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Tuesday, April 29, 2003

A vigil, and a wake

Going in both the blogs in the same format. Normally I try to keep the food blog foodie and the other blog freer of the kitchen details but I don't feel like separating this.

After working a lot of long hours at the office, I had big plans for cooking and cleaning consolidation over the weekend. I had done my marketing on Friday night, and my usual Saturday morning bread run (and picking up some unsalted butter since I spaced on it and wanted to try some baking).

I got some good cleaning time in on Saturday afternoon, was more or less at it from 11 am to 4 pm with an hour long "make lunch, eat lunch, and relax" break. (Hummus and Middle Eastern chopped salad again. The remainders have been a useful quick lunch/dinner since. Must send Ranee a thank you note for the recipe.)

In the late afternoon I girded my loins and braved the Fourth Street shopping hoo-hah. I had the notion that a piece of candied lemon would be just da bomb on the lemon truffles I was making, and the Pasta Shop has first-rate yummy candied fruit that would be just the ticket.

I also wanted to try to test drive pressure cooker lids at Sur La Table. So off I went. I obtained my groceries (at non-extortionate rates, amazing for PS), saw some interesting things but no pressure cookers at Surly Table, escaped from Crazy Touristland and then backtracked to The Art Store to get some boxes for organizing. As I was walking past the 24 hour vet hospital I thought of Poor Fred's diabetic almost-shock incident.

When I got home I checked my messages (and I'm glad I did). There was one from Elaine sounding very stressed. Ginger (her sole remaining cat, of the five she used to have) got attacked by something in the back yard and they were at the emergency vet at 10th and University. I called to confirm location and was there in ten minutes to provide moral support.

After discussing Ginger's case with the vet, and paying her a short visit, we went back to Elaine's, found the trompled catnip patch and fur leavings at the scene of the crime (confirming Elaine's suspicion about the attacker) and she nattered at me while the tea was in progress. I was starting to feel a bit peckish and suggested making dinner (I had chicken or steak waiting to be cooked). Elaine and I both thought the chicken was a good idea so I went back home to start it off (one of these days I am going to learn how to cut the back out of a chicken correctly) and she joined me later. This also gave me some time to clear out the decluttering clutter in the living room (one of my work zones) and notice HOW MUCH CLEANER the rooms were looking. This was a good feeling since a couple of weeks ago Iwas in "I'm doing a lot of work and not seeing results" mode.

I can't say how happy I was to be able to feed my best friend a nice dinner of roast chicken, rice pilaf (it was from a box but that stuff is pretty tasty), and spring-appropriate roast asparagus when she was worried about her cat lying in the hospital. It was low-key, we did not have to hassle with restaurant crowds and parking at 7 pm on a Saturday, and roast chicken soothes the soul. She told me later that she toodled right off to dreamland shortly after she went home (and checked on the cat's condition) when she has been staying awake till 1-2 am and later. I personally ate the remainders of the pilaf with the pan drippings and zoned out pretty quickly myself :-).

On Sunday morning I was up early because I needed to go into the office and do some system work. I had hoped to be out by 9.30 am, but one of the things I did turned out horribly wrong and I spent till 2.30 pm there, mostly on the phone with Microsoft trying to back out my changes. Which finally happened.

I had gotten an early morning email saying that things did not sound wonderful and Elaine was ready to Make A Decision. When I finally got home, hungry and frustrated, the Bad News was on my answering machine. Ginger's condition had deteriorated overnight, she had gone into a coma, Elaine had made the decision, and there had been a kitty funeral in my absence. Ayse and Noel were available and did the digging and distracting. When I caught up with her via cellphone I was told "Meet us at Kirin [her fave upscale Chinese restaurant] at four". We had a nice early dinner together, then retired back to the casita for truffles, and I viewed The Site. Sloped back home around 7 pm and retired pretty early because I was just wiped (and it had started raining. Fairly heavily. Again). No usenet, no blogging, no truffle scooping, although I did cook the steak and finish up the last of the household tidying since the cleaners were coming Monday. Food and friends in memory of a demanding but basically affectionate cat who was on her way out but deserved (IMO) a better end than being attacked by a CATNIP CRAZED MONSTER when she was innocently sunning herself in the backyard. I must say I was still a bit in shock since Ginger's prospects had been much better when I'd seen her just the evening before.

Poor Ginger.

Elaine wondered out loud if ginger would grow in our climate and I told her that I thought both the culinary ginger (Zingiber officinalis) and the Hawaiian flowering gingers (Hedychium) will grow. (Web research confirms this, although I haven't dragged out the Sunset Western Garden Book yet). Personally I think that "kahili ginger" would be spectacular, especially since it's yellow and red, like Miss Thing herself. And there are artichokes nearby, the contrasts would be nice.

This really is the end of an era; I didn't know Biggie (the first of the five) but have watched the other ones go. I just hope I'm as strong when it comes time for Maya.

Anyway. Love (friends and our furry pals), cooking, cleaning, and even some gardening (those cats all loved being out in Elaine's wonderful garden [which - MoreObFood -has asparagus and cute baby lettuces and artichokes and a lemon tree and strawberries and other wonderful things] all in the same post.

Goodbye, Ginger, you will be missed.


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