Sunday, November 28, 2010

In Which Stinkerbelle Is a Star

Stinkerbelle and I decided to do an impromptu visit to our local hospital, where we are volunteers with the Pet Therapy Program. We were walking past the cafeteria, which has a big monitor screen hanging on the wall, when who should flash onto the screen but Stinkerbelle herself! Yes, a photo from the kids' safety fair this year was part of the rotating display of photographs of staff and volunteers. May I shyly add that Stinkerbelle is the only Pet Therapy volunteer in the rotation? Why not, she's gorgeous! And she's a star! I only wish I had my real camera with me to get a good photo of her.

Yes, you may have her pawtograph.

In Which We Give Thanks, And...


Despite Mother of Mossy  being hit with a nasty case of bronchitis the day before Thanksgiving, Friend of Mossy, a.k.a. M,  bravely decided to come to Thanksgiving dinner anyway. She asked what to bring, so I suggested mashed potatoes. Which she brought, along with carrots, sweet potatoes, orange and cranberry relish, mushroom and onion gravy, and baked apples for dessert! As MoM was not eating, that meant the counters were groaning with more food than two middle aged ladies could eat. But M did her best, going back for turkey and sides 3 times. There's nothing a cook likes more than seeing someone really enjoy what you made. So come join us for Thanksgiving leftovers, there's plenty to share. With peach pie for dessert.

Don't worry-the canine members of the Nest did not go hungry. They had special cookies I made them for Mr. Big's 11th birthday, yogurt and salmon cookies that stank up my whole house while baking. But they seem to be delicious as the dogs are crazy for them

Yup, everyone in the Nest was stuffed in a very good way. And I was happy to have two people to celebrate my very favorite holiday with, and they are two of my most favorite people in the world.

And MoM is starting to feel better and is eating leftovers, which in some cases are better than when fresh out of the oven.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

In Which We Search for a Coffee Pot

Not just any coffee pot, mind you, but the coffee maker MoM leaves here in my house.

Regular Gentle Readers will know, from my sister blog, Tea in the Parlor, that we do not drink coffee here in the Nest. We are tea drinkers, civilized, middle aged, tea drinkers, sipping the heavenly brew from dainty tea cups or big, strong mugs. MoM's coffee maker is stored carefully away for use only when she visits.

It worked fine Tuesday night, and Wednesday, and Thursday, but sometime on Friday, it broke. So Mother of Mossy decided to make do Friday night and Saturday morning by using the coffee filters in her cup to steep her coffee, much like my tea steeps in a cup. But big old coffee filters are not exactly engineered for squishing into coffee cups. Do you see where I'm going here? Yup, coffee ground explosion all over the floor, counter, stove, and everywhere when MoM tried to carry said filter to trash can.

Saturday dawned bright and clear, a perfect day to go hunting for the elusive coffee pot of MoM's preference. You see, Gentle Reader, she didn't want any old coffee maker--she wanted that exact same coffee maker. Store #1 did not carry it. We tried Store #2; same. Ditto for Store #3. And #4, #5, and yes, #6. That's right, the evil MoM made your poor Nest Dweller, who'd walked 8 miles for her marathon training that morning, drive hither and yon all over the Pueblo looking for that stinking coffee maker. Because someone might carry it. Just because all the major stores do not doesn't mean they no longer make, oh no. It's like Shangri La, just around the corner. After getting a bit cranky (I admit it), she agreed that yes, it is possible to brew just one cup of coffee in a 4-cup coffee maker. One is not bound by immuntable laws of physics to always make 4 cups of coffee at a time.

And so we wound up with a $15 coffee maker we could have bought at Store #1. Or Store #2, or Store #...

She had the temerity to complain to me that she was so tired this morning  because she couldn't sleep and it was my fault, because I make her walk everywhere instead of dropping her off in front of the store and holding traffic up and inconveniencing rows of cars behind me because she doesn't hop out of the car, she needs to gently slide out slowly or she'll tweak her back and be unable to move, so really, it's better to park and 'make' her walk. I replied (this was before I had my tea, so that's my only excuse) that it was walking through 6 gigantic stores in search of her coffee maker that made her tired. "What? Only two!" she protested. "What? Try six!" I shot back, and then proceeded to name them. "Ooohhh....." with big MoM eyes widened. Harumph.

Tea is so much easier. Tea bag, mug, hot water. You can even make it in a microwave under dire conditions of extreme deprivation. No mess, no bother, caffeine. Perfect.

Friday, November 19, 2010

In Which MoM Arrives

Mother of Mossy, a.k.a. MoM, arrived for the holidays Tuesday night. The Amtrak train was--are you sitting, Gentle Reader?--early. Early!  Not on time, which it has never been the 22 years I've lived here, but early, forty minutes early, in fact. I'm still gobsmacked over the whole early thing, three days later. It's a good thing I'm sitting.

The Hotel across the street from the train depot has a hip and trendy club in it, and the swinging twenty-somethings were all playing some kind of trivia game with a real emcee from the club. Mr. Big and I (Mr. Big always comes to the train station with me; he likes an outing) stood on the sidewalk opposite, playing along in my little head. I guess it's not fair for an over-educated, middle-aged woman who likes to read to play these kinds of games, even in her mind, against a patio of somewhat tipsy college students because there was only one possible outcome: there was only one question I didn't know. There were lots of long, silent gaps as the emcee waited for someone to answer the trivia question, and I'd be silently saying the answer over and over, hoping someone would pull that answer out of the ether, and then he'd finally move on. Not that my fellow citizens are dumb, mind you, but 10 o'clock on a Tuesday evening may not bring out the smart drinkers and clubbers, especially when many college papers are due this week before the Thanksgiving break. (I hope that sentence magically and psychically flits it way across cyberspace into the heads of my A 4XX students--disguised to protect the innocent--, whose paper is due next week, the night before Thanksgiving. Harsh, you say? Oh, but Gentle Reader, I cancelled class that night so no one has to hang around for an evening class the night before Thanksgiving. I'm not a completely heartless professor. Only partially heartless.)

After spending weeks last year telling me that the Honda Element was ugly, MoM told me how wonderful it was halfway through the ten minute ride to my home. Shades of her first Georgie impression, also at long distance and also without actually having seen him, who she thought was the ugliest cat and "why would I adopt him, he's ugly." Until he spent 3 months with her cat, Bo, while I was out of the country and he and Bo had a grand old time chasing each other around her house, hiding behind furniture and then jumping out to pounce on each other, followed by Georgie snuggling into her lap for a nap, and then her tune changed to  "You know, George and Bo get along so well, you should just leave him here when you go back to graduate school. He's so handsome and sweet and loving." Like MoM, I appear to be always right, so I'm not sure why she doesn't believe me in the first place when I tell her something. (insert cheesy snarky wink here, Reader)  Really, world, I would be a kind and benevolent despot who was always right. Just give in.

Ugly, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.

Monday, November 15, 2010

In Which Mr. Big Turns 11

It's Mr. Big's 11th birthday! Well, sometime in November is his birthday, so I picked the 15th. This is him ten days ago. [The red patch on his paw is where he must have had a little piece of foxtail this summer. When he started licking it months ago, I looked but found nothing, but, you know, once he starts licking something, he never gives it up.]

He's my big, sweet lug. He'll be getting yogurt and salmon homemade treats for his birthday.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

In Which We Visit the Marathon Route

J has just been itching to walk the marathon route, but our training walks weren't really long enough to justify the trip up there (over 68 miles round trip). Saturday's training walk was 11 miles, so we decided it was a good weekend to walk the first half of the route as a loop. Unfortunately, J read the schematic of the route backwards and didn't understand what I was saying when I was trying to explain where she was wrong, so she parked at the uphill end of the route. Which, of course, meant that the first 5.5 miles was downhill, and the second half uphill. My hips began to hurt quite bad at 9 miles, so I can't even imagine what pain they would have been in had we not trained the first month 4-5 miles up and then down the Canyon.

The good news is that the entire 11 miles, half uphill, with a 10-minute break, was done in 3 and 1/4 hours. I think we're in good shape to do the entire 13 miles, all downhill, somewhere around my goal of 3 and a half hours. Yea! And it'll be so stinking cold at 7 a.m. (shuttle buses from the parking area to the course are 5:00-5:30 a.m.!) on Marathon Day, when the walkers start, that we'll be walking the first mile pretty briskly just to thaw our frozen limbs. It was 41 degrees Farenheit this morning at 7:00 a.m. here in town, and the route is about 1,000 ft higher than my house, and out in the desert, surrounded by state trust land, so no city to block desert winds. It's going to be cold that day.

Note to self: pack a Tylenol for Marathon Day, just in case.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

In Which Poet Meets Adorable Boy Is On NPR

We have an NPR reporter who lives here in the OP, and NPR (National Public Radio) ran his story yesterday about Billy Collins and the poet-reciting toddler. It's not often the Old Pueblo makes national news for something heartwarming and nice. Enjoy.

Monday, November 8, 2010

In Which We Do Culture

Billy Collins, former Poet Laureate of the United States, stand up comic.

That's what I thought to myself 30 seconds into Mr. Collins first speech yesterday afternoon, when the Ladies Who Do Culture (the Lady Scientists) and I attended the Poetry Center's presentation of Billy Collins and Friends at the university. I have heard him interviewed several times on the radio, so I knew that I would enjoy the program. I had no idea how funny he really was, with the self-deprecating humor that real geniuses have. Together with his enthusiasm for his poetry, and listening to him read his own words, it was an amazing afternoon. Dave Fitzsimmons, local political cartoonist, followed Mr. Collins and was introduced by him, and when Mr. Ftizsimmons got to the lectern, he squeaked in a very excited voice "Billy Collins said my name!!" That's how excited everyone in the audience was. It was great seeing lots of college students and a fair number of the under twelve set there.

The high point, in some ways completely illustrating what I felt was the genuine humility and sense of humor Billy Collins possesses, began his second sojourn at the lectern, when he read his own poetry. He said he was going to let a friend of his read the poem, as he had it memorized, and as it was a poem without rhyme or meter to make it easy, that made it some feat, and he said his friend read it better than him. Then he turned and started the following video of "Litany."

Turns out they are local, and he's now 4 years old, and at the end of Billy Collins reading, the little boy came on stage. At first Mr. Collins couldn't see him, but when he did, he ran over, grabbed his hand and led him to the center of the stage and tried to get him to bow. Then poet and boy walked back to Mr. Collins' seat and sat through the final speech and poem by the director of the Poetry Center.

Billy Collins recited his hilarious poem, written from the dog's perspective, that begins after the dog has been put to sleep with the admission by the dog that he always hated his owner, his owner never scratched him in the right place, etc.; very funny, and several selections from his next book due out in the spring.

Another confirmation that true genius is humble, intensely interested in its own art or science but appreciative of others, and able to laugh at his or herself with an appropriate understanding of reality and importance of the grand scheme of things.

And note the bird and nest motif on the program. Perfect for the Mossy Nest.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

In Which Autumn Sunsets Are Spectacular

Within minutes this deepened to a blood red orange, as if the horizon were on fire.