Sunday, March 25, 2007

Kitties that Think They Know How to Make a Bed

Whenever I do housework, Spammy likes to help. If I fold laundry, that usually means that Spammy will lie down on top of the t-shirts and turtlenecks that I am about to fold. When I change the sheets on the bed, he thinks his role is to lie down on the sheetless mattress. So I put the sheet right on top of him and tuck it in... which makes for a rather lumpy bed.

This time, Musubi saw Spammy helping, so she decided to help too, in her own special way:

Monday, March 19, 2007

Bah! Snow!

As far as winters in the northeast go, we really haven't had much snow to speak of this season. But I'm gonna say it anyway. Enough snow!!! Go away already!!!

It began late Thursday night and continued all through Friday and into early Saturday morning, which was about the time I took this photo to the right (I think it was shortly after midnight).

It just so happened that Friday morning was my day to deliver library books to shut-ins. The roads had not gotten too terrible by the time I started and I was able to complete my route without incident. Kenji and I still hadn't gone food shopping yet since I returned from Anaheim earlier in the week, so for supper we decided to brave the nasty weather and walk to a neighborhood restaurant. We saw some motorists spinning their wheels but it seems most folks were staying indoors and off the streets. On our way home, we spotted these two kids playing in the snow in our front yard.

They weren't there anymore in the morning.

Although the accumulation was only four or five inches, the snow was extra-hard to shovel because the top layer had formed into an icy crust. This photo was taken from inside our garage, and those are my feet standing on top of the snow, rather than sinking into it. I think it took us about three or four hours to shovel our driveway and sidewalk. Because much of our driveway is sandwiched between our house and the neighbor's fence, we had to do a lot of lifting and carrying snow to either the front or the back yard to get it off the driveway. We've decided that a wheelbarrow might be a good investment to help eliminate some of the lifting and carrying.

Shoveling out didn't actually come to a complete close until today though. When I got home from work this afternoon, I found that the plow had come by and deposited a nice pile of heavy, icy, chunky snow right at the end of our driveway. :P

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Escape from deep freeze!

In the wee hours of this morning I returned home after a week in Anaheim, California. Although I was there for business, it was also a lot of fun. And the most welcome part of the excursion of course was escaping the freezing cold weather for sunny souther California. When I left New Jersey on Tuesday morning, it was bone-chilling 13° outside; when I stepped off the plane in Anaheim, it was a wonderful dry 78°! Yay! And there was a nice pool and hot tub right outside my hotel room! Woo-hoo!

The reason I went to California was to work at the Natural Products Expo West, once again serving up all kinds of delicious pies, cookies, tea breads, crumble cakes in the exhibit booth of the company for which I work. Standing in the booth all day for three days in a row is tough on the feet, but it's nothing a little soak in the hot tub can't cure. ;)

The day before I left for Anaheim, I did a little research to see where I might be able to go swing dancing, since I knew there is a very active Lindy community in southern California. To my extreme delight I learned that Orange County was hosting a Lindy exchange the very same weekend that I would be in town. I didn't have a whole lot of free time in the evenings, but I did manage to sneak out on Friday night for some dancing at the Atomic Ballroom. I don't know whether the size of the crowd at the Atomic Ballroom was larger than usual (it's a regular weekly event) due to the exchange. Either way, it was quite a large crowd, and it seemed to me that there were a good number of quality dancers there. Folks seemed quite friendly too, so I can safely say that I enjoyed dancing with southern California quite a lot.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Fake Rock Climbing!

Yesterday, Kenji and I took an introductory rock climbing lesson at NJ Rock Gym, an indoor climbing facility in Fairfield, NJ. I call this post fake rock climbing because the walls at the gym aren't really rock.

This was a first time for both of us. The instructor at the gym, Margo, taught us how to tie the appropriate knots and how to belay. The belayer is the person who holds the other end of the rope that the climber is tied to, and makes sure that the climber won't get killed if he or she should fall off the wall.

It was fun - we each did probably around six or eight climbs during and after the lesson. The gym walls were probably only 25 or 30 feet tall - tall enough to give us an idea of what it's like. The walls we climbed were not especially difficult, but there were some walls at the gym that I'm sure we'll needs lots of practice before being able to tackle them. I think I have more upper body strength than I expected I would, but I still got tired pretty quickly. As the belayer, when you are ready to let the climber come down, you have to let the rope slip through your "brake" hand - this was the part I liked least, as my right hand are very wimpy and began to feel raw after belaying only few climbs for Kenji. I wonder if wearing little half gloves to rock climbing is a wussie thing to do. After all, I didn't notice any of the other climbers there wearing anything on their hands.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Favorite Kitty Toys

Yesterday I vacuumed the house. When I moved the living room furniture aside to vacuum the floors beneath, I found the usual treasure trove of kitty cat toys that went missing since the last time I vacuumed under the living room furniture. Only one of the toys was actually purchased intentionally as a cat toy; the rest were stolen orange juice and milk jug caps, rubber bands, little paper cranes, and an assortment of tiny stuffed animals that came from my former workplace in Hawaii. One of those little animals is a moose, and he happens to be Musubi's favorite toy. She named him Moosoobi.

Spammy and Musubi definitely have their own favorite toys - toys that one kitty will play with like crazy, yet the other kitty is disinterested. Moosoobi is one such toy. Spammy couldn't care less about Moosoobi, but Musubi will bat Moosoobi all around, and then pick him up and take care of him like he's a little kitten.

As I type this post, Spammy has just dragged one of his favorite toys, Stick, all the way up the stairs and dropped it on the floor by my chair. I wrote about Stick in a previous post, back when Spammy would play fetch. It's funny that he drags Stick all over the house to us because he barely plays with it anymore when I pick it up and wiggle it for him. Yet he'll drag it up and down the stairs at least four times a day. Spammy also loves to play with Cowie, which used to be a cute little Gateway cow obtained at some trade show, but now is a dirty gray disgusting, half-torn to pieces cow. Like Stick, Spammy will pick Cowie up and carry him around. He also chucks him in the air and wrestles with Cowie from behind table legs and atop of scratching posts. Spammy also enjoys Fiber Optic Toy - another trade show giveaway. Fiber Optic Toy is a useless but fun bit of technology with a handle containing batteries and multiple colored LEDs
that illuminate the fiber optic strands that extend about four or five inches from the handle. When I wiggle Fiber Optic Toy, Spammy likes to chase it and grab it in his teeth and try to yank it out of my hand, which I usually let him do. Then he'll carry it to some place near or under the dining room table and wait for me to pick it up again so he can grab it from me.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Long time, no write

It's been a while since I've updated my blog because I guess I just keep doing other stuff. Today is a dreary Friday - when we woke up this morning, there was torrential rain falling and the sides of our street looked liked riverbeds. When I was out this morning, there were little waterfalls coming off the hillside next to Mount Pleasant Avenue. I am quite happy that my book delivery week was last week and not this one!

Since the last time I posted, Kenji finally came home for good after a six-week stint of paper-pushing in our nation's capital. He was able to come home on most weekends, and for the last two weekends, I drove down to visit him. While I was there we visited several museums, including the Museum of Natural History (where the picture of Kenji and his fellow paper-pushers was taken; also current home of the Hope Diamond), one of the art museums (I forget the name), the International Spy Museum, and the United States Botanic Garden. It was especially cold the two weekends I was there, particularly in light of the mild winter we've had, so it's safe to say my favorite museum to go into was the Botanic Garden. It was warm and humid like Hawaii, and a lot of the plants looked like Hawaii, too.

Usually I'm not that big a fan of humidity, but it's been so dry the last couple months, and I've had quite enough of my hair rising up from my shoulders and sticking to my face, having scarves stick to me like Velcro, and being shocked every time I pet the kitties or kiss Kenji.

We are enjoying our new car. I really really like keyless remote entry. :) It's also nice to be able to plug our iPods into it. My only complaint about it is that the around-town gas mileage is not as advertised. On the highway I get around 37 mpg, but in day-to-day driving it's more like 25-30 (25 if I have to sit in traffic for a while). I think the Civic more consistently got 30 mpg around town, and maybe as much as 33 on the highway.