Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Amber & The Booty Continues

Christmas just keeps on giving and giving.  Today, I got this love note from the post office, wrapped around a parcel that they had so lovingly delivered.

(seen here with Pickles back legs, tail, and the Ghandi figure from James)

Shockingly, the contents were not completely lost!  I immediately put them on/in my face.

Thank you for the sugar scrub and panforte, Erl.  I had a hard time knowing which to eat and with which to scrub.

Also, thanks to Jimmy for the most wonderful Christmas presents of all.  First, Snapshot Artifact is back up and running.  Next, he photodocumented the gift of fellowship that I shared with Kevin and Diana, Art, Barbara, Tille and Isaac, Peter, Henry, and Mark.  And, he gave me that new icon on the upper right of the page.

AND, if that's not enough to make you think I had the best Christmas haul ever, also thanks to mom and dad for the great new dutch oven.  It's at the office until after the move (and until I actually have an oven again) and then, people, there will be chicken and dumplings.  So, really, invited dinner guests, you should be thanking my mom and dad as well.


Monday, December 26, 2011

Amber & Christmas Booty Part I

Yes, the holidays are about much more than presents. But also? They are about presents.  And let me tell you, dear reader, I scored big time this year.  I hereby present somehighlights of my Christmas Booty 2011.

Remember when my kitchen fell apart and my kitty teapot (itself a gift!) was shattered?  Thank you, sister dear and her beau, for giving me the gift of tea once more.  Not only can I cook water...

...but I can also brew it into delicious beverages in the style of my favorite animal characters...

...and then, thanks to Auntie Carol, drink tea in comfort in my brand new pajamas apparently made from angel's eyelashes (they are that soft, people).

Wait, what's that clinking on the side of my tea cup?  Oh!  It's just the lovely charm bracelet my sister gave me.

I must remember to write her a thank you note using the fountain pen from professional colleague HM.

But, I'll have to be careful not to get chocolate on the card since I am busy stuffing my mouth with the amazing chocolates from thoughtful Alison.

What a bounteous season indeed.  And, wait!  There's more.  (Tomorrow.)

Friday, December 23, 2011

Amber & Coming and Going

So, yesterday, I saved Ginger's life (and didn't even need a Safe Baby Apron).  I was about to drain the pasta, and Gigi was being a spazz and got underfoot.  The ganglia in my shoulders decided that, rather than let go of the pot and let the boiling water scald the cat--which would be really, really bad--it was better to pull the pot in and hug it to my chest.  Boiling water and tiny elbow pasta (tomanoocheese) splashed all over me and I got a nasty burn which has, today, settled into this nastiness.

My belly button is included for scale.  It's definitely smaller now.  All that is left are the actual blisters--yesterday the whole area was about 4" x 4".

Two things:

1.  Had I not burned myself, Ginger really would have been scalded--and that would have been horrible.  Yes, it hurts, and showering is no longer my fave, but it really is a better option for me to deal with this than have a horribly disfigured cat who can't understand his suffering, right?

2.  Amy Bee has pointed out that maybe I should really just stay out of my kitchen.  I would add to that maybe I should just really not make pasta.

What makes this whole thing more complicated?  My shoulder was cupped yesterday.

See that nasty bruise?  It does feel much better, though.

Also, you have no idea how hard it is to photograph your own shoulder.

Thank goodness that my officemate is out today.

All in all, I may look horrible, and it may hurt when I breathe deeply, but the alternatives were much worse.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Amber & Breathlessness

Dear reader, how often does Jean Seberg come up in conversation for you in any given week?

I'm having what might amount to a very atypical week for most people.

First, there was a discussion of my hair with a former office space sharer.  She said she liked my new hairdo and said it seemed very Mia Farrow circa Rosemary's Baby.  I said I was going for more of a Jean Seberg circa Breathless.  She looked confused.  I was also wearing a stripey shirt at the time.

Le sigh.  Over $80,000 on my cinema education and so few get my really mundane references.

Then, I was discussing whether or not Christopher Walken was going to wind up going to prison, my co-ponder said, "Well, they never figured out what happened with Jean Seberg either."  I then (incorrectly) postulated that her husband had been accused but then killed himself.

Finally, my annual hand-made Christmas card from my friend the famous poet arrived and lo!  It features an image of Jean Seberg working a mighty fine Tuesday Weld winter princess look.

The text?

"FYI- the Seberge image is because-- I am writing a book-length work on Seberg-- "
Coincidence?  Or not?

Friday, December 2, 2011

Amber & Religion

The heat in my building comes on at certain times, unrelated to the temperature inside. 10 am is one such time, and the hissing and water hammer call the boys forward to worship at the radiator altar. Cats, after all, are desert creatures.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Amber & Then I Starved To Death

What happened, Fresh Direct?

Did you stop loving it when Ginger rubbed his face on your pants?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Amber & A Nice Thing To Do

Friends, this is a nice thing to do.

My officemate and I did it last year, and this year we are going to invite the other folks in our cooperative office space to participate.  And, I'm encouraging you, dear readers, to take part as well.  You come, too?

You can even pass your gifts to me and Kevin and I will deliver them to the CFTH folks.

It's a really nice thing.  And there are so many options you don't even ever have to go to Claire's accessories.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Amber & Tiggy Pooja

If ever there was a day to take the time out of the chaos that has been life of late, it is today.  For today is Tiggy Pooja: the day we honor and celebrate the Majestic Daintiness of Miss Tiggy Winkle Feline.

We began the day with the ritual of Five Head Kisses, followed my Chest Rubs and Intense Ear Bud Massage.  These activities remind us to be thankful for Tiggy's fur which keeps her warm and keeps those tape lint roller manufacturers in business.

Then, we celebrated with the Offering of Gifts.  We tried to select gifts which would meet Tiggy's needs as outlined by the SmartyKat toy people on the back of the package that the bouncey mouse offering came in.

Although Tiggy definitely got her full of Treat Emotion, Her Mighty Softness decided that her physical Rest Need was best met by laying on the plastic bag that her gifts came in, rather than the nice new environment we bought.

Thus, Tiggy reminds us that life is unpredictable and that even though we don't always lay on the soft purr pads we intend, we can be happy elsewhere. Especially in Stuy Town on a cat tree near a window looking at black squirrels.

Thank you, Tiggy Winkle for sharing your lessons, fur, softness, and incredible sweethood with us on your special day.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Amber & Alternative Medicine for Alternative Patients

Woody had a rough couple of weeks. I came back from my trip west to find him well-taken care of and in good shape. But two days later, his breathing started to get rough and noisy and we had to start another course of steroids. The steroids seemed to help a wee bit, but, until this weekend, the boy was still having several coughing attacks each day.

So, we decided to try acupuncture. After all, it's worked for me and my various ailments. And there's a whole organization that supports the use of the poking cure in animals.  And, it's not cheap, but neither are emergency visits to the regular vet. If we could avoid one of those, it would pay for several acupuncture treatments. So, we interviewed a few folks and eventually found one who seemed to understand the goals: stabilizing his health so he was comfortable and managing for longer-term care. No miracles. Just Happy Woody.

Here is Woody BEFORE acupuncture.

Alert,  eating well and generally happy but with rattly breath sounds. Also, sporting giant rabbit feet.

AFTER (the video itself is not upside down).

He was very good during the needling. He did try to get up a couple of times, but when I would sort of add a bit of pressure on him, he sort of resign himself to it and close his eyes.  Afterward, he took really long sink hands (the titular water delivery devices got all wrinkly) and then ate a giant lunch.  And he has been sleeping ever since with deep, clear, and somewhat rapid breaths.

Interesting to note there was no variance in how absolutely adorable he was BEFORE vs. AFTER.

I luff him.

Amber & Accomplishments

Is it telling that the thing I am most excited about this week is earning Gold Status in my coffee rewards? I have no real idea what that means, but it's good to feel like you're in control of something... unlike, say, the structural integrity of your apartment or whether the price of a new apartment is $600 more than the ad said or your cat's chronic obstructive lung condition ir the weird pain in your hip. I wish buying coffee solved those other issues.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Amber & And Then There Were Bialys

Remember how reality in my kitchen started to crumble, starting with the cabinet that nearly fell on me but for the cheese-getting?

Today, there were the best bialys in New York as part of my CSA bread share.

Some days are better than others.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Amber & Espanish Cinema

James translates this film poster for us: "Senor Puss in boots loves tofu." Exactly, James.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Amber & The Journey Begins

Although I am looking forward to Face Time with my professional colleagues and Fellowship with my friends, it would better if I didn't have a ridiculously bad cold and feel like I got hit by bus. In the face. (Because getting hit by a bys in the face makes you feel tired and stuffy and achy?) And it would also be better if my professional colleague and friend had more legroom.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Amber & Happy Birthday, CRD!

Happy Birthday, CRD!

CRD, you were an adorable tiny baby bunting.

Although I am glad when your adult teeth grew in they were less snaggle.

You were a witty lunch partner when we first met.

And now you are the most handsome cloud-painted naked bicyclist ever.

Thanks for being you.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Amber & A Tale of Two Shirts

Thanks, CRD. You make Watching Hulu Programs that much more fun.

The At-Home Viewer Version:

The Television Program Character Version:

And, Programtime:

(There's a joke about how Alex and I have the same glasses in there somewhere.)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Amber & Boundary Issues

Although I mocked Hurricane Irene's immediate effects on my neighborhood, she actually did leave some damage in her wake which I discovered the following week during a heavy downpour.  And then, I get to rediscover her wrath when I come home after a rainy day like today.

My air conditioner mysterious became a running faucet during moderate to heavy rain storms.  That is, there is one spot where water actually runs (it does not merely drip) out of it, onto the window sill, onto the floor.  (My dad's theory is that it got jostled in the storm so that the front is lower than the back.  Damn you, mayor Bloomberg for not warning me about the consequences of leaving it in.)  The rain water river then makes a b-line for any power strips or computer equipment it can saturate. The floor today was slightly more lake-like than river-esque, probably because by the time I got home it had stopped raining.

Photographing flooding on your floor with an iPhone is really challenging, mostly because it just looks like the floor is shiny (vs. wet) and also because it's hard to avoid getting giant Pickles fur-bunnies in the shot and thereby revealing you haven't vacuumed this week.  But here is an overhead shot that my friends at NASA took with their satellite that can see through ceilings.

Pickles fur shows up as brown on satellite photography and faux hardwood floors look green.

Additionally, there is a menacing hole in paint and wet mark in the bedroom ceiling that leaks water right on top of the armoir (next to where my wireless router lives!).

And, there is an area of the bedroom wall that "sweats" as rain sinks through the bricks outside and saturates the plaster.

Anyhow, I am done mopping up today's wetness and will wash the 12 towels I used tomorrow in case it rains again over the weekend (and this time, maybe I will just leave the towels down?).  And, someday, maybe, I will be strong enough to fix the AC or my super will really come and do something about the holes.  Or, I will move.

Or, I'll continue to use tons of towels and have a bit too much of the outside coming in every now and then?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Amber & Go Aprons

During Hurricane Irene, I was introduced to the term "go bag."  Although the name is all modern and squared puffy NYC letters, the concept is, of course, not new to me.  I have long thought about what I would put in my Cloverfield Monster Escape Sack.  And the answer is, and has always been: kitties.

But having four kitties presents HUGE problems.  How do I get all four kitties out of the apartment in case of alien just-hatched JJ Abrams baby monster thing?  Or in the less likely event of fire?

That huge problem?  Erl just solved it.  May I present the Safe Babies Apron?

"Oh!  What's that?  The sound of the Cloverfield Monster roaring?  Come on, kitties.  Time to evacuate.  One of you in each pocket."

"Good thing I specially modified the pockets with velcro closures to keep Ginger from jumping out and running up to the monster and rubbing his face on it."  (Zipper would be more secure, but, because I would be clearly in panic mode during use, more prone to ears being zipped in.)

Now, skeptics among you might think the kitties won't like this very much.  I bet they'll like it alot more than getting eaten by some giant thing with emotionless bug eyes.  Or, being thrown into a backpack all together.  Or, being stuffed all four into a Sherpa bag.

"Everybody in your pocket?  Okay, let's get on the bike and head for the GWB because there is no way the monster is coming to Fort Lee, New Jersey.  I mean, maybe Hoboken or Jersey City.  Or up the Hudson, but he won't ever bother with Fort Lee."

Maybe you're just having trouble visualizing it.

There?  See what a good idea this?  I've already emailed for a price inquiry into my desired qty (1).

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Amber & It's 6:45 am: Do You Know Where Your Cats Are?

Ginger is struggling, like his big brother or Fred Astaire have struggled before him,  to remember which is up and and which is down.

Or, he was doing some late night filing for me and then collapsed in front of the cabinet in exhaustion.

Tiggy is, as always, very daintily sitting on the couch, patiently awaiting chest rubs.

(And, yes, that is my basket of winter accessories behind her, waiting to be sorted through before the season begins.  I'm kind of over summer.)

Pickles is passed out in the donut, absolutely too sleepy to even notice me.

Of course, if he wasn't up all night running around like a wild thing he might not be so exhausted.  But then again, maybe cultivating those ridiculous curly fronds of fur between his toes drains all his energy.

And, Woody?  Well, Woody is right near my pillow.

Where else would my best buddy in the entire world be?

Of course, the reason I was wide awake at 6:45 a.m. might also be that my kitty guy was purring loudly (and with his chest woes, trust me: LOUDLY) near my head.  But the sound of his happiness is definitely worth it.  I can't think of a better way to wake up.  Although I can think of a better time.  7:30, for example.

P.S. Yes, my pillow is on the mattress on the floor.  My guy is still having mobility issues, and we both sleep better if he's free but there's nowhere to fall off.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Amber & Up High Time

Woody discovers Ginger's secret stash of catnip toys on top of the dresser. (I helped him up there. And down.) Note: squeelicious pink tongue.

Amber & YouTube Sensations

Intrepid and sometimes-journalist James writes, "I found one of those YouTube sensations all the kids like to Twitter and Facebook about."

So, before it goes viral and everybody else knows, you, dear reader, can get on the breaking edge of this craze.

And two more links here and here for more listening pleasure.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Amber & Watching, Waiting

Last week was very dramatic.  On Monday, Woody fell and seemed to hurt his backside.  We went to the kitty ER late Monday into Tuesday.  On Wednesday, we went to see our regular vet who took x-rays, determined there were no broken bones, and then scheduled us to see an orthopedist on Thursday with the hope that a specialist might be able to determine if there was a ligament broken (again).  The orthopedist could find nothing wrong, was concerned we might be seeing a spinal injury, and referred us to a neurologist... in Yonkers.

So, off we went to Yonkers.  None of us were very excited about it.

But, once there, my buddy barely even limped.  In fact, he jumped up twice onto the guest chair in the exam room, walked around casually, and showed no sign of diminished reflexes.  Hrm.

The neurologist felt that the problem was "not that serious" since Woody was, apparently, able to mask it so well, although he still stood by the theory it could be a spinal issue like "impingement on the spinal cord."  (Which sounds serious to me, dear readers.)  So, we were sent home to monitor the boy and look for progress in any direction.

Mostly, the progress we have seen seems to be in the direction of napping, sometimes with brothers...

...sometimes with brothers and a blow-dryer on an ergonomic pillow I bought for myself (but cannot figure out--who sleeps in one position all night?)....

So, the boy seems sort of up and down.  He can seem fine walking from room to room, but then you notice his tail is always curling to one side of his body.  Or, he will fall trying to jump up onto the window sill near the stove to steal eggs from the fry pan and then be very limpy for a short time.  It seems like just the one leg to me, but then sometimes it seems like the hip?  It's all very confusing.

But, he seems happy.  He can get around, beg for people food, snuggle me at night (with the mattress on the floor), and even scratch his left ear with his bad leg.  Really, he seems like regular old Woody.  Just a little limpier?  So maybe just regular but extra-old Woody?

Do you think Hercule Poirot does veterinary house calls?

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Amber & Three Things I Love

1.  Supremo Magic Move Hard.

Because it works exactly as the on-product copy promises.

Magic Move is the most appropriate hair cosmetics for hair that is damaged by chemical treatments and/or environmental pollution. It adds body to hair with an action of thready organic fibers like a net, and finishes hair in sleek feeling. It does not harden hair excessively, just adds flowing moves to hair, and allows you to change your hair style repeatedly in the same day. You may hold a formed hair style for many hours, as it may not be influenced by temperature nor by humidity. It highlights colored hair well, and can be easily washed off with shampooing.

I love an action of thready organic fibers like a net, changing my hair style repeatedly in the same day, and product that washes off.

2.  Dr. Hammer (seen here with Dr. Manning):

If only for being the messenger that Woody has no broken bones (which would be the worst) and for helping us schedule the orthopedic specialist to help pin down what he does have.  Normally, they'd do an MRI to identify a ligament tear, but the buddy can't be sedated due to health issues so we need specialist eyeballs and fingers to investigate and make recommendations.

3.  Woody.

For being a patient patient, taking sink hands even while downtrodden, and for trusting me enough to semi-nap on my lap even after I lock him in cages, force pills down his throat, and drag him around on the subway and in cabs.  I love him, now more than ever.

And he doesn't mind laying too close to my stinky shoes.  Bless him.