Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Loch Ness Agnes

So, L woke me up this morning in a very cute way. She rolled over, held me close, and then proceeded to tell me about the weirdest fucking dream ever.

It was Winter. Or maybe it was Summer. (The time of year is not important, just keep in mind EXTREME WEATHER CONDITIONS and you'll have the general idea.)

I come to L and I tell her it's time to let Cap'n Agnes (our three-toed, gimpy, overweight cat) go. Where, you ask? Oh, to a pond somewhere, obviously, where she can swim with the other pond cats and live a life of feline aquatic freedom. Naturally.

For the record, Aggs looks like an angry Wilford Brimley. It's not uncommon for us to refer to her as "Fatty" or "The Fatness," or simply say "DY-UH-BEE-TUSS" at her (in an affectionate way, of course.) Oh, we also call her The Whalerus. Get it? Like a whale and a walrus? Yeah, we're mean. So what?

She can't make it all the way up a flight of stairs; she generally flops on her side halfway up to catch her breath. She walks with a limp. She's the boss of the other kitties in the house, but not by force. Agnes uses sheer willpower (and scary, dilated-pupil stare-downs) to control the masses. She's slightly evil, but extremely cuddly and squishable. As long as you have two legs, she's a pretty awesome whalerus.

scary Aggie.
Cap'n Agnes Greasepalms, the lumbering oaf in question.

Apparently, L was very worried about letting Fatness go during the Summer/Winter/Extreme Weather Situation, but I was totally nonchalant. Cats should be free to swim for a season every year. Swimming is what they do. Duh.

Compounding L's concern was the other, larger cat swimming around said cat-pond. There was some general anxiety regarding Fatty's ability to fend for herself against this brutish marine kitty. I was very firm that Aggs would be better off this way, you know, in the cat pond. (In the cat pond, yeah. I'll do my little turn in the cat pond?)

That's pretty much all of it.

Most amazing dream ever. I'm so glad she remembered and shared it with me. I wish it had been my dream.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Letting go...

The decision to go carless has gotten me thinking about de-cluttering our lives, paring things down, saving resources and energy, and ultimately, saving money. Well, really what got me thinking about it is a thread on a bicycle forum in which people were discussing how simply they live. Some people were pretty extreme (one guy admitted he'd been wearing the same pair of pants for over a year!) but others were just very conscious of trying to live and consume wisely.

Last month we cut cable. It was a monthly expense we didn't need, and frankly, having cable television meant we'd watch way more TV than was healthy. Since then, we've been streaming TV on Netflix and other websites, but generally watching less. (The trade-off is that I think we're both wasting more time on the internet, but I'm going to work on that as well.) Being removed from the constant barrage of ads is really nice! Both L and I have noticed that we're no longer "in" on the discussion about commercials and new products.

I'd like to get rid of all the clutter in our basement and closets, all the clothes that don't fit, the random odds and ends in every piece of furniture that has a drawer or a lid. L and I have a ton of stuff we don't need or use crammed into every conceivable crevice in our five-bedroom house. It's a bit ridiculous.

First step: sell car. That's a very big first step. We plan on getting it washed and cleaning the inside this coming weekend, then listing it for sale on Craigslist. Frankly, I'm a little anxious about not having a car, but this is a good thing. We'll save a lot of money, we'll be forced to exercise more, and we'll be forced to plan more carefully before shopping trips and outings. (Oh, and we'll both probably lose a few pounds, too.)

And now, gratuitous cat and random springtime photos:


Groovy is not cute. Oh, no. (Taken while house-bound with horrid flu of great awfulness.)


Vivid flowers a few weeks ago; the first flower I saw this Spring.



Some cool, curly grasslike thing growing on Kingsessing near Clark Park.

Off to go hang out with Sneaky Pie, the world's cutest Felv+ kitten.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Change afoot

Last weekend, L and I biked up to the West side of Fairmount Park to watch the U.S. Brompton Championships. Let me translate that: We biked to a park to watch 60 or so people wearing business attire racing on folding bikes. The best part of the race is the start -- people fold their bikes all the way down and leave them in rows, then line up behind a start tape.

The start.

When the start is announced, the suits race to their tiny folding bikes, unfold them, run to the road and hop on, starting the actual race. (This is the part where L and I ate a picnic lunch and lazed about in the sunshine.) The race itself was just another bike race, although the attire and the fact that there were other, much speedier races going on at the same time made it really comical. L is going to ride next year. I can't wait to see what she wears.

After the race, we rode home together. It was a lovely day.

Well, that part of the day was lovely. Later on, I discovered that someone had pried our sideview mirror off with a crowbar and shoved it down into the windshield like a parking ticket. This discovery was followed by by much fuming. The end result? Today we went out and bought a cargo bicycle. We're selling the car (which costs us more in maintenance and insurance in two months than the bike cost total) and using bikes, public transit, and carshare from here on out. The senseless vandalism and multiple hit and run damages to the car are far too costly for a vehicle we use once a week. It's just not worth it.

The minivan of bicycles, which we will be picking up at the end of the week.

So, being carless should be interesting. Philly's public transit system is fairly unreliable, and carshare is really only going to be used when absolutely necessary. We test-rode the bike today, and the thing is a land-yacht! It's nothing like my lightweight commuter bike. You can't feel bumps! It's so weird... I can't wait to take it out for some longer rides. It will definitely work as a grocery-getter and pet-supply transport wagon. I might even ride it to work on days when I have errands to run or just want a more laid-back ride.

Yeah. I'm pretty excited about picking up the yacht.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

another falling off the face of the Earth to explain...

Ok. Yes. I admit it. I'm a horrible, terrible, negligent blogger. I suck at blogging. So much.

That being said, Spring is almost here. It's gorgeous out. There are going to be runs and long bike rides. There are going to be batches of beer coming. There's a CSA and a new preserving habit to be fostered. There are things to document and photograph.

I'm going to be brushing up on my photography, fine-tuning my Flickr account, and working with L to get a website up. I'm working on a bit of an overhaul, life-wise. This involves photography skills, so I'll try to get into the habit of posting my favorite shots of the day (or at least few days) as I'm editing.

Last month, I had the opportunity to go to the Westminster Kennel Club dog show as a credentialed press photographer. It was surreal. I felt really out of place for many reasons: I do animal rescue, and spay/neuter/adopt is practically a mantra for me. I'm a bit of a catlady (though I love dogs too--cats are just my main animal obsession). I am not a professional photographer (the people I was working around had telephoto lenses longer than my arm). That being said, it was fun. When I finally relaxed and let myself do what I do, I got some really great shots. Oh, and had a bit of fun. Ok, a lot of fun. (So many dogs to meet! So many totally obsessed dog people! So cool to be able to mingle with them, go behind the scenes and ringside! Whoa!)

Zorro, the dog I became totally obsessed with. He was a cartoon character come to life. I'm now obsessed with rescuing a Staffordshire Bull Terrier someday...

What else? Oh! L and I joined another CSA this year. This one is supposed to be far better than last year's choice. In anticipation of a vegetable windfall and just because L loves kitchen projects, I collaborated with my some friends and family and got her canning supplies and books for her birthday. A few weekends ago, she decided to give it a go, so we (ok, my hand in this was really very minimal, but I was there) made salsa. Very, very spicy salsa. It will be fit for consumption in a week or two. I'm ridiculously excited.


Canning project #1. Salsa of Burny Death. Yum.

First beer project of Spring to kick off in perhaps two weeks. And I'll be kegging this one. Cannot wait.

That's the very abbreviated report of my last few months. More to follow very soon. Really. (It's ok if you don't believe me.)