Thursday, September 27, 2007

Morris the Cat

As most of you know from my previous posts, I have been volunteering at Nevin's Farm. However, because of my work schedule, I have started volunteering a little closer to home at the MSPCA in Boston. Unlike my work at the farm, I mostly help take care of small companion animals like dogs and cats. I get to do fun stuff like walk dogs and play with cats, and I get to do some of the not so fun stuff like follow them around with plastic bags to pick up their poo and clean out their cages. I have only been there for two weeks, but I love it all ready. The best part is learning from the behaviorist that works there and discovering all the new animal characters. In particular, I thought I'd share one character I met last week. He is Morris the cat.

Most cats seem like fairly independent animals that do not always seek out social contact with others to same extent as dogs. Morris is not like that at all. Morris is the most loving, attention-seeking cat I have ever met. He is an adult cat with grayish-brown, long hair and black stripes running through it, and for some reason he has a spot behind each shoulder where his hair looks like it got shaved. He has the most incredible green eyes, and he really knows how to be heard. One of my jobs is to clean out the 'Kitty Condos', which are basically large cages that have four stories. I was cleaning out the condo next to Morris, and he obviously thought my attention was not turned in the right direction (namely himself). He would reach through the bars of his cage, tap my shoulder a couple of times, and then meow at me as if to say, "Helloooo! Pay attention to ME!" Finally I got to his cage, and as soon as I opened his cage door, he was all over me. He rubbed up against me, butted heads with me, and kept putting his front paws on my shoulder purring like mad the entire time. Normally when I clean out the condos, the cats generally keep to themselves or at least get out of my way. Not Morris! He was so lovey he started getting in my way, and finally I had to pick him up and put him on the top story of his condo. He must of thought it was some sort of game. As soon as I bent over to scrub out his condo, he reached down, put his paws (thankfully declawed) into my hair, and proceeded to bat it around. It was my first head massage from a cat, and when he was done, I looked like I had been through a wind storm. As soon as I moved on to the next condo, he started banging on his cage doors, admonishing me for leaving him (or so I like to think--he probably just wanted food).

Monday, September 24, 2007

Mrs. Tomato Head

I did something really stupid this weekend. I went sailing with my husband and his sailing team just for fun. This was not the stupid thing. The stupid thing was leaving my sunblock in the car. After 6 hours of sun and wind out on the ocean, my face was as red as a ripe tomato. Plus, I was wearing sunglasses, and I now have lovely white skin circling my eyes and everything else is an angry, beet red. It is so bad people will not sit next to me on the bus even though all other seats are taken. It is so bad I have had a number of people from work ask me if everything is all right because I look REALLY flushed. It is so bad that even a fluttering breeze is agony on my tortured membranes. Now if you will excuse me, I am going to go dip my head in aloe vera.

To Facebook or not to Facebook

I want to pose a question to the world at large. Should I join Facebook? I have avoided joining Facebook for quite sometime because I don't like putting too much information about myself on the internet (semi-anonymous blogging is much more my thing!). I have recently felt more pressure to join, however, because a) almost all of my friends have joined and b) I recently read in Money magazine that it is a great way to network/find jobs. Even though I like the idea of talking to my friends and Money magazine makes a good point, I am still hesitant to join. So what do you think? Facebook or not Facebook? That is the question.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Two great recipes!

I have actually had a chance to do some cooking lately, and I thought I would share two of my more successful ventures. The first one is a Rachel Ray recipe, and the second one I kind of made up but is loosely based on RR's pumpkin ravioli recipe. My husband really loved the Chicken and Pear (and brie!) Turnover. As always, I improvised a little with RR's recipe, and my changes are in bold. Enjoy!

One 2-pound rotisserie chicken, skin discarded and meat shredded
1 large Anjou or Bosc pear, thinly sliced lengthwise
1 large shallot, thinly sliced (I didn't add this)
2 tablespoons chicken broth
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh tarragon (I just used dried herbs)
Salt and pepper
1 large egg
1 sheet puff pastry, thawed

I also added a little Brie because I love cheese!!

1. Preheat the oven to 400°. In a large bowl, mix the chicken, pear, shallot, chicken broth, tarragon, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and set aside. In a small bowl, beat the egg with 1 teaspoon water; set aside.
2. Unfold and flatten the puff pastry sheet; cut into 4
squares and refrigerate 3 squares. On a lightly floured surface, roll out 1 pastry square into a 9-inch square. Pile one-quarter of the chicken mixture in the center. Lightly brush the 4 corners with the egg wash and pinch together to seal, leaving the seams open (I also brushed some egg on top to give it a more golden appearance after baking). Place the turnover on a baking sheet and refrigerate. Repeat with the remaining pastry squares, filling and egg wash.
3. Bake the turnovers until crisp and golden, about 25 minutes.

Spinach and Cheese Ravioli with your favorite sauce!

1/2 cup chopped spinach (or more if you like)
1/4 cup finely grated parmesan cheese, plus shaved parmesan for serving
Salt and pepper
32 wonton wrappers
8 oz of cream cheese
1 large egg

1. In a medium bowl, mash together the spinach, cream cheese, parmesan, egg and 2 pinches each salt and pepper.
2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Spoon a tablespoon of the cheese filling into the center of 16 wonton wrappers, brush the edges with water, top with the remaining 16 wrappers and press to seal, gently squeezing out the air. Arrange in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet.
3. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil.
4. Working in 3 batches, cook the ravioli in the boiling water until they float to the surface, about 3 minutes.
5. Divide the ravioli among 4 plates; season with salt and pepper. Pour your favorite sauce over it and pass the shaved parmesan at the table.

My favorite sauce of choice: Tomato cream sauce
1 jar of spaghetti sauce
1 cup half and half
1 tsp nutmeg
Salt and pepper

Mix above ingredients together and simmer until warm.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Sophia's Back in Black premiere!

Okay, one more post about my cute niece! My sis has discovered movie maker on her computer and has been sending us footage of Sophia on YouTube. Check it out!