Friday, January 19, 2018

Boredom and hall crawls

So, in an effort to stop myself from time-wasting, eye-straining and wrist/shoulder straining, I've deleted all games from my little tablet and removed them from easy access on the computer. If it comes down to it, I will disable them on the computer, but I don't think that'll happen. Merely stopping at the first impulse should be sufficient.

Drastic? Yes, perhaps. But with me, it often takes drastic measures to effect a change, especially a change that has to do with idle wasting of time, or keeping the mind/body occupied by doing nothing.

Boredom has led me to play with the tablet while watching TV in the evening, and that's certainly not good for the eyes or conducive to sleep.  A long-standing (decades!) habit of playing the darned things has in the past led to repetitive-motion issues with my wrist, which eventually extended to the elbow and beyond.  I stopped/slowed down the habit.  Then a few years ago I slipped up and that eventually led to muscle issues in the upper arm and neck. So I slowed down again. Stopped for 3 entire months last summer, no problem.

But it's going to take me awhile to completely lose the itch permanently, so I thought I might as well start right now. Like all other things that need to be let go, it's fascinating to observe how the mind reacts, when it gets an urge and reflex wants to move the arm to make it happen, and again when I don't allow that reflex to follow through.

I often have trouble finding enough to do to fill those empty moments, but I'm noticing that an easy thing to do is simply get out of the chair and move the body. Doesn't matter how -- just move it. Stretches, yoga, balance exercises, body-weight exercises like push-ups and squats, core exercises. And more and more often, I'm taking to 'walking the halls' of this building. Including going up and down the stairs at each end and the middle. All help fill the time.

Yesterday, during one hall crawl, I stopped in the exercise room and used a bike machine that also works the arms, for awhile. I don't like to use that too early in the morning, because there are apartments on either side and the machine is rather noisy. Eventually, once the body becomes stronger after this recent bronchitis episode, and once the weather seems conducive, I'll graduate to walking outdoors once again.

Friday, January 12, 2018

BratKat

The usual reaction to the big bad noise machine (AKA the vacuum cleaner)

We can add this to the list of things I'm having trouble wanting to leave behind. I had thought it would be easy to merely return her to the shelter, which would find her another good home. That's still possible, and they would care for her forever if need be, but it's more complicated than that.

She was about a year old when I got her, which is a little over one year ago. During that first year she was seemingly raised inside and, in my opinion, around kids. People who played with her, because she loves interactive play. Somehow, she ended up on the streets and eventually turned into the shelter by a woman who found her and took her in briefly. I'm not sure how long she was at the shelter, but she had to wait out the period of time when an owner might claim her, at some point got a good medical checkup and tests for bad cat diseases, and the necessary preventive inoculations. Plus, being spayed. After healing from that, she ended up ready for adoption. Still a kitten when it all started, though not a tiny kitten.

It took her over a year to begin to really trust me. I didn't realize that until I began noticing new signs of affection from her. She's changed, for the better. Much more loving, more trusting. She's apparently locked onto me as her person. All of which makes the idea of returning her to the shelter, then being adopted by yet another person or family, seem rather cruel.

The solution seems to be to try and negotiate taking her with me, if indeed I decide to make this big change. Not sure how successful I'll be, but -- my famous mantra in life -- the worst they can do is say 'no'.

And for those of you who are curious, please know that this is a lengthy thought process, lengthened by weather and other people's busy schedules and travels. I doubt that a final decision will be reached before April or May, and I'm unlikely to offer more details until then. Sorry -- but please know that if I decide to do this, it will be a really good thing for me. In many ways. So, no worries!

Monday, January 8, 2018

Our crazy minds

So. I'm on the cusp of making a really big life decision. It's a decision that will bring major changes, including giving up most material possessions and foregoing entertainment. I can still keep my car, personal necessities, income, can use some kitchen stuff but not others.

I bring this up without further information because it's been really fascinating to watch my mind as I've been mulling this over, watching where resistances come in. Resistance to giving things up. I already knew I could deal with the big stuff, or I wouldn't even be contemplating the change. But I've had a giggle or two about some of the small stuff.

Like, my really nice burr coffee grinder. Probably too noisy to take with me. And my beloved heavy-duty KitchenAid mixer. Could take it, but not sure if it would be at all useful. That's actually where the resistance comes up the worst. That mixer. What do I do, give it to Goodwill? Doing that would certainly be good for me, in terms of learning to let go of material things that aren't useful. But I'd hate it. Fight it.

Giving up watching college football is also something I'm struggling with. I can/will do it, of course, but I haven't missed an Oregon game in years, and don't look forward to starting this year. I can always follow the news and know how they're doing, of course, but not the same as watching. I especially get a giggle over this resistance. The strength of it.

Everything else is just stuff. Most of it came from Goodwill anyway.

No real decision will be made for a couple of months, or maybe more, as I sit with this and mull it over every possible way. Sorry to leave you in limbo until then. 😼

Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas or..... whatever


The view from my desk chair this morning. Sun just beginning to break through the fog. Damp outside, but above freezing, which is good. Had a little freezing rain yesterday morning, which I had to scrape from my windshields in order to visit the grocery for a little comfort food. Did not want to see it continue and have another big ice storm like last winter!

Whatever you celebrate today, or if you are in the Bah Humbug! category (like me), have a wonderful day, filled with kindness and love and peace.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Progress!

Hallelujah! Tonight the new white mouse made it to favored status in the food dish, along with a couple of plastic milk jug rings and the beloved blankie.

This is real progress. Prior to now, she's been fairly indifferent to this mouse. But tonight after a friend left I dug it out of the pile and tossed it for her. She immediately acted as if she loved it.

Didn't  play with it, just mouthed a couple of times, picked it up in her mouth and headed for the kitchen (where I found it shortly thereafter) then came back and settled into her chair for a nap.

This is a big deal in her world, and consequently in mine. Perhaps there will be peace now.

The blankie, incidentally, made it to the dish before my friend left and we laughed watching her drag this blanket by a very strange gait, keeping her feet from stepping on it as she dragged it behind her. I've seen this before, but the first time for my buddy.

Maybe she'll stop staring at me now.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Dead mousie

Remember this bedraggled little white mouse toy? Well, it's been the source of a lot of frustration, begging and general trauma for Kat over the last two days.

And for me as a side effect.

It all started yesterday morning. I was meditating, heard Kat and the rattle of this toy as she batted it into the room and near where I was seated. Once my time was up, I noticed an unfamiliar dark object nearby, where Kat had been playing with the mouse. Picked it up and it was the 'innards' of the toy. A vaguely mouse-shaped plastic shape with a rattle inside it.

So I thought, OK, maybe now she'll use the identical replacement I bought for her last week, that's mostly been ignored.

Not a chance.

As the day went on yesterday the begging and pleading got worse and worse. I looked everywhere for the fuzzy remnants of the mouse, thinking I'd sew it back together. But I still haven't found it. And she's still been  begging and pleading and crying pitifully all day again today. She's clearly begging me to do something, also keeps pawing at the space under the fridge where I often have to dig toys out for her. But I keep looking, and there's nothing there. I can't imagine anything else that she'd be wanting me to fix.

I've tried to offer the new one, but she sniffs and walks away. Tonight, I tried her tactics. Dipped it in her water dish and blotted it mostly dry. She sniffed with some interest, but eventually walked away. I rubbed it on the carpet inside her carrier, where she sleeps a lot, rubbed it in her food dish and left it there. Trying to make it smell familiar, like her instead of whatever it smells like when new. Have I succeeded? Only time will tell. She gave up and took a nap.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Life in the middle of the night

1:30am. Tired of not sleeping, staying in bed because 'it's night and time to sleep so I need to stay here even if I'm not sleeping'. Screw that!

So -- got up, closed the windows that are open a crack to keep the place cool enough to sleep (it's 25F outside). Turned on the heat and, finally, the light. Kat comes into bedroom stretching and murmuring sounds that can only mean 'what's going on?' in a sleepy way only a cat can manage quite so well.

She's confused as hell, and giving me a good laugh in the process. What else is there to do in the middle of the night? Coffee is brewing. The computer is on and bringing news (nothing good, but news anyway).

I could go and binge-watch the new season of The Crown on Netflix that was released yesterday, but that would require getting out my 'old' bluetooth headphones and re-synching them with the TV, so I don't disturb neighbors, and I'm just not into that at the moment. The 'new' ones I bought a couple of months ago, that are so much more comfortable to wear, never worked properly, but to their credit Woot! refunded my $$ with no quarrels and told me to not bother returning them.

I could read, and probably will. I have a book on my Kindle that is going to disappear tomorrow, I think it is, and I'm only barely halfway through  it.

I can watch the cat pondering the issue of whether or not it's time for her breakfast, regardless of what time it is, since I'm up. The little sounds are increasing in volume and frequency, so I think she's decided that breakfast needs to be in the offing. Such a spoiled little brat, but a sweet one.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Cats are such weird critters

Don't get me wrong, I'm a cat lover from way back, but they are still lovably weird critters.

I've written before about my cat's tendency to put her toys in either her food or water dish, or both. And that a little research told me that for cats, particularly cats who have lived on the streets as this one did for awhile, their food and water are the most important things going. The dishes are 'safe places' so they tend to put their toys there so they won't be lost.

I didn't really have a problem with this, other than soft things in the water which sometimes made a mess. But in recent weeks/months I've noticed that for the most part, there are only these two toys in the food dish and they are there all the time. She takes them out to play with, or sometimes so she can reach her food, but they always show up right back in the dish. These, apparently, are the ones she really loves the most. Kind of fascinating, really. Especially since she has 10-15 of those milk jug rings in different colors, but keeps this one in the dish.

That indestinguishable white blob used to be a mouse, tail and all. Awhile back the seam came apart, baring the box inside that makes it rattle. But, the box wasn't coming out, so I ignored it for awhile until it became so apparent how much she really loves this little blob.  So I sewed the seam up again so it lives awhile longer. She has a black one that came together with the white one, but has never played with it like she does this one.

There's a guy up on the roof blowing leaves from the gutters and the noise plus the leaves falling past the window really have her attention. She can't see the guy on the roof, but loves the movement.

Cold, wet day here. Winter's coming.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Skillet roasted lemon chicken

So, this is how it is, peeps. You don't hear from me for weeks, and now twice in one day. What can I say.

I've been itching to try a new recipe from one of my favorite TV chefs, Ina Garten and I decided today was the day to do it.

Ina would never steer me wrong, and this was another winner.

She, of course, touts that it's 'so easy'. And in a sense, it is. Ina, of course, has the money and connections and assistant chefs and whatever else it takes to make it look easy on TV. Unlike me.

Hers was already spatchcocked, butterflied, whatever you want to call it. Mine was not. This was my second ever attempt at doing this myself, and it was certainly a lot more successful than the first. I recently scored some cheap kitchen shears at Goodwill, and that helped.

This is what the bird looked like, backbone and ribs removed along with wingtips. Naked and ready for Ina's magic.





First, some fresh thyme from my garden, some fennel seed, salt and pepper hit the grinder and then some olive oil to soak and let those flavors meld together.


Slathered that bird on both sides and under the skin here and there with the oil mixture, then laid it atop some sliced lemons, onions and garlic in the pan.

Into a 450 oven, added white wine at 30 minutes, out at 45 minutes, let it sit another 15 minutes covered in foil.

I thought the onions and lemons could have used a little more cooking, and the sauce was a little thin, so after I ate I reduced it all over high heat and now it's lovely and thick, for future use.

But all in all I have to say, once again, Ina did not steer me wrong.

She never does.

Happy Thanksgiving

Sorry I've been MIA -- all is well, just not feeling to much into writing lately, and not much to write about. I mean really, do you want to hear the details of my cat's trip to the vet to get rid of tapeworms? I didn't think so.

Thus -- thought I'd take a moment to wish all of you a very happy Thanksgiving.  And reduce that wine in any way you choose!