Sunday, February 26, 2012

Like a Cat in Heat

Yesterday the vet removed Olive’s reproductive organs. It was for the best. If the vet hadn’t done it, I surely would have done it myself. Dave and I left her in the animal hospital overnight and sensed her absence when there was suddenly no cat to play fetch with or to urge us to produce Feline Greenies from the top bookshelf with persuasive high-pitched mews. I felt listless at home, stuffing my mouth with kalamata olives and marveling at the significance of my subconscious choice of soul food. Olive.

If only there had been another way!

The night before Valentine’s Day I sleepily spooned my cat for hours, waiting to be magically instilled with the desire to write about IV technicians. It never happened. Shortly after Olive pried herself away from the spoon-fest, she began mewing and crouching low to the floor, pattering around like an alligator with a toothache. I panicked, determining that she had some sort of bladder infection or feline meningitis and wondering what kind of animal hospital was open at eleven at night.

Ever the voice of reason, Dave insisted that the body language was speaking loud and clear: Take me. Olive started rolling sensuously with a come-hither glint in her eye. Perhaps Dave is right, thought I. My cat is just trying to seduce me. My concern melted into amusement, because there is something inherently funny about a horny cat.

Dave suggested that the dashing asthmatic tom with whom she had spent the weekend carousing might have released this hormonal kraken. I supposed that a pleasant treat-filled encounter with my friend Abbey had triggered her kitty-puberty. The vet informed us that it was, in fact, the spring-like weather transmitting high-frequency make-a-kitten waves to Olive’s pituitary gland.

Yes, those are the exact words that he used. I imagine it was the same exact weather triggers that caused everyone in my town to get pregnant at the same time. Pregnant with kittens, no less.

Once the hilarity of Olive’s hormonal surge wore off, it became rather annoying. Olive was deeply worried that her demand for tomcat penetration was not blatant enough with mere bottom-lifting and sumptuous rolling. She chose the kitchen table as the stage for her cat-calling because there are so many fertile male cats on our kitchen table. Olive made a point to rub her horny cat face against the bananas and the tea cups and the salt shaker.

I removed her from the table once every fifteen seconds. It took much vigorous scrubbing to remove the cat pheromones from the bananas. This all happened while I was still trying to write about IV technicians, to no avail. Frustrated and unproductive, I wished that Olive would repress her sexuality for even just one hour.

During lunch the next day I placed a freshly assembled salad of baby romaine lettuce on the table and left it alone for a few seconds. As soon as I turned around she was on the table, caressing the lettuce with her face – sensuously. I removed the top layer of lust-lettuce before eating it.

Olive tried to push a glass off of the counter with tender caresses from her face. She reasoned that if she broke something, I would get fed up and inseminate her. She planted herself on the stovetop, confident that I would get distracted from my pot of soup and fill her with one thousand kittens. I discovered a great trick to make Olive forget that she wants to make babies with me: When Olive starts putting on the moves, I throw her a jingly ball or a hair-tie. Her other strong feline instincts take the helm and guide her in the direction of that compelling ringing noise.

The third day we felt certain that she was no longer in heat. Dave left for work with little unwanted attention from a certain lust-filled feline. Shortly after, Olive was presenting herself on the desk before me. During the subsequent days, she waited until Dave left for work to commence sexy-time. It seemed that Olive had narrowed her list of potential mates down to me and for some reason I didn’t feel very flattered. Fix the cat, fix the problem, I grumbled at the blank page titled “IV Technicians.” Dave called the vet to plan a hasty hysterectomy and we had to wait a week to wedge her in the horny cat queue.

Now Olive is back at home, lounging luxuriously on her blue pillow and licking her sutured wound, slathering it in naturally occurring painkillers from the feline opiate-gland. We have to swab her belly with hydrogen peroxide twice a day to keep the surgical area as sterile as she is. The wound on her freshly-shaven Franken-belly is gruesome, to say the least. It looks like a preteen attempted to turn her abdomen into a stylish drawstring pouch and used a contrasting color of thread just to be a rebel.

Olive stiffly saunters around the apartment, mostly avoiding high places that used to fill her with lust, like the stovetop and the kitchen table. She looks skinnier now, short one sizable organ. Sometimes I wonder if she feels its absence, or if she only knows that she has a mysterious, throbbing belly-wound. Perhaps she even suffers from phantom uterus and feels imagined phantom kittens growing within it. I like to think that she forgot she ever had a uterus in the first place.

You know what? I love my sterile cat.

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Scoby Delivers

Man, last night was crazy.  I drank, like, three bottles of kombucha.

Voila, three utterly perfect bottles of kombucha. If I was disease ridden before and did not know it, I certainly must be healthy now, for we have emptied every one.

The original scoby became a mother and produced a baby, which we put to work when we began to brew two jars at once. Our refrigerator currently contains six bottles of kombucha. Two are fermented with pomegranate lime juice, two have some grated ginger stewing at the bottom, and two are original scoby-flavored. The juiced-up kombucha doesn’t taste any different from the unflavored version. This makes me sad. The ginger flavored kombucha is epic, like what ginger ale would taste like if it was actually made of ginger.

Two new jars are brewing in the corner and should be fully fermented this weekend, which means we are going to have to chug an enormous amount of kombucha or make new friends with indigestion. Dave now has a great deal of confidence in making things in jars and took up pickling. I'm still not quite sure how he did it and believe that some wizardry was indubitably involved. It's much prettier than a jar of bacteria pancakes.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

PANK Magazine

Here's some more shameless self-promotion for your enjoyment: My short story "Babymaking" was published in the February 2012 issue of PANK Magazine. Click the large-bellied ladies on the stick trampoline to read it and possibly even listen to it, if you feel so inclined.

Click here to get really pregnant.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Raw Chocolate Experiment

For the past few days my brain has been very adverse to copywriting, so I suppose I might as well do something productive and write about chocolate.

Dave gave me a Mayan Magic Chocolate Making Kit from The Chocolution this past Christmas. He may know me too well. I finally used it this weekend to make a tiny batch of Mayan chocolates with cayenne pepper.

I boiled a tiny pot of water and put a ceramic bowl on top to form an arguably hazardous double boiler. Once the water came to a boil, I turned off the heat and emptied a bag of raw chocolate and chunks of cocoa butter into the bowl. As the chocolate slowly melted into sweet lava, I impatiently prodded it with a fork.

With the chocolate completely liquefied, I squeezed a bag of agave nectar into the bowl and mixed the concoction together. I made a split second decision to spice it up with some cinnamon and cayenne pepper.

As I stirred in the towering pile of spices, I realized that the chocolate was changing phase, solidifying into what looked like brownie batter. I could hardly complain about that. I tried turning the heat on low again, but the ball remained defiantly dough-like. I mushed balls of warm, doughy chocolate into the tiny cups, flattening the tops with a spoon to make them look a little more presentable.

Brownie bites? Nope.
Presentation aside, the chocolates turned out delicious and I think this is surely a sign for me to become a chocolatier for the blind. When it comes to chocolate, it’s the taste that counts most anyways.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Scoby City

The bacterial city within our gallon-sized glass jar continued to multiply over a three week period.


Age: 2 weeks.

A scoby is born.
What began as a rural community of God-fearing microbes in uncharted beverage territory became increasingly more populated, enjoyed the cerebral stimulation of the Enlightenment, experienced rapid industrialization, endured a bloody revolution, and became a full-fledged scoby ready for fermenting a gallon of white tea into kombucha.

We brewed a large sauce pot full of white tea for our first batch of kombucha. Dave courageously reached into the jar, extracted the slimy disc with his bare hands and relocated it to a large glass bowl with a quarter of the jar’s contents. The rest of the jar was emptied into the sink and carefully cleaned. The slightest smear of soap can annihilate a bacterial civilization.

By the time the pot of tea cooled, Dave realized that we didn't add a cup of sugar to the tea, a blunder that would have spurred the slow starvation of our sweet-toothed scoby. Dave reheated the saucepot of tea as the clock struck 11:00 pm and the scoby dozed under a fresh white towel.

Once the second pot of tea came to room temperature – with ample assistance from the freezer – we poured the tea into the jar and released the scoby into the depths of the tea. Then we covered it with a towel secured with a rubber band.

Now we wait.

Many questions occur to me. Did we grow the scoby correctly? Does the scoby know that I'm thinking about it? Can it feel human emotions like love and anguish? Will the resulting kombucha make us blind like bathtub gin?  These questions and more will be answered when the kombucha is unveiled.