The Cat and the Hummingbird

Before we left San Diego, our friend, Sini, gave us a hummingbird feeder. This feeder attaches to window glass with a suction cup. We used it at Mission Bay RV Resort and have it set up again here at Viewpoint RV Resort in Mesa, Arizona. I attached it high on the living room window right next to Ozark the cat’s window perch.

Ozark loves napping in the window and now she has entertainment there as well. At first the hummingbirds were a bit skittish and Ozark would try to reach them. She would make little cat sounds and paw at the glass or lunge forward. She soon learned that she cannot get to the hummingbirds. The glass has a solar film that reflects like a one-way mirror. Most of the time the hummingbirds can’t see Ozark, but when they do, it doesn’t really matter. They’ve also learned that Ozark can’t get to them.

Ozark and a hummingbird eyeing each other

I’d almost forgotten how spectacular the desert sunsets can be in Arizona. With a few high, thin clouds, the sunsets are fiery and colorful. On Christmas Eve, I shot a photo of the sunset here at Viewpoint.

Arizona sunset

Donna baked brownies on Christmas Eve. One batch was chocolate gingerbread brownies and another batch was almond butter (gluten-free) brownies. On Christmas morning, we went to the pickleball courts and worked on a few drills, then some players came along and we played several games. Pickleball is played at a high level here and we had a lot of fun.

Then Donna prepared asparagus spears wrapped with prosciutto and boursin herb cheese as appetizers. We were invited to spend Christmas afternoon and dinner with our friends, Howard and Sara Graff. Sara’s brother, Stanley, was also visiting from Denver. Donna brought the appetizers and brownies.

The Graff’s Christmas tree – if you knew Sara you would understand the elf legs sticking out!

Sara and Stanley tag-teamed in the kitchen and prepared a complicated recipe for chicken paprikas, also known as paprikash. Chicken paprikash is a Hungarian meal. The chicken is simmered for an extended period of time to infuse paprika and other spices. It’s served with boiled egg noodles that are like small dumplings and a thick, creamy sauce. Although Donna had paprikash before, it was a new dish for me and it was delicious. The egg noodle dumplings reminded me of of a German version called spƤtzle that I had several years ago in Munich.

Chicken paprikash

We visited for several hours and talked about a wide range of subjects. We also sampled a couple of Scotch whiskys that I hadn’t tried before. One was Bruichladdich Laddie – an Isley (say eye-luh) single malt Scotch that paradoxically is unpeated. Most Isley Scotch is heavily peated and has a very smoky flavor. In fact, another Bruichladdich offering called Octomore is considered the most heavily peated malt. Laddie is a very smooth Scotch Whisky.

The other Scotch I tried was Talisker Storm. This is a no-age statement bottling that comes from the Isle of Skye – I think Talisker is the only distillery on Skye. This was a flavorful and complex whiskey. I picked up a hint of sea salt – I wouldn’t call it briny, but it has a hint of saltiness that permeates the cask while aging by the sea. A great drink in my opinion.

Before we knew it, it was going on 6pm and we said our goodbyes until next time. It was a nice way to relax on Christmas day.

We had plenty of action on the pickleball courts again this morning. The mornings have been cold – the overnight temperature dropped to the low 40s. We expect to see close to 70 degrees this afternoon with a warming trend for the rest of the week. We might have high 70s by Friday. I hope you had an enjoyable Christmas regardless of weather wherever you are.

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