Sunday, January 28, 2007

Love for sale

Standing in the checkout line of a local grocery store, bored, I decide to read the back of the packet of cat treats I'm buying (product name deleted so I don't get sued):

A [product name] treat is special the moment you give it, and even more so the moment after. Because that's the moment, in the wake of that deliciously satisfying taste, when your cat shows how much she loves you--with purrs and smiles just for you. And if you don't have that loving moment often're not giving your cat enough [product name] treats.

Interesting. I thought a pet's love was unconditional. Silly me.

And how did they know my cat was a she?

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Words & language

I was trawling the Internet over my lunch break and ran across this. I'm very proud to say I already knew aglet, harp, minimus, nef, peen, rowel, and hemidemisemiquaver.

Does anyone else out there think that Jarns, Nittles, Grawlix, and Quimp sounds like a law firm?

While I'm thinking about it, Matt over at Defective Yeti has started something he's calling the Cliché Rotation Project that sounds like fun. I've been browsing the clichés at the places he suggested we look first, and at the moment I can't come up with any good replacements.

So this is what today is going to be like, huh?

I'm working on a project that involves cataloging microfilm versions of underground newspapers. Been working on it since May. I'm in the T's now. I just ran across a title from Berkeley, CA called Trashman, and for reasons that elude me this popped into my head and won't leave:

"NanaNanaNanaNanaNanaNanaNanaNana Trashman!" (a la the Batman theme song)


Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Happy birthday, li'l blog...

Wow. A whole year blogging. Frankly, I didn't think I'd make it past a few months.

(update 12/10/07: There used to be a .gif of a cake here, but the link broke. Next year I'll buy a cupcake and some candles and make my own picture. --V)

Monday, January 22, 2007


A friend of mine died over the weekend. She'd been battling breast cancer for quite some time. She was in remission when we met, but the cancer came back about ten years ago. She's been fighting ever since.

Mary was an amazing woman -- interested in everything, loved the arts, loved nature. She used to travel a lot, back when she was healthier. She was always trying to do new things. I think it was that interest in everything that kept her alive so long, even when she was so horribly sick -- she wasn't done looking around yet.

I've found myself trying to be more like her in recent years. I don't think I ever told her that. No, I'm sure I haven't, because I don't think I even realized that's what I was doing until I typed it a moment ago. The cynic in me tends to roll her eyes skyward when anyone talks about someone being "inspiring," but really I guess that's what she was. The determination with which she held onto life, the way she refused to allow illness to get in the way of her enjoyment of things, the enthusiasm with which she embraced a new idea or activity -- I want to be like that. She's part of the reason I took a drawing course a few years back (just to see if I could draw), and there's a little bit of be-like-Mary in my decisions to blog, to bellydance, to get out there and do something instead of hanging back and dithering. She used to ask for dancing updates. And demand demonstrations. When I visited her in the hospital last week, I mentioned I'd enrolled in an intro to wheel-thrown pottery class that starts the end of this month. That made her perk up a bit (she was a potter, among other things). We made jokes about dancing and throwing at the same time: the wheel going one way and my hips going the other.

She became a potter after her cancer went into remission the first time, back in the 80s (I think). Long before I met her, she'd switched from making regular-sized pottery to miniatures. I have some pictures of her work on my Flick'r account.

I think that Mary wrote her own obituary. It sounds like her voice. I'm not sure how long it will stay up on the newspaper's site, so I'm saving a copy of it on my computer. If the link breaks, I'll work something else out.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Is it 2007 already?

Yawn, stretch, scratch, scratch, scratch.

I feel like a bear that's come out of hibernation. Kinda disappeared there for a while over the holidays, didn't I? It's not like I had anything better to do, either. I just hung around town most of the time, doing next to nothing.

I did go to my sister's for Christmas though. Enjoyed that. There were seven of us -- me, my parents, Ditter, Ditter's hubby, and Ditter's in-laws (called hereafter Mr. and Mrs. S). I think I mentioned before that she and her husband bought a house with his parents, didn't I? It all seems to be going well, except that the cats don't get along. Hops is very territorial, always has been. Schotzi tends to stay in Mr. & Mrs. S's bedroom most of the time.

The living room looked like some sort of monument to excess. There were presents everywhere. Here, let me show you:

We ran out of room under the tree and started to build outward. There are more added after this picture was taken. Mr. S said it looked like a department store display.

Christmas itself is a blur. Only a few things stand out:

1) Double warning -- Handwritten in large letters on the hot drinks vending machine of the Greyhound bus terminal:

Caution! Very hot liquid!

And under this, very small, in different handwriting:

When it gives you anything at all!

2) Good night kisses -- I slept in the downstairs guest room. The door to my room stayed open all night, as it had the cats' litter box and food dishes in it. Daisy (my sister's yellow lab) does a bed-check at some time every night (no one else knew this until I told them. Probably because all their doors are shut). She took the opportunity of an open door to come and give my face a quick wash. By the third night the kisses didn't completely wake me -- I incorporated them into my dream.

3) Christmas dinner -- My brother-in-law had done a turkey last year, and though we all liked it, he was a little disappointed. He'd used some recipe from the food network and thought it would taste different. So this year he decided to do prime rib. Very tasty, and very large. It looked like a quarter of a cow, and he hadn't used the whole standing rib roast. I remember him asking my sister whether she wanted him to make steaks out what he wasn't going to use that night, or whether to just leave it as a roast.

4) First Night prep -- fast forward about a week. Home again, home again, jiggity-jig. They'd fenced off a block downtown in preparation for some alcohol-free, family-oriented New Year's Eve festivities called "First Night." A large part of the event has to do with ice sculptures. The ice was brought in a few days in advance, wrapped in silver thermal blankets to keep it cold. New Year's Eve Day, the sculptors start carving. I have a few pictures over at Flickr, if you'd like to see them. I didn't make it to the actual event. I don't think the buses run that late, and besides, I'm usually yawning by 11:30.

The rest of the two weeks went something like this: sleep late, play on the computer, watch TV and knit, go out for a walk, maybe go downtown for a little bit, read, watch TV with cat in lap, go to bed. One day I skipped the walk/downtown part, and just hung around the apartment all day in my PJs. Aaaah. Sloth. I enjoy a little of that every once in a while.

I'm going to have to start using the alarm clock again, starting tonight. I go back to work on Monday, and I should probably get back into the habit of getting up at the crack of dawn.

Hope your holiday was a good one. Happy New Year all!