The New Adventures of MochaCat

 

 

Introducing Mocha

 

The hippest most right on cat in Portland. He’s dark, he’s smoooooth, he’s so cool.

We adopted him through an agency that helps find homes for homeless mom cats and their soon to be born kittens. They were great, they gave him all his shots and were very helpful in giving us care instructions.

 

What they didn’t say was that Mocha is no ordinary cat, not by any means.

Never have I seen a kitten jump so high, or run so fast. Never have I encountered such a keen intellect in a cat his age. He is only three months old but reads at a sixth grade level.

He is witty and charming but has a bit of a temper. And whatever you do, don’t trust him with your marbles as he is bound to steal them and put them in your shoes for you to discover later.

I don’t know who his mother was exactly. The adoption agency won’t tell me. I have a feeling she was born of noble blood and so was Mocha by the size of his ego and of his bank account. I didn’t know that kittens came with their own stock portfolio’s but apparently this one does. Once we took him home he immediately got on the phone and called his broker and then his accountant. I didn’t know cats had accountants.

I have a feeling that Mocha is money obsessed and it’s not good for him. He is a bit artificial and frankly snobby with the other cats that have come by and welcomed him to the neighborhood.

And he keeps buying things!  Like fancy pet furniture and cases of canned Mackerel. I don’t know where to put it all.

He goes down everyday to Starbucks and gets himself the Vente size Java Chip at Starbucks, he loves it there. And they love him!  They have named a drink after him, just shows how persuasive he is!

In fact he is paying me to write this fascinating and favorable post about him. Money does talk and since I am temporarily unemployed the money comes in handy. So watch for more stories about his antics. Maybe next time we can find out how he got such a silly name.

 

 

~nlm

 

Adventures in Mocha

 

Tuxedo Mocha Frappuccino

 

Mocha Quotes 

The voodoo priest and all his powders were as nothing compared to espresso, cappuccino, and mocha, which are stronger than all the religions of the world combined, and perhaps stronger than the human soul itself.

Mark Helprin

The modern mocha is a bittersweet concoction of imperialism, genocide, invention, and consumerism served with whipped cream on top

Sarah Vowell
Mocha Cheesecake Bites
Mocha Pancakes With Mocha Syrup

 

Advertisements

Save The Bees

Cute little fuzzy buzzy bees darting from flower to flower, devoted to their task. I am an avid bee watcher. They are fascinating creatures to observe, so active and alive.

I wasn’t always like this. For most of my life I never paid much attention to bees, only enough to get out of their way.  As a child I saw them as mysterious and dangerous. Now as an adult knowing their precarious position my heart soars every time I see one.

I no longer take these essential little dynamos for granted.  We owe much to bees and this goes far beyond honey.  It is the by-product of their “busyness” pollinating roughly three-fifths of the food plants in the United States that keeps us in groceries, so to speak.

One full third of our diet depends on bee pollination.

We can thank our helpers; the bees for many of our favorite foods including: strawberries, apples, apricots, blueberries, kiwi, almonds, coconuts, pomegranates, cherries, okra, onions, sunflowers, tangerines, oranges, hazelnuts, soybeans, cauliflower, avocado, cucumber and watermelon just to name a few.(See complete list)

The Disappearing Act

By now many of us have heard of the bees disappearing. Scientists, the media and people in the know have been all abuzz about this phenomena they named Colony Collapse Disorder. (CCD) It seemingly came out of nowhere and since its abrupt appearance in 2005, it has been affecting millions and millions of bees all over the world.  It is characterised by the disappearance of worker bees that leave behind a queen, a few attendants, and maybe a few drones. Basically abandoned, the infected are left to wither and die with a hive full of honey.

There have been many different theories floating around as to the cause of Colony Collapse and there has been much finger pointing.  Many of the fingers point to our reliance on the pesticides and chemical fertilizers essential to our large commercial food production and the increasing use of Genetically Modified crops.

There has been evidence to support tracheal mites and varroa mites, known threats to bees. Some have proposed Nosema; a fungus as the cause, while others suggest it may be a virus such as Israeli acute paralysis.

Some are even blaming the commercial bee industry itself. Saying that the stress the hives undergo during frequent moves on trucks – typical of the way large commercial farms operate are helping to cause CCD. It should be said that smaller bee operations and hobbyists have reported less occurrence of this devastating disorder, this is probably due to the genetic diversity that smaller hives tend to have.

I personally think it’s a combination of many different factors and it’s a sign of modern civilization’s thirst for utter dominance over nature. Our total disharmony with our wild roots is catching up to us. Our disregard is showing and the signs are everywhere, not just in bees. We are being given a rather stern warning that we should heed.

An inspirational Sunflower

Save the Bees

And how do we save the bees? I’m no scientist. I am just a backyard gardener with a yen for the planet. Yes, I care but what can I really do personally? What can we all do?

The best action you can take to benefit honey bees is to not use pesticides and if you must use pesticides try not to use them at mid-day when honey bees are most likely to be out foraging for nectar. Try to use natural fertilizers instead of chemical ones.

Plant a large number of native nectar producing plants particularly in the colors pink, purple, and blue. Some plants to consider are red clover, alfalfa, foxglove, bee balm, and joe-pye weed. ( See complete list of plants)

And put in a good word for our friend the bee. They get bad press. At the very least people just don’t care about bees. Some people hate bees and others are afraid and justifiably so, in some cases. (See Africanized bees) 

But for the most part most of us will never encounter any killer bees. Just the garden variety, the cute fuzzy buzzy bees busy with helping transform our world into a garden; one flower at a time. Leave them to their important task.  They mean no harm to you and will only use their stinger in self-defense.  They are gentle creatures. If you encounter a hive in a natural area, leave it alone. We are meant to coexist with bees and we can as long as we learn to respect them for what they are and what they do.

We must change our attitudes about bees if they are to survive. The facts remain that while the number of bee keepers have been decreasing, the number of companies specializing in the removal of unwanted hives is on the rise.

Love them, hate them or fear them… we need them.

As the world population swells over the coming decades demand for food will surely increase.  We will need not only the bees to help feed us but we will need to rethink our role on the planet. We’ll have to realise that we need to foster a cooperation with nature as well as our neighbors.  We’re all in this together. You, me, the bees… the whole world.  By saving the bees, we are in essence saving ourselves.

English: Honeybee (Apis mellifera) landing on ...
English: Honeybee (Apis mellifera) landing on a milk thistle flower (Silybum marianum). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Thanks for listening,

Strawberryindigo.

 

.

References and Suggested Reading

The Honey Trail by Grace Pundyk. © 2008

A Short History of the Honey Bee by E. Readicker-Hendersen. © 2009

USDA website; page on CCD

High jinks and utter foolishness at the grocery

Excitement awaits you in the soup aisle

I know this probably sounds a little strange but visiting the grocery store can be a rewarding and educational experience and yes, it is a bit thrilling. I suppose that it helps to play these things up because in reality grocery shopping can be one of those elements of the daily grind that can really grind one up. It’s a boring chore of the mundane that can drive anyone crazy. Since I’m a mom to two growing teenagers I am forced to go food shopping on an a constant basis.

I pride myself on my shopping prowess and I am quite the shopping cart driver. I can turn on a dime and I am faster than you’d think so get out of my way. I am on a mission here. I have no time for doubt or indecision. Get what you need and go. I have no time for slow pokes blocking the aisles.  Long lost lovers reuniting, old people arguing about soup and especially the one’s who park right in the middle and disappear; leaving their cart to parts unknown.  Those are the worst. I try to carefully move their cart out of the way and if they catch me at it I get the dirtiest looks, its like I am molesting their produce or something.. I am tempted to throw small and expensive items like scented pine nuts and organic razor blades into their carts in hopes they are forced to pay for them.

I suppose at times I can get somewhat territorial and a bit hostile. It is a jungle out there. And It’s everyone for themselves. I have seen acts of desperation and cowardice. I myself have been victimized, my thick wad of coupons stolen from under my nose along with my grocery list to add insult to injury.  I have been hit up by crooked foodstampers who want to commit food stamp fraud with me, hit on by the Pepsi guy, insulted by the Cheetoes guy and screamed at by a small child who wanted my mint chocolate chip ice cream.

I have learned to be tough and ruthless. I have learned about double couponing and what happens when you bag up lavender scented snuggle dryer sheets with dove dark chocolate and, I have learned much about my fellow humans.

I liken it to a jungle and it is.  It reminds me of a wildlife safari.  Each part of the store is like a different habitat; each with its own ecosystem.  The frozen food wastelands: the habitat of the eternal bachelor. He is easily identified by his bulging cart of frozen pizzas, canned chili and beer.  The organic food section sprinkled with pale hipsters in their 30’s who bring their own burlap shopping bags with inspirational messages written on them.  The lemon-scented cleaning product section: the lair of the harried mom ( you can find me between the Pine Sol and the Febreeze) and one of my all time favorite places; the colorful and the sugary, the cereal aisle!  This is the place for everyone to embrace their inner child.  Hey the Froot Loops box says it has more fiber. Who am I to argue?

So many spontaneous moments happen in the grocery store. It is the perfect place to see a cross-section of humanity. The strangest scenes will play out in the aisles and believe I’ve seen it all. It seems some people liken the grocery aisle to their dysfunctional living room and they will act accordingly.

"The New Fred Meyer on Interstate on Lomb...
Image via Wikipedia

I go to a chain store that advertises one-stop shopping. That makes it interesting because it causes some items to mix with others that should not mix;  Ortho Lawn Be Gone and Kraft Macaroni and cheese with chain saws, diapers and 12 different kinds of olives, for example. Throw in a Starbucks,  a deli, a bank, a optomistrist and a day care center and you have more than a store… you have a lifestyle.

It also makes for some interesting sights and it certainly can be a convenience for weary shoppers. Take furniture for instance; it is hard to turn down a nice soft sit down on a comfy new sofa showcased next to the Doritos and bean dip. It is a common occurrence to see shoppers sprawling out on the furniture.  I’ve seen people reading books, eating a sack lunch and playing games on their phone. I’ve seen old men napping and a young mother nursing her fussy infant. It seems the store not only approves of this but encourages it with big screen Hi Def T.V.’s tuned to The Sports Channel with cases of cheap beer a scant few feet away.

Food shopping can be quite the experience, every trip is a new adventure.  At the very least I’ll get the makings of tonight’s dinner and a wee bit of my money will be set free out there to swim with the others, reproduce and stimulate the economy.  So.. Happy Shopping! It’s the American way and remember Buy Local.  😉

American Corporate Flag
Image via Wikipedia

Strawberryindigo.

Carnivore Quest

The best burger is a work of art.  Each ingredient plays a part like finely tuned instruments in an epicurean symphony of delight.  I mention this because I am on the hunt for the best burger in my city.   I live in a place with the reputation of being a foodie town.  I don’t know if I agree, you can’t truly be foodie without the best burger.

I have been on this search for years now, if I told you how many years, you’d be shocked, so I won’t.  I will say that during my search I have found only two burgers that could stand up to my ridiculously strict standards.  That was quite some time ago…you know the timing must be perfect, so many factors come in to play and the timing is just as important as anything else.  Time is a river.   We can’t go back.   If I could travel in time, I would visit restaurants I enjoyed in the past and just pig out to my stomach’s delight.  Time seems to be slip, slip, slipping into the future, and I am getting hungry.

Before we make our way to the next contestant, I need to explain my system; I rate burgers on a scale from one to ten.  One being very low, ten being perfect. everything comes into play, and everything must be just right. To me, the best burger consists of the following:

A sesame seed bun  Toasted, the crispy circle of toasty goodness encircling the outer edges.

Mayo  White and nice and essential, also some sort of secret sauce is a major added plus.

Relish  The Dill or Hamburger variety, I can swing both ways on that.

Pickles  I know that seems redundant considering the relish factor, however, those green happy little buddies are needed.

Lettuce  Must be iceberg, crisp, fresh and shredded.

Cheese   Very sharp, it will almost cut you.

….and of course, you are expecting the burger patty itself.  Before I get to the burger patty, I need to mention the importance of the grill.  A good seasoned grill is a must.  I cannot stress this enough.

The Beef  what would a burger be without the meat?  I don’t want to offend veggies and vegans, but this isn’t called Carnivore Quest for nothing.  The beef should be high quality with lots of fat, 20%.  Juicy and tasty, and cooked to perfection.

space cat eating burger funny
Mario my famous cat loves Cheeseburgers!

All the ingredients should fit together nicely and all the flavors should combine just so.  Upon taking a bite tiny droplets of sweet grease should dribble daintily back on the plate.  Pair this with some hot salty fries and I’m starving….

It wouldn’t be a quest if I just simply walked to my neighborhood burger joint, I’ve tried those, so I tried a new part of town.  An interesting part of town, you might say.  The restaurant is a 24 hour diner type place.  We are seated next to a picture window facing a busy city street.  “This is a great place to people watch,” mentions the  waitress as she takes our order.

I can see why as I spy a man with a cat.  A long slinky black cat on a leash.  The man, a deadlocked fellow with obviously lots of time on his hands, was pacing at the bus stop .  The cat, his constant companion, paced with him.  It was a tender scene, the cat adored him and he returned the cat’s affections.

My attention was turned to the Asian woman in blue plastic flip flops and a strained look on her face.  She is pushing a shopping cart full of bottle and cans and almost loses her top bundle as she passes a gesturing buffoon in orange.  He dances a jaunty wee dance as he gestures wildly to a man who resembles M.M.’s brother.  Orange man is full of story and enthusiasm and then just as abruptly as he came…poof.. he leaves, running across the street and into traffic waving his arms like he’s flying.

The sign flyer regards the scene cooly and I just laugh.  The man in orange seemed to be having a good time.  He is gone now and I am left with my cheeseburger, which received a 6.5 by the way.  Orange man, I gave him a 10.

And so it goes on National Cheeseburger Day…