Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Mystery Half-Solved

So the mystery of the freaking-out cat has been solved -- sort of. After more than a week, Scout has finally calmed down enough to be cuddly again. So a couple of days ago, she was curled up next to me and I realized that she has a big ol' scab on the edge of her ear. Once I held her squirmy little self down and got a good look, I could see that she has a nice notch taken out of it. It's probably only an 8th of an inch long, but when your entire ear is only an inch in length, that's a good-sized wound. I assume that she somehow got in a fight with one of the neighborhood cats when she was outside last week and that she was so horribly freaked out because she was in a lot of pain. I must have just not seen the cut when I tried to examine her then, since she was thrashing all over the place whenever I tried to hold her still. In any case, she seems to be back to normal now, and she'll have a nice war wound to show for her adventure.

In other news, doctors are trying to regrow a man's amputated finger with "pixie dust" made of tissue extracted from pigs. Seriously -- it's on CNN. How fucking cool is that? (And how much do I love the fact that these super-serious military scientist-types are calling their regrowth compound "pixie dust"?!?)

Monday, May 19, 2008

Allowing the Cats Outside = Epic Fail

Yesterday, the obscene heat here in the Bay area finally broke. I celebrated by eating an enormous serving of French toast with homemade strawberry jam at Della Fattoria and then lounging about on my back porch, reading. So while I read on the porch, I left the door open and let the cats out -- an experiment to see if they're ready (and I'm ready) to let them out more often. They spent the better part of a couple hours poking around the back yard: chewing grass, rolling around in the wood-chipped flower bed, lounging in the warm sun. All seemed well. After a while, feeling secure about their safety out there, I went inside to do a couple chores. 5 minutes later, the cats came TEARING back into the house, Scout chasing Violet, hissing and growling. Scout actually bared her teeth at Vi and tried to take a chunk out of her ear. I mean, they play-tussle all the time, but I've never seen them like this before. At first, I was worried that one of them had somehow gotten hurt, but Vi was fine, and when Scout finally let me near her (about 30 minutes later), she appeared to be as well. I have no idea what happened out there, but Scout is currently doing a great impression of a shell-shocked Vietnam War Vet. She's been hiding under the bed, and if she could mumble and twitch and talk to herself, I think she would be doing just that. As of this morning, nearly a full day later, she is still crazy skittish hisses and growls when Vi gets within 5 feet of her. What the HELL?

Friday, May 16, 2008

Earthquake Weather

Yesterday at work someone told me that the weather we're having right now (very hot and still) is earthquake weather. This, along with all the terrible news out of China the past few days has made me a bit skittish.

There's this song I've been listening to lately and one of the lines in it is "this earthquake weather has got me shaking inside," and I must confess, I can relate to that -- I have a secret fear of earthquakes. I mean, I grew up in the Midwest. Tornadoes, I know how to deal with. We did tornado drills at school when I was a kid, lining up along the long inside hallway of my elementary school, backs to the painted cinderblock wall, waiting for the all-clear. My neighbors and I once watched a distant tornado from the roof of their house, when their mom wasn't around to make us go down to the basement. (Their dad, a pro-football player -- clearly not hired for his smarts -- thought it was just as cool as we did). So when I hear the tornado warning siren, I can mostly get away from windows and hide in the basement with the best of them.

But earthquakes are not exactly a common occurrence in Michigan. (The earthquake in Southern Illinois a few weeks ago was the first one you could feel there since, like 1850). I've already lived my first earthquake here in California-- a teensy one that rattled the glasses in my cupboards a bit and freaked the cats out, but nothing more. I didn't even realize it WAS an earthquake until like 2 hours later. It was like a baby thinking about fussing but then deciding to just settle back down, instead. But I'm worried about a bigger one. The 3-year-old's temper tantrum of earthquakes, so to speak. I mean, there's no warning. It's not like a siren goes off and you can make sure that you're not near your (ridiculously overloaded and not braced to the wall) bookshelves or anything else that might fall over and unceremoniously squash you, like Dorothy's house on the witch in The Wizard of Oz. And my office? ALL windows on 2 walls.

I guess earthquakes just go against every fiber of my perfectionist, control-freak being. There's no warning, and you sure as heck can't control an earthquake. You just get blindsided and then you deal with the aftermath. Like all those poor parents in China that I keep hearing about on the news, who sent their kids off to school a few mornings ago. They never expected to be sitting on a pile of rubble a few hours later, weeping and praying and just hoping the universe chose their child to look out for today.

This is a lot like life in general, I guess, and despite my many cross-country moves in the past several years, I've never been great at uncertainty. I like to KNOW things. I like to predict and then be proven right. As I get older, I'm learning to let go of the reins more, but I guess I'm still a work-in-progress.

p.s. It was so hot in my house last night that in addition to the ridiculous thermostat reading, that the jar of chocolate chips I keep in the pantry for . . . um. . . emergencies melted. We're talking eat-it-with-a-spoon-over-ice-cream melted -- totally liquid.

p.p.s Wikipedia tells me that "earthquake weather" is an old wives tale.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

99 in the Shade

It was 100+ degrees here today, for the second day in a row. As a result, I've had Bon Jovi stuck in my head all day -- 99 in the Shade. (OK, Internet, stop laughing. What did YOU listen to when you were 13 years old?!? Yeah, that's what I thought.)

But, really, 100 degrees in Northern California? I've only lived here a little more than a year, but I'm pretty sure this is NOT normal. The heat even caused us to lose power at my office for a good chunk of the day. The building has a back-up generator, since so much of what we do is dependent on computers (like, uh, our entire sales department of 200+ people). Unfortunately, said generator does not power the HVAC unit. So, we had power but no A/C. Did I mention the 100 degrees part of today? Yeah -- the upstairs sales floor and hallway smelled like a locker room and one of the guys down in operations was sent around as water-bearer this afternoon, bringing bottled water to everyone so they didn't die of dehydration. Fun!

As of right now, 9:15 pm, it is still 86 degrees outside. It's so hot in my living room that my thermostat says 03. As in "The temperature in here is so high that I can't even TELL you what the temperature is." Violet is laying in the bathtub, panting, and even tolerated me dousing her with cold water earlier. I am, alas, still working, and feeling pretty damn sticky and swelterish myself. So, how many coconut popsicles do you think a girl can eat in one night without making herself violently ill?

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Fancy McFancypants

We got to stay last night on D's company's dime at the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn, which is quite the fancypants place. It's this massive spa and resort right outside the town of Sonoma, and it might be the nicest place I've ever stayed. (Well, okay, maybe the nicest I've stayed in since I was nine and got to stay in the Helmsley Palace in New York City with my mom on a business trip. Although, now that I'm thinking about it, the Helmsley did have an inordinate number of homeless folks begging for change and sleeping on the front steps, so that might lose it a few points.)

But anyway, the Fairmont. For starters, they give you a complimentary bottle of wine in your room, complete with real wineglasses. (No plastic hotel cups for those who can afford 400+ bucks a night for a room!) And there were slippers and super-soft bathrobes in the bathroom -- Nicer than the 15.99 Target bathrobe I have at home by a long shot! The room was also stocked with a stack of Wine Spectator magazines, lovely peaches-and-cream scented bath products, and real metal travel mugs so you can take your morning coffee (or your free wine, I suppose) to go -- brilliant! Oh, and they give you the New York Times as your morning paper. None of that USA Today crap that you usually get at hotels. (Side note: D always says that USA Today is the newspaper for people who don't have the attention span for TV. SO TRUE! I always feel about 30 IQ points dumber after reading that drivel!) Plus, the beds are enormous and fluffy and oh-so-comfy. Let me just say, I am all for brilliant white comforters on hotel beds. I'm sure that they are just as filthy as tacky 1980s polyester floral comforters, but something about the bright white makes me feel like they MUST be clean. Surely I'd be able to see if they weren't, right. (Why, yes, Internet, I DO enjoy fooling myself. Let a girl keep her illusions once in a while, won't you?!?)

In the end, though, I'm not sure how much I liked the reality of sleeping in the lovely bed. It was so huge that I kept losing D way off in the wilderness. And it was one of those anti-motion mattresses (you know, like in the commercial, where they put the glass of red wine on the bed and then drop a bowling ball next to it), so I couldn't feel that D. was there even when he shifted in his sleep. All night, I kept on waking up, missing him, and reaching an arm or a foot across the bed, just to reassure myself that he was still there. So, the Fairmont bed gets big props if I were sleeping alone, but I think given the choice, I'd curl right back up with D. on the little twin air mattress in our tent in Big Sur. There, we slept curled into each other's bodies, sharing a sleeping bag and two comforters, each of us rolling over when the other did. On that tiny little mattress, I actually knew he was THERE. No small thing when the one you love usually sleeps 600+ miles away.