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 August 2006


I don't have much energy today (med foul-ups; don't ya hate them?) so I thought I would post some flower pictures.

30 August 2006

One Drunken New Year's Eve

A few years ago, B and I invited some friends over for New Year's Eve. Since our house welcomes animals, their two dogs came over also, joining our cats for the big celebration.
As a new touch, my friend L and I decided to make Advocaat, which is a Dutch version of spiked egg nog. It's made with brandy and aromatic spirits. I had a new recipe to try- one more attempt in a long row of bad results. The recipe reqired about a dozen eggs, so we made a real mess. Finally, the stuff was done.
It was awful. The recipe was another dud to add to my collection. We couldn't drink it. It almost made me weep, it was so gross. It sat on the table, all by itself. We went upstairs to watch the fireworks from the window.
When we came back downstairs, all the glasses were empty. We looked at each animal closely. Sprankeltje was the one that looked drunk, and... she will eat almost anything. We watched her walk around like she had a stick up her butt.
After a while, my friends were preparing to leave. One of the dogs, Woody, a rescued Doberman, tried to stand up on his spindly legs. He couldn't. It was then we realized that it was Woody was the alky. It was really funny to watch poor Woody. He had cleaned out 4 glasses of the Advocaat. I was amazed that he didn't throw up. He had to be carried to the car.
Luckily, we were able to get drunk anyway. We had champagne and wine, so Woody wasn't the only who got to party down.

29 August 2006

Learning to Drive- The Dad Way

Learning to drive left permanent scars in my head. My dad was the lucky one who got to teach me. We were the only kids in our school whose parents had Volkswagens. Everyone else had the land-barges of the seventies. My parents were sort of hippies as far as their politics. From the time we could stand up, we washed the cars. Those were the days of chrome bumpers, and those got rust on them. I remember sitting on the driveway cement and applying "Brasso" until the rust came off. It took a lot of elbow grease. I still use "Brasso" today, as a matter of fact.
Anyway, before I was even allowed to sit behind the wheel, I had to read "How to Keep Your Volkswagen Alive: A Manual of Step-By-Step Procedures For The Compleat Idiot" cover to cover (I think this book was the mother of all the "Dummy/Idiot" books you see today.) My dad took me to a parking lot to learn the basics of handling a stick- shift; unfortunately my parents didn't believe in automatic transmissions. I remember the poor Bug jerking violently in 1st gear, and my dad asking me "Now what happens in the car when you push the clutch in?" My thought(answer) was "I don't give a flying ?%#@%*^ what is happening in the car- I just want to get out of 1st gear." To this day, I still hear his voice when I'm pushing the clutch in.
But, as a result of all this, I do know a bit about car repair and trouble-shooting.
My dad also sort of taught me to drive the Dutch way. I'm thinking that most police would frown on this. I remember when I got my first car. It was a 1969 Volvo, and I can hear my dad telling me to go ten miles over the speed limit around corners-"these cars just love to corner!"
Maybe that's why I grew up to own a MINI Cooper S that has the bumper sticker "Bend the Rules-Rule the Bends" on the back.
Damn you, Daddy.

Here it is today:

28 August 2006

On Having an Accent

My family has been in America for a long time, but my parents still have heavy accents. Us kids learned English too early in life to retain an accent- I think you have to be about ten or eleven years old to keep one. Given this, we have a lot of fun with our parents' accents.
My brother had these little stories.
My dad called my brother L's office, and said that he was L's dad. L's boss thought my dad said that L was dead.
One day, L's boss said that a lady with a sexy European accent was on the phone. My brother answered the phone expecting something, and then it was "Hi Ma."
Then there was an incident with my younger sister. My mother was telling my older sister that she had a hard time turning people down with invitations to go out. S suggested that she say "I think I'll have to pass on that one." When my younger sister called to ask her out, my mother replied with "I think I'll have to pass on that one." A few minutes later, J called my mother back and said, "Why do you have to take a bath at one? That's the worst excuse I've ever heard."

27 August 2006

A Birthday at the Cabin

We have a cabin on "THE RIVER," as we affectionately call it . My nephew's birthday was the 25th, and we have historically spent it at the cabin. If we can pull it together, all the boys go floating for about three miles down the river to the cabin (my niece went with them this year.) My sister and the mini-van, filled with her husband and kids, plus food, chairs and floating implements; us in the pick-up (sob- we don't get to motor on this trip) with our food and floaters, first headed to the cabin to unload. Then it was to the gas station to fill up the rafts and inner tubes with air.
The drop-off spot for the floaters was at a park under the bridge. My sister asked B how long it would take for them to get down the river to the cabin, and he blithely answered, "About an hour." My sister and I looked at each other- sure, about an hour. The river is really low this year- the spring and summer have been dry. The last time we remember it being this low was about 19 years ago, and then we were able to walk across it.
There was no current. It took forever for them to round the first corner. We went back to the cabin to wait for them and to enjoy ourselves. My parents and brother showed up, and we ate and talked. It's wonderfully quiet there, but the road has gotten busier. At one point, a herd of about 50 motorcyclists went by. We saw eagles, though, and watched and listened to the wind blowing through the trees. That certainly makes up for the extra traffic!
We talked and we talked. We talked some more. Finally, after about three hours, the rafts appeared upriver. It took about another half-hour for them to get to the cabin. An hour- right.
Everyone unloaded. They were all tired from being in the sun for so long. Luckily no one got sunburned.
It was a wonderful no-tech day for the kids. They need reminders that that is still possible. No harm to the environment either! Double-whammy.

26 August 2006

Non-Marketable Skills

I have skills that don't really help me get jobs. Lots of useless skills:

  • Being able to say the alphabet backwards (I'm an insomniac)
  • Spell words backwards (again, insomnia)
  • I speak Dutch
  • I remember all the license plate numbers on all the old family cars
  • I have a bionic nose (according to B)
  • I tat (make lace)
  • I can motor fast around corners
  • My head contains lots of useless music trivia
  • I have a collection of weird facts about cats
  • I can race sailboats, but I don't care if we win
  • I can make left-handed bowlines and coil lines in a figure-eight pattern (due to left-handedness)
  • I know way too much about Migraine medicines
  • I can cook obscure Dutch foods
  • I can rebuild a Zenith-Stromberg Dual Carburetor

The list can go much further.

Does anyone know of any jobs for these particular skills? I would appreciate any feed-back or any criticism!

25 August 2006

Some Scenic Pictures

These are some pictures I took on a trip to the Olympic Peninsula, one of the most beautiful places on earth!
I have been going there since I was little, and it is still one of the most spiritiual places for me.

24 August 2006

A Castle in Holland

When B and I went to Holland in 2001, a main goal was for him to visit his first castle.
It is not generally known that Holland has many castles scattered over the land. Muiderslot is one, complete with a moat and drawbridge. It is about 9 miles north of Amsterdam, which helps make it the most visited castle in Holland. It was built in 1280 by Count Floris V, who used it to enforce a toll on traders. After Floris was killed in 1296 by rebelling noblemen, the castle was besieged and destroyed. In 1370, a new castle was built on the remains of the old one, and it is still there.

The Muiderslot has been used as a courthouse, national prison and the official residence of castellans (castle constables.) The writer and poet P.C. Hooft was one the most famous castellans. He lived there from 1609 to 1674, and during this time, the castle was the center of science and art. Hooft also the large gardens around the castle, which are still there today.
After being used as a prison in the end of the 18th century, the castle fell into ruins. It went up for sale in 1825, with the purpose of wrecking it. Due to protests, King Willem I stopped the sale, and Muiderslot was restored. It is now a national museum. The interior now looks much like it did in the 17th century, and it has an excellent collection of arms and armor.
We went to Muiderslot the first day B was in Holland (I had already been there for two weeks.)B loved being in a real castle. We really regret that we didn't have enough time to see more of them. You know, it's funny that we were in a country that we could drive through in two and a half hours, yet we barely got to see anything. And it's not like we were sitting around; everday we were out and about.
There will be more stories about this trip. The major memory was that we were there during 9/11, my purse was stolen, and we were scheduled to return 9/15. Just a bit of a teaser...

23 August 2006

A Peaceful Day

I went to visit my father on the island again today. The weather has cooled off a bit, which is really nice. Here are some pictures of the old ferry and the island.

22 August 2006

Book Shopping

Today I went to a bookstore just to browse. When I go to bookstores, I forget the the names of the twelve thousand books I want, and I end up waiting for them to jump off the shelf and remind me. Anyway, after about a half hour of this, I remembered that I wanted to look at some books about cemeteries. I'm pretty sure this is considered a somewhat-taboo subject in society. There didn't seem to be a special section on cemeteries, like there was for photography and children's books.
I froze. I suddenly realized that I couldn't come up with a socially acceptable way to ask for help.
I decided to leave the store and look it up on my computer. Thank goodness for technology.

21 August 2006

The Desire to Retire

B (my husband) and I spend an inordinate amount of time talking and dreaming of retirement. When we motor, we look for place to retire to. Given a couple of free minutes, we talk about our dreams for when we retire. We have our house planned, with the master suite on the main floor so when I am crippled I will still be able to make to the bedroom for my beauty sleep. The last idea was provided by B (he calls me "grandma.") The master bathtub would have a view, and B would finally have his workshop, where he would be able to break things in peace.
We would like to have a few acres, so we can have some chickens, horses and fainting goats. For those of you not familiar with fainting goats, when they get frightened, their muscles freeze and they fall over. When everything is okay, they get right back up and proceed with life as if nothing happened. Just think of the power! Everyone falls over in your presence. Ultimately, as long as I have internet and bookmobile access, I will be fine. We would also like to have enough land so that we can lay naked outside and no one would ever know.
A few years ago, I found an interesting ad in one of our local sailing rags. Someone was selling a private 16-acre island up in British Columbia for $495,000. This was when the exchange rate was extremely favorable. We were ready to sell our house and get the hell out of Dodge! Finally, our ugly little sailboat would have a purpose. Alas, 'twas not to be. I still have the ad in case we might want to buy an island some day.
In reality, we are unfortunately a ways away from retirement. We spend a disproportionate amount of time talking about not working as opposed to actually working. We are not people who get bored if they aren't working. What is wrong with people who have to work to fill their time? Isn't time for reading, motoring, sailing, watching PBS?
Maybe someone will die and leave us some cash...

20 August 2006

An Eerie Coincidence

few years ago, I went to a mall to see a movie with my mother. After the movie, we wandered around the mall to look at an antique fair they were hosting. After about 45 minutes of antiquing, I noticed that I didn't have my keys. Oh, good gravy, where could I have left them? Somewhere in that huge mall? The theater? Trying to start at the easiest place, I went back to the theatre to see if anyone had turned them in. No success. They told me I could go in to the place I was sitting to see if the keys were there. This was a big theater. I found my seat, and asked the occupant had seen my keys. She asked me what they looked like, and I described them. She then asked me if I had a CRX. Yes, I did. By some wild, weird coincidence, she had parked next to my car, which wasn't even parked close to the theater. She said she had seen my keys in the door lock. She removed them and put them under my rear tire. I could have kissed her.
What are the chances of that happening?

18 August 2006

More Books

I am reading this book. I wrote about the Hunger Winter in Holland in an earlier post. Here is a very good book about the German Occupation and the Hunger Winter. It provides a lot of background information and the author's memories of that last winter. I highly reccommend it!

This book sort of reflects my gallows humor. It is written by a woman who travels to places that have ties with the assassinations of three Presidents. She describes the political environments of the times, and the lives of the assassins. There also tons of little-known facts and stories. A very good history book, with a humorous twist.

17 August 2006

Sailing Pics

Here are some of my favorite sailing pictures that I have taken over the years.

16 August 2006

The "High I.Q. Couple" in Victoria, B.C.

The "High I.Q. Couple" (see 8 August 2006 post) has been to Victoria, B.C., which is on Vancouver Island, quite a few times, leaving our indelible mark. These are
Laser racing in Oak Bay, Victoria, B.C.
two examples.
1) We were on our way to our hotel. I was diving and B was navigating with the map on his lap. He was telling me where to turn and which street to turn on. I looked over, and he had the map of Vancouver displayed. I tell this story a lot, much
to B's embarrassment. It's especially fun to tell the MINI Club.
2) We tried to be savvy travellers and leave our passports and important things in the hotel safe. On the ferry ride back, I asked B if he had picked up everything before we left. No, he hadn't (didn't see that coming, did you?) So, the ferry docks, we wait for our turn to disembark, and then as we get to the toll-booths, we do a u-turn and buy tickets to go back. That's $50.00 a trip, plus the hour that it takes to get back to Vancouver Island, plus the half- hour it takes to drive to Victoria. Than back to the ferry, dish out another $50.00, sit on the boat for an hour, and finally get on the road to drive back home. We made a solemn promise not to add up how much money our little weekend cost.
Please re-enter our world at a later date!

15 August 2006

A Look at Tom Poes

I think I will finally officially introduce Tom Poes, more commonly known as "Kitten." He is a Shaded Silver Persian, and he is now about 14 years old. I got him when he was six months old. He appears to be angelic, but he is pretty macho underneath all that hair. Although he is an inside kitty, he lives to be in the jungle.
Kitten's goal in life is to get outside at all costs. Barging, screaming, waiting by the door until it magically opens all by itself, just for him.
He's been known to launch himself like a missile to the top half of a screen door, and hang there, meowing loud enough for the neighbors across the street to hear him. Once, when our front steps were being worked on, he barged as the the door opened, and he ended up sailing into the front lawn with his legs spread-eagled- there were no steps. Didn't dissuade him from his ultimate mission- to get outside. He's a stealth kitten.
Kitten weighs only 6.5 pounds, although he looks like he weighs twice that. All volume- no substance. He doesn't care about eating. Kitten lets his food drip out of his mouth, and allows the others to take what they want from his dish. He can be picked up with one hand, but he doesn't really like to be held, so he starts to "helicopter."
The one thing that is amazing about Kitten is that he loves to be washed- ergo the picture carefully placed to catch your eye and suck you into reading this blog. We took him to a groomer one time to help out with some hair clots. The groomer said that Kitten fought the razor tooth and nail, but the second he was put into water, Kitten just sat there. That's a good Kitten...
Poor Kitten has some arthritis now, but he gets glucosamine everyday, which helps a lot. He runs up and down the stairs like a real kitten.
Right now, he is waiting for me to feed him. He says he will do a post himself soon.

14 August 2006

Emmigrating From Holland to Canada

Emmigrating From the Netherlands- September 1958

As told to me by my father, May2006
My father and mother immigrated to Canada two weeks after they married. They boarded the "Zuiderkruis", a converted troop ship, in the Port of Rotterdam. The ship was moored at the Holland-America dock. They got a room to themselves because they were newlyweds. Toward the end of the voyage, they encountered a huge storm. The ship lost contact, and the shipping company thoght they had sunk. They made it to Canada though, albeit a week late.
The ship travelled through the St. Lawrence Seaway to Quebec, the first stop. My parents didn't have much money, and they bought an "Orange Crush" for the first time ever. The ship then travelled to Montreal.
My parents had to go through customs, which was a awful expereince. They had a box and some trunks. The trunks had been in the family for many generations, and I have them now. Luckily they didn't have to unpack anything. My dad had a British surplus radio, and the customs officer ended up being a radio enthusiast, so they ended up talking about the radio.
They boarded a train to travel across Canada to Victoria. There was no place to sleep on the train, so they ended up sleeping on the seats, which wasn't very comfortable.
Since they didn't have much money, they survived on bread and milk. They stopped at Banff, Alberta. This was the fist time they had been in the mountains, and they loved it. They thought the mountains were so beautiful!
Eventually, they ended up in Vancouver, and they slept in the waiting room at the station. No washing, no money- feeling pretty icky.
In the morning, they went on the ferry to Nanaimo, which is on Vancouver Island. The weather was gorgeous, and the ferry ride was wonderful. Some old friends met them in Nanaino, and drove them to Victoria. Vic was in the Navy in Esquimalt. One morning, Vic had to get to work, and woke my dad up in a horrible way. My dad had to drive him to work in his pajamas, and he didn't know his way around Victoria very well. He says it was a miracle he ever got back home.

13 August 2006

Our First Halloween

I know this is a bit out of season, but I would probably forget to post this around Halloween, so here it is.
Our first Halloween was a bit different than most Halloween experiences. My mother made our costumes. We (my older sister, younger sister and I) became witches. My mother made the tall hats, skirts and aprons and put all sorts of "witch-type figures" on them. We carved our pumpkins, and they were attached to the end of sticks so we could carry them. They had lit candles in them (this was before the days of fire safety awareness.)
Okay, here is the corker. My mother knew nothing about Halloween, and the actual day of Halloween fell on a school-night that year. She couldn't imagine that everyone would go out on a school-night, so she took us out on the preceding Saturday. We got some weird looks, but people gave us candy anyway. Needless to say, we were the only costumed kids out there. We got candy!
When my mother found out that kids do go out for Halloween on school nights, she took us out again. We got candy twice!
That was how we learned a little bit more about Halloween.

12 August 2006

Short List of Motoring Songs

My Short List of Great Motoring Songs:
~ Let the Good Times Roll- The Cars
~ How Soon is Now- The Smiths
~ Save it For Later- The English Beat
~ Anything by Bob Marley
~ Psycho Killer- The Talking Heads
~ My Sharona- The Knack
~ Anything by U2
~ Avalon- Roxy Music
~ Born to Run- Bruce Springsteen


11 August 2006

A Short One

Today, I can only manage a short entry. I've been busy printing up a back-log of pictures that I've been promising to friends and family. I have another car show tonight, so I've also had to clean the MINI really well. It's surprising what pops up from under the seats and other hidden places. I found parts of my phone that have been missing for awhile, and some combs and hair implements. It's good I have a "no eating in the car" policy (I'm a spiller) or goodness knows what kind of awful, rotten things I would have found.
Have a great evening!

10 August 2006

Some Favorite Lyrics and Quotes

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1. "Why do you tell me all your secrets when it's hard enough to love you knowing nothing?"
- Lloyd Cole
2. What's madness but nobility of the soul at odds with circumstance?
- Theodore Roethke
3. Interesting if true- and interesting anyway.
- Mark Twain
4. The moment that stuns us in life is the moment in which dreams become a reality.
- Barbara Sjoholm
5. What greater gift than the love of a cat?
- Charles Dickens
6. Life without a cat is not an option.
- Edward Gorey
7. The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.
- Mahatma Gandhi
8. Lead me from death to life
From falsehood to truth
Lead me from despair to hope
From fear to trust
Lead me from hate to love
From war to peace
Let peace fill our hearts
Our world, our universe
- Cliff Hunt; "Cliffs of Despair"
9. If man could be crossed with a cat, it would improve man, but diminish the cat.
- Mark Twain
10. You are my cat, and I am your human.
- Hilaire Belloc
11. May Beauty be behind you;
May Beauty be ahead of you;
May Beauty be above you;
May Beauty be below you;
And may Beauty be in you.
- ?

09 August 2006

My Things

If you see my house, the first thing you would notice is that I'm a maximumalist, not a minimalist. We recently down-sized from a 4-bedroom house to a 2-bedroom townhouse. There were a few non-negotiable items, mainly my library. One of the bedrooms in the other house had been devoted to all my books. We bought a bunch of bookcases and put a small desk, as well as a couple of comfortable chairs, in the room. It was my escape place. All my books represent my whole life. I still have books that my dad gave me when I was little. I love to just stare at them. Pretty sad.
Anyway, the move required some serious redistribution of goods. My piano went to my mother; my antique butcher-block went to my younger sister, and my four-poster bed went to my niece. These are all on loan, at least in theory. Will we ever up-size again? That's a doozy of a question.
In the mean-time, I still have all my books, albeit they are all over the house instead of one room. I have all my things that make me feel at home. People probably make fun of me, but I didn't have much as a kid, and I'm very attached to the items that I've acquired over the years. They all make me feel secure. I have a family picture wall, a sailing picture wall and lots of etcetera walls. I love color and comfort. I love mixtures of old and new, hairy and bare. I once read that a room is incomplete if it doesn't have at least seven different kinds of wood. Not surprisingly, I meet that requirement. I love finding odd-ball things, but I have drastically cut back.
Just don't have the room anymore.

A great book for learning how to make wonderful knots:

08 August 2006


A few weeks ago, my husband and I went out for a motor (that's what you call it when you're in a MINI Cooper.) We made it point to keep turning right, and found some neat roads. We discovered a park that we had heard of but never actually seen. We decided to motor (yes, "motor" will be used ad-nauseum) through the camping area. It was packed. Tons of RV's, trailers, and a few tents. There were even some yurts available for rent. As I mentioned earlier, I remember camping a totally different way. Here, there were people walking around looking like they were desperately searching for a shower and a toilet that flushed. It weren't pretty. I told B that I am way past wanting to camp anymore. He accused me of not being adventurous in my old age. This coming from a guy that only went trailer camping when he was young. I reminded him that I had hiked the 70-mile Washington Coast, made it to the 10,000-foot level of Mt. Rainier twice, and hiked/camped all over the state and into british Columbia. I have driven to Alaska in a 1967 VW bus with a big black dog and an 18-year-old cat.
Anyway, the realization comes that I would rather stay in a motel where they will clean up after me, with a flushing toilet and a shower. I would rather sleep in a nice bed, and maybe watch some bad cable TV (can't do it at home- no cable!) I like it when someone cooks my meals and washes my dishes. The same concerns come up when the other half of "The High I.Q. Couple" suggests going cruising in our itty-bitty sailboat. Porta-potty? No way! Trying to cook when you can't even stand up? Uh-uh! Sleeping in a cramped little bunk with all our junk right in our faces? Yea, right!
I see my future as motoring long distances and finding places where others take care of me. All I want to do is drive!

The "High I.Q. Couple"

My husband and I refer to ourselves as the "High I.Q. Couple." Our motto is "We Find the Longest and Slowest Line so You Don't Have To." This our way of dealing with the stupid things we do and decisions we make. Humor has kept us together.One prime example:Years ago we had to buy a car because mine was having some incomprehensible behaviors. B's mother was in the hospital, very ill, and we were under a lot of pressure time-wise. On a freezing January day, we went to a car dealer to look at a CRX. It was late in the afternoon, and it was glaringly sunny. The test drive went well, and we looked the car over closely, and decided to buy it. After we signed all our money over, they brought the car to the front of the dealership so we could drive it off into the sunset. As we got close to it, we saw a huge dent on the passenger side. Yea yea, we looked the car over closely before buying it. So we were stuck. As we were driving home, B said, "Well, we just got f-d over again. The sad part is, I'm starting to enjoy it." I broke out in loud guffaws, and all was well. What could have been a very stressful event was now in our "High I.Q." files.The "High I.Q." theory will be revisited.

07 August 2006

How to be in the Woods When You're in the City

Most of the time, I would rather be out in the woods instead of the city. One of my friends and I figured out how to pretend. She used to live in a houseboat under the freeway. The houseboat had a wood stove, and was pretty rustic.
This is how you can fool yourself- we would make a big fire in the stove, close all the curtains, and pretend the sound of the freeway was a river flowing by. We would have warm drinks and tell stories. Believe it or not, this worked.
Remembering this always brings me peace of mind.

A book about a resistence fighter in the Netherlands during WWII- also made into a movie.

06 August 2006

Link With "Bestest Blog of All Time"

After a bit of flithering about, I have officially created a link with "The Bestest Blog of All Time" ( Please check it out, and I would love any feedback!

05 August 2006

A Little Bit More LOKi

What a guy. He has beautiful intense green eyes. He has really long legs, and feet with white mittens. His coloring is very soft- more of a buff color than a true orange. We have conversations about everything, and he always has an opinion. LOKi has a sense of humor, and sees the light side of life. He also has terrible fears from a life that precedes this one- one that I can’t seem to crack or help him with. His appetite is gargantuan, for food and for life and for love. His purr is a rumbling indication that he has achieved happiness, almost to the point of becoming rusty. LOKi likes to be physical- on my lap, helping me on the computer, running to me when I call his name, and playing with inanimate objects that come to life with his touch. He wants to see what is going on all the time, except when there are strangers here!

LOKi’s entrance into our family unit was not a smooth one. There were two resident felines that made LOKi’s life quite miserable. Sprankeltje (AKA Bean) and Tom Poes (AKA Kitten) did not have a very close relationship, but when LOKi came into the fray, they suddenly became co-conspirators, making sure that LOKi had absolutely no rights. LOKi spent most of the time under an old chair that was on the upstairs landing. All that was visible was those huge eyes with anxiety written all over them. Bean or Kitten would always be sitting on guard next to the chair and they would not allow him to go downstairs. I began to wonder if LOKi would ever be allowed into the real world, whatever that consisted of.

Slowly, things got a bit better. LOKi was able to eat his food and use the litter box, just like a real cat. He was still the outcast, though, and he also had to adjust to being a kitty with a home. He very obviously had not been indoors at all. I can still see him trying to jump onto the windowsill in the living room, and then crashing into the window. Glass was new to him. There were some lessons to be learned about the litter box also. LOKi was very enthusiastic about using it, but his methods left a bit to be desired. He would have his body in it, but his behind would stick out, the result of which was that he weed all over the floor. I had to admire his attempts.

As LOKi started to develop some self-esteem, a bit of payback began to occur. He found out he could really bother Kitten without even making contact. He would get into Kitten’s face, and basically back Kitten around the perimeter of the living room. This continued ad-nauseum. I was quite amused at first; pretty much convinced that Kitten had it coming to him. It got a little too mean-spirited and it started to happen too often, so I tried to intervene on Kitten’s behalf. I yelled at LOKi to stop it- didn’t work. I picked him up and physically removed him from Kitten’s face- didn’t work. LOKi obviously was getting a huge kick out of Kitten’s misery. I finally had too much, and I began to wonder if Kitten’s old heart could continue to take this abuse (even if he did deserve it!) I yelled at LOKi that he was going to go to jail. I picked him up locked him in our dining room to let him ruminate about the bad things he had done to be sentenced to jail. The picking on Kitten continued, and I was regularly telling LOKi that had to go to jail. After awhile, I began to notice that LOKi seemed to want to go to jail. . He picked on Kitten deliberately so he would be sentenced. I would tell him that he had to go, and he would take himself to the door to be thrown into jail. Now, I thought, this is pretty weird. When I began to get lazy and ignore his despicable behavior, he sat himself in front of the jail door until I threw him in. He would then look out into the living room and Kitten and Bean would sit and look at him while he was in jail. When B and I went to Holland and the neighbor was taking care of the cats, she reported that LOKi regularly sent himself to jail.

There are many future LOKi stories to look forward to.

04 August 2006

Family Trees

I've been working on my husband's and my family trees. While there have been a lot of dead-ends, there have also been a lot of funky stories. These are from my husband's side.
One almost unbelievable tale begins with "Big William," who was 6'4" tall and weighed about 350 pounds. A woman named Elizabeth fell in love with him, but he married her sister Sarah. Nonetheless, Elizabeth swore she would have William's children. William and Elizabeth had 5 children while he was married to Sarah. Sarah and William had 11 children. After Sarah died, William married another woman named Elizabeth, and proceeded to have 16 children with her. William fathered a total of 32 children. This was obviously before the days of child support! He was eventually buried next to the river where he had lived his entire life. What a tale.
Another episode: I noticed a couple had died on the same day. That piqued my interest, so I dug a little bit further. The official account was that the husband shot his wife and then himself. The unofficial account, from the wife's brother, was that it was a Mafia hit due to a union dispute. Very interesting.
There was a young man who was shot by the local sheriff for stealing two horses. Another died when a horse kicked him in the chest. A young woman died when the horse pulling her carriage was spooked and ran off. A 17-year-old boy was shot and killed in a hunting accident. An elderly woman wrote about how difficult her life had been- no running water or plumbing, and raising 14 children.
These are all the folks that make us the people we are today. Everyday happenings and survival stories. I never get tired of it.

I bought this book to get help with researching cemeteries and gathering family tree information. It gives a lot of hints on getting death certificates, etc and interpreting the information on gravestones.

03 August 2006

Vacations Past

Yesterday, my sister and I were remembering some of our family vacations when we were children. We usually went camping in a different part Washington State every year. Our family (four kids, two adults and a Black Lab named Sheba) all packed into a red 1969 Volkswagen bus. It was amazing that all our junk, including a couple tents, all our clothes and food fit in it. VW buses are notoriously underpowered, so we didn't get anywhere very quickly. The amount of noise coming from the engine in the back, even with added insulation, made for poor conversations. I recall one time that we got ice cream cones, and we were in the bus eating them. Someone's ice cream fell off the cone and landed on Sheba's head. A dairy bonus for the dog.
My sister and I especially remember camping at Lake Cushman, which is in the Olympic National Park on the Olympic Peninsula. These were the days before reservations were needed. We basically had the whole campground to ourselves. Our special camp-spot was at the end of the road, and it had a little trail to the lake. There was a tiny beach area. We had one of the old canvas tents that had the umbrella-type interior pole system. It collapsed a lot of times before it actually connected correctly and stayed up, but we had to be really careful not to hit it accidently or down it would go. There was no such thing as a rain fly, so we made do with a plastic tarp attached to trees. It didn't always work very well. There was no electricity, so out came the Coleman camp stove. My dad would always make oatmeal, and he would invariably let the milk boil over or burn, Yum-yum.
We had an inflatable canoe that we would take out on the lake. Lake Cushman is a man-made lake (made in 1920 as a reservoir for Tacoma,) so there were stumps sticking out of the water. I always felt it sort of made a weird moonscape. Water safety was not really practiced at that time, so we went all over the lake without life jackets. Sheba loved the canoe. She was able to jump out and clamber back in on her own. She would also let us hold on to her tail while she was swimming. A very patient animal. Those were also the days before there was fear that kids might be kidnapped, so we had a wonderful amount of freedom. I'm sure the feelings of freedom descended on our parents while we were running loose.
The campground was very forested. There were a lot of Douglas Firs (you can tell a Doug Fir by their pinecones- legend has it that there was a forest fire and the chipmunks ran into the cones, and their back legs and tails still appear on the cones) and cedars, so it was relatively cool. In that tent, it made a lot of difference. When it did get hot, you couldn't breathe in there, and that canvas could sure smell awful.
A few years ago, I went back to the campground, maybe to recapture some of my youth and happier memories. I could barely recognize it. It was filled with RV's and Satellite Dishes, and nary a tent. Every spot was taken or had a reservation tag. I guess now you have to reserve spots sometimes a year ahead of time. I had trouble finding our old spot- it wasn't as forested as before, and the campground looked so different full. What a let-down. I really didn't like being in what was essentially a crowd.
I guess memories are sometimes just that, memories.

This is a story of a woman who inherits her small family cemetery in Oregon. She becomes the sexton (caretaker) and this her story of her family and also the stories of the other people buried there. It's a moving book, and an introduction of how a small cemetery survives.

01 August 2006

Another Lovely Day, Another Lovely Island

I went on a a little trip to visit a friend on Whidbey Island, which is supposedly the longest island in the United States. D was staying at a house on the water on Honeymoon Bay. Whidbey Island has lot of neat bays- including Useless Bay and Mutiny Bay. Penn Cove is the home of the famous Penn Cove mussels. MMMMM. Coupeville is the Island County seat. It is a very beautiful little place, full of well-preserved Victorian and Italianate houses. Whidbey Island Race Week (billed as "Adult Day Camp") is held every July. It is a week of sailboat racing and social events, and usaully hosts ~200 sailboats. They usually race in Penn Cove, so the view from Coupeville is really amazing. The movie "Practical Magic," starring Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman was filmed there, so if you want to see it without having to travel, it's easy!

D and I went to the Sunnnyside Cemetery, which is just outside Coupeville proper. It is in a National Historic Reserve, and sits on a hill overlooking the water and farmland. D and I both think that this would be a wonderful place to spend eternity, as places for eternity go. He has a friend buried there in a family plot, but try as we might, we weren't able to find it.
It gives us a good reason to return.