Thursday, February 21, 2008

Let Me Show You It

It's no surprise to those who know us well that we are rather embarrassingly obsessed with our cats. In particular the two kittens we got almost two years ago now, Jake and Elwood ("Woody" for short).

Hey, since grandkids have yet to be forthcoming, what else are we supposed to be weird about? (Hint, HINT!)

And for those who don't know us, all you have to do is look at the picture on top of this blog and you'd probably figure it out.

We even have a little cat door installed in the back door so they can come and go as they please because I didn't sign up to be their Personal Cat Butler. And no litter box, either, since the entire Great Outdoors is a giant sandbox in their eyes. It's great; I highly recommend pet doors.

Except for one teensy weensy little problem; they can go out, yes, but other things can come in.

Like neighborhood cats.

Who occasionally show up long after we've gone to bed to chow down on our cats' hard-earned food and hang out on our cats' lovingly purchased and clawed-up furniture whilst Daws and I snooze away, oblivious to the invasion. Much like many governments across the world, our cats are not feeling the love for their Feline Brethren; oh no. No, they do not want to share their spoiled lifestyle with anyone else, thank you very much. Whenever Outsider Cats get all Socialist on them, holding up little protest signs like, "Share the wealth!" and "We All Look Grey At Night!" etc., our cats say, "Screw you; we've got it made and too bad you don't."

The World would not benefit from taking lessons from cats on Sharing. No.

Unfortunately, establishing kitty territory is not a quiet process and invariably leads to a lot of caterwauling and crashing about as our cats' continually kickass on Stranger Socialist Kitties. Last night around 3am, a gawd-awful screaming erupted from the kitchen, causing me to shoot straight up out of the covers and land on my feet next to our bed before my poor, sleepy brain had even registered what was going on.

Brain: "Huh? Hey, what happened to my covers?!"
Body: "Intruder Alert! Flight or fight response NOW IN EFFECT!"

Within minutes seconds my bewildered brain had caught up with my Ready for Battle body and I rushed down the hall to "help" fend off invaders. Leaving my Daws behind in bed with his beloved earplugs, blissfully unaware of the assault.

Of course, once the Human Female made an appearance, the intruder kitty gave up and bolted outside through the cat door. Unfortunately, our entire Kitty Tribe bolted right after it; Luna, Jiggy, Jake and Woody all charged through the door after the cat and the horrible squawling began again but louder this time and close to our neighbors' houses.

Great. *sighs*

Since I sleep naked (shut up!) and had not stopped to put anything on before rushing into the fray, I ran over to our couch and, grabbing the big blue/red comforter we use as a throw during the winter, wrapped it around me and off I sprinted to break things up.

By this time our cats had chased the stranger cat onto the top of the fence between our yard and our neighbor's yard. They stood collected below, necks craned up, growling menacingly up at the intruder but I couldn't help but notice they were also sneaking little glances back at me to make sure I was backing them up in case the enemy decided to (gulp!) retaliate. Yeah.

You got "heart", dudes. Tell me.

Hissing and clapping my hands at the cat as quietly as I could so as not to piss off our poor neighbors any further, I finally scared it enough so it took off. Our cats definitely gave off an air of, "Yeah, that's right; we showed HIM! YEAH BOYZ! My Peeps!"

Wearily, I trudged back into the house, bare feet muddied and freezing, stopping by the bathroom to clean up before I joined my still soundly sleeping Daws back in our cozy, toasty bed.

Now, you'd think that that would be the end of it but oh no! No, our cats are NERDS. They insist on re-enacting such events and over again. Like the time they brought in a mouse and lost it in the house somewhere; for days afterwards, they would pantomime carrying it in, chasing it, catching it, throwing it up in the air several times, then losing it altogether, then searching for it in vain.

This is done is a comically dramatic fashion and always for our benefit. I know, because if we leave the room, they follow us to make sure we're still watching.

Which is fine during the day but not so wonderful at night.

Just as I began that blessedly floaty, luxurious, sweet sinking back into lullabyeland, I was jolted rudely awake by the sound of small elephants thundering down our hall as Woody noisily chased Jake up onto our bed. Jake poised on the bedframe, clearly pretending he was the intruder cat and Woody crouched below, obviously playing the part of the Family Hero Cat. They mock-glared at each other for several mock-tense minutes until Jake sprang off the bed to chase Woody down the hall, for all the world sounding like two giant sumo-wrestlers instead of two graceful felines. Even Luna and Jiggy got into the scene; darting back and forth between the two others, leaping about, mock-growling and re-enacting the Big Battle over and over again.

Repeat, repeat, repeat.

This went on for two hours, while I squinched my eyes tight and tried to pretend it wasn't happening.

"Look how it went!" they seemed to be saying gleefully. "Mom! MOM! LOOK HOW IT WENT! It was like this....*pow*! And like that! WHAM! Look at us! We're AWESOMERS!"

Yeah. Okay. Whatever. Please...go to sleep. Please, you're cats, you're stealthy and all that. Show some stealth. Please, I beg of you.

Not a chance.

Since I kept ignoring them, or trying to, they finally resorted to jumping up on my nightstand so they could knock stuff off.

"BLAM!" There went a book.

"CRASH!" There went my lamp.

I hissed and clapped at them to no avail; too damn tired to get up and fetch the squirt-bottle to squirt their naughty asses.

Then they got behind our bed headstand and started crying and rummaging about, "Meow! MEOW! MEEEEOOOOWWWW!"


Needless to say, I got very little sleep last night. Right now, the brain is fuzzy and the body is tired. My Daws, however, woke up stretching and smiling brightly at 7am, saying he slept like a rock.

Sorry to say this news was met with a little grumpiness on my part.

Bad kitties. BAD BAD KITTIES! Laura got us a great picture for Christmas that shows a pair of cartoon cats with sunglasses saying, "They stayed up late! They trashed the house! And they didn't even care! They were...BAD KITTIES!".



Tonight the little cat door will be CLOSED!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Isn't It Romantic

The title refers to one of my favorite piano pieces, "Isn't It Romantic" from the movie Hannah and Her Sisters. I placed the mp3 in my Music Box widget which is located on the RH side of this blog below the archives (look over there ------>), so you can take a listen. (Yes, I know the widget is all screwed up looking, I'm working on that, but in the meantime you can still play it)

That song always makes me feel a little nostalgic for the Good Old Days...I don't know why but there is definitely a poignant longing in the way he plays this very beautiful song. I have probably listened to this song a bazillion times but I never tire of hearing it.

The song matched last night's experience at Stark's restaurant. I did take a little movie of the place with my cell phone but it was so dark in there, hardly anything can be seen. It's simply a gorgeous restaurant, a real labor of love by the owners, very 30's or 20's feeling. A tribute to the era before WWII, before the stock crash, before we lost that sense of late 1800's opulent luxury we once took for granted and hardly ever see today, especially here on the West Coast. Rich, dark hues everywhere within to match the incredibly rich, but delicious, food.

Heidi greeted us and showed us to our table. Apparently we were lucky to get it as patrons had been fighting over our table not ten minutes before we arrived, despite the large "RESERVED" sign clearly displayed. The joint was hopping, there was that great "buzz" inside fun restaurants have; people milling about at the bar, or sitting at cozy tables for two, or grouped in the leather booths. Laughing, chatting, sharing food and drink, celebrating the evening while music fitting both the occasion and the style of the place played gently in the background.

I was a little disappointed that there was not a live piano player sitting at the baby grand but I got over it once Heidi brought us our drinks. Daws had his usual Jack and Coke but I went for something new Heidi had recommended; a "Sidecar". Friends, have you heard of this "Sidecar" drink? If not, order one next time you're out; you won't regret it. Heaven, ambrosia in a glass! I kid you not! Orange and cognac, god knows what else, served in a martini glass rimmed with sugar.

A girly-girl drink. I was surprised it didn't have an umbrella sticking out of it.

Drinks in hand, sitting side-by-side against the booth side of our table, watching the scene, we felt very decadent indeed.

I'd dropped by earlier in the day at VJB winery near Kenwood to pick up a bottle of Sangiovese Cab blend for Dawson since he's such a Sangiovese Hound. Heidi opened the bottle to let it breathe while we sipped our cocktails. (Yes, you can bring wine as long as you pay the $20 corkage fee.)

Daws ordered Lobster soup as a starter and invited me to share with him. OMG! It was fabulous. Although I had said I'd only have a few bites, gradually I started spooning more and more until finally I growled at Daws threateningly and yanked the entire bowl away from him, tipping it up to my chin and chugging it all down before he could take it away from me eat it all.

Okay, not really.

But I wanted to. Oh yes.

Then we opened our cards to each other. Dawson's made me crack up:

(Note: There was also copious mushy stuff written by my husband for me on the LH side of the card but I'm not sharing that you guys since One: you'll make fun of us and Two: it's none of your beeswax what he said to me privately. Not that you lot want to know, anyway. So there.)

My card to him had cats on it too. SURPRISE! Yes, case you didn't know before now, we are a tad "cat obsessive". Okay, let me amend that:

We're just obsessively nerdy altogether. In almost every way. But that's okay, that's why we match each other so well!

Daws ordered the New York Strip for him and the Kobe Beef for me. We debated being sensible and sharing a side dish but succumbed to the temptation of getting our own, so I got the Potatoes Gratin Fennel and Daws got the Mac-n-Cheese.

It was all fantastic. Heidi poured wine and we ate and drank and shared bites of each other's foods and drank and ate and drank some more, and...hooo boy. We tried to slow down but it was all so good and far too soon my body said, "ARE YOU TRYING TO KILL ME OR WHAT?" So I had to stop. Heidi is so sweet; when we asked if she could please box the rest of the food to take home, she looked concerned lest we feel faint from malnutrition.

"You really didn't eat that much, you know," she said with a puzzled look. "Are you sure you don't want to finish?" We just stared back at her with owl eyes, feebly waving at the food.


You know, I honestly never ever thought I would be in a position where I didn't want more wine. But I didn't. That's how full I felt. Yeah. Enough to make one weep.

So of course, Dawson ordered coffee to help "perk us up". Hey, that makes sense! COFFEE! My savior! At Stark's, the coffee is brought in individual silver carafes and poured by your server; you're not allowed to touch the coffee urns yourselves. A good thing as I found out after Heidi left; those suckers are HOT! OW! Yes, I'm still a little kid inside sometimes..."now, whatever you do, don't touch that..."

wait for them to leave

touch touch TOUCH! "Nyah! NYAH! You can't tell me anything, I'll do WHATEVER I WANT TO!"

Ow. :(

Yeah, I'm the customer who, when the wait-person cautions, "these plates are HOT; don't touch!", I touch it once they leave. (How hot can it be? I wonder to myself...AUGH! That's really friggin' HOT!)

Yeah...I was never a particularly bright child.

Of course, you cannot have coffee without a dessert, right? I said, RIGHT? Right-o. One cannot possibly.

So of course we ordered the creme brulee and oh good god! I think that was the hit of the night. Srsly. Perfectly browned, so the crust was yummy tap-able and they had used salt of all things for a wonderfully dichotic flavor! The salt was the perfect counterpoint to the sweet and washed down with the hot coffee...superb.

Kudos to Chef!

As we got up, hugged Heidi and thanked her for such a wonderful experience and rolled ourselves Weeblestyle to stuff our bloated bodies into our car left the restaurant, sated, happy and filled with bonhomie for each other and the entire world, we agreed it had been a magical night.

Then we drove home, walked in the door, collapsed into a heap together on the couch in True Heart-of-America Couch Potato fashion and watched "Survivor"; our bodies still a tad overwhelmed by the massive amounts of food and drink, then stumbled blearily off to bed.

Where I dreamed incessantly that I'd insanely agreed to go on Laura's canoe trip in May. I kept saying to everyone, "No! No, I can't go, I have no bathing suit, no, I can't go, no, I have my CAMERA, no, I can't do it, no no no I DON'T WANT TO..."

But nobody listened.


Here's the vid I took, remember, it's really dark so don't expect much:

Thursday, February 14, 2008

"But-But,There Were Rules!"

Looky here!

Yeah, Daws was b-a-a-d since this was a "no presents" holiday.

But who am I kidding, when has that ever stopped us before?

We are born Consumers with a capital "C".

I'll be blogging tomorrow about our romantic evening tonight, perhaps with more pictures and movies!


Wednesday, February 13, 2008


So I've decided to start writing a family-friends blog again. The first time Daws and I had a blog like this, back in 2002, barely anyone knew what a blog was. "B-b-bllllog? What does that mean? A journal? Oh...well, why would anyone want to read that? Oh, you geeky nerds, you, with your crazy ideas!"

Riiiight. So due to an utter lack of understanding of why anyone would want to keep an online diary 5 years ago our readership was a tad...well, let's just say, "skimpy". Plus you had to know a certain amount of HTML in order to set up blogs, as well as having some kind of private domain to host it with and nobody knew how to set up those mysterious "comment" thingies, so it was kinda a pain in the ass back then. Fun though it was.

How times have changed.

Anyway, since some people have abandoned us forever for Australia moved, sibs are scattered to the four winds, our "kids" are grown and either married or in the process of getting married and our lives have all become far more complicated and busy over the years, I figured this would be a good way to stay in touch and keep those we love so well updated on our thrill-a-second lives here at Chez Rambo, NorCal Style.

Tomorrow is V-Day and my gift to Dawson is a reservation at Stark's Steakhouse. Yes, yes, THE Stark Steakhouse! The newest star in the restaurant firmament of Sonoma County. How did we get reservations on possibly the most difficult day in the year to get reservations, you ask? HA! Connections, of course...connections. By the way, this will be our 9th Valentine's Day as a couple madly in love; can you believe it's been NINE YEARS? Yeah, that set you back a bit, didn't it? YAY US!

May your Valentine's Day be wondrous, filled with love and if you don't celebrate this sweetest of all the holidays...for god's sake, what's the matter with you? SHEESH! Pump some money into this wheezing feeble joke of an economy we currently have and BUY something for someone you love! Anyone, anything! Even if it's a candy bar, c' an AMERICAN!

Save Capitalism! Buy something! Spread that money around!