In Other News

It might be a little hot in here.

Summer has arrived in Chicago.

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Things We Learned About Cats: Mina Edition

Happy Girl

We took Mina to the vet yesterday for a rabies shot and to have a toenail checked out. I mention this because we learned a couple of things that were interesting.

First, cat nails normally look like this:

Instead of getting all pointy at the end, however, Mina’s nails are much thicker and longer, as if her nails don’t get to the pointy-point part.  This means that when she hooks them on things, the tip of the nail doesn’t flake off – it sticks.  And what do cats do when they’re stuck?  They try to pull themselves free.

The result, as we discovered yesterday, is that Mina has broken two tiny bones, one in each of her front feet.  One happened at least a year ago, while the other seems to have happened in the last couple of days!  This sounds totally awful, but it’s apparently not uncommon and usually heals on its own.  She doesn’t seem to be in any pain except when we try to cut her nails, which makes sense.  They gave her an antibiotic, and we’re doing our best to keep her from scratching on things.

In addition to her big nails, we were also told that based on the size of her head and her big ol paws, she actually is smaller than she could be – which seemed funny to us since she has such sumptuous fluff – but might explain why she’s always foraging for snacks.  Seriously, look at that fluff:

Futon Party!

And Now For Something Completely Different!

Between wedding gifts and the holidays, we’ve recently acquired a few really cool things – cookbooks, housewares, and assorted other gadgets worth telling you about.  This is not our usual blog fare, but after the umpteenth time of telling Shane “wow, I really love _________”, I figured it’d be worth the occasional mention here.  In that spirit, I would like to introduce you to what we call “Spaceship”.

Shane picked this guy up when he was in Philadelphia in November, and it’s safe to say that our cats are obsessed with it. If you go anywhere near Spaceship or the canister of treats, Basil starts dancing around on his tippy-toes, chirping and shaking his tail with excitement. Basically, Spaceship is the best thing since sliced bread – or, for Basil, kibble.

So what’s the big deal?  Basically, Spaceship – or, more properly the FunKitty Twist N Treat – is a treat-dispensing toy.  You screw the two halves apart, add a handful of treats, and then screw the halves back together so that treats fall out when the cats play with it.  Low tech, but effective!

Basil’s strategy for retrieving treats seems to involve a solid smack and drag on the top of Spaceship, which, if he’s lucky, results in a treat popping out in his direction.  Mina – usually the first to figure out any possible way to get more food – doesn’t seem to have figured out how it works.  Instead, she monitors Basil’s play, waiting to skim off any treats that Basil misses.  So I ask you – who is the smarter cat?  The one who figured it out, or the one who figured out how to avoid work?

0209 Grilled Halibut and Broccoli Rabe with Garlic

Dinner tonight: a bit of fish, rescued from the freezer, and broccoli rabe with golden bits of garlic.  Slices of warmed Avalon International bread on the side.

0209 Grilled Halibut and Broccoli Rabe with Garlic

This was our first experiment with broccoli rabe, which in flavor and appearance is somewhere between broccoli and kale.  Take a few cloves of garlic, slice thin, and saute in olive oil until golden.  Remove the garlic and add the broccoli rabe, sliced into 2″ pieces, thick stems remove. Add some crushed red pepper, cover and braise for 5-10 minutes.  The dish was flavorful and paired nicely with halibut, rescued from freezer purgatory and grilled up with salt, pepper, and a bit of lemon.  The freezer time may have affected the texture of the fish, which tasted a bit more like chicken than I was expecting.  Perhaps it was the preparation?  Not sure.  The broccoli rabe was savory, with a hint of spice, though Shane needed to add both salt and pepper.

A footnote: the cats went CRAZY over this meal, with Mina begging for broccoli rabe and Basil for bits of fish.  Whoever heard of a cat who loved greens more than fish?

A second footnote: I am heeding Janet‘s advice and leaving the real camera on the table in hopes of reducing the cameraphone photos that have plagued this blog in the last few weeks.  I also promise to try harder with the white balance, something that’s hard to get right in our often dimly lit place.  Hold me to this!

A message from Mina

I left my computer open when I went to take a shower just now, and when I came back, I found that Mina had typed the following into my chat window with Shane.  The first part should be no surprise, but it is beyond me how she managed to type “H-bomb”.

Without further ado, a message from Mina (carriage returns are my only update)

4444444444yuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuucv
12222222222222222222222222222222222222dsz56bv7 c H-bomb

A2 Update!

We’ve been here a month, and some folks are wondering what sorts of shenanigans we’ve been up to. I’ll summarize in brief, and maybe be more vigilant about posting in the future.

Work: Shane started his job on Aug. 31 and seems to like it so far.  He’s going to a lot of meetings, taking a couple of fitness classes through UM, and getting burgers on Thursday with a regular crew from the office.  UM seems to be treating him well, which is a very good thing!  Shortly after starting, we discovered that I can be covered on his insurance as his Other Qualifying Adult, which is pretty awesome indeed – especially because I’m in my 6th week of being unemployed.

Job Hunt: I have applied for what feels like a bajillion jobs since leaving GW, interviewed for two, and been turned down for one (minimum wage = wah).  I am persevering, though, and am hopeful that something will come up soon.  Having just one income has meant a lot of conversations about money, long-term plans, etc – big and sometimes scary stuff to deal with.  I am incredibly thankful for Shane’s good job and for his support.  Being unemployed has also meant a lot of time to spend on things like sewing, running, and volunteering, all of which I’ll write more about later.

Wedding: we were due to get married on Oct. 10, but as previously mentioned, those plans were suspended when we decided to move here.  Now we’re talking about a spring wedding, maybe in Cleveland, maybe involving a lot of mimosas.  Stay tuned for more info!

Cats: Basil has been barfing up a storm for the last couple of days, but after a trip to the very affordable vet (no seriously – 59 bones covered the office visit and two kinds of meds), I think it might be under control.  The cats seem to be digging the new place and spend a lot of time stalking the squirrel that torments them by hanging out in the tree by our front window.

Domesticity: We’ve been homebodies a lot this month because we’re trying to save money – but eating well because I’m a good little housewife.  Lots of roast chicken, homemade bread, soups, stuff like that.  The sudden turn in the weather means that there will be more of the same to stick to our bones in the coming months.

Adventures: When we do get out and about, though, it’s to do inexpensive and tasty things like:

  • splitting sandwiches at Zingerman’s – tonight we had the Rocco’s Revenge, the sandwich of the month for September
  • blueberry picking in Dexter – we picked a couple of pounds for a grand total of $4 (including a soda)
  • beers at Arbor Brewing Company – not the best brewpub or beer by any means, but it does the trick
  • breakfast at FM@SELMA – I’ve been volunteering here since we first landed in town, but last week was the first week we made it to breakfast – amazing pork shoulder with pepper sauce, cornbread, and fried eggs.  Mmmm.
  • volunteer at the Homegrown Festival – we helped with set up, then poured for Arcadia, drinking a lot of free beer and eating excellent food along the way

Shane also went on a pretty epic beer tour spanning four states with Mike and Bill, but I’ll let him tell you about that later.  He’s off to San Francisco on Saturday – I’ll be holding down the fort with Mina and barfcat and enjoying a visit from my sister and her husband for a few days.  What have YOU been up to?