Thursday, June 30, 2005

Neighborhood Loud Ass

To the Loud Ass who is driving all around my block on a ridiculously loud motorcycle:

Knock it off! If you have somewhere to go, then go. Don't drive around and around the block like some happy 10 year-old kid on his first go-cart! I'm trying to have phone interviews here, buddy, and your high-pitched farting machine is making me sound like I live in a trailer park or something!

Thank you.

Posted by Bird On A Line @ 11:32 AM

Landlord From Hell Update

Huz called the jerky landlord last night and, surprisingly, he answered his phone. Huz apologized and told him that things had come up and we weren't going to be able to rent from him and that we put a stop on the check. Jerk landlord tried to press him for the reason, but Huz just said he wasn't at liberty to say and how sorry we were to have inconvenienced him. He lectured Huz on how irresponsible we were (blah, blah, blah) and that was it. No yelling. No threats.

Pheeeeeeewwwwwwww. That's over.

Oh, and I was able once again to come up with a dinner from nothing (okay, nothing is an exaggeration, but when you've got nothing purchased for a planned menu it takes creativity does it not?). I forgot to mention that I had some pork frozen for a meal that I wasn't able to make because the green beans got less-than-fresh too fast, so I used the pork to make a coconut curry. How I love Thai grocery stores where I stock up on 39 cent tins of curry paste and 69 cent cans of oh-so-yummy coconut milk. They better have those in Nashville! Do they?

Posted by Bird On A Line @ 9:06 AM

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Dinner, Dinner

What the heck am I supposed to make for dinner when all I have are onions, bacon, chorizo, and cheese!? I don't have eggs, so pasta carbonara is out. I don't have meat or beans to make chili. I don't have lettuce to make a salad. sigh. I did pretty well with yesterday's dinner - I came up with mustard breaded chicken and currant pilaf. But tonight it's even harder. Come on payday!

Also, this week I decided to clean all of the frozen bananas out of my freezer. I had so many in there that they actually broke the bar over the shelf that they were crammed onto. Guess how many I had? ELEVEN!

Too many frozen bananas

What about you? How many do you have? Admit it!

Posted by Bird On A Line @ 5:12 PM

Landlord From Hell

So, do you want to know about our latest adventure with trying to move to Nashville? I'll tell you.

I have been researching places to live on the internet and our wonderful friends down there have been assisting us. I found a good-sized place that was close to school for a price we could afford. I called the landlord on Thursday and spoke to him about it. He was really outgoing and talkative and tried to sell this place to me. Ok, I said, I'd talk to Huz and get back to him.

Our friends stopped by that night and took pictures of the upstairs unit where other tenants live and were kind enough to let them in since the landlord never called them back that day to see the downstairs unit. The pictures showed me that the place was okay - not great - but at least the place had hardwood floors and was big enough for our stuff.

The landlord called me back the next morning all anxious and basically demanding a decision from me because he supposedly had all these other people lined up to rent the place. He went off about how, because he's Unitarian, his word is important so he was doing me the honor of holding it overnight (it wasn't even on the market yet, or so he told me the day before, so why are there people lined up to rent it?). I had red flags coming up in my mind about the guy at this point. I asked him about the walls because in the pictures I could tell they weren't newly painted. In fact, they looked downright dingy. He said that, oh no, not for this cheap rent (which isn't cheap by a long shot) was he going to paint the walls after each tenant leaves. Ok. I should have just said forget it at this point. Who doesn't paint the walls after each tenant leaves? No place I've ever rented (except a sub-let we had, but the management bought the paint for us to do it ourselves - this guy wasn't even offering that). I began to wonder if the place was even going to be cleaned before we moved in. I asked him how old the kitchen appliances were since I had no picture of them. His response was, well, they aren't rusted out or anything. Okaaaaay. He then began to talk down to me, saying, "You don't appreciate the size and location of this place for this cheap rent!" and "You don't appreciate the fact that it has new thermal windows!" Blah, Blah, Blah.

I am so mad at myself that I didn't say what I felt, which was, "I don't appreciate how patronizing you are being. I'm not a twelve-year-old child, buddy. You can rent this piece of shit to one of the people lined up to rent it!" But, I didn't. I got pressured into making a decision to rent it because I was so stressed out and anxious to have a place lined up, that I waffled and gave in. Then, he wanted me to overnight the stupid rent check (more red flags). So, I did. It cost me $14 to do it too. Why I had to overnight it, I don't know, because he was out of town on Saturday and didn't get the check from the post office until Monday.

He called me on Monday because I had left him a message with a few questions. My first one was why did he tell me the washer/dryer hookups were electric when the gas company is telling me they are gas? We had just sold our gas dryer on Sunday because I was told we couldn't use it there. He just said he wasn't sure and would have to have the maintenance man check.

Oh, I forgot to mention that every single time I talked to this guy he would completely bash the current tenants. He would say (3 times total) that the people leaving the downstairs unit must have marriage problems because even though the woman looks like she just walked out of Glamour (he said Vogue the second time) magazine, their apartment is a total mess. He told me that they had 25 empty rolls of toilet paper in the bathroom trash can, etc. etc. OMG. I have so many problems with this: 1. Why are you trashing your tenants? This is not professional and I don't want you to turn around and trash me after I move out next year. 2. Why are you in their apartment in the first place? 3. Who the hell cares what the inside of somebody's apartment looks like? I don't think I've ever signed a lease that said I had to dust and vacuum every week or my lease is forfeited. 4. Why does a messy apartment mean they have marriage problems!? Needless to say, I had more red flags.

So by this point on Monday, he had my check in his hand. Crap. I started to dread moving there and dealing with this man, so I decided to look up the current tenant's phone number and hear from them first-hand what this guy was like to rent from. He (the husband of the Glamour/Vogue magazine woman) called me back and said he hated to tell me, but this guy was the worst landlord he's ever had and he couldn't wait to get out of that apartment. He said that one night the landlord came banging on his door after 9p.m. to yell at him for how much water he was using. The husband stepped out into the hallway so as not to alarm his wife with the shouting landlord and basically it ended with the landlord walking away and yelling over his shoulder, "Put it in writing!"

After hearing this confirmation that the guy was horrible, I quickly called Huz at work and told him the news. We agreed that we did not want to deal with this in our first year of transition to a new state, so I called the bank and had the check cancelled. They said that they only guaranteed cancellation after 24 hours of the request. So, I anxiously waited an entire day and night to see if he had already cashed it before it could be stopped. I found out this morning that it was successfully stopped. PHEW! But, we haven't told wacko landlord yet. I'm letting Huz have that priviledge because he hasn't had the pleasure of talking to this guy yet. I'm sure it's going to be an ugly phone conversation, but thankfully he's 500 miles away from us!!

I'm flying down to Nashville next week to find us a place. No more of this trying to save a buck stuff - it just isn't working!

Posted by Bird On A Line @ 11:23 AM

Tuesday, June 28, 2005


Some of you faithful readers have inquired about how Cambridge is doing. Well, not so good. Don't panic - the surgery went well and her wound is healing just fine. In fact, she got the sutures taken out this morning, so her stomach (which I've affectionately referred to as a football all week) is doing fine. The problem now is that she has a viral infection in her eye and doesn't feel good AGAIN. Ug. We adopted a wonderful cat, but she also happens to have many health issues.

Finally Able to Lie Down and Sleepfootball

Once a cat is a virus carrier, they always are. They may never show symptoms or, like Cambie, they may occasionally get sick when faced with stress. There's a lot of that going around lately. Clearly the surgery caused her stress and I'm currently stressed because of the move so she's probably stressed because of me. Stress, stress, and more stress. I'll share more about my moving woes at the end of the day when, hopefully, the mess we are in is cleared up. Let me just say this: sometimes saving a buck isn't the best option. I should have just bought a plane ticket and gone down to Nashville to find a suitable apartment for us to live in, rather than attempted to do it from afar.

Posted by Bird On A Line @ 11:13 AM

Monday, June 27, 2005


Wow. Somebody came to my blog today after googling "cheapskate Victoria." I wonder if they were looking for me or somebody else!

Posted by Bird On A Line @ 8:29 PM

Saturday, June 25, 2005

All About Boobs

When I was in highschool, I had this Biology teacher who I really liked. He was funny, sarcastic, and a bit crass (always a winning combination in my book). I remember this one class where he was in a particularly jovial mood and the subject of boobs came up (don't ask me how!). He passed on a little boob wisdom that I have yet to forget. The first was that the way to know you need a bra is to see if your breasts can hold up a pencil (I know, I know, the guy would be sued today, but this was back in the pre-sue-happy day). If your boobs can hold up a pencil on their own, you need to wear a bra, he claimed. Well, I've always been on the large side in that general area, so I laughed at him knowing that when I tried it at home that night I would certainly be able to hold up a measly little pencil. Needless to say, I did it without a problem.

Look Ma no hands!

In fact, I could hold up several pencils with ease. I told him the next day that I did indeed need to wear a bra because I could hold up an entire pack of number two pencils with my sisters. He laughed so hard that he turned beet red (embarrassed perhaps?).

The other thing he taught me about boobs is that the so-called perfect shape is supposed to be able to fit into a champagne glass. Um, I don't know about you, but that sounds a little skinny and long for my taste. Maybe that's decent for an eighty year old, but come on, no pre-geriatric woman I know wants a long and skinny boob! Maybe he wasn't a wine drinker and meant to say a Burgundy glass, I don't know.

This I can understand.


But this!?

champagne flutes

And wouldn't boobs this shape be interesting!?


[Upon further research, I have discovered that there is a difference between a champagne GLASS and a champagne FLUTE! ha ha! No wonder I thought that was messed up! Here's an interesting article about this whole breast/champagne glass legend.]

In other boob news, it's been really hot and humid in Chicago this week (God's just getting me ready for our move to Tennessee, I guess) and I've decided that I officially HATE sweating in the boob region. I don't know about you, but I think it's gross having pooled sweat in between the sisters and the wire that supports them. I also hate having sweat on my upper lip. Thank God we're getting central air in our new place.

Posted by Bird On A Line @ 12:16 PM

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Favorite Europe Photos: Part Four

Here's the last batch of my favorite photos for your viewing pleasure.

I know it may not be technically very good, but this is evidence that when I was in the dark Notre Dame (after having the Nikon on manual and the pics all coming out black) that I figured out how to take manual photos with it. Not too bad for a very dark cathedral me thinks.



Artsy prayer candles in the Notre Dame.

Lights in the darkness

Huz took this one and I love what he titled it, "The Dead Will Rise, But They'll Have to Get Past the Overpass."

The dead will rise, but they'll have to get past the overpass

Posted by Bird On A Line @ 10:13 AM

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Graduation Presents and Moving Woes

I'm still getting a few straggler graduation presents, which is cool. About a week or two ago, the lovely Dayment sent me a ha-ha funny graduation gift.


Yes, it's Bounce fabric softener! So, the A-Hole Thief (whoever s/he is) can steal from somebody else - I'm keeping this in my apartment!

And yesterday I got this awesome Cuisinart from my biological father, Scott. Thank you so much! I will definitely put this baby to use!

Yesterday was a bad day for me. I had a phone interview for a job on Monday and found out yesterday that I didn't get it. Honestly, I wasn't upset about it because I realized that it was under my abilities and I would be quickly bored with it, but still! I hate rejection! This was only compounded by the fact that I had a great 15 minute conversation with a landlord of a decent-sized apartment in Nashville that had all the amenities we're looking for (2 bedrooms, over 1,000 square feet, a dining room, hardwood floors, a dishwasher, and cats allowed), which got me all excited about it, but in the time it took for me to call Huz about it, he rented it to somebody else. Fuck!!! I lost hope yesterday and felt like worthless crap that nobody wants. Ugh. I hope something works out soon - we only have a month before we have to move there!

In other news, do you know that Cambridge has a sweet tooth? Now I know I'm not her biological mother or anything (being of a different species and all), but she somehow inherited this trait from me! If I'm eating an apple, she will pretty much demand some, so I bite off small chunks without the skin for her and she eats them up in a flash. She also likes bananas of all things and, I found out yesterday, grapes and maple syrup. She also loves carbs (like her Mom) and eats white rice and mashed potatoes. Now, don't freak out on me, I don't feed her people food in vast quantities, more like 1-2 tiny bites. But it's funny, isn't it? What does your pet like to eat?

Posted by Bird On A Line @ 9:19 AM

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Smoked Ham Saga

So, as I said in my previous post, I've been cooking a lot lately to compensate for the fact that I'm neither in school nor working. That involves menu planning and shopping for specific things called for in the recipe. The trouble is that Huz doesn't know what's up for grabs in the fridge and what's off-limits because it's intended for a recipe. I planned on making the afore-mentioned Grilled Ham and Gouda sandwiches on Friday night, so I greeted Huz when he got home from work then made my way to the kitchen. Right when I was opening the fridge door, Huz asks me where I got the salty ham he ate in his sandwich for lunch that day. "WHAT!?" I screamed. "You ate that!? It was for a recipe that I specifically TOLD you about!!" I was so pissed that I stormed off and slammed the bedroom door (I can only explain my over-reaction by telling you that this was the same day I had dropped off Cambie at the surgeon's and had broken down in tears of worry right there in the middle of the reception lobby - lots of stress = over-reacting to eaten ham). Huz kinda laughed because I had just recently used a tomato for a recipe he was going to make (but, for the record, he had intended to make said recipe like a week before but never got around to it, so my use of the tomato was necessary - it was going bad!). He thought we were even, but I was still pissed and made him promise to go to the store and replace it for last night's dinner, which he dutifully did. Well, when I made the sandwiches last night, I inadvertently grabbed the bag of deli turkey (the last of Huz's lunch supply for work this week) instead of the newly replaced smoked ham! I realized it half way through the meal, thinking it wasn't as salty as he had described. UG! So, after Huz gets more country-style bread (which are now out of), we will be trying to have these sandwiches AGAIN tonight!

Posted by Bird On A Line @ 11:43 AM

Cooking and Cambridge (of course!)

Since I've been home during the week and not doing much other than applying for jobs and keeping the house clean, I've decided to cook my heart out like a 1950s housewife. Wanna know what I've been cooking that's particularly good? I thought so.

Behold The Pie:

Behold The Pie

Piled High With Goodness

This is an incredibly delicious peach pie with homemade caramel and a buttery crust. It took stinkin' forever to make, but was worth it (according to Huz). I got the recipe from the latest Bon Appetit magazine and will put the recipe at the end of this post for those daring enough (and bored enough) to try it.

For dinner last night I made Grilled Ham and Gouda Sandwiches with Frisee and Carmelized Onions, as well as Gazpacho with Avocado Puree (recipe below). Both of these were from older Bon Appetits and were tres magnifique. Speaking of French, did you know that my trip to Paris has inspired me to get the Julia Child's cookbook and to try my hand at French cooking? I hope I do it well, though I'm not planning on cooking a recipe out of it every single day for a year like Julie did.

Of course, I can't do a post and not update you on Cambridge. Each day she's a bit better and getting more active, which is good, but is also a pain in the butt since we're supposed to restrict her activity. Do you know how hard it is to try to rationalize with a cat!? I try to explain to her that she can't jump up on the sink to drink from the faucet, even though that's all she has her mind set on, because it's BAD for her, but she just doesn't get it. Her bruising is getting better. We're still keeping the living room shut off from the rest of the house with a baby gate and sleeping in their with her at night. This is so preparing me for a child, let me tell you. The first night we had her home I woke up repeatedly through the night to check on her and only got about four hours (not consecutive) of sleep and yesterday I wasn't able to take a shower because I was caring for her all day. So this is what it's like!

Behold the Princess.

She's Finally Able to Sleep on Her Tummy

She's still bruised, as you can see, but gets a little burst of hyperness at night.

Still Bruised, But Getting Hyper At Night

Then, thankfully, she crashes when I do.

Mom and Her Girl

Tender Pie Crust
3 c. flour
2 TBS sugar
1 3/4 tsp salt
1 c. plus 2 TBS (2 1/4 sticks) chilled unsalted butter cut into 1/2 inch cubes
8 TBS ice water
1 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar

Blend flour, sugar and salt in processor (which I don't have, so I had to do it by hand. ug!) Process until coarse meal forms. Add ice water and vinegar; blend until moist clumps form, adding more water by teaspoonfuls if dough is dry. Gather dough together. Turn out onto work surface and divide dough in half. Form each half into ball and flatten into disk. Wrap disks separately in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Peach Lattice Pie
2 Tender Pie Crust disks (above recipe)
1 egg white, beaten
1 c. sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt
3 1/2 lbs. firm, ripe peaches, peeled, halved, pitted, cut into 6 wedges
1 TBS lemon juice
1/4 c. water
2 TBS butter
2 TBS whipping cream
3 TBS flour
1 egg yolk, beaten with 2 tsp. water (glaze)
1 TBS sugar mixed with 1/4 tsp. cinnamon (cinnamon sugar)

Position rack in center of oven and place foil-lined baking sheet on bottom rack to catch any spills. Roll out 1 pie crust disk on floured surface to 13 1/2-inch round. Place into 9 inch glass pie dish. Trim overhand to 1 inch; fold edges under and crimp decoratively, forming high rim (about 1/2 inch above sides of dish). Chill crust for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line crust with foil and fill with dried beans. Bake crust until sides are set and pale golden, about 35 minutes. Transfer to rack; remove foil and beans. Brush warm crust with egg white and cool completely.

Line another baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll out second pie disk to 13 1/2-inch round. Cut into 3/4 inch wide strips. Place on baking sheet and chill while preparing filling.

Combine 1/2 c. sugar, cinnamon and salt in large bowl. Add peaches and lemon juice and toss gently to coat. Let stand 30 minutes.

Stir remaining 1/2 c. sugar and 1/4 c. water in medium saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat; boil without stirring until syrup is deep amber, occasionally swirling pan and brushing down sides with wet pastry brush, about 11 minutes. Remove from heat. Add butter and cream (mixture will bubble); stir caramel until smooth. Strain juices from peaches into caramel; cool to lukewarm.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Add caramel and flour to peaches in bowl; toss gently. Transfer to crust, mounding in center. Arrange 6 dough strips in 1 direction across top of pie. Working with 1 strip at a time, arrange 6 more strips in the opposite direction, weaving them in to form a lattice. Gently press ends of strips to edge of baked bottom crust and trim overhang. Brush lattice strips (but not crust edge) with egg yolk glaze. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar on strips.

Bake pie for 35 minutes. Tent pie loosely with foil to prevent burning and continue to bake for 25 minutes, or until filling bubbles thickly and lattice is golden brown.

Serve with French vanilla ice cream and enjoy! :)
Bon Appetit July 2005


Gazpacho with Avocado Puree
5 lbs. medium tomatoes, shallow X cut in skin on side opposite stem
3 c. chicken broth
3/4 c. finely chopped red onion
2/3 c. lime juice
6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 TBS. chopped Italian parsley
2 TBS. chopped chives
2 TBS. chopped cilantro
2 medium Haas avocados, peeled, seeded, diced
2 serrano chiles, stemmed, seeded, deveined, minced
2 TBS cold water
4 TBS extra-virgin olive oil

Bring large saucepan of water to boil. Drop in 3 tomatoes; cook for 30 seconds. Transfer tomatoes to plate. Repeat with rest of tomatoes. When cool, peel tomatoes at X. Cut in half horizontally; squeeze out seeds and juice. Place in processor and chop to coarse puree. Transfer puree to strainer and let drain (discard drained juices) for 30 minutes, stirring often.

Combine tomato puree, chicken broth, onion, 1/3 lime juice, garlic, parsley, chives and cilantro in large bowl. Season with salt and pepper and chill 2 hours or up to 1 day.

Blend avocados, chiles, 2 TBS. water, and 1/3 c. lime juice in processor until smooth. Season with salt; add more water to thin if desired.

Ladle gazpacho into bowls. Top with avocado puree, then drizzle with oil.

6 servings
Bon Appetit August 2003

Posted by Bird On A Line @ 7:30 AM

Monday, June 20, 2005

I Read Books

Yes, I do read books. Not as much as Huz, but I do read books!
I've been tagged for a book-related meme, so here it is.

1. How many books have I ever owned?
Huz and I share our literature collection, but they are both of ours, so with my other books I own about 150-160.

2. Last book I bought?
Let's see. Oh yes, I wanted some fiction for the summer so I bought Postcards by Anne Proulx [she wrote The Shipping News which is both a good novel and movie (with Kevin Spacey)]. So far, it's quite good. It's about American farmers and the developing capitalism that slowly and painfully drives them off of their land. Not quite on the scale of Steinbeck, but still good.

3. Last book I read?
Harry Potter and the Order of the Pheonix. I know it's not intellectual or anything, but I really love these books. I re-read it so that I can pick the story up when the next novel is released next month! Huz and I read all of these together so far and I really enjoy that.

Before that, I read Angela Carter's Several Perceptions. I took a class that introduced me to Carter and I'm sure I didn't get the subtle feminist issues she was trying to raise because it's not always clear with her. It was an interesting read nonetheless.

Before that, I read At Swim, Two Boys by Jamie O'Neill for my Modern Love class. This is an excellent novel about gay identity, as well as national identity. It chronicles two boys who, as they become men, realize their love for each other and their love for Ireland. Very good and highly recommended.

4. Five books that mean a lot to me?
I'm not emotionally attached to books, but there have been a few that have challenged my viewpoints, which is always a good thing. At Swim, Two Boys did this for me because it showed me how beautiful love is, in all forms. Toni Morrison's Beloved will always be a favorite because it was the first Morrison book I read. She is a challenging, entertaining, heritage-seeking writer who continues to amaze me with her writing. Victor Hugo's Les Miserables is a wonderful story and, I have to admit it, I'm damn proud that I read all 1223 pages of it! Though not a pleasant story, Upton Sinclair's The Jungle was an eye-opening book about the Chicago meat factories and all of the toil and hardship that immigrants in this country had to endure. Finally, Jean Rhys's Wide Sargasso Sea read after Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre is a great way to see intertextuality at work. I think it's awesome that the mad woman in the attic was given a voice by Rhys - that is the feminist goal, is it not? To give women a voice that they were robbed of for so long.

So, that's it. Anyone else want to be tagged with this? It's interesting to know what people read, no? I think I'll tag Marian Evans and J.Henry, if they feel inclined to share!

Posted by Bird On A Line @ 8:31 AM

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Sleep, Eat, Pee. Repeat.

That about sums up Cambridge's activities over the last day. I'm glad she's eating because she didn't at all for the day and night she was at the surgeon's. Here are some pics of our baby girl.

Here's her little shaved arms. The bandage lasted about an hour and a half before she started shaking her paw so violently that I had to take it off, lest she hurt herself.

Shaved arms, but glad to be home.

Pitiful little potbelly, isn't it?

Bo Bo Belly.


Finally Able to Lie Down and Sleep

She actually fell asleep like this, but it was funnier when she was licking her bum and fell asleep!

Getting Much Deserved Love From Mom

Turn out the lights, guys!

Turn the Lights Off!

Her incision is a lot more red today because of bruising. I will spare you from seeing it, because it'll make you want to cry. She's doing pretty well today, but I cringe every time I hear a bird chirp because she wants to jump up on the windowsill, but isn't allowed to for 2 whole weeks! Wish us luck with that one!

Posted by Bird On A Line @ 1:39 PM

Saturday, June 18, 2005


So we pulled into the animal hospital at exactly 1:59 - talk about good timing! But, like most hospitals, we had to sit there and wait anxiously while they took their sweet time getting our final invoice ready, taking our payment, and arranging for a tech to come and give us release instructions. My palms were sweating and I was a nervous wreck for an entire 35 minutes before they brought her out. Meanwhile, a bunch of yuppies arrived either dropping off or picking up their dogs, who all had their tails wagging. Not too depressing, right? Not until a couple came in (sans pet) and the woman was crying. They went back outside after quietly speaking to the receptionist and a few minutes later, two men followed them out carrying a stretcher. Oh no. I didn't want to see a horribly ill pet that had to be carried in on a stretcher. Imagine the thoughts it put in my head about Cambie. I don't know what happened to him, but a beautiful German Shepherd was carried in on stretcher and, according to Huz because I went all the way across the room to avoid seeing him, his tongue was out and eyes open - D.O.A. How devastating. The couple left about 15 minutes later with the woman just sobbing. This did not help our wait for Cambie AT ALL.

They finally brought her out and she was in her carrier just staring into space. I sat in the back seat with her all the way home (40 loooong minutes) and she barely looked at me. It was so sad. She was even all the way back in the carrier, as far away from me as possible. When we were home and I lugged her up our three flights of stairs, she began to move from the rear of the carrier to the front. She was practically head butting the carrier door when I put her in the living room. I let her out and she immediately left the cage and started rubbing on us and kissing us. She was clearly glad to be home.

Her little shaved belly is a sad sight to behold - she has a long incision with sutures and I'm still finding random shaved areas on her arms. She is in pain and has trouble lying down to sleep. She's so pathetic that she started falling asleep sitting up, so I piled a blanket next to her so she could kind of lean over and sleep. Instead, she started licking her bum and she actually fell asleep like that - leg straight in the air. Then, she let out a heartbreaking, painful moan and fell like a freshly cut tree over onto the blanket (timber!). It was so sad and so cute at the same time. She's been sleeping in that position for about an hour now. I hope she sleeps a lot because then I don't worry about her licking her sutures, which we have to prevent her from doing. Keep her in your thoughts because she's in a lot of pain. I'm so glad she's home (and so is she).
I'll post pics of her later.

Posted by Bird On A Line @ 7:30 PM

My Baby

I called the surgeon this morning to check on how Cambie's night was. They called me back and said that she's very quiet and not eating, but that hopefully that would change when she got home. They want us to update them on her progress, but are allowing us to pick her up and take her home between 2-4p.m. today!! I'm going to leave in a few minutes and be there at 1:59! I can't wait to get her home and for her to feel safe, loved, and better. I'll keep you posted on her progress, everyone. Thanks for your concern and well wishes through this junk.

Posted by Bird On A Line @ 1:05 PM

Friday, June 17, 2005

Lord, Don't Let Me Ever Have a Sick Child

It's 2:45p.m. and I FINALLY got a call from Cambridge's surgeon. He operated on her for an hour and a half. He said it was a congenital defect (she was born with it) and her bowels were in her pericardium (heart sac). Moving her intestines down was easy, but her liver was adhered to the pericardium and he had to remove fragments of the liver to disconnect them. He's a bit concerned about her liver bleeding, but said it had nearly stopped by the time he sewed her up. Once the anesthesia wears off and her blood pressure rises, however, it could start again, so he's going to be watching her and doing blood counts to make sure it's not bleeding. If it is she'll get a blood transfusion. She's not out of the woods yet - she still needs to recover and hopefully she'll be alert enough so that we can pick her up tomorrow (fingers majorly crossed and prayers being said).

I'm a wreck and can't imagine if I had an actual human child that had to undergo surgery. I'LL be the one who needs anesthesia just to knock me out so I don't have to deal with it!

Posted by Bird On A Line @ 2:44 PM

Thursday, June 16, 2005


Ok, dear readers, I'm asking you to send up a prayer or good wishes or vibes or whatever-you-believe-in for my Cambridge girl. I'm taking her in for her surgery tomorrow morning at 10 a.m. and she'll be operated on sometime that day. They'll keep her at least one night (hopefully only one night because it costs $500 each frickin' night!) and her total recovery time will be about ten days. There is a small chance (1 - 2%) of death during surgery and I have to admit that this is the fear nagging at my heart. It's so hard taking a happy, playful, seemingly healthy cat in for exploratory surgery, but if we don't do it she could die or have emergency complications at any time. Please think about her tomorrow. I'll keep you updated on her recovery.

Thank you.


Happy Family

Posted by Bird On A Line @ 5:28 PM

Favorite Europe Photos: Part Three

Here's some of us that I really love.

A smooch on the Eiffel Tower.

The city of love

Our first view of the Seine.

Giddy at being in Paris

Taking a seat by a fountain in Brussels.

Fountain, Parc de Bruxelles

A smooch in a Paris garden.

Love is in the air

Then there are what I like to call "The Chandler Series." (For those of you who don't religiously watch re-runs of Friends, this is the episode where Chandler and Monica were trying to get engagement photos and whenever Chandler got in front of the camera, he just made the most horrible face!) Way to go, Huz! :)


Giddy in the Markt


Posted by Bird On A Line @ 8:11 AM

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Favorite Europe Photos: Part Two

Sometimes accidents make the best photos. I was framing this picture so that I could get the old-fashioned carriage and the building behind it, while NOT getting the street construction cones that were right next to it (like this photo shows):

Two worlds

and a Parisian cyclist (a very common thing in Europe) started to pass me right when I released the shutter. What do you think?

Carriage, shutters, hands

Oh, and I really like these Parisian boats in the Seine.


Posted by Bird On A Line @ 6:25 PM

Monday, June 13, 2005


Oh my gosh. This is funny. Listen to it when you're not at work.
Thanks, Defective Yeti, for the link.

Posted by Bird On A Line @ 10:03 AM

European Toilet Adventures

I said I'd tell y'all about my pot-tay adventures over the pond, so here it goes. (Warning: I'm about to talk about poop.)

Okay, let's just say that I can't exactly, well, GO when I'm on vacation. Get my drift? I'm incapable of producing raisin-sized turds (much less the infamous alphabet-shaped bowl wrappers that I've mentioned before) when I'm anywhere but home. Ahem. So whenever I travel I tend to spend a little more time than normal in the bathroom, making a feeble attempt to relax and convince my body in an affirming voice that, "It's ok, dear. You can let go of all of the Belgian and French food that you've been eating for a week and a half. It will feel good. Just do it." But it never works. Anyway, I tried to jumpstart the process when we were still in Newark Airport with a five hour lay over. I calmly went into the stall, laid the paper down on the seat (speaking of which, why hasn't anyone invented one of these with the hole already cut out!? Does this drive anyone else crazy? I have to stand there, sometimes doing the I.Have.To.Pee.Bad. dance, while trying to rip the hole part out before laying it down on the seat! Annoying!), and settled in for a relaxing affirmation time. Pee came out no problem, but as soon as I started to affirm the intestine gods, the stupid automatic flusher flushed, whooshing public toilet water up my ass! I jumped up in the nick of time, angry as hell. Yeah, could you (whoever you are) please invent an automatic flusher that flushes AFTER I get off the pot!? Thanks.

So that attempt failed miserably, as did every attempt I made on the plane to Europe. Of course, as soon as I tried in the airplane bathroom, turbulence began and the "Go Back To Your Seat" light blinked on inches from my face. I'm the obedient type so I went back to my seat immediately with another failed attempt under my belt.

When we finally landed in Belgium I made yet another attempt in the airport (I think I could actually hear my intestines laughing at me that time). Then we met my sister after immigration and rode with her on the train back to her place in Leuven. My first stop at her apartment? You guessed it. Despite my new and NOT! HOME! surroundings, my intestines finally cooperated a little with me, but not without an "Are you okay in there, Victoria?" from my sister. God, how embarrassing. In all, I was able to go three whopping times over eleven days. Not too bad for me, actually.

Something I hated about Europe was the fact that you have to pay to use the bathroom. Ok, I can understand this in some cases because over there they have people called Bathroom Attendants that actually go into the stall after the person before you and wipe the seat. And you thought your job was bad!? (This happened to me in the Brugge train station.) But, some BAs just sit there and take your money, doing nothing at all to contribute to the experience. And sometimes there's nobody there at all. Why must I pay? Anyway, the usual occurrence was that I paid my 30 cents, peed, washed, and left. Repeat about a million times on the trip and I'm broke!

Paris was worse, though, because half of their public toilets on the streets were out of order and wouldn't take coins or unlock to let me in. Worse yet, at a restaurant where we had just forked over $100 for dinner, the bathroom cost 40 cents. I only had a 50 cent piece on me and wasn't about to go look for someone to give me change - I just spend a ton of money, dammit! So, I caught the door after the woman in front of me left the stall and illegally peed without paying. (That's right, I'm an illegal peer.) The door won't lock from the inside if you're a cheapskate like me, but luckily nobody tried to get in. I held the door open for the woman waiting in line, but she started yelling at me in French, which I didn't understand a word of, and she let it close and then paid and went in. Whatever lady. I don't think the establishment is hurting too badly seeing as how they just charged me an arm and a leg for dinner. Get over it. I washed my hands and left that place in a hurry.

In other toilet news, did you know that the Thalys train from Brussels to Paris has pink toilet paper? Think I'm silly enough to take a picture of it? You guessed it!

Pink toilet paper, train ride to Paris

Here's a picture of me in the train bathroom because I thought I looked especially European that day. Yes, this is what I look like constipated. I even learned how to say it in French: Je suis constipe!

Sassy! VW looks European

Posted by Bird On A Line @ 8:32 AM

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Favorite Europe Photos: Part One

I did a series of reflection photos while in Europe that I really like. What do you think of 'em?

Ghent Reflected

Reflection from the Waterhuis terrace

Ghent reflected

Het Waterhius and water

Ghent, it's pretty

Ghent canal

St. Nicholas and the Belfry reflected

Oh, and I love the texture of the sky in this one from Brugge.

Tower against the sky

Posted by Bird On A Line @ 12:47 PM

Friday, June 10, 2005

Europe: Part Two

So, do you all want to see more Europe photos? I thought so.

The third day of our trip, we went to see the quaint little town of Brugge. I was told it's like the Venice of Belgium, so we had to see it! After walking into downtown Leuven for coffee and pastries, we were off to the train station across the street from my sister's apartment.

View of the train station from my sister's kitchen window.

Leuven train station

Here's me being oh-so-happy to be in Brugge, which has lovely canals running through it.

The perfect photo

One thing I definitely wanted to do was a canal boat tour, so these are photos from our little tour.

They know how to make pretty buildings over there, eh?

On the water

Green plants, brown water. The cute little tour guide man (who did the tour in 3 languages!) made a joke about the canals, saying that all Belgian beer that is exported is made from the canal water!

From the eyes of a duck

Cool statue in someone's backyard. I interpret it as God reaching down to help someone out, what do you think it is?

Hands joined

A nap, Brugge-style.

Brugge Legs

Even the drain pipes are pretty.

Dragon spout

A rare wood building that I thought was lovely.

Wood facades

One of many beautiful churches.

Slender tower

A break for lunch. Huz trying 1 of 18 or so beers he had on the trip and me with my Kriek (cherry beer). Yum.

Brugge - I'm drinking beer!



Huz and a windmill.

Gaunilo, windmill

We went to a lace museum, where women were demonstrating how they make lace. Despite their age, their hands were flying with these little spindles of thread making amazingly intricate designs. I bought a lace bookmark at a nearby shop for 10 euros! Overpriced, I know, but it took some old lady 4 hours to make it so I just HAD to buy it! :)

Brugge Lace Maker

Brugge Lace Maker Hands

Hands flying

The museum had some "interesting" lace specimens that I just had to take a picture of.

Interesting Brugge Lace


Me absolutely loving homemade Belgian waffles with ice cream and homemade chocolate sauce! Oh how I miss this treat!

Heaven - gaufre et mikado

We like Brugge!

Gruuthuse Museum

At the bridge

The next day was Sunday and everything was closed, so we just chilled in Leuven, giving our sore feet a much needed break before heading off to Paris for 3 days. Stay tuned for our Parisian adventure!

Posted by Bird On A Line @ 11:03 AM

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