Monthly Archives: November 2004

Turkey in the Straw

Several weeks ago I decided I wanted to do a Thanksgiving dinner here. With guests. And the roast turkey with all the trimmings. So imagine my surprise when (as stated in a previous post) I find out turkeys are TEN DOLLARS per kilogram. Yikes. And I still had it in my head to do it, and invite people & everything, but didn’t want to spend that much money. Plus, I’ve never actually roasted a turkey before. Ever. My Thanksgiving specialty has always been pumpkin pie. And thirdly, the oven in this house is pretty temperamental. And so I wasn’t terribly thrilled at the idea of screwing up the turkey and nobody being able to eat.

So then my next plan was to just buy a small turkey for just Darrin & me, and maybe do a full-blown Thanksgiving thing next year and borrow somewhere else big enough for extra people. And I’d planned to do our small turkey today. But today is at the near-end of a heat wave, and the house is already hot, so I figured, let’s wait till Wednesday after it rains again & cools down. No problem. I hadn’t bought the turkey yet anyway. But yesterday we went looking for one, at Woolworths (where I’d seen them before at two locations). And they have no whole turkeys. They have turkey legs, at a reasonable price, but no whole turkeys anywhere in the store. But then this IS a smaller Woolworths than the ones downtown and at Tea Tree Plaza. So then I was thinking maybe I’d visit one of them tomorrow, only I wasn’t sure exactly how I’d get there or get it back, since the smallest turkeys are about 3.2kg, or 7 pounds, and sticking something that heavy in my backpack on a hot day, even though it’s frozen, is really not my idea of a good time.

And then today I went over to Coles to get a couple things to make popsicles, because those tend to last a little longer than a batch of ice cream, and wandered past the frozen food aisle, where I knew they once had whole turkeys, but discontinued the product. And what do I see there? Turkeys. Whole turkeys. All sizes. How rude of them to make me think they don’t sell turkeys and then turn right around & throw them in my face. But at least I know where I can get one, and how I can get it home.
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The whole story (or as much of it as we know)

Calico kittenSometime on Monday night I thought I heard a car come down the alley, idle for a minute, then leave. But I didn’t think about looking out the window, because I was feeling too lazy to get off my butt. Tuesday morning I looked out the kitchen window and saw a small box sitting at the end of the alley, next to the fence between our yard/car park and the doctor’s car park. Thought it was strange, but didn’t really think about it. Later, when Darrin took Biscuit’s aromatic “gift” outside before leaving for work, he came back inside and said, “There’s a box at the end of the alleyway, and it’s moving.” So we both went back out, and I ripped the tape enough to open one of the flaps, and here’s a litter of kittens looking up at us, one hissing. We took them inside. Darrin looks up the RSPCA on the web, but they don’t open till 10, and it’s only about 8. We discuss taking them to the vet in the front building, but she’s not at work yet. So I scoop some cottage cheese into a bowl and put it in the box for them, since we have no idea how long since they’ve eaten anything. The calico kitten you see here later does exactly what you see her doing here, and poor Biscuit standing on the back of the couch fluffs up to three times his normal size. Then he goes to hide in the bedroom, where he’s been for 95% of the last three days. Since I pretty much already knew the calico was female, I left her till the last when checking their genders. We had a black & white “tuxedo cat” male, a white female, a gold/ginger female, and the aforementioned calico female. All with four white paws. They’re about eight weeks old and they all look pretty healthy. Which makes us wonder, why the heck would somebody with a litter of kittens let the mama take care of them for eight weeks, and obviously provide enough food for the five of them, and then just dump them in an alley? You’d think they’d have sense enough to a) find good homes for them themselves, or b) take them to a shelter or a vet if they didn’t know anyone who wanted kittens.

So Darrin goes off to work, and I went out front to check if the vet had arrived yet. I really had every intention of going to see her with them, but twice I checked & she wasn’t there yet, so I just never got around to it. I got the VCR box, cut off two of the flaps, and put an old sheet in it for a bed. I found bowls for food and water, and the hood half of a kitty litter tray lined with a plastic bag (which didn’t work very well, since cats tend to have sharp claws and kittens tend to play with anything that moves). These items I set up in the toilet so they could be away from Biscuit (and away from other things we don’t want them getting into). And Darrin sent out a notice at work about them, and was getting interest from a few people.

The first one to be spoken for was the black & white male. Lisa didn’t tell her two boys she was bringing a kitten home last night, and by all accounts he’s enjoying his new home. He is to be called Jengo Cat.

The white one was spoken for next by Marlene, another of Darrin’s co-workers. She already has a quiet, relaxed cat, and since the little white one is also quiet and relaxed, she should fit in nicely at Marlene’s house. She’ll be going home with Marlene on Monday.

Last, Julian SMSed Darrin last night after work asking him to bring the ginger kitten today. She is to share a house with Julian, his fiance Sam, and their horse of a German Shepherd puppy, Linkin. And may quite possibly be named Britney, after, you guessed it, Britney Spears.

And the fourth one? She’s ours. Which is where you come in. She needs a name. I have no idea what to call her. As you can see, she’s mostly black, with white paws and some orange patches around…everywhere. She was the first to poke her head over the top of the box and look around. When either of us goes into the toilet, she (almost) always comes out, sits down right in front of the toilet, and waits for attention. And purrs. Loudly. And just today she’s been starting to try climbing up my leg, or is she just stretching her legs & using me to help that? Who knows.

I have gone against my usual rule and left commenting enabled on this post. This is so if you have a good name idea, you can post it. I need a GOOD name. Not something common or boring like Fluffy. Ideally I would like a somewhat funny name coming from a cartoon/movie/television/novel character with a similar personality, or possibly a food related name. Something witty and clever.

Other names to not suggest (because I’ve already had animals by these names): Jingles, Blackie, Friskie, Friskie (yep, two of them) Jingles (yep, two of them too), Tidbits, Morris, Toby, Garfield, Stubby (he had a short tail, okay?), Tiger, Oreo, Friskie (yet again), Toby (the first Toby was given away, and I liked the name), A. C. (Andy’s Cat, or Awesome Cat), Twinkie, Peanut, Yakko, Wakko, Dot & Brain (Animaniacs), Buster & Babs (Tiny Toons bunnies), Alvin, Tigger, Biscuit.

More names not to suggest (because we know people who have or had pets by these names): Amos, Andy, Princess, Angus, George, Squeak, Calvin, Westley, Smokey, Snickers, Roxy, Defa…and the list goes on, but those are the names of the ones we see most often.

Let the naming commence….
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Top 10 everyday things Americans take for granted

First let me state for the Aussie readers that this is IN NO WAY saying that I think it sucks here, because I don’t think that. But if you’d been living overseas for ten months, you’d be putting together a list of the things you missed too (like Tim Tams, Vegemite, meat pies, and sausage rolls).

1. Velveeta. Many years ago, when I was first using IRC, I had an ongoing debate with a guy named "Saveall" on #bighouse on Undernet. We couldn’t agree on whether or not Velveeta was cheese (although now I can’t remember who was on which side). But who cares, really? Mmmm…processed cheese food. (Interestingly though, Australian Quarantine won’t let Velveeta be imported because of its "cheese content," so I guess that answers the question.)

2. Oscar Mayer braunschweiger. Yes, I’m one of those bizarre people who likes liverwurst. Which is funny, since I don’t like liver in any of its other forms. I have found two brands here that are somewhat similar – one is the right texture & consistency, but the taste isn’t quite right, and the other has the taste, but also chunky bits. Perhaps someday I’ll get around to checking out the shops in the very-German Hahndorf to see if they’ve got a suitable substitute.

3. Whole turkeys for PENNIES a pound. I think the figures I remember are around 39 or 49 cents a pound. Which is roughly…uhh…let me get my calculator…just over a dollar a kilogram in Australian dollars. Even chicken isn’t that cheap.

4. Big, orange, round pumpkins. The kind you make jack-o-lanterns out of, or (my preference) pumpkin pies.

5. Wal Mart. If you’ve been to one, ’nuff said. If you haven’t, think Big W on steroids.

6. Freeways. Australia’s two biggest cities aren’t even joined by freeway yet, and Adelaide has two freeways. Which don’t even intersect.

7. Internet connections with no download cap. Mostly unknown down under.

8. American cheese. This is a particular variety of cheese, made out of the leftovers from Cheddar. It’s a nice, mild, yellow cheese, and my own personal favourite. Impossible to find here (although the cheese on a burger from McDonald’s or Hungry Jack’s comes close). Interestingly, while looking for a good link about American cheese, I came across a What Type of Cheese Are You? quiz, and was classified (surprise!) as American cheese.

9. Going to the gas (petrol) station at 11 pm the night before payday with three dollars in your bank account and knowing your direct deposit will make it to the bank before the $20-30 payment you’re about to make. Sometimes slow banking systems are a good thing.

10. Cheese curds. This is a very Wisconsin thing. Cheese curds are little bits of cheese that are left over in the cheesemaking process. They’re salty and tasty and the really good, fresh ones squeak when you chew them. Major staple at any potluck/picnic/family reunion-ish type thing. The A&W in Baldwin, Wisconsin, deep-fries them; also, a town 20 miles away from where I grew up calls itself the Cheese Curd capital of the world, and holds a Cheese Curd Festival every year.
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