Sunday, March 30, 2008

Triple Play Birthday

Usually we combine Carol's and Marilyn's birthday celebrations since they are close together. This year we made it a triple play by including Steve's birthday which is April 1. This year was a milestone for Carol and Steve as they both turned 30. It was also a milestone for Marilyn who turned 30+. Marilyn didn't buy a cake this year because there's always so much left over that nobody eats. She purchased three extra large cupcakes or three really small cakes. I don't know what the official term for them is. When I first saw them with lime green frosting piled an inch thick on each one, I asked Marilyn if they were left over from St. Patrick's Day. She said "No, don't you see the colored jelly beans on them. These are Easter cakes". To those with a vivid imagination, I guess they were Easter cakes. In the end, it didn't really matter since we were celebrating birthdays. I didn't ask her why she didn't buy birthday cakes. I know when to stop asking questions. At least its a step up from last year's bowling theme cake, but that was a last minute purchase. These cakes were thought out.

With nice weather, we celebrated by the pool. The candles were lit and wishes made. In unison the three celebrants blew out their candles.
One lone candle on Steve's cake came to life again. After 30 years, I don't think trick candles surprise him anymore but we still put them on the cake. No matter how old he gets, he will always be an April Fools baby.
A pleasant evening under a full moon with a gentle fire showed me one thing. After dark, that green frosting doesn't look bad at all.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Midnight Jack

As Marilyn and were watching TV, an ear splitting cat screech cut the night air. It didn't come from outside. It came from our kitchen. I jumped up and entered the kitchen just in time to see a long haired gray cat making tracks through the laundry room to the guest bathroom and out the cat door. The scream came from Scruffy who was visibly agitated. Apparently she went in for a late night snack and found a stranger munching on her food. Having never seen a strange cat in the house, she let loose. We thought we had seen the last of him. We were wrong. As we lay in bed the next night, another cat squall resounded through the house. The next morning we noticed tufts of cat fur on the floor; another late night cat confrontation between defenders of the homeland and the marauder. The next night as Marilyn entered the kitchen close to midnight she caught a glimpse of the gray feline as he hightailed it to the cat door. Since he seemed to show up close to midnight we dubbed him Midnight Jack. We had several encounters with Midnight Jack but what we didn't know was how many times he had invited himself to dinner undetected. It did seem that the cats were eating more food than they usually eat. Apparently. the warm glow of inside lights through the clear cat door and delightful buffet of cat delicacies inside were worth the occasional hostile cat contact inside and risk of unpredictable humans. Midnight Jack couldn't stay away.
We decided to close the bathroom door around nine every night to block Midnight Jack from the rest of the house. Our cats usually don't go out at night anyway. There was no sign of Midnight Jack for several days. Two days ago in the late afternoon Marilyn entered the kitchen and caught a glimpse of Midnight Jack scurrying for the door. Now we call him Dinnertime Jack.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Squaw Peak Attempt

As part of our "climb every mountain" plan Marilyn and I decided we were ready to climb Squaw Peak. We really had no basis to make to make this decision other than the fact it was a nice day and we had nothing else to do. The trail is well marked and worn. We made our way to the one quarter mile sign and pushed on. It was a steep climb. Marilyn was feeling exhausted before we made it to the half mile marker. I urged her on at a slower pace. At a bend in the trail a green post with no sign appeared. I thought it was the half mile marker which would have been about half way to the top. Marilyn decided it was time to go back. I found out later that the sign post didn't mark the half mile point but I'm sure we were close to it.At one time the post may have held a sign saying "If you're tired already, maybe you should consider turning around here". Or maybe it said "If you can read this sign, you're too close to the edge". Maybe it warned of possible crime by saying "Take a look at your car in the parking lot. It may be the last time you see it". Maybe the sign will be there when we come for another attempt. And we will be back.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Stuff On My Cat

I can't remember when I started putting stuff on my cat because it wasn't a big deal. You're watching TV, a cat is curled up next to you, and you have a can in your hand. For me, the natural human response to this situation is to put the can on the cat's head and see if you can balance it there. I've been doing this for years. If I didn't have a can, it would be something else. TV remotes are always handy.
Marilyn discourages me from putting stuff on the cats. She says it makes them feel humiliated and they only tolerate it because they are trying to please me. Cats trying to please me? Give me a break! The last thing these cats do is try to please me. I think zoologists around the world would agree with me that the common house cat is without a doubt the laziest animal on the planet. Laziness is the reason they allow things to be piled on them. As long as there is no pain involved, it's less trouble for a cat to sit next to you with three cans balanced on its head than to get up and walk out of arm's reach.
Last year Ann gave me a calendar. It was a "Stuff on my Cat" calendar. I found out it's not just me. There are thousands of people out there who put stuff on their cats. There's even a website
Putting stuff on your cat gives an added dimension of pet enjoyment. If it weren't for putting stuff on your cat, the only bonding most cat owners would experience would be watching their cat sleep all day.

Papago Park

After the Wind Cave Hike, we realized we needed more stamina before tackling the more challenging climbs. On New Year's Eve we decided to go back to A Mountain for a work out. I knew the Tempe Town Party was that evening but hadn't anticipated the roads being closed so early in the day. People were already filling the parking lots for an early start on getting liquored up. We couldn't get to A Mountain. Since we already had our hiking duds on we drove a few miles to Papago Park. There aren't any challenging climbs but we could do some hiking. The big draw in the Park is "Hole in the Rock" I'm guessing they must have held a contest years ago to name this geographic feature and not many people entered.
After catching up on the latest graffiti postings (I like to call them rock blogs), we headed off to the next park attraction - Governor Hunt's Tomb

George Hunt was Arizona's first governor after statehood in 1912. Actually he was governor before and after statehood. He was governor of Arizona seven times. He would probably still be governor of Arizona if he hadn't died. But if he hadn't died, we wouldn't have Governor Hunt's Tomb to visit. The tomb is a pyramid finished in white bathroom tile. He wasn't the first to be buried here. His wife was buried here three years before George. Back in 1931, this location was a lonely hill in the desert about eight miles from Phoenix. Why would he bury her here? I think the answer lies in another mystical riddle. Why did they bury the old Indian on the north side of the hill?He was dead.