April 1st, 2011


(no subject)

Hot hot hot weather today. I almost melted. But at least I was able to wear flip-flops and enjoy the sight of my chartreuse toenails all day.

Poor kitty cat. Shannon and I made our first stab (no pun intended) at giving Cobweb her subcutaneous fluids today, and we didn't figure it out immediately. Apparently, I am "scruff impaired" (Shannon's words), and so I wasn't able to hold Cobweb securely in place. She kept launching herself in bizarre gyrations and escaping, sending huge tufts of fur flying in all directions. Seriously, there was like a whole cat's worth of fur on the floor when we were done, and Cobweb had a big bald patch on her neck. Like I said, poor kitty cat! I felt like a very bad cat mom.

In the end, Shannon took over the restraint job, and I took over the needle, and suddenly everything went smooth as silk. Well, except for the fact that cats don't like to be forcibly restrained for 10-15 minutes, no matter what the reason, and the giant needle hanging out of her back probably didn't help. So she started freaking out (her eyes were rolling around like a rabid animal's, but she was not frothing at the mouth) and struggling a lot, and Shannon was having some trouble keeping hold of her, but finally the requisite amount of fluid had made its drippy journey into her little furry (well, less furry than before, sadly) body, and we let her go. Being the sweet kitty that she is, she just hung out with us and cuddled in Shannon's lap and didn't run away. I think tomorrow the whole procedure will be much easier. And I hope that Cobweb will not lose any more fur. Poor baby with the traumatically-acquired bald spot!

Tonight was Shannon's weekly board game night here in our dining room, and I totally forgot that he had told me days and days ago that dougo was going to be here, visiting from Massachusetts. Shannon and I both know him from back in the early '90's, when I was dating our mutual friend Donald and didn't actually live up here yet. As they were all still students at Cal, Dougo, Shannon, and Donald were all active in the CSUA (Computer Science Undergrad Association), and the group tended to get together and play contract bridge, go out to dinner, and do random other stuff. (If you have some strange desire to know more about the CSUA during that period, you can read The CSUA Encyclopedia, which Shannon wrote about a million years ago. It consists primarily of inside jokes and computer programming geekery, however, and so probably wouldn't make much sense.) I always just tagged along and didn't fit in -- I tend to be shy in groups of people who all know each other well -- but Dougo was always really nice to me and talked to me, asked me about myself, and just generally made me feel like a part of the group. I always really liked him for that. So he's in town visiting, and I totally planned to chat with him while he was here, but then I forgot that tonight was the night he was here, so I just hung out upstairs like I usually do on Thursday nights, doing my solitary thing, and when everyone left Shannon came upstairs and said, "Dougo said hi." Doh! So this old friend was here in my house for hours, and I never even came down to say hello! I felt like a complete idiot ... and also very rude.

Anyway, so I sent him an email, and I suggested that maybe next time he's in town we can all get together for dinner or something, maybe with Donald and his wife. That would rock.

Tomorrow I'm going to lunch with Katherine and Jay to belatedly celebrate the occurrence of birthdays (Katherine and mine) in March. I'm really looking forward to it! We're going to Venus, which is one of my favorite restaurants.

Speaking of restaurants, Shannon initiated a conversation with me today about how we choose the restaurants where we eat every Friday. Shannon has significant dietary limitations (no beef, no dairy if possible, and a preference against Italian, Mexican, Thai, and Chinese) and tends to lean toward fast food (Taco Bell/KFC, McDonald's, Bongo Burger, Oscar's, etc.), which I really don't like very much. But I got discouraged by his frequent refusals to go to the restaurants I suggested, so I pretty much have just been letting him choose for quite some time now. But today Shannon said that he wanted to make it easier for me to choose our restaurants half the time, and we talked about it a bunch, and he said he would even be willing to go once in a while to the places that aren't his preference, as long as there is something for him to eat (i.e., no Friday dinners at The House of Beef and Only Beef), and I'm very excited about the whole thing. I sat down this evening and researched what relatively inexpensive (but interesting) restaurants are in easy walking/biking reach (within maybe 3 miles). So I have this long list of prospective places to go, serving all different kinds of food: Turkish, Peruvian, Israeli, Hawaiian, Vietnamese, vegetarian, organic, crepes, bbq, etc.). For tomorrow night, I have chosen Brazil Cafe, which has always appealed to me, but where I've never gone. So exciting!
reading/writing, books

Books of all kinds

The word "bedridden" has always puzzled me. I mean, doesn't it sound like it should refer to someone who is rid of beds? And yet it means pretty much the opposite. Weird. But apparently it comes from bed + rider ... which makes the whole thing sound much more adventurous than it has usually been in my experience. When I'm bedridden, the last thing I'm wanting to do is any "riding" in bed.

I had lunch with Jay and Katherine and Mimi at Venus today, and I spontaneously ordered the beautiful dish a woman at a neighboring table was eating, which ended up being fabulous: "zesty spiced rubbed local, wild rock cod fillet with brown rice, fennel, arugula, & citrus-avocado salsa." It was one of the best things I've ever eaten!

And Katherine and Jay gave me an e-book reader for my birthday! I've generally been leery of the whole e-book phenomenon, primarily just because I'm a big fan of books as physical objects, works of art, permanent possessions, decorating tools, and real-life companions. I like the smooth feel of the dust cover, the dry smell of the paper, the occasional letterpress book with ink sunk in slight indentations, the occasional random word or sentence scribbled in the margin (either by my younger self or by some previous owner of the book), etc. The idea of reading a book that only exists in the aether is sort of disturbing and disconcerting. And I think I felt some kind of irrational disloyalty to old friends when I even thought about it.

BUT ... I've gotta admit it's convenient. So I figure I'll have some things I read on paper, some things I read as an e-book, and some things I listen to on audio. Things I want to keep forever and reread and reread (Mary Doria Russell, Mark Twain, Louise Erdrich, Robertson Davies, Raymond Chandler, Ray Bradbury, John Crowley, Tom Stoppard, Ursula Hegi, Wallace Stegner, Arundhati Roy, Salman Rushdie, Oscar Wilde, Patricia McKillip, Jane Austen, Jose Saramago, Michael Ondaatje, Thich Nhat Hanh, E.M. Forster, Jasper Fforde, Stieg Larsson, Jonathan Lethem, Susan Minot, Jennifer Johnston, etc., etc., etc.) deserve a place on our physical shelves, where we can always find them, whether electronics break down or companies go out of business or whatever. But convenience can play a role, too.

One cool thing about e-books: You don't have to prop them open. This occasionally bothers me when I'm trying to eat while reading a paper book, because I don't like having one of my hands eternally occupied. What if I want to take a drink with the hand that isn't holding my fork? That pesky book gets in my way!

Another cool thing about e-books: You can carry about a gazillion of them on one small, lightweight device. (This will be especially great for traveling.)

Another cool thing about e-books: You can download stuff from relatively distant libraries (such as San Francisco), straight to your reader, without having to travel all over the place on public transit.

Another cool thing about e-books: They fear not the silverfish. And attract not the silverfish, for that matter. (I hate silverfish.)

Katherine and Jay rock. As for Mimi (who is 4), I don't think she participated in the choosing of the gift, but she spent part of the lunch drawing blue circles all over herself with a "semi-permanent" marker from Ikea, and part of the lunch singing "Godzilla" by Blue Oyster Cult (which I had never heard before):

Oh, no, they say he's got to go
Go go Godzilla
Oh, no, there goes Tokyo
Go go Godzilla

But now I'm exhausted, and I'm going to fall unconscious for a while before getting things done this afternoon. Zzzzzz.

(no subject)

Today's cat torture (i.e., giving Cobweb subcutaneous fluids) went surprisingly well. Aside from one rather distressing yelp when the needle was first inserted (which I did not take personally, since she made a similar noise when the vet tech did it, too), she mostly just sat there until we were done. Whether it's the subq fluids, the shot of antibiotics, or some combination thereof, Cobweb is definitely behaving more like herself. She seems alert and has been roaming the house more normally; she's been much more social (with us and with the other cats); and she seems more interested in food. It's a relief! And it's easier to do mean things to her (e.g., pilling, subq fluids, etc.) when we see such obvious results. So that is great!

Shannon and I went to the Brazil Cafe (in downtown Berkeley) for dinner tonight, and we both liked it quite a bit. Their menu has a definite emphasis on meat (esp. beef, but also chicken and tuna), but I appreciated the fact that they also serve wheat bread and a number of acceptably fresh (though common) vegetables. Also, the little restaurant (in which one orders at the counter) is charmingly decorated in bright colors and Brazilian cultural themes, with folksy hand-painted tables and not-too-loud Brazilian music. And the menu includes an interesting variety of stuff, and all of it fairly cheap.

I had their tri-tip sandwich, which everyone on Yelp seemed to recommend when reviewing the restaurant, and it was very tasty. As some had warned, it was a bit salty, but I didn't mind it at all. Shannon got a turkey and avocado "panini," which he said was delicious. I was only able to eat half of my gigantic sandwich, so it will feed me another time tomorrow or Sunday. Shannon and I definitely plan to go there again, and next time I plan to order the sandwich I really wanted today but didn't order because I'm still experiencing some congestion issues: the tri-tip sandwich with cheese and pineapple. It sounds bizarre! But I like bizarre sometimes. I'm quite fond of creative food combinations.

Other than that, I mostly slept today. I just couldn't stay awake! I tried to read, tried to find cool e-books online, tried to work on my current art project, and just kept falling asleep. This is ridiculous.