This is a catch-up post. I finally got some time on the computer without being shooed off by Mr. W, so he could play his 20 hours of some combat PC game. Yay! So at long last I’m uploading the recent cell phone photos.

Some time ago I made a penne alfredo with mushrooms, zucchini and grilled chicken. I thought it would go well with bruschetta, so I toasted some mini bagels with white cheddar chunks, and mixed chopped tomatoes, fresh sweet Italian and spicy basils from our garden, fresh chopped onions, and red and orange bell peppers. Tah-dah!

I’m really glad that Mr. W will eat whatever I put in front of him, because that gives me the freedom to experiment and get creative. Friday nite I made a chipotle roast beef in the oven, garlic mashed potatoes, and stir-fried green and yellow zuchinis with onions and string beans. It disappeared from the plate equally fast.

On Saturday morning, we made an appointment at a local animal hospital to get a third, fourth, etc. opinion on Dodo’s eye condition. Six years ago he had a corneal ulcer, probably brought on by stress as I had left him to go to Canada for a week. The vet made me put triple antibiotic ointment in his eye, which didn’t do anything for him except create a compulsive rubbing situation in him so that now, even though it’s been years since his last corneal ulcer outbreak, he still wears the cone because he’ll keep pawing his eyelids until they’re swollen and bloody.

We were hoping that maybe his eyelids are just itchy because of some allergy, and if we could isolate or determine the allergen, we could keep it from affecting him. So I had to wake up the poor sleepy cat from his afternoon nap and gently force him, claws and legs outstretched, yowling his complaints loudly, into his cat carrier.

He protested angrily the entire way to the vet, and as usual, was the perfect kitty when in front of the nurse and vet. The female vet was a very nice woman who took some bloodwork, reviewed the thick Dodo healthcare file that I’d brought, examined my cat, and determined that as far as eyeballs go, his are fine. It’s just a skin reaction that the cat’s been going at, and she suggests slowly weaning him off the cone. For the half hour at the vet, the cone was off Dodo (the first Mr. W has seen his step-cat without his pink halo) and Dodo was fine, exploring the little examination room, walking up to me and caressing me with his tail. But as soon as he came home, after eating some lunch and cleaning his chest and face with his tongue and paws, he dug into his right eye with his right paw. I suggested putting the cone back on. “Just wait,” Mr. W, the non-cat owner, insisted. Dodo rammed his right eye into the back of a shoe, rubbing away.
“NOW do you still want me to wait?!” I demanded.
“DODO! NO! See, he stopped. Just wait, he’s fine. He didn’t do it very much.”
Dodo arched back to the right, and his right hind paw started scratching at his face. In seconds, his right eyelid was swollen, hairless and bloody.
“What about NOW?!” I said smartly as Mr. W leapt forward to hold Dodo’s hind leg down. The cone went back on. *sigh* Plan B: regular cortizone shots.

After a nap, then dinner at an Incan restaurant, we explored a hiking path near our home. Mr. W had researched all the various hiking and biking paths and found that this one leads to some red rocks in a moderate 4-mile hike — 2 miles up to the red rocks, and 2 miles back. It was about 5:30p when we set off on the path in an area called Whiting Ranch, which had been in the news some time recently for its mountain lion attacks on people. (Yeah. I know. But it wasn’t my idea.) After Mr. W stepped into some poison oak, then hiking through a canyon between a high neighborhood where the back yards of houses were visible above us on both sides, we left civilization behind and went on some slight hills. The sun started getting lower. I noted that unlike most recreational areas in our city, this place has no cute bunnies popping out at dusk. Mr. W informed me that the lack of bunnies is a sign of the presence of mountain lions. As if I needed any signs in addition to the ACTUAL signs with photos of cougars and warnings about how to ward them off if we come across any.

So it got darker and darker, and we weren’t even at the red rock point yet, meaning we weren’t even halfway done with the hike. I started asking if we should turn back. Mr. W ignored me and moved forward. I decided it’d be a good idea to call some people and let them know where we are in case we were forced to give back to the wilderness as cougar food. Mr. W rolling his eyes at me, I called Vicky and explained the situation.
“Do you have a big stick?” she asked me.
“For what?”
“That’s how that woman beat the mountain lion off her husband. The lion had the man’s head in his mouth and she was hitting it with this big stick she found and finally fought off the lion.” I think this happened in the same area we were at.
“I’m not really game for hitting a big cat with a stick,” I said thoughtfully.
“But that’s your HUSBAND.”
“Well, then maybe you should get a big stick to defend YOURSELF at least.” That was when my phone lost reception and cut off. I again urged Mr. W to turn back. He said we must almost be there and trudged on. I asked if he had a survival pack in his backpack, and he said of course. I asked if he had a flashlight. He said no. Great.
Going forward still, I found I had enough phone reception to send text messages, so I sent some to Jordan and college roommie Diana telling them where I am. Mr. W looked absolutely disgusted with me. “SOMEONE needs to know where to send help,” I explained.
“What’s JORDAN in FLORIDA gonna do if we’re missing?” he snapped.
I took another picture. Cuz if a rescue team finds my cameraphone, they could at least see what we were facing in the end, right?


Mr. W finally broke down after my 15 minutes of whimpering about having to walk back in total blackness and how giant predatory cats have night vision and we don’t and we’re gonna in the minimum blindly stumble off the path and fall in poison oak, which was everywhere. I also pointed out this is how EVERY HORROR MOVIE starts: lost in the woods, no cell phone reception, ignorant man insisting we’ll be fine and to keep moving forward. He insisted, “We’re not lost!” but grumblingly turned back.

If you can barely see him on the bridge doing the boogie woogie dance, you know how I felt. But we made it out, and not a moment too soon. It got DARK just as we exited the wilderness. Mr. W is going to go back on Sunday without me so he doesn’t have to hear me be “paranoid.”
“Paranoid people don’t DIE,” I spat at him.
So on Sunday next weekend, while I’m at my cousin’s garden bridal shower, my husband will be running around in the woods by himself, hopefully avoiding mountain lions.