27 August 2007

Update, Part 1

What have I been doing this summer, when I haven't been posting?

Well, Jeff's grandfather died, as I've mentioned previously, and because it was unexpected and tragic, it took up most of our attention during the latter two-thirds of June. Olaf 's grave marker was still being made at the time of the graveside service. The roses mark the spot; he is buried right next to his mother, Lenora Feely.The memorial service was in a church, and there was a flag thingie in the front, which was related to Olaf being a WWII veteran, along with a display with his picture and some other paraphernalia.
Mom and Dad came up for the funeral, to be supportive. A fun time was not had by all, even though the church provided a nice luncheon reception.

The next week, we got Rosalee a kitten to give her something on which to focus and provide companionship. Rosalee named her Mittsy. She's so cute.


I have a new theme and a new look (currently boring, but I'm going to try designing a header and some other stuff) for my blog.

I'll be posting more, for real. I'm sure you're all relieved to hear it.

17 August 2007

Tujuh Belas Agustus (17 August)

It comes around every year, and while I do not actively celebrate Indonesia's Independence Day (as in, I don't take a holiday from work or school or anything like that), I usually observe it in some way. This year, I opted to make myself some nasi goreng (fried rice) and teh manis (sweet tea) for dinner. I'd been craving the fried rice anyway, I had some leftover nasi putih (steamed white rice) in the fridge, and I'm rather a devotee of the idea that kalau belum makan nasi, belum makan (basic translation: "If you haven't yet eaten rice, you haven't really eaten").

Politically and socially speaking, there are plenty of things I dislike about Republik Indonesia. Nevertheless, it does have a place in my heart, and not just because of the food (even though the food is really great-- way better than indigenous American food of any variety).

14 August 2007

Panjang Umurku

Yesterday was my Hari Ulang Tahun, known in the US primarily as "birthday". My parents were visiting, and while Jeff had to go to work, so I didn't get to see him all day, I had a lovely day of relaxing and doing what I enjoy: Starbucks for breakfast, a visit to the library, a stroll through downtown Visalia to look at shops with Mom. Then we had pizza dinner at Debbie and Jerry's house, and Rob and Candace were there, so it was nice to see them.

11 August 2007

The terror that flaps in the night

For Christmas, Sara gave me a set of Disney's Darkwing Duck cartoons on DVD (Yay! Thanks, Sara!). Darkwing Duck is my favorite cartoon of all time. I watched it when it ran on The Disney Afternoon in the early 1990s, and my whole family loved it. Unlike many silly or saccharine cartoon shows, Darkwing Duck has dark comedy with an edge, featuring humor of the gallows or even (occasionally) potty variety (several IMDB reviewers commented, and rightly, "I can't believe Disney did this-- and got away with it in an afternoon cartoon!"). The basic set-up is something of a satire of Batman: the main character has no supernatural abilities, but relies on handy technical gadgets and a modicum of crime-solving know-how to capture a variety of villains. There are puns, sight gags, inside jokes, running jokes, and a general hilarity related to the characters and the situations in which they find themselves. The alliterative and articulate masked mallard fights crime in the Gotham-like city of St. Canard and encounters evil-doers of both the mutant and simply psychopathic variety. In addition to Darkwing Duck (and his civilian alter ego, suburbanite Drake Mallard), series regulars include goofy pilot sidekick Launchpad McQuack (crossing over from an earlier Disney Afternoon series, Duck Tales), adopted daughter Gosalyn, and the Mallard family's utterly boring and predictable next-door neighbors, the Muddlefoots.

See as many episodes of this cartoon as you possibly can. Someday, you may need to know about vampire potatoes or that "the cows are not what they seem".

[Notice: Darkwing Duck, his image, and anything else pertaining to him, are property of DISNEY. Please buy only legally licensed Darkwing Duck paraphernalia (not that I've seen a big market for illegally licensed Darkwing Duck items, but still). Speaking of which, why doesn't Disney do more to market Darkwing, rather than that lame other duck, Donald, or even that mouse?]

10 August 2007

Lassie, eat your heart out!

As many of you know, Jeff and I are owned by two cats: grey tabbies named Touchy and Hobbes. [We are temporarily possessed by a long-haired calico named Nala, but she will be moving out to be with her true family in a few days; we're keeping her while her humans settle into their apartment.] I have no shame in admitting that a fair portion of joy and amusement in my life comes from these kitty cats.

Touchy is pudgy, a bit clumsy, sweet and shy. He will come and hang out with me, and follow me around the house like a puppy, but he is not a lap cat. Hobbes is leaner and meaner, the alpha cat in the household. He is not a lap cat, either, but he does make a habit of sleeping on our bed at night, and I like it, because he sleeps ON my feet, and keeps them warm.

Hobbes is the primary subject of my post. He is a cat that is far too smart for his own good. In our old apartment in Fullerton, Hobbes figured out how to open door handles; we always had remind guests to lock the bathroom door, lest Hobbes take it upon himself to open the door and invoke a rather embarrassing situation. Fortunately, our current home has round knobs, rather than handles, on the doors, and since Hobbes lacks opposable thumbs and is furthermore unlikely to acquire them anytime in the near future, we think things are safe for now. But Hobbes also took the opportunity, in the Fullerton apartment, to figure out how sliding glass doors work. He knew how to open the sliding door to our balcony. Of course, Hobbes is only 11 pounds and maybe 11 inches long, so he could not actually MOVE the sliding glass door, despite his best efforts, but it was pretty undeniable that he understood how it worked: when he wanted to go out onto the porch, he would stand on his hind paws, hook his front paw through the door handle, and lean back, trying to pull the door open.

In truth, Hobbes has outdone himself. We now have a sliding glass door, coupled with a screen door, that leads to our back yard. It has been my habit to open the glass door in the morning, allowing fresh air to circulate through the house before it gets too hot (or what others would consider "too hot", since I myself don't usually feel the heat) by mid-day, and just leave the screen door shut to keeps cats in and bugs out. In the past few days, Hobbes learned how to open the screen door. Day before yesterday, I was out doing some yard work and heard a scraping sound from the direction of the house. I looked up and discovered that the door was opened about three inches, Nala was on the little patio, and Touchy was cautiously poking his nose outside, while Hobbes was nowhere to be seen. Oh, no! I ran and grabbed Nala, shooed Touchy back in, and began calling Hobbes. He didn't show himself, so I pulled a trick from the Bad Parenting Handbook and got out his favorite treat (powdered milk), intending to bribe him back into the house. I called him again and made the tsking noise the cats associate with treats, and sure enough, he came running back inside. Too smart for his own good.

All's well that end's well, but now I can't leave the glass door open even a few minutes, if I'm not standing right there to catch Hobbes poking his paw at the screen door and scooting it open. I'll have to rely on opening the windows to keep the the house fresh and airy.