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

27 October 2006

How We Met- The Technical Part

Here is video about the International 14s we were sailing when we met. Please note the frequent capsizing occurences. You can become so skilled at capsizing that you can get the boat upright without getting wet. Priceless. Now that's a great ride!

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26 October 2006

"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. This is how the "High I.Q. Couple" stumbles through life. Crap happens- we laugh.

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25 October 2006

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?

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24 October 2006

Cemetery, Cemetery, Come To Me

I don't know if I have revealed this earlier, but it seems appropriate due to the season and the "Why I'm Weird" meme traveling the net, but I started a strange project. I have been trying to find all the little, off-the-beaten-path cemeteries while I'm on my travels, and taking a picture of my MINI at each of them. So while these were taken mostly during the summer, imagine, if you will, dark, spooky nights, and then put the car there.

Bay Center Cemetery, Bay Center, Washington

Fern Hill Cemetery, Mason County, Washington

Kinder Cemetery, Off HWY 30, East of Portland, Oregon

(There are tales of a ghost of an old man haunting the rear of the cemetery!)

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23 October 2006


Okay, okay. I am a thief.I am stealing a meme from lizza, dr. a and Morgen. I have no muse today.

Five Things I Would Do If I Were A Millionaire

* Make sure my family was taken care of
* Get a really nice sailboat
* Donate to animal/environmental causes
* Finally have my private island and dream retirement home
* Travel, travel, travel!

Five Bad Habits

* Shopping
* Eating
* Being very out-spoken/opinionated/strong-minded
* Starting projects and not finishing them
* Not using hand-lotion

Five Things I Hate Doing

* Cleaning the cat boxes
* Changing light-bulbs
* Looking for the Christmas ornaments
* Clothes shopping (eeeuw)
* Charging the cell phone

Five Things I Would Never Do

* Sail across the ocean
* Be a key-note speaker
* Walk across a bridge (I am so afraid of heights!)
* Have my picture taken
* Hurt an animal

Five Things I Regret Doing

* Some of my old boyfiends- what was I thinking?
* Not asking now-gone family about our family history
* Not taking advantage of travelling opportunities
* Not realizing until now that there were guys in my life that may have
actually liked me
* Letting the migraines get the best of me

Five Favorite Things (Objects)

* My MINI Cooper S
* My books
* My home
* My computer
* My food

Thanks for the meme (from the thief!)


21 October 2006

A Little 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 (our house is picture on the left), 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 mother 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!


20 October 2006


I'm sure this is the picture of a migraine. I should cut it out and wear it. I've had a headache everyday for the past two weeks, and frankly, I'm tired of it. Migraines first appeared in my life when I was 18 and in Alaska. I remember hiking into a friend's cabin, and then it hit. I spent two nights and days sitting up in the attic, not being able to sleep. I couldn't put my head down because it hurt too much, and I couldn't take any light or noise. I ended up hiking back out (blindly), having to be driven 80 miles to Anchorage and to the ER. I think that was my first narcotic shot.
Things haven't neccessarily improved. Nothing seems to work, and the neurologist says that it's basically due to heredity. Lucky me.
Okay, done with venting. It just has gotten to be too much today.
Will change topic tomorrow.


19 October 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...


18 October 2006

A Pumpkining We Will Go

We went to the pumpkin patch last week to hunt for pumpkins. The patch is near the river cabin, and we have been going there for about 18 years. The farmer has a trailer with straw on it, and everyone gets on the trailer and he tractors it to the pumpkin patch. Everyone runs and finds their pumpkins, and he comes back and picks us all up with the trailer.
I never get tired of this ritual. Most of the time we are the only ones there, so it's like our own private family pumpkin patch. There are sheep and horses there, and the kids get to pet them and feed them treats. Of course, the animals are my favorite (still not really a child person.) This year was sort of fun because right when we got there, a huge flock of crows suddenly swooped over us and cawed and gathered in the trees. Straight out of Alfred Hitchcock and Edgar Allen Poe (who was a big cat-lover, BTW.)
I probably won't carve the pumpkins until next week. No rotting squash on my porch! I finally dragged the decorations out of the garage, but I seem to be missing some. Probably due the move last year! Maybe I have to go buy a new bunch of them (sound of hands rubbing together gleefully.) I'm also being slowed down by the darn migraines. I'm exhausted form the poor sleep and the extreme pain. Got to get some artificial life.
Morgen- I will post pics- I've got plans!


16 October 2006


How time runs away! I've really missed my blog and blog family- I hope you haven't forgotten about me! In between actually doing a lot of things, I have had a pretty much continuous migraine and been sort of medicated.
I have been on several different trips (Mt. Baker and Mt. Rainier, as well as my dad's). The cats are a bit upset, and even Bean has become a lap cat, which she never has been. As we speak, LOKi is draping himself and his formidable weight on my arm as I am trying to type. So much competition!

We went to Mt. Baker with a couple of our MINI friends. The weather was beautiful, and since they have a MINI convertible, they had the top down most of the way.It's a very curvy steep road to the top. It always amazes me how quiet it is in the mountains, even when there are a lot of people around. Once we were above the treeline, the fall colors came out- not in the trees, but in the bushes. I think the light up there does something to the brightness and contrast . We drove a bunch of backroads home, even finding the industrial district of a very samll town (B was navigating).

Mt. Rainier wasn't quite so successful. I think we had more rain yesterday than we have had all year. It was pouring. I was afraid the windshield might break. We had 45 MINIs, but I couldn't see them. I'm so glad we took the time to wash and wax the car. Fifteen dollars to get in the park, and then a windy river to Paradise, which is at the 6,000 foot level. I'm sure the mountain was somewhere up there. At some point I just couldn't stand the rain anymore, and we cut our losses at Paradise and did a solo descent, which was actually quite fun, minus the mini-vans and SUVs that were going way too slow.
Now I am getting ready for Halloween. I went to the pumpkin patch and picked out five beauties, along with some MINI (ha-ha) pumpkins. I found the boxes of decorations, but they haven't made it up the stairs yet.
Oh, but I have plans!

08 October 2006

The Hunger Winter

Another re-run due very little time. This is a little more 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 other humanitarian aid could enter. My father had to eat his pet crow and tulip bulbs, among other things. The house he lived in (pictured) had no windows because the Allies strafed the town almost every day. My father never knew if he would be alive for another day. 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!

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06 October 2006

Our First Halloween

Here is the story of our first Halloween that I mentioned in my last post. It seems like a good time to repeat it.
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.

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05 October 2006

Tag! I'm It!

I've been tagged by Morgen. It's Morgen's Halloween Meme. So, here goes!

  1. What's the scariest movie you've ever seen? I don't remember the name, but it was a flick about an evil doll/puppet, released in 1979. Dolls give me the creeps, especially when they form their own pesonality (like Barbie). I don't watch horror films because my unconcious seems to suck them up and regurgitate them as horror dreams at night.
  2. What was your favorite Halloween Costume from childhood? Probably the witch costume my mother made for my sisters and I when we first came to America. That Halloween has a wonderful story behind it- please see 13 August 2006 post (I'm having a hell of a time formatting links to my previous posts).
  3. If you had an unlimited budget, what would your Fantasy Costume be for this Halloween? A Victorian Mourning costume, complete with mourning jewelry made of the deceased hair. It's Halloween, isn't it?
  4. When was the last time you went Trick Or Treating? I think I was in fifth grade. It didn't stop me from begging and stealing candy out of the bowl, though, or buying it well before Halloween and eating it all. This also proved to make the haul successful, because I got to pick out what I like.
  5. What's your favorite Halloween Candy? Almond Roca and candy corn (which I have a weird year-round fondness for).
  6. Tell us about a scary nightmare you had. OMG- this could take days. I don't always remember them, but I know I do a lot of screaming. B has had to wake me 3 times in one night because I was screaming. I have tons of night terrors (Halloween never ends, does it?) and I usually have to take a shower when I wake up. I know there are bloody knives, machine guns, and a lot of chasing.
  7. What is your Supernatural Fear? Erm, Chucky? Dolls that come to life? Barbie?
  8. What is your Creepy-Crawlie Fear? I have two- flying ants and slugs. Like you, Morgen, I witnessed acrege covered with flying ants, and god, they make my skin crawl. Just thinking back...I don't mind any other insects (except for killer bees, which still haven't materialized up here) and actually enjoy watching them, but acres covered with buzzing, marching flying ants- gives me the kriebles. Slugs- grew up with them and I still have not made peace with them. The first time you step on with your bare feet one stays with you the rest of your life. Even though they move slowly- ick. I have been known to pick them up with a shovel and quickly flip them into the neighbors' yard. I will not touch them.
  9. Tell us about a time when you saw a ghost, or heard something go Bump in the night. This one is easy. We used to live in an old house (1906) and I know we had some old-timers in there with us. I remember sitting on the couch in the living room, with the cats, and suddenly there was a blast of cold air going by us, along with a heavy scent of perfume. Weird. One of the bathrooms upstairs had a clawfoot tub, and it was generally considered to be my territory. A couple times pictures flew off the wall in front of me. B said the hair on the back of his neck would rise when he was in there, so he pretty much avoided it. Another sort of weird thing was that our bedroom door would open suddenly, at odd times. I would be laying in bed (a favorite hobby) and it would fly open. I wonder if the present owner is getting company.
  10. Would you ever stay in a real Haunted House overnight? Well, based on my previous entry, I have! The Amityville House, I'm not so sure.
  11. Are you a traditionalist (just a face) Jack O'Lantern Carver, or do you get really creative with your pumpkins? These pictures of a couple of my pumpkins, and I have big plans for this year's. We go to a real pumpkin patch every year and find our perfect carving pumpkins. I love decorationg for Halloween!
  12. How much do you decorate your home for Halloween? As I said above, I love decorating!I have black cat accessories everywhere, and I make ghosts with balloons and cheesecloth. I have a lit spiderweb that I put over the front doors, and all sorts of halloween candle holders. We have a skeleton for the door, and vintage Halloween stuff from when B was a children. Storage is a problem!
  13. What do you want on your Tombstone? No tombstone for me. I plan on being made into dust, and scattered from our saiboat where B and I first met. This comes from a close friend's very sudden death. We made a sailboat train, with us in his boat first, and went out on the water. We then said a few things and scattered his ashes on the water. This has been the most meaningful memorial service I've ever been to.

This has been a lot of fun! Thanks, Morgen!

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04 October 2006

Laugh, Laugh

I needed a good laugh today, and this did it-

Remember it takes a college degree to fly a plane, but only a high school diploma to fix one. Reassurance for those of us who fly routinely in our jobs.

After every flight, Qantas pilots fill out a form, called a "gripesheet," which tells mechanics about problems with the aircraft. The mechanics correct the problems, document their repairs on the form, and then pilots review the gripe sheets before the next flight. Never let it be said that ground crews lack a sense of humor. Here are some actual maintenance complaints submitted by Qantas' pilots (marked with a P) and the solutions recorded (marked with an S) by maintenance engineers.

By the way, Qantas is the only major airline that has never, ever, had a fatal jet accident (corrected as per Kara's comment).

P: Left inside main tire almost needs replacement.
S: Almost replaced left inside main tire.

P: Test flight OK, except auto-land very rough.
S: Auto-land not installed on this aircraft.

P: Something loose in cockpit.
S: Something tightened in cockpit.

P: Dead bugs on windshield.
S: Live bugs on back-order.

P: Autopilot in altitude-hold mode produces a 200 feet per minute descent.
S: Cannot reproduce problem on ground.

P: Evidence of leak on right main landing gear.
S: Evidence removed.

P: DME volume unbelievably loud.
S: DME volume set to more believable level.

P: Friction locks cause throttle levers to stick.
S: That's what friction locks are for.

P: IFF inoperative in OFF mode.
S: IFF always inoperative in OFF mode.

P: Suspected crack in windshield.
S: Suspect you're right.

P: Number 3 engine missing.
S: Engine found on right wing after brief search.

P: Aircraft handles funny. (I love this one!)
S: Aircraft warned to: straighten up, fly right, and be serious.

P: Target radar hums.
S: Reprogrammed target radar with lyrics.

P: Mouse in cockpit.
S: Cat installed.

And the best one for last..................

P: Noise coming from under instrument panel. Sounds like a midget pounding on something with a hammer.
S: Took hammer away from midget

Makes you look at solving problems a different way, doesn't it?


03 October 2006

Another Post of Pictures

In honor of the beginning of fall, here are some memories of falls past.

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02 October 2006


I don't know what's happening, but I am unable to leave comments on any blogs, icluding my own! Where's the justice? I will comment on the comments tomorrow.
Nothing is working correctly! I'm tired! I think I will go cry for awhile, and see if I can fix this *&()$%?> software tomorrow!


01 October 2006

Wine on a Saturday

I know, I know, I didn't post anything yesterday. But I had a good reason! We went on 2 winery tours with the MINI people. Although the weather was not as good as we had hoped, the convertibles had their tops down, but from what I heard, the seat warmers were on also.
The first winery was in Port Townsend, which is a wonderful Victorian town, with lots of houses dating from the late 1800's. It has become a haven for artists and wooden boat artisans. The wine was so-so (I'll try to be graceful and not mention their name), but please remember I am very inexperienced in the fine art of wine-tasting. I'm just not that sophisticated.
From the Port Townsend, we took the ferry to Keystone, on Whidbey Island. The pictures were taken on the ferry, which is probably fairly obvious. We had a picnic lunch at Fort Casey. There are three forts (Fort Casey, Fort Flagler and Fort Worden) in the north part of Puget Sound, all built together to defend against a foreign attack. They date from before WWI, and were used in both World Wars (no attacks from foreigners, though.) Eventually they were sold to the State of Washington to made into parks. There are concrete tunnels tunnels that run from gun emplacements to God-Knows-where. They can be fun, but also very scary to semi-claustrophobic persons.There are no lights, and frankly, it's just plain frightening. I don't go in them anymore, no matter what promises people make.
The next winery is near Langley, on Whidbey Island. I liked them better, so here is their name- Whidbey Island Winery (didn't see that coming, did you?) They were just finishing grape-squashing, which is weirdly hypnotic to watch. One of the ladies that work there races her British Racing Green MINI Cooper. Cool. They even handed out lots of cheese-and-cracker accompaniments. Very cool. B and I ended up with some sort of red wine, rhubarb wine, local honey and lavender jelly. I will eat food made out of most anything.
I want go visit chocolate makers next.

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