Friday, August 31, 2007

Friday Cat Blogging

A merging of interests.

Spot, Data's cat, has his own website. Look here.

I am amused.

Extinct no more?

This is Paphiopedilum druryi. Lovely orchid. Native to India. Also extinct in nature. Only existing in cultivation? I am one of those lucky ones to have one in my collection. It is also an awarded division, that I managed to purchase from the famous (or infamous) Michael Kovach prior to him going to prison for orchid smuggling. I think I got that plant rather cheap. Perhaps he knew he was soon going to prison and needed to liquidate? Still think he got screwed on that matter, but that is for another post.

Anyhow, it turns out that this orchid is the bane of my collection. I can't get the damn thing to bloom no matter what I do. I do believe that I am a decent paphiopedilum grower having won various ribbons at shows, but this plant defies me at every turn. In the past 7 years I have owned this one, it has not grown. I swear it seems like the thing is in stasis. So not only I can't get the thing to bloom, but I can't even get it to grow!

I read more about its habitat and found it grows around limestone. Hence, I started adding calcium carbonate to its diet. No effect. I also read how it likes about 2000-3000 foot-candles of light, so I have started to give it more and more light despite everything that I know about paphiopedilum culture. Either this thing will bloom or I will end up killing it with that much light. Hopefully the former.

The good news is that I read an article stating it has been rediscovered in nature thus no longer extinct? Perhaps more info about cultivation will filter down to me.

Anyhow, one thing is for certain is that I not going to disclose the location of my orchids lest you orchid theives come snooping around...Too many people I know have gotten their rare plants stolen.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Mangled in Translation

Oh my. I heard about things getting lost in translation, but this one is certainly bad.

Here are some other ones where the English language was mangled in the Chinese context:

"Beijing Dongda Anus Hospital" =Beijing Dongda Proctology and Intestinal Diseases Hospital
"Vehicle Taking Spot" = loading zone
"Money Collecting Toilet" = pay toilet
"The Slippery are Very Crafty" = warning of wet floor
"Keep this candle out of children" =warning on candle package to keep away from children
"Chicken without sexual life" = pullet

Visitors to China can apparentely enjoy other signs such as:

Christmans bland coffee (at Starbucks)
Racist Park
Crap in the grass

Last, but not least, there are the following menu selections:

Hot crap
Swallowing the clouds
Pockmarked Grandma Chen's Tofu

Orchid in a bottle?

Shiseido has put out a fragrance that supposedly mimics the Cymbidium faberi orchid fragrance. Orchid in a bottle.

Shiseido has named the fragrance Tentatrice, which is French for temptress.

It offers the following description:
"We present you the soft elegance of orchids in a bottle. Slowly and gently, the fragrance comes alive from the warmth of your skin, attracting and seducing all that is around you.

TENTATRICE--for the mature and sophisticated you. When the orchids blossom, a new attraction will be a part of you."

Sadly, the fragrance is not available in the U.S., but I did find a few places online. With a promise of attracting and seducing all that is around me, how can I possibly resist?

Like I need a reason to smell like exotic orchids?

Friday, August 24, 2007

Friday Cat Blogging

Still working on getting a picture of Rorschach to post. Just have not had the heart to be taking pictures of him when he has been through so much. I have to medicate the poor little guy every day.

I have been carefully observing him all week for any signs of respiratory distress. So far no symptoms. Although a few nights ago he was purring rather deeply and I started to wonder if he was having any breathing problems. So, I popped him a Lasix to be on the safe side. Poor cat, he purrs and I force a Lasix down his throat.

Yes, I realize that spending my week watching my cat's breathing patterns show a need for me to get a life.

But anyhow, I love this post. It has me in giggles. Considering I have four cats and two foster cats, I can so relate.

Atilla and his mistress

My middle name is very old in origin. Originally my mother wanted it as my first name. It is a Hungarian name and even some Hungarians are not familiar with it.

When I was visiting the Hungarian Cultural Museum last year, a discussion ensued regarding the origins of my middle name. I was told that I bear the name of Atilla the Hun's mistress. I was surprised, and partially did not believe it. I figured, who would name their chid after Atilla the Hun's mistress? After some digging, I found out that it really was true. I did indeed bear the name of Atilla's mistress.

I wanted to ask my mother if she knew that I had this name from this particular figure in history, but I could not quite muster the courage to bring it up. She passed away before I could ask her. I figured it was perhaps a good thing that I did not bring it up considering I doubt that she knew this little fact of history.

I am even more curious to know how Atilla's mistress made it into the written pages of history. I imagine she must have had some rather worthy characteristics and attributes to allow her to be recorded in the pages of time.

I apologize for not revealing my name in this post. I am doing this because I dislike having my name mispronouced as most people do not/cannot pronouce it. But I will pose the challege if anyone can figure out what it is.

Dumb Idea

Vicodin + evening + cleaning porch = Dumb Idea

Earlier in the week an oppossum decided to come up on my porch and wreck havoc. Turning over all sorts of potted plants. Considering I have about 100 potted plants on the porch, it made quite a mess. I discovered the mess in the morning and I just decided to leave it to clean later. As the week progressed, exhaustion kept me from cleaning it up.

The other evening, I was in quite a bit of pain and decided to succumb to taking Vicodin for it. The Vicodin did a rather nice job of taking care of the pain and left me feeling a bit euphoric. I decided that there was no time like the present and I should finally clean up the mess on the porch. Although I do not fully understand why I decided to clean the porch in the evening of all times.

It was evening and we have had quite a bit of rain lately. This means that the mosquitoes were out in full force. Since I was feeling the full lovely effects of the Vicodin, I did not feel/notice all the mosquitoes feasting on me.

Suffice it to say, considering that I react to mosquitoes bites more than the average person, I am quite miserable right now. I want nothing more than to fill a bathtub with Cortisone, Benadryl, and Calamine lotion and soak in it for days.

The good thing is that the majority of the bites are covered by clothing so my outward appearance is normal.

The bad thing is that some of the bites are located in places that are impolite to scratch in public.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Neckties as a Phallus?

A well dressed man will certainly make me look twice. Something perhaps triggering a response from watching too many Bogart and Cary Grant movies? A desire to be that Eva Gardner or Ingrid Bergman of a bygone era? Or is it that perhaps deep down, I want to be that fantasy girl that the silver screen has made famous? Throw in silk full length gown with an orchestra in the background and I will relinquish my "independent woman card" to be that damsel feeling safe and protected.

Ah yes, back to the orginal subject of neckties. I got a bit carried away in fantasy land. So, anyhow, neckties, of course, are part of the well dressed attire. Imagine my surprise when I read this article about neckties being a phallic symbol.

I am not sure I agree with the article. But one thing is for certain, I don't think I will look at a necktie the same way ever again.

Just hope that I don't blush when looking...


Yep, the long awaited Nikon D300 has been unveiled. For information, look here.

Excuse me for a moment while I wipe up my drool. Now I have something else to drool about.

I have to confess that one of the things photography has taught me is something about myself. That perhaps I am too much of a recluse. Lately more so than ever. I guess it is hard because during times of stress, I tend to retreat in my own world and wall myself in. You would think that photography would be the perfect hobby for a recluse, but noooooo. No sooner does someone see my lenses and flash, people start to come up to me and talk to me. I know I should exert more of an effort to play the role of the extrovert. It is hard since I use photography as both a means of expression and a way to retreat into a quiet world.

I feel exposed. No longer can I hide behind my veneer of solitude...



Remember me when I am gone away,
Gone far away into the silent land;
When you can no more hold me by the hand,
Nor I half turn to go, yet turning stay.
Remember me when no more day by day
You tell me of our future that you plann'd:
Only remember me; you understand
It will be late to counsel then or pray.
Yet if you should forget me for a while
And afterwards remember, do not grieve:
For if the darkness and corruption leave
A vestige of the thoughts that once I had,
Better by far you should forget and smile
Than that you should remember and be sad.

Christina Rossetti

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


I would have to say that the past month my life has been sheer hell. No joke. All the preparation for my oral candidacy examination, taking my oral candidacy examination, my basement getting flooded from a storm (still cleaning up), my cat having a medical crisis, and me forgetting to take my medications. I don't think I have done anything fun in over a month. Me not taking my meds compounded by my chaotic life has lead to me to feel like a sloth right now. I swear, if I did not have to come to the lab, I could easily sleep for 18 hours straight. After all, I slept for 15 hours on Sunday and still felt exhausted.

So, considering, I think I will post something fun (bubblegum for the brain). I need something to get my mind off my troubles and fatigue.

You Are The Hanging Man

You represent the seeking of enlightenment and spiritual clarity.

You tend to confuse others, but your oddities seem deeply satisfying.

Self sacrifice is easy for you, especially if it makes you a better person in the end.

You are the type of person who is very in touch with your soul and inner spirit.

Your fortune:

Right now is a good time for reflection and meditation.

You should stop resisting the problems in your life, and let yourself be vulnerable to them.

You may need to sacrifice something important to you to move ahead in your life.

Accept your destiny with courage, and learn to let go of what you think you need.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


After reading a blog post about someone making plum sauce, I have to confess that I have just not been able to get plums out of my mind. An obsession? Perhaps.

You see, plums are one of my favorite fruits. The sweetness that exudes when biting into a ripe fruit seems to resonate through my very soul. Their dark color always seemed somewhat exotic in this common fruit.

I think also, part of the fondness of plums has a lot to do with my Hungarian culture that I was raised. There is the cherished Hungarian Plum Brandy (Silva Palinka) and various Hungarian dishes prepared from this wonderous fruit.

One of my cherished childhood Hungarian dishes is Silva Gomboc (Plum dumplings). This is a dish that defies explantion and description. Here is a description I found on a website:

Plum Dumplings are a treat many people have never had. Plump potato dough surrounding a pitted plum juicy with sugar and cinnamon, and swimming in buttered bread crumbs. When you cut into them the purple juices run out like a garnet river. What flavor, what a meal. Yes, this is a meal. Some men have contests to see how many they can consume at a sitting. Thirty is not unheard of, though four is an usual serving. You can not eat just one. Some Hungarian mothers make them big with a lot of dough, others use less dough.

Perfect for a rainy day. Evoking dreams of childhood, sweetness, and carefree days. Certainly ranks in the category of the perfect comfort food.

Here is a recipe (which I have not tried) that seems authentic:

2 1/2 dz. Free Stone Italian plums, washed, split, pit removed
4 or 5 medium sized Potatoes
1 egg beaten
4 cups of flour (unsifted)
1 tsp. salt
Buttered bread crumbs
Peel potatoes and cook in salted water till soft.
Drain and peel.
Mash potatoes and add warm to sifted flour and salt on a kneading surface.
Make a well and add egg and knead gently till all is blended.
On a clean floured surface, roll dough out to 1/2 inch thick.
Cut dough into 4 inch squares and put a plum into center of each square.
Place 1/2 tsp. sugar and a sprinkle of cinnamon in the hole of the plum.
Fold corners to the middle and roll the dumpling in your hands till round.
Cook a few dumplings at a time in salted water for about 10 minutes.
Remove with a slotted spoon.
Place in a pan in which bread crumbs have been toasted in butter (one cup crumbs to 1/4 cup butter) and mixed with 1/2 cup of sugar and 2 tsp. cinnamon.
Keep warm.
When all the dumplings have been cooked and are in the pan, gently spoon the bread crumbs, butter, sugar and cinnamon mix over all.

Serve warm with bread crumb topping and a dollop of Sour Cream if desired.

There seems to be no shortage of recipies for preparing this dish.

Monday, August 20, 2007

He made it!

Rorschach pulled through all his medical troubles somehow last week. He developed a bad abscess below his ear secondary to an ear infection over the weekend. The infection spread so quickly that by the time I could get him to the vet on Monday, the tissue was already necrotic. The vet of course, had to do a surgical repair on the area, but had to wait a bit due to the fact his body was not well enough to undergo the surgery. There was also a lot of concern about him pulling through because of his age (16 years old). But he got through the surgery on Wednesday.

So, since all went fairly well, I was supposed to pick him up at the vet on Friday. But Rorschach had other plans. He went into respiratory distress. Possible fluid overload? Labored breathing, congested lungs, vomiting, and lethargy. I spent my Friday evening crying and holding my cat.

Somehow, thankfully, he responded to the Lasix and brochodialators. He came home on Saturday with lots of meds and careful observation.

He seems to be on the path to recovery finally. But keeping my fingers crossed and a watchful eye on him.

If he is up to it, I will see if he will not mind me taking a picture of him in the Elizabethian collar (aka cone, lampshade) and I will post it for all to see.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Friday Cat Blogging

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Come again???

It would seem that I not only managed to survive my oral candidacy examination and proposal defense on my enzyme chimeras, but I also managed to pass. So now I am officially a Ph.D. candidate. I managed to get through perhaps the most difficult part of the hurdle in my Ph.D. program. Sometime soon, I hope to return back from my zombie like state.

I sincerely hope that it was my competency that allowed me to pass and not my incessant babbling. No joke. I cannot even describe the deluge of information that came spewing out of my mouth when asked a simple question.

The presentation I gave was 45 minutes. The question and answer session was about 1.25 hours long. The members deliberated for about 20 minutes before calling me back into the room to annouce that they were going to pass me. So, the entire thing lasted about the neighborhood of 2.5 hours.

No amount of words can describe the exhaustion. The exhaustion I still feel...

But I am glad it is finally over. I am also enjoying the little "teasing" everyone is giving me by calling me the future "Dr. Katie".

So, now the final leg in the race begins to finish. Perhaps graduate in about a year. A doctorate degree will indeed mean a great deal to me. It makes me just teary thinking about it.

But, I do not have much time to rest on my laurels. I have just been told I have to give another presentation here at the research institute next month.

Come again? I just got done giving one! Oh well, at least this one is not going to determine my life and future. A little less pressure at least.

(Enjoy the Catcow chimera)

Monday, August 06, 2007


I have to say that this is not my usual music that I listen to. But I like it. I also like the video. I also have to say, that I like the outfits Rihanna wears throughout the video.

I wonder. If I were to wear one of those outfits to my oral candidacy examination, would that help me pass? Eh eh eh?

Friday, August 03, 2007

Friday Cat Blogging

I really like this post and the story.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007


At the moment, I feel as though I am in academic bondage. With my oral candidacy exam less than a week away, my feelings are those of submission, helplessness and impending torture. I desire freedom. Freedom from the ties binding me to making PowerPoint slides, flooding my brain with facts, and working on a culture that is the laboratory equivalent of liquid diarrhea.

It is glorious outside. I want to be free to do so many things.

I desire to be out in a beautiful wetland with my photography equipment. I want to be window shopping for certain jewelry. I wish to be working in my garden outside. I want to devote care to my orchids that are crying from neglect. I want to inline skate along the lake and feel its breeze against my skin. I want to spend time playing with my cats. I want to walk barefoot on the beach. I wish...

I wish to be away from the confines of walls and computers.

Away from the invisible, self-imposing restraints...
my pet! Locations of visitors to this page