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.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Amber & My Poor Guy

Last night, Woody jumped, missed the bed and hurt his rear left leg.  You may recall this is the exact same leg that he hurt when he jumped on the wet sink edge.

With the help of some good phone advice from Dr. Manning who was on call at our regular Woody vet office, super support from James, in person, and Nick, by phone, and the amazing care of Dr. Dave, the boy is home safe on cage rest for a couple of days to give the injury, if it is just soft tissue (an unlikely but hoped possibility) a chance to improve.

My guy is not so thrilled about being imprisoned.  Clearly, it's much nicer to not be and have your choice of napping spots.  But, it's critical to keep him off the leg as much as possible and to prevent him from running and jumping.  Then, when we go to see Dr. Hammer on Thursday, we'll have to determine if it is a fracture or ligament tear and if it is something that can sort-of heal on its own since the boy can't have surgery due to heart and respiratory issues.

He's been out a couple of times today for supervised laying on the floor and my lap, but most of the day has been in prison.

Poor guy.

I wish this hadn't happened to him.  It's really tough.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Amber & Instead

Instead of cocktails for the next month while I am on antibiotics, I plan to listen to this on repeat.

It seems to have the same effect on me as two stiff martinis.

Amber & The Aftermath

I am fine. I am lucky enough to live in a pocket of New York that was largely unaffected by Hurricane Irene, with the exception of the A train still running locally (although due to "unrelated signal problems").  And there were some downed limbs I encountered on my walk (in my official hurricane maryjanes) yesterday.

Other places got it much much worse.  James, for example, is stranded in Vermont.  The bridge from Vermont to New York is, apparently, completely washed out.

And, apparently, before they lost the bridge, it was raining silver bagpiping medals.  James got pelted with three.

I had bought lots of provisions.  For tortilla chowder.

Thanks, Farmer Ted, for the corn, tomatoes and onions.  And Bread CSA tortillas.  And cerveza.  No wonder we weathered the storm so well.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Amber & Birthday Booty 2011

Birthdays are big days.  And not just because you were born and it makes you take stock of aging.  But also because you get amazing booty.

Like: this awesome novelty shirt (typing baboons!) from Erl.

(I bet they are writing David Mamet plays.)

Or this amazing haul (just for being born!) from Alison.

The best part?  Not the apple-shaped paper clips...

...not the Sleek Friend Kitty note pad...

.,,but the amazing card she found.

How lucky is it that she happened to find a card with our photo in it?  And that we were wearing birthday hats???  Crazy.

So far, best birthday where I turned 40 ever.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Amber & Happy Niceness

Sometimes, when you come back from River House and have a five day long headache that makes you cry and then you drag yourself to the office and start to dig through the piles of mail, you really really appreciate what amazingly thoughtful, generous, and truly special people you have for friends. And you get weepy and thankful.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Amber & Photojournalism AND Art

Since you are a reader of Amber & (or since you Googled looking for information on an oft-featured friend from this blog), it stands to reason that you appreciate solid photojournalistic coverage of the news of today and art.

Therefore, I present unto you my new photogallery that will allow you to check both areas of interests off your daily checklist of areas in which to be interested. The gallery is entitled Mushrooms & Lichens.  (Those are all links to check out the whole presentation.)

To be fair, there are also grasses, assorted mosses and some toes featured in the photo set.  I seek to offer compelling and yet also artistic coverage of what happens when it is super damp outside in the woods.  And, like all good art, it also makes you ask questions.

Like: Why do all the mushrooms look sort of nibbled on?

And, like great journalism, it answers questions you didn't even know you had before you saw the nibbled mushroom.

Answer: Slugs!  But, like great art, some of the questions are unanswered.  Like: Do slugs have psychedelic trips when they eat the mushrooms and see white rabbits with pocket watches?  That is something to ponder.

Also, there is lichen.

Which is our "plant" of the week.  Even though it's actually not a plant at all.  Good journalism makes you seek out more information.  Learning.

Amber & Brown Things

After the biblical rains of the last two days, I am pleased to report that I am still here.  And so is the River, although it is much bigger and browner than heretofore.

The New Jersey island tip, for example, is mostly gone except for some tree tops sticking up out of the water.

It's kind of lovely outside: lots of beautiful lush greens and browns.

Zoom in!  What's that brown stump on Mr. Moon's aunt's lawn?  Why, it's our new friend Mr. Beaver.

The world is a salad for both cats and beavers.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Amber & Noah

Look, Kevin and Diana!  We have a koi pond on our front yard, too!

Q: What are Adventure Cats to do when their territories of exploration are covered in about three inches of water?

a) Nap together on the bed.

b) Nap alone on the bed with your nose tucked under for warmth.

or c) Semi-nap on a chair directly under the tray so as to be at the ready should people food become available.

Amber & Animal Diets

Today, Tiggy ventured out in the drizzle to hunt an earth worm and, later, a stick she thought was an earth worm.  The worm was unscathed, aside from some very tentative non-claw poking.  The stick was also fine.  Worms, apparently, are not part of the Adventure Cat diet.  Grits and pine needles stuck to your saggy underbelly apparently do make a nice meal.

But, Adventure Cats also have to be extremely cautious about presenting themselves as a meal.

Maybe, as a start, laying on the table is a bit too suggestive for our eagle friends passing overhead?

Better to stick to eating greens right outside the house in case a quick retreat is needed.  Or, better, as Ginger the non-Adventure Cat knows, stick to eating greens in the house.

Isn't that Gigi just as fluffy as a bunny?

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Amber & Unlikely Partnerships

You know those sitcoms where two seemingly very different people somehow get teamed up and the relationship magically--or really obviously--works?  Meet the kitty Oscar and Felix seen here exploring the neighbor's house.

Tiggy and Pickles in no way get along in the house.  Pickles chases Tiggy mercilessly and she hisses and swats to defend her right to not be his plaything.  But, when they go outside together, they turn into a cooperative team of Adventure Cats.

Pickles doesn't charge off into the woods, and Tiggy doesn't mew constantly for my approval. They move in a tight group, taking turns taking the lead and sniffing everything in their path.

It's a kind of teamwork of which I wholly approve.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Amber & Goodnight, Boys

Amber & Eggs Made Yesterday and Today by Kirk

This morning, we were treated to a breakfast casserole made by Kirk.

This is a delicious dish of eggs, cream of mushroom soup, sausage, jalapeños, and red pepper and other delicious things.  And cheesey topping on half (and not on half for those with lactose issues).  Close up:

Also, this deliciousness was accompanied by monkey bread.

Close up, with James.

Friendship and food.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Amber & Tray, Friendship Style

Today's tray features new additions include dry sweet sausage, Lebanon, Nick, Erl, Kirk, and James.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Amber & Boys vs. Girls and their Cats

I am not good at bug bites. Last year, even though I used this...

...I wound up taking home this...

...and several more just like it.

So, this year is not going much better in terms of my battle vs. the bugs.

So, tonight, when the gentleman, who seem immune to these insect assaults, are outside having their nightly ice cream soda (tonight's is vanilla ice cream with cream soda using a special technique James discovered where you mix some of the ice cream with the soda in the bottom of the cup to make it extra creamy and blended), I am inside.

Last night I joined them for Mountain Dew Throwback and vanilla ice cream.

And the giant welts on my hands are the price I paid.  Luckily, I have some kitty company.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Amber & Natural Habitats

Spotted: the rare bagpiper James. Not very common in the Pennsylvania Woods.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Amber & Rainy Days and Muppets Always Get Me Happy

What do you do on rainy days at River House?

Watch early Jim Henson commercials.

What better entertainment could there be?

Friday, August 5, 2011

Amber & The Right Thing

Going out to the picnic table and finding James in the hammock reading?


Yes.  Yes, that is right.

His book may have become a reading robot, but there is comfort in the familiarity of the scene.

(August 2004)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Amber & Meanwhile Back in NYC...

Gary, the 2nd Avenue Subway construction worker got famous on the YouTubes.

New York?  I heart you.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Amber & Squeetasticly Sleepy Guys

I know it may be the toxoplasmosis that makes me love him, but oh my goodness do I just love this guy to itty bitty bits of cuteness.

He's so darned sleepy.

Also, I got that blanket off the sharing table.

Amber & Tomato Salad

Today's tray features what I like to call tomato salad.

Ingredients include: smiley face ice cubes (a gift from our weekend visitors to Nick for his birthday), vodka, my own secret blend of hot sauces, Worcestershire sauce, horse radish, olives, marinated mushrooms, tomato in liquid form, lemon, a sour pickle et le jus, cucumber wedges and a celery stir stick.

Once it cools sufficiently, there will also be a curried cous cous salad with zucchini, tofu, basil, lemon juice, onions, celery, cucumbers, roasted red peppers, radishes, raisins and corn.  Maybe I will photograph that.  You know, if I am still able to use my camera.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Amber & Wild Turkey


Amber & Customer Service Letter #895

Dear Drs. Foster and Smith,

I have long been a fan of your product high-quality cat supplies via mail order.  For example, the Cozy Cushion I purchased with a gift certificate in 2004 continues to be the favorite winter resting spot--wherever it gets placed.  It has stood up to numerous barfings and subsequent washings, and I am sure it will continue to comfort my kitty friends for another seven years.

However, recently, I purchased the so-called Happy Habitat.

I was attracted to this item because it was described as "breezy" and "roomy" and promised to "delight [my] cat with fresh air and outdoor sights." I felt this would be ideal for my kitty, Ginger, who switches into full on Running Mode at top speed in the Away Direction whenever he is let outside.  I thought this product would enable Ginger to share outdoor time with his more obedient and less escapey siblings.

But, Ginger's painfully scabby nose tells a different story.

We first tested older, calmer Woody in the tent, and he began to pace back and forth like a caged lion.  We figured this was because he is more experienced at being outside at River House and was not willing to give up his freedom for our experiment.  But, when Ginger was placed in, he began to pace, too.  But he paced at absolute top speed, back and forth, slamming face first into the mesh, scraping the skin off his nose and making pained mournful howls.  Happy Habitat?  More like Tent of Horrors.

Therefore, I think it is only reasonable to request that you allow me to return the tent for a full refund, Ginger skin smoosh in the mesh and all.  I expect better quality, namely products that do not hurt my cats or do the exact opposite of what they are advertised to do.  I wish to continue to be a customer of Drs. Foster and Smith for many years, but this experience has made me wary of anything you sell with the word "happy" in the title.

Sincerely yours,

Amber & Mayonnaise But No Salmon

Today's tray is mostly leftovers from the weekend.

Cucumbers, marinated mushrooms, red peppers, artichoke hearts, assorted crackers, chevre from the patisserie, meats, fresh basil and red onion slices, olives both cracked and stuffed, cheese cubes, Blue Moon with orange slices, and oh!  What is that yellow stuff in the dish?  Why that is homemade garlic mayonnaise that Nick made last night to eat on grilled corn.  What?  You don't have homemade mayonnaise on your tray?

You really, really should.