This weekend we made (I made) picadillo, rosemary chicken, and a loaf of white bread. And sloppy joes, which I’m not counting because the recipe wasn’t good and they came out too sweet. This weekend we also made tomatillo salsa with tomatillo from the farmer’s market. And it came out awesome. As did the chicken and the picadillo…. The bread came out crustier than we expected, but the inside was still very good.

Remember I told y’all I’m trying to cook more — that I’ve been inspired to cook more. It’s working, actually. One of the biggest lessons I learned this past week, though, was that not every recipe book is trustworthy. And that, when you make a crappy recipe from a crappy recipe book, it doesn’t mean you’re a bad cook. I think I used to get caught up in weird beliefs like that. Now I know I can just tear those recipes out of my binder and move forward.

(I don’t want to get all into this here and now, but I’ve kind of become a disciple of Nigella Lawson in the past couple of weeks. I’ve joined her cult. Some people say her recipes aren’t so great, but I don’t care because her words are insightful and have been helping me get over some old psychological barriers to cooking. It’s helping me to feel better not just about cooking, but about other domestic and womanly spheres.) (I say I don’t want to get all into that right now, and that’s because I think it’d be more proper to write her a fan email, first.)

So anyhow.

The Love That Dare Not (and Is Physically Unable to) Speak Its Name

Toby is having emotional drama lately. Here’s the stuff I wasn’t ready to tell y’all earlier in the season — the stuff I wasn’t sure y’all were ready to hear.

Toby is forlorn because he thinks he’s my boyfriend. He’s my boyfriend, but he can’t have sex with me, and I keep having sex with some guy who comes over every weekend.

That’s about it. That’s the sum of his dilemma.

Every afternoon that I get home from work, I find Toby waiting for me on my bed. He always meows or purrs at me when I come in and take off my work clothes. He often persuades me to pet him, rather aggressively. Sometimes he makes what I can only describe as “sexy eyes” at me.

At night, Toby must sleep on my bed. Usually he sleeps at my feet, like a good boy. And that’s nice. But once in a while — maybe once a month (when the moon is full? when I’m especially fertile?) — Toby will wait til dark and walk up to where my face is and try to… what? I don’t know. I never get it. He gets all up in my face and rubs his face against me and meows and does the sexy eyes and reeks of cat manliness, basically, in general.

And when he does that, I pick him up and say, “Toby, no! I’m not that kind of girl!”

And that’s usually enough to make him quit. But, if he doesn’t, I say very firmly to him, “Toby, you’re a freaking cat, and I’m a human being. It’s not going to work out between us. QUIT.”

And then he quits. And then we’re happy again. And then Starbucks meanders into the bedroom, and then Toby date rapes her. (But not really. She likes it. She even looks at me over her shoulder, like, “Don’t be jealous, you old prude.”) And then I throw a pillow at them and they go rent a hotel room. And everybody’s happy, and life goes on.

Until Tad shows up.

Whenever Tad is here, Toby skulks. He hides in one of the kids’ rooms, or behind the dryer, until Tad leaves. All weeked long, I mean.

Or else, Toby waits until night, when Tad and I are asleep in my bed. Then, he walks into my bedroom and sits there and stares at me in the dark. I wake up sometimes and see him doing it, and he has the most bitter, sad, jealous, and — I’m sorry, but — hilarious look on his face. He’s like, “You bitch. You beautiful, faithless bitch.”

Or else it’s like, “Some day, Tad…. Mark my words. Some day you’ll be sorry you tangled with me and dared to touch my woman.”

And then I reach out a hand to him, and try to coax him to the foot of the bed. But he just turn on his heels in disgust and walks away.

There. My secret is out. Now you know the truth about me and what I am:
I’m a cat tease.

May as well tell the whole truth…

Starbuck is a drug addict. She’s addicted to catnip, and I’m the one who got her hooked.

I grew these stupid catnip plants in the back yard, thinking it’d be fun for the cats to have around, right? And, at first, when the plants were small, I got a kick out of picking the young leaves and garnishing the cat’s food with them. Only Starbuck noticed. She’d arrange the leaves on the floor and sort of roll around in them. How cute, right?

Well, like all domestic pleasures undertaken here, the catnip eventually got forgotten. It got big and bushy, and I noticed that it didn’t smell minty, anymore. It smells like weeds now. So, I figured it was defective (or else actual weeds had overtaken the plants when I wasn’t looking) and I quit using it…

until today. Today, I went out to work on my plants a little, and I cut off all the flowering stalks and put them in a vase, as I am wont to do, and the catnip had started almost-flowering, so I cut a big hunk of it and brought it into the house. And, like the lazy slattern I am, I threw the big hunk on the floor near the cats’ dishes, then walked off and forgot about it.

Five minutes later, I heard Tad yell, “Dammit! Stupid cat!”

As he explained it later, Starbuck was rolling on the catnip with a dazed look on her face, and went he went into the kitchen, she snapped out of her trance, jumped up, and knocked her water bowl onto the floor.

“Oh, man,” I said. Then, ten minutes after that, I was doing laundry or something* in my bedroom. I was standing near my bed, and I suddenly heard Starbuck underneath it. She was meowing in a weird way and thunking against something. Like rolling around or running in circles, bumping against the underside of the bed. And meowing, weirdly. In a possessed way, sort of.

I didn’t even want to look at her. I was kind of scared I’d see her looking creepy, like Ren and Stimpy or Cow and Chicken. So I ignored her, but made a mental note not to give her anymore catnip. It’s too strong now. It’s too pure. Too uncut.

A few minutes after that, she quieted down and I got down on the floor to have a look at her. She was lying there very calmly, but also kind of wary. Seriously, her eyes were saying, “Whoa. That was a bad trip, man.”

Not in a bad, bad way… not bad enough to actually worry or take her to the vet, you understand…. But in a hungover, “I’ve learned my lesson, no more catnip binges” kind of way. You know how that goes, I’m sure.

Poor Starbuck. The teen years are so hard. Hopefully she’ll stay on the wagon and take care of herself.

I think I’ll uproot the catnip and plant regular mint in its place.

*Okay, I wasn’t doing laundry. I lied to you. I was flipping through a cookbook, trying to make last-minute decisions about which recipes to xerox before returning them all to the library.


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Posted in cats, domestic, obessions on 09/02/2008 02:41 am

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