Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Think About

I think about quitting. I think about giving up blogging altogether.
I also think about deleting my facebook account, but I can't bring myself to actually do it. I enjoy the attention too much.

Something has to give. I can't do it all, as much as I would like to.

I think about not exercising at all in order to get more writing done. But my vanity won't let me stop jogging or lifting weights, difficult as it is to get myself to work out, sometimes (thank God for caffeine and creatine monohydrate).

I miss performing. "What if I went back to waiting tables and auditioning?" I ask Domestic Partner.

"No," he says, the Perpetual Voice of Reason. "You need regular income."

He's right. I've got too many bills and not enough years ahead of me to save up for retirement. So, I can't give up the full time working thang, not yet.

But it's something I think about.

How do you make time to write? What have you sacrificed in order to get more writing accomplished?

And has it been worth it?

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Bye-bye, Kee-boo

Cleo's been gone for about six months, now. Cleo was the feral kitten that we had rescued off of our roof top almost two years ago. Our dogs have access to the backyard all day, so we couldn't really train Cleo to be an indoor cat. Cleo and the dogs tolerated each other and even slept together sometimes. There wasn't any canine-feline conflict, so that wasn't' the reason he was gone.

One day he just didn't come back home. We knew it was a risk we were taking, having an outdoor, free-ranging cat.

I wasn't as emotionally attached to Cleo as I am to the dogs, so I don't really miss him that much. But I do think of him often, more so for Domestic Partner's sake. He was the one who was attached to Kitty.

Cleo would show up at the same time, every day. After roaming the neighborhood all night, he would sneak into bed with us in the wee hours of the morning. As soon as the coffee maker started dripping at 5:00 am, he would give a single "meow," letting us know that he was ready for his morning meal. Pavlov would have been proud.

"Kee-boo," as I had re-christened him, brought us gifts. One night, what I thought was a dead mouse on the patio turned out to be a temporarily traumatized dwarf hamster. Two days later, Cleo brought us a second rodent to keep the first one company. They are funny pets and they remind me of our lost kitty.

Domestic Partner misses the cat more than I do. He gets home from work first, and he is sad that Cleo is no longer around to greet him on the driveway. "Phantom Kitty" is what he used to call him since Cleo would materialize out of nowhere at the noisy, creaky opening of the garage each evening. And right before his evening meal.

Although Cleo knew it was time to eat when the coffee maker clicked on each morning, he was willing to wait a bit after his initial meow. Domestic Partner's alarm clock goes off five minutes after the coffee machine starts. The few minutes in between used to be Bonding Time for him and Cleo. The cat would sit on his chest and allow himself to be pet and scratched.

"Do you want another cat?" I have asked Domestic Partner, more than once. We have our pick since the feral felines in our neighborhood have a couple litters a year in or near our yard.

"No," he says each time. I know he really would like another one but our dogs have priority. We can't lock them indoors all day while we're at work, so we would be taking the same risk all over again with another cat.

We don't know what happened to Cleo and we're afraid to imagine. It's not like him to not come home. For all of his roaming around the neighborhood, we'd like to think that someone else took him in and trained him to be an indoor cat.

But we doubt it.

Rest in peace, Cleo. For all of your biting and clawing whenever we would play with you, we still miss you. You were a good pet. You made Domestic Partner happy, and that's what I miss about you the most.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

I Love Rice Balls!

It's easy to make. It is one of the simplest snacks, and also one of the most satisfying. It is comfort food from the part of my childhood spent in Japan. It is onigiri (oh-KNEE-ghee-ree).

Traditionally, the onigiri rice ball, wrapped in a sheet of nori (seaweed), will have a bit of pickled plum as the surprise in the middle, which wasn't my favorite. I like a little dried bonito fish mixed with soy sauce hidden in the center, myself. Mmm! My favorite though, will always be the tuna-mayonnaise version.

How I miss that part about living and working in Japan (as an adult), being able to get my daily fix of tuna-mayo onigiri at the nearest convenience store, and all for about the cost of a dollar. Back then, anyway, about a decade ago. It's not as if I couldn't make it myself, here in the states. How difficult would it be to combine the four ingredients of rice, seaweed, tuna, and mayo?

But I know it wouldn't be the same as the store bought onigiri. The packaging itself is a space age marvel. Most of us who ate home made onigiri as kids take for granted that the seaweed wrapping, crisp and paper-like at first, soon gets soft and pulpy from the moisture of the rice, especially if it's been sitting in a bento lunch box all morning. But not the convenience store onigiri, which can be found in the refrigerated section.

Much like the McD.L.T hamburger that kept the hot beef patty and the chilled tomato slice separate until right before being consumed, convenience store onigiri comes in a single wrapper that keeps the seaweed separate from the rice until it's opened - with no assembly required. It's an engineering miracle, I tell you! A couple of tugs on the plastic pull tabs, and the modern onigiri comes out of the wrapper fully wrapped in its still-dry jacket of nori. Delicious perfection!

I just miss being in Japan. I think the tuna-mayo onigiri symbolizes that happy time for me. I was doing three or four shows a day for a theme park job, and I always had enough free time to worry about being bored. It was one of the times I was the most carefree. I was able to indulge the hedonist in me, and the satisfying salty-fat combo of the tuna-mayo, rice, and seaweed was one of the primary flavors of that indulgence (along with daily and generous doses of chocolate).

I will go back some day. I don't know when, exactly, but when I do, I will eat tuna-mayo rice balls every day that I am there.

Maybe they sell pre-packaged onigiri in Hawaii?