Saturday, November 28, 2009

Runs with Wolves

Everyone who knows our family knows this: I run with cats, Darling Wife runs with chickens and Precious Daughter runs with wolves.

I've always been a cat person. We've had at least one cat for the past 20 years, and we've had as many as five at any one time. In 2005 we evacuated with four cats, two of which still live with us today.

Last weekend Darling Wife and I found ourselves at the mall in the middle of an SPCA Pet Adoption event. I was ready to adopt a cat right away, but it took all of five minutes for Darling Wife to commit to a sweet little grey and white tabby. We brought her home and introduced her to our two other cats, Smudge and Callie, and after a few days of perfunctory hissing and growling I predict they will be getting along just fine by New Year's Day.

Cats are not Darling Wife's first choice for pet. A city girl from birth, she has always pined for a romantic life on a farm. For many years I had her convinced that city ordinances prohibited keeping chickens. She finally looked it up herself a few years ago and discovered that keeping backyard chickens is legal within city limits. (Curse you, Internet and your easy access to information!)

And so it was three years ago we were living in a FEMA Travel Trailer on our vacant property in Gentilly and I spent several weekends building a deluxe chicken coop that Darling Wife would dub, "Poulet Chalet." When we moved to the higher ground of Esplanade Ridge, we paid movers to lift the coop up and over the fence of our new yard. Chickens, we have since learned, are not uncommon in this part of town.

Yes, we get eggs from our fowl, but eggs are not a favorite food of Precious Daughter. Being more or less obsessed with Japanese Anime nowadays, she prefers eating a big bowl of Ramen noodles with chopsticks. Precious Daughter has always been an avid reader, devouring classic books such as "Lord of the Flies" for school and "Tegami Bachi" and "Naruto" manga books for fun.

Like most teenage girls, Precious Daughter has also read the "Twilight" series of books, an angst-filled teen romance involving a depressing human girl, a brooding vampire, and a fun-loving werewolf. Fans of the series love to debate whether protagonist Bella should marry Edward the vampire or Jacob the werewolf--as if either represents any sort of happy option in the normal sense of things. Precious Daughter's loyalties are firmly in the camp of "Team Jacob," and she has a T-shirt that proudly indicates so.

It says, "I run with wolves."

I took her to see "New Moon," the latest movie installment of the series, the other night. Surprisingly, I found it a fairly entertaining movie. But perhaps most fun was experiencing it with Precious Daughter, who was openly delighted every time Jacob delivered a great line, transformed into a wolf or simply took off his shirt.

I'll leave it to the psychoanalysts of the Internet to interpret what it says about us that we love our cats, chickens and wolves, respectively, almost as much as we love each other. My only worry is that Darling Wife has hinted recently about getting a goat.

Monday, November 16, 2009

When trod upon he explodeth with a great noise

As part of her assignments in Louisiana history class this year, Precious Daughter has been reading the ruminations of Mr. Lafcadio Hearn.

Not all of his observations find a favorable audience with 13-year-olds, but one recently seems to have piqued her interest. She came home from school the other day eager to share the following passage with me.

I admit to at first being entertained by its repulsive imagery. But upon further reflection, I think I can respectably enjoy it for its good humor and style. Most of all, though, I find it leaves me with a satisfying (if oddly inspired) feeling of connection with the inhabitants of New Orleans 120 years ago.

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Wednesday, October 13, 1880


He maketh ghostly noises in the dead waste and middle of the night.

He hath a passion for the green and crimson of beautifully bound books, and after he has passed over them they look as if they had been sprinkled with a shower of vitriol.

He loveth to commit suicide by drowning himself in bowls of cream or stifling himself in other eatables or drinkables.

When trod upon he explodeth with a great noise.

In this semi-tropical climate he sometimes attaineth to the dimensions of a No. 12 shoe.

He haunteth printing offices, and fatteneth upon the contents of the editor’s paste-pot, and upon the bindings of newspaper files.

He haunteth kitchens and occasionally getteth himself baked and boiled.

Five hundred thousand means have been invented for his destruction; but none availeth.

If a house be burnt down to the ground he will momentarily disappear; but when the house is rebuilt, he cometh back again.

His virtues are these: He amuseth young kittens, who practice mouse-hunting with him. Also is the deadly enemy of the cimer lectaries. He is used for medicinal purposes.

But none care to recognize his good qualities, because of the mischievous and disgusting propensities, and all creatures wage unrelenting war against him, and nevertheless he continueth to propagate his species and to drown himself in cream.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

An invitation to blog

Blogging 101 flyer -- click to enlarge
Only technically superior computer users and the most gifted writers can blog, right?

Au contraire, mes amis. Blogging is, by definition, a personal journal. You can blog for an audience of one or two, or you can blog for an audience of millions. You can keep your blog private and viewable only by yourself or family and friends, or you can open it to the blogosphere and see what happens.

If you're a blog reader and haven't yet taken the plunge into blogging yourself, here's your chance to get some sage advice to get started. The good people of Rising Tide Conference are sponsoring a free workshop, "Blogging 101: An introduction to blogging class for the utter novice." They'll give you some good advice on how to start, what to do and what to avoid, and they'll help you get plugged in to the community of NOLA Bloggers (if that's what you want).

What kind of blogger lurks in you? Wikipedia has a concise description of the various types and purposes of blogs. Even if you're on the fence, come out to the Blogging 101 workshop and find out if you're ready to stop reading and start blogging.

Event: Blogging 101: An introduction to blogging class for the utter novice.
When: Thursday, November 12, 6:30 to 8:30 pm
Where: Bridge Lounge, 1201 Magazine Street in New Olreans.
Cost: Absolutely Free
RSVP: Call 504-250-1643 or email

See you there!