Sunday, July 12, 2009

Reasons to use sugar waxes

1: It's all-natural.

2: It pulls fine-to-medium hair beautifully.

3: It's gentle on skin, has a lowered risk of tearing.

4: When you accidentally turn your waxpot to high instead of medium and it BOILS OVER, you can clean sugar-based waxes up with hot tap water and a rag.

5: See number 4. RAWK.

Friday, July 10, 2009

The last place you look.

I checked every pocket I own. I cleaned and vacuumed the entire car. I dug through every grocery sack, and under every couch cusion. I even pulled the bedding up.

My debit card was gone. Again.

My missing card was actually only 2 months old, a reorder of the previous missing card. Which turned up mockingly on my bedside table the day after I had it cancelled. I've been looking for it since I last used it Friday the 3rd. It must have fallen out of my purse at Azteca, where we had dinner with Nick's family.

I sent an alert to my bank last night, and borrowed Nick's card in the meantime. The bank got back to me this afternoon with a cancellation notice, and I should have a new card in 10 business days.

Of course they got back to me, and of course my card is cancelled: I just found it (in the fucking dark, no less), sitting in the middle of my bedroom floor.

For fuck's sake.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Cat pee.

Nick and I decided that, since the weather has been so great here, we'd make a roadtrip down to my parent's second house this past weekend. The creatures rather enjoy it, it's a good opportunity to visit some friends and my grandparents. It's also nice to spend a few days totally unplugged from the world, which is easy to do when you don't have cable or easy access to a radio. The most difficult thing I plan to do on these weekends is usually spend a lot of time cooking, which is actually pretty fun in my mom's fancy kitchen.

Lots of drama was had, but I'll save most of that for another post.

The weekend actually started on Thursday with shopping. I am very particular about what we eat, and from whom I purchase our food. I made a special trip to the Bellevue farmer's market, since the markets anywhere near my parent's place would only be operating while we were in transit. As usual, I bought way more than I had intended to: I met this nice lady with some beautiful rainbow-colored potatoes. She told me all about her farm in the mountains, incidentally the perfect place to grow potatoes. She was also selling beef heart. Beef heart, pasture raised and organic. I was so excited, I bought one that was as big as my head! Well, maybe just shy of that, but it was enormous.

Most people don't get all doe-eyed over this particular part of animal anatomy. Even in humans, we are only particularly interested in the heart as a metaphor. Some people are concerned about their heart health, of course, but few people even want to know what the thing looks like or how it works. Nick, being the squemish Norwegian that he is, would never dream of eating heart, and he's not alone on either count.

This massive, beautiful heart was not for Nick, or for any person. I bought it as a special treat for my cat, which turned out to be serendipitous. Heart, beef heart in particular, is extremely high in Taurine, one of the amino acids that cats cannot produce on their own. It's low fat content and that nature of the heart's job within the body make for a chewy meat, which helps to excercise kitty gums and strengthen their teeth. This is all in addition to the fact that eating raw meat makes my cat think he's a jaguar. Huntard is more like it.

I said before that I am particular what we eat, and that's no exaggeration. My dog eats a homemade diet to help control her allergies. The cat, out of convenience and his personal preference, has been permitted to go back to a very high quality dry cat food after a year and a half of homemade. He lso has an unfortunate habit of playing with the raw stuff. Incidentally, we moved back to dry food right after I had spend 2 hours scrubbing beef blood out of my off-white carpet. My concern about having him on a processed diet has been growing as my health has been improving, and I decided that it was time to at least reintroduce homemade food into his diet, even if it wasn't for every meal.

I had the heart all packed up, and was planning on chopping it into bite sized pieces when we arrived at our destination. After all, if ever there is a time for special treats, it's when you're on vacation. While I was packing, I noticed that the cat was refusing to sit all the way down, and was walking with stiff back legs and hips. I went over and squeezed everything a little, but he didn't seem to be in any pain. A few minutes later, I saw him sit-squatting again. This time, he was urinating. On the floor. My cat has never messed outside the litter box in is entire life. He will follow you through the house marowing for litter before he would even consider messing outside the litter box. Sure enough, there was a spot of blood and some grit in the urine: bladder stones.

Cats are super suceptible to accumulating grit in their bladder. It apparently has a lot to do with the pH of the food they're eating, which has to be very specific. Too alkaline, bladder stones form; too acid, and it weakens their bones. I grabbed my Pitcairn guide and read up on what to do for bladder stones. They suggested a few days broth fast, followed by (of course) a gradual reintroduction of the feline's natural diet: raw meat and bones, or meat supplemented with an appropriate amount of calcium to balance the phosphorous in meat. I made the quickest shopping trip of my life to the local health food store, where I picked up stew meat, distilled water and liquid aminos. Seriously, It took me 7 minutes, door-to-door-to-door.

Ciaran turned his nose up at the broth initially, but once I started adding meat to it he decided that he was hungry after all. I warm up some broth, add supplements and a big spoonful of chopped meat, which warms from the hot broth but does not cook. He's been eating his kitty sukiyaki for 3 days now, and he has not had any urinary issues since peeing on my jacket* on the way to my parent's place, which was within hours of the first incident. In the next few days, I'll be increasing the ratio of meat to broth, and by this time next week he should be back on the Pitcairn diet full-time. Maybe he'll still be able to have dry food as a treat, and I may mix some in with his raw food for texture.

More info on Richard Pitcairn and his awesome, balanced and super healthy cat and dog diet:

*In fairness, it was the jacket I wear to volunteer at the Humane Society, so it probably smells (to an animal) like all manner of stinky and wonderful things. It might even smell vaguely of animal urine, and seem an appropriate place to relieve one's self.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Poor Kate.

It's not really pertinent to my life, but I just have to say something about Kate Gosselin from the show Jon and Kate + 8.

To give some background, I've occasionally enjoyed the show in the past, but you couldn't really call me a big fan. I'm not a mother at this point, and so I have not yet become deafened to the sound of screaming children. If too much of anything is going to give me a headache, it's wine, not whine.

Anyway, I feel for these people, especially Kate. Neither of them are perfect people, and neither are any of the anonymous cocks on the internet that feel obliged to persecute them. Yes, they signed up for noteriety, but no one signs up to be lambasted. Yes, they make some questionable choices, as individuals, as lovers, and as parents. Ultimately, most choices people make are selfish: have kids, don't have kids, cut that @$(@*&$ off in traffic, fake sick from work, steal the neighbor's wifi, drive "buzzed," etc. We justify all the ridiculous things we do to ourselves, our kids and our families, but it doesn't mean anything. Anything. Everyone believes they're doing the best they can, which renders any grand societal concept of a moral compass about as useful as a roadmap made of pudding. People are twats, almost without exception. This is especially true when no one is there to smack their mouth when it starts running off with them.

Jon and Kate seem like average people, with average kids and a surprisingly average life when you consider that they have 8 youngish children and run their own business. I might be alone in saying this, but people should back the fuck off and worry about their own jacked up families. Most kids will tolerate a certain amount of crazy if they know their parents love them. Most husbands will tolerate a certain amount of crazy if their wives are good cooks and give good head. Most women are going to make way too much of everything anyway.

^^^ Case in point.


I've been thinking a lot lately about what bonds people to one another. There's shared history, understanding, acceptance, and common interests. There is also a sense of obligation that I am still trying to understand. I'm not talking obligation in the sense of, "I have a responsibility to care for this person," but rather, "I have a responsibility to tolerate this person's abhorrent behavior because society has deemed it so." Friendship, in many ways, is much less complicated than family. It's socially acceptable to walk away from an unhealthy friendship. Maybe that's why I hold my friends in such high regard: I have to choose to have them in my life, every day. I feel somewhat the same about my marriage, in that I chose to be here, and I have to make choices that are responsible to both of us. My blood relatives are difficult for me to understand, often impossible for me to justify, and yet somehow I love them and continue to allow our lives to co-mingle, if at long intervals (for the relative sanity of all involved). If someone told me I do this out of self-loathing, they could have a point. I'm far from the only one.

I wish this had more of a point and less of a ramble, but I'm still muddling through it myself.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Motita (or, Canine Devotional)

When Nick and I decided to shrug the shackles of apartment-dom and buy ourselves a proper home, my heart's instant reaction was to need a dog. NEED. I had suppressed this feeling for a year, out of necessity, but our pending freedom incited me to search out the canine companionship that I had cherished, quite literally, every day since I was born.
The months leading up to buying our house were mostly bleak for me. We were having major roomate turmoil: drugs, sex, catfights, and general scandal. I slept every single chance I got, I gained 20 pounds eating Nick's extraordinary cheese sandwiches, and I was seriously questioning why I had thought it was a great idea to further my education in a career I had come to hate. I was working part-time and going to school full-time, but I stole every spare moment I could keep my eyes open to troll PetFinder for a small adult dog. This little dog was going to be my ticket out of this shithole existance. I cannot tell you how many adorable little Lhasas, Shi Tzus, Poms and mini Shelties I mooned over. I loved each and every one of those precious little furballs, all fluff and moxy. It was too early yet, but I was getting geared up. I knew I would find the right dog-baby for us, if only I persisted.

Then I found her.

We still hadn't picked out a house yet, let alone made an offer, but I knew. And I had no illusions. I could tell that her face was carefully angled, her hair coyly coiffed: something was up with that hidden eye. The particularly gray and hairless belly did not escape me either. Her bio said that she had been rescued from Puerto Rico. I had been to the territory a few years prior, and was appalled at the mistreatment of the animals there. She needed a family with no small children. Our home had some childish behavior, but no actual children, and none on the way just yet. They were looking for a home that had experience grooming Lhasa-type dogs, which I did. She had some food guarding issues: so did my mom's dog Wally, so I was pretty used to it. She had a bit of an attitude. I don't think I would want a pet that didn't. But the clincher: she was a special-needs animal. She had bad skin and would need eye drops and perhaps oral medication for the rest of her life. No one would want this dog because she wasn't perfect. But I wanted her. We were perfect for each other.
This is something weird about me: I don't know much about the stock market, I don't know a lot about antiques or fancy dolls or any of that crap. I don't invest in things that could benefit me financially, or that could offer some kind of security. For me, the deepest satisfaction is investing in lost causes and things that are deeply broken. Maybe I feel a little like that about myself. Maybe I feel I can be redeemed by works. I don't really understand it, but I am irresistably drawn to the things that other people don't want. I want to discern value in something other people consider worthless, even if that currency only carries weight with me.
I had waited a year for my Motita. In some ways, you could say I'd waited my whole life, because she was my first dog. And not only that, she was my first choice. I waited further through several months of house shopping, house buying and moving in. I checked up on her every day, fully expecting some very canny person to have recognized her worth and snapped her up. I would later learn that no interested families made it past meeting her. No one could see past her cosmetic flaws.
As soon as we'd gotten most of our important crap unpacked, I finally contacted Animals In Need about adopting Miss Motita. They wanted a fenced year, which our condo definitely did not possess (it's really an unfenced, inintentional bog). Nick had taken notice of my dog crush, and prodded me to contact them anyway. Well, glory be, they responded! Would we like to meet her? You couldn't hide her from me anywhere, people!
This little girl is so ridiculously important in my life. She's not my dog, exactly, as her heart belongs decidedly to Nick and bacon, not necessarily in that order. Regardless, I cherish her funny little face and all of her adorable mannerisms. I have made many compromises to give her the best of everything. I've dragged Nick, unwillingly or unwittingly, into these compromises as well. Since she's been with us, she's shed most of her food guarding issues, her tiny body has taken great steps to heal itself from its previous neglect, and her clever personality has blossomed. Although she is often sweet and funny, she is such a challenge every single day. Motita is a stubborn, button chewing, zipper dismantling, cat-headbutting, belly rub demanding, bed stealing, foot snuggling (even when your feet are plenty warm enough, thank you), STINKY, intrepid discoverer of the cleanest spots in the house (so she can dirty them up).

I saw a program recently that made mention of the habit, held by many tremendous painters, of reusing their canvases. They would take a piece of art, maybe whitewash it, and paint something entirely new over the top. Sometimes a single work of art would even evolve, over many days and weeks, layer by painted layer. On one hand, this is practical: buying new canvas is expensive, and they can't all be winners anyhow. On an esoteric level, these canvases were given new lives, given a chance to be something great. But regardless of how they look on the surface, the same mundane master's castoff still exists underneath: it's all a facade. It works the other way around, as well, and I have found a great blessing in what most people would consider an unexpected place. It doesn't take a deep mind to realize that neither gods nor men would hide their greatest treasures where one would think to search. What I have is not just a dog, but a witty and compelling companion. She's no lap, leash or yard ornament, and she is certainly no accessory to my life: this girl is front and center, always.
Anyhow, it's late/early, my stomachache has mostly passed, and I am feeling right exhausted. Truckasaurus is snuggled up to my knees, having a hard time getting back to napping between my sporadic ear scratches, back massages and belly rubs. The cat will probably make a big ruckus any minute now, and get Nick up for the day. I should really get to bed.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Mothers, cupcakes, yoga booty Part 3

Went to lunch with a Nick and a friend today after the chiropractor. It was beautiful outside, 74 degrees and beautiful whispy clouds across the blue sky. Someday, I'll find or replace my camera cable and be able to show you! It was beautiful yesterday, too, when Nick took me for an impromptu date to the Redondo Boardwalk. We looked at all the houses and discussed their charms and eccentricities. I was so inspired by the summery weather that I really wanted vegetables. I ordered a vegetable thai curry and an awesome salad, full of lots of delightful raw veggies. I ate too many (which is not very many anymore) and my stomach paid me back for it. Lame. I used to love fiber. My chiropractor had a fit that I hadn't received my CT results yet, and he offered to call Monday and try to get them hurried up. I hope it helps, I really want to know what's wrong so that I know what I can do to to feel better: summer Boca burgers are calling my name...

After a conversation with my sister about how much better her boyfriend has been feeling since he started working out, I really got focused on getting Nick back in shape. I love yoga for lots of reasons, but from a practical perspective, it requires very little equipment and is accessable for all levels of fitness. It's also free if you do it at home, which is especially enticing. I've brought this up with Nick before, but we've also had some conversations about the numerous positive "physical" effects of excercise. I guess I must have been convincing: after a year+ of not using his gym membership, Nick popped in one of my instructional DVDs last night and tried it, while I stood by and helped him with his postures. We're actually going to the store in a little while to get him a strap and a block, 2 tools I never use which would be helpful given his current range of motion. We'll also pick up his very own mat. I'm super excited by the prospect of a yoga partner!

Speaking of yoga, the more I do the more I notice that I LOVE my butt more every day. I've done lots of toning-type workouts before, but something about yoga gives women a perfect, feminine derrier. Now, if I could just figure out how to have dainty ankles, I'd be all set.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Mothers, cupcakes, yoga booty Part 2

I had to have a contrast CT on my abdomen today. On the bright side, it's not often I feel relieved that I haven't been able to keep food down lately: today I was very grateful, though I will spare the gorey details. I'll be glad to hear the results, so I can figure out what the hell is wrong with me, physically. And once it gets fixed, I am going to go to Red Robin, get a Royal Burger, Boca patty, bacon on the side, and I am going to tear the shit out of that fucker like I haven't eaten in months! Because, well, I really haven't.

I am not super into sweets, but I hold a special place in my heart for cuppys. In my mind, they are perfect, succinct, and usually quite beautiful. Even sad grocery store cuppys are tenderer, moister and more delicious than the gooped up sheet cakes you would find in the same bakery. Sometimes they even have a cool little ring or toy tucked into the icing for decoration! Score!

For Mother's Day, I had most genius idea for dessert: vanilla cupcakes with lavender buttercream. OMG, SQUEEEEEE!

To my palate, lavender = vanilla, only better. It has a subtle richness, as opposed to the sometimes cloying flavor of (fake or heavy-handed) vanilla. They are equally delicate in their profiles, allowing you to discern the quality of your dish, not just the wallop of artificial flavor. In deference to the previous sentence, lavender is also one of those flavors you don't often see synthesized: vanilla, in spite of its ready availability and natural potency, is very often artificial. The smell of the fake stuff makes me ill, both with headache and indignation. Why would a just God allow such an abomination in his Earthly paradise? Is this some kind of sick joke, or punishment for original sin? I could meditate on this premise for days.

I would love to say that my cuppys were an out-and-out triumph, but that was not the case. The cake itself didn't hold together and was a bit dry. It wasn't a low calorie or fat free recipe, and was well reviewed. The frosting was fairly soft and unheapable, which I have heard is common in yolk based French buttercream (the most authentic looking recipe I could find). I didn't mind, since I prefer quality to quantity in the Great Frosting Debate*, and usually wind up scraping most or all of the frosting off of my cupcakes. Bad frosting is not worth eating, and I intend to savor every calorie that goes into my mouth, particularly the sinful ones. I imagine it's sort of like cheating on your spouse, only with your health: it has to be worth the eventual heartache, or it's not worth doing. Some might even say it's never worth doing, and to them I would say: clearly baked goods do not figure into your version of heaven. Boo.

The combination of flavors was AWESOME, as I had suspected. Actually, both the cake and frosting, in spite of their flaws, were quite delicious, Even my mother-in-law had nice things to say about them, which always pleases and surprises me. I opted not to tell anyone what was actually IN the frosting, other than the lavender tisane, since it would only serve to make them unhappy. On the bright side, it was all-natural, something that cannot be said about conventional frosting. And really, there couldn't have been more than a tablespoon of frosting on even the most heavy handed cupcake.

I do, however, have a metric fuck-ton of frosting left over, so I guess I better get my pretty ass into the kitchen and get baking!

*Actually, that sounds like an awesome debate that should totally be had. I want to watch!