Tag Archives: cats

Am I a blogger now?

I’ve discussed before how it is in my nature to self-reflect.  I’ve realized that I’ve been writing this blog for six months now and it is time to evaluate.  I was initially hesitant to start such an endeavor and I laid out my concerns from the get-go.

Here’s what I’ve learned so far:

1. I enjoy it.  Immensely.

I really wasn’t expecting this.  I find myself thinking about what I want to blog about next.  Usually it’s food related (see below) and that is definitely what I am most comfortable talking about.  Well that and the miserable winter weather here in the Midwest.  I find myself a little hesitant to talk about more serious matters, like a post I’ve been thinking about for ages now, Motherhood and Mad (wo)Men.  And yes, when I say serious I mean a television show.  But seriously, this television show has single handedly changed the trends of popular culture: I am talking, of course, of fashion and cocktails.  But it also brings to the table topics about gender roles, homosexuality and what motivates different generations in how they act and respond to events.  And it is absolutely gorgeous to watch. But I am not quite ready to share my thoughts so publicly.  Mostly because I am not sure how interesting those thoughts are.  One of my current goals is to develop and publicize my thoughts on current events and popular culture.

I do like trying to find my voice in this blog. I like how pretty it looks (things like aesthetics mean a lot to me). I’ve become obsessed with the online style of Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman, and find myself imitating it (especially when it comes to food). Molly Wizenberg, blogger of Orangette and sometimes writer for Bon Appetit, and her complete sincerity has been another huge influence for me.

2. I like talking about food and drink above anything else.

I don’t understand the people who think of food as merely sustenance.  Clearly they are not eating the right food. As a graduate student, there was hardly time or the budget for a highly active social life – but we always needed to eat and so food became a large part of my life.  Now, while I make (slightly) more money as a post-doc, most of it goes towards my travel budget.  So I spend more time in my kitchen.  And I love that.  The process of taking something and transforming it into something that not only satisfies your hunger but also your heart gives me such joy.  And finding joy and sharing that is one of my main purposes for having this blog.

Now, speaking of kitchens… Mine is unbelievable small and quite lacking in counter space.

Of course this was by far the best kitchen I saw when I was looking for places to live in Minneapolis.  But really, this is ALL the counter space that I have.

I am amazed that I am able to do any cooking in here.  But I make do.

3. I am trying to develop some photography skills.

I bought a pretty nice camera (a Nikon Coolpix P90) a year and a half ago with the hopes that I would try and take 1) more photos and 2) better photos.  I can’t say that prior to writing this blog I achieved either of those things. Now I am definitely taking more photos and every once in a while hit upon one that I really like. I am told that’s how getting better is done – practice and be prepared to take a hundred (or more) bad photos for every good one. One of the best Christmas gifts that I got this year was two extra rechargeable batteries for my camera. I’ve also discovered how important natural light is.

Have I mentioned that my kitchen is completely devoid of natural light?  My dining room steals all of the light, leaving me with a complicated system of artificial lighting in my kitchen.

But it’s true that I find the photos that I take in the dining room are some of my better ones.  Of course I still have to deal with the fact that most of my cooking takes place in the evening, after the sun has gone down. Luckily the days are getting longer now. Another goal is to continue to work on taking better photos.

4. I am secretly thrilled that people read this blog.

Okay, so maybe not so secretly.  I love all the comments I get, both on- and off-line. Please, continue to blog-stalk me! I’ve recently decided to start announcing new posts on Twitter and Facebook. I might still change my mind, publicizing my posts like this – but I find that I like that people look at this. I’ve considered making cutesy names for the people in my life and not sharing my frustrations with my current career like lots of other bloggers do.  But that doesn’t really sit well with me.  I am exceedingly honest in what I say and that’s not dependent on who’s listening.  I’ve been told that “people know where they stand with me” and I think that principle holds true with this blog as well.

To my friends and family who read this – I hope that it continues to feel like you know what is going on in my life – it’s why I started this blog.

To those I don’t personally know – you have no idea how much it pleases me to know you exist. I don’t even know how to articulate the joy I get when somebody who has stumbled onto this blog posts a comment.

5. I am trying really hard not to be the crazy cat lady who has a blog named after her cute cats and bombards the posts with photos of them.

Especially photos from when they were kittens …

Or when they do cute things …

Or just exist …

I might still need to work on that.

Dining room delights

As we move quickly towards winter here in Minneapolis (I have already seen snowflakes once – luckily they didn’t hang around), my dining room has quickly become my favorite room in the house.  The morning sun shines on the warm yellow walls and the whole room glows.  It is really quite spectacular.  I can sit while drinking my coffee and checking my email and feel perfectly happy … except that is Puck has all but destroyed one of my dining room chairs in rebellion for me not letting him outside to go play in the sunshine.

As you can see my chairs have become well-used scratching posts (and damned if my cats don’t use the ACTUAL scratching post they have).  I had to do something about it.  It not only has been driving me crazy to see it everyday, but it is only getting more destroyed.  So I headed to the fabric store found some upholstery fabric that suited my taste and budget and got to work.

There are just a few supplies you need for a task like this: fabric, a hammer and upholstery tacks and a staple gun.  It didn’t require any careful measuring or sewing, just some elbow grease and a little attention to detail.  I started by covering the back of the chair, tucking it into the crease between the chair seat and chair back and then stapling the fabric down on the backside of the chair. 

The top corners were a little tricky, but after a little finessing, I got them worked out.  Once I got the seatback of the chair recovered I moved on to the chair seat.  Again, I tucked one edge of the fabric into the crease of the seat and the seatback, then I flipped the entire chair over and stapled the fabric down on the underside of the seat and folded the fabric under around the chair legs, almost like you would when making your bed.

Then all I had to do was cover the back of the chair.  While it was still laying down, I stapled a piece of fabric (with the right side facing the floor) to the top of the chair, right above where I stapled the first piece of fabric.  Then I could flip the chair right side up, fold the sides of the fabric under and tack them down with upholstery tacks.

Ta-da!  A new and doubly improved dining room chair as it (1) no longer looks like a scratching post and 2) is now purple.  All it took was a few of hours (and perhaps more than a few swear words).  Now, I must admit to having some guidance.  While my mother was in town last month she actually reupholstered one of my dining room chairs, showing me how to do it.  It’s taken me a month to get to the second chair, mostly because I’ve been pretty swamped with work (a welcome change) and because I was hesitant to work on it by myself for fear of messing it up.  Overall, I am pretty pleased with the result.  I am sure there are more sophisticated and less messy ways to reupholster a chair, but I think this did the job well enough.  Even the cats approve (as long as they only keep to napping and not scratching).

Kudzu, enjoying a Sunday afternoon nap


Next, I have my eye on a overstuffed living room chair …