Friday, September 28, 2007

That yowling cat is divine music

Early every morning I wake up to the incessant yowling of my hungry cat, Gregory. His appetite is insatiable. As soon as he's done eating, he's yowling for more food. I am pretty sure he naps all day while I'm at work just so he'll be well-rested for another long evening of more yowling.

Last Saturday, I slept in late. My sweet Gregory had lost his voice. He was coughing and laying around a lot. Sunday night, he didn't even feel up to eating.

I don't know how old Gregory is but he's been with me for over 12 years. 12 years of cuddling with me on the couch. 12 years of purring like a motor in my ear. 12 years of the most annoying persistent affectionate floppiness you could ever find in a cat. He's awesome. And I can't imagine not having him around.

I was not looking forward to his vet appointment on Monday. For one thing, I was half sure that Gregory was going to die. For another, I believe veterinarians are about as useful as MDs - not very. It's always the same. They look the cat over, order a couple of expensive tests, tell you it was all inconclusive - well, it's either kennel cough or cancer - and then send you home with a bottle of antibiotics.

$320 worth of inconclusive lab tests and about 6 doses of antibiotics later, Gregory's melodious yowling has resumed. I can hardly describe the joy I feel as he wakes me up before dawn, begging for food.

Today, the vet called with his lab results. Everything looks normal except for one anomaly that might be nothing. She said I need to buy a home urine kit to collect a sample for further testing. Not that the test will necessarily tell us anything. The price? $390. That's just to collect the urine, not to test it. Up yours, Dr! We'll take our chances.

Raw food dish of the week - Creamy Fudge Squares
It's not that this dessert (recipe adapted from Eating Without Heating) didn't taste good, but it was pretty much just sweet chocolaty cashew butter. What exactly qualifies something as a recipe worthy of being in a published book? My sister and I used to mix peanut butter and jelly in a bowl and eat it with a spoon when we were kids. Should I put out my own book?

Ingredients: Cashew butter, water, agave nectar, cacao powder, Celtic sea salt.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Gardening for procrastinators

I love growing my own food. Especially those foods that only come in wasteful little packages, like mint. Or those that come in giant bags when I only need a small amount, like basil. Or those that I can't find organic, like aloe vera. Without my own garden, I constantly struggle with the choice between buying something I don't quite want, or doing without.

Having my own house means that I have the freedom to tear up the yard any way I please and plant vegetables to my heart's delight. It also means that I am so constantly busy with endless house-related projects that a garden never makes it to the top of my priority list.

When I do have free time, planting a garden seems like such a huge overwhelming project that I can never even get started. It's more than just throwing a seed in the ground and watering it. I've got to decide which part of the yard gets the right amount of sun, truck in quality dirt, put up some kind of little fence to keep the dog from watering my vegetables.

But I really want to have fresh mint for my green smoothies and fresh basil for raw pesto without having to throw away most of the bag. What's a girl to do?

Just go buy the plants. The rest will follow out of necessity. I saw a lovely little aloe plant at the co-op the other day that I couldn't resist. I took it home and let it suffer in it's tiny plastic container with crappy dirt for a good week. But it started to look weak so had no choice other than to hunt around for an appropriate planter and some high quality soil.

During my recent trip to the grocery store, I happened upon some beautiful basil and a lovely little mint plant. I couldn't see for myself, but I'm pretty sure my face lit up like a kid on Christmas day. I've been thinking of planting an herb garden along the front of the house, but hadn't looked into how much sun shines there, how much sun the plants would need, etc etc etc. Maybe I should wait, I thought for a few moments. Screw it! I'm getting those plants!

I'd better figure it out quick. Those herbs won't last forever in their tiny plastic cages.

Raw food dish of the week - Vanilla Ice Cream

I scored a brand new ice cream maker for $25 at my favorite neighborhood thrift store last week. My first ice cream attempt didn't go as well as I'd hoped. I think I need a recipe with more creamy fattiness in it - maybe some cashews or something. This was more like ice milk. The other problem was that I didn't realize I was supposed to fully freeze the ice cream maker before using it. I put it in the freezer for a few hours but then got impatient and used it anyway. So the ice cream was a bit runny. Tasted good though. Ice cream for procrastinators.

You can bet there will be many more ice cream experiments in my future. I'll definitely be picking up a copy of Vice Cream, written by my friend Jeff. I've tried his ice cream and it's the best ever.

Ingredients: Almond milk (almonds, water, dates, blended and strained through a nut-milk bag), vanilla bean, agave nectar, Celtic sea salt.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Male or female?


It's not just you. Computer programs also think I'm not as girly as I should be.

The Gender Genie is a great online tool that takes a piece of writing and analyzes keywords to determine if the author is most likely male or female.

The conclusion? Gender Genie has no idea what I am. Some posts came out more female, others more male. All of them were borderline. Not shocking news.

Coworkers have always treated me like "one of the guys", which, in the software industry, means they feel comfortable saying disgusting things about women when I'm in the room. I have baffled many-a-boyfriend by not fitting into the role they've tried to shove me into. A clairvoyant in Peru even told me that I'd been a man in most of my past lives.

I'm not sure what I am supposed to be like. Should I spend more time on my hair? Should I stop tracking the stock market? Should I support Hillary rather than Ron Paul? I make potato chips from scratch, for God's sake. Isn't that enough?

Not according to Gender Genie - this post was definitely written by a man.

Raw food dish of the week - Potato Chips

I cut the sweet potatoes into thin slices with a mandolin, which is a device used to cut chips, french fries, and other fun food shapes. Then tried out three different varieties of chips.

Plain: Just sweet potatoes, with nothing on them, dehydrated for 15 hours.

Cheesy chips: Sweet potatoes, marinated in Braggs Liquid Aminos, water, and nutritional yeast, dehydrated for 15 hours.

Chips a la John: Sweet potatoes, marinated in Braggs, pressed garlic, and pressed olives (pressed through a garlic press), dehydrated for 15 hours.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Google is my master

Last night, I came to the realization that I spend way too much time and energy frantically (and unconsciously) protecting myself from financial ruin, in the form of a job I find intolerable, obsessive tracking of my financial assets, and a compulsion toward to-do lists and other organization techniques.

For some reason, the take-away from that realization was to sign up for Google AdSense, in yet another frantic attempt to ensure my financial security. A good friend of mine recently told me that he had an ad on his blog, which he didn't think anyone ever read, for only one day and it earned him $8.85.

Wait a minute, I thought to myself, I too have a blog that no one reads. Maybe I can make money by putting an ad on my blog! So there it is, in all of it's Googly splendor, in the top right corner of the page.

I have officially sold out. I now await the throngs of fans who are angry and disappointed with my fall from grace.

Raw food dish of the week - Pancakes with blackberry sauce

These were remarkably pancake-flavored for such a simple recipe. Must be the brazil nuts. And they were simple as can be to make. The recipe can be found here (scroll down to the second recipe).

Pancakes: Brazil nuts, bananas, water, cinnamon, blackberries.

Sauce: Blackberries, agave nectar.