30 August 2008

And then there were still four

So Zoe tried to die again today. We got home from yoga to find her in the middle of a terrifying episode. Her eyes were all pupil and she was twitching and emitting piteous meows, nothing like her usual voice. She had lost control of her bladder and bowels. As Dave rushed her in the door to the vet, she started seizing.

We cried while we waited because we were pretty sure she wouldn't be coming home with us. I added "shovel" to the list for the trip to Target we'd planned later in the day. The vet came in and it turned out to be a hypoglycemic episode - her blood sugar was way too low. So she's had some sugar and a bunch of food and she seems okay now. We are still keeping an eye on her; at least we know the route to the excellent emergency vet facility if we need it. (That facility is where Inty had her endoscopy.) I took "shovel" off the Target list and added "blood glucose monitor" to the pharmacy list.

In retrospect, Zoe was actually showing several signs of being hypoglycemic - inappropriate toileting being the main one. She probably had a seizure yesterday, too, while we were at work, because when we came home we found that her belly was mysteriously soaked in urine.

When we picked Zoe up, the vet mentioned that she probably does have a tumor on her abdomen. One of our options is aggressive chemotherapy. (The other was steroids, but that's problematic for all kinds of reasons for diabetic cats, making the already difficult-to-stabilize blood sugar even harder to track.) Dave said, "I think our option is more like an aggressive syringe of sodium penethal. Oh, wait. Isn't that truth serum?" So then we started talking about what Zoe would say if she was under the influence of sodium penethal:

"I was the one who crapped all over the house."

"I'm pro-life."

"I endorse Sarah Palin."

"I'm secretly gay."

"I'm a Republican."

Heh. Because in Massachusetts, being a conservative republican is pretty shocking.

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Love fest; everyone in this picture is purring

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Love fest part two

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Literary Pip (although Great Expectations is not actually in there; apparently I don't own a copy.)

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Om nom nom, delicious camera cords

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Look at how much bigger he's gotten!

28 August 2008

listy list list

So my shrink and my best friend have both frequently expressed astonishment at how much time I spent doing housework. That's what I spent my evening on tonight, so here's a little run-down, transcribed from my to-do for tonight. (Note, I am blogging at 11:50 pm and I didn't even cook dinner, I just reheated leftovers.)

I got home at about 7:30 - which is not unusually late for me - and sat down and wrote the following list, in all its tedious, tiny-itemed glory:


go for walk


make lemon pepper cashews

laundry (W)

use up basil to make pesto or tomato sauce (I heart my cuisinart mini-prep, it's so much easier to clean than the big guy and perfect for a small job like pesto)

eat dinner

clean catboxes



go to bed early

clean fish tank (W)

prep Inty's meds for tomorrow morning

wash and refill cat food bowls

remove evidence of ravages caused by dinner, cashews and pesto from kitchen


refill brita

The ones with lines through them got done tonight; the (W) items are reserved for the weekend.

So I don't know - is this excessive? Because it all seems very normal to me to want to do this kind of stuff on a regular basis - this is totally regular maintenance stuff, nothing too ambitious - yet I probably won't get to sleep until well after midnight, and I need to be into work at 8 so that means getting up at 6:30 for realsies instead of hitting snooze until 7:15.

Whatever, if I'm normal or not doesn't matter, I am in serious need of the long weekend coming up. I plan to hang with our colony of cats, actually get some reading done instead of reading three pages in bed before I fall asleep ... oh, and I totally have a list of bigger projects to get done around the house this weekend, of course. Because long weekends are made for domestic puttering and naps and drinking beers with lunch. I hope the weather is nice.

27 August 2008

Milk Maid

Simone, our recently adopted large motherly cat, has taken Pip (teeny boy kitten) under her wing, to the extent that she allows him to suckle. That's right. We thought he was just latching on for comfort and she was letting him because she is good natured and easy-going and then on Friday night I was on the phone with my brother and petting Simone idly and I noticed something and wrote this note to Dave: I THINK SIMONE'S NIPPLES ARE ENGORGED.

Yeah. There was no think about it, they WERE. The stimulation/massage actually brought her milk in. Isn't that crazy? She's spayed so it's not a heat or recent kittens issue, though we think she's had litters in the past before she got to the SPCA. I didn't know the milk-producing hormones could still work if the animal in question has had a hysterectomy, which is basically what spaying is. But now when she and Pip settle in for some milky minutes, not only can you hear tiny slurps, you can also hear tiny swallows. He has a favorite teat (actually two) just like he would if he was part of a regular litter. (I guess each kitten usually has their own teat.)

So at first I was kind of grossed out by the idea (mostly by the thought of furniture cleaning). I'm not sure* why I was a little squicked, though, because he was nursing this morning in bed and she was purring and grooming him and it was just about the sweetest scene you can imagine. Slurp-gulp slurp-gulp lick lick purr purr purr purr purr knead knead purr purr purr.

I don't have any pictures of this yet - mostly because my camera battery refuses to hold a charge for more than 5 minutes; also I didn't have my camera next to the bed or anything and the second I got up, the little bucolic scene was disrupted. (Simone is like every other animal I've ever seen with a litter, which is to say when she's ready to get up or wants to move around, she just does, and she doesn't give a shit if it interrupts Pip's nursing. I remember visiting Red, a corgi predecessor to Mom and Dad's current pair, when Red had a litter, and Red just kind of casually stepped out of her nursing box to greet us, using the edge of the box to scrape her puppies off as she went. Heh. Plus I know Pip's teeth are sharp.) But I'll keep trying for pictures, because it's pretty darling to see.

And apart from maybe making sure that Simone is getting the right nutrition (maybe the nursing will use calories and help her lose weight!), I don't think there's any reason to interfere, since they both seem to be enjoying it and no one is being harmed. Pip is now 9 weeks at most, and kittens shouldn't really be weaned until 12 weeks, so it's probably actually helpful for him. (He is mostly eating dry food, he just supplements with milk.) And Simone loves him, and apparently was a good mother in her past life. I'll discuss it with the vet when I take Pip in for his shots in a couple of weeks. (None of the cats go outside so no one is at risk for any diseases, but immunizations are a legal requirement.) I called the vet on Saturday morning and got this response from a tech: the tech was not sure why Simone was allowing this behavior**, but suggested we put her in a baby t-shirt to discourage it. (This was before we knew she was actually nursing.) By the time we got home from Maine on Sunday night, we'd decided that unless there were furniture cleaning issues, we wouldn't bother with the t-shirt idea, and shortly thereafter we realized that she was actually nursing.

So that's the big cat news this week. The other cats are fine, too - Inty is adjusting to Pip and I think we'll see them playing together soon, and Zoe is her usual crabby, randomly affectionate self (she is sitting on my lap and purring as I type this.)

* I think I can maybe place the blame here on a Dan Savage column about Adult Lactating Relationships. Okay, not really, Dan Savage rocks. Probably I am just too culturally inculcated with the idea that pets are supposed to be neutered or spayed and be big teddy bears for my pleasure, not so much that they can have other agendas and think for themselves. But I have gotten over myself.

** Clearly the tech did not understand the disposition of my big gentle sweetest & most affectionate cat on the face of the earth, Simone, who has had litters of kittens and apparently enjoyed being a mother.

25 August 2008

weekend in Maine, in pictures (mostly)

we had good weather for the drive up and light traffic.

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keys to the house in maine

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my dorky hat

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There's not much to look at on the drive up

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Going over a bridge provides a rare dose of scenic excitement

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Ye Olde Nyew Englande

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Once you get close, it starts getting real pretty real fast

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Yes, I think mud flats qualify as pretty. These ones, at least.

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the pump house. I don’t think anyone calls this little building their home (maybe a few squirrels) and I don’t think anything is pumped here, but it’s an excellent arrival marker

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View from the porch of the "Up House" (guest house. That's the corner of the "river house" - main house - in the photo.)

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Of course I am reading instead of looking at the view. (Special Topics in Calamity Physics*)

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Dave studying in the Up House (plus our messy crap all over the counter.)

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We went for a hike amongst tall, skinny pines

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salt marsh. Mmmm, salty...

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Ovenmouth tidal inlet. I love the way the trees come right down to the water in Maine.

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Plenty of red and yellow toadstools but where were all the fucking gnomes?

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* which I liked, if not loved. The ending kind of fell apart and I thought the whole book was a little bit too pleased with its own cleverness and overwritten. Very Secret Histroy-ish. But still fun - I liked the voice overall. And I'm a sucker for the adolescent narrative. But Special Topics is not a patch on Black Swan Green for capturing adolescent angst.

22 August 2008

Portrait of a lady

haw haw. Check out the beer and extension cord at the foot of the bed. I have a new haircut too, of course.

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All the classy lassies drink beer in bed

I dunno what the deal was with my Flickr account the other day, but it's working fine now.

21 August 2008

for my sister the artist

This is right up Sue's alley. In fact, anyone who's got a zen for zombies and/or claymation should watch this. It's REALLY well crafted. Srsly. Note to my other sister: wait until the kids are in bed until you watch this, because it's pretty gory and the boys will get scared.

via BoingBoing, where so many good things come from.

18 August 2008

jebub dog, I are tired

as the title suggests, it's Monday and I'm already tired and feeling whiny and lazy. You have been warned.

Now I'll commence complaining, fueled by a Lisa speedball. Well, she once referred to a "poor woman's speedball", a glass of wine and a cup of coffee she was having after a day at work to help get through a free-lance project (uh, I hope she doesn't mind me exposing this) and that's what I'm having, to get through tonight's many after-work projects.

So here are some cop-out pictures of Pip, the naughtiest little booger on the planet:

overexposed by the flash

no flash

I am very aggravated with Flickr because they won't let me access my own photos, blocking me with a filter that won't pass me through to my pictures, even when I cleared my cookies.

In other cat news: Inty was grooming Simone tonight! Just a few tentative licks at a time, but I'm thrilled. I've also noticed that Inty has calmed down a LOT when we return to the house - she used to follow one or the other of us around yelling for 15 or 20 minutes (fixating mostly on Dave, unless I was the only one there, since she likes him better than me.) But now she just screams hello a few times and then settles down. I think the companionship is helping her.

Funny, though. Cats show status by grooming - the cat who grooms is the one who's higher status than the groomee. (This explains a lot about why Zoe loves to groom people's hair and mustache - she totally thinks she's the boss of us. She kind of is.) So Inty groomed Simone but wouldn't let Simone reciprocate because Inty thinks she is higher status than Simone. Simone is literally twice Inty's size, but she's so docile and chill she doesn't care. Hee.

Argh! There's so much more I wanted to talk about and now I need to shut up and go get other shit done! I'm working early every morning this week so it's unlikely I'm going to get back to the computer for a while, which is a fucking drag, since I love writing. But upcoming topics may include: migraines, magnesium and constipation ("ooh!" you're thinking. "I can't wait!"); more cat news (there's always something); how much I love the cleaner who made our house smell nice for me to come home to tonight; reading Henry James plus my sisters; uh ... that's all I can get to for now. But I'm sort of surprised that I thought for an instant I could ever be anything other than a generalist blogger, because I love talking about all the random crap that's constantly falling out of my head.

15 August 2008

Bacon spectacular

Bacon is strangely trendy these days. Therefore, in honor of it being Friday and me being tired, I'll leave you with this curious collection of links.

Salon on bacon mania (part of their Pork Week series. Heh.)

Bacon cupcake. I'd eat that.

Bacon flowchart. Hilarious.

Bacon alarm clock. I feel like this would be a fire hazard. It would probably also get really grody really fast. But still: funny!

Cups made out of bacon.. From NotMartha. I love her site.

the famous bacon bra. Ew. But funny.

Bacon ice cream. I made this, it is delicious, I documented the process with photos and I owe the internets a giant post about it. But for now you can check out the recipe I used.

13 August 2008

Viva Las Vegas

As usual by Wednesday, I am exhausted, so here are some pretty pictures from Red Rocks, outside Las Vegas. My company had an off-site team building thing in Vegas this year and a bunch of us did a hiking excursion in Red Rocks. It was totally the best part of the trip, not just because the scenery was so gorgeous and the exercise was so welcome, but also because I got to know the people I was hiking with and they all turned out to be awesome.

Those ants are the rest of the group; it was surprising how quickly they got away when I hung back to take a picture.

12 August 2008

So it's come to this:

Apparently I have become someone who vacuums every day.

I also clean the litterboxes daily. (I have to; otherwise the whole house smells like a big cat turd.)

I am no longer able to ignore messes around the house.

Given $600, I would probably spend the money on a vacuum and not a Nikon D60.

I think that's kind of a female thing, actually. Spending the money on something household related for a shared good rather than a toy for myself. I'm kind of bummed out by realizing this, actually. I'm also completely disconcerted to realize I have become something my ex-husband reserved a special sneer for: I am house proud.

And I can't tell if that's bad because it's embracing traditional female value assigned by a patriarchal culture or if it's okay to groove on a clean house, the way it's okay to wear lipstick and heels and feel like you look awesome.

11 August 2008

Pip pip, teeny chap

Okay so Pip arrived yesterday and he is SO TINY AND CAH-UTE! I love him even though he has pooped in a particularly disgusting way outside the box several times since. He is so tiny and naughty and playful and clumsy - he has that stubby kitten tail action.

And Simone loves him too.

She grooms him all the time and he tries to fight with her. He creeps up behind her and launches himself to her hindquarters. She usually gets this patient look on her face and keeps walking. It's pretty much like watching a lizard attack a brontosaurus.

Zoe hates him fiercely and will swat him off of his kitten chow so that she can eat it. (They all love the kitten chow except for Pip, who loves Zoe's prescription diabeetus food.) Inty seems simultaneously scared of him and annoyed by him, but she will is willing to share the kitten food with him, if not her tuna. Simone shares her tuna and treats with him. It is the cutest motherfucking thing in the world.

Oh, and I have been INSANEly busy the past few days (not just with the kitten, I swear!) so that is why posting has been kind of quiet.

07 August 2008

Even more tired Thursday

Gad, it is such a colossal pain in the neck to need a solid 8 hours (preferably 8.5) of sleep. (Not that I am getting that much, which is why I am so cranky this morning. It's going to suuuuuuck getting through the day at work.) I could get so much more done if I was able to get by on 5! Oh well.

Since I am tired and cranky and it's Thursday and these things are par for the course, I will leave you with a link to our wedding album. It's only a draft - we've got two revisions (if we need them, which I don't think we will) but this is probably pretty close to final. As usual, I can't praise Johnny enough for being awesome to work with. The only changes I'm thinking about for the wedding album are fewer pictures of me. (Is that weird? Am I the only bride ever to want that? But I want more pictures of the other people who were there - it wasn't just about us.)

Oh yeah - and my friend Maya and I are working on a group blog, weekday girl about being a girl in the world. 'Cause there aren't enough of those already! But seriously, we both really like Jezebel and we both have more to say about what it's like to live your day to day life as a female. We're looking for more people to write for it, too, so email me if you're interested - cara dot debeer at gmail.

06 August 2008

Tired Wednesday

Therefore I will cop out of posting much and just put up some pictures of Inty.

I took this right after her endoscopy - they had to shave her little wrist to put needles in or something, probably for the anesthesia. It looks like she is wearing some kind of bizarre bracelet, or like she's got a partial poodle 'do. She is so tiny they couldn't get the camera all the way into her tummy and couldn't get biopsies, but they got enough to diagnose her with IBS.

She's responded really well to her treatment, by the way. And yes, it's a total pain in the ass to crush a pepcid and put that in a syringe with some milk (she will eat around it if you hide it in food) and to also give her a syringeful of reglan (anti-nausea) and a half a prednisone tablet every damn morning, but she's very good about taking her medication - especially after three months on the regime - and she obviously feels so much better. It's gratifying to know that you saved your cat's life.

They shaved her belly for the endoscopy, too. Isn't this picture weird? You can barely tell it's a cat, she looks like a black furry thanksgiving turkey. She had this stubble for a while - her whole tummy looked like a bikini line in need of some serious attention - but her soft belly fur has grown all back now. She doesn't like when you snorgle it, unfortunately, and will swat you if you zerbet her too much. She has a tiny mind of her own, I guess.

05 August 2008

Cemetery walks and other news

Since I can't go to yoga until I get new contacts (semi-custom lenses have been ordered though!), I've been taking walks instead - gotta keep the blood moving. Plus I felt really fat and sluggish and gross from not getting any exercise. My goal is to walk for about forty minutes every day, but so far the every day thing hasn't quite panned out. I manage it four or five times a week, though.

It's not in Somerville, it's right over the line in Arlington and there's a muddy shallow brook (the Mystic Brook, of Mystic Brook Parkway fame, for locals) that borders one side of the cemetary which is home to some enormous fat-bodied carp, turtles, ducks, as well as some shopping carts and traffic cones. Besides providing an eternal resting place for the dead, the cemetery also seems to be temporary housing for a hobo. I discovered his/her camp when trying to find my way into the cemetery (my terrible sense of direction meant that I couldn't remember the way in from last time, so I walked along the river thinking that would get me into the cemetery.

It did, via a little unclaimed patch of land with a well-worn track - clearly some kind of unofficial back entrance to the cemetery. I noticed as I was getting in that there was a bunch of rubbish and some branches that looked almost like a lean-to ... I wandered further along and saw a bunch of clothes - like, a couple of whole outfits - strung along the cemetery fence, which I thought was weird. Maybe some underpants and the odd t-shirt from drinking, copulating people was to be expected, but you don't forget that you wore jeans that day and leave without them. Then I noticed that there was a bedspread hung on the fence, and a big bar of Irish Spring on top of that. Oh. Those branches didn't just look like a good place for a fort, they were someone's house. Also, he/she must have been washing their clothes in the brook, which is muddy and seems like it wouldn't exactly be ideal for cleanliness. But where else are you going to get running water? And it's not like someone who's homeless has six bucks in quarters to hit the laundromat with.

Ironically, I was listening to Howards End at the time (that's a very good recording by Elizabeth Klett that I linked to) - anyway, among other things, Howards End is about housing and finding your place in the world. So of course I felt guilty, listening away to Forster on my iPod when this other person didn't have any home to go to or power chargers to plug their iPods into, or a job to give them an iPod in the first place. Then I got over the guilt and tiptoed away from Hobo Corner. In succeeding walks, I've found that the hobo uses Degree deodorant (travel size), drinks white wine and smokes cigarettes.

I also feel guilty about strolling through the cemetery like it's a park, since it's not a park ... but on the other hand, I'm probably the only one (besides the hobo) who is looking at all the gravestones and admiring them and wondering about the lives of the people under the stones. I don't know, if I was dead, I don't think I'd mind if someone wandered around my cemetery thinking. I've never seen a single mourner there, though a few graves always have fresh flowers. So despite my guilt, I haven't stopped going there for my walks.

Anyway, I'm so wracked with guilt all the time that it's hard to tell what's valid and what's not. On the way to the cemetery there is a 4 way traffic light. It's a busy intersection, so as a pedestrian, you really need to press the button, or you're not going to be able to cross. I am so retardedly self-effacing that it took me five minutes to push the button - I didn't want to inconvenience the cars by making them stop at a red light, so I was waiting for a break in the traffic, which never came. Now I just push the button but it took a minute for me to figure out that yes, I've got as much right to push the button and make the cars wait as the cars have to carry on going when they've got the green.

But that's enough about my neuroses for now, I think. The other news I wanted to mention is that we're getting a kitten. (Mom, I know - this is totally not, like, a good or smart idea.) But someone in Dave's nursing class found a kitten in her yard and took him in. She says he's super sweet and she'd keep himself, except her existing cat doesn't like him, and she is determined not to take him to a shelter, but to find a home herself. Not like our cats will like him better, except for Simone, who loves everyone and persists in grooming Inty even though she gets swatted for her trouble after about three licks.

Anyway - Dave texted me one night to say, "this girl in my class has a kitten who needs a home. Do we want a kitten?" So I replied, sensibly, that kittens are cute but we probably don't need any more cats right now, and that was the end of it. Except he kept mentioning this kitten, so finally I realized what was going on and said, "honey, if you want a kitten we can have the kitten." So we are going to have a little male who will probably need to be neutered toot sweet - from the pictures I've seen, he looks like he's about 12 weeks. He doesn't have FeLV, thank fuck - the classmate got him tested - but he'll need his shots.

So that's the scoop for now.

02 August 2008

Help me, Internet-Wan, you're my only hope!

This showed up in our CSA box this week.

puzzling vegetable

What the hell is it? I am unable to deduce this vegetable's identity from the list for this week's box