Tag Archives: cats

Furloughed

After a couple of months of very busy, and then not so busy, I was furloughed last week. The UK furlough scheme runs in three week cycles, so I have at least another two weeks. Most likely they will re-up and I won’t be working until the end of June, but that isn’t guaranteed.

As I’m sure I’ve mentioned, I have plenty of projects that I’ve ben neglecting, so keeping busy has not been an issue. The garden has gotten some much needed attention, in time to become a useful space during this lovely weather. And my office/studio, which had descended into chaos when it suddenly became a workspace (and therefore not a place I wanted to also spend my evenings/weekends in) is now back under control.

The cats have also benefited as I build them a cardboard cat condo in a fit of craftiness, John was definitely worried I had lost the plot, and it is a bit more rickety that I would like, but they seem to like it.

2020

Well here we are in the far-flung future of 2020!

We had intended on a relatively low key NYE at Unity Brewing’s taproom, but both of us had sore throats so we scaled it back to a couple of pints at the Butcher’s Hook, where I had a lovely marshmallow porter and we had a nice chat with some strangers at our table. Back home we played a board game, ordered Indian food, watched the first half of Point Break, and were in bed just in time to wish each other a happy new year snuggled up with the cats as the fireworks went off outside. Perhaps not the most exciting new year’s ever but enjoyable all the same.

Turkey and burritos

On the weekend of the 23rd, we had an early Thanksgiving with John’s parents, George and Kathryn. I had made two practice pumpkin pies with the Halloween jack-o-lantern and although the third attempt was with canned pumpkin I was pretty pleased with the results. John’s turkey was very good indeed, and John got to open some early birthday presents, so a good time was hopefully had by all.

On Thanksgiving itself we were on a flight to San Francisco. We lucked out and had a row to ourselves, we watched the first ten minutes of Hustle, which was disappointing, How to Train Your Dragon 3, which was okay, and The Lego Movie 2 with I enjoyed more than expected. I then watched the first half or so of Ma, which felt like a lost opportunity.

9pm on Thanksgiving is not the best time to find dinner, but luckily Taraval had several options. We had a truly reviving hot and sour soup, plus a substantial set menu at 8 Immortals, and then walked to Palle’s for good company, cat cuddles, and sleep.

Over the next week we did a bit of shopping to take advantage of the sales, some minimal touristing, but mainly tried to fit in as many visits with friends as possible; we started Friday in Berkeley and then headed down to San Jose for a few days with Bryan and Mette and their adorable new kittens Heyes and Curry. The weather was truly terrible but we did manage a trip into town for Christmas in the Park.

Monday was back up to the city for lunch with Garcia at Super Duper burger followed by beer and pizza in the evening with Jade, Erik, and Joe Price at Cellarmaker in the Mission. Tuesday was John’s actual birthday so we got chicken and waffles at Lois the Pie Queen in Oakland, with key lime pie for dessert. We walked over to Emeryville for a bit of shopping and to see Knives Out, which was really great. And for dinner we met up with Anthony for more pizza and beer at Drake’s in Oakland. We ended with ice cream at the Humphrey Slocum stand outside, and barring Deb’s absence due to work it was pretty much the perfect evening.

Wednesday was our quiet day, so we stayed in the Sunset. Still, that involved breakfast at the Tennessee Grill, a long walk to collect my Xmas present from John, followed by coffee at The Beanery on 9th and Irving, a long walk back to Parkside with a stop at The Sunset Reservoir Brewery which had a lovely cucumber Gose, and we tasted a really nice chilli liqueur. The quiet day ended with burritos from EBX and a rewatching of Hot Fuzz.

Thursday we spent the morning running separate errands, I stopped by Borderlands, which is still looking great, then headed to the Haight to see Steve. We had beers, comfort food at Orphan Andy’s, more beer at Noc Noc’s, and watched the Harry Styles episode of SNL. Then Joe Price picked us up a traditional nightime drive through the Bay’s beauty spots.

On the drive back along Park Presidio we had noticed a big stately white building. I looked it up and it turns out it’s the home of the Internet Archive, at they do tours on the first Friday of each month. So on Friday that was our first bit of proper touristing, it was pretty neat and inspiring. For the evening we went south for excellent Spanish food with Leigh Anne and Leo at Iberia in Belmont, followed by cat play time with their lovely, fluffy new kitten.

And then it was my last day, we had a big breakfast at the grill, quality cat time with Harold, then suffered a replacement bus due to flooding in the West Portal tunnel in order to hit Ghirardelli for a decadent ice cream lunch. Santacon stragglers, holiday lights, and shopping crowds made me feel nostalgic and it was a nice way to end my trip.

Food, cats, more food, more cats.

Yesterday we walked up to Wickes to find out about bathrooms (spoiler; they’re pricey) and had a lovely meal at Steak Bar, the little eatery attached to Uptons of Basset. They’re a Slovakian style butcher (I don’t know exactly how that differs from a British butcher) with lots of lovely things I had to restrain myself from purchasing. We shared the Butcher’s Block, which had pork pie, brie and stilton cheese, sliced meats, piccalilly, lovely bread, some pickled onions that actually tasted nice (!!!!), and Scotch eggs with runny yolks. Nom.

In the evening we caught up on The Good Place and I even got some reading time in. I’m really enjoying The Ten Thousand Doors of January, by Alix E. Harrow, author of this year’s wonderful short story Hugo winner A Witch’s Guide to Escape: A Practical Compendium of Portal Fantasies.

Today we walked down to God’s House Tower for their official opening weekend celebrations, which featured singers and dancers from Art Asia. We had some really nice sandwiches from Hoxton’s and generally enjoyed the vibe. They also do a three month Tower pass that is only £5 for a tour and access to all the exhibits, but we decided to come back with more time to enjoy it properly.

The wind had picked up when we left and the day gone from lovely and crisp to finger numbingly cold, so I was happy to get back home even if there were still chores to do. Michael came over but my grumpy tired ass retired to do fanac and pet cats, leaving him and John to play board games until dinner time, when we watched an episode of The Expanse, in which Shit is Getting Real for the crew of the Roci, and everyone else too really.

And that was the weekend.

Inktober

The second half of September had two Coxon family visits in a row.; first George and Kathryn came down for a brief visit which involved pizza and beer and Into the Spider-Verse. The following weekend John’s parents came to visit, met the cats, and were kind enough to take us to IKEA not once but twice.

As a result I have a corner desk and a kallax unit and my habitat is a bit more unfucked than it was. It’s almost, dare I say it… nice? I thought the storage would be the best part but honestly I didn’t even know how much I really needed a new desk.

Now John is off on his annual trip to the wilds of someplace or other (Herefordshire? Surely not, that sounds made up) and I am trying to hunker down and focus on getting fans done for World Fantasy. On the plus side I am getting extra cat time, which is nice.

And then there’s inktober, which I’m participating in for the first time at least partly as an effort to not spend my weekday lunches at my desk. It’s only sort of working so far, but it’s early days so we’ll see. I am enjoying how the prompts are deceptive, the easy looking ones turn out to be the absolute worst.

Kittens! (And some less fun stuff)

It’s been a busy couple of weeks, starting with the fact that Cats Protection finally contacted after three months waiting and we now have an adorable pair of black kittens who we’ve named Quentin and Alice. They’re very well socialized thanks to the nice lady who was fostering them, and despite her claim that they are “naughty kittens” they’ve adjusted very quickly, seem very comfortable with people, and only climbed up the curtains that one time.

Around the same time of the above we got some much sadder news, that John’s grandfather had died. He was ninety-nine, just a couple of months ago the family had started to plan for his hundredth celebration, so it wasn’t entirely a shock.

In more mundane matters, I managed to have my wallet stolen, which wouldn’t be a big deal what with online banking and card freezes nowadays, but did cost me a couple hundred pounds because my BRP was in my wallet – on my list for next month is getting some other form of photo ID to carry for basic purposes. The replacement process is more opaque than it should be, and very stressful, but luckily it’s also reasonably fast and I should have a new card by next week.

So yeah, that’s July so far and it still has a solid week to go.