Friday, August 31, 2012

A Tale Of Two Kittens

Hello, hello it's Nika here.

Hard getting any computer time between Jane and now Lucy.  

People are asking how I'm handling life with kittens?

Cautiously.  They are everywhere.  And then they're somewhere else. This all happens very quickly.

They're fascinated by my tail. Swat.  They love to sniff my delicate ankles.  And they think nothing of sticking their little kitten heads into my bowl when I'm trying to eat.  Incredible.

I "borrowed" the camera while Jane and GG were at work and took a few pictures of what these two get up to given one hot second.

I believe you humans say a picture is worth a 1000 words?

" Nika don't show those pictures, we'll get in trouble"


Don't do the crime if you won't pay the time.

I rest my case.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The After Party!

Now that was an excellent FITH.  Thanks to all who came to the party.  I love waking up to find it going on, like Donkey Kong. I was transported to England and Massachusetts before I had my first sip of espresso.

And this morning I awoke to find the party had continued while I was sleeping. New York and New Mexico both represented. Maybe next time you guys can turn the music down a little bit?

Just in case you think we're only about flowers and kittens and Labs these days you would be so wrong.

We're still eating.

A bowlful of quickly pickled vegetables.

Some skinless, boneless chicken thighs quickly marinated in 6 cloves of mince garlic, 4 Tbsp. grated onion, 4 Tbsp. of fish sauce, 2 Tbsp. of sugar and S&P , left to rest for at least 30 minutes then grilled stovetop.

Wrapped up in lettuce leaves, strewn with garden herbs and dripping with a Vietnamese fish sauce.

I was inspired (as always) by the Goddess of field and stream ,Marie.

I read her post, and did what she did: used what I had in the house and fudged the rest.

I don't think you can go wrong with this meal.

Or with a gratuitous kitten picture.

Or two:-)

Good God I am now officially a crazy cat woman.

 xo jane

Monday, August 27, 2012

Flowers In The House Of Scents: August 2012

Todays FITH are brought to you by the whole damn family. We hunted and gathered flowers and herbs with the Lab first thing this morning. Though eager to finish her walk and get home to breakfast she allowed us to poke around in alleys and friends yards to get a handful of blooming mint here and a bunch of autumn blooming clematis there.

Add to that sedum, hydrangea, butterfly bush and allium from our garden and voila the house begins to smell like we live in the country. Even the kittens are sniffing at the fallen leaves on the kitchen floor..

I smuggled a few teddy bear sunflowers out of the shop yesterday.

I'll do the time if necessary. Pure happiness right there.

We filled a old bottle and a little mug with some clippings and placed them high above the kittens heads.

Barring any crashes in the middle of the night.....

And I placed one of my favorites, a reblooming, heavily scented white iris next to the bed.

Thought better of it and moved in onto a dresser.

Where it still sits.  I think.  I haven't been in there for hours.

The little ones followed me from room, jumping up to smell and bat around a few flowers. Their favorite scent was on GG's arm from where she weeded a patch of cat mint.

Believe me there is not one leaf of that herb in the house. I hope.

Though Gus does appear to be a little bit out of it.

If I can wake him up we hope to trot round to your houses and see what you've got.

Flowers I mean, not cat nip.

xo Jane

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Kittens, Er, Flowers In The House

Listen up, it's me, Lucy..

Jane is all about putting some flowers in the house on Monday.

What's the big deal, we always have flowers.

Gus and I help arrange them.

And then we beat the stuffing out of each other.

This makes Jane nervous cause the flowers are by the computer.

Like she's ever on it anymore.  Use your phone I told her, I have needs too.

She used to put flowers by the bed.

But I get thirsty in the middle of the night :-)

So quite frankly I don't know where she thinks these flowers will go on Monday, the vase by the computer just went into the kitchen.  Killjoy.

But she's determined and apparently she wants all of you and your kittens to join her.

We like to keep her happy. She's one of our feeders.

So we'll see you and your little ones too come Monday? 

If you don't have little ones you can use vintage vases and  add all the water you want.

Such are the perks of the "single" life.

Monday, August 20, 2012

The View From The Top

If I tell you all I'm not a great hiker would you be surprised?

I thought not.

I'm a walker and a dancer and a weight lifter and a gardener, I am a great reader, but a hiker? No.

So you can imagine the tremor of fear in my chest when I heard part of our weekend in C-Ville was to be spent in the Shenandoah Mountains, walking along the Appalachian Trail for God's sake.  I quaked in my flipflops.

Various routes were discussed, mountains named, miles, as in 5, mentioned.  My eyes got bigger.  My still occasionally achy ankle ached.

I suggested we cater to the lowest common denominator, me, and find a trail that would be challenging but not one I would have to be airlifted off of.  With a freshly sprained ankle and a bruised ego.

It was done, Turk Mountain was our destination..  And with a brace on my ankle and backpacks full of water and chocolate,cheese,bread and cherries we hiked. And scrambled over rocks and hiked some more and sweated and swore and eventually some 2000 odd feet later we made it to the top.

I should be clear here, my three companions ran up the trail as lightly as a pack of mountain goats, I was the one, covered in sweat , ripe with expletives, who was looking for a private spot to curl up and cry.

But even I reached the peak and after clambering over some ginormous rocks sat and gazed outward and upward.

And the view was as promised. GG, as you can see, was totally in her element, I was totally out of my comfort zone. 

  But that's not such a bad thing. I often think if we listened only to the voices in our heads we'd never get out of bed in the morning.

So sometimes I listen to GG instead.

And dare to do things differently.

And my world gets bigger.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Off With Their Heads

Photo: I said no more pictures.

Just when I wondered if I would ever write a post that didn't feature babies or kittens or unicorns, an issue arose.

Long story short I hope.

The IRS needed some paperwork regarding my 2009 taxes.  Of course I couldn't/can't find that year anywhere, so I contacted the agencies in question and asked for copies of that years statements.

Everything arrived and I faxed it over and settled back to await the news that all questions were resolved.

I neglected to read the mortgage income statement from Chase Bank before I sent it off.  And they neglected to put my name on the statement. Only Tony, my partner with whom I had originally bought the house, was listed as an owner.

I got that  piece of info from the IRS yesterday so of course I immediately called Chase Home Mortgage to explain the situation.

I ended up talking to 3 different people at Chase over the past 2 days, Marvin, Josh and Alvin, they reside in Manilla, and the result is the same: only Tony's name is on the paper.

Irregardless of the fact that every statement I have received in the mail from them in previous years have both names on it, they will not send me a new one with my name listed.  Even though I am liable for close to $2,000 in fines if there is no proof I am the owner.  Not just an owner but since 2004 the sole owner.

I'm not asking for them to take his name off the top, just to put mine underneath his where it always was.

They say it is their policy to only list one owner and his name was listed first when they bought the loan so first it shall remain.  Funny that this is the first year that they have the policy no?

It was also suggested they couldn't help me because they no longer held the loan.  "But YOU sold it" I said, "it's not like I took it away from you while you were sleeping."

When I refinanced several years ago I asked if we should take his name off the loan and I was told it doesn't matter.  Well it matters now. And of course it will be done stat.

The IRS, suggested I get a copy of the title and fax it to them which I will do immediately.

I'm writing this post both to let off some steam and to try and make sense out of what seems totally insane and very customer unfriendly.

I feel a bit like Alice talking to the Red Queen.

There now I've turned it into a fairytale after all.

With a  couple of gratuitous kitten picture.

Cause that's how I roll.

Did I miss something?  Does any of this makes sense to you?

grrrr, Jane

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Out Of The Mouths Of Babes

HGH! It's me Gus and me Lucy. ( sudden scuffle erupts over ownership rights of the chair)

We're the new entertainment both at home and on the blog.

And we're here to tell you it's not as easy as Jane makes it seem.

We work for our kibble.

Gus has to help her get ready for work every morning.

Lunch? Camera? Sunglasses? Only12 minutes till the bus comes!

And both of us are expected to spend hours helping GG fill out her applications for Med School.

We have to lick the stamps.

It's exhausting work for all of us.

Lucy i want to talk now! ( I jump off the computer but Gus finds his tail and starts to chase it)
So, I'm back.

I try to hide from Jane and her ever present camera.

But, clearly no room is off limits.

We're not saying Jane is evil, we're just saying she needs to chill.

Kick off her shoes, put down that camera, and lay a little loving on us.

We won't be kittens forever.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Amazing Grace

I'm sorry to do this to you.

Just in case the word "adorable" wasn't used enough in last posts comments now I have baby pictures.

Maybe some of you read a post or two about Tony, my former partner, forever family?

He showed up on Sunday with his new family, partner Meridith and daughter,11 month old Nora Grace.

We were on good behavior this time and didn't try to serve a vegetarian Bratwurst.  Then again forearmed.....

So we could proudly serve our raw kale salad and heirloom tomatoes. smoked salmon, cheeses, berries,those noodles with garden vegetables and tamari/nut sauce that keeps popping up here and other assorted goodies.


Thank God for blogging, it keeps one in the food loop.

Nora G. has her daddy's big blue eyes and mother's pretty face.

She has her grandmothers love of gardening and is ready to participate in the baby's division of Olympic crawling. The child can move.

She got to meet the kittens and the lab who loved her and laid under the table so as not to let a single morsel hit the ground. 

We ate up, we caught up and look forward to watching the baby grow up.

For an only child I sure have a big family.

xo Jane

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Gold All Around

Just checking in.  This week blew by in a heartbeat. 

We have been watching the Olympics at night and the kittens appear to be under the influence.

Gus starts out on the leather chair, vaults across the coffee table on to the wing back chair, scrambles up the back and after taking a big breath jumps a good 5 feet, with a hang time of  2seconds, onto the dining room table. Dah dah!

I turn the water on in the bathroom sink and in the miniscule amount of time it takes to wet a toothbrush, whoosh, he's there. Faster than a speeding bullet, our own Bolt.

And getting out of the shower? Forget about it.  I throw open the curtain and lift a foot, but before I can put it on the floor he's there, diving over the side, and skidding to a stop in front of his favorite place: the faucet.

And Lucy?  She's right behind him.  Or right next to him catching a few zzzzzz'z.

 Because remember, 2:00am comes before you know it and that's when the party starts in our house.

But 2:00pm?  Shhhh, that's quiet time.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Poetry In Motion

All right, all right. Despite almost Design*Sponge quality pictures and a heartwarming message in my last post I know what you all want: You want kittens.

I read the comments, I got the emails and the text.  Even the kittens have been nosing about to see if they been featured in a new post yet.

Fine, fine, here's first impressions, less than 24 hours together.

I feel like a ring master in a 2 ring circus.  They dash, they splash in the Lab's bowl, they hang from the screen in the front door, they roll and they tumble, they snuggle and they snarl. They climb up and then down and run around and around and then fall down and go to sleep.

The Lab is terrified so I shut them in the bedroom today when I left for work.  They had their water and crunchies and cage and litter box and toys and air conditioning.

I returned home to find the hood without power, the Lab looking guilty as hell and the kittens parading around as if they owned the place.

I guess they do.

  God help us.

Monday, August 6, 2012

4 days, 3 Nights/ Imminent Betrayal

And we were off to Charlottesville, aka C-Ville.  Where both corner groceries and restaurants push local food and drink. You can buy apples grown on the same mountain you hiked. The bumper stickers read " No Farms, No Food". 

This is our kind of town. Thomas Jefferson, free outdoor concerts, gardens galore and ripe white peaches.

And the houses?  Mellow brick or subtle stuccos, high ceilings and old wood floors, extra long windows and deep moldings. For example, our friends' house?


Oh, and a sun room, a patio, a wraparound porch, a garden shed, and a dark, sexy living room.

It did not look this way when 3 of us arrived, 2 from Arlington, 1 from Atlanta. It looked like people had just moved boxes in and left town.

And so they did, left a week later for a preplanned 3 week vacation in Finland, oh and 2 more weeks abroad for the husband and child. Our friend had been back in this country for 4 days when we hit town.

Those boxes hadn't unpacked themselves so we dug in. It took 4 women, 3 days, with breaks spent hiking and eating both in restaurants and around the newly excavated table, a steady stream of espresso for me and chilled bottles of wine for the others to primp this house. We laughed, cried and told stories as we broke down cardboard, hung pictures and vacuumed those beautiful floorboards.

We ate our weight in kale salads and salmon, fed our sweet tooth with pricey mouthfulls of salted caramel ice cream, then woke up early and tackled the garden.

 Strangely it didn't feel like work it felt like people coming together to raise a barn or sew a quilt.  A communal effort that brought great satisfaction to all involved.

Better than a weekend at the beach GG told me.

If you feed us we will come.

 xo jane

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Vaguely Vegetarian

I'm home from work a little early and snacking on some delicious leftover soba noodles with tahini-nut sauce and summer garden vegetables.

Truthfully I had a moment with the soba noodles and had to substitute farfalla, but noodles smoodles it's still good.  How good?

So good you don't regret heating up the house with a pan of boiling water, good.

The next night(s) we had quinoa salads with avocado, ripe tomatoes, black beans or garbanzo beans, a bell pepper and  a hand full of garden herbs, scallions and lemon, olive oil, S&P and another ear of corn cut off the cob. 

I don't think I've cooked any corn this summer.  I've barely cooked any food and certainly not any meat, it's too hot and we've been strangely happy just with vegetables.

We do though have one very unhappy puppy dog.  She is no vegetarian her body language says, not even vaguely vegetarian. Picture her flung on the floor, head between her paws, sighing heavily.  Yep, you got it.

But we soldier on.  Meatless in gaza.

I have no food pictures to show you .We are too greedy to point and shoot.  We just sit and eat.

But I think these two recipe suggestions stand on their own and if not here's GG with a cauliflower bouquet from our garden.

Now mangia!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

We Bought A Zoo?

So about those kittens.....

One of my favorite clients is a very funny, high powered lawyer who is either jetting off to Asia or rushing off to get her hair blonded or calling a couple of cat psychics when her cats get out and wander off. The rest of the time she's dropping off a vase(s) and letting me fill it/them with what ever I choose, no price point. What's not to love?

Who better to sympathize with me about Pokey?  And who knew she fostered cats and what luck she happened to have 4 kittens at home.

Before I could dry my crying eyes we had a 9:00am date set up at the shop for the GG and the Lab to meet the kittens.

It was a success, Nika wagged her tail and kept a big lab grin on her face and 2 of the 4 kittens clambered around her as if they'd always known her.  GG had a lap full of kitten within seconds and no matter how weakly I protested we couldn't adopt 2 cats, not enough room, not enough money, not enough time, everyone ignored me, exchanged email addresses and by the time I came home from work it was a done deal.

GG got on Facebook for the first time in years and posted these pictures of the kittens that she found on the SPCA Nova site.

They're older now, 12 weeks and counting.  The little lady in the first picture is Lucy and Mr. is Octavius aka Gus.

We're off to Charlottsville, Va for a long weekend.  We'll pick up the babies on Monday.  Photo ops galore coming up.

And if anyone has any suggestions for things to do people to see this weekend let me know.

And many thanks to everyone who participated in this months floral global chain.  All of you, the usual suspects and the newbies brought much beauty to a Monday Monday.

It was all I hope it would be.

Kudos to the Mama and the Papas and Janet:-)