Thursday, January 17, 2008

Stupid Cats and Pinot Evil

Did the title catch your attention? Well, it doesn't really mean much of anything. Except I thought it would catch your attention. I was making myself some tea to take to bed and I didn't know what I was in the mood for tonight. I dug through my tea stash reading labels and sniffing potential leaves and decided on something herbal which, when brewed and tasted ended up being wrong. I added some apricot honey to it thinking it would improve things but then it just tasted sweet and wrong.

This is the point at which I went back to the shelf of teas, or rather, attempted the two steps necessary to review my tea choices. A cat was underfoot so I slowly and carefully stepped OVER her while she simultaneously moved, repositioning herself where my foot would come down, which required I change from stepping down to stepping further forward in midstep which did me no good as the cat AGAIN matched my stretch with another repositioning. It was the second mid-air stretch that did it. I wrenched my shoulder trying to land upright on a catfree spot at least two feet farther away then I'd started out aiming at on the kitchen floor. Hence....


And yes, I know that shoulders are rather far away from feet. Not sure why it wasn't my ankle or knee or even hip that got wrenched. Bodies are strange things. Not as strange as cats, but almost.

The Pinot Evil I refer to is a small, individual serving sized bottle of pinot noir that I just happened to have in the house. I bought a little four pack of them because they had cute little monkeys on them doing the See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil thing. And because the bottles were so little and cute and so I could open just one at a time for cooking purposes and because it was imported from France. Yeah, I have real sophisticated ways of choosing wine. I'm influenced by the stupid names that companies label paint chips too, which annoys me. I wish they'd just put numbers on the chips instead so I didn't find myself torn between liking Pea Green best as a color but wanting to buy Mossy Cavern instead because it sounds better.

Anyway, so I decided the wine (and a microwaved flax bag) might make my shoulder relax. Knock on wood, it seems to be working nicely. Just for the record, although I'm no wine expert, the cute label is really the best part of this wine. Good thing I can use the other three bottles up in cooking.

None of this, however, is the point of this post. I haven't posted in a few days because I'm fighting off a small cold. It's more annoying than it is terrible - just feeling almost-but-not-quite achy, sinuses threatening to be stuffy, my brain a bit foggy. I don't feel poorly enough to justify doing nothing but I don't have the energy or clear thinking necessary to do anything very important, including remembering to blog.

But that's not the point either. What I wanted to blog about was this:


1. creme brulee

I know there's supposed to be an accent mark, but I'm too tired to bother finding out exactly where. With or without an accent mark, it's delicious and I'm waiting impatiently for a good opportunity to go back to the only restaurant in town that has the traditional custard flavor and order it again. I tried a blueberry creme brulee at the French Restaurant yesterday but.... eh. It's not that it wasn't tasty, but the custard itself was a rather gray color from the blueberries, which made it look rather like a bowl of wood putty, so they gussied it up with blueberry syrup and fresh blueberries (and a couple of fresh strawberries for some reason) and the fired sugar layer was too thin and it softened up under all that stuff on top of it. So it didn't have the satisfying contrast of crunchy/creamy and the pure unadulterated richness of the first nonflavored custard I tried.

2. my flax seed heating bags

I have several. I made them years and years ago and they're still working fine. Flannel on the outside - three minutes in the microwave and slip them under the cover or behind my back or both - or tonight, on my shoulder. Ahhhhhhhhhh. It's been cold. A very cold January. The kind of single digit cold that even with the heater on, you can feel frosty fingers curling in under the curtains, hiding in the corners, and sliding down the hallway. Our bedroom is much colder than the front of the house and getting into cold pajamas and a cold bed is BRRRRRRR but then my feet hit the flax bags and pretty soon I feel warm and toasty under the covers.

3. my new blankets

Do you know that new fabric called Minkee? It's not polar fleece and it's not chenille and it's not velveteen. It's really popular to make stuffed animals and baby blankets out of it these days. It's a polyester. I'm sure you've all seen it around even if you don't know what it's called. You've probably reached out to touch it in the store and then gone "ooooh" and then told someone with you "Oh, FEEL this!" and then you both reach out and pet it for awhile. You know what I'm taking about, yes? Well, I found bed sized blankets made out of the stuff on sale after the holidays!

I haven't bought a new blanket for our bed in..... almost twenty years. That was a lacy pink cotton summer blanket. We have personal quilts that weren't made to use on a bed. We have polar fleece throws. The only thing we have that actually fits across the entire bed with two people in it (barely) is an ancient (I bought it over thirty years ago) queen sized comforter. So I could easily justify these purchases.

There wasn't much left and mostly twin sized ones. They came in brown, cream, powder blue, and burgandy. I really wanted the chocolate brown one but I could only find it in queen size and wasn't sure it would be big enough. I also liked the cream white one a lot and that one I did find in king sized. They were a really good price. So I bough them both. I put them both on our king sized bed. I was happy to discover the queen sized one is big enough and the king sized one is generous and goes over both sides of the bed even when we're in it.

I'm sort of a natural fiber snob. I was probably the last person on the planet to give in and find something nice to say about polar fleece and it's only been in the last couple of years that I've decided it's not a crime to wear a cotton blend. These blankets are 100% polyester but you know what? I don't care! I HEART these blankets! I do. Every time I walk past the bed I stop and pet them and tell them how much I love them. When I climb in bed I pull them up so I can wrap the edge around my hands and sleep with my face against it. They are the softest thing ever. As soft as my poor, RIP, Fred Weasley the cat was and I didn't think anything would ever be as soft as him ever again.

There are other things I love in January, most have the adjectives "hot" (as in tea, coffee, cocoa) or "warm" (puppy, slippers, scarves) preceding them. (Do you see a comfort theme here?) And of course there are other things I love regardless of the month - family, friends, books, chocolate....


1. being in hibernation mode.

I'm anxious and ready to get started on something important and worthy in this new year. I know that if I don't get busy and accomplish something now, when the year is fresh, next thing I know family requests and outside projects and life in general will start to fill up my calendar and before I know it it will be June and I'll be saying "what happened to the first half of the year!"

But I'm not being productive. I feel sleepy and fuzzy headed and although I'm blaming it on this cold, it also feels vaguely familiar. Didn't I feel this way this time last year? The cold and snow and gray doesn't make me feel particularly sad or depressed, but it does make me feel like curling up with my new blankets and a good book and waiting drowsily and contently for spring. To be honest I'm not sure if I'm frustrated at myself for feeling this way or for our go-go culture for making me feel guilty for it.

2. I'm tired of worrying about my old dog and the cold weather. He's never been a good house dog. But he's become an old man over this last year and now he's too old to leave outside for long in these low temperatures. So I have to let him in to warm up and then remember to let him out to pee because he has never learned to give us a good signal that he needs to do so. I let him in and let him out, repeating at two or three hour intervals, day and night.

3. I'm tired of ice. I want to get out and walk. I know I'd feel better. But I can't walk briskly without watching out for the icy patches, where I slow down and waddle along like an old lady or maybe a penguin for fear of slipping and wrenching my back some more.

I'm not yet longing for green grass and opening windows to spring breezes. In part because I have to pace myself - there's plenty of cold, gray winter left for that. In part because it's been so cold I can't even conceive of an open window. Even just opening the curtains during the day makes the house feel cold now.

I guess that's it. Not a long list. Just the top and bottom few. What's on your winter annoyance list this month? And what's making you quietly happy?


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