Monday, November 30, 2009

I'm back, and slammed

But we have tons of snow and perfect weather... Skied on the Tanana for the first time this season yesterday, while the girls ran around like loonies. There is still quite a bit of jumble ice that needs to be covered with more snow before we can go far, but we spent some time exploring the new shorelines of the islands, which change every year.

My niece is adorable, and it was great seeing old friends, but now it's back to the grind...

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Sad news for fellow Berkeley alums of my vintage

Party Sushi is no more. I mean, it's still there, but not as we know it... Godzilla is gone, as are all of the blow-up beer mascots and hanging and wall-mounted miscellany that comprise their own miniature, stationary, and alcoholic-beverage-sponsored Thanksgiving Day Parade.

The place is still called Party Sushi, but it's now decorated, like, tastefully. Would you believe that?

Sunday, November 22, 2009


This is my mother's neighborhood acquaintance.

She feeds him, evidently a lot. Skwerls in the Bay Area are barely wild animals. They are more like aggressive panhandlers, but they are so cute you can hardly be annoyed. They are the most presumptuous in Berkeley, where you cannot sit down on a piece of grass for your lunch without being joined by one of the little fuzzmonsters, who will sit right with you, rummage through your bag, and help themselves to whatever they find.

Thursday, November 19, 2009


I'll be gone next week to attend my friend Tim's wedding and to meet my new niece! Yay! She's fuzzy and squidgy! Yay!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Warm fuzzies

If you slept in between these two, you'd take half an hour to get out of bed, too:

I love Bunn's leeps:

Edited to add: Bunn was on Cute Overload, a few years back. He's a bunny of world renown.

Monday, November 16, 2009


My infatuation with the new axe has already dampened. I still think it's an awesome axe, and yes, it does go through large logs like a hot knife through butter. But it's a one-trick pony, and is no good for either smaller logs or making kindling. It's like using a hammer as a thimble or a log as a toothpick... it's way more force than necessary, and it doesnt worry about details! And considering how many of my logs are small, seeing as they came from permafrost-stunted trees, my smaller axe is still the optimal tool for them. But I'm still happy with my new axe and think it's great to be able to bust open large logs and gloat over them!

In other news, we are having the first cold temps of the year. It is currently -18F/-28C. But did that dampen the girls' enthusiasm? Nnnnooooo... I bundled up and took them for our regular run. It's nice to have such well-adapted dogs. We went skiing with four other dogs yesterday, and only Chewie and my girls did not have to wear a jacket or booties.

Edit: Here we have technical definitions of "very cold" and "extremely cold". In case you were wondering.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Axe, and ye shall receive

A dear friend gave me a gift certificate to for my birthday. I figured, a birthday gift should be somewhat indulgent and not practical, so I looked at some earrings and silk pajamas and fuzzy sweaters. My amazon wish list is several pages long, but it contains mostly books, and I use it mostly as a convenient memory jog before I head to the library or to Gulliver's, and rarely purchase from it. Finally, I used my gift to purchase a splitting axe. So much for my attempt at asserting my femininity through retail therapy.

My very well-made and very beloved Estwing axe feels like it was made for me. It's the perfect length, the perfect weight, and the perfect balance. It's also beautifully forged of one piece of steel. I used it to remove half the tree stumps from my front yard this Summer. But alas, my axe is just not the optimal tool for splitting wood. The blade is too narrow, and makes more work out of wedging a log open than I would put in with a tool designed specifically for the purpose. Typically, people use a maul, or a wedge and sledge for the tough (very large, knotty, and/or twisted) logs. But I don't think I'm big or strong enough to use a maul effectively and safely. Enter my birthday present, Fiskars 7854 Super Splitting Axe. It's the same length as my beloved axe, only with a head that looks like a wedge! And check out those reviews! How could I resist?

Well, it arrived this week, and it cuts like a dream. Seriously, one whack from that thing splits a log open like... well... I can't think of a simile because there really aren't too many things in life that you split deliberately, but some of the amazon reviews say that it goes through wood "like a hot knife through butter", and that isn't too far off. It was light work to take apart logs I had struggled with before, and I even whacked apart some logs I had given up on and had put in the "when I rent a chain saw" pile.

Amazing. I now count it among my prized possessions (along with my Estwing axe, my Wusthof kitchen knives, my jade pendant from my mother, and my copy of Shigley). :)

Friday, November 13, 2009

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Linden's definition of edible

"I found it, and it fits in my mouth"

Rocks, sled dog booties, pizza boxes, tissues, unidentifiable frozen objects she's dug up in the yard, moose marbles, plants, twigs, the bunnies' pelleted food, the bunnies' hay, bark from my kindling box, etc are all fair game, to Linden. Then she promptly barfs, or later has diarrhea, and I wonder why she can't gain weight.

When I first got Linden, I wondered whether she had a physiological problem that kept her so thin. Worms, maybe? I took her to the vet, where she was thoroughly examined and diagnosed with "dietary indiscretion". Yes, that is on her medical record as a medical condition.

Alaskan huskies are bred for a good appetite. A working dog cannot afford to be finicky or to fall short of energy. The kind of people for whom exercise ruins their appetite could never be working dogs! It's a trait I enjoy in my girls, probably because in my family, gluttony is a virtue. The Chinese, like the Mexicans and the Italians, seem to have a universal family motto of "If you love me, let me feed you." On one of my visits to my sister when my mother was present, my sister spied me eating some bread with peanut butter. She recoiled in horror and hollered, "Muuuudddddeeeeeer!! Arvay's eating peeeeeaaannuuut buuuuttteeeer!" Whereupon my mother rushed into the kitchen to prepare for me instead one of the sumptuous foods that she and my sister cook. When I set Autumn's and Linden's suppers before them, they are gone before I count to ten.

I only wish Linden would be more selective. :/

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


I'm an Aunt! Welcome to the world, little one! May all the best and brightest of the world be yours!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Monday, November 9, 2009

White Mountains yesterday

A group of friends and I went to the White Mountains yesterday. There was barely enough snow to ski, and it was quite cold, but we had fun.

The girls, backlit:

Carl and Dan on the trail:

Chewie courting Linden:

Chewie hasn't been deballed yet, so he *really* enjoys hanging out with three girls. Fortunately, our girls are all spayed!

The group:

A very cold lunch stop:

The waning quarter moon over Wickersham Dome:

Here are the doofi, relaxing at home:

By the way, frozen Snickers and frozen caramel Twix are delicious! Frozen grapes are nice. Frozen apples are bad, bad, bad. Ouch! My teef!

Saturday, November 7, 2009


The ski trails in my neighborhood are now frozen and covered in several inches of powder! Yay!

I opened a new stick of kick wax, and found it smiling at me:

Isn't it cute?

And then I had to rub his face in it...

Friday, November 6, 2009

Words for Snow

A popular bit of folklore has it that some Eskimo language has thirty, or forty, or eighty some odd words for snow. Even when I lived in California, I never found this difficult to believe, and I certainly don't now. Just varying grain size, shape, freshness, whether it's windblown or has been allowed to sit still, and average air temperature during metamorphosis, you can get a good 100 permutations.

I'm surprised that yahoo weather tries to go into it, though. Look at today's description:

Groovy, no?

In other news, the girls are warm and fuzzy:

I love how Linden sleeps like a pocket knife. :)

Thursday, November 5, 2009


Could he possibly be any cuter?

He's at the Taronga Zoo in Sydney

Photo: Rick Stephens / AFP / Getty Images

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Other People's Dogs

I don't recall this guy's name, but he's super sweet. :)

Edit: I just bumped into this kid's mom. His name is Zeppelin!

This is Linden's best friend, Sam.

This is Chewie. He's mostly Bernese Mountain Dog, so he's enormous. He's in love with Linden.

This is the full moon last night.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Just a few items to report

1. Temperatures have dropped below 0F/-18C. My plan of leaving the thermostat of the oil stove to 50F/10C is clearly not going to work as temperatures get colder and colder. Over the weekend, I noticed in the morning that my cooking oils were thick, cloudy, and viscous. The peanut oil was almost solid. Hahahaha. So I've been turning up the thermostat. It's now at 56F. I hope this works to keep the house tolerable between wood fires.

2. Making quesadillas on the wood stove. Hell yeah. Where have you been all my life, quesadillas-made-on-the-wood-stove? The tortillas get crisp, the little bubbles on the tortillas char, the cheese gets sooooo gooey and stretchy, oohhh, woodstove-made-quesadillas, I bow to you.

3. There still isn't enough snow for skiing, but the ski trails are frozen pretty solid, so the girls and I can walk for miles and miles, and take loops instead of turning around. Yeah!

4. I got my first trick-or-treaters in several years on Halloween! So cool and so cute!

5. After putting on hand lotion the other day, I then without thinking put a dab on each cheekbone and rubbed it in. Then I stopped and thought, Whoa... what prompted me to do that? Oh yeah... it's Winter! It's funny how I remember to do things, without consciously telling myself to do them. I guess our brains just follow their neural pathways, once they've been carved in a good direction to take care of ourselves.