Two of the fruits

Two of the fruits

I'm trying to write more often — it's way too easy for me to get into a no-writing slump and procrastinate on my dissertation proposal. Everything I've read on the process says any writing is better than none, so this is a collection of thoughts all tossed out for consideration. The first one, though, is a request for help on identifying a particular fruit. In the backyard of one of the houses we visited — we're house-hunting again now that the previous possible purchase fell through — was a fruit tree. I took one of the fruits to try and identify it, though I didn't actually take a bite of it.

The fruit cut in half

The fruit cut in half

My best guess is that it's an apple of some sort. I remember the sweet-smelling apple trees on our land in Texas, with their beautiful, frothy, pinkish-white blossoms that practically dripped off the trees each spring. The little green apples that were produced were cooking apples for pies, my mother told me. I loved her apple pies, and the horses gladly ate all the apples they could, so I took a bite of one too, assuming it'd taste much like the apples in my mother's pies.

Dear heavens was that a mistake! That apple was as sour and bitter as a lemon to me — and harder to chew! Talk about not judging a book by its cover. So no: I did not try biting into any of these fruits. :)

 

A close-up of the odd seed compartmentalization

A close-up of the odd seed compartmentalization

These fruits, as you can see, are more yellowish than the green apples I remember, though they're about the same size: slightly smaller than my closed fist. If you look closely at the photos you'll also see there's a curious series of four separate "compartments" that hold all the seeds. I don't recall anything like that in apples, which is why I'm currently unconvinced these fruits are in fact apples. So: does anyone know what they are? I'd love to know, even though we aren't buying that house.

We are, however, finally signing for a house today — squeeee! It's both terrifying and exciting to think about — I'm still processing the idea and figuring out how I feel about it. Ever since moving out of my parents' place I have rented. This will definitely be a first! The new place is rather nice, with over 3000 square feet of living space, a small pool, four fireplaces (who needs four fireplaces?! :), two stories, a gorgeous kitchen, a nice deck out back… enough space for us and pets! Plus the guys have promised that I can decorate to my heart's content, woo! There's a lot of wonderful potential in the house, I think, and once we've moved in and it's warm enough to swim we want to have a huge house-warming party and invite everyone we know!

Ridunkulously kyoot kitty ball!

Ridunkulously kyoot kitty ball!

Speaking of pets: we now haz 'em! We have two gorgeous kitties and a beautiful, sweet dog. I am ridiculously happy with this! I hadn't realized how much there was an empty internal space in myself waiting to be filled with animal companions again. The first photo is of them now, performing a contrary feline yin/yang on my computer chair and doing their best to reduce our minds to mush with their devastating Kitty-Fu KYOOTness attack! Not bad for two rescue girls that couldn't stand each other when they first got brought home!

We are, of course, a geeky household — and so the kitties are named Mandelbrot and Tesseract. Manders has the uncanny ability to get underfoot as if she is spontaneously multiplying herself — of course — while Tessa simply sits quietly across the room in the traditional Zen kitty "meatloaf" pose… but when you turn your back to make dinner — there she is seated right at your feet, staring expectantly up at you!

kitty Zen meatloaf pose

kitty Zen meatloaf pose

MandaCat is also our ghosty cat — medium-length fur soft as silken shadows, all in muted shades of greys and dappled blacks, with a gorgeously fluffy trailing banner of a tail. You'd expect the softest and most mellifluous of voices from all that visual and tactile beauty — but no. She has a fiercely determined meow! Subtlety is not her middle name, either: she thunders excitedly down the hallway for dinner… and if she thinks we've forgotten it's her dinnertime, she leaps up into my lap and flops over on my arms as I type — or try to — all the while purring madly like a tiny RC vehicle.

Rescue a kitty - save 9 lives!

Rescue a kitty – save 9 lives!

Tessa is what's known as a "tuxedo cat," with a dashing black cloak flung rakishly across her back and tail, and a mysterious black mask to hide her true identity as she performs her acts of brave feline derring do — though she keeps her secrets well! So far we've only spotted her looking subtly casual — while simultaneously doubtless secretly plotting out the logistical details of her upcoming tactical brilliance. She too has an odd voice, though hers goes to the other extreme: you have to feel her throat to tell she's purring, and her call is more of a startlingly high-pitched squeak. Where Manda demands dinner right NOW HEY HEY HEY YES YOU DID YOU FORGET OR WHAT HELLOOOO?! …Tessa blinks tragically up at you and squeaks as if she's about to faint away utterly from starvation and how could we be so cruel?

They've both filled out beautifully, as the lower shots show — those are from their first days home with us. Manders in particular was a tiny girl; quite gaunt and thin-coated. She was only a month or two over one year old, and had two nearly-adult kittens she was still nursing — big strapping black-furred boys that were also eating the lion's share of the food provided by the shelter! When I asked if it was all right for her to be taken from her kittens, the vet's assistant laughed and said she'd probably be relieved to see them go! As she's gained strength, weight, and energy again, she's really blossomed — now she's the larger cat, in fact, by about half a pound!

 

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