Saturday, November 29, 2008

Amber & Himalayan Trekking

I've never had the urge to climb Mount Everest. If I had ever thought about it, surely any lingering curiosity was banished by reading that Into Thin Air book. Trekking in the sub-alpine zone always seemed nice, but there are so many other places I would rather go-- many of which are closer to home-- that it never became a fervent wish.

Until I learned about Himalayan Cats.

Himalayans are a flat-faced, sometimes flame-pointed, long-haired cat-- basically a puffy Woody. Can you imagine hiking through the sparse country-side in the shadows of the Hindu Kush and being surrounded by a flurry of extra-furry Woodies?

I am going to start saving my pennies! Tibetan plateau, here I come!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Amber & Jaws

I confess: I have never seen the terrifying motion picture from the terrifying no. 1 best seller Jaws. I know the basic plot: big hungry shark, Richard Dreyfuss on a boat, somebody gets eaten, he needs a bigger boat, battle! Probably Richard Dreyfuss wins, or maybe he makes peace with the shark and it goes out to sea never to been seen again (until the sequel(s)). Right?

I tend to shy away from animals-gone-awry films, like the one where the sharks get super smart, or the one with Crispin Glover and all the big mice, or the one with the rabid dog. But today, I sort of regret not having seen Jaws-- I might have learned something that I could now apply to the horrific discomfort I am in on account of TMJ.

Apparently, I clench and grind in my sleep. My doctor gave me muscle relaxants to lessen the tension in the joint, but I ran out on Saturday. I woke up this morning and couldn't open my mouth more than a wee bit. I have a dentist appointment tomorrow afternoon, but in the meantime, Tiggy and I will be eating soft foods and doing our exercises to loosen the joint.

Photo by James

Monday, November 24, 2008

Amber & Rip Van Tiggy Winkle

I slept alot yesterday. I guess I was recovering from standing outside in the cold from 9 am until after 7 pm on Friday and Saturday and being peppy and friendly as part of my contribution to the Festive Garden Plantbuilding Show. Or, maybe, now that I have an abundance of cats, my furry beast instincts to hibernate started to overtake my human instinct to shop in late November?

Anyhow, I woke up at 10:30 and fed the cats. Then, I went back to sleep until 2:30. At that time, I showered and dressed and had a bagel. Then, I did some housecleaning and spent some time with kitties until my dinner at 5:30 pm. After dinner, I took a brief nap from 7 until 9 at which point I put on pajamas and went back to sleep.
Oddly, I am still tired today.

Now, where did I burry those acorns...?

Friday, November 21, 2008

Amber & Déjà Zoo

So, it turns out that my job in the Bronx is actually very much like my old volunteer work in D.C. Of course, there are a few small differences, but there are also many similarities. Let's examine them.

Instead of greeting visitors when they enter and thanking them for coming when they exit at Zoo Lights in extreme winter weather, I am greeting and thanking at Garden Plantbuildings in an cold spell. (Sure there are trains, but really the historical and landmark buildings made entirely of plants are really the main attraction.)

At both, hotdrinks are key to staying warm.

At both jobs, I face the challenge of 8-hour hat hair. And, at both, I have an indoor job where I have to take off my hat. Only, at the Zoo I didn't worry so much about what my colleagues thought.

Photo by James

At both, I face the challenge of dressing appropriately for spending an excessively long time standing around outside. At the Zoo, though, I could dress more casual style. But, at both I wore name tags.

Photo by James

My Zoo tag was way cooler because it said I was friends with apes and lemurs.

I miss gorillas. Zoo Lights wins.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Amber & Egyptian News

James and Alisa return to America today after an Egyptian adventure. Welcome home, friends! While we eagerly await their return, James sends several items of news to precede his arrival.

1. Egyptian kitties grow very large from eating falafel.

James claims to be bringing one back which he named Nipples of the Prophet. I somehow doubt it... at least I doubt that Alisa let him name it that.

2. James and Alisa are engaged!

James presented her with this adorable tablet, made by the multi-talented Other Kevin at sunrise on top of Mount Sinai.

3. James follows the engagement announcement by saying, "Then when I got down off the mountain I had diarrhea and fainted, though I believe the two events were totally unrelated."

4. Lastly, James says the pyramids were the most boring part of the trip. He promises to explain more later, but in the meantime I am shocked! They seem so exciting!

So, so much scoopy news!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Amber & Criminal Intent

Dude. (I say that in the collective noun usage.)

Someone tried to mug me on the D train this morning.
I was sitting there, on the D, with my messenger bag in my lap, my crochet project out, and my iPod in my hand, selecting a new song. (I didn't think Nine Inch Nails's "Closer" was the song to start my morning today.) We were at the 161st Station, and the doors had just opened.

Suddenly, one of the four other people in my train car, jumped up and was instantly upon me. He grabbed at my iPod with one hand and grabbed the strap on my open messenger bag with the other. Without any thought whatsoever, I grabbed the front of my bag and clutched down on my iPod. The contents of the bag started to spill out on the floor, and my ganglia (because there was no conscious thought or strategy) screamed, "No!"

The doors started to close and he let go and ran off the train. One of the other three people on the train came to ask me if I was okay. I was. I am.

I don't know if I would hold onto the bag if I thought it out. I don't know what I should do in that situation. But, I do remember this NY Times article about how we forget that the city is dangerous. And I do think about those people who have their laptops out on the train, typing away. And I am grateful that my attempted-mugger was not a professional.

He kind of looked like this guy.

True story. Except that last part about him being the Hamburglar.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Amber & Blurry Memories

Remember when I lived in Madisonwisconsin? And I worried about how everyone drank so much and then drove home in the snow and slush? And how I had many a winter warmer of brandy before wishing my Wisconsin friends good-bye as they drove off sloshed?

Well, the Old Gray Lady just did an exposé on my Wisconsin experience.
"When it comes to drinking, it seems, no state keeps pace with Wisconsin. This state, long famous for its breweries, has led the nation in binge drinking in every year since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention began its surveys on the problem more than a decade ago."
"“I work 70, 80 hours a week, and sometimes I just want to relax,” said Luke Gersich, 31, an engineering technician, who drank a Miller as he watched the Monday Night Football game at Wile-e’s tavern. On a weeknight, he said he might drink seven or eight beers. On a weekend, it might be closer to 12."
News flash! That's alot of beer.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Amber & Fresh Direct

I have been experimenting with Fresh Direct. There are few good grocery stores near my house. There is a D'Agostino's which I find to have gross produce, but it's a good source of lamby baby food. And there is Frank's which is so ridiculously over-priced that it makes Whole Foods look like a discount chain. So, at CRD's suggestion, I tried ordering in my groceries.

There have been a few snags, mostly due to my lack of reading comprehension. Like, when I thought I was getting a gallon of 2% milk, but I really got a gallon's worth of drink boxes of 2% milk.

Or, when I thought I was getting a pie and saved room in my tummy for my 6 to 8 pm delivery window, eagerly expecting my dessert, and then it arrived frozen, but "ready to bake."

And there is the excess of packaging. As someone who brings her own canvas bags to the store, I find the six cardboard boxes that came with my last shipment a bit much. (Sorry, Al Gore.) But, the kitties sure enjoy them!

But, overall, it's going really well. The produce is lovely, the ready-to-bake items are delicious (sorry, Kevin: I ate the pie), and it's incredibly convenient. It definitely is more expensive than a good grocery store, but that's the price you pay for the ease of getting fresh veggies delivered to your house.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Amber & Kitty Profiles: Ginger

Tragedy was narrowly averted last night. I was in the midst of cooking dinner and Ginger jumped up on the stove and singed the ends of his tail fur on the open flame! He seemed unphased, but I thought to myself, What if that had been the end of Ginger? What if Amber & readers never really got to meet him? And then I resolved to tell his tale. And tell about his singed tail.
Photo by James
Ginger is small. He has petite little paws and weighs nearly nothing when you lift him. He still has all of his milk teeth, and is struggling with a sinus infection. Like cat mommy like baby kitty!

Ginger is a patched brown ticked tabby. This means he has some big brown tabby parts, but then some completely white parts. The most fascinating aspects of his coloration are the black backs of his feet-- like little soles on his slippers-- and his gigantic squirrel tail. Luckily, you often get to view these features because he is usually running away from you to chase something or cause mayhem in general. Also, his britches are tan and extremely long.

Ginger loves standing on his back legs to watch the water go down when I flush the toilet. (There was no way I was going to photo document this.) He seems to like all kinds of water: he watches me shower, he tries to get up on the counter when I am using the sink, and he is amortizing the value of the freshy flow quite well, although he usually sits in the basin rather than drinking from it. He loves toys, napping on the cat condo near the window, suckling on fleece blankets, and his brother. He also loves shoes. At first I thought he loves shoe laces, specifically, but then I caught him with his face stuffed inside my clog, licking the foot bed.

Photo by James

Ginger does not like being growled at by Woody (he usually dives under the covers), taking his medicine (he usually dives under the covers), or loud noises outside (ditto). He's a generally agreeable kitten, and took his first lap nap over the weekend. Since then, I don't think he has stopped running.
In fact, it was nearly impossible to take the requisite photo of us together because hes just so darned wiggly. I sure love his little wiggle self. Singed fur and all.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Amber & Kitty Profiles: Woody

You probably know Woody has Health Issues. His tore his anterior cruciate ligament (twice), he had unnecessary dental surgery, and he has ongoing tummy woes.

You also probably know he was a crazy-looking frizzy, snake-eyed baby that my mom found in her rhubarb patch. But did you also know that now, sometimes, he has a tendency to be cross-eyed?

Woodrow Wilson Gutherie Feline Hewins is beautiful. He is a flame-pointed Siamese, only he's not because he is a mutt. He matches well with both natural ratan, wicker and wood tones...

...and with pastels which really bring out his softer, pink side.

Woody likes belly rubs, people food, sunshine, and sticking his paw in your cup to get a drink. He doesn't like being attacked by kittens when he is napping, the smell of lemongrass body lotion, or when I eat scones and don't give him any.

Woody gets alot of attention, mostly because he demands it. But, I am more than happy to give it to my fuzzy little animal buddy.

Photo by James

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Amber & Kitty Profile: Pickles

Amber & readers have met Pickles before, and you know about his love of wrassling, but did you also know that he is getting in his adult teeth although his baby teeth haven't fallen out yet? Sharky! I tried to take a photo, but this is all that came out.

He's sure wiggly.

Pickles is a La Perm which means he has crazy curly fur, especially on his chest and tail. It looks like it needs to be brushed, but it's just super curly! And his eyebrow and cheek whiskers are super curly and weird, too. He's grown alot since he came to live with me, but he still has four white socks on tiny baby paws. And he's nowhere near as big as Kevin...yet.

And he has such adorable pink lips and bright yellow eyes.

Photo by James

Pickles likes playing, eating wet food (preferably chicken), jumping on Woody under the covers, and hiding in the cat condo until his brother comes by and then pouncing.

Photo by James

Pickles doesn't like getting his nails trimmed, being brushed or any other activities that involve holding still. I think Pickles is going to be huge when he grows up. He's getting very cuddly; he comes over for rubs just as much as he does to chew on me these days. He has an adorable curious expression-- all of life is still such a wonder. I wonder what I did to deserve such a special baby boy kitty.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Amber & Kitty Profile: Tiggy Winkle

Have you met Tiggy Winkle? She is featured over there on the right in Tiggy of the Wink regularly, but maybe you should get to know her a little better.

Tiggy is known for being shy. Some people mistake this for grumpiness, but really she's just a very private kitty. It makes sense when you realize that all her life she has been bullied by boy cats. All she really wants is a snuggly environment and a clean litter box and some cheese.

Tiggy hasn't always been so low maintenance. Once, she ate thread from my sewing machine and almost died! It took several weeks (and a pair of scissors that got thrown away) before she stopped passing poop-on-a-rope.

Tiggy once saved my life when we lived in D.C. She is now our official fire warden. I am trying to teach her to say "carbon monoxide" as well.

My girla cat was named after a hedgepig. Tiggy likes: environments, sunshine, chest rubs, towel touches, high up places, Madisonwisconsin hall walks, and licking the insides of messenger bags. She does not like: kittens chewing on her tail, strangers, the vacuum, the smell of lemon body lotion, being locked out in the hallway overnight on Avenue B.

I sure love my Tiggy Winkle.

(Photos, except Tiggy with Amy, by James)

Friday, November 7, 2008

Amber & Dialectical Methods

Oh hai.

A while back, I asked why on earth it was so funny that cats can't spell. It's not that I didn't think it was funny, I just wanted to know why! Kevin offered an explanation and James entered the debate. But now, kittehs have addressed the issue directly themselves!

Kittehs is all up in ur langwidge.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Amber & Exhaustion

I am pooped. After my twelve (13.5 with travel) hour Monday work day, a grueling week of cranks and a to-do list as long as Rip Van Winkle's beard, and election anxiety, I am just exhausted. I am taking tomorrow off from work to:

1. Bring Ginger to see Dr. Schaubhut.

(Photo by James )

He's very snorty and sometimes, after intense play, gets a little wheezy. I think it might be the nasal polyp which Dr. Schaubhut had suggested.

2. Doing laundry.

Now, more dirty laundry than ever.

3. Grocery shopping. I got no food, except six boxes of quinoa. (Did you see this NY Times article?)

4. Resting. My first chakra is really glad to just have some time at home to rest. I like my apartment, but don't get to spend much time there lately.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Amber & Results

James took this photo yesterday and notes that they were completely sold out by 4 p.m.

As go the cupcakes, so goes America?

That's the way the cupcake crumbles?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Amber & The Future

Don't forget to vote, everybody. It really is important.

Just think of this little guy.

What kind of world do you want him to grow up in?

Monday, November 3, 2008

Amber & Contingency Plans

I love having two plus two cats. Yes, the kittens are a little nutty, and, yes, they have chewed through many wires causing my personal electronic devices much trouble, and, yes, they did bring ailments into the house that resulted in Woody having Schaubhut-deemed-unnecessary dental surgery, but have you heard about all of the boys snuggling on the couch together?

There's one catch I have to deal with right away: What do we do when the Cloverfield Monster comes?In the old plan, I loaded Tiggy and Woody into the larger Sherpa and jumped on my bike and head for the GWB. Having seen the movie, I know he'll spend a fair amount of time making his way up here from lower Manhattan, so I have a pretty good chance... if I can find my tire pump.

But with two plus two, do I cram all of the buddies into one bag? Or can I pedal with two bags?

Maybe I need to get a sidecar?
That's sure going to be a pain getting up and down the stairs.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Amber & Calendar Marking

Yesterday was the day my kittens discovered toilet paper.

Life, or least my apartment, will never be the same.

Thanks to CRD for the illustration.