Reluctant researcher

(Quiet before the storm - unsuspecting kitty on the smelly carpet)
I am a newbie to the world of cat owning. New facets of cat ownership that have been brought to my attention, quite frankly, have shocked me. Lately I've been noticing bad smelling patches on the carpeting when I have been laying on the floor watching TV. A friend of mine commented last night that perhaps I needed to expel my cat's anal sacks.

Come again? (no, brother-in-law Dave, not anal sex)

Yes, I heard correctly, so I guess it was time for me to do some google searching. Apparently, like skunks, cats and dogs have something called anal sacks below the business end that they use to mark their scent while pooping, and even to spray while they're angry or feel threatened. Most of the time these things aren't an issue, but they can become clogged and infected, and in need of expressing. Owners know this is an issue when they see their pet 'scooting' their bottoms across the carpet, or frequently licking the area in question.

Well, I've never seen Hunter scoot, nor have I noticed any obsessive/compulsive booty licking going on, but the fact remains that my carpeting still smells bad here and there. I haven't worked up the nerve to follow the internet's suggestions that I probe the area to see if they're swollen (at least not without a large amount of booze consumed by both me and the cat), so I think we'll have to wait in uncertainty until he gets to see his vet.Luckily I have him booked for a vet appointment for tomorrow, so any over-familiarity with my cat's anal region will fall into the more gentle and trained hands of a vet tech, but it may be that his smelly sacks need to be squeezed or lanced. So, more info and possibly pics of an embarassed and enraged (but relieved) kitty to follow.


Photoblog - how I spent my summer.

There's not much to write lately, so I may as well share some of my images from the summer with you all. Sorry for my inactivity of late; I've been away from my laptop a lot. I do solemnly swear to try harder as the seasons change and we head into fall.

And now, my summer (click on any pic to see a larger size img):


After the rain comes the sun

and the runs. It finally stopped raining long enough for the Sox to win their double header against the Detroit Tigers tonight; happily Dan and I were in attendance for at least half of the spectacle. Big ups to my man DeWayne Wise for hitting a huge grand slam to put the club ahead after they blew a 7 run lead, leading them to an 11-7 win (and a sweep of the odd two-game series)- he's one of two guys I had a feeling would be good this season (the other being Carlos Quentin). This was out last set of tickets for the regular season; hopefully we can manage to scalp a couple more before the snow flies - I don't think I'm ready to say goodbye to my first season living in Bridgeport.


Well, Mother Nature intervened in a big way and canceled my morning race plans; I'm sure many hardcore runners braved the torrential rains to run the Chicago Half Marathon, but I just couldn't find the will to run through all that in me. Yesterday was determined to be the rainiest day in recorded Chicago history, with over 6.63 inches of rain falling; local rivers have swollen and even crested. Some Chicago and suburban neighborhoods have been evacuated. The Sox have been rained out twice in a row, and things aren't looking much better for the makeup game this afternoon and scheduled game this evening. Dan had managed to lose his second wedding ring during cross practice (the other is somewhere at the bottom of the lake in WI).

Overall, it's a disaster.

What's worse? It's still raining. A lot. Now we're dealing with what remains of hurricane Ike, and will probably still be seeing heavy downpours into the early evening. Rains are supposed to continue intermittently into tomorrow sometime, after that it's supposed to be mercifully sunny and dry.


Dear rain -

please stop falling for a bit. I would really like to run my half marathon this Sunday, but from what my friends on the weather channel have been telling me, you've called up reinforcements from Ike's arm and they'll be arriving around start time. I know I'll come run with you if you're drizzling - I don't think I'd mind that - but I really don't think I want to join you if you decide to follow through with the deluge you seem to have planned. Oh, and can you take a bit of a break during the two Sox games I'm supposed to go to this weekend? That would be very thoughtful.

Thanks in advance



Much better

I had my second men's league game tonight and felt 100xs better - perhaps it was due to my awesome cheering section in the first period. Thanks Ben and Julie for giving me some motivation out there! I actually felt a lot more confident than I had last week, mainly due to the absence of searing pain in my throat and lungs; it's amazing how quickly it all comes back with a couple nights of hard skating. We wound up tying 5-5 and neither team managed to put one in the shootout. I felt like we looked a lot better this game as a team, generating a lot more offense, and clicking a lot better with the defensive pairings. I really like my new partner, who also happens to be the guy who hooked it up with our scrimmage last season at the United Center (we'll be getting t to it again on the 27th of this month, which I'm really stoacked about!).

Amazing how much better I feel right now though; nothing cheers me up like feeling satisfied with how I played hockey. My attitude has improved towards my race this weekend; out of training or not, I am going to go out there and do what I can. I absolutely refuse to end a summer's worth of training on a downer because life took a U-turn and put me into a funk; if anything it's more motivation to get out on the path and have some mindless exercise to lose it all as the miles add up.


Yay Dan!

Congrats to my man Dan for getting back on his bike and kicking some booty at Palos last weekend; that shoulder is looking good! Not sure to whom I can give credit for this pic to as it was emailed to me by Dan, but I'm a big fan :)


Back on the ice - and White Sox action

Had my first game back on a men's league hockey team this afternoon and things could have gone a lot better.  I felt as though I hadn't skated in ages (I guess in reality I haven't skated at that level in ages).  Sure, some of our women's tournament games can be fast-paced at times, but for the most part I haven't had to put much effort into playing my top game; tonight I felt completely out of shape and in dire need of some conditioning.  It's amazing to me that I can spend the entire summer being more active/healthy than I have been in a long time, yet feel completely out of shape when I step on the ice.  My legs felt fine, thanks to the running, but my lungs were absolutely shot; I guess my theory is that I've been running in the warm weather and used to being active in that environment, but that they weren't ready to make the transition back to the cold rink air.  Every turn on the bench my throat and lungs were burning and it took a bit to get my air back; I definitely wasn't prepared to feel so shitty!

We wound up losing the game 4-2; hopefully I can get back into the swing of things quickly so that they don't regret bringing me on.

In more positive news, Dad and I went to get dinner and saw the first inning of the Sox game on the way home I suggested that we scalp tickets.  We got in after the second inning, but we wound up getting our money's worth as the game went a full 15 innings (7th and 14th inning stretches observed) and resulted in a White Sox winner at the hands of a homer-hitting Jim Thome.  After the game we were treated to a fireworks show, and a nice walk home.  Tomorrow?  16" softball with my dad - the last game of the season.


Iron chef - leftover CSA produce challenge


1 large eggplant
1 can of chopped tomatoes
1 large green pepper
4 stale hot dog buns (butternut I think)
olive oil
some fresh garlic
sharp cheddar cheese


Throw old buns in the toaster oven until crusty, then crush them into crumbs with the meat tenderizer, add salt and pepper.  Cut up eggplant into discs (I left the skin on), dip both sides in olive oil, then in the crumbs.  Put into lidded baker in layers - covering each with the tomatoes and then grating a layer of cheese; repeat until out of eggplant.  Garnish with sliced green pepper, tomato, more pepper, and minced garlic.  Bake at 450 for ~25min.

Let cool off, enjoy.  When Dan heard I was trying to make faux eggplant parmigiana with hotdog buns he said I should blog about it; I thought that was a good idea, but unfortunately it was ready to go into the oven to cook before we brought out the camera to document.  Here are before oven, and after oven pics (note Dan's arm hovering over the finished product; his cam wasn't focusing well and he was about to fork me in the arm to make me let him eat!)

Eggplant Macgyver:

before oven side - eggplant macgyver by you.

after - eggplant macgyver by you.

(Posted with my brand-new macbook!)



Back in Chicago after a long Wisconsin lake house stay. We had a blast over the weekend, lazing around, and then heading to Madison for what can only be described as a rave. Saturday started off really well; we decided to do the brewery tour thing, so we hit up New Glarus (located in a really cute touristy town with amazing good), and Capital Brewery in Madison. From there we went and saw the latest Batman movie to kill time, checked in to our flea bag motel (room actually came with a free copy of Penthouse which was placed right next to the bible and the phone book). We lucked out and got two single rooms because they messed up with our request for a double, so Dan, Bill, Wendy and I went out to Great Dane to get dinner and celebrate our good luck. Good food, good beer, and a base built for the rest of the night, we returned to our rooms, collected our party supplies, and headed out to the venue.

Once there, we found a decent amount of gutter punks, goths, and aged former ravers in plain clothing gathered at the back of a machinists shop, filing into a small, hot, humid, and extremely bassy single-room event. Enpromptu cooler fashioned out of a motel trash can in hand, we set up camp in the back on some mangy couches and got down to business. The entertainment on the evening was all hardcore/gabber/musical ruckus - never really my thing - but it turned out to be a really fun night. At some point the thought crossed my mind that I was 27, unemployed, really drunk, and at a rave, and that I was mentally regressing to about age 16, but that was laughed off and the night went on. We stayed until about 4am and then decided to pack it in because a friend of ours was heading out past our hotel and could drive us home; everyone else literally raved till dawn, but we were feeling old and out of practice and wanted our grimy bed.

The rest of the weekend was filled with sloth and gluttony, which of course meant it was a good one. Now I'm back at home, studying and sending out resumes - waiting for class to begin for the evening.

To Dan - happy 2 year anniversary! I think we celebrated in style last weekend :)