Friday, May 8, 2009

His name sounds like poo...

...but don't call him number two. Looks like Susan Boyle has got a little competition.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

The Cat Doctor Is In

Goldie is home from the hospital. She is sleeping in her cup and lounging in the sun. Last night she went out into her garden and had a sip of water from her bowl. She even had a "kitten-ish" moment when she playfully chased a mosquito into the house.

I am incredibly grateful that I have a vet who "cares for cats and the people who love them." In front of the building that houses her practice is a park bench that is dedicated to "Apple Jack - The best guinea pig ever." When I asked her about it she said that Apple Jack was the "Methuselah of guinea pigs." She said at the end of his life, when Apple Jack's people were trying to make a decision about what to do, they wished they had a quiet place to sit and talk things over. So, they bought the bench so other pet owners would have a place to sit and come to a decision.

I am grateful that I have a vet who understands how hard it is for people to let go of the relationships they've built with their pets. More than that, Dr. Tracy actually consulted her colleague and together they did some online research to come up with an antibiotic cocktail that will help my Goldie breathe better a little while longer. In this day and age of managed healthcare, I'm shocked to find two medical professionals who care so much about what they do. Over any objects from my insurance company, I'm considering making Dr. Tracy my primary care physician...but those thoughts are for the future. Right now, I'm focused on making Goldie's days as comfortable as possible.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

In Search of Macaroni & Cheese Television

I am currently experiencing the agony of insomnia. I sleep like a log until 3:00 a.m. and then I lay there and turn my worries over...and over...and over...and over, once more, just for good measure, for the next three hours. By the time I get up at 6:00am, I'm exhausted and I'm not sure if I'm coming at all my problems from the top or the bottom. It's very frustrating.

I spend those three hours channel surfing. Despite the fact that cable has allowed us to have hundreds of channels in the home, between the hours of 3:00am and 6:00am, most of the channels are showing paid programming. I found myself watching episodes of Murder, She Wrote on the Hallmark channel. The shows are very satisfying. I learned they are a genre called cozy crime. Agatha Christie was a master of 'cozy crime.' A horrendous crime would be committed, but the body was found between a pair of pretty overstuff chintz chairs with the smell of freshly baked bread lingering in the air. It's cozy, comfy crime, but I've found that I get too involved in the plot and don't drift back to sleep.

What I really need is some type of television show that is the equivalent of macaroni & cheese. I think that some shows, like 24, are like peel and eat shrimp, they are incredibly tasty and well-worth the effort, but they involve your full attention. And most reality competition shows, like American Idol and Project Runway, are like wine tastings, not only do they involve your full attention, they also require you to form an opinion.

So my insomnia and my search for the elusive macaroni & cheese television continues...

When my dad died I discovered a production of Anne of Green Gables on PBS. It wasn't on VHS yet, so it was hard to find to view over and over. In 1988 they didn't have DVDs or even the Internet to easily access information about one of your favorite things. I had to go to the library to find out when it was going to rebroadcast on PBS. That's one of the best things about PBS, they rebroadcast their programming over and over every month. Anne of Green Gables is macaroni & cheese television: totally tasty and indulgently comforting. It can also be satisfyingly viewed in its original package -- as a series of books. Not only are the stories all heartwarming, the views of Prince Edward Island on the television production are simply breathtaking.

I'm hoping to make a new discovery of something very comforting soon. In the meantime, feel free to call anytime between 3:00am and 6:00am. PT. Phone lines are open and there is one crazy operator standing by to take your calls...

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

My Garden of Eden

The first time I viewed the apartment that I live in, I didn't even look at the patio. I had lived in an apartment without an outdoor space for so long, I don't think it even registered that I could have a little outdoor eden of my very own.

Three or four months after I moved in, I threw caution to the wind one day at Target when I purchased a chaise lounge and a jasmine vine. A sickly Charlie Brown tomato plant followed, and soon I had a half dozen little pots filled with herbs and vegetables on my little patio. Saturday mornings involved getting up before the sun in order to draw the blinds so Goldie could lay in the sun. When it was warm enough, we'd both go out there and fight over who got the sunny spot on the chaise. The patio is surrounded by a five feet tall wall, so no one knew that I was out there in my pink fuzzy bathrobe and slippers. That's how I watered most of my plants: in my jammys. I could hear the activity of the pool on the other side of the wall, and glimpse bits of splashing water and tan skin, but the people at the pool couldn't see me. I often read books and napped on the patio on lazy afternoons. At some point, I added a water dish for Goldie. After she walked around the patio and sniffed each and every corner, she'd always have a little sip of water. There is no happier cat than one with spider webs caught on their whiskers and ears. She'd look up at me happily with a little droplet on her chin. Our collective joy of being out of doors in our own space could have no greater symbol than that.

This spring, my jasmine burst into bloom filling the patio and the surrounding pool area with its exotic scent for weeks. It was incredible -- truly like living in a Garden of Eden. I bought all new herbs -- bravely branching out into tarragon this year, and remaining on the fence about cilantro. I had a terrible experience last year. After battling bugs, I decided to grow my own basil from seed. And I'm pleased to say that very fragile teeny tiny little growths have appeared in all of my pots.

Last night, I harvested the first tomatoes of the season (see action photo of the actual harvest above) and put them into a dinner salad. It was a grand affair. Food and festivities had by all. Unfortunately, later that night, Goldie took a turn for the worse. She's currently staying at the vet for the next 24 hours. After that, a decision will have to made.

Goldie has been my best friend and roommate for more than fifteen years. I wish my only decison was about whether or not to plant cilantro.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Some Like It Room Temperature...

Just a few short weeks ago we headed south to San Diego for the weekend. I was very excited. We stayed in the gaslight district and had dinner at the Marble Room. They were having a special tasting menu that night of Tapas sized portions for two. Since we watch so much FoodTV we felt like we were professionals when we ordered all the right things. Not only did our room have a view of the hotel's pool and happening club area, it also had a view of the San Diego Padres baseball diamond. I felt like I was right in the middle of things...for once. The hotel also had one feature that stunned me. Because it is owned by a European company, it has European rules about pets. The rules are simple: all pets are welcome. They even had a special room service and spa menu for pets. I was down in the spacious living room area before dinner at the free wine-tasting, when the front doors of the hotel opened and in marched the most regal golden retriever I've ever seen. He acted like he owned the joint. Who knows? Maybe he does...

On Sunday after a big breakfast, we drove across the bridge to Coronado island. This was the part of the trip that I was really looking forward to...we were going to visit the legendary Hotel Del Coronado, or as it's known to the locals, 'the hotel del.' The Del was a co-star in my all-time favorite film, "Some Like It Hot," starring Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis and Marilyn Monroe. There is a thirteen minute-long train sequence in the film (I know how long it is because I timed it. I tell everyone it was a project in film school.) that is the funniest sequence I've ever watched. There is an intermission at the end of the train sequence and then the cast arrives at the Hotel Del Coronado -- which is set in Florida in the film. As they say in the movie bidness, after that hilarity ensues.

So there I was visiting Mecca for my movie madness. It was the most beautiful hotel I've ever visited. And it owns its heritage with "Some Like It Hot" posters and behind-the-scenes photographs throughout the basement shopping area and upstairs lobby. I had delusions of Marilyn Monroe, so I asked the handsomest man alive to take a photo of me on the beach cavorting. Turns out...I'm Jack Lemmon. See photographic evidence above...