Walking Mr. Davis

As most of you know (and occasionally doubt my sanity for), I walk my cat on a regular basis. It only took about a week to train him on the harness, and now we go out pretty much every day.

From Walking Mr. Davis

It’s forced me to learn how to relax my brain in new ways. Before I had Mr. Davis, when I came home from work I would usually crash right away, occasionally sleeping the night through. Now, I have to force myself to stay awake long enough to take him out.

Walking a cat is not like walking a dog. It’s more of an amble, really. The cat just wanders about and sniffs here or there, and you follow along, and if he ever starts to go someplace you don’t want him to (under the hedge, perhaps), you just let the lead go taught.

It gives me a lot of time to still my brain, and I think it’s probably good for me. It’s definitely good for Mr. Davis! I don’t know if it really gives him more exercise, but it certainly gives him more intellectual stimulation. That’s important for cats – a bored cat is generally trouble.

More photos!


Some Kind of Soup

I recently joined a CSA, as incentive to eat more vegetables. So far the routine goes like this: The vegetables arrive, I hunt around for recipes using those ingredients, Nick comes over and we cook up something experimental, we take it back and feed it to Nathan, success of the experiment is gauged.

This week we made Some Kind of Soup, which is mostly my own concoction after perusing a bunch of recipes and getting ideas. It turned out pretty tasty!

olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
carrots, chopped
bunch of swiss chard, stalks and leaves, chopped
1 head of cabbage, shredded
2 cobs worth of white corn
2 cups lentils
7 cups pork stock (I used this because I have a ton in the freezer, it gives the soup a pretty distinct taste)
bay leaf
salt and pepper

1) Heat some olive oil in a large pot. Saute the onions and garlic
2) Add the carrots, chard stalks, and corn and cook a bit
3) Add the chard leaves and cabbage
4) Add pork stock and bring to a slow boil
5) Add lentils and stir up. Add water if necessary to cover
6) Throw in seasonings to your liking.
7) reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 30 minutes
8) Taste and adjust spices as you like

Enjoy! It’s particularly tasty with sourdough bread dipped into the soup.

After eating it, I felt the urge to eat chocolate or ice cream to counter the healthy, but I ended up just falling asleep instead.

Osaka Adventure – Day 6

Well, the trip is winding down to a close, and just in time (I think I’m just about out of fuel). We spent the day at a nearby amusement park that JC was jonesin’ to go to. The rides were pretty tame, but the company was good, so it made for a fun day. Managed to sneak in another nikuman for dinner, so I’d call it a day well spent just for that!

I’ve had a fantastic time here. We pretty much nailed every kind of experience I wanted to hit in the short week I was here, and I am extremely grateful to Scott and his friends for hosting me. Thanks, you guys!

Tomorrow we’re going to chill out in Osaka before I have to go to the airport, maybe hit up an arcade or two. Who can say! Anyway, that about wraps it up.

Hooray for Japan!

Osaka Adventure – Day 5

I really should have called this series “Kyoto Adventure” and been done with it, since we’ve been spending way more time in Kyoto than Osaka. Anyway, today Scott and I went to Monkey Mountain, which is exactly what it sounds like.

On the train out, two little old ladies sat down next to where we were standing and started doing origami. Scott commented how unusual that was to see – people randomly doing origami on the train – and we laughed and chatted about it a bit. When they were done, the little old ladies handed their origamis to us without a word! It was the cutest thing ever! Scott thinks they were intending to give them to us from the start.

The monkey part was, like all things cool in Japan, at the top of a very tall and steep mountain. But the climb was worth it! The monkey colony that lives in the park is very chill with the presence of humans, so it was great to sit and observe them and feed them in the feeding area. Plus, the view of Kyoto was fantastic! Photos of monkeydom found here.

At the base of Monkey Mountain we did some shopping (I got so much Kyoto-style mochi candy to bring back, you guys. Insomniacs, prepare yourselves, because it’s coming to work!). We then went into the city for dinner, and I had two nikuman all to myself. NOM!

We went to one of the conveyor-belt sushi restaurants, only this one had a second track where you could place orders and a little shinkansen would bring it to your table. Glutted on fish, we set out for home, and I am exhausted! I think I’m done climbin mountains for a bit, you guys. Still, it was worth it!

Osaka Adventure – Day 4

More of Kyoto adventure again, sort of, kind of. Today we ventured out to the boonies at the very end of the rail line to visit Mr. Kurama, which is host to the Kurama Temple and a fantastic natural onsen. We climbed about a billion stairs and winding paths up the mountain, but every step was a magical corner, so it was totally worth it.

I’ll let the photos tell the story of that place.

Meanwhile, the natural onsen was amaaaaaaaazing. I feel like the onsen is the one experience that I truly can never get in the United States, so I soaked up as much of it as I could. Japanese treats can be sought out and bought if you try, but I don’t have my hopes up for the public bathhouses to ever catch on in the States. Alas!

After a busy day on the mountain, we came back to Scott’s city and played about at the arcade. Here I was introduced to purikura, which OH MY GOD WHY DO WE NOT HAVE THIS IN THE US?? It would go over SOOOOO well with the fledgling teenage girl crowd! Hells, it would go over well with the ballers.

For those who don’t know what purikura is, it’s essentially a photo booth that prints out stickers, only way elaborate. You can fit like 5 people into the booth, and you pick your backgrounds and whatever, and then you have countdowns to get into your poses. The photos are lit really well, so when you’re all done, you get to draw on them and put stamps on them and add fake eyelashes to people and change peoples’ hair colors. All kinds of fun stuff like that. The photos you get are tiny, of course, but they’re super cute and fun to stick on whatever.

After arcading, Scott, JC, Marius and I did karaoke into the wee hours (look, midnight is a wee hour for me these days). It was my first Japanese karaoke experience, and while it was fun, it really just made me miss my Rock Band sessions with Nick and Nathan. I will be full of songs upon my return, guys!

Osaka Adventure – Day 3

Well, Kyoto adventure today. Scott lives in a town that is smack between Kyoto and Osaka, so it’s great for day trips to either one. After a tasty gyoza lunch, we set out on the train to visit Kyomizu Temple.

I love temples and shrines in Japan! They are so beautiful! It was very busy today, since it’s Saturday on holiday. It was pretty big and sprawling, but we made it to the top eventually. There was a beautiful view of Kyoto on one side and the mountain foresty area on the other.

I’ll let my photos do most of the talking for this one (on facebook for now, I’ll get them up on Picasa eventually)

At one moment I noticed a worm worming its way across the footpath, and was like “oh noes he will get squished!” so stopped to capture him and transport him to safety. This apparently utterly baffled an older lady who passed me, and she looked at Scott in amazement. Can’t help it, the worm was in danger!

On the way back down from the temple, we found a nikuman stand, much to my delight. LOVES ME SOME NIKUMAN!

It was an exhausting day at the temple, so we’re just takin it easy for tonight. The future holds museums and onsens.