Monday, March 30, 2015

Because I'm all about that bread, 'bout that bread (no bagel!)

That is a bold-faced lie.  I love bagels.  It used to be my breakfast of choice when I lived back in the US of A.  I'd put my frozen Lender's bagel in the toaster oven and afterwards spread some margarine on it, sit back on the couch and watch the Today show.  Man, I miss Ann Curry*.  Sometimes I'd add a fruit yogurt to my breakfast, along with juice.

But when I arrived in France I saw just how important (read: obsessed) the French are with bread.  Though you will of course find those who eat cereal and yogurt, the vast majority seem to prefer their hunk of baguette and a bowl of hot chocolate (or a cup of coffee).  And although some will buy "industrial" bread that stays good for a while and is pre-sliced, most folks like to buy their bread fresh out of the oven from their local bakery or from the bakery section of the supermarket.

That image of the Frenchman (in a beret!), riding a bike with baguettes under his arm is not far from the truth.  And I have actually seen people doing that on more than one occasion (ok, minus the beret).  On the TV news here they often refer to the price of a baguette to indicate that flour prices are rising, and it is such a basic staple for the French meal.

Most French people or those who happen to be living in France like myself, have a mental conversation in their heads around 4 p.m.  For me, it goes something like this:

Hmm, do we have any more bread at home?  Maybe a few slices, but they're a bit stale. Ok, when can I stop by the bakery?  Darn, it's closed on Wednesday.  Oh, I'll just pick something up at the corner store.  Or I've got those pre-cooked ones in the cupboard that I can pop in the oven in the morning.  Phew, we're saved...But I still miss Ann Curry.

Purists like my parents-in-law would never dream of buying the pre-cooked demi-baguettes (half-sized).  They have recently had to adapt their bread-eating habits since the bakery in their village closed and the baker who used to deliver to their house stopped doing so.  Now they ask Remi to pick bread up on the way or have to get some when they drive to the supermarket three villages away.

I, however, am covered up with bread possibilities in my little metropolitain area.  There are bakeries in every neighborhood, supermarkets galore and even bread from the frozen foods store that I can let defrost in my fridge.  But, to be honest, the bread from the real bakers is the best, and there is something about a chunk or slice of fresh bread that is still slightly warm and lightly crusty...

Here is the low-down on the bread types in my part of France...

When you go to the bakery, the first thing is to decide what kind of bread you want.  The choices can be confusing!

My favorite is the pain de campagne, a kind of half-whole wheat one.  I generally buy it sliced (coupé), and at a bakery they will cut it for you.

So the conversation would go something like this:
Me: Bonjour (ah, don't forget that or they'll see straight away you're an eager tourist!).
Je voudrais un pain de campagne coupé, s'il vous plaît. (Hello, I'd like some "country-style" bread, please.) 
Baker: C'est tout? (That's all?)
Me: Oui, merci. (Yes, thanks.)

There is also the pain complet, more like a wholeweat. 

But the one that seems to sell the best is of course the traditional baguette.
This can come be white bread or any of the above bread types (campagne, complet).  It can even be dressed up in different shapes like this braided one I found recently.

That floury goodness was just calling for some Nutella.

 Do not mistake brioche for bread.  Brioche is a very buttery version of bread that is often eaten as a dessert (though you can eat it for breakfast, too).  Let's say it's more of a Sunday breakfast thing, just as we Americans might not have bacon and eggs every day. 

When I first came to France my host family insisted that one shouldn't put butter on brioche since it is already very rich.  Jam is ok though, or you can just eat it plain.  Apparently it was this, not cake, that Marie-Antoinette suggested the peasants eat (since they didn't have any bread, it does seem logical that brioche is an option).  Gotta love the girl for trying.

It all just goes to show that the French have been thinking about breakfast for literally centuries.

So what is your breakfast of choice and how do they feel about bread in your location? Do you come from a "white breaded world" (you uptown girl, you).   "Never was a cornflake girl" myself.  And I've never had "kippers for breakfast."  (Bonus points if you can identify those references.)

*Ann Curry is a supercool American journalist who was on the Today show for years.  She kind of got ousted or put to the side in the past few years.  She's got more elegance in her little finger than most people do in their whole body.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Me against Charlotte, le Rematch

"Are you sure you want to bring a dessert you've never tried?" asked my husband over breakfast.  I had just told him I wanted to bring the charlotte I'd made last night.  His innocent question spoke volumes.  Hundreds of years of French cooking supremacy had imprinted on my very Gallic mate.  He couldn't help it.  The food imperialism seemed to be passed on genetically for his people.

There was also the ILF- the in-law factor.  My in-laws have a history of being a bit dubious about new food, and some of my desserts which are perfectly fine and tasty have been labeled as "not bad" but a bit "rich" or "my, very sweet".  Maybe my husband was just thinking back about how such casual remarks had hurt me and scared me off from bringing another dessert for the next year(s).

But I countered his foodie chauvinism with decades of watching sarcastic US sitcoms.  I sighed heavily and raised my eyebrows to the roof.   To add a bit of FB-speak I even said the word "Sigh!" out loud.  "It's just a charlotte with chocolate mousse," I said huffily.

My husband didn't know the history between me and Charlotte, as I affectionately call her.  I have been trying for years to recreate that elegant and quintessential French dessert. It's a soft, feminine and often fruity cake that is a delicate explosion in your mouth.  But it's also technically a difficult one to make for me.  Often the fruit versions of this recipe involve using gelatin strips that you must dip in cold water and it never seems to work for me.  But since my mother-in-law (MIL) gave me a charlotte mold for Christmas (at my request), I thought I better give it a try.

So after my past forays into Charlotte's world that had mixed success, I found a recipe that seemed rather fool-proof.  No gelatin, not even fruit this time.  Just basically making a chocolate mousse that you pour into the lady-finger lined mold.  Simple, right?  I forgot that I'm not actually the most experienced chocolate mousse maker.  Something about folding in those egg whites always trips me up. 

But I did put this on my "to do list" for 2015, so I tried my best. Here's how I did it:
  • Line your charlotte pan or a medium-sized saucepan with plastic wrap.  This makes it easier to get the thing out later.  

  • Dip the side of the lady-finger cookies you intend to be on the outside in some water briefly and line the mold with them. Place cookies on the edge first, then the bottom.
Mmmm, smell that chocolate!
  •  Melt a 200-gram ( 7 or so ounces) bar of dark chocolate (or milk chocolate if you prefer) in a bain marie or in a microwave safe bowl.   
  • Once it is all smooth and melty, remove it from heat and combine it with 4 egg yolks .  

  • Now beat the remaining egg whites (yep, four again, go figure!) until they are stiff.

  • Now for the tricky part: delicately fold in the egg whites with chocolate and yolk mixture without totally crushing the fluffy whites.  
  • Hmm.  Isn't that supposed to go up to the top?  I started wondering if there was something wrong with my chocolate mousse.  Maybe it would expand overnight.
  • So I put it on the cold balcony (a minimum of four hours in the fridge is recommended) but the next morning it still looked a bit, well, short. 
  • Never fear, I just cut the excess cookies down and folded them over on the top, which would end up being the bottom after all. 

And I'm happy to say it looked almost decent when I took it out of the mold.  And it tasted, "not bad" and even "good" to my in-laws.  And my husband took a second helping.  

However, my MIL did ask me how I made the mousse and suggested I add some water or milk when I melted the chocolate to make it more liquidy and perhaps mix better with the egg whites.  This time I didn't take her comment badly but just in stride.  She does have a lot of experience making pastries after all.

But I don't think I'll be bringing too many desserts over there anyway.  That was enough stress for one Sunday.
What are the desserts or recipes that challenge you?  Do you dare cook for your in-laws?

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Thursday's child has far to go

Do you know this nursery rhyme?

Monday's child is fair of face,
Tuesday's child is full of grace;
Wednesday's child is full of woe,
Thursday's child has far to go;
Friday's child is loving and giving,
Saturday's child works hard for its living;
But the child that is born on the Sabbath day
Is bonny and blithe, and good and gay. 

I was born on a Thursday.  I guess you could say I did have far to go, too.  I used to be afraid to go farther than ten minutes from my house (my criteria for my university!) but somehow I ended up crossing the Atlantic.  Thursday has always been one of my favorite days of the week, too.  It's not as giddy as Friday.  But it still has the (comfortable) routine of the week with the promise of the weekend around the corner.  Even a rainy Thursday doesn't seem to bother me as much as other rainy days.  

Luckily last week we were blessed with a pleasant Thursday.  And I didn't really have "far to go" (like the nursery rhyme says) but I ended up going farther than I intended. I had a two-hour break between lessons in a company so set out to find a supermarket to buy some bread and figured I'd eat in my car.  But the signs indicating the supermarket seemed to disappear and I kept driving straight ahead.  I saw another car turn left just in front of a huge sign for a fishing ground and park.  I made a mental note to go back there another time or after the supermarket.

But ten minutes later I still hadn't found the supermarket so decided to turn around and go back to the park.  It was set back in a residential neighborhood.  The sign said cars should drive slowly into the area.  I found a well-paved parking area in between a pond and a marshy field and playgrounds and parked there.  I ate my cold salmon and rice in the warmth of my car as the March sun beat through the glass.  Then I decided to explore a bit. 

It was mild for mid-March but the wind could still pick up and blow some cold air around.  The plants still had their winter appearance but signs of spring were coming.  I was charmed by this little bridge and the happy ducks.
Yes, they're happy. Can't you tell?

They don't call this park "The Marsh" for nothing.  I did have to be careful stepping on the sometimes muddy grass.
If you look closely you'll see a daisy!

This is one of my favorite bushes because the bright red branches make a winter day less blah.  Leaves are about to spring forth.
I decided to relax a bit on this bench.  The fountain made a soothing sound.  
There are actually some industries and companies around this park.  I could also hear the sound of machines but it didn't take away from the charm of the place.

I ventured onward (cause I can't sit still for long) and saw a willow tree just starting to get its spring coat.  It's the yellowish tree in the center towards the left.

When I got closer I could see the leaves on the trailing branches.

I like the light this time of year.  Days are getting longer but the shadows still remind me a bit of winter.

And the sun glinting off the water is magical.

But I had to go on back.  I did eventually find that supermarket and got my bread, but I think my Thursday turned out better than I planned.  I may have gone a little farther, but it was worth the trip.

What day of the week were you born on? Find out here. Does the nursery rhyme fit you? What's your favorite day of the week?

Monday, March 16, 2015

Things six-year olds do and say

Making funny faces: a six-year old thing!
Ever since Juliette was born, it has been hard for me to imagine the next step, the next age.  It seems like the next year's age is a different species.  And from 0 to 6 it surely is an amazing range of phases and personalities.  When she was one and we had a picnic with a four-year old, the "big" girl seemed giant!  Her parents made the opposite comment as they noticed Juliette, reminiscing about the cute aspects of that age.  And even now when I see kids who are a few years older than Juliette, I am always amazed that they are still small, still young at heart. It's like in my mind I think they turn into adults at age nine or something.

But no!  Six (and a half, to be precise) is still a child.  Still very childish at times.  It's not because she's learning to read and write and do 'rithmetic that she's all of a sudden wildly mature.  We can reason with her on some things, and others, not even close.

Take bath time.  She knows she has to take a bath or sponge bath or shower every day.  This doesn't stop her from protesting nine times out of ten.  The other night she was truly sobbing with me trying to explain that at the beginning of the bath she doesn't like it, and at the end she doesn't want to get out.  The trials and tribulations of grade school children are really just awful.

So here is a list of things that my six-year old does and says that seem to be hallmarks of this age.  Let's get it down for historical purposes.  As in, I can torture her when she has her own funny first-grader at home. 

Things we fight about
It is getting better.  But there are still things that provoke mini-fits.  Here's a quick list:
  • that we didn't have enough time to play that day
  • that she doesn't have a unicorn toy
  • that I won't sleep all night in her bed ("I'm all alone in my room and you have papa!")
  • when and how many episodes of Arthur we can watch on youtube.  We discovered this PBS cartoon by chance one day and now she's addicted.  It's good for her English and the stories always have a good message.
  • going to her kids' Zumba class. She always likes it once she's there, but sometimes she gives me trouble about it beforehand.
  • any toy that she wants and that I'm not buying her.  Her new favorite mantra is "It's the last thing I'll ask you for."

Things she plays
This girl loves being an animal.  She has both cheetah and lion costumes, plus a faux fur vest that we call the wolf vest.  Imaginary games where she is a captured animal and I am her owner are the big thing now.  Besides that there are the classics like Lego, Playmobil, her dolls, and toy cars.
It's a jungle out there.
Just 1/100th of all her toys.

Things she collects
It's amazing how once she started first grade she came home with little bits and baubles in her pockets.  First it was marbles, apparently a hot game at recess.  Within a week she knew how to play and was bringing new marbles home every day.  Then there is the elastic bracelet craze, all those Kinder surprise toys, pictures of Disney princesses, or beads she found on the floor.  I think we need a huge printer's box to store all these mini-things.

Things she's whining about
More than toddler tantrums, the six-year old knows that her greatest weapon is the "whine".  Parents will do just about anything to stop that noise.  Her major triggers are varied but all equally important to her.  This list includes but is not limited to:
  • I don't have a loose tooth.
  • Your birthday is before mine.
  • I'm not seven!
  • I didn't see the cuckoo come out of the clock.
  • Papa ate some of my Valentine's chocolate.

Things she says
I honestly have to write these down more often, because there are some zingers.  This is just a sampling.
  • When I'm combing her hair (at her request), "Super cool.  So relaxin'!".
  • "I have to keep my hands out of the blanket to read my book.  It's not cozy!"
  • "Don't sleep with papa, he has microbes." 
  • When I explain that my last name used to be different and now I have papa's, "What's your next last name going to be?"
  • "I love MamieLin (her grandma and my mom) because she has pretty hair and she draws so well, especially rats." "You mean mice?" "Yeah, mice."
  • I say I love you in the car just because.  "I love you, too," she replies. Then after a beat, she asks "Why did you say that?"
  • I tell her she's acting like a teenager.  "I'm not a teenager," she says right away.  Then later, "What's a teenager?"

But what I love about this age is that she is becoming so much more aware of the world.  We can have real conversations about life and even death and she can amaze us with her wisdom.  And mostly, I'm still glad my little girl is still little.  She still loves hugs and bedtime stories and surprises us with her sweetness.  

One day I forgot to hug her when I dropped her off at daycare during the vacation period. I felt bad about it all day.  I told her about it in the evening and she reached her arms out to hug me at the dinner table.  The next day I noticed she was standing solidly next to the sign-in table as I was about to leave to remind me to hug her.  She didn't want me to forget this time! 

And I hope I won't forget what a joy six can be, despite some little frustrations that go with the territory.  

Thursday, March 12, 2015

How I kicked my Facebook habit...kind of

Too many breakfasts go like this in my house:  Juliette watches cartoons while eating dry cereal.  I sit by her in my pj's and check my email on my tablet and, oh yeah, why not a little look at Facebook.  To see what my peeps are up to.  And, I comment or "like" and respond to Juliette's questions while half-listening, or show her some funny animal pics.

Too many evenings around my place are like this: I settle on the couch to check out the telly and also check FB.  That way if the tv is boring, I can see what my FB friends have posted lately.

But I realized I was spending a bit too much time on that social network.  With a little check at work, while I'm waiting for a student to arrive as I sit in their company's lobby.  Here a check, there a check, everywhere a check-check.  And I started to wonder if I was using my time to the fullest.

Don't get me wrong.  I love me a little Facebook time.  It is a good way to keep up with people.  It is a fun way to chat and communicate and say random things and sometimes actually relevant things.   But when you start posting pics of two-legged carrots (guilty!), maybe it's time to slow down.

Maybe you are reading this post because I posted it on FB.  And I thank you!  FB is a fabulous way to get people to check things out.  I'm just coming to the conclusion that, once again, I might have another Internet addiction .  And addiction is the appropriate word.  CNN even said so.  So if you think you too may be a tad addicted, let me tell you how I am almost kind of maybe living FB-free (as in not checking five + times a day).

Set limits
I didn't go cold turkey.  I just told myself once a day.  As in, only check the newsfeed once a day.  I do allow myself to post photos or links at other times of the day. Yeah, there was that one day (that may or not have been the day before yesterday) when I just couldn't resist and checked a second time before bed.  But it's still progress, people!

Replace it with other activities
Like reading blogs or news sites. Or maybe actually reading a real-live paper book!  I need to do the latter more often.  I think I still remember how to turn pages.

Identify why you're addicted
I got this from an article on cell phone addictions.  It's frankly about the same as FB obsessions.  I know I especially check FB when I'm bored.  Or craving real communication.  Or need to look at cat memes.  Once you identify the reason, try to attack it with other more meaningful actions. Email or call a friend.  See people face-to-face more often if possible. 

Less is more
I heard this while in the US last year regarding FB.  Posting less but with more relevant posts can have more impact and is better than flooding the site with ten posts a day.

Congratulate yourself on small victories
I pat myself on the back for keeping to the once a day rule.  I even skipped a day!  I know!

I don't know that I will keep to this FB diet forever.  And, believe me, I am not judging any of you who spend a lot of time on FB.  I've been there (read: I'm still kind of there).  But if you feel it's taking over your free time and preventing you from spending time with real people, maybe it's time to take a breather.  If the pilgrims lived without FB, then we can too. I think that's what Thanksgiving's about, right?

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Thrift store junkie

Today I went off my diet.  My thrift store diet.  I was supposed to stop buying incredibly cheap clothes from the thrift store.  But I felt like poppin' some tags and I had twenty euros in my pocket, and no, wait, that's someone else. 

I probably have too many clothes.  I am also lucky to have some friends who think of me when they have clothes to give away.  And so my closet is really well-stocked.  But when you see deals this good, it's hard to resist. And I admit I like the "hunt" for my size or styles as I look among all the racks.  Sometimes I even have dreams where I discover clothes in my closet that I have never seen!

So since I had some time between lessons and before meeting my coworker for Chinese buffet (oops, wasn't I supposed to be saving money this month?!), I went to the thrift store.  And I found some nice deals.  So of course I decided to tell all of the Internet about it.  Special shout-out to my thriftstore junkie twin I've never met, Holly!  You inspired me to do this post I have actually been thinking of for a while.

So check out my finds:

Knee-boots and sequiny skirt!  

I was still working out the kinks on my timer on the camera. Better luck with this photo.
Cat photo bomb.
Ok, let's try this again with the artsy mirror effect. And you can actually see the shirt.
Just ignore all that crap behind me.

Close-up of the shirt.  Love polka dots and Peter Pan collars.
Thrift store selfie. 
And I can also pair it with this other great top I found.  Kind of a baby-doll dress. 
Again, ignore all the stuff behind me.  I'll clean up later.
When Juliette came home I asked her to take some pictures too, and when she finished licking her cake batter, she gave it a go.  But it was hard for her to get me from head to toe.  She did, however, enjoy running around in my boots. 
Fashionista at age 6 and a half. 

So, grand total on two shirts, one skirt and leather Nine West boots (how they got to France, I'm not sure!)... drumroll please... 17.50 euro bucks.  (That is not the official term.  But it should be.)

Now I swear I won't go back.  For a month. 

What is your clothes weakness?  Do you go to thrift stores?  Is that song in your head now?

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Koalas and life questions other Sunday I was watching an animal show at my in-laws.  Juliette loves this show, since, like all kids, she's wild about all animals.  They were showing koalas and my mother-in-law asked what they ate.  Eucalyptus leaves, my husband replied.  "What purpose does that animal serve?" she asked.  At first it seemed to be an ignorant question in my mind.  But in fact we could turn it around and ask what purpose we serve, too.We're just animals, too, after all.  Much less furry than koalas, not as cute, one could argue, too.  But what good are we really doing on this planet?  More harm than good, most of the time.  Just because we can speak and write and drive cars doesn't really mean we're better than our wilder planet-mates.  Considering all the wars we've caused and people we've decimated just because they believed in a different God than us, frankly I think the koalas are a lot more civilized.  And they're not polluting the planet at the rate we Homo sapiens are. 
I was woken from my revery by the shrieks of laughter coming from my husband, and parents-in-law.  They were joking about how my father-in-law has to be careful about meat and fat now and saying he seemed to have gotten it wrong and thought he should eliminate fruits and salad instead.  I don't know why it made them laugh so hard but they were all turning red and were close to tears.  Then all of a sudden my father-in-law was on the ground and his wife and Remi were trying to get him to respond.  He'd fainted for some reason, maybe from the intense laughter, and was out for a few seconds.  We got him to wake up and he seemed fine.  He had no recollection of fainting.
We were all a bit disturbed by the incident, and it made me think how quickly one can go in this life.  One moment you're joking around and the next you're not breathing.  Just like that.  And once again that question: what's it all for?  You work hard all your life (especially in my father-in-law's case) just to be taken down by heart disease or cancer or Alzheimer's.  If you're lucky enough it doesn't happen till you're 90.  If you're in the wrong place at the wrong time you could get hit by a rock some idiot teenager throws off a bridge.
Last week I saw people loading old furniture and household items into what looked like a dump truck.  It made me think it was an older person's house that they were clearing out because he or she had passed away or was now in a nursing home.  And here were all the tangible pieces of this person's life, fifty or sixty years of purchases and collections, probably headed for the recycling center.  Again it seemed so anticlimactic.  The sum of a person's life just basically thrown out. (Not that we have to keep every item a relative who has passed on owned...)
And so, I wonder about myself today.  I'm working, but barely.  I'm earning money, but not much.  I wonder if I made some wrong turns or wrong decisions in my life.  Not that it really matters so much anyway.  What will they remember about me or any of us, way on down the line?  We're just one little blip in history anyway.  Sometimes it just gets you thinking. 
So I'll leave you with one of my mom's favorite quotations (not a "quote", wink wink to Holly!), which is one that also gives me inspiration in times like these...

“In the best of times, our days are numbered anyway. So it would be a crime against nature for any generation to take the world crisis so solemnly, that it put off enjoying those things for which we were designed in the first place: the opportunity to do good work, to enjoy friends, to fall in love, to hit a ball, and to bounce a baby.”

Alistair Cooke

Monday, March 2, 2015

Top 5 Reasons My Cat is Crazy

When I get home from work my cat starts meowing like he hasn't eaten in weeks.  He hardly lets me get into the kitchen to feed him, as he blocks my every step.  He has always had a hunger issue.  And a few other issues.  But that's what makes him our cat.  We've learned to adapt to his funny ways in the nearly nine years we've had him.  Here are the top reasons he's crazy but loveable.

1. He eats like a bird.  As in literally, he eats bird food. 
This, my friends, was meant for the birds.  One afternoon I had the bright idea to make birdseed balls with some extra pork fat.  I found a recipe on the Internet and thought Juliette would enjoy the activity.  Turned out she was only mildly interested.  Catki, on the other hand, was highly interested.  And when he got the chance he attacked this ball on the balcony and started eating the fatty part.  I guess the seeds could give him some extra fiber?!

2. He thinks he's a dog.  He begs at the dinner table when I inadvertently bend over in his direction.  Or when I take the plates back to the kitchen afterwards.  We try to avoid scraps altogether now but there was a time he got too many.  And he has a long memory. 

"Did you forget me?"

I admit I staged this photo.  I had no intention of giving him anything.  I'm cruel like that.

3. He can open doors.  I've mentioned this before.  He knows how to jimmy the door handles to get into rooms.  He jumps and pushes on the handle.  That's why we switched the direction of the handle on the other side of this door.  But he still tries or gets on the couch to move the upside-down handle.  He's done it so much that this door doesn't properly shut anymore and we are forced to put this faux Swiffer to keep the door locked at night when we put his litter box in here.  Otherwise he will come into our rooms by jumping and landing on the handle whenever his tummy tells him it's morning.  The noise is atrocious when you're sound asleep!
Necessity is the mother of invention.
4. He plays with his food.  Actually, this is a good thing.  As he is still overweight (8.8 kg/19.4 lbs) and needs to be about 6 kg or 13 lbs (yeah, right!), he has to eat diet kibble.  And we weigh the amount morning and night.  But he is still hungry.  Recently I noticed he was missing most of the fur on his lower belly and another spot had appeared on the side.  I took him to the vet who said it could be stress.  If my cat is stressed then what am I?  But in fact the diet kibble and lowered quantity of food could be making him anxious, the vet said.  So she recommended we get out the old feeding ball.  This system lets you pour the food in the ball and as he bats it around a few pieces fall out.  His feeding time has gone from a fast 2 minutes to 20.  I hope this will help him lose those love handles...
Get that kibble, get it!
5. He likes to play with my pajamas.  This has to be the oddest one, I know. But when he senses it's time for me to get dressed for work, he will often be right there on my bed ready to catch the pj's and nuzzle up against them.  I suppose he wants to smell his owners?  Or play hunt with our clothes...

 So there you go, my cat is crazy.  But awfully sweet, too.  What weird things does your pet do?