Meet Jonesy

Freshly fixed, vaccinated, chipped, freed from the confines of the laundry room and master bathroom, and finally named. I note that “Jones” did come in as a suggestion, no more than a few hours after me thinking that I could do worse than naming the dude after the cat from ALIEN. Great minds think alike, clearly.

Happy Thanksgiving

So it turns out that the iPhone’s Portrait mode works really well on cats, too, to the point where I’m figuring the people who coded it set it up that way on purpose. Dude still doesn’t have a name. Ten minutes ago I thought he had a name, and was ready to announce it, but he does not. Soon, though! He’s ours legally now, and we’ve got an appointment to get him fixed on Monday, so he really ought to have a name by then. Yesterday was the day the fifteen-day hold officially expired, though, so he’s ours.

Maybe that’ll be his name. We’ll just call him Ours. Sure.

I do not typically have Difficult Family Holidays, and do not actually have the crazy racist uncle that so many of us seem to have to tiptoe around on the holidays– or, if I do, he’s made certain to never be such in my presence or at my house. I wanted to make a joke here, the first was about my mother-in-law and the second was about my sister-in-law’s husband’s vague resemblance to Saddam Hussein, but both of them are landing rather poorly so just pretend I said something funny here.

So while we’re splitting Thanksgiving over two days this year– the Electric Boogaloo version is tomorrow– neither should be especially stressful, especially since I seem to be using my lingering illness as an excuse to go Full Metal Masculine and not be helpful in any real way at all.

I’m going to have to cook the whole goddamn meal next year to make up for this year, is what I’m saying.

But: while still ailing, I remain at least nominally alive, which is still an improvement over earlier this week, and I had mashed potatoes today and did not deliberately eat myself into a food coma, which may be a sign that I’m getting smarter as I get older but is probably just a sign that I remember I get two of them this year. So now I get to spend two days stressing about grading and a day actually grading, and then there’s a two-and-a-half week run to Winter Break, and then I can fall into a damn coma for all anyone cares.

Which, y’know. That’s the dream.

More– possibly lots more– tomorrow.

Name this cat

So New Cat has been living in our master bathroom for a few days now. At the vet’s suggestion, we have expanded his range to the laundry room as of yesterday. He is about three years old, which is about what I figured, an unfixed male, which was obvious, and unchipped. As of yesterday he is flea, worm and ear mite free and we’ve confirmed that he does not have FIV or whatever the other disease they make sure to check cats for is.

He is a friendly soft cuddly boi. Technically we can’t call him our cat or get him fixed until fifteen days have passed since reporting that we found him, so we’ve got a bit more time on that. I suspect an unchipped and unfixed male that was wandering the neighborhood is almost certainly not someone’s cat, however, and he’ll be ours soon enough. He knows what a litterbox is, so he probably got dumped by somebody.

We are having a hell of a time picking out a name. On one hand, this maybe isn’t a bad thing, as he’s not our cat yet and it’s always possible his owners might claim him, and renaming him before he’s official is putting the cart before the horse just a bit. On the other hand … it’s just not that damn likely. We may as well.

Possible options include:

  • Gus, which was my brother’s initial choice and seems to fit him. However, my wife has bad associations with a cat named Gus in the past (don’t ask) and so this is highly unlikely to be the final name.
  • Walter. He is a dignified-looking cat, and I feel like Walter sort of fits him.
  • Chewie. If I had been able to create a new cat out of thin air he would have been an orange boycat and we would have named him Goose; I feel like Chewie is too Captain Marvel-adjacent (Chewie is the name of the flerken in the comics that became Goose in the movie) to name this cat when the appearance of a Goose in the future is still possible.
  • Mochi. The Great Old One is literally from Japan and is named Mizu, which I have always suspected was supposed to be Miso but spelled wrong by the people at the shelter I got her from. I had a cat named Moro who passed away several years ago who was named after a character in Princess Mononoke, and our current kitten is named Sushi, which was my son’s decision. So we have a previously-established pattern of naming cats with 1) Japanese names starting with M and 2) Japanese foods. Which is a weird accident, because otherwise I display no weeaboo tendencies. Mochi fits both.
  • I have mostly been calling him “Big boy” or “Buddy,” and honestly I think “Buddy” works pretty well as a name for him but my wife calls our son that all the time and I’d rather not get that mixed up. I don’t like “Big boy” as an actual name but as a temporary nickname it works.

So far, I think Mochi is probably my favorite choice, but nothing has stuck yet. Suggestions?

In which this is happening

All four of my mom’s sisters are going to be in my house, along with my brother and sister-in-law, within an hour or so.

As an atheist it feels odd to be asking people to pray for me but I need all the help I can get.

How to make delicious sheet cake

Pictured: the remaining 1/5 of a delicious sheet cake.

My mother’s birthday was a couple of weeks ago, and she made it known that she wanted a sheet cake for her birthday. Sheet cake is something that, in my head, she used to make all the time and we’ve had a few times in the last couple of years but not as often as we used to, and then I mentioned it to my wife and it quickly became clear that she had no idea what I was talking about, meaning we had somehow not had sheet cake once in the nearly twelve years that we’ve been married.

So I got the recipe from my mom and … uh, well, my wife made the cake, actually, because every time I try to bake it goes very poorly, but as you’ll see this is a really simple recipe and I totally could make sheet cake on my own and it’s completely Goddamned delicious and go make a sheet cake right now.

This will fill an 11 x 17 cookie sheet. Yes, a cookie sheet. Sheet cakes, as you might guess from the name, are flat.

Obtain two sticks of margarine, a quarter cup of cocoa, and a cup of water. Melt the margarine and bring everything to a boil. Mix two cups of sugar and two cups of flour in a mixing bowl (ideally, glass, as it’ll heat up less readily than metal) and pour the boiling mix over the dry ingredients. Then mix in two eggs, a teaspoon of vanilla, a teaspoon of baking soda and a third of a cup of either buttermilk or “sour milk,” meaning milk mixed with some quantity of vinegar that Mom wasn’t certain about, so we used buttermilk.

Bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes.

In the meantime, take another stick of margarine (yes, we’re up to three sticks, dammit, and don’t you complain about it,) another quarter cup of cocoa, an entire fucking box of powdered sugar (that’s what the recipe says; I assume the boxes are standardized, but who the hell knows) and a quarter-cup of hot water, melt the whole mess over a low flame, and beat the hell out of it with a wire whisk until it’s melted and no longer lumpy.

Give the cake five minutes after it comes out of the oven to cool off a little bit, then pour the icing over it. Optionally, sprinkle crushed walnuts over the top; we used to always do it this way when I was a kid but the boy has allergies so no longer.

Let it cool to room temperature and then eat the hell out of it. Eat the corners first; they’re the best parts. Ideally sheet cake is accompanied by a tall, cold glass of milk.

Mmmmmmmm.