Book Reviews, Cat Reviews and Life Reviews

Welcome to my blog! Check out this site for recommended books, stories about my cats, and stories from my life (real and sometimes imaginary.) Have fun! Unless noted, all photos have not been edited in any way. All content on this site is copyright INAMINI. All rights reserved.

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Location: Washington State, United States

31 July 2006

Book, Book!

I have been reading this book. It combines my afore-mentioned love of forensics, mysteries and the sea. Deep sea forensics is a newer field, and it is fascinating to read about what turns out be just plain accidents to spying and subterfuge expeditions.


LOKi came into my life in the summer of 2000. I was living on Capitol Hill in an old (1906) house. Our backyard was not finished, and we parked our cars back there. There was a huge laurel bush along the back, and it grew on a slope. I liked to sit out there and enjoy the sun. There were cats that came to visit me, and we would have little parties together.
During the beginning of that summer, a gray kitten with soft stripes and a light orange tabby kitten would come out of the laurel bushes and sit and play in the sun. They were very shy and skinny. I would sit and just watch them, trying not to scare them away and let them get used to me. If I stood up or made any move towards them, they would scatter. One vision I remember is them playing with leaves that were coming down. The leaves would float back and forth, and they would both dance and weave trying to catch them. "The Little Gray Kitty" and "The Little Orange Kitty." I made up the story that they were brothers, although I never knew for sure if that was the case.
I put food out every time I saw them. I had to sit very still and very far away, and then they slowly started to come and eat some food. A lot of days I sat in the sun on a large chunk of concrete that was sitting there like a glacial erratic. It was very peaceful, and at some point we attained a balance of the positions of where we could be and not bother each other.
"Little Gray Kitty" was more shy than "Little Orange Kitty". Their stripe patterns were identical, and they had the same graceful, long-legged build. They both had huge ears and eyes that dominated their faces.
Food became more of a draw as the summer went on. I put the food closer to me, and sort of dared them to come get it. I remember times, when I became a bit greedy, that "Little Orange Kitty" dodged under my car and would not come out. I sometimes walked him all around the perimeter of the car when he was afraid to come out from under it. After a lot of time, ‘Little Orange Kitty" let me pet him. It took even more time before he would let me sort of hold him. This was when the food came in very handy. "Little Gray Kitty" never really came around to that stage. He would eat only when I was far away.
As summer turned into fall, I made plans to catch "Little Orange Kitty" and get him neutered, etc. and find him a good home. I never really made any similar plans for "Little Gray Kitty"- he never came close. If he had, I would have done the same. I made sure I always left him food.
I caught "Little Orange Kitty" in October. We put him in the mudroom and made an appointment at the vet for him. B left the light on all night the first night LOKi was with us, and LOKi tore up a whole roll of toilet paper (B said he didn’t want the cat to get scared in the dark; I explained that he was a feral cat and probably had been through a lot of dark nights.) He slept in the bathroom sink.
He made it through his appointment with flying colors, and he became a member of our household. We bonded immediately and completely. We had our "quality time" every evening, and became even better friends. He would sit on my head, purr and be all over me. At this time, I found a home for him. A friend from work said she would love to have him.
When A came over to pick him up, he was still incredibly, horribly afraid of strangers. He managed to crawl under the dishwasher (through a very small opening) with the strength and agility connected with blind fear. I made A a pot of tea, and we waited for the kitty to come out from under the dishwasher. It never happened. After an hour and a half, I finally told A that when he came out, I would deliver him to her house.
He came out- I began to bawl and hang on to him and realize that we had bonded too deeply, and that I could not give him up. B was kind enough to look at me and say "Merry Christmas."
That’s how LOKi came to be in our family.
His name- I couldn’t think of him as anything but "Little Orange Kitty" although I tried to give him a unique name. It finally occurred to me- "L"ittle "O"range "Ki"tty- LOKi. TA-DA!

29 July 2006

A Couple of Books

I tried to get these on my post last night, but nothing went right. Anyway, here are a couple of books I recently finished:

I love mysteries and how they are solved. This book is from the show "Cold Case Files."

This next one is sort of an odd-ball story. It's about a teenage boy who builds a nuclear reactor in his back yard. As I read how he had done this, it begged the question whether these were instructions on how someone could duplicate the project. I hope the author left out some important details!

How I Met My Husband, and Why He Should Have Run

Many, many years ago, my husband and I met. It was fate, it was kismet.
I raced on an International 14 sailboat (a development-class dinghy capable of going up to 20 knots) every Thursday, and one evening I went down to meet my usual skipper. He said that he had tried to call me, but he couldn't get a hold of me (days before cell-phones.) He wasn't able to sail that night. That was okay- I could say hello to people and then go home. Someone told me that there was a guy looking for someone to sail with, and that's how we met.
The 14 is a very squirrely boat- you look at it and it turtles. This was B's first time in one, and since I don't like to skipper, B was on the helm. He didn't believe me when I told him to drop the main NOW, and we capsized frequently and regularly. We were sailing in cold seawater, and even though we were wearing wetsuits, we got pretty cold.
I was house-sitting for a friend about a half-hour north of the marina, and she always let me drive her car (a Volvo station wagon.) When I went back to the car, I found that I had locked the keys (including the house keys) in the car, along with all my clean, non-smelly clothes.
B was nice enough to drive me in my smelly wet-suit (I never was a pretty sight in one) all the way up the house. I had to crawl in a window and unlock the house, and after I changed, we looked for a spare car key. We thought we had one, and then back down to the car.
It wasn't a match. B then turned around once again and drove me to the house. I ended up calling a locksmith the next day.
Now, wouldn't you have run?

Some maritime books-

This is the story of a man that entered the first round-the-world solo sailing race. Donald Crowhurst and his boat were ill-prepared to take this on, and things start to go wrong almost immediately. In the end, his boat was found abandoned in the Atlantic, and one of sailing's great stories was born. In the boat, two logs are found- a fake one that indicates that Crowhurst is winning, and a real one. The real one follows Crowhurst's decline into madness and proves that he never left the Atlantic. I have read this book several times, and it never fails to fascinate me.

Hal Roth covered the whole race in this book. There were nine entries in this race, and they all had interesting stories. One, Bernard Moitessier, who was winning the race, decided to keep sailing and ended up living in French Polynesia. It is interesting how Crowhurst's so-called winning affected the other sailors.

Happy Reading!

28 July 2006

More Family History

Here is a bit more of my family history, beginning with my parents' marriage.
My parents were married in September 1958, in Ede. Because of the housing situation and job shortages, two weeks later, they were on the converted troopship, the "Zuiderkruis" (the "Southern Cross.) At that time, Canada had very desirable job opportunities for the Dutch, and many people emigrated to Canada. They then took a train all the way across Canada, and ended up in Victoria, BC. My older sister and I were born there (I have dual Dutch-Canadian citizenship.) We then returned to Holland and lived in Kraggenburg, which was a brand new town on reclaimed polder land. My younger sister was born there. Jobs and housing again became an issue, and my dad found a job in Wyoming, so after two years in Holland, we again picked up everything and moved just outside Sheridan. My mothere says my older sister and I went to neighboring farms and spoke Dutch, and nobody knew what to do with us.
We went on vacation to Vancouver, BC, and my parents really liked the area. He was able to find a job at the University of Washington, and so, with my mother pregnant with my brother, we drove from Sheridan to Washington State. I learned English in Kindergarten (I missed all my playtime) and have lived in the area ever since.
This is probably way too much information, but, if you miraculously need anymore, please do ask!

27 July 2006

A Little Family Story

Recently my mother gave me a few family items that had come back to her after a long absence. The items: a necklace, bracelet and earrings made from Dutch dimes, and two handmade dolls. They held a wonderful little family story.
The dimes- dubbeltjes- are all dated between 1930 and 1941. This was before the occupation, and they are solid silver. There were no coins minted during the war.

My grandmother had a step-cousin that had moved to the United States in the 1920's. After the war, she wanted my grandmother to send her some Dutch coins. The U.S. policies did not allow importation of foreign coins so my grandmother saved some of the first dubbeltjes that came back into circulation. She then took them to a jeweler to have the necklace, bracelet and earrings made. When new dimes finally started to be minted again, they were much smaller and not made of solid silver.
My grandmother then made two dolls, a boy and a girl. They are about 16" tall. My mother remembers her painstakingly hand-sewing the bodies and the Dutch costumes for them. My grandmother then stuffed the jewelry into the dolls' bodies and then sewed them shut. The dolls were then mailed to America.
The dolls and jewelry stayed with the step-cousin's family until they were returned to my mother a couple months ago.
Try as I might, I can't picture my grandmother doing something morally questionable let alone illegal. She was very religious and lived a very quiet life.
I guess you never know...

26 July 2006

A Lovely Day on the Island

went to visit my dad again today. It was a beautiful day, and we decided to go to the small cemetery. I really like old cemeteries, and I sort of started a weird project. I'm trying to take pictures of my MINI at every cemetery I can find. Anyway, we started taking a walk and looking at the gravestones. The cemetery is at the end of a little dirt road, and it is very secluded. The oldest gravestones were from the 1880's. A lot of markers were made from cement, and they were illegible due to erosion.
We started talking about how we had absolutely no physical history in this country . No graves to visit, no trace of our family history. We are the first ones to come here. In Holland, it is very expensive to be buried. Land is at a premium. When you bury someone, a gravesite holds ~5 people, and after 20 years, they are exhumed. The gravesite is then re-rented (for lack of a better word.) My dad said he never saw his father's grave, and he has no idea what happened after the grave was re-used. He assumes that he was cremated and then buried in a communal grave with other people. My dad at least has a picture of the gravestone.
We took a little tour, and my dad filled me in on some of the Island personalities and families that are buried there. There is the former Island Fire Chief who fought in WWII and the man from the electric company that no one liked. There are a lot of Johnsons buried there. It looked like the apples didn't fall far from the tree! There are several roads named after them on the Island.
It is definitely a peaceful place. There are dandelions blooming everywhere, and some graves had lavender plants that were thriving in the brown grass. Bees were buzzing in their flowers, and we watched a dragonfly flit around and eat things (I'm not sure what he was dining on exactly.)
I will sleep well tonight.

25 July 2006

The "Hunger Winter"- World War II

Today is thankfully cooler. I think I will write a little about my family history and the "Hunger Winter" in Holland (1944-45.)

The "war" In the Netherlands lasted only three days- they capitulated on 10 May 1940. They then endured five years of Nazi occupation. My father was born in 1932 in Utrecht, which is geographicaly the center of the Netherlands. He spent the war years in Bilthoven, which is about 4 miles east of Utrecht. Bilthoven is next to the airport at Soesterberg, which the Germans used as a weapon depot. Consequently, the Allies strafed the town regularly. My dad showed me the bullet wounds on the trees when we went back in 2001. He remembers that there were never any windows in his house because of the constant bombings.

My mother was born in 1936 in Den Haag (The Hague.) She spent the war years in Ede, which is east of Bilthoven. Her father, grandmother and grandfather all died in her house during the war. She remembers that a Jewish family down the street was sent off to the concentration camps, and the neighbors were asked to keep their furniture for when they came back- they never came back. The house was still there when I went back in 2001. Her mother was forced to house German POWs during the war. My mother remembers having to walk for miles to beg for food for the family.

In September 1944, there was an Allied plan to move north into Holland to end the war quickly. "Operation Marketgarden" (A Bridge Too Far) failed miserably, and so Holland had to wait for 8 more months to be liberated. During this last winter, the weather was very cold and there was no food. Over 16,000 people starved to death during this time. The Germans made a virtual wall around Northern and central Holland and no food or othere humanitarian aid could enter. My father had to eat his pet crow and tulip bulbs, among other things. Finally, when it was obvious that Germany was going to lose the war, a tentative agreement was reached that Allied planes could come and drop food over pre-determined sites to help the people.

The operation was called "Operation Chowhound" for the Americans and "Operation Manna" for the British. The planes (B-17's and Lancasters) were in instructed to fly between 300-400 feet over the drop sites. Even before the papers were signed, planes began the food drops. The Germans had anti-aircraft weapons in case the Allied were going to bomb instead of drop food. Although the food drops were maybe too late to prevent much of the starvation, they did wonders for the morale of the people. The Canadians were then able to liberate Holland on the fifth of May 1945. My mother remembers riding on the Canadian tanks when they liberated Ede. There is still avery special bond between the Dutch and their liberators. After the war, the restoration of Holland was very diffiicult. Most of the infrastructure was completely destroyed. A new government was set up (Socialist) and a new economy was established. The rebuilding was slow and hard. Much farmland had been destroyed, and housing was at a premium for many years.

Since this is a long post, I will continue the story later. Please let me know if you find this interesting!

24 July 2006

Monday, 24 July 2006- Sprankeltje Introduced

Hi, my name is Sprankeltje, which means "Little Sparkle" in Dutch. I am a Calico, and therefore weird. I was adopted from the Humane Society when I was 6 weeks old. The Humane Society had just started spaying/neutering animals before they could leave the shelter, so I had some stitches on my belly. I had an amazingly loud voice for my size- in fact I had been left at the shelter because I was "too loud." When I arrived at my new home, I just had to run up the stairs, which I had never seen before. I made it most of the way up before I went tumbling down ass over teakettle. Mom was wailing about my stitches, but they remained intact.
I was weird from the get-go. I didn't like people being nice to me- I enjoyed abuse. I wanted to be dropped upside down on chairs, being stuffed in a bag and twirled around and being pounded on. If I purred, it was purely against my will, and it meant that my body was betraying me.
I also love water. I pat it with my paws, splash around and put my paw in it and drag the dish out into the middle of the floor so Mom can step in it- it just never gets old. I love getting baths, and sit like a lump in the tub.
My nick-name "Bean" came from "String Bean" because I had long skinny legs. Those days are gone. I am guided by the hunt for constant food. I walk like an armadillo, with my back humped up. I am a stealth-eater, and I will sit immobile over a dish so that it looks like I'm not really eating. Fools them every time. Mom always says that I don't really look very bright (like I can't even hear her!) Apparently I have no pupils and I'm always looking at nothing. I have a really hard time focusing on what is happening directly around me. I like to sit in a corner and stare into it.
As time wore on (I'm now 10 years old) I began to re-think the kindness angle, but in a weird S&M-kind-of-way. I found I really, really like to be spanked, and that it was wonderful to purr while getting spanked. When visitors come over, I will approach them and assume the position to be spanked. It makes Mom sort of uncomfortable, and it's hard to explain to the poor visitors. I guess in proper society spanking is frowned upon. I'm not that smart.

It's time for me to go put my head into Mom's purse and sleep. Yes, I like to do that.
A fun little book- simple reading for a simple cat

A book of cat pictures, short stories and poems from all over-

23 July 2006

23 July 2006- A Drive in the Country

I hate to be repetitive, but it was very hot again today. I went on a drive with the local MGClub, and it was a lot of fun. An MGA from Canada experienced fuel pump problems, but luckily an MGB had a spare one, you know, just in case.... I hope the MGA made it home okay! It sure makes me appreciate a care-free car. It was an odd variety of cars, a Lotus, a TR6, the MGA, the MGB and my MINI Cooper S. The only requirement was that the car is English. I also now know that I really like air-conditioning. There is a show down in Portland that I am now interested in. The show-life is starting to hook me in. ...Not that I'm going to win anything!
The cats are still looking pretty hopeless. There are some pathetic meows and sad eyes. LOKi really tries to be happy and purr, but I can tell it's an effort for him. He discovered that I applied perfume this morning, and he keeps trying to lick it off. Perfume is supposed to be a real turn-off for cats- I've read that it can be used to help keep them from scratching furniture because they supposedly hate the stuff so much. No, LOKi is certainly not normal.
Time to enter the hallowed, air-conditioned bedroom, and read the night away.

22 July 2006

22 July 2006- Another Hotttt Day

Today was another cooker. Luckily there was a little bit of a breeze for the car show. I spent the day talking to old friends and some new friends. Lots and lots of water, and staying out of the sun as much as possible. Tomorrow we'll go on a breakfast drive with the British Car Association on a bunch of backroads. The good thing is that we'll be in an air-condtioned car.
I'm tempted to hose the cats down. They are very listless, and look hopeless. Will this heat ever end? Meow.

21 July 2006

21 July 2006- One Hot Day

Today has been really hot for this area. LOKi, Sprankeltje and Tom Poes have had absolutely zero energy. I feel pretty sorry for them. They get up, take a couple steps, and then collapse. It's supposed to be even hotter this weekend. I'm actually eating a cucumber for dinner.
This morning at 7:00, I was out detailing the inside of my car. It took 3 hours, and a lot of sweat. I normally wouldn't be doing this, but my car is entered in a car show (All-British Field Meet.) I'm never in these to win, but it is so much fun meeting new people and seeing all the different cars. I'm leaving notes everywhere to remind me of things not to forget.
All this work for a non-competitive person. My sailboat-racing days are over, due to the fact that I don't really care how we do (everyone else is usually pretty serious about it.) I say it's a good day if nothing breaks, we don't lose anything overboard, and there is no blood. Don't get me wrong, I do like to sail a boat to go as fast as possible. I am very anal and excel at flying the spinnaker. I am not a good driver. I am afraid of driving downwind (there's a reason it's called a "boom.") I remember all the very small, minute things that everyone else sort of forgets(tweekers, boom vangs, outhauls and such.)
Well, time to finally take a shower. Time to sit in the air-conditioned bedroom and read a good book. !
Sleep tight

20 July 2006

20 July 2006

Good Morning,
Today I will actually write the post myself. LOKi is busy being a baaad cat, which is entertaining me no end. He is purring loudly and doing his laps. Sprankeltje and Tom Poes are just watching. It's easy to guess who has the most muscle mass.
I have been digging through some of my books. One is "50 Simple Ways to Pamper Your Cat" by Arden Moore. There are more than the implied 50 suggestions, from sailing with your cat, to a first aid kit for your cat, to recipes for home made treats and more. I refer to it often.
Today's entry is appallingly short. I will be out for most of the day, and I hope tomorrow will be a better entry day.

19 July 2006

19 July 2006- A Cat Entry

This is another report from LOKi. Mom spent the day with her dad, who lives on a small island. He too has three cats (must be something in the genes!) Names: Willem, Bontepoes and Ma. Their life is pretty idyllic.
Willem is a huge, sweet orange tabby. Willem likes to help go to the maibox and pick up the mail everyday. The mailbox is about a block and a half away. He has a harness and leash, and he walks very proudly down the middle of the street. When he hears a car coming, he goes to the ditch and sits in it until the car has passed by. Then he gets up and continues the journey. I don't think that I would do very well on a leash! Mom was very impressed and made sure she told us all about Willem's fantastic feat.
Mom and her dad went to the Bookmobile, and she found a book that was interesting. It's called "Memories of World War II- Photographs from the Archives of the Associated Press." There are a lot of pictures that may make you think about what people can do.

18 July 2006

18 July 2006- A Cat's Entry

My blogger is unavailable today, so I (LOKi) will be today's featured host.
First of all, let me introduce myself. Obviously, my name is LOKi, which is shorthand for Little Orange Kitty. I am approximately 6 years old, but only the laurel bush I crawled out of knows for sure. I am by nature afraid of people, especially those I don't know, so it took a few months of food bribery for me to consent to being handled. Food is good.
LOKi is the Norse God of Mischief, which is very apropo. I enjoy being a baaad cat. This involves running around maniacally, sitting on top of the other cats as if they don't exist, digging for imaginary prizes, and my favorite thing of all, working with the computer. I like to send e-mails, sit on the keyboard, make fun noises with the keyboard, and not get off the computer no matter what. Ultimately, I am a happy creature.
I am Mom's first "kitty with lips." I have huge green eyes and huge ears. I am weirdly fond of perfume and sunblock, and love to lick them off skin. That's not normal, from what I understand. I love to eat, and I think I am way too skinny, so I should get food whenever I want it!
Speaking of which...
While I'm busy procuring food, I notice that Mom is reading some books that she wants to discuss. I know she finished one today.
Have a wonderful evening!

17 July 2006

17 July 2006- My First Day

Well Hello,
This is my first attempt at a blog. Since my life is filled with books and cats, I thought that would probably be the best way to go. I have been a heavy reader all my life, and I would love to share some of my favorites. Since life isn't all good, neither are all books, so it might be fun to also explore some that were disappointments for one reason or another.
Now, my cats. They will always be in color. They are three in number, and about five thousand in personalities. As time goes along, their characters will be exposed bit by bit. Their names are Tom Poes (Kitten,) Sprankeltje (Bean,) and LOKi (LOKi.)
Then of course there is the third big thing- books about cats. A whole separate category. I will delve into that often!
Tonight I will go through my books and decide which one I would like to begin with. It seems very important to make a big splash or statement right at the beginning.
See you tomorrow!