Saturday, July 18, 2009

k-brow: dog and distraction

I like this picture of Ella, who looks like she's laughing.

Sometimes I feel as if I am too tangled up, energetically with my dogs, more so than is healthy. I've done ritual work with them in mind, put hours into their training and care, and worry about them, more often than not. But as Acornbud would say, it is what it is, and so we continue. I think this picture of the shadows shows how enmeshed we are as a pack.

Friday, I shipped Cricket to Atlanta. All week, I'd been worrying about it, dreading the moment when I would put him in his crate, and watch him be hauled off to the belly of the plane. Cricket has traveled before, and done very well, but it doesn't lessen the worst-case-scenario thinking, and the general sadness of being parted from my dog.

I had groomed him, clipped his coat, applied tick and flea meds, taken him to the vet for his rabies shot and travel health certificate. The night before he was to go, I took he and Ella to the Nuuanu schoolyard for a long run, in the beautiful evening light. I gave him lots of reiki the evening before, and just spent some time telling him about his journey, how it was gonna be. The day of the trip, we took an hour long walk, well before he was to leave, so he'd be tired, but cooled down for the travel.

I'm happy to report that Delta Cargo's Pets First program does well with dog shipping. The people at the airport were incredibly nice, to me and to my prickly dog. They let me keep him out of the crate til time to take him away, were concerned about his height and head safety in the crate I had for him, and were even jovial when he displayed a bit of temperamental alam when a guy bumped into him with a box. They bumped me up a crate size, from extra large to giant size. It was a crate big enough for me to ship in. His head still was close to the top of the crate. Cricket is a tall dog with a long neck. Bystanders were commenting on the enormity of the poodle. I think when folks hear the word "poodle," a small white yappy dog comes to mind. Something in a tutu, perhaps.

Then, when they came to take him away, he began to bark, not hysterically, but just repeatedly. I cried a little and wished him well and godspeed. They wouldn't let me watch him board the plane, (I couldn't go out to the passenger area at the regular airport where the plane was parked, about 1/2 mile away) but I waited at the cargo bay, and they told me when he was boarded. It was a beautiful, cool, overcast, breezy day, perfect for shipping a dog who suffers in the heat.

Then to console myself, I went to Savers and did some thrift shopping. Scored some shirts and a sweater. I came home, played with Ella, who seemed mystified that I'd spent the whole damn day with her packmate and rival, only to returned home without him, carrying a bunch o' stinkin thrift store clothes. I explained to her about cashflow therapy, and how a flattering glitter Roxy t-shirt can erase a lot of worry for a short time. Later, I gathered up my wine, chocolate and knitting and drove over to Chris's house for further distractions. We ate creamy brie, sushi, drank wine, knitted on our respective February Ladies, and discussed all things Harry Potter. Her husband came home, and we discussed Dexter. Hey, I have obsessions for everyone!

So I headed out to come home around 11:30pm. I went out to my car, opened the passenger side door to put in my knitting, and glanced across the car at the drivers seat, where I just happened to see...a huge centipede ambling slowly around exploring the seat. I shrieked, Chris shrieked, we stared in horror, and I sent her to go get the spouse, (like he was going to bravely fight the 'pede) and he came out and stared in horror, too. We were transfixed for a minute or so, and decided we had to get it out of the car, but it was dark, and there were so many places it could slither off to, if it were frightened. Believe me, I was NOT going home with that centipede in the car. It must've been 6 inches long.

Finally, I took a ziplock bag I had, screwed up my courage, and put it over my hand, and quickly reached out and grabbed it. I turned quickly to hurl it out into the yard, and hit Chris, who was standing behind me, looking over the shoulder. She screamed. I screamed. Fortunately, I did not let go of the 'pede. Then I threw him down, and dispatched of him quickly. Yeeeesh. If I had sat on him he'd have bit me. If I'd been driving, and he crawled on me, I'd have had an accident for sure.

Got home, showered, and went to bed, but I was too angsty to sleep, so I read, til P called at 1:00am to let me know that Cricket was safely in Atlanta. Ahhhhhh...

Such a day.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

k-brow: party time

Last Saturday, Acornbud had a get-together of some friends at her house on a rainy, misty day. A nice gathering, up in the Dowsett Highlands of Nu'uanu. We just hung out at her house all eve, with margaritas, grilled meat and veggies, heavenly salads and decadent dips and then Lilikoi brought some tequila-lime cupcakes. As vegan as I am not, the offerings from that cookbook "Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World" continue to thrill me. Anyway, it was a great time, one of the memories of Hawai'i that I will cherish. Here are some pics. I am a lazy photographer, so they are just random things: (as always, click to biggify)

It was off and on rainy and cloudy, and really pretty cool when there was a breeze. I love these clouds. I'm enamored of the juxtaposition of white-grey-blue these days.

Here's the patio behind her house. It's lush and green, with old mosses growing up between the stones.

Acornbud has some crazy orchids blooming on her patio. This one is all curly and convoluted. I will miss the very commonplaceness of orchids, when I move to the mainland, and I think they'll be a plant that I'll actually try and have in my new house. I've always grown things like pothos, spider plants, cactus, etc. but here I haven't bothered to have houseplants, except for the occasional orchid, which lives its blooming life indoors and then goes outside when it goes dormant.

Party girls (counterclockwise from left) Teri, Barbara, Maureen, Opal, and Dayna. I think Maureen and Opal are pointing at the flowers, but they might just be debating something else.

There was also knitting. I am still slugging along on FLS, and her neverending sleeve. I say sleeve, because we aren't even at the second one. I am just finishing up #1 now. I will buckle down and finish this sweater to wear on the plane, I must finish this sweater to wear on the plane! But just as a backup, I have Clapotis, which is serving magnificently as a bed blanket on these breezy nights.

Friday, July 10, 2009

k-brow: empty house

The movers have come and gone, and now I am living in a mostly empty house, getting geared up for the final push of this transfer of my life, from the islands back to the east coast. I like being in the empty house, surprisingly. Without all my stuff around, I find myself breathing, gazing at the surrounding beauty of the valley, really catching the cool misty breezes. Very nice.

An update on the headache sitch…I had my visit with the Kaiser neurologist on Wednesday. Or, as my mom calls it, the “neurosurgeon.” The neurosurgeon prescribed me a powerful new migraine med called Maxalt. I have to say, I’m pleased with it, having already had the opportunity to try it out. Joy. It’s a melt-on-your-tongue kind of pill, that has a pleasingly minty/bitter taste. Fast acting, good-tasting; what more can one ask? Neurologist doc was very nice, giving me all sorts of practical advice for handling the migraines and the tension headaches.

I’m now without reliable internets, though I can steal from a very slow wireless network somewhere in this ‘hood, I’ve found. Its very pokiness and wavering signal make reading blogs and socializing on Facebook difficult, though, and I’m only really using it for email. Good for me to take the internet diet. I have no patience with slow networks, so I won’t be waiting around for this one.
Cool and rainy seems to be the order of the day today. I breakfasted on papaya, and am gonna inflate my aerobed and try and catch a few more z’s.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

k-brow: turning energy around

True to form, Hawai'i is delivering the perfect summer weather that makes me want to stay here forever, or at least until my 4-seasons soul starts longing for winter. Perfect clean mornings, washed by the nighttime rains. Soft breezes scented with plumeria.Yellow flowers that can't help but make me smile. A lot. Though I'm still embroiled in getting ready to move, and am delaying my days of beach lounging this week until after Friday, there's that promise, too.

I think I'm about to turn a corner, finally, in this packing, though it's the little stuff that remains, and little things can be daunting, too. Still, I'm enjoying the solitude, the little excursions to dump recycling, go to Goodwill, run the dogs. The Nu'uanu schoolyard has been utterly empty, mowing has ceased, and so the grass and clover have been lush, making it an altogether pleasant place to hang out with dogs.

I've knit so little in recent days. The mojo has departed, which is unfortunate, though I can only guess that it'll return after all my furniture is gone and I have no tv. Then I'll have to take it to a cafe, I guess. Though I am saving our most comfortable camping chair to stay here with me, and it looks like I'll be around until at least the 25th, due to contractor slowness. That's okay. I don't mind. I've got FLS to finish, a scarf that is a gift for my dogs' sitter, the long-missing-shoulda-been-finished-by-now Neapolitan second sock, and the Simple Yet Effective Shawl, and the Cursed Koigu Chevron Scarf to finish. All, except for FLS, small projects that pretty much fit into one little bag, and will do me until September or so, when my stash and Earthly Possessions return to me in Atlanta

Megan gave me a loaf of homebaked sourdough a couple of days ago, and I've been pretty much living off it. So much for La Vida Low-Carb, which will have to wait til Atlanta. This bread is amazing, and I have been just eating it with unsalted butter, for the most part, with the occasional cornichon pickle or slice of feta. I've never tried baking sourdough before, preferring the dense, honeyed whole wheat offerings of the Tassajara Bread Book, but this bread makes me wonder if that's a direction I want to explore... A perusal of Megan's blog (check out those Day Geckos!) reveals that she's done a lot of trial and error experimentation to get this fabulousness. Still, yum.

I'm trying to turn some energy around here, today, by getting as much extraneous stuff out of the house as possible. Old towels going to the Humane Society, a recycling run, more stuff to Goodwill, bulky things kicked out to the curb for the trash guys to get this week. I think, as more stuff flows up the steps and off the property, the packing will flow. I've written in the past about this place being kind of an energetic sink, it's at the bottom of a very steep hill, where things can flow in, but don't always cycle out, mostly because one needs to carry them up the 31 steps to get them out. It has made it hard to be motivated to purge. My own energy is up, though, and in spite of a low-key headache, which I think will unwind with exercise, (though not necessarily heavy lifting) I feel like I can face it today.

Friday, July 03, 2009

k-brow: shoyu eggs

When P and I were traveling in Indonesia, years ago, we used to eat a lot of Padang food. Padang is a style of meal, where the foods are served in many little dishes, curries, sambals, fried rices, etc. One of my favorite Padang dishes is the curried egg. An egg is hard boiled, then peeled and cooked again in the curry sauce. I've made these curried eggs, and they are quite wonderful, but I didn't want to make curry, in this heat, so I made some shoyu tamago. Or maybe it's tamago sauce eggs:
This treat couldn't be simpler. Hard boil and peel 4 eggs. Mix together the following ingredients:

2Tbsp shoyu
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp grated ginger
pinch of cinnamon
1 Tbsp rice vinegar or mirin
1/2 cup strong green or black tea

My own recipe was really more or less to taste. One needn't be so precise.

Put the peeled eggs in a ziplock bag and pour the sauce over them. Zip it up and set it all in a bowl. Turn it occasionally to ensure even distribution of the sauce. Let marinate for 24 hours. Or however long you can wait. Then take out, slice and eat. Yum.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

k-brow: bucking up

I am cooking up a big pot of dog stew in the kitchen: soft meaty pork neck bones, chicken hearts and gizzards, mung beans, barley, celery and sweet potatoes. In my efforts to eat up all the food in the house, I'm having to actually shop for food to complete recipes and meals. Meh. It's stretching my kibble out, anyway. I love cooking for my dogs. When the high-end kibble that I typically feed my dogs started basically doubled in price from what I'd paid for it on the mainland, I realized that there was no obstacle to my going out, shopping the farmers markets and Chinatown, and cooking up stews and brews for my beasts. Everything that comes here by boat, in a container, is expensive. Local (or local-ish, in the case of chicken and pork) is fairly affordable.

It's been a tough week. Last week, as we were gutting out the rotted wood in the bathroom, we found live termites crawling up and down the doorframe. I'd hoped to avoid this scenario, particularly as these guys were identified as subterranean termites, as opposed to drywood termites. Our house had been fumigated for drywood 'mites and we had a warranty for that type of treatment. Naturally, this particular infestation wasn't covered by warranty. Arrgh. Another spendy step on the road to selling this house!

Social insects fascinate me.

The 'mites, the continued rat trapping, (which has been successful, I suppose) and endless grind of sorting, purging, packing and cleaning, without feeling like I've yet turned a corner, is a grind. The corner will come, soon, I think, as we resume some contracted work later this week. Lacking a corner, combined with the endless chipping away, has made me sad. The sadness has been layered with the sadnesses of deaths, hither and yon. The passing of Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson - icons of my teen years, the death of a dear friend of my mother, last week, and today, the passing of Jake, Reya's beloved gold puppy... Death draws lines, divides our lives into eras. The "before" and the "after" phases.
I want sweetness, light, gentle healing, for my mother, my friend, myself.
I want this:

Honey At The Table

It fills you with the soft
essence of vanished flowers, it becomes
a trickle sharp as a hair that you follow
from the honey pot over the table

and out the door and over the ground,
and all the while it thickens,

grows deeper and wilder, edged
with pine boughs and wet boulders,
pawprints of bobcat and bear, until

deep in the forest you
shuffle up some tree, you rip the bark,

you float into and swallow the dripping combs,
bits of the tree, crushed bees - - - a taste
composed of everything lost, in which everything lost is found.

- Mary Oliver

I keep my pictures on iPhoto as a screensaver for our desktop computer. The other day, I walked into the office, after the termite discovery fiasco, to see the unexpected picture of my dad on the screen, looking particularly sassy. The shot had been taken the day we moved from Virginia; we'd stopped by my parents' house to spend the night before we drove west. The old man seemed to be saying "buck up" and after the momentary stunned gasp (I so am not prepared to see his face these days, and yet, I cannot remove him from the screensaver - I need this) I guess I bucked up. It's advice that keeps coming 'round. Reya says people are resilient, even as she survives the most awful loss imaginable to a dog lover. I hope to be. Resilient. I embrace the creaking-yet-lively Ella, and savor the moment, her sweetness. She moves away and asks "where's my ice cream?" Dogs are so in the moment, really.

I pine for the pines of Georgia, for the reunification of my primary pack, all under one roof again. For closeness to my family. And I mourn, in advance, already, for the goodbyes that are coming up.

Bucking up here, as best I can.