2008-01-31

odd morning...

well, while Trina and I were in the bathroom getting ready this morning, our cat Piccoli (pictured below) came in to go to the bathroom, got in the litterbox, and started making this horrible moaning sound, then just came flying out of the litterbox hissing and growling, but hadn't actually gone to the bathroom.



we were naturally worried, we thought maybe she was constipated or maybe she had eaten something that she's not supposed to eat and it was passing painfully or obstructing something, so I wrote in to work and told them I'd be late and called the vet and made an appointment for 10am, which was the earliest they had.

I used the intermediate time to practice cello a bit, as Piccoli was acting pretty normally, and being especially pesky (since I hadn't fed the cats yet, as I wanted to wait until she came back from the vet to feed her) - so finally the time came to get ready, and I (with considerable difficulty) got Piccoli into the cat carrier, and walked over to the vet (they are just a few blocks away). Piccoli was pretty scared, especially when I got out by the main road, but she calmed down a lot once we got in the vet building (which is just a little old house, that they've remodeled the inside to have exam rooms and such).

We waited for a few minutes, and then they called us into an exam room. We (again with considerable difficulty) got her out of the cat carrier and onto the table. The assistant took her temperature, asked a few questions about her behavior and symptoms, and then left, saying the doctor would be right in.

After a bit of petting Piccoli and trying to keep her from burrowing into my armpit, the doctor came in. She looked at Piccoli's eyes and ears and mouth, felt around her abdomen, looked at her butt, etc. She said she could feel a little bit of dry fecal matter, but not much. Her temperature was normal, and she looked well-hydrated, so just as a last check, they wanted to check her glands on either side of her anus and try to get a stool sample, so they took her out (apparently the glands have a rather potent odor and if they did it in the exam room, the room would stink the rest of the day). After a few minutes, they came back, and said her glands looked normal, but they got a small bit of fecal matter out, and there was a piece of a worm in it.

So, the story ends with giving her one and a half pills of de-wormer, and coming home with another one and a half pills to give her in two weeks. After the appointment, it was much easier to get her back into the cat carrier, and we had a quieter journey home. Once we got home, she flew back out of the cat carrier again, and I fed her and Teagan, called Trina at work to tell her what the diagnosis was, and then got ready and headed to work.

I'm glad it wasn't anything too serious. Yay!

I love our cats.

the inherent value of humanity

I was just thinking last night after watching the latest Torchwood episode, about how there is sort of this inherent idea of the value of humanity that is ingrained in us - it's different than a survival instinct or anything like that, because it overrides an individual person's survival instinct, their desire for comfort, peace, happiness, all of that. It was just striking me how many people in the history of the world have given up everything they had and everything they aspired to, for the sake of saving or benefiting humanity. It seems pretty remarkable to me, really.

2008-01-28

a whee bit of snow...

We got a sprinkling of snow overnight. It's pretty much gone by now, but it is supposed to sprinkle again overnight tonight, so we'll see :) Here are a few pictures :)











thoughts... and other things

Last night Mansfield Park was on, so we were watching it, and at the very end, after Edmund and Fanny are married, they are dancing together at the wedding, and Fanny asks Edmund, "Is it possible to be this happy?" To which he replies, "Yes!" and they continue dancing as the credits roll.

It got me thinking about why I like these kinds of movies, and it hit me - I'm asking myself this question regularly, because I so often feel like that - "is a relationship with another person really supposed to ever be able to be this good?" It feels like I could/should be in a fairy tale, like I might wake up and realize that no, it really isn't possible, and I've just been dreaming.

I can't believe how lucky I am. I love my wife so much.

2008-01-27

in other news...

once I'm back up to the point where I can play in thumb position again, without sounding like a squeaking mouse, I would love to work back up to playing this piece again, Élégie pour violoncelle et orchestre by Gabriel Fauré - as it's one of my very favorite pieces - listening to it brings me to tears every time. it was originally written for cello and orchestra, but is played a lot with just cello and piano. hope you enjoy it.

a bit about cello...

well, my cello has been in the shop for about a month, and for several months prior to that, I didn't play it much, because the bridge was warped something fierce, and I was afraid it would snap. but, I got it back this weekend, and I've been playing it quite a bit. I'm so excited, in fact, that I'm going to risk exposing just how not that good I am, and/or how out of practice I am, by posting a quick recording I just made of the Menuetto I & II from J.S. Bach's 1st Cello Suite. I actually cut it a little bit short (as you're supposed to repeat Menuetto I again), but I figure you'll forgive me :) Hope you enjoy! If the little player thing doesn't work for you, you can also link directly to the mp3 here.








2008-01-24

music...

benny goodman has been making me really happy lately. also, I'm pretty sure that Billie Holiday was an angel.

happy Thursday!

2008-01-21

some stuff, and some other stuff...

This started off as a comment on this post at A Fanciful Twist...

Today I had the day off for MLK Jr. Day, but Trina had to work, so I got up late and took a shower and played my newfound love, Banjo-Kazooie (a Nintendo64 game) for a while, and then took leftover Beef Stroganoff that we made last night to have lunch with Trina and work, and befriended a couple of dogs while I was there (the folks at sock dreams bring their dogs to work). Today was bright and sunny, but really cold and windy, so it felt so nice to be outside a bit. Last night I started feeling not so well, and I've been kind of feverish and sluggish all day, but it was so nice to just go and spend 30 min with Trina in the middle of the day. I came back and our cat, Teagan, was making every effort to get on my lap and monger my face (he loves to rub up against my beard), and our other cat, Piccoli was laying in the sun up in our guest room. I made a pot of Jasmine green tea, and drank the whole thing (and then proceeded to head to the bathroom every 10 min for an hour). The other day we got The Beatles White Album on record, as well as a Benny Goodman record, and I've been recording those today as well, so that I could put them on my iPod to listen to :) Trina came home from work at 4, and ate some dinner quickly, and then had to run off to inventory night at Sur La Table (which I would have been going to as well, had I not been sick), but I enjoyed another 30 minutes or so with her, and now I'm just reading blogs and thinking about another pot of tea... maybe black currant with cream and sugar... I should probably also take some ibuprofen and a multi-vitamin. Have I ever mentioned I love clarinets? I do. And Trina? Yes, I really really do.

Since Trina has left for Sur La Table, I have finished another half of a level in Banjo-Kazooie, made a pot of peppermint tea, and had some ginger snaps, listened to the first half of The White Album, wrote this comment on Vanessa's blog, copied it here and started modifying it, and fed the cats. Now I need to take some NyQuil and get ready to hit the sack... but first I'll add a few things to the part below...

We do so often forget to appreciate the little things we do every day and so often forget about because they become routine. Some things I love that are routine - how I always say, goodnight and I love you to Trina as we're going to sleep, and she says the same back - putting on chapstick and shea nut butter on my hands when I climb into bed (I get really dry skin in the winter), and then smelling like cookies (from the shea butter), taking the bus to and from work and seeing interesting people, as well as just getting a chance to wind down from work before getting home - shaving with a razor, it gives kind of a fresh feeling, and forces you to slow down and take some time - the way Trina wiggles her nose when it itches, also the way she pushes the end of her nose in when she's thinking - the brisk, cold feeling of a winter day when it's bright and sunny out - looking up through the branches of trees at night when there's light from street lights coming through them (or in the day when sunlight is coming through). I love records (Beatles, pre-1950's Jazz, Classical, that kind of stuff), birds, interesting glasses (the kind that hold drinks), old books, old clocks, pocket watches, pyrex bake ware, games for atari 2600, nintendo, super nintendo, sega genesis, or nintendo 64 (yes, I have all of those). I love randomly connecting with strangers over a book I'm reading (or they are reading). I love the feeling at the end of a hot day, when you get to finally rest, and the air cools, and you feel such peace. I love the way music makes me feel so deeply, like I could explode. I love the way simple, true love fills my heart. I love the way that the sunlight looks just before sunset on clear fall days. I love how mountains look on crisp, clear winter days. I love laughing until all my guts hurt. I love spouting random words that come to mind and any particular time. I love cheese. I love all the myriad of flavors and smells that exist in edible things. I love the smells that fill the kitchen when cooking. I love the softness of our kitties when they snuggle me. I love experiencing beautiful things. I love the smell of books, and the feeling of paper. I love thinking deep things, pondering questions, writing. I love experiencing life and learning and growing as I do so. I love giving love as well as receiving it. I love interacting with people who inspire me to be creative. I love encouraging others to be creative. I love encouraging others to do what fills them up. I love the miracle of life. I love hot tea and spicy cookies, and chocolate truffles with a little bit of powdered cocoa on the outside. I love my dear wife with everything in me. I love that I get to go curl up in bed and fall asleep. I only wish my wife was here to do the same. At least she'll be back later :)

Goodnight everyone.

2008-01-16

:)

my nephew Blake just learned how to crawl, plus he's super cute. check it out.

2008-01-15

today...

I learned what both Béchamel Sauce and Roux are.

As it turns out, Béchamel Sauce is really just a basic white sauce, made with milk, flour and butter, and salt and pepper to taste.

Roux is simply a flour-fat mixture, where the fat could be oil, butter or lard. The fat is heated in a pan, and then the flour is stirred in and incorporated, and cooked until the raw flour taste is gone (but not usually browned).

If any of you reading this are either French or a chef, and you know differently than what I've written, please feel obliged to comment and correct me :)

whee!

2008-01-14

this weekend

So, we started the weekend off with dinner on Friday night at Cup and Saucer on Hawthorne. I had a hamburger with onion, lettuce, tomato, swiss cheese and bacon, and home fried potatoes - Trina had a buttermilk pancake, bacon, a vanilla scone (their scones there are *amazing*, though they are really more like sweet biscuits), and a cup of fresh fruit. After dinner we headed home and just kind of crashed and watched TV.

Saturday, I got up around 9.30 and listened to Beethoven's 9th Symphony, while writing my blog about my recent record stuff, and then Trina woke up and joined me downstairs. We made a pot of PG Tips tea, and were sipping on that, when our friend Theresa came over with her own pot of tea, and we sat around and chatted for a while. She was going to do some shopping around town, so she headed out, and then my mom showed up. My dad is out of town this week, so we had planned to spend the day with my mom on Saturday. We sat around our place for a while and drank tea and chatted, and then we headed out to the Bread and Ink cafe, also on Hawthorne, for lunch. This time Trina had a hamburger, with bleu cheese and bacon and grilled onions, I had a roasted pork sandwich, and my mom had a grilled greek pita with feta and sundried tomatoes and kalamata olives.

After lunch, we headed up and down Hawthorne a bit and did some shopping, and then we headed downtown to Sur La Table, as my mom wanted to buy some knives, and we wanted to get our last piece of cookware, the Le Creuset 12" Skillet.

We were going to go to Everyday Music nearby, but we forgot, so we instead headed over to NE Portland, to the one on Sandy Blvd, and we found some great records - a Benny Goodman, an Ella Fitzgerald, a Charlie Byrd, a couple of Christmas records and one or two other random things. My mom bought the album Plans by Death Cab For Cutie, and also The Reminder, by Feist.

Next up on the list was back to Hawthorne for dinner. We went to our favorite French creperie/bistro, Chez Machin.



We all started off with French Onion Soup, and I had La Bechamel crepe, which had ham and emmental swiss cheese and mushrooms and bechamel sauce, my mom had La Percheronne crepe, which had ham and brie and mushrooms, and Trina had (if I remember right) the Boeuf Stroganoff crepe. We finished off dinner by sharing a nutella, custard, and raspberry jam crepe, and coffee. A lovely dinner.



After that, we headed back to our place, split up our shopping finds from the day, and my mom headed home. We had a great time with her - a really nice, relaxing day.

Sunday, we got up at about 10am, and we spent most of the day cleaning the house. We took all the Christmas decorations down, and put them away. We washed dishes, and swept floors, washed clothes, re-arranged a bit, put new lampshades on lamps, all while sipping coffee from our wonderful new polar bear cups that our friend Niki got us for Christmas :)



Now that's some nice looking coffee, right there. Oh yeah.

We went out to get some lunch, deposit a check, get cat food... but the pet store was closed, so we ended up wandering through a little vintage shop that had some beautiful old phonographs and a lot of old smut novels :)

We rounded out the evening by making some wonderful baked mac and cheese, and watching the BBC version of Jane Austen's Persuasion on TV (the local TV station, OPB, is playing all of the Jane Austen films, Sunday nights. Yesterday was the first.)

Hope everyone's weekend was good, peaceful, productive, restful, whatever you all needed.

P.S. I'm thinking about switching to primarily shaving with a razor, and I like the idea of using shaving soap/brush... I don't know if there are any guys who actually read this more than occasionally, but if you are a guy, and you happen to shave with a razor and use shaving soap, and you have a favorite kind of soap, let me know :)

2008-01-12

clarinet...

in jazz makes my head spin, it's so wonderful!

happy weekends, all!

stuff I get excited about :)

I love listening to music on records, plus, as I'm sure you've picked up by now, I love old, beautiful things. For my birthday this last year, Trina got me this amazing record player/radio cabinet that we think is probably from the 1930's:





The record player cabinet came with a big stack of old 78 RPM records (it only plays 78s)



Including one of our favorites:



Last weekend we were down visiting Trina's grandmas, and they happened to have a few records sitting around, and we mentioned that we had gotten that record player cabinet, and so they gave them to us (they don't have a record player anymore). Those included some Benny Goodman and Doris Day along with some other stuff:



A few months ago, we got a little portable record player for like $3 at the Oregon City School District sale, so we can play 33 1/3 RPM and 45 RPM records as well as 78s.



Also for my birthday this year, our friend Theresa gave me a record set of Beethoven's 9th Symphony:







Yes, the records are RED :)

Yesterday, Trina went to Goodwill and was looking around, and found this set of Rachmaninoff's 2nd Piano Concerto - performed by Rachmaninoff!







It's a beautiful piece, and sounds so nice and cozy on record :) The performance by Rachmaninoff is wonderful too.

She also found this set of a number of different Chopin pieces, which are lovely as well.



Well, that's all for now, good readers. Hope you all enjoy your weekends!

2008-01-11

tree roots

how can I unwind
my heart
it's tangle of tree roots

put it out on the table
for you to examine
using words alone?

roots are difficult
deep
not easily exposed

you have to dig for them
work
carefully brush aside

bit by bit of soil, until
slowly
each new bit is uncovered

so if you would have me
quickly
expound my heart in a sentence

I would say, "my road traverses
the world.
come along, physically or spiritually

by the time we reach the end
you
may have exposed the roots."

2008-01-10

lately...

a few things have been going on lately... we had Trina's sister, Carmen, up with us for a week after New Year's, and we had a lot of fun with her. we had a couple of fantastic cooking nights just after she left - we made Pot Au Feu one night, with beef tenderloin and carrots, parsnips, golden beets, leek, cippolini onions, and brussels sprouts, with horseradish mashed potatoes. The next night I stopped by Pix Patisserie on my way home from work and picked up some yummy bourbon and creme de mure macaroons for Trina, and when I got home, I found that she had made grilled lamb chops with roasted fingerling potatoes and brussels sprouts! what a magnificent wife I have, indeed! (check Trina's blog in the near future for pictures and more on the cooking) :)

we have also acquired this lovely little paperwhite, named Antoinette.



in other news, I got Radiohead's new album, In Rainbows, and I thought the packaging was quite interesting, so here it is. It comes in this little cardboard parcel type thing:



inside the parcel is a cardboard sleeve with the CD in, the album booklet, and two sheets of stickers, which you can stick to a jewel case on the front, back and sides to make the case for the CD:



so, I put them all together, et voila:



by the way, this is my favorite album of theirs yet, and I love all their music. so if you like them and you haven't heard this album yet, do so, for sure.

thyme

for all you tea drinkers out there, common thyme (thymus vulgaris) actually makes a really nice tea. they sell it as tea in Lithuania (just loose, dried thyme, but the package says for seasoning or tea), and I was surprised to find that I really like it. anyway, just thought I'd let you know :)

2008-01-07

significance...

While you look at the physical universe that exists, and when you look at our own significance in comparison to even all the known universe, not to mention what we haven't discovered yet, we are so tiny and insignificant, and most of the universe is not effected in the least by our existence, as far as we can tell.

But yet, any single one of us humans has the potential to completely change the course of history, not only for us, but for the entire universe.

If you think in terms of microcosm as well as macrocosm, we realize that the life of any single organism can change the life of a higher-order organism - for instance, a mitochondria, which in terms of physical relevance as compared to the entire body of a human, seems as insignificant as we do in comparison to the universe, may determine the entire fate of a human body. Which makes it easier to believe that a human could make a difference in something as vast as the cosmos.

And that's only in a purely physical take on things.

If you look at the spiritual, which I think is very relevant, I believe there are connections between everything, and I believe the fabric of the universe can be changed, no matter the physical size or distance between things. I know it sounds a little bit force-like, but I really think that in some way that we don't really understand, we are all connected, people, places, things, not just because, for instance, we were all created by the same God, or whatever, something more active and interactive than that (though that also plays a part, I believe, especially in being a reason for the connection).

Anyway, there's your thoughts for the day :)

2008-01-06

duck and cover - glen phillips

In a few different conversations/interactions this past week I've been thinking about wishes and plans and hopes for life... and it's all kind of reminded me of this song by Glen Phillips, that is really wonderful and I think gives some lovely insights on life:


Someone's in the back yard, banging on the door
Daddy's gone away, he's coming back no more
His baby's curled up on a stranger's floor
Mama's thinking family dinners weren't too much to ask for

Everybody here's got a story to tell
Everybody's been through their own hell
There's nothing too special about getting hurt
Getting over it, that takes the work

Cause one way or another, we'll all need each other
Nothing's gonna turn out the way you thought it would
But friends and lovers, don't you duck and cover
Cause everything comes out the way it should

Blessed are the humble, blessed are the meek
Blessed are the hungry, blessed are the weak
Blessed are the ones on the other side
Blessed are we for just being alive

One day I stopped wanting anything at all
The heavens opened up like a waterfall
No use in worrying about when it ends
Just for now be thankful for what I get

Cause one way or another, a man's gonna suffer
It makes no difference the way you wanted it
But friends and lovers, don't you duck and cover
Cause everything comes out the way it should in the end

Seems like life is a palindrome
You cry when you die, you cry when you're born
In between it's all about the ups and downs
Add 'em all together, they cancel each other out

Cause one way or another
One way or another
You won't get what you wanted
You'll get enough, for sure
One way or another
Winter pays for the summer
Won't get what you wanted
What you got'll be good

Someone's in the back yard, banging on the door
Daddy's gone away, he's coming back no more
His baby's curled up on a stranger's floor
Mama's thinking happy endings weren't too much to ask for

2008-01-03

a star...

I do believe I may have married a star...