Happy 4th of July! Happy adoptversary, Nenette!

Important things happened on the 4th of July. The U.S.A. gained independence 241 years ago today. Also of note: Nenette found us two years ago today.

So first things first: Happy 4th of July, fellow Americans!

 

Stars and stripes forever!

 

And Happy 2-year Adoptversary, Nenette!

 

Impromptu (hence the blurriness) mother/daughter selfie I took the other day (June 28)

 

The camera was so close to the window when I took this, it was practically resting on the glass. Nenette was up in her crow’s nest looking out at her hummingbirds.

This girl knows how to avoid getting her picture taken, and usually she does… but she allowed the intrusion this morning. I woke up and found her lounging on the dresser across from me, and she just stayed there while I took pics.

 

Unusual early morning photo shoot tolerance.

 

July 4, 2017. Two years with us!

 

Conveniently, Nenette’s owl was lying behind her; I slid it over when she started to get restless.

 

With her owl, her favorite toy

 

That’s all I’ve got for today! Callaghan is home, I knocked out an awesome BodyPump workout this morning, and, unfortunately (“one of these things is not like the others”), people are already out there driving with questionable ability. Let the SAFE holiday shenanigans begin!

[June Favorites coming at you this Friday.]

Nenette – Nounours’ 4th of July kitty

We suddenly have a little girl kitty. To put it more precisely, Nounours suddenly has a new little sister.

We knew we’d eventually have to adopt another cat for Nounours, but if the deciding criteria was going to be me being emotionally ready, I couldn’t see it happening, ever. Losing Ronnie James left an open wound with tattered edges in my heart, and the idea of putting something there seemed excruciating.

But on the other hand, it’s been upsetting to see Nounours so distraught. Nounours would seem okay one minute, then desolate the next. He’d start crying, and we’d rush into the bedroom to discover him rubbing his head on Ronnie James’ urn. Or, on the occasions I’d leave Ronnie James’ urn up on his favorite barstool in the bedroom, Nounours’ yowling-crying would summon us to find him standing on the bed, mournfully facing the urn as if it were an unreachable island barely visible across a vast sea. We’d set the urn back on the foot of the bed, and Nounours would snuggle up to it, quieting down immediately.

We didn’t know what to do. We didn’t know how to help Nounours. It got to a point where we started talking more seriously about adopting another sibling for him. I was starting to realize that my own reticence wasn’t fair to Nounours, who had never been an only cat. He was lonely and missing his Wrah-Wrah as much as I was.

Things happened quickly from there.

Saturday morning, the 4th of July, we had the conversation again as we headed to the gym, Callaghan and I. “I’d definitely want to get a girl,” I said, echoing sentiments I’d previously expressed. I thought that a girl kitty would feel less like a Ronnie James replacement; moreover, it wouldn’t be a good idea to bring a strange Tomcat into Nounours’ territory. Callaghan agreed.

So we knew we wanted a girl. We also knew that we wanted her to be a full-grown adult, but one who was younger than 10-year-old Nounours. Nounours has a generous maternal streak, and we thought that allowing him to indulge it would help him to feel less lonely. It seemed that a slightly younger kitty would be a good fit for lovable, cozy Nounours and his penchant for cuddling. “Five at the youngest,” I thought out loud. “Maybe five or six….” Callaghan thought this would be ideal, as well.

But again, we shelved the conversation without making a decision. We got to the gym and went to Body Combat.

Not two hours later, we found ourselves peering into a clear Plexiglas case at PetSmart, where we’d stopped to get more treats for Nounours. Inside the case was a little girl whose tag read that she was six years old. (But she was so small!) Her tag also told us that she’s an Abyssinian/Manx mix. The Abyssinian part explained her beautiful, dark-golden ticked coat. The Manx part explained her lack of a tail.

She looked so sweet and sad. As we held her gaze, her waves of loneliness cut through the Plexiglas to touch us. We learned that she’d belonged to family who’d “run into hard times.” They were being evicted, so they surrendered her to the shelter. She’d been at the shelter for over a month.

When we left PetSmart, my heart had been replaced with a ball of mixed emotions, which I promptly expressed on Facebook. Some of my friends – you know who you are! – were so encouraging and supportive and wonderful, commenting and texting me. The conundrum was that (in accordance with policy) the adoption folks wouldn’t hold her for us for even half a day, even if we paid the fee; if we wanted to adopt her, we had to make the decision and do it tout de suite. It would have to happen quickly, lest someone else swoop in and adopt her!

We went back.

We changed her name. It was funny how we arrived at it: I suggested “Nenette” – we both wanted a French name – and Callaghan replied with, “My Godmother’s name was Nenette!” I hadn’t known that. (Also, we found out later when talking to Maman, Callaghan’s Mom, that “Nenette” had been slang for “chick” in France back in the 60’s and 70’s.) We both loved the name, and it suited the little girl. Nounours et Nenette. We purchased a nametag and fed it to the engraving machine at the front of the store before leaving.

 

She already knows her new name.

She already knows her new name.

 

At home later that evening, we sat in the living room and watched as Nenette explored her new forever home.

Here’s one of the first pics I took of her:

 

Part-Abyssinian, part Manx, Nenette has no tail (a characteristic of the latter).

Part-Abyssinian, part Manx, Nenette has no tail (a characteristic of the latter).

 

Sometimes, the way she moves her head reminds me, comically, of a velociraptor à la Jurassic World, and I want to call her “Blue,” my favorite (kick-ass female) character in that movie. Other times, her shy expression reminds me of Princess Diana, and I want to call her “Lady Di.”

 

Nenette on the small round ottoman in the bedroom (7/6/2015)

Nenette on the small round ottoman in the bedroom (7/6/2015)

 

Her shy expressions remind me so much of Princess Diana!

Her shy expressions remind me so much of Princess Diana!

 

As I post this, Nenette has only been here for about 60 hours, so she’s still getting acclimated to her new home and to the three of us. Nounours started showing interest in her within 24 hours, but his tentative approaches drew soft hissing. Nenette will need some time to develop trust and confidence. We suspect that she’d been either neglected or otherwise mistreated in her past situation(s).

 

Nenette has the uniform, ticked coat of the Abyssinian, with velvety soft fur.

Nenette has the uniform, ticked coat of the Abyssinian, with velvety soft fur.

 

She’s as much an Abyssinian/Manx mix in her personality as she is in her appearance. She’s talkative, but her conversational voice is soft and extremely feminine, and I do mean girly-girl-level feminine, with her quiet mewing and trilling sounds. At the other end of the spectrum, we never heard a cat yowl as loudly as she did in the carrier coming home from the shelter! It was funny to think that such a sound could come from this tiny, adorable little being. This kitty has quite the vocal range. She loves the scratch pads we have all over the house, even though she’d been declawed (to our horror). We’ve also observed that she’s intelligent, inquisitive and playful… and she’s quite skittish. When people come over, she disappears beneath furniture whether the visitors ring the doorbell or not. But overall, she seems to be adapting quickly.

 

We thought this pink heart tag said "Nenette" even before we engraved it, so it was the obvious choice.

We thought this pink heart tag said “Nenette” even before we engraved it, so it was the obvious choice.

 

As of yesterday, she and Nounours have been on nose-touching terms. Those brief touches are a magical balm for Nounours, as he seems to be more at peace now than before we adopted Nenette. We’re looking forward to the day we find him nurturing her!

I wanted to capture an image of Nounours and Nenette together, but it’s too soon for such an opportunity. Last night, when I went into the bedroom to take a picture of Nounours by himself, I found him like this, as usual:

 

Nounours still missing his Wrah-Wrah dearly.

Nounours still missing his Wrah-Wrah dearly.

 

Wrah-Wrah will always be with us, and I like to think that Nenette understands that she has two big brothers to adore her. We love her, too. Nenette has been a blessing for us all. The only promise we can make to her is that she’ll be unconditionally loved for the rest of her life.

What I’m Digging Right Now – June Favorites

My favorite “Little Things” of June were mostly edible… succulent yellow nectarines, crisp, white nectarines and peaches, and white corn, too. Family and food. They go together. One major personal development for me in June was that when my parents were here, I ventured into Costco, and I didn’t have a panic attack! I don’t know how. It was like, that whole Costco thing was an irrational trigger that just ran its course.

So food was central, but let’s start with…

1). Sense8 (T.V. series)

 

 

thatasianlookingchick.com-Sense8

 

Netflix released season one of this series early in June, and it came to our attention, so we found it and watched it on the site we use to watch T.V. shows (we no longer have Netflix). Our reaction was HOLY. MOLY. We really didn’t have any expectation going in, so it was a nice surprise when Sense8 turned out to be utterly brilliant, a tour de force of sci-fi action/drama with a story fresh and skillfully wrought, seemingly over-ambitious, at first, then startlingly adept at dealing with the intricacies written into the plot. It’s going to be a long year waiting for season two! We might re-watch season one again as season two’s release date approaches; it’ll be good to refresh our memories of some of the story’s complexities.

 

2). True Detective (T.V. series)

 

thatasianlookingchick.com-truedetectiveseason2

 

It’s been thrilling to finally sit before a new season of episodes that tell a new story in this excellent anthology series, but can I just say WTF, episode two?? Colin Farrell’s near-perfection in his role isn’t the only good and immediately evident thing about season two, but it’s the central thing so far, in my opinion. Just… really? That’s all I’m going to say. No spoilers here.

 

3). Jurassic World (film)

 

thatasianlookingchick.com-jurassicworld

 

I actually deleted the paragraph I originally wrote about Jurassic World because I ended up digressing into a tangent that sounded more like a rant, and this is not the place for such thoughts. This is a place to highlight the Little Things I loved about June, so I’m just going to say (again) that I loved this movie. It’s a film with a plot that’s more or less a facade; it’s really just about dinosaurs and dinosaur-hybrids, particularly a monster in dinosaur clothing. This, to me, is the icing on the 2015 summer action blockbuster cake. A generous dash of visual sensationalism can sometimes have an anesthetizing effect, and Jurassic World delivered!

Now let’s get into some of the food…

 

4). Simple Truth organic creamy peanut butter.

 

Simple Truth Organic Creamy Peanut Butter

Simple Truth Organic Creamy Peanut Butter

 

As a peanut-butter junkie, I’m sensitive to the stuff; I feel like each brand has its own, distinct character. Somehow, they’re all different, even the ones that have the same ingredients. In past “Favorites” posts, I’ve talked about Whole Foods’ 365 brand, and, more recently, Justin’s. This one by Simple Truth is wonderful, too, with its rich flavor and ideal, creamy texture that isn’t too thick or thin. I’m loving it, and I’d definitely buy it again, but we now have two large jars of Costco’s peanut butter sitting in our pantry… they’re next up when this jar of Simple Truth’s is gone… so don’t be surprised if I come back in August reporting on how I noshed ecstatically on Costco’s peanut butter throughout July! We shall see. One can never have too many “favorite” peanut butters, as far as I’m concerned.

 

5). Kirkland Signature Extra Fancy Unsalted Mixed Nuts.

 

Giant jar of roasted, unsalted mixed nuts from Costco!

Giant jar of roasted, unsalted mixed nuts from Costco!

 

Why are these unsalted, roasted mixed nuts Extra Fancy? Only Costco knows. They seem pretty normal to me, and I was happy to find them in these enormous plastic jars. It’s like, my life is complete now… and now that I seem to be cured of my Costcophobia, we’re thinking we might have to join the cult Costco, because what are we going to do once these nuts are gone?

 

6). SkinnyPop popcorn mixed with Go Raw 100% Organic Sprouted Pumpkin Seeds.

 

SkinnyPop Popcorn combined with Go Raw 100% Organic Sprouted Pumpkin Seeds!

SkinnyPop Popcorn combined with Go Raw 100% Organic Sprouted Pumpkin Seeds!

 

I decided to pour some of these seeds over my bowl of popcorn one day after work, and I’ve been hooked on the combination ever since. It makes a thoroughly satisfying marriage of delicate flavors and delicious salt and light crunch and crisp meltiness, and hey, could salty snacking even get more American than this? Popcorn and pumpkin seeds. Welcome to the New World!

Here’s what a part of our kitchen counter’s been looking like:

 

What can I say. I snacked my way through June. The bag of blue corn tortilla chips is off to the side, and yes, that would be a big BOX of Justin's dark chocolate peanut butter cups in the back.

What can I say. I snacked my way through June. The bag of blue corn tortilla chips is off to the side, and yes, that would be a big BOX of Justin’s dark chocolate peanut butter cups in the back.

 

7). Bark Thins Snacking Chocolate Dark Chocolate Pumpkin Seed with Sea Salt.

 

Bark Thins Snacking Chocolate Dark Chocolate Pumpkin Seed with Sea Salt

Bark Thins Snacking Chocolate Dark Chocolate Pumpkin Seed with Sea Salt

 

More dark chocolate! More pumpkin seeds! More salt!

Guess why these weren’t included in that happy little group photo of the other snacks? Because, yes, we polished off this gigantic bag of chocolate in less than a week. (Thanks, COSTCO!) Well, they weren’t all that unhealthy… not at all, in fact… but it was just a lot of sugar. In June, I probably consumed triple the amount of sugar I normally eat, and that is not an exaggeration. I’m surprised I didn’t break out. (*knocks wood*)

Actually, between this and that 28-count box of Justin’s organic dark chocolate peanut butter cups that I was helpless to resist, we might want to re-think that Costco membership. I need a dark chocolate intervention.

Enough food… let’s move on to products!

 

8). Lavanila Laboratories The Healthy Sunscreen SPF 40 Face Cream.

 

Lavanila Laboratories The Healthy Sunscreen SPF 40 Face Cream

Lavanila Laboratories The Healthy Sunscreen SPF 40 Face Cream

 

Here’s an important distinction: I love the sun, and I love living in the sunniest spot in the U.S. of A. But I’m not a sun-worshipper. I’m a sunscreen worshipper. Sunscreen is the number one most important product that I use, and when I went cruelty-free, it became one of the most difficult items to replace. After making much effort with some varieties available in drug stores, I caved and went to Sephora to pick up this expensive sunscreen of Lavanila’s. It’s made for the face, and that’s what I needed… the sunscreens by the other cruelty-free brand I tried not only didn’t play well with make-up, but they also stung when sweat got in my eyes! Lavanila got it right with this sunscreen. It is outstanding.

 

9). Burt’s Bees Vanilla Bean Moisturizing Lip Balm.

 

Burt's Bees Vanilla Bean Moisturizing Lip Balm

Burt’s Bees Vanilla Bean Moisturizing Lip Balm

 

This is my cruelty-free answer to EOS lip balms, which I’d loved. I keep the Burt’s Bees Vanilla Bean Moisturizing Lip Balm in my bag, and on my nightstand, I put the Burt’s Bees Ultra Conditioning Lip Balm with Kokum Butter, because I like a heavier lip balm for night… but I found myself reaching for this one more and more while getting ready for bed. For some reason, it works better for me than the one that’s supposed to be more moisturizing. Now, the Vanilla Bean is the only one that I use. I actually prefer it to EOS!

 

10). Make-up removers: The Body Shop Camomile Waterproof Eye and Lip Make-up Remover and e.l.f. Studio Makeup Removing Cleansing Cloths.

 

My current cruelty-free makeup removers of choice: e.l.f. Studio Makeup Remover Cleansing Cloths and The Body Shop Camomile Waterproof Eye & Make-up Remover

My current cruelty-free makeup removers of choice: e.l.f. Studio Makeup Remover Cleansing Cloths and The Body Shop Camomile Waterproof Eye & Make-up Remover

 

It was so hard to find good cruelty-free make-up removing products. e.l.f. to the rescue once again! (Huge e.l.f. product review post upcoming, by the way, once I can find time to do it.) e.l.f.’s make-up removing cleansing cloths are really good… and when I explored the shelves at The Body Shop, I found this waterproof eye make-up remover, which is not only fantastic, but it’s better than the ones I’d used that were tested on animals. See? If not for my resolution, I’d have never discovered these products.

That’s it for June. Bring on July! (Maybe less chocolate, though!)

Happy Friday, All… and Happy 4th of July, U.S. friends. =)

Welcome to the Hotel NOT CALifornia!

First of all, Happy 4th of July, fellow Americans! I’m coming at you from a coffee shop this morning because our internet at home is down. And hey, how about that dust storm last night?! The luscious scent of creosote enveloped us the second we stepped outside this morning… it’s going to rain. Monsoon season begins!

Whoa, I’m feeling scattered here. Let me focus on sharing with you my latest favorite discovery.

The first time we spotted a vehicle with a “Not Cal” decal, we did a double-take. The second look was necessary because we’re used to seeing California pride decals that say “So Cal” for Southern California, or “Nor Cal” for Northern California.

We thought we were looking at a “Nor Cal” decal, but the “r” wasn’t right… it looked more like a “t.” It seemed to spell “Not Cal.” Squinting and looking closer, I realized, Hey! It DOES say “Not Cal!” Then I saw that the lettering was centered over a beautiful bronze graphic of the state of Arizona, which was resplendently merged with the Arizona flag. Not California. Arizona. I was stoked.

 

The AZ flag with its copper star and sunset rays. (AZ is famous for its copper mining industry and sunsets.)

The AZ flag with its copper star and sunset rays. (AZ is famous for its copper mining industry and sunsets.)

 

[Side-note trivia: In the 2001 poll taken by the North American Vexillological Association, the Arizona flag ranked #6 on the list of 10 Best Flags in North America – the sixth best flag out of 72 flags! New Mexico’s flag took first place, Texas came in second, and Quebec’s flag ranked third with its elegant fleur de lys design. Interesting, right? See the poll results here.]

Broken down geographically, the residential picture of my life looks like this:

First, I lived in “Nor Cal” for 18 years (born in San Francisco, raised in San Jose), spending most childhood summers with extended family out of state (Hawaii). I moved away after I graduated from high school. I’ve spent the last 27 years in “Not Cal.”

Over those 27 years, I lived overseas for five years (three years and three months in West Germany/Germany, six months in Saudi Arabia/Iraq/Kuwait, one year and six months in France), and five months in Texas… and I’ve lived in Arizona for 20 years and eight months (interrupted only by the time spent in France and Texas).

The point being that I was born and raised in California, but I’ve lived more of my life outside of California than in it, and over 75% of that time, I’ve lived in Arizona. I couldn’t be happier in a place, and I especially couldn’t be happier to NOT be in a place. For all its beauty and the fact that people I love live there, California and I are not a good fit. I’m a California native who feels like an Arizona native, and I’m not alone… we ‘Zonans like to joke that anyone who’s lived in the Land of AZ for 10 years or longer qualifies as a native, since most people who live in Arizona moved here from somewhere else.

(Apparently, a significant percentage of transplants in Arizona come from California. My friend and real estate agent Nick once remarked that every time there’s a natural disaster in California, Californians stampede to Arizona.)

So when I saw the “Not Cal” decal the first time, I was amused.

The second time I saw it, on a different vehicle, I was even more amused, because then I realized that “Not Cal” was a thing, which meant that it could be had. I found it online, ordered it, and Zach-the-Not-Cal guy got it to our mailbox within two days.

 

Bugsy all glammed-up!

Bugsy all glammed-up!

 

So, Zach and everyone at Not Cal Clothing and Big Cartel (funny coincidence… I’m at Cartel right now), thank you! Thanks for helping us ex-Californian ‘Zonans represent. =)