Useless cats

That’s pretty much what we have at this point.

Nikki is locked in now, because we kept getting calls from people worried about him wandering around out in a busy street. That and two unexplained major injuries that I sincerely hope were accidents. So he’s in, but sulking. And — cats have their own rules on these things — he appears to think he’s not allowed to sit with us, and instead beds down in the front hall where he can pounce on the other cats at 2am.

Sextus is also locked in, but he keeps escaping. When he’s outside he reverts to feral and won’t let anyone come near, and it takes days and days to get him back in. Then he sleeps on my face for two days straight, because indoors he is my cat. I think maybe something is off in his brain.

Sisko and Doc have their own code for asking to go in and out, and seem to be reasonable enough in their comings and goings to be okay. Sisko just wants to sit on the front porch and watch people go by.

Wolfie watches for the door when Doc or Sisko are coming and going, and comes in to nap and visit. He’s a very satisfactory little kitty.

Habibi is a drama queen and attacks the door viciously to indicate her desires. She used to sit on my lap in my chair, but seems to have forgotten how.

And the visiting feral, Loper, sits in his cat bed by the front door, getting patted around 1am. I also feed him, but about half the time he ignores it, and it ends up going to the possum I refuse to consider a pet. (Possum is willing.)

But I shouldn’t call them useless, because someone gifted me with a rat yesterday. Probably Sextus and Doc working together.

It suddenly turned back into winter

It even rained today (YAY), and will rain again in a couple of days, they tell us.

The house is cold.

The couch is filled with cats. They aren’t really buddies, so they are equally spaced, all curled up with the comfy blanket in individual nests.

Guess who can’t find a spot to sit now?

I’m going to try to be here more often

It’s just, mostly, life, with a side of laziness, of course.

But I am going to make an effort to pick up all the dropped stitches and carry on. A lot of distractions have lessened, so it’s time to get organized, decide the things that matter to me, and get at them again.

I have a fair amount of updating to do. Sair and her girlfriend Alex got married here, in August. I’ll do a separate post for that later, but for now I’ll just say it was a lot of work, and wonderful fun, and they were beautiful, the ceremony was beautiful, and I am utterly impressed with Sair’s new family. I just wish they weren’t on the opposite side of the world.

I did scads and scads of cleaning and fussing with the house for that – we put up a good half-dozen out-of-town twenty-somethings on couches and floors. Again, great fun, and I’d be happy for them all to come back again sometime. Except maybe I’d want to add another bathroom first. I did a lot of work making the backyard a more welcoming space, but with the drought I can’t really landscape it much. Maybe there will be rain next winter. Maybe.

Nikki the Adventure Cat made a miraculous return from his Odysseus-like travels. It’s a bit difficult fitting him into the current cat family, but slow improvements are coming.

I’ll get into more detailed posts anon, this is just sticking my toe in to test the waters.

Pic of the Day – 10/10/14


gad, cool, or what!

Originally posted on Check Your Premises:

Cleopatra’s underwater palace off the shore of Alexandria, Egypt.

Cleopatras underwater palace-Egypt

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Wild Food: How To Make Acorn Meal


so cool

Originally posted on Check Your Premises:

It’s that time of year, so this is worth a re-post:

A year ago, our neighbors the Groths gave us some acorn meal they’d made from wild-gathered acorns. I vowed to try it myself the following fall. It’s turned out very well. It’s even better (we think) than last year’s. The process is not complicated at all.

First, you’ll need to gather acorns. This part is fun. It’s like an Easter egg hunt. Starting in early October, look under large, mature oak trees. The green ones are freshest, but there should be acorns in all shades of green turning to brown. They should feel heavy for their size, and cool to the touch. If they’re black, they’re last year’s acorns and too old.


Discard any ones that have pinholes or rotten tops:


Also discard any that have obvious cracks in them:


Some will look perfect on the outside, but are…

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Well, that’s not okay

The good news is that the dishwasher I wanted was in stock and is here.

The bad news is that I can’t use it yet.
As the installation guy finished up and was leaving he told me that the cap on the t-pipe at the sink drain was cracked and had been leaking, but he didn’t have one with him so he wouldn’t fix it.
When I’d cleaned out under the sink so he could work, there had, indeed, been signs of a slow drip.
I’d had to throw out one box of wax paper that was a little damp.
So I figured, slow leak, I’ll get the plumber by to fix it.
Now that I think of it, though, he did say that since he’d handled it, it might get worse.

But, slow leak, I decided to go ahead and run the dishwasher, because I had a sink full of dishes.
When I emptied out the cups and things that had been soaking, suddenly I am standing in water because the leak is no longer anything like slow.
So far as I can tell, everything is coming straight out onto the floor.
So my guess is that the “might get worse” means that when he tested the dishwasher it leaked floods and he knew it, but didn’t feel like putting any more time into the job.
So I called, and my plumber is coming by at 8am.
He was – reasonably enough – a little puzzled at why a guy installing dishwashers didn’t have the relevant part and was willing to leave things broken.
The reason I have a t-joint under there is that the previous dishwasher installation guy put it in.
You know, in order to install the thing.
Or, even if he didn’t have one, why he didn’t just get on at the major plumbing supply store literally around the corner from my house.

At that point, considering the $$$$ all this had cost, only to leave me not only with no dishwasher, but also now with no sink, I got crabby enough to call the store and complain.
It’s a local place that I’ve gotten appliances from for years and years – three apartments worth of fridges, and washers, and dryers! – and I’ve never had any kind of problem with them before this.
Their installations, though, are handled by an outside guy, and this is a new and different contractor, who has only been with them for a year -I know this because I made small talk at him, briefly, before I got out of his way.
Anyway, the store guy didn’t seem to think it sounded okay either, and he called the guy to come back by and fix it.
Sounds good.
But when the installation guy called, first he gave me a lot of attitude – “You said you had a plumber, and that’s the sink pipe and not the installation.”
Of course, before he touched my sink pipe I didn’t have any real problem there, and he didn’t tell me I had major flooding when he left.
As I pointed out.
And then, second, when he told me he could be there in half an hour (having mysteriously acquired the part), he also told me he would charge another $50 dollars for the work – on top of the $185 he’d already gotten.

Sooooo, nope.
I told him no thanks, and that I was done dealing with him.
Even though my plumber will probably cost more, just no.

I called the store back to tell them I was unwilling to pay the guy to come back to finish his job, and expressed a lot of unhappiness about the whole thing.
The guy that says for my plumber to call them when he comes by in the morning, and that they will work something out with their installation guy.
So, I don’t know what the upshot of it all will be, but I don’t have a sink or a dishwasher until stupid o’clock in the morning, since that’s when my plumber (who is a hero) is squeezing me in.
(He says, “Oh that, that will take no time.”)
So maybe they will pay for some of my plumber’s cost.

Actually I had planned to ask the guy about installing a vent for my stove as long as he was here.
Just he seemed a bit grumpy, and that before all the drama.
It’s just that when I was at the store, I was talking to their salesperson about it (after paying for the dishwasher), and picking up the price lists and all.
I really want to finish painting the kitchen, but I gave up partway when I realized that even as I was working on the ceiling it was getting cooking dirt on the new paint.
Apparently, though, now the things can be routed down and out through the basement rather than up through a bedroom, and that means I can get one.
Except that it is the same installation company, and I frankly don’t want him in the house again.
I wonder whether my regular contractor guy knows how to install those things.

How’s Things?

I’m back, sorta, but basically 2013 was just a crappy year.
I just noticed, though, that it is 2014, and I am committed to it being better.
If so, I need to get on the case then, since it is already well-started.
Today, though, isn’t that great a day.

To being with, the dishwasher just died.
It’s lasted 19 years, with only one service call that I can remember, so I don’t think I can really complain.
(But I guess I am at that.)
I am basically replacing it with the same thing, but still there goes two day’s fussing that I hadn’t planned on, not to mention $$$ flying out the door, just to maintain the status quo.
On top of that, the house has somehow acquired a small population of flies that are driving me nuts.
I’ve gotten about half of them.
Even Habibi is sick of them, and won’t chase them anymore.
And I think I put Tom’s disabled parking placard into a mailbox, bundled in with a bunch of bills.
That kind of day.

On a happier note, I am off now to see whether I can find a reservable picnic space in Tilden Park that has redwoods or water or preferably both.
The reservable spaces I’m familiar with up there are mostly just meadows, but there are lots and lots of them so maybe there is one that will do.
I’m taking a camera so that I can send off photos and other people can decide.
I have been discovering that most of the pretty outside places where one (read Sair) could have a marriage ceremony are run by entities who want to have you have a real wedding, with processions and fancy clothes, and charge you upwards of $1200 just to be there, with hidden charges galore.
Sair just wants a pretty place for some photos and a party.
I think the suggestion of face painting was a joke? but that is a good measure of the degree of formality they are seeking.

Oh, so, yeah, Sair and Alex are getting married in August.
They are both in Canberra until mid-June, and the groundwork on setting things up pretty much has to happen now, pretty much by me.
What they’d really like would be something like a ceremony on the Marin Headlands, or Muir Woods or the like.
But (as Sair ought to remember as an August baby!) August in the Bay Area is generally foggy and cold, especially at the coast.
Besides which, we have a high proportion of people from here who don’t even have cars, not to mention a bunch of Alex’s Australian family members who will be jet-lagged and driving on the wrong side of the street and probably want to drink things too.
In addition to which, getting from Berkeley to the coast on a Saturday afternoon in the summer is hellish to begin with.
So that’s why I’m hoping Tilden has some good possibilities for us, even if it lacks an ocean.
The fallbacks are maybe the UC Botanical Garden, which will be pricey, and definitely not at all an informal venue, or possibly the Berkeley Rose Garden, which is a city park in Berkeley itself on a Saturday.
My sorta plan is that there is an early afternoon pretty outdoors thing with maybe champagne (snacks?) there, then back to the house (much cleaned) with a lot of food and more drinks, and hanging out with no bugs or time limits, and with real bathrooms and plates and such.
If this is okay with them, since it is their thing and they should have something they like.

And – good news! – apparently any resident of Alameda county can now take a short class and then be officially allowed to perform one ceremony.
So we wouldn’t have to go by some county office on the Friday to do paperwork, and have the celebration on Saturday.
And their marriage certificate can even have the day they want, and not the nearest weekday.
I don’t think it would be fair for me or Tom to do this, but there are a couple of people I can think of who would do a really good job.
I think they even have a good notion of who they want to ask, and that could be really nice.
This could actually come off.



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