Archive for June, 2007

So, seven years ago, Lucky was having kitten urges.  It’s about as maternal as she gets.  She conned Charmed into letting her go to the Humane Society and look for a baby.  Baaaaad idea.  She found a baby alright….

Oscar, Toby and Emmett – Summer of 2000

She actually found FOUR babies…..  we were orphans and we had a momma kitty that was looking out for us.  Lucky was in looooooove with my racing stripes but she was afraid to take me away from momma and she didn’t want to take momma away from my brothers so she just piled all of us into a box and we came home!

Toby, Emmett and Oscar

Charmed was not amused.  But he had held her captive in the sauna of Texas for two years, so his heart was softened to her plight.  We all came upstairs to live in the old house.  Our furniture wasn’t even here yet – but we were!  Our foster momma (Lucky named her Lily) started to get sick not long after we came home.  Lucky tried to nurse her through the night but it just didn’t matter.  Lily was gone before daylight.  Lucky was torn apart.  She now had three little mouths to bottle feed.  With no bed.  No furniture.  No foster care.  Lucky slept on the floor with us and woke up every few hours to nurse us.  She worried that whatever befell Lily was going to take us too.  She spoiled us rotten.  It wasn’t long though, that we were on to kitten chow and starting to wean.

You can see my snazzy stripes really well in the pic above.  Well, long story short, it’s now seven years later and we’ve gone from being less than a pound to over 15 pounds each!  We thrived!  Perhaps a bit too much!  We’re still Lucky’s babies, though…..sometimes more than she would like.  We’re, um…..attached.  We rotate in her lap.  We get jealous if any of the other kitties are in OUR space.  That’s our momma! 

So, Happy Gotcha! Anniversary to us…. the brothers of the fruitbat ears, the brothers pushy, the brothers Grimley.  We’re Bobo, Phlegmy, Ed…..um, no……we’re Flowbee, Flemmet and Oogie….no….uh….well, we’re loved.  That’s all we really need to know, isn’t it?

Sentimentally yours,

Toby (Oscar and Emmett, too!)

P.S. – Go see Tigger, Sir Woody and Sonny Bob at Pet’s Garden where they’re hosting this week’s Weekend Cat Blogging.



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Don’t get excited.  T’wasn’t my day.  Let me tell you a story……

There once was a little girl.  There hadn’t been another little girl since her mother.  The family, well, they weren’t sure what to do with her.  They wanted to dress her in frills and lace but her role models were two brothers who embodied the farm life.  What to do?

This girl grew up in the shadow of these two men.  She emulated and idolized them.  They became everything she hoped to become…. until…. one day…. they didn’t love her anymore. 

She rode on his motorcycle.  He used to take her, after work at Esco, when his bike cooled, for a ride on the tank in front of him.  She felt like such a princess.  So important!  So loved!  She begged and he made her a part of his life. She amazed him with her knowledge (after all, she at 6 knew that Pink Floyd came out with “The Wall” the day he went to buy it on vinyl) because she didn’t know any other way to win his heart.  He and his fiancee became her aunt and uncle even though they were no more than cousins….  He showed her love – the best way he knew how.  She never forgot it.  She read the quality of race tracks with him and a pocket knife; then she videotaped his and his brother’s accomplishments on those same tracks all over the state.  She kept her maroon satin jacket in the back of the closet from 1990, embroidered with her name because she was a part of that life….  once….

She’s never stopped caring about him and the family she once knew.  She invited him to her wedding…. but he wouldn’t come.  She’s still here…and she still remembers summer lunches with her belated aunt and the Young and the Restless in the trailer.  She remembers him pacing on the phone, his pinky in his mouth as he talked. 

Happy belated 50th birthday, Uncle Mike.  I still love you.  I think I probably always will.

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I’m a terrible dancer.  I’m just not a graceful individual.  This is not a newsflash.  As a child I was asked to repeat beginner gymnastics at the YMCA instead of graduating to the advanced class.  A big, red flag hangs over my head that screams “KLUTZ” but I ignore that and pretend it’s an awning.  I like to envision myself as the graceful swan but alas, I’m the duck with orthopedic webbing.  I’m an obliviously happy dancer – even without the benefit of mind-altering substances.  Which is why, after attending a friend’s wedding, I decided that I wanted to see what dance lessons were offered locally. 

I came across the C-U Swing Society offering lessons in Beginner Swing.  I was THERE!  For a mere $25 for 6 weeks of endurance, they would attempt to teach you the basics.  What hilarity!  Charmed took ballroom basics with me in Chicago and won’t dance to this day, so asking him was perfunctory but I knew already that I was going alone.  

I just went to my second class yesterday at the Illini Union.  Bless these students and their patience.  I was a cow with a crutch but they still kept trying to teach me.  Fortunately for me, there are others that are also struggling.  Perhaps not as badly as I am, but I am not the only one not tuck-turning my way into stardom.  They’re not laughing at my face, at least!  Well, not yet….

Prior to my class, Charmed and I went to The Bread Company on Goodwin.  I love campus.  I am so obnoxiously wistful when I go back there.  I miss being a part of something awesome.  I firmly believe that the University of Illinois is one of those magical places.  But it, like the rest of your youth, you cannot appreciate until it’s gone.  A little over ten years ago I was cramming for exams, attempting to graduate and escape so I wouldn’t be a 19-year undergrad (I think there’s a 7 year limit, but I’m an overachiever.)  I didn’t have take the time to smell the roses that were the coffee shops, the other students, the eclectic restaurants.  But I always made time for “Pie” at midnight at O’Malley’s…..rest its sticky-floored soul.   Ahh….priorities!

But, back to The Bread Company.  They always seem to be a vestige of civility in an otherwise collegiately-geared world.  They have wines by the glass, specials consisting of “off the beaten path” items as well as pizzas, sandwiches and salads… Just not your usual fare that’s on every menu in town.   I noticed that they even had fondue now and was very tempted, but alas – I was off to dance with boys who didn’t know me….best not smell of cheese and oil.

I chose the Ricotta pizza with kalamata olives and artichoke hearts.  This was served on a light crust that was perfectly crispy.  The flavors blended and I had 3 slices before declaring myself dance-ready and boxed the remainder for the road.

Charmed had the seared Yellowfin Tuna with haricots verts and roasted potatoes.  He seemed to be very pleased with his meal.  I tasted the tuna and was enamored with the smoky char and the richness of the flesh. 

We finished our meals and then popped in next door for an after-dinner coffee at Espresso Royale on the corner.  I was satisfied, I was revving on caffeine…. it was time to DANCE…. or clumsily attempt not to fall down.  Another week of attempting to swing!  On to Week 3!!

Hooray for an enjoyable meal, an entertaining evening of attempting to better myself…. and revisiting the campus that I love.  Gotta love Champaign-Urbana!

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WCB: Too hot!

We’re here…but barely.  It’s hot!!!  I looked at Harmon over at Kate in the Kitchen and thought about asking Lucky for the “lion cut” but I know she’d spazz.  I’m her “fuzzy wubby” and she’d rather keep me furry and turn up the A/C. 

But if I got a haircut I could go outside……..  MOM!!!  Are you listening?  I’m a black cat….it’s 97 degrees in the shade…..

Oh forget it…..  I’m gonna take a little nap here on Lucky’s shoes and then head over to A Byootaful Life to see what Puddy and the rest of the gang are doing.




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My very first blog encouraged my limited readership to vote NO to prohibition in Catlin Township.  You did.  Thankyouverymuch!

Charmed and I wandered out to the winery last weekend and had a lovely visit with Joe and Dawn Taylor, the owners of Sleepy Creek Vineyards.   They are thrilled at the response that they have received from the community, and it is for good reason!

Currently they’re offering three wines for sale – a dry red, a off-dry white and a semi-sweet red.  I was very pleased.  Their grapes are all from Illinois, but don’t let that put you off!  These are not California wines but they have depth and character. 

Hen-Pecked, the semi-sweet red is not TERRIBLY sweet.  I started with cloying wines back in the day (and didn’t we all?) but now they are harsh on my palate.  This wine was soft, started sweet and fruity with a port nose, but ended at the middle of my tongue.  While that’s probably not fantastic in wine circles, I’m pleased that it wasn’t sappily sweet on my tongue for a finish.  The best description I can offer is “chocolate covered cherry.”  This would be a lovely wine slightly chilled after dinner or even by itself for picnic fare.

Sour Puss white has bite!  Acidity rules in this yummy, clean wine.  Crisp, big apple flavors dominate the palate but again, no heavy after taste.  This reminds me of a slightly sweeter version of Sauvignon Blanc – it’s aged in stainless steel and the lack of exposure to wood lets the true flavor of the grapes shine.  For those of you who enjoy the German style of Riesling, this will please you!

Bull-Headed Red is bigger and bolder than what I expected.  It has some funk to it – and I mean that in the best way possible!  An earthy nose leads into an acidic but not terribly tannic palate.  Dark red fruit prevails with cherry and currant.


 You owe it to yourself to make a journey to the winery.  The atmosphere is lovely – walk amongst the vines and around the pond, enjoy conversation with Joe and Dawn – they’re passionate about what they’re doing and excited to be contributing to an up-and-coming industry in Illinois. 

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WCB: Confinement!

Lucky loves us, but apparently she loves those crazy rabbits more.  She won’t let us go outside to play.  She thinks we’re going to try to eat them.  Well, duh!  We’re cats; they’re rabbits.  So we’re ALL in here….and Charmed’s in Thailand.  That leaves us with just one opposable-thumb bearing human.  6:1 is not a particularly good ratio. 

Wyatt is crashed out – presumably dreaming about his robin from last week that Lucky allowed him to kill but then wouldn’t allow him to eat.  (She’s such a killjoy!)


Oscar is living up to his “Special Ed” moniker today.  He’s hiding in a box.  We all pretend we can’t see him.  Can you?

Emmett’s on the move, looking for Lucky.  He can’t be too far away from her.  Charmed says he has one brain cell and it’s fixated on “Mama….Mama….Mama….”  I’d tell him she’s on the couch watching an old Hitchcock film, but the fuzzball needs to roam a bit.

Toby’s…..somewhere.  Probably under the bed in Lucky’s storage room.  I’m not even going to try to crawl under there.  That’s his domain.

Mina…..well, Mina’s being her usual “diva” self and doesn’t want anyone to forget that she is the princess of this house.  Good grief!

I’m just chillin’ out, hoping the door will open and I might have an opportunity to pay those bunnies a second visit.  Looks like the other Weekend Cat Blogging kitties – and even the squirrels (!!) – are having more fun than we are over at What Did You Eat?  Wander over and check them out….we’ll be here…inside…boooooooored. 




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Fun with Fruit!

So, I received an e-mail the other day inviting me to a “Spiked Fruit” party.  Who could resist?  So, I started scouring the internet for something interesting since I had never made spiked fruit for the sake of spiked fruit…. 

I encountered a Sangria recipe that I found to be quite pleasant and appeared to be simple.  I’m a firm believer in lazy prep, so here’s what I did….

I took dried fruit (apples, pears, apricots, prunes, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries – all purchased at Sam’s) by the handful and put them into a ziplock bag, then added 3 scant cups of Captain Morgan “Tattoo” Rum (it was what was left in the bottle.)  I put this in the fridge along with an inexpensive bottle of shiraz / merlot blend and wandered out for a few hours.  While out I grabbed a can of Five Alive frozen juice concentrate.  I came home, grabbed the fruit, wine and a pitcher and set off for the gathering.  Upon arrival I mixed the entire bottle of wine with the Five Alive.  I ladled the inebriated fruit into glasses and poured the wine mix over the top.  Pretty tasty – and CHEAP!!  Plus the bonus of using dried fruit meant I didn’t have to shop for fresh or chop / peel / section ANYTHING.  Lucky has limited culinary skills, as you will recall.  😉

My friends were entirely more ambitious than I am.  They actually got together prior to the party and made fruit preparation an evening’s entertainment. 

Beautiful work, but I’m just not that “Martha.” 

B.S. bought a “horny melon” for our interest and edification.  Nothing like a learning experience when you’re sucking down vodka-logged melon balls! 

None of us had ever tried such a thing, so he quickly sliced it open for our perusal.

It smelled grassy and “green.”  It tasted like licking the underside of the mower.  One of the partygoers thought it was reminiscent of kiwi.  I always thought kiwi tasted much better than this!  We all had a spoonful of the seed-logged flesh, pronounced it “icky” and it was promptly trashed. 

We then returned to our evening’s entertainment of wincing at the contestants on “So You Think You Can Dance,” eating / drinking our fruit and picking at the fantastic brined chicken that B.S. made. 

What fun!

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