Friday, August 28, 2009

the wind began to switch, the house to pitch...

Lest you think it's ever a good idea to enjoy a quiet, relaxing day at home, somewhat smug in the knowledge that all is right with the world and that nothing could go wrong...

Just come on over to my place, and I'll learn ya good.

See, I was doing just that earlier today - getting some work done, munching some munchies, watching Lizzie and Rosa actually playing together (well, Lizzie was playing. She'd drop her tennis ball in front of the cat, who, quite predictably, would ignore it completely). Basically, I was keeping it chill and enjoying the rare peace and quiet.

You know something's coming, don't you? Because you're no doubt smarter than I was, no doubt a little more world-wise and a little less Pollyanna-ish.

So, here's how it went down: Out of nowhere came a screaming (literally) gust of wind that rattled the wooden blinds and caused both animals to look at me like WTF??

Naturally, I ran to the front windows and closed them both up tight, all the while reminding myself that this solid little house has certainly withstood worse than a rogue dust devil over the decades. Plus, I lived out on the Prairie for years, so it's not like I haven't seen my share of mini-Arizona tornadoes. When I got back to the computer, however, I realized that the gust must have knocked the power out. Sigh. Time to check the fuse box (knowing that the issue was probably with one of the big APS boxes down the road). I headed out the back door to check it anyway, and that was when I spotted several neighbors rushing around their properties while pointing to mine.

The crabby part of me started to think something like, What's their problem? until I looked to where they were all pointing, which was at the spot where my little horse shelter/barn used to be.
Used. To. Be.

Because, not only was the shelter gone, but the two-by-six beam, heavy-duty shingle roof had apparently been picked up whole, lifted about twenty feet in the air (where it knocked out the overhead power line), spun around and deposited on my neighbor's property. Strangely enough, not a single thing in the wood/storage/tack shed right next to it was moved even half an inch.

After the initial shock wore off, I realized that I should seriously count my blessings, because nobody - neither human nor hoofed nor pawed - was hurt, and a horse shelter can always be replaced.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

those mice ain't playing anymore

A promise was made to my cat-crazed daughter about a year ago, and it went something like this: Yes, you can get a cat...WHEN we move into a place that we own (as opposed to renting, which we were doing at the time). And so, now, let me present...

(drum roll, please)

...a promise kept:

Blogosphere, meet Rosa.

Rosa, Blogosphere.

"Why Rosa?" I wanted to know when cat-crazed daughter announced her name.

"Because she's beautiful like a rose, and because she's cute, and because I was thinking about Princess Rosa from Puss in Boots."

Fair enough. This kitty is beautiful, and she has an awesome little personality. She's a year old, so she's already litterbox trained, more mellow than a kitten and very self-assured. She also arrived at the Coconino Humane Society with two kittens - one six weeks and one six months. So, it appears the poor thing has already had two litters, which may explain her petite size and can-do attitude.

I'm a little worried that Rosa isn't happy here in her new home, though - that she may be a bit too tense:

And Lizzie? How's Lizzie liking her new sister, you ask? Oh, Lizzie is thrilled beyond belief! Lizzie can hardly contain her excitement! Lizzie is...

...Well, I'm sure she will be exceedingly pleased in time, right?

I think Lizzie may be smelling her halo. Or maybe I've just had a certain song stuck in my head today. Either way, our new addition is already a blessing.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

keeping it simple

The inside of the house looked like a tornado hit it today: The massive cardboard box from the range we picked up at Best Buy sat in the middle of the living room floor, embellished with scarves, blankets, dog toys - anything that would make its new incarnation as a secret fort more complete; half-finished homework covered the coffee table while the afternoon light from the west-setting sun pressed through the slats of the blinds. And the ottoman...The ottoman was awash in cat books (felines being daughter's long time obsession). My (paying) work for the day was nearly finished, and I had my babies with me (I'll still be calling them that when they have families of their own, I'm sure). In short, life was complete.

The three of us sat sprawled on the couch like a pile of puppies, and we just talked. Son asked if I'd ever experienced a natural disaster, like a hurricane or a tornado. I told him I hadn't been through either of those, but there was the '89 Loma Prieta quake, which I experience firsthand as a new employee at the Pacific Garden Mall in Santa Cruz, which was largely destroyed that day, twenty years ago this October. Then the conversation shifted to the 1906 earthquake in San Francisco, where my grandfather lived. He was just a boy right about the age my son is now, and my mother tells me that, shortly after the quake hit, he was running down the street carrying the precious family portrait, since each person basically had time to carry just one thing.

I know time isn't something you can carry in a literal sense. It's fleeting and resistant to any human effort to control it. But I'll tell you this: If time could be carried, if it could be removed from danger and taken elsewhere, that half hour on the couch today would be the kind of thing you'd see clutched in my arms as I ran toward safety.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

the reasons for vegas

I've discovered that there are many reasons to head for Vegas, which is ironic, considering the fact that I used to loathe the very thought of Sin City. The main reason for visiting seems to have to do with casting all cares aside and heading toward the showiest adult playground to be found anywhere (done that). Then, of course, there's the getting-married-by-Elvis-in-a-chapel-off-the-Strip reason (haven't done that, though I know people who did get married there (not by The King)). There's getting away with the girlfriends for a no holds barred weekend of lounging and dressing up and occasionally making a fool of one's self (I strongly resemble that remark). And then there are the family get-togethers (ditto). This time, I found myself focusing on the sights - specifically, the sights to be found behind glass in the bakeries and Gelato shops:

The artistry is intense, and the confections prove to be treats for all the senses, not just the tastebuds

When you stare up at the ceiling in the lobby of the Venetian, you feel like you're right smack dab in the middle of the Vatican, and the fact that the hotel was chock-full of Italians might attest to its authenticity. As a friend pointed out, though, it does seem a bit odd to travel to another country and seek out a hotel that is basically a replica of your homeland.

Over at the Bellagio, there is a fairly amazing Conservatory of Flowers that makes such a nice getaway from the hustle and bustle of the casino and shops (even if the miraculous concoction that is the Chocolate Nut Martini is located there in the Baccarat Bar). I also noticed that people start smiling these serene, joyous smiles as soon as they walk into the conservatory - and it's not an expression that's easy to find on the casino floor, where faces tend to look much more distracted and glazed over. There are flowers, butterflies and birds galore in the conservatory, including these lorakeets (I'm pretty sure that's what this is):

There's also a hypnotic, glass waterball. I want one in my sunroom.

And, did I mention that Gelato reigns as far as the eye can see?

Who knows what the reason for my next trip to Vegas will be. But this one was a fun getaway. And, as an Italian man sitting behind us on a bench as we all waited for our vehicles said (in Italian - my mom translated): "What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas."

"Not for you it doesn't," answered his wife.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

English, not British

I had a blast at the Giles Carradine dressage clinic in Flagstaff yesterday, and then drove to Vegas immediately afterward with my mother, who's in town for a visit and hasn't seen this city in about twenty years. More pics of everything a bit later. Right now it's time to hit the Strip, Baby. Sephora, especially, which is one of those stores that always makes me wish I had tons of kwan to spend - but who does in this economy, right?

Monday, August 03, 2009

the reason for cheesecake

It just occurred to me that I pretty much stole the title of this post from Chitra Divakaruni, who wrote a book of poetry years ago called The Reason for Nasturtiums. But, I digress.

So, this really yummy-looking cherry cheesecake was taking up space in my fridge lately, and I didn't know what to do with it. The first people I thought about serving it to all have lactose intolerance to some degree or another, so they were out. I was hesitant to dive into it myself, since I doubted my ability to know when enough was enough. So, it just sat there.

Then, I was out with the weed whacker the other day, trying to clear at least some semblance of a three-foot zone around the house so that when all the boob-high weeds (the ones that were busy growing like Audrey II while we were in the Bay Area) dry out, the house won't go up in flames as soon as some rogue flash of lightning strikes.

It was going pretty well until I heard my cell phone ringing, turned off the whacker, and realized that I could hardly hold the phone because my arm was so exhausted. Sounds wimpy, I know, and maybe it is. But if you've never seen a Northern Arizona, boob-high weed ("like tree trunks" was how one friend put it), much less tried to whack one with a light weight edger, please don't judge my girly arms.

Apparently, a kindly neighbor couple decided to take pity on me, because the next thing I knew, the husband had wheeled over a big ol' push whacker (kind of like a lawn mower, but for mass weed slaughter instead) and was showing me how to fill the tank, pull the cord to start the thing and reinstall the line. I worried a little about putting the wear and tear on someone else's equipment, and the thing did pick up some stray wire and baling twine hiding in the brush...but it was AWEsome. I so totally need to get a push-along weed whacker.

The problem was, with all the moving boxes scattered hither and yon, I couldn't find my supply of trade soap - bars I use for trading out with folks who loan, give or help me with something. And these neighbors did not ask for or expect anything in return - that was made quite clear. Still, I like a fair trade. So, there I stood in my kitchen after rolling the whacker back over to their shop, thinking, "What can I trade?" I opened the fridge, and there it was: a perfectly lovely cherry cheesecake, saying, "Trade me!"

So, I did. And the looks on their faces when I handed it over were proof enough that it was a fair trade indeed.