Tag Archives: cat

Peace

The wind is whipping over the mountain, and the oaks are ducking as much as a tree can duck. Sheets of rain are cascading down. It is dark now. My cat Calvin was not at all pleased to take a walk on his leash today, although he managed to chew some fresh green grass that has sprouted over the past few weeks on the way back. The hills are shimmering again. The command of “wait, I have to wipe your feet” he hears from his caretaker before entering the door is completely ignored in the rush to evade the rain, so I have to grab him before those little footprints get everywhere. It’s like having a kid, although probably not too many kids stop on a walk to chew grass.

I had to mail a package today and the frenetic pace on the roads does not exemplify what the Christmas season should be about, so I was glad to get back home. I had to think again how much more pleasant the driving in Oregon is when I visit part of my family than here in the Bay Area. Yet even here it could be so simple if everyone did their part to contribute to civility.

The highlight of my evenings the past few weeks has been to light the Advent candles before going to bed and to listen to Christmas hymns. Thank you God for the peace that comes. Often my cat will come and sit on my knee, silently watching the candles too.

I have decorated some of the vegetation outside with simple strings of white lights and they lend such a glow to the dark evenings. I am rather happy to say that Calvin has learned the words “Christmas lights” – I have a very, very smart cat.

Have a blessed Advent season as we wait for the coming of Christ.

Cat-astrophic

Knocking over three quarters of a pint of heavy cream with it splattering everywhere on your kitchen floor (accompanied by colorful language I normally don’t use), is a major mishap. Having half of the contents land on your cat below who then dashes off in a panic is an UNMITIGATED DISASTER.

Unintentional

It was my turn to fix dinner yesterday. I had procured some rockfish for only $6.99 a pound, that may have been strategically placed next to the $29.99 a pound halibut. A simple budgetary decision. Seeing the rockfish, I remembered a recipe I have probably not made in over a decade. It’s an easy and tasty recipe I found at a fish counter or in a magazine – I don’t recall. All the vegetables as well as the potatoes (except for a red bell pepper) were readily available in Patrick and Hannah’s garden and basement respectively, so my shopping list was of a short nature.

Mushrooms, the aforementioned red bell pepper, and zucchini seasoned and sautéed in olive oil, mashed potatoes, a butter and orange cream sauce – all complementing the fish which I baked in foil.

As we started to eat, I noticed that our napkins were missing, so I got up, turned around, and grabbed a few paper towels from the paper towel roll holder and tore them into three sheets to use as a substitute. Now I’m guessing I may have been a bit fatigued from cooking as I handed them out automatically, first one to Hannah, then one to Patrick, and a third to my cat Calvin who was sitting upright on the couch next to the dining table. I then caught myself retracting the paper towel for recipient number three and started to laugh as did everyone else. If I may interpret the surprised look on my cat’s face, it may well have been a response of “rather kind of you, but I don’t think I will be needing one of those”.

New Book!

I am happy to announce my third published book. It has been a long time in the making and has finally seen the light of day. Hey, Roberto Hu is a collection of travel stories: the primary one takes place in Venezuela, with further explorations of California and the Pacific Northwest. The author’s cat Calvin dispenses his two cents worth in the introduction.

Barnes & Noble

Amazon.com

Winged Visitor

Memorial Day. As the sun is setting and I see the silhouettes of the dry oak trees, I am grateful for the quiet day. It was almost 100 F. today and a good day to stay inside with the AC on. I wish I could have been with family to have a BBQ, but they are far away. Sigh. Well, at least I was somewhat productive in tending to the cleaning of the shower, kitchen sink, and restroom. Sheer excitement you say no doubt. As I briefly perused the news earlier, I saw the honor and respect President Biden paid to the people in whose honor and memory this day is. I was also grateful to see that in Texas injustice did not prevail, but rather that it was defeated. I have high hopes that liberty, justice for all, and freedom will once again become the fabric of what this country was meant to be.

Sitting in a lawn chair this evening under the hummingbird feeder, one of these tiny lovely birds suddenly appeared out of nowhere, despite the fact that my cat Calvin was on my lap, and after briefly inspecting the feeder, started chattering at me. I do believe his or her exact words may have been: “hello, it’s a hot day and I’m thirsty – however this feeder does need some attention”. Thus, after placing Calvin inside, I took down the feeder and brought it to my now sparkling clean kitchen sink. Indeed, after opening the feeder a musky smell greeted me. I wouldn’t want to drink from that either. A cleaning was most definitely in order.

Hanging the freshly cleaned and refilled feeder back on it’s hook, I sat back down in my chair once again with Calvin on my lap, and we enjoyed the twilight again. What do you know, the sound of fast beating hummingbird wings could be heard and then my little friend appeared directly above me and flew straight to the feeder to drink – quite a few sips too I might add. He or she then flew over to me, chirped briefly, and flew off into the evening sky. I do believe it was a thank you.

Time stands still

It has been a very different time these past months, and unlike the rest, I’m going to try to focus on the good in writing this post.

Taking an evening walk with my cat down the long straight road a ways (I usually carry him one-way, he drags me back on his leash the other way), we encounter some bicycles (he ducks down when they pass by), people walking their dogs (resulting in a bushy tail with the larger breeds – and then I pick him up until the disturbance passes), a lone jogger, the occasional horse, or perhaps a stroller.

It is so quiet. It seems almost like a different century, perhaps the 18th or 19th. The frenetic pace of modern society seems to have come to a complete standstill. The pink super moon just a short while ago was incredibly bright in the sky. Stars twinkle and can easily be seen. The usual smog and bad air are gone. My youngest brother told me he even saw a string of satellites above.

The quails I often see and that sometimes go almost unnoticed, now stand out with their pronounced calling, as sadly do the wild turkeys (they are lucky they don’t taste like butterballs), with hardly any other sounds or cars around. The sparrows that I feed every morning are getting accustomed to me, and when Calvin is sitting outside on his leash they ignore him as they hop about, sometimes they are almost within his reach as they peck at their food. As I told some friends, I know our heavenly father feeds them, but I’m supplementing their breakfast. The live and let live attitude among sparrow and cat is makes me happy.

It was a blessing to be able to watch some Easter services online and to listen to music this weekend. That’s using technology for good!

I try to  joke with the grocery store clerks when I go shopping (wiping my hand basket with a clean wipe before entering the store of course) or at least smile. They clerks and nurses bearing the brunt of this, and welcome any friendliness or cheerfulness – I can tell. Where is all the TP and PT? Really folks? It may however be an unexpected economic boon for the producers who may be wiping their hands with those extra towels.

Instructions have been given out and people seem to be heeding them. As opposed to similar things that happened a century ago, we now have the luxury of instant communication, and there do seem to be a few sensible leaders left who are looking out for the common good. I find it is best though just to turn off the news and focus on the beauty of time standing still.

What was that recent expression or fad? “Slow food”? When I grew up that was how you ate – enjoying your food and giving thanks to God and the hands that tended to and prepared the food.

I found some trout for $4.99 a pound today. It is seasoned now, residing in the fridge, but will be cooked tomorrow. Tonight I think I will have some leftover lemon-rosemary Risotto (you can find this tasty recipe in Saveur Magazine), and a little Wayne Shorter to go with it.

Have a blessed evening.

Cat on a Leash

Putting a cat on a leash is not logical, as Mr. Spock would probably say. Nonetheless, when I saw warning signs about coyotes and mountain lions at the entrance station to the regional park and was subsequently informed by the ranger on duty of feral cats and poison oak in said locale as well, I deemed it as a good decision that I purchased a leash some weeks ago. The first harness and leash fitting attempt were at a park in Napa, where my son Patrick and I had stayed together for a night. Patrick made a suggestion at the time that I should practice with the harness on my stuffed manatee which I use for a pillow, as I was having trouble following and visualizing the printed instructions of putting the harness on a feline. This turned out to be a great idea. Now to try it on the cat: harness attached to cat, to leash, to picnic table leg. Calvin then managed to get tangled up a few times, but did untangle himself before settling down on top of the picnic table – a good vantage point at least – although without roaming possibilities. Disdain and annoyance were clearly visible on his face. An “encouragement” treat was reluctantly accepted after several prior bribery attempts were declined.

Several days past when it rained and then briefly stopped, I attempted to go for “a walk” on the aforementioned leash with Calvin. After first talking to him, then gently nudging him, and finally slowly having to drag him for a few feet (he was flat on the ground and lying sideways for this) I gave up. The look I got while dragging him was indescribable. Perhaps something along the lines of “a walk? On this thing? I don’t think so”. I did dry his wet stomach and feet afterwards, and he smelled wonderfully of eucalyptus bark. It was just pitiful how he became a bag of cement on the ground attached to a leash. He made his point unequivocally. Walks may have to be shelved, at least for now.

Erntedanktag 2017

My miniature potted agapanthus dropped its last cerulean blue blossoms just a few weeks ago. I cut the stalks, which are now hanging on my apartment door, bound together by a red rubber band procured from a bunch of broccoli after cooking it. A simple decoration, and a reminder of summer gone by.

The silk tree in the half wine barrel bloomed very late this summer, beautiful to behold, the delicate pink blossoms are a bit reminiscent of the flowers of a bottle brush tree.

When I water all my potted plants in the evening, bees migrate towards the drops of water, happy to drink I’m sure after a day’s work of gathering honey. We get along just fine. I hear meowing upstairs in a very distinctive tone as I water: I have learned to recognize this sound – if means that my cat Calvin is transporting his stuffed mice and/or hedgehogs around and distributing them in the apartment. I am amused. He just doesn’t seem to understand that I cannot see that from downstairs. He is praised later on though  for his thoughtfully distributed presents.

On a culinary note: having picked up some grapes from the farmer’s market, I discovered a recipe for fish with grapes, which turned out quite well. Some of the wineries up in the wine country had their workers pick grapes at night during the hot spell we got here in California several weeks ago, a humanitarian gesture on the part of the growers. During the extreme heat some of those grapes turned to raisins on the vine, a fact not gone unnoticed by the birds I’m sure.

Have a blessed Sunday

November Day

I slept long this morning, but the sun awoke me blinking through the window shades with persistence from the east. It’s funny: When I yawn and stretch, my cat Calvin does exactly the same. Not that I make it a requirement for him to do so — he must assume that we should arise at the same time. Either that or he knows that feeding time is not too far off now. He did miss this little “stereo” routine once, but that was when he was hiding from the “blue monster” (the garbage truck). Who can blame him?

In just a matter of two weeks and with the cold nights that now about, the leaves of the two maples sitting in their pots on the stairway have turned from green to golden-yellow and carmine just like that. They have decided that it is indeed fall, a concept that many California trees fail to grasp.

A two-for-one coupon encourages me to make a trip to Jamba Juice. And no: my cat does not drink Jamba Juice. As I enter the store, I see Christmas decorations. Sigh — tis the season of merchandising again. As I point this out to the manager, he shrugs his shoulders: “corporate”, “but I wont’ put on the Christmas music until after Thanksgiving”, he adds. I give him a high-five as I leave with my juice.

On my computer calendar I notice that it is only 10 days until the 1. Advent. The year seems to have gone by fast, at least part of it for me. I almost miss the beautiful sunset as I’m typing, as God tells me to pay attention and I look toward the west out of my office window to catch the last dance of color in the sky. 

Laziness

I started to read a small book that has been sitting on a shelf for an inordinate amount of time. Transported here from Germany some years ago, it is the top book of a diminutive stack of books and thus the main candidate for collecting dust, much to its annoyance I’m sure. Even more inexcusable than not reading it, is the fact that there are only a few books around the apartment (most of my books are in boxes in storage) and the television has no reception here — probably a good thing. Thus — dust brushed off — the initiative to finally read it is taken.

The book states that it is a collection of light humor by a broad variety of authors. I started reading, but found the dust jacket statement to be an exaggeration and I almost put the book away, only to find a gem of a story just before doing so: an amusing anecdote about laziness. Not exactly a virtue by any means, but the author has taken great care to expand on the subject, of course at a very leisurely pace.

Having enjoyed the short story immensely, (sitting in a lawn chair outside while reading it — appropriate to the subject matter) I walked back upstairs to the apartment and what did I see? My lazy cat, who had managed to get his lazy cat butt off the kitchen chair where he had been sleeping when I went downstairs, only to move the short distance to my office in my absence to sleep under the table, exactly to where the last ray of sunshine was falling, caressing his tummy — his eyes closed in great pleasure. Words failed me at the sight, but a chuckle did escape me.

May the Lord make his face to shine upon you this week and give you rest, and perhaps a ray of sunshine on your tummy.

3. Advent

As I think about the day today, evening has slowly come. The full moon is rising in the east, peeking through some branches in the distance. The sun which has now set, was low on the horizon today as I took an afternoon walk, half closing my eyes while walking, marveling at it’s warmth in late December — a real treat after the cold spell last week. Church was sparsely attended this morning — I guess a sign of the times, as people forget, or don’t know the real reason for the season, the birth of God’s son. I am grateful I could attend. As Jesus said, “where two or three are gathered in my name”. After a busy week, with the joy of seeing both my sons briefly and enjoying their culinary skills, it was a quiet Sunday today in comparison. I had to chuckle as I sat in my chair for a cup of tea, having lit the third Advent candle, as my cat Calvin, the little doofus, decided to chase a pistachio across the floor at full speed oblivious to the peace of the candles.

Have a blessed week

Snooze

Naptime

Nap-time

It’s been a restful Lord’s Day today, with beautiful warm weather. My dad would have been 89 today. There were many hummingbirds in the yard — his, and many in our family’s favorite bird — he would have been delighted.

On Friday however, it was a different matter, when I drove down to Hollister, attending to an errand for my youngest son. It was a whopping 95° F. when I got there with traffic aplenty. I was expecting my navigation system to complain about this excessive heat. I know, I would, if I was sitting under a hot windshield — and I would have asked for a glass of ice tea, or lemonade perhaps.

Several tractors plowing fields on the left of Highway 156, just past Gilroy, were stirring up clouds of dust driving on the rich dark soil. To my right several large broccoli fields. I love looking at the vast expanse of the different kinds of fields in the valley, the golden hills with their stately old gnarled oaks on them, spaced apart just right, surrounding the valley.

Having completed my errand, I enquired directions (inside the office building, so as not to hurt Ms. Navigation’s feelings) on how to get to Mission San Juan Bautista, one of California’s Missions, that sits on El Camino Real, and also the San Andreas Fault. For decades I had passed signs on Highway 101 attesting to its presence, but I never got off the highway before, always eager to arrive at my final destination, be it north, or south. After receiving instructions, I left.

I was pleasantly surprised when I arrived. San Juan Bautista has the typical feel of a small California Central Valley town — a place that time forgot. One can picture it in a John Steinbeck novel. I parked at the Mission, and then stepped inside. The temperature drop inside must have been at least 30 degrees. The old — four to five foot thick adobe walls — have a natural air conditioning effect. After visiting the museum, I spent a few quiet moments in the Mission church, and then stepped out into the huge courtyard, greeted once again by the heat and olive trees, passion flowers, oleanders, and palms — a Mediterranean garden — peaceful and well maintained.

After exploring the garden I went back into the Mission and chatted briefly with the entrance fee collector. To my surprise, as I was leaving — I saw a cat sleeping on a chair — content of course inside the cool adobe building. I had passed the cat coming in, but hadn’t noticed it. I petted it, and it didn’t even bother to open it’s eyes. Siesta time, Mr. tourist — you may depart now.

Have a blessed week (and some naps).