I Love a List Friday, August 09, 2013

1. A Dream I Had (NO! Come back! Please?) 

In the dream, I am walking past a payphone. It rings. I answer. My (deceased) little mama is on the other end. 

"What's it like where you are?" I ask, when I get over my shock.

"It's nice," she says. "It's not anything like you'd imagine, though. I like it." 

"Can you see me all the time?" Thinking, oh, crap.

"Well, I guess I could if I needed to, but I don't." 

Whew. I hand the phone to a passerby. "Hey, can you hear anyone on this line?" 

Guy listens. "Yeah," he says, handing it back. "It's your mom." 

"Mom!" I say. "You're really there! Why don't you ever call me?" 

She answers in exasperation, "Landline, Rachael. We can only call on landlines, and you got rid of yours." 

It was really a sweet dream. And I was happy to know she likes where she is. (And yes, we got rid of our landline. As a 911 dispatcher who preaches that you should always have one, and always call from it for faster and more accurate service, I was pretty unhappy when California shut off the thing that allowed all landlines to call 911, with or without service. Now it's $25/month just to have service to call 911 and nothing else. I'm not paying $300 a year for a service I can call on my cell phone (with, granted, a delay).)

2. What Lala sends me while I'm at work in the middle of the night. I believe this is cruel and unusual. 


Apparently Digit got on the couch and stared at Clementine (who was terrified of him, as usual) for ten minutes before curling up, TOUCHING her. Gah. I can't stand it. The ear! Digit is an old softie now. I barely recognize him. I have not even one healing scar right now. Who is this cat? 

3. Easy Thai Red Curry. 

I'm obsessed with red curry right now. Obsessed. This is a recipe I modified from somewhere (?), and it is SO EASY and SO FAST and SO GOOD. And if you make it with chickpeas instead of chicken, it's vegan! (I made it for a dinner party which needed to be gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegetarian. No small task. Oh! Link came from Mary-Heather, that's right.)


Chop a chicken breast or two, toss in a large heavy skillet over medium heat in olive oil and some salt until it goes white and not scary-looking (but don't overcook it. Whatever that means). Set meat aside. In same pan, heat 1tbs coconut oil. Add 2 chopped leeks, a chopped red pepper, some salt and pepper. Cover and cook on medium heat until veggies have softened, maybe 5 minutes. Add 2 tsp(ish) of minced garlic (or more!) and a tsp of grated ginger (or more!).* Add 1-2 tbs of red curry paste (not powder. For this you want the paste. I like Mae Ploy). Stir to coat, cook another 5 minutes. Add half a cup chopped sugar snap peas (swoon), a 14oz can of full-fat coconut milk, and the cooked chicken. Raise heat to boil, then lower to simmer. At the end, throw in a good handful of chopped cilantro

Serve on cauliflower rice (or normal rice, but dude, cauliflower rice doesn't get soggy and it's so good and easy. You can chop it in your food processor while the curry is cooking, and BAM. 30 minute meal). 

* I use minced garlic and chopped ginger because I'm lazy. Here's the red curry paste I like. I only use 1 tbs in this recipe because I'm sensitive to heat, and this stuff is spicy. 

Summer Favorites Sunday, June 30, 2013

Apologies to those of you who follow me on Twitter and have heard me rhapse waxodic on these candles, but I lurve them sooo much. 

Y'see, the last time I lit a real candle in our house, Digit ran past it, lit his tail on fire, and headed for the living room curtains. I put out his tail-flame with my bare hands and then breathed into a paper bag for a while. I gave up on candles. Not worth it. But I love the way candles look -- the glow the give, the home-ness of them. I missed them. 

Then one night at work, we got a call from a citizen who saw a candle burning in a closed tchotchke shop. We sent out a fire engine. The shop was closed and locked, and there was, indeed, a candle burning inside on a table. 

We set about trying to find the responsible contact for the premise, going through PD and the alarm company -- all the normal venues. In the meantime, the fire crew had been on scene about a half-hour. And one of the guys started thinking, Maybe it's not a real candle. No, the others said. It flickers! Look, it's wavering. It's real. They stared. They studied. They weren't more than eight feet away through glass, and they could not tell. 

Finally, we got hold of the owner who verified that no, they didn't light real candles in the store, but that it was a special battery-operated candle that utilized the technology Disney uses in the Pirates of the Caribbean ride.

We had a good laugh. The crew cleared. And I started Googling, because if those candles were good enough to fool the firefighters, then they'd be good enough for me. 

I found them! I bought them! Even though they were exceedingly expensive! And I'm blogging this now because I just found them for hella cheap on Amazon, less than half-price, and if you want to try them, this would be the time. They look a little frumpy in their Amazon photos, so I took a little video of them in the house. (Some come with a remote -- one remote will control them all, in case you're curious.) 


I don't actually ever use the remote -- you can put them on a timer, and they'll "burn" for 5 hours every night before flicking off. So now when we come home at night? They're on! They run on D batteries, and we use rechargeables, so we're golden. This will absolutely be our go-to wedding/housewarming present from here on out. They look so real

Sorry! That was such a hard sell! But they make me happy, daily. 

Your reward? A Summer Plum Salad, adapted from that amazing 101 Simple Salads list the New York Times compiled four years ago. 

Brine two chicken breasts for an hour-ish or more (place in a large ziplock bag, add about 4tbs salt and some peppercorns). Grill them (the chicken breasts, not the plastic bag). Slice 4-6 plums (in season now!). (I honestly didn't even know how to do this cleanly, but god bless the Internet -- I learned how here.) Place sliced plums in large bowl, add balsamic vinegar, enough to coat and then some more. While that sits, chop some celery, toss some salted roasted almonds in food processor, chop some oregano (he says marjoram also works, but I found that too perfumy), chop a little red onion, and throw all that in the bowl. Add olive oil and salt on top, mix it up. Chop the cooked chicken, add. Serve on top of favorite greens. AMAZING. You're welcome. 

Also? Happy Pride, y'all. So happy with the Prop 8/DOMA decisions. (We went and danced in the Oakland streets that night. It was wonderful.) 


Fall Roomba Thursday, October 08, 2009

Oh, god, this is the best time of year, isn't it? I can smell leaf-smoke right now, as a matter of fact, and I'm drinking it in. (Okay, it might actually be barbecue smoke, which is kind of more likely. But I'm telling myself it's leaf smoke, and I'm sticking to it.)

Just last week we had that first perfect day where the air never really got warm, and the wind kicked up, and the leaves blew in eddies on the ground. Now, I know I live in Northern California, and there are some that would argue that I can't lay claim to any kind of real seasons because of that, but I would argue this: I think that makes us better at season detection. We have to be. No great clues tip us off -- we just get the slightest temperature dips, and small color changes to tell us that changes are afoot.

And fall -- I MIGHT HAVE MENTIONED THIS -- is my favorite. How can it not be everyone's? That smell, the sound of the wind, the early nights, the look of houses in early evening with their lights on, people moving around inside (yes, I'm a peeping Tom, but not in the creepy way), the preparation for winter to come, the thoughts of sweaters to be made, the laying in of wool...

I seriously can't wait. Every year I feel like I want to dig my fingers into this time, to hold on tight, to not let it slip past without noticing every second. (It strikes me that that's part of fall knitting, isn't it? The urge to grasp and hold that feeling. Which is why we DON'T do it so much in the summer, I suppose. I'm trying not to hold anything in summer at all, except ice cubes and drinks made with gin.)

Makes me want to squeeze a Digit who might be getting a belly:


And in other not-important-to-anyone-but-me news I got my Roomba back! Life is so much better again! Mr. Roomba had broken for the umpteeth time, and for the umpteenth time, I'd taken it back to Costco to exchange him. God bless the Costco exchange policy, because as much as I love that machine, it's a badly made piece of equipment that fails often.

However, one day, Costco DIDN'T carry it. They gave me my cash and said goodbye. I almost cried. Tumbleweeds started to blow through the house again, even with the frequent aid of the Dyson.

(One favorite moment from when Cari was visiting last weekend -- they'd entered the house to raucous animal activity, and Thumper looked at the animals which were bouncing in their hordes as they do, and his eyes widened and he said, "It's CRAZY in here." Yes, child. Yes, it is.)

Then, one day, not only was the Roomba available online at Costco, but it was a hundred dollars OFF! AND, when it was delivered, they sent it with four extra brushes (the piece that always broke that necessitated the return). My theory is that they have my name flagged at Roomba HQ -- they saw it come across their desks and said HEY! She's back! For the love of god, throw in those brushes! It'll slow her down! (Really, though -- if you clean it out everyday when you get home, and speak nicely to it, it'll make you very, very happy. Even though it tends to shake itself apart every four or five months. I love it.)

Bonus Venetian gondolier hat shot!


Hat actually purchased in Venice! I'm sure it's totally authentic.

Dear Digit, Monday, December 22, 2008

When I take you to bed with me, I expect certain things. I expect that you will cuddle. If you use your claws and growl because you get confused, that is okay. I'm used to that about you. You will eventually calm down and settle in, and then we will be happy and warm.

If, on a morning that I have to get up at 4am, you decide to howl at 3:15, I will be annoyed. I will, of course, leap out of bed to hustle you out to the front porch where I plan to give you breakfast to shut you the hell up.

If, however, you get lost under the bed and continue howling, I will howl back. Lala won't like it, but she won't really wake up, either, so that part's all right. But when it takes ten minutes for you to come out from under the bed (so unlike you! You are nothing if not decisive!), I get really ticked. That is not okay, buddy. That's even worse than jumping on the domino game last night.

So I woke up on the wrong side of the bed, because of you. It's hours later (and several weird work deaths and calamities later), and I am firmly still on the wrong side of the bed. I would like to get back IN to said bed and stay there for a few hours and attempt entry into the world again.

I'm not even tired. I'm just firmly entrenched in The Grump. Grrrrr. I think I will wait until YOU are happily asleep and then howl at YOU. See how you like it, big boy.

But I will still give you kisses when I get home because you are still adorable. Nothing changes that.

yours in love and grumbling,

Contract! Friday, December 19, 2008

Know what I did last night? Before going out? I went over MY CONTRACT.


I was stupidly thrilled that it had come FedEx overnight delivery. That just smacks of Important, right?

I read every sentence, and flagged every question I had to go over with my agent Susanna, which I did this morning. Have I mentioned recently she's the best agent ever? No? She is.

It. Is. So Exciting.

Also, you have to buy it, okay? I'm freaked out that it won't earn out (earn the advance) and then they'll never want another book from me, and then I'll have to, oh, I don't know, get a job at the fire department or something. Ack!

You know what's soooo cool, though? Next year? When the book is out? I will "have" to go to all the knit-events to promote it. Oh, no! I have to go to Maryland! Oh, no! Rhinebeck! All the Stitches events! (And they're tax write-offs, too. Pinch me.)

Also in big news:

Lala knows how to hold Digit like a baby.

Held likeababy

Do you have any idea how INSANE that is? I rarely pick him up, and when I do, he squirms out of my arms. He always has. He'll get on me, and lie on me, and cuddle with me, but it has to be on his terms. He's never enjoyed being held.

But Lala believes in holding cats like babies WHICH IS WRONG. She maintains, however, that this is the correct method, so both the kittens like to be held on their backs, since it's been happening to them since they were young.

Last night, a few beers in, Lala tried it with Digit. I got out my cell phone so I could call the paramedics.

And he loved it. It was the weirdest thing I'd ever seen. He started purring instantly. HE DOES NOT PURR WHEN HELD. He tends to bite or scratch. No, he purred. He batted my hands playfully with the claws retracted, and then rubbed his head against me while she held him. Finally, after maybe five minutes, Lala put him down. I tried it, and he turned into a spitting, fighting machine, which is his normal M.O.

She is the cat whisperer.


I Give Up Thursday, December 11, 2008

I have the best intentions when it comes to pajama days. I think they're a great idea, and I want to embrace them. But every time I try to have one, I fail. I end up going out, doing chores, or just having a normal day, no matter how hard I try to stay at home relaxing.

So today, my first day off at home in almost two weeks, I am having an enforced pajama day.

I wouldn't have even chosen this. But this cold that's whomped me upside the head has pinned me with exhaustion and an awfully stopped-up nose, so I guess my body is making me take a day off. (The worst part is that it's not even that bad. If this had been a work day, I would have gone in and I would have been okay being miserable there. It's not the flu. It's just a cold. And extreme fatigue. Double-bleah.)

Some things I'd thought of doing today:

Clean the house
Go ice skating
Take the dogs for an adventure
Drive to Pescadero for olallieberry pie
Start a fruitcake (really)

Instead, it's almost noon, and I've been blogsurfing all morning. Now I'm going to eat something and get back in bed. I have some Friday Night Lights to catch up on. I don't even plan on knitting. I'm going to be the biggest slug possible.

It's kind of nice in an agonizingly awful way. Digit, who is howling to be let outside (NO!), feels the same way.

Pea-Brain Friday, October 31, 2008


Tiny baby Digit curled up with me last night (not being a jerk at all!) as I almost-finished the book sweater. I'm always so pleased when a neckline works out (god bless EZ). Now all I have to do is graft the underarms. I LOVE GRAFTING. Love it. Seriously. Pics soon.

In other news: My sister Christy is a very good writer. Today, I am distracted with very good things, and can't seem to keep a thought in my pea-sized brain, so go read about her staunch and worthy adversary.

We Have a New Trick Monday, October 06, 2008

We've been training Clara to "WAIT" before eating from her food dish which we place on her pillow in the living room. She's really, really good at it, and we've been experimenting with doing different things as she's waiting -- I go in my room and make funny noises, or sit on the couch and pet Miss Idaho.

Today Lala tried something else. Willie was already resting on Clara's pillow.

Dude. The cat you can hear complaining is actually Digit, not on screen, not even Willie. That's one mellow cat.

In Brief Sunday, September 21, 2008

A day off today. I managed to get some writing done, but it was like pushing mud. It's now after four o'clock, and I'm finally coming out of my fog. I thought I'd pop my head out of the ground to wave hello. Hello! 

You know who feels GOOD, though? Newly catnipped Digit, that's who. I love how stoned he looks at the end of the video:

Chatty Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Ahhh. A day off. A lurvely day off, and I have nothing planned. I absolutely adore when my Google calendar daily email says in the subject line: You have no events scheduled today. There. I just went and looked at it again. I could just eat that line.

Hang on. I have to go get coffee. And maybe put on socks. It's a little crisp in here, THANK GOD. The heat wave is over for now.

Okay. Back, with socks and coffee. I feel chatty today. Hi! Pull up a chair!

I'm still loving my Kindle, have I told you that? It has several unexpected features: 

Feature one - It facilitates reading somehow, so that I'm reading more than I usually do, and I usually read a lot. I think it has something to do with the fact that it's normally with me, whereas I often forget to carry a book. With books, I usually have one in my car, two or three at work, and seven or thirteen on my bedside table. I read what's with me where I am or what I'm in the mood for, but I don't transport them. That doesn't leave me one while I'm waiting for the sushi to be ready, or at the post office (like I'm ever there. Hate the post office). I've never been in the habit of having a book in my purse. Knitting, yes. Book, no. Now that I have the Kindle, it's always around, and it pleases my non-monogamous reading nature. I can dip into anything that's in there.

Feature two - The shopping pleasure! In a weird way, I think it's saving me money. Go with me here. I hear about books I have GOT to read. I read about them online or in magazines. Then if I see them in the store, I have to buy them, or I might forget what I wanted to read. Or if I go to Amazon and find that it's a starred PW review and the blurbs are amazing, I'll just impulse-shop them right into my one-click cart. NOW, if it's available on Kindle (and most of my wants are), instead of buying it, I send the first chapter to my Kindle. For free. FREE! Then, of course, I forget it's there. I have maybe fifty first chapters sitting in my Kindle right now. But someday, when I'm not sure what to read next, I'll sample some and buy one (instantly downloading it) only if I love it and I know I want to go on reading. Grabbing those chapters completely fulfills that Book Shopping Urge that I get sometimes, and it doesn't cost me a thing until I commit to a book I'm already reading.

Reading now - Hillbilly Gothic, Adrienne Martini. Which brings me sideways to feature three: If you click that link to the right, you can see you have to buy it from a secondary book-source, probably used. Amazon doesn't carry it anymore. While I have my own issues with Amazon versus Indie bookstore (give the indies the love and the money!), there always remains the fact that Amazon is just so damn easy to use. And while everyone loves a cheap book, if I buy her book used, Adrienne doesn't get any of the money for her hard work. Writers should be paid, I think, and I like to give THEM the money, not a huge used-book warehouse in Indiana. Amazon carries her book in Kindle format, though. She gets the money, I get the instant gratification.

I'm loving Hillbilly Gothic. A memoir, she writes with what appears to be such transparent honesty that even when she admits the hard stuff, the ugly parts, you're still with her, still very much on her side. And get this: she's a Raveler! Martinimade over there, her blog is here. Her blog is as well-written as her book is. Enjoy.

I'm also loving the Murakami running book (link to right). I'm signed up for the Nike half-marathon in, oh, a MONTH or so, and I haven't run more than two and a half miles in forever. And even then, I was trotting slowing and wheezing a bit. Lordy. What with my propensity to blisters, I really don't think I'll make it through the whole thing, but I've promised a friend to give it a try. I'm going to try for a six-mile run today. Just to see if it kills me. If it doesn't, I'll go on running. If it does, well, I won't have to run again, will I? All this to say, I love READING about running. When I'm reading about it, I am SUCH a great runner. Lying in bed after two Manhattans and five brownies, reading his perfect prose about running, I fly with him, knowing the next morning I will probably run a voluntary half-marathon, just because I feel like it. Yep.

Not Reading now
- Anything Twilight by Stephenie Evans. I'm sorry. I'm totally sorry. I gave it the old college try, I really did. I read the first one and while it was fun, I  never bought into it. I wanted to love Bella, I wanted to want to be Bella, the best way to read a book, but I never did. Edward was mildly interesting, but not compelling. I finished the first and bought the second, wanting to buy into it. But I have given up. I am in the minority, I know.

Watching -
Fringe: I kinda liked it. That's as enthusiastic as I can be, but I'll watch it again.
Gossip Girl: OMG, that last episode was AWESOME. I love that show. It's not even a guilty pleasure anymore. I'll tell anyone. I LOVE it.
Long Way Down: Oh, Ewan. I love you, too.
ANTM: Go, Isis!

Listening -

To Digit complain.


And now. Off to run. Wish me luck! And then to watch more TV and knit, because I can on a day off like this.

G'night Wednesday, August 20, 2008


I would go refill that wine-glass, but I am SO sleepy already. That migraine like-to-kilt me yesterday, and today was a kinda rough day at work, so I'm better off with no more red wine. Digit, however, says, he approves of me tucked up on my writing chair and not off at work. And he says hello to you. Of course.

Me: I'm in an acquisitive mood. I get like this sometimes. I don't crave purses or shoes or clothes, ever. I crave either music or books (and sometimes yarn). And I mean I crave them like I crave water. The cravings don't overlap; I either want New Music or I want New Books. When I'm dying for new authors, I am soothed by music I already know and own. And when I have enough to read, or when I'm content in the depths of a comfortable book, I spend hours cruising the "Listeners Also Bought" aisles at the all-night iTunes store, trying to resist the "Buy Song" urge.

But right now it's books. I love my Kindle more than I ever thought I would, and I worry that I'll soon read all the words in the world. (Did you know that Milton is said to be one of the last people ever to have read all the words written? Thanks to his poor daughter, blind old Milty got through most or perhaps all of the written world available at the time. Love me some Milton, still sorry for his daughter.) But really: What's the best thing you've read recently and why? Please?

Home! Thursday, July 17, 2008

Good things about being home:

1. Lala! She came home early last night from work, and we had time to take the dogs for a walk TOGETHER before I went to bed. Clara ran in and out of the creek, and Harriet jogged along, giving no evidence of her sixteen years. Miss Idaho was very small and quite fast.

2. Bed. Our own bed, with the fan in the window that blows right on me, all night, so that I get chilled and then I have to snuggle under the covers. I love that.

3. Gin-and-tonic. Well, that's not a Being Home thing, but it was a Last Night thing -- Lala brought home some tonic and made me one. Nothing better on a warm evening after dogs have been fed and walked.

4. Cats. Digit. Oh, we missed each other. There was much drool last night.

Bad things about being home:

There isn't one. Okay, if there HAD to be one, it's a phantom cat-smell (important hyphen placement there; it isn't a phantom-cat). It's in the kitchen, and we just can't find it. It's not strong, but I have an extremely strong sniffer, and it's making me crazy. Stupid little schimttens have been doing better since we've been using the Feliway and that super cat-litter, but I think we're missing a spot that needs to be cleaned. I freakin' hate that smell (just pee, no one knows how to spray, thank GOD). Lala ominously mentioned we might have to move the dryer to find it. Ack.

Another good thing: Tomatoes getting bigger. Oh, and a porch swing. Lots of yarn. Hardwood floors and bare feet. Yep.

Digit's 1st Resurectiversary Sunday, June 29, 2008

Digit is still alive.


Can you believe it's been a year, two days ago? First, he died. Then, three months later, I got schmittens. Then he came back from the dead. After that, there was a raffle that put him back together again.

This cat, he is still my man. My main squeeze. We still sleep paw-in-paw at night, or at least until 3am when he gets crotchety and wants to go on the front porch.

He still lives inside, you know. I determined I would try to keep him in as long as possible, but I didn't think he'd put up with it for very long. But honestly, I think during that long trip away from home and four months of walking home, he saw all the world he wanted to. He makes cursory breaks for freedom: a few nights ago, the night I got home from the memorial, I woke at 3am to the smell of smoke. I thought it was coming in from outside, from the fires up north, but I wasn't sure, so I checked the back yard. Then I stood in the open front door, thinking Digit was still behind me, and I sniffed for a few seconds. Yes, drift smoke, and oh, crap! Digit! I chased him, and then called for him, and he was gone. I went back to bed, bereft, thinking Digit was going to go follow Mom, his other person. Lala made me get up one more time to check for him (I found out later she only pushed it because she knew she would get up to look for him some more if I didn't, and she really didn't want to get up). I took the dry food onto the front sunporch, rattled the jar, and he came RUNNING inside. Big old faker. He wants to be inside. With us. Yep.

We were going to post that video up there with the tune of "I Will Always Love You," sung by Dolly. I was going to make some of it slow motion, maybe some of it fading to sepia. A long, longing look at the end. But the computer didn't cooperate. So imagine the song. Raise your lighter or your cellphone. And sing along.....


Digit Would Like You To Know Friday, May 23, 2008


That is all.

Cough. Saturday, May 17, 2008

What a weird word that is. That's not what I sound like. No sissy little coff for me. No, I sound more like *QKOOOOH quuuoooohh quuuooohhhh. Pft."

I have read the whole internets. All of them. And there is nothing left of Ravelry for me to discover. Why aren't you writing more? I should comment more, but instead I find myself playing card games, a surefire way of knowing I'm sick. Not like the constant coughing and fever wouldn't tell me. I just HAD the flu. This is ridiculous.

And man, am I bummed. I was hoping to go to take care of the little mama tomorrow on my weekend, but I'm too sick to go. I wouldn't dare expose her to this. I feel like I'm letting her down. (She's doing a tiny bit better, but is still in the hospital with no date for release yet.....) Bethany, who was with me last week, is sick, too. Whatever germs that hospital had were doozies, knocked us on our asses. Christy is going down tomorrow, so there will be one daughter with her, which is good since Dad has to leave town for a couple of days, but I wish I were going to be there, too. Blast it.

Heat wave here. I've been at work during all daylight hours (and quite a few of the night hours, too), so I wouldn't know about the heat, but Lala sent me a picture of Our Cat Digit today in which you can almost see the heat waves rising:

    We do not do heat.

Edited to add: I was just preparing to play another computer card game. I found myself staring at the screen. I don't remember how to play this. How do I start? Then I realized I was staring at the calculator.

Spring Forward Tuesday, May 13, 2008


Love it! I do! It's based (very, very loosely) on Thrifty Knitter's Spring Forward Fall Back pattern. But I got a tighter gauge than her, so I recalculated the neck and just went from there.

Yarn: 2nd Time Cotton, Knit One Crochet Two (recycled from new textile waste). 180 yds per skein, I used two of each color.

I had fun taking the photos to show you.


Then Digit and I got in a little spat.


He always wins.


Blood was not drawn but it was not for lack of trying.

Luckily, there are plenty of docile animals running loose in the house to pick up and play with.


Miss Idaho is smaller than any of our cats! Tiny! Practically a cell phone!


Harriet likes the cuddling.


Clara firmly disapproves.

We are Doomed Monday, March 24, 2008

My (our) beloved Digit is a wonder. A miracle. He is still very not-dead. However, he is grumpy as hell and can sometimes be an asshole (surprise!). We cuddle all night. We hold hands. He sucks on my pillow. He purrs so hard the bed shakes. But between four and six in the morning, he wakes up mad. So when that happens (every morning), I get up and carry him out to the front sun porch, him spitting and hissing the whole way. This is his spot. He has his catnip, his water, his litter box. He likes to be in this room often during the day -- away from the dog/kitten hustle and bustle of the Hehu household.

I fed him out there this morning, as I always do. As he always does, he inhaled his breakfast which WAS NOT ENOUGH THANK YOU, and he started to howl. He has to be separated from the other cats while they eat because he's on a special diet for his crystal needs (and they're not supposed to eat his food). So every morning and evening at feeding time, there is one minute of silence and then howling for as long as I grant  the other cats to eat.

This morning I heard fumbling at the door of the sun porch that leads to the living room.

Then it opened.

He is a polydactyl - a Hemingway cat. He has finally figured out how to use his thumbs. Together, he and Clara could rule the world. Luckily, they don't hang out. Much. I am scared.

Morning Photos For You


Harriet: Too Damn Early


    This is the door Digit opened. A regular doorknob, thank you. Also, when I shut the door, I didn't notice that Waylon was out there. Whoops.


Wrong side! O noes!


    Even without a camera, Willie is usually blurry like this.


    Getting ready to Plan Something Big.

   Perfection. Thank you. Yes, I am.  

Nose-kiss Sunday, March 09, 2008

All right. I'm about done with the whole animal thing. Driving home tonight, Lala saw something lying in the road in front of us. When I stopped, with the thing lying right in front of us, we could see it was a cat. A cat who had only been hit once. So far.

I turned on the flashers, got out, and checked. Yes, she was very very dead. Newly dead. She was almost undamaged, just a pool of blood under her head, coming from her mouth. I lifted her with both hands. She was so newly dead that she still felt like a cat,  a sleeping  limp cat. She had no collar, so I put her on the sidewalk so that her owner can find her intact, rather than seeing her flattened. After Digit died (but didn't), I drove our neighborhood for months, checking out every flat dead animal, searching for a scrap of fur that I recognized.

Lala said I was brave, but I didn't feel brave. All I know is that the owner of that lovely, fat, black and white girl is going to be very, very sad. When I picked up Digit tonight, he had the same heft she had. He's on me now, as I type in bed. Hard to use my right hand, but that's okay. He's alive. And so is Bart.

I'm really sad for that owner, though.

Aww. As I typed that and got teary, Digit nose-kissed me, that nose-kiss that he never EVER gave me before he returned from the dead, the kiss I always wanted but never got. I love the nose-kiss. I've had two more since I started typing this paragraph! Joy. (Now three!)


    Still not dead

Look What Dragged The Cat In Wednesday, June 27, 2007

You should sit down.

No, really, you should.

Last night, at 11:37, Lala burst into our room. I was sound asleep. She yelled, "Rachael! GET UP NOW! You need to come out here!"

My reaction was "WE DON'T HAVE A FIRE EXTINGUISHER!" but I was still sleep-unverbal, so I think I said something more like, "Wha? The hell?"

She said, still dragging me, that nothing was wrong but that I had to come RIGHT NOW. I decided if she was going to show me something on the internet I would f*&king kill her.

But no. She led me into the kitchen and showed me what was on the floor.


My boy. My beloved man-cat, who disappeared FOUR MONTHS ago. End of February, beginning of March. Fifteen WEEKS ago. Eulogized here. Love of my life, huge piece of my heart, part of ME, one of the best parts of me, my crotchety cranky baby-cat who was BACK.

Sitting, no, swaying on the kitchen floor.

Lala said she'd heard him crying at the back door, as he always did, just as she was getting ready to turn in. She'd had to check his feet for the extra toes before she believed it was really him.

I dropped to my knees, and he started to purr, even though he could barely raise his head. I was crying the second I saw him, and shaking seconds after that. I've had six or seven dreams since he "died" in which he showed up, was just there, and I looked up at Lala and told her to tell me I wasn't dreaming. She said I wasn't.

She ran around and did all the things I couldn't do, got water, got two kinds of food, got towels.... I couldn't let him go, couldn't stop crying, couldn't stop touching him everywhere, trying to figure out what the hell had happened to him.

See, that cat and me, well, we're a pair. I'm his heart, and he's mine. He always comes back, always makes his way back. I knew he hadn't run away, because he's a one-man cat, and I'm that one man. We sleep paw-in-hand. I might be the only thing he loves besides his freedom.

I felt him everywhere -- no immediate signs of trauma or a car accident -- he could support weight on all four legs, although he had no strength. One eye was gummed shut, but I could see the eye was still there, and when pried open, looked like it had vision. His back end, always a problem for a tranny-cat with crystal issues, was a horrible stinking horror that I won't describe for the sake of your fair sensibilities.

It was midnight, and I had two choices -- I could take him to the emergency vet, an automatic four hundred bucks just to enter the doors, and they'd transfer him to our vet when they opened at 7:30am. Or I could let him sleep, at home, where he'd finally made it. I chose the latter, and made him a bed on the couch, where he seemed to be content to rest. But when I got up to check on him half-an-hour later, he was in the hall, as close as he could get to me without coming in the bedroom. I spent hours out there in the night, just holding his paw and trying to figure out what had happened.

We were at the vet at 7:30 this morning, and the best we can figure is one of two things: He got caught in someone's basement, someplace with water and an occasional mouse, but that wouldn't explain the pads on his feet being so worn. What I think is more likely is that someone "humanely" trapped him as a seeming stray (O Digit who broke out of a collar in two days or less, every time)  and took him far, far away and released him (a kindness, sometimes, when the only shelters around are kill-zones). And he's been wandering, trying to get home for almost four months.

He's lost half his weight, from sixteen pounds to eight. He weighs less that Miss Idaho. His rear end is a nightmare and needs surgery (partly because he hasn't been eating his expensive prescription cat food for months, and partly because flies are a bad, bad thing). His bladder is hard, as if it's full of stones, and the doctor can't hear his heart, which he and I both found strange. (It is possibly that I love him so much that I got his zombie back instead). He is severely dehydrated, and can't have surgery until he's stabilized, and I feel like such an asshole for taking him right to the vet, where he'll have to stay for days, when all he wanted was to come home. Makes me feel like I made the right decision to keep him at home last night.

But the doc thinks we might get him to a place where he can fight back, and if anyone can, my Digit can. Of course, he's gonna be PISSED when he finds out about the kittens I saved in his name. And even though this might be overkill, when he gets better (I hope I hope I hope I wish I wish I pray he gets better), he will be kept inside. And if he turns into the cat from hell, which he will, demanding to get out, he will be chipped (already in the works), and he will wear two collars at all times. I'm not kidding. The other cats will make fun, but he will wear two collars. And maybe an orange CalTrans vest.

I'm beside myself with joy. And worry. I can't lose him again, not just yet.  I had JUST gotten to the point where I could say his name without breaking down. But mostly joy.

Also, I went to Long's after the vet, and bought not one, but two fire extinguishers.


O, joy. My heart lives.

RIP, and a Surprise Monday, April 23, 2007

I was blue today. Been fighting the blues for weeks now, and I guess I'll tell you why, even though I don't want to.

I lost Digit about six weeks ago. I think a coyote got him, and I hope that's true, because thinking of him dying by way of a car or a kid with a .22, that's no way for a fighter like Digit to go. Before anyone lectures me on the merits and morals of keeping your cats indoors, know this: That cat HAD to go outside -- he almost died when I kept him inside, he grieved so much. He came to me eleven years ago as a four-week old rambler who had to suck milk from a rag, and he was a son-of-a-bitch every minute of the day, and he loved me more than anything, and I loved him more than I ever knew was possible. Dammit. He had eleventeen lives, and he used the last one, I guess. My little polydactyl transgendered guy (crystals, you know) grumpy tough guy who still sucked on my clothes and held my hand as we slept (he always slept in front of my face as I slept on my side, one paw curled into mine). He kept the dogs in line, and Lala and my mother shared second-place in his affections.


He was the cat of my heart. and yes, before you ask (please don't), I did everything, put up the fliers, visited the shelters, kept visiting them, went through the death files (good times). My sister Christy did the nicest thing you can do for someone who's lost their beloved -- she went to some of the shelters FOR me. I knew it was hopeless, though. I've known since day one of his being gone. He's been gone for more than a week before, and I always knew he was fine. This time, I just knew he wasn't. (Once, he had been gone a day or two, and I knew he was hurt, so I went hunting for him in the hills, and after calling a long time, I heard him crying for me -- he was lying on a hillside, unable to move after a major catfight. I carried him home and he slept a day and then was fine.) I've always just known with him. Adah knew too -- since that first night when he didn't come home (a not-uncommon occurrence -- sometimes he just didn't want to sleep indoors), she's been clingy and needy. Lonely. Yeah, me too, Adah-pie.

I didn't want to write about it. Didn't want someone to ask had I had him micro-chipped, didn't want someone to think I was a bad cat mother for letting him go outside. We live above a creek, on a culdesac dead-end. In terms of cat country, this is as good as Oakland gets, safer than other places he's lived. But there I go, justifying again, and that makes me feel like a bad mom again, so I won't do that.

Lala's been great -- letting me cry, and letting me Not Talk about it, because really, I can't talk about it. Do. Not. Want. To. Talk. About. It. She told me I could get another cat whenever I wanted to, which, from a cat-allergic person, is a nice thing to say. Of course, I couldn't do that.

But today, dude. Last night we saw a coyote near our house, and I started thinking that was the way I'm going to think about Digit passing. A hell of a fight, that's what he would have wanted. And then today, still feeling horribly down, DMV pissed me off by throwing me attitude when I wanted to update my wife's registration (your what? My wife. Your WHAT? My WIFE.) I swear, I wanted to hit that lady. I left without hitting anyone and without what I came for, and only made it out to the car before I started crying. I told Lala I was near the SPCA, and she said maybe I wanted a kitten.

The SPCA was closed. As was the Oakland Shelter, the Alameda Shelter, and the Milo Foundation. So I took that as a sign and went and fondled paper products at Target. That always helps. I bought Ultra-Fine Sharpies for me, and a squirrel for Clara. Then I remembered that the Fairmont Shelter was right around the corner. And it was open.


I'm bringing those two 11-week old brothers home tomorrow. In honor of our fallen comrade. No one, nothing, can ever replace my One True Cat. But it'll be fun for these guys to try.

Rachael loves it when book clubs read her work! She's happy to attend book clubs that read her books either in person or via Skype. Contact her at to make arrangements.

PACK UP THE MOON by Rachael Herron
On sale March 4, 2014 from Penguin NAL


Three years after a horrible tragedy took her son and tore her family apart, artist Kate Monroe is beginning to pick up the pieces of her life and move on. At a gala showcasing her triumphant return to the art world, Kate's world is rocked again when the daughter she gave up for adoption twenty-two years ago introduces herself. 

Pree is the child Kate never knew and never forgot. But Pree has questions that Kate isn't sure she's ready to answer. For one thing, she never told Pree's father, her high school sweetheart and ex-husband, Nolan, that they had a daughter. For another, Kate hasn't spoken to Nolan for three years, not since the accident which took their nine-year-old son from them. But to keep Pree from leaving forever, Kate will have to confront the secrets that have haunted her since her son died and discover if the love of her family is strong enough to survive even the most heartbreaking of betrayals.

Conversation Guide Included

"A celebration of the power of love to heal even the most broken of hearts."
- NYT Bestselling Author Susan Wiggs

"A superlative architect of story, Herron never steers away from wrenching events, and yet even moments of deepest despair are laced with threads of hope."
- Sophie Littlefield, author of A Bad Day for Sorry

"Herron’s beautifully rendered novel boldly shows us people at their lowest and then makes us fall in love with them.”
–Cari Luna, author of The Revolution of Every Day

Rachael loves it when book clubs read her work! She's happy to attend book clubs that read her books either in person or via Skype. Contact her at to make arrangements.


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