. I may be wrong about the number; he may have given away all six, I'll need to re-read the book. But you get the point?

He instantly had five (or six) loyal friends. We all know when someone has given us something of great value. It means something. This was not just "sharing," this was giving up something we'd really rather have kept, for the sake of those around us.

It has an impact.

It is Impossible to Keep a Straight Face . . .

. . in the presence of one or more kittens. ~Cynthia E. Varnado

Here's proof:

I'm gonna miss this little guy when he goes back to my niece's house . . . although, at the same time it's going to be nice to have peace & goodwill amongst the felines in my house again!

The Essential 007: A Recap of all 22 Bond Movies

Before you go out and check out the much-anticipated new James Bond movie Quantum of Solace next week, here is a quick recap on the evolution of the cinema’s most successful and recognizable stars. Quantum of Solace is the 23rd Bond film (although only the 22nd official one - Never Say Never Again is not recognized as an official 007 film)...

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Friday, November 7, 2008

Freedom of Speech Friday

Seventy percent of African-Americans backed Proposition 8.

Two-thirds of voters who describe themselves as Christian voted in support of Proposition 8.

Married voters and voters with children strongly supported Proposition 8.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

One Word Wednesday


Opie Needs a Home

If you read my niece Jenny's (Bookworm Cat Girl's) blog you will have already seen photos of this little guy. His name is Opie.

She's been bottle-feeding him since he was about 10 days old. Now he's about 5-6 weeks old and living at MY house! Yeah, I got talked into bringing him home with me last Saturday when I was visiting Jenny and her family. Jenny was getting ready to go away for two weeks and needed someone to take care of the kitten for that time (as well as possibly fall so in love with him that he'd also be adopted)!

But I can ONLY take care of him for the two weeks Jenny is gone. My other cats, Jack and Scout, are absolutely beside themselves with fury over the tiny interloper! Jack hisses and spits at everyone (including me!) and Scout has twice tried to flatten poor Opie with a well-aimed SMACK to the head. It's a lot of work keeping everyone separated and halfway happy.

It's too bad because Opie is so much fun! Kittens are just a hoot. This little guy is very independent, playful, and affectionate. Since he's been hand-raised he bonds very quickly to people. He has tried to make friends with the other cats; unfortunately, they're having none of that!

Here is a little video of Opie playing with a cat toy. Isn't he adorable???

He is completely litter-box trained and is now weaned from the bottle. He eats both solid and canned kitten food. I'm still giving him kitten formula but he drinks it from a saucer instead of a bottle. He sleeps quietly all night in a room by himself. I'm sure he would prefer sleeping with a person but I already have two cats in my bed and they have voted unanimously that a third is not welcome!

So....if you know anyone at all who would like a kitten, PLEASE have them contact me! Opie needs a home! The sooner the better so that he can bond from this young age with his new family. I promise you - he's irresistable!