Thursday, July 24, 2008

Happy Birthday

Two year old twins/litter mates, Rocky and Riley, are celebrating their second birthday today with extra treats provided by their well trained staff.

Rocky (AKA Rocket, AKA Little Dumpling Boy) came to live at Twisty Lane first. His sister, Riley, was already promised to another client of our vet. The kittens were caught along with their mother and taken to our vet to be spayed and neutered. The kittens were left with the hope that someone would adopt the feral kittens. Their mom was taken back to the neighborhood were they were found and released -- never to have kittens again.

When the Little Dumpling Boy was a kitten he used to sleep in my lap on his back with his full little kitten belly face up just begging to be rubbed. He lived with us for six weeks before his sister arrived on the scene.


Our vet's office called one day and asked if we could take Rocky's sister. Things hadn't worked out with the elderly lady she had been promised to. Riley hid in the air ducts and wouldn't come out. I said "sure, we would take her, but I couldn't pick her up until the weekend." The tech said, "That's ok. I'll deliver her to you." That should have been our first hint what a little Imp-ress she would become. She hid under the buffet for 48 hours before Rocky lured her out to play.

Both kittens (they'll always be kittens no matter how old they are) are still a little wild. They would prefer not to be picked up, although they both seem to enjoy being petted and cooed over when they are in our arms.

We hope you'll celebrate with us by posting on your blog a little something about the critters you share your life with and wish Rocky and Riley a Happy Birthday.

Happy Birthday Rocky and Riley from Snap and Dick -- your well trained staff.

Friday, July 18, 2008


I spent most of the July 4th weekend pleasure reading and enjoyed every minute.

"I started with An Incomplete Revenge: A Maisie Dobbs Mystery by Jacqueline Winspear. This is the fifth book in the series and is the one I've enjoyed the most. The Maisie Dobbs mysteries are set in England after WW1. In this book, Maisie's work takes her to a picturesque village in Kent during the hop-picking season. I'm always happy when I enjoy a book for the story and learn something. Two for the price of one! Reading about hop-picking and gypsies was different and entertaining. Add Maisie and her investigative work and it was a story that was hard to beat. I've added An Incomplete Revenge to the Best of 2008 list.

The second book I read was Anatomy of Fear by Jonathan Santlofer. This is the first book in a new series by Santlofer featuring forensic artist Nate Rodriguez. I enjoyed the introduction to Nate Rodriguez and watching him work. Santlofer not only is an author but is also an artist living in New York. When he writes about art, he knows what he's talking about. Santlofer includes his own illustrations that really add pizzazz to the book. The story moved right along and I'll try the second book in the series, The Murder Notebook.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Dick's Homework

I've had several people ask how Dick's drawing class is going and would I please post some of his artwork. Your wish, etc! I picked his last two homework assignments.

The shirt was homework due last Monday. In class they studied and sketched the 9 values from white to black and the assignment was to draw a white shirt with all of the values. I think he did a great job.

I think this charcoal piece is really cool. It was fun to watch it being "born". It is his homework assignment due tomorrow. After one class in charcoal he said he really didn't like it and must have gotten into a lot of trouble with his mother when he was a kid and was having flashbacks about getting dirty. Working with charcoal is a real mess and he didn't enjoy it much. He had to cover the page with charcoal (accomplished outside with extra charcoal washed into the grass) and then work the charcoal off with a special eraser (it gets kneaded and wadded up like clay). The wash room was covered with drop cloth to catch any stray charcoal and Dick did his Johnny Cash impression dressing all in black. Tomorrow the class is working with ink and Johnny Cash will be attending class again.

Someone should have told us we should have stock in Texas Art Supply. Amazing how many erasers he went through for this charcoal project!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

It's Pesto Time

The basil in the garden has been so pretty this year. No bugs! Today I decided it was time to give the basil a little hair cut and make some pesto. This recipe is from THE BEST 125 MEATLESS PASTA DISHES by Mindy Toomay and Susann Geiskopf Hadler.

Classic Basil Pesto
Yield: 1 cup
  • Fresh Basil Leaves - 2 cups, firmly packed
  • Olive Oil - 1/3 cup
  • Pine Nuts - 1/4 cup (I use walnuts - something I seem to always have on hand.)
  • Garlic - 6 medium cloves, chopped
  • Parmesan Cheese, finely grated - 3/4 cup
Wash the basil, discard the stems, and spin dry. In a food processor or blender puree basil with 1/4 cup of the olive oil, the pine nuts, garlic, and Parmesan until thick and completely blended. With the machine running, add the remaining olive oil in a thin stream to form a smooth paste.

I think the recipe should be retitled Garlic Lovers Classic Basil Pesto! A little goes a long way, but it's simple and really good. The authors also include recipes for Rosemary Pesto, Cilantro Pesto, Oregano Pesto, Pimiento Olive Pesto, Black Olive and Tomato Pesto, Roasted Red Bell Pepper Pesto, Spinach and Cheese Pesto with Pimiento, Shiitake and Spinach Pesto with Ginger, and lastly, Dried-Tomato Pesto with Mint.

The authors have written other cookbooks including: THE BEST 125 MEATLESS MEDITERRANEAN DISHES, THE BEST 125 VEGETABLE DISHES, THE BEST 125 MEATLESS MEXICAN DISHES, THE BEST 125 MEATLESS MAIN DISHES, and THE BEST 125 MEATLESS ITALIAN DISHES. The copyright date is 1992. Every now and then I go through my cookbooks (another one of those collections that I have) and start giving them away or sending them to the used book store. I just haven't been able to part with my "BEST" cookbooks. They are little gems filled with surprises and good stuff.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Batty Evening

Dick signed up for a "Photography at Night" class with Leisure Learning. The class met at the bat viewing platform at the Waugh Street Bridge. The what?!! We drove over several days before class and sure enough there was a platform overlooking the bayou and bridge. Near the platform is one of our favorite fountains.

Doesn't this fountain look like a dandelion?
We believe it's official name is the Wortham fountain.

Dick printed this picture out for his drawing class.
Two point perspective!

Downtown Houston

Dick said the most interesting part of the class was the talk about the bats! The bat colony numbers around 300,000. It is a matriarchy - only the moms and their youngsters live at the bridge. The males pack their bags and move out when they reach maturity. When the bats make their nightly flight to dine on mosquitoes, they fly down the bayou toward downtown Houston. Sometimes there's a heron or two waiting below the bridge just in case one of the bats gets too close to the ground. The peregrine falcons from downtown also think "bat" is a tasty treat.

Here come the bats -
just starting out on their dinner meal.

The view from under the bridge.
It's an older bridge and built in a way that makes
it an easy place for the bats to live.
You can just make out the parallel lines
under the bridge - bat condos!

The most famous bat colony in Texas is probably the one in Austin under the Congress Street Bridge. It is said millions of bats live there. Leisure Learning even has a class to go bat watching in Austin that includes dining in a restaurant on Town Lake before the bats make their nightly foray.